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AMBIX, Vol.

30, Part 2, July 1983


SIR WILLIAM B. O'SHAUGHNESSY, PIONEER CHEMICAL
EDUCATOR IN INDIA
By MEL GORMAN *
THE diffusion of Western science and technology into colonial areas has attracted the
attention of various scholars'! Lessinterest has been given to the dissemination of science
education. There were many scientists who laboured on the frontiers in the colonies and
whosetechnical achievements aremoreor lessremembered, only tohave their contributions
to science teaching almost completely forgotten. This paper will deal with a case study
involving the transfer of chemical education fromBritain to India in the first half of the
nineteenth century.
William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, member of an ancient clan,2was born in Limerick in
1809. Only fragmentary information is available concerning his youth, but his last
residence in Ireland was inEnnis, County Clare, for hegave this location as his home when
he matriculated at the University of Edinburgh for the 1827-28 term.
3
He received his
M.D. on 13July 1829,3but registered again for the 1829-30 session.
4
It would behelpful toknow of O'Shaughnessy's chemistry teachers sothat the origins of
his chemical philosophy could be traced. However, the University of Edinburgh records
reveal that he was not enrolled in the classes of any of the chemistry professors. Other
means of obtaining knowledge of chemistry were available. It is possible that helearned
from one or more of the extra-mural lecturers,5 or perhaps as an assistant to Professor
Robert Christison (medical jurisprudence) or Professor J. C. Hope (chemistry). Indeed, he
was aclinical assistant to Professor WilliamAlison (medicine).6 Such arrangements would
not appear in the University minute books. J. B. Morrell names four extramural teachers
of practical chemistry who taught while Hope was the official university lecturer, and while
O'Shaughnessy was at Edinburgh.
7
In any event, it isevident fromhis subsequent record
that heimbibed to the fullest all the fineattributes of the Scottish intellectual and scientific
environment. He was plainly in the quantitative tradition established by Joseph Black
and the atomistic approach of Thomas Thomson.
When O'Shaughnessy obtained his degree, interest inforensic medicine wasinfull bloom.
The first chair inGreat Britain inthis fieldwas established at Edinburgh in1806, and by the
1830S every medical school had lectures on the subject.
8
Nevertheless, toxicology in
British lawwas in aparlous state.
9
It was asituation inwhich ayoung investigator could
easily make aname forhimself. O'Shaughnessy became thoroughly involved, lecturing and
demonstrating forensic chemistry and medicine to aprivate class of nineteen candidates for
the medical degree at the University of Edinburgh as well as engaging in toxicological
research on avariety of adulterants.
lO
In the summer of 1830 hemoved to London where
heresumed his teaching and research inmedico-legal jurisprudence. But hefound that he
could not practise medicine in London because he was not a licentiate o t " the Collegeof
Physicians.
ll
Also, hewas anunsuccessful candidate for the chair of medical jurisprudence
at the University of London.l
2
Consequently, in 1833hejoined the East India Company's
service as assistant surgeon and was sent to Calcutta.
* Department of Chemistry, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94117, U.S.A.
A short version of this paper was read at the XVI International Congress of the History of Science,
Bucharest, Romania, Sept., 1981.
108 MEL GORMAN
In order to understand the introduction of western chemical education into India, it is
necessary to consider the impact of the prior reform of general instruction and especially
medical education. Due to unsettled political and social conditions, the practice of medi-
cineaccording to the ancient Hindu and Moslemtraditions had deteriorated to asorry state
by the beginning of the nineteenth century, sothat the great mass of Indians had very little
access to proper medical treatment.
13
During this era all commercial and sovereign func-
tions of England were carried on by the East India Company, whose directors followed a
policy of cooperation and non-intervention in the social, religious, and medical practices of
the natives. But after 1800liberalism, evangelicalism, and utilitarianism werespreading in
thehomecountry, anditwasinevitable that theseforceseventually would become paramount
in India.
14
They were made manifest by the Company's Act of 1813, which specified the
promotion of literature and science for the natives.l
5
Within about fifteen years two
government-sponsored collegesin Calcutta included somemedical classes; athird onewas a
medical institution for native doctors. The indigenous art of healing according to ancient
medical traditions was learned in native languages, and some European concepts were
introduced. In the meanwhile, after years of debate, apublic controversy of monumental
importance to all forms of education was reaching a climax. This was the famous
Orientalist-Anglicist argument concerning what should be the content of Indian culture and
the language which should be used to impart it. Although there were varying shades of
opinion on both sides, insimple terms it may besaid that the Orientalists believed that the
indigenous culture was of ahigh order and should be preserved by teaching it in the native
languages. On the other hand (and again somewhat oversimplified), the Anglicists main-
tained that the heritage of India was not worth the effort to study; if the country was to
progress in the modern world, the natives would have to be westernized by a European
culture, and that included teaching in the English tongue.
16
The man destined to end this controversy was Lord William Bentinck, governor-general
of India from1828to 1835. His appointment was made primarily toimprove the economy
of the colony; education was not among his top priorities. But during his administration
hecould not help observing the terrible lack of medical services for the general population,
and concluded that the first step in alleviating this condition would be an improvement in
medical education. To this end in 1833 he appointed aspecial committee, which favoured
the Anglicists,17 While this body was deliberating, Thomas B. Macaulay arrived in
Calcutta inSeptember, 1834, to assume hisplace onthe Supreme Council of India. Aforce-
ful Anglicist, hehad aconvincing influence onBentinck. Other members of the governor's
administration were of the same mind. On28January 1835 Bentinck gave his sanction to
this view by ordering a cessation of medical instruction in two of Calcutta's government
colleges; the third onedevoted solely to teaching native doctors was closed. Additionally,
he directed that a new institution, the Calcutta Medical College (later called the Medical
Collegeof Bengal), be established on the European model with all instruction in English.
18
It is interesting to note that these decisions preceded the famous minute of Macaulay
before the Supreme Council,192February 1835, fromwhich was derived Bentinck's more
sweeping resolution of 7 March 1835, and which affirmed more strongly the Anglicist tenets
by the provision that henceforth all money expended on education of all types must be
devoted to the spread of English literature and science through the medium of the English
language. 20
If a western type medical school was to be established it is obvious that a chemistry
SIR WILLIAM B. O'SHAUGHNESSY rag
coursemust beincluded. Thus theultimate genesisof professional level chemical education
in India was the decision mandating European learning, and the proximate origin was the
need for improving the practice of medicine generally. However, it should benoted that
somechemistry was taught before r835, but with very fewexceptions it was of arudimen-
tary nature. H. J. C.Larwood hasgivenanexcellent overview andevaluation of scienceand
science teaching before the mutiny of r857.
21
Although very brief mention is made of
O'Shaughnessy as ascientist, there isno treatment of his role as ateacher.
The Collegewas opened on r June r835 in temporary quarters. Within the next few
months additional facilities wereprovided including" extensive andhandsome" laboratories.
O'Shaughnessy was appointed professor of chemistry but did not offer his first course until
January r836.22 He recognized that because of the limited background of Indian youths
hewould have to tailor his courseto fit anewand experimental institution. 23 Sincevirtu-
ally no suitable textbooks or reference works were available he had to resort to foreign
journals, including continental aswell as British publications. Thephilosophy of teaching
he adopted can be gleaned fromthe prefaces of areport
24
and his Manual of Chemistry.25
Firstly, herecalled his owndifficulties as astudent with the English practice of presenting
heat, light, and electricity at the beginning of the course. O'Shaughnessy deplored this
practice because hemaintained that these general phenomena had to betaught in the con-
text of matter, and therefore knowledge of elements and their compounds must bestudied
first. Secondly, the courses lasted only four or fivemonths, and somany topics werecov-
eredthat there wasmuchsuperficiality involved. Heconcluded that histext shouldempha-
sizedescriptive chemistry, with particular reference to substances familiar to Indians, and
contain enough topics whosestudy would extend over four years, including materia medica
and pharmacology. He makes favourable mention that the courses of the most noted
toxicologist of his time, M. J. B. Orfilaof Paris, weresimilarly extended. O'Shaughnessy
acknowledges that for guidance as to the general character of the text hereliedonTurner's
Elements of Chemistry and Dumas's Chemistry of the Arts. For the design of experiments he
followedD. B. Reid's Practical Chemistry. However, there wasno slavish followingof these
sources. Indeed, O'Shaughnessy, as aresult of histoxicological researches in London, had
corrected and criticized portions of Reid's book.
26
Although it isneither necessary nor desirable to review the entire contents of the book,
it will beinstructive tonotesomedistinctive features worthy of comment.
27
O'Shaughnessy
isvery explicit about hisobjective. Heiswriting for the general native student whomight
some day be an analyst or occupy some chemical position in India's future development,
and those whowould aspire tosomeposition inthe Indian Medical Serviceof the East India
Company. In the first place, he notes that European texts would be out of the question
from the standpoint of cost alone. Moreimportantly, though, he points out that these
texts have been written for students who have been reared in amodern scientific environ-
ment, which provides them with familiarity with the general ideas and terminology of
science. Indian students did not have this background, sothey could not possibly profit
frombooks geared to that level. For another thing, the standard works of chemistry in
Europe described experiments with apparatus and chemicals of the highest quality avail-
able. But in India inthe second quarter of the nineteenth century there was only oneacid
manufacturing plant and not asingleglass-blowing factory. Consequently O'Shaughnessy
describes cheap and easilyconstructed substitutes for theformal andexpensive apparatus of
Europe. In general, this book reflects that most important ingredient necessary in the
110 MEL GORMAN
make-up of the colonial scientist-the ability to adapt native human and material resources
to the exigencies of the time, the place, and the purpose of any specific undertaking.
The introduction is addressed to the student, and isinspirational intone. After placing
chemistry inthe general context of natural philosophy and describing it in broad outlines,
O'Shaughnessy points out the practicality of chemistry. First of all, it has amoral value.
He believes that if ayouth has been taught to receivenothing astrue but what isthe result
of experiment, hewill beinlittle danger of being ledaway by the insidious arts of sophistry,
or having his mind bewildered by fanaticism or superstition. Then there is the employ-
ment appeal. O'Shaughnessy. points out that for onereason or another portions of India
and surrounding lands are closed to Europeans. But anative does have access, and if he
weretrained inchemistry hecould evaluate drugs, dyestuffs, and ores. Ayoung man with
even an elementary training in chemistry could spot the means of improving century old
processes in the production of saltpetre, opium, etc. He would thus not only provide him-
self with aprofitable occupation, but would beextending the technology and economics of
his country.
There weremany Indian youths fromaffluent families who would not beinfluenced by
the above financial considerations. But O'Shaughnessy proclaimed that such young men
should study chemistry aspart of agentleman's education. He reminds the young Indian
reader that the audience of the lecture demonstrations at the Royal Institution of London
regularly consisted of well-educated people, such asjurists and clergy, and that it would be
well for such scientific information to bedisseminated inIndia, and that it could beaccom-
plished by systematic study.
About half of the introduction isdevoted to convincing themedical student that chemi-
stry is essential to the practice of medicine. By alluding to the chemistry of the natural
processes of respiration, digestion, etc., the author emphasized the fundamental role of
chemistry inlifeprocesses, inhealth or disease. Theneedfor the medical practitioner tobe
aware of the uses and purity of his pharmaceuticals is emphasized, and with chemical
knowledge hecan rely on himself. Moreover, since murder by poisoning was practised so
extensively inIndia, there isagreat need for the medical man to beadept at providing anti-
dotes, which of course he can learn about by studying chemistry.
The introduction ends with what is really a tribute to the Indian student, and at the
same time reveals O'Shaughnessy's high regard for him. "Difficulties will beset his pro-
gress, it is true, but to overcome them all, herequires only the qualities which the Indian
youth possesses in the most pre-eminent degree. He is quick of perception, patient in
reflection, adroit and delicate in experimental manipulation; and with these endowments,
his full success in this study may be most confidently foretold."
It is axiomatic that scientists who laboured in a colonial environment did so among
obstacles of isolation and communication. Yet this text gives the decided impression of
being up-to-date. Recent articles fromsuch important journals as the Edinburgh Journal
of Science, Philosophical Magazine, Lancet, A nnales de Chemie, and] ournal de Pharmacie
appear inappropriate chapters. l\10reover, the author seems conscious of hismodernity for
he declaims that he has avoided any reference to obsolete notions or abandoned theories.
He makes considerable use of his own researches which were published in England and
Indian journals.
28
This must have had an inspirational effect on his students. For
instance, onemust consider that cholera was afact of lifefor natives and Europeans alike.
O'Shaughnessy had conducted researches on the chemical analysis of blood of cholera
SIR WILLIAM B. O'SHAUGHNESSY III
victims~and he related his discoveries in the text. Another facet of the social milieu in
India was the widespread practice of murder by poisoning. Hence, there was a need for
practitioners of forensic chemistry. The author callsupon his study and experience inthis
field, both in London and India, for the benefit of his medical students.
The organization of the topics presents nothing unusual. As in Turner there are four
nlain sections devoted to non-metallic elements and other compounds, metals and their
compounds, organic chemistry, and animal chemistry. In keeping with his aimto empha-
size descriptive chemistry, O'Shaughnessy defers presentation of the atomic theory and a
fewgeneralizations of chemistry (lawof definite proportions, equivalents, combining volume
of gases) to abrief chapter at the end of section two. He believed that by studying the
elements and their inorganic compounds the students would be in a suitable state of
development to grasp these principles. A unique feature eyident throughout is the use of
examples indigenous to India whenever possible. Thus hedescribes the method of making
nitric acid from potassium nitrate and alum as practised by Hindus. He never fails to
remind the reader whenever acompound, e.g., ammonium chloride, isavailable at oneof the
local baz'aars. Hindustani, Sanscrit, and Persian names are given often. Ferrous sulphate
is avallabl~inbazaars asheera-kasis. The potential for chemical technology ispointed out
frequently. For instance, an analysis of amanganese oreispresented inthe hope that the
abundant sources of this mineral in India will soonbemade available. The author recom-
mends that the manufacture of fuming sulphuric acid beundertaken assoon aspossiblebe-
cause it is asolvent for indigo. Substances of particular commercial importance in India,
such as saltpetre and opium are accorded much detailed explanation, more so than "any
elementary volume in the English language".
Six appendices of 250pages aredevoted to various practical operations insuch amanner
that aserious student could perform many experiments at home, as indeed many of them
did. Electrochemistry, blow-pipe analysis, mineral, soil, and water analyses, poisons and
antidotes, metals and alloys and glass-blowing are included. Mindful of the dearth of
standard apparatus, O'Shaughnessy demonstrates his ingenuity for adaptation by describ-
ing various pieces of substitute equipment, and informing the reader that native craftsmen
were very competent in fashioning glass, metal, and wood. Gas collecting vessels can be
made by bazaar artisans fromastoppered bottle by cutting off thebottom with awheel used
to make shell bangles for Hindu women. Stopcocks of wood were suitable for many
.operations. Where arigid tube issatisfactory oldgun barrels can beused. Moreexotic is
that' 'flexibletubes findan excellent substitute inahuga snake covered with oil paint or lac
varnish", Presumably, medical students would findnoimpediments todisembowelling the
snake.
A word may be said here regarding one aspect of O'Shaughnessy's writing style. He
never lost sight of his avowed purpose of encouraging the study of chemistry. This is
reflected in his enthusiastic manner of describing what we would regard today as very
mundane chemicals. Repeatedly heuses words such as "celebrated", "remarkable", and
"curious" in reference to the elements and compounds, thus hoping to assure continued
interest onthe part of students. For instance, nitrogen tri-iodide isdescribed as acurious
substance. and a source of much amusement to the experimentalist. Statements appear
which weremeant to beof vast significance, "The compounds of carbon and hydrogen are
fraught with interest to mankind". Spectacular experiments arenot allowed to pa?s with
common prose. In the production of phosphine fromphosphorous and aqueous potassium
l I Z MEL GORMAN
hydroxide the description reads "Every bubble ... as it rises through the water inflames
with a vivid flash, and a wreath-like circular band of smoke is formed, which gradually
enlarges as it ascends, presenting an indescribably beautiful appearance".
The context in which the M a1tltal of Che11tistry was used consisted of a series of three
month terms with onehour classesmeeting three times weekly. Thefirst termbeginning in
1836had seventy-five students; the second had 180, the increase duetotransfers fromlocal
colleges. Thelectures wereaccompanied by demonstrations. Testimony asto O'Shaugh-
nessy's skill and adaptiveness is to be found in the statements of Dr. IV1. J. Bramley, the
principal of the College. In a plea for funds for more apparatus, Bramley says, "the
Professor ishimself compelled to devote aconsiderable portion of time to the actual manual
labour of glass-blowing ... theillustrations of eachlecturenecessitate thetaking topiecesand
re-adjustment of the apparatus used the preceding day" .29 Frederick Corbyn, editor of the
India] ournal of Medical and Physical Science, adedicated advocate of chemistry asasource
of improvement of scienceand the arts, accepted O'Shaughnessy's invitation to attend his
lectures. This Corbyn did for two terms and left an account of his lecture notes.
30
From
the partial list of demonstrations and exhibits of chemicals recorded, it is evident that
O'Shaughnessy was a firm believer in visual education. One of the class experiments
performed was the production of hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis of water and their
volume rates as determined with an eudiometer. Then the gases were combined to form
water. Various compounds were prepared for the class to observe, such as the oxides of
nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen tri-iodide was synthesized and detonated. Metallic
potassium wasplaced onapieceof ice, and "it blazed brilliantly". However much import-
ance O'Shaughnessy attached to these demonstrations, he was convinced that passive
reading and watching were insufficient for the proper study of chemistry. Consequently,
on IJune 1836 alaboratory course was instituted.
31
Because of the lack of facilities only
twenty of the best students couldbeaccommodated. This limitation was asourceof much
chagrin to O'Shaughnessy and Bramley, but they weregreatly satisfied with the perform-
ances of the favouredfew. The latter noted that at the end of the laboratory course "the
classwasthoroughly conversant with ... themanufacture of gases, estimation of thestrength
of acids and alkalies, the analyses of saltpetre, alum ... and with the mode of preparation
of many of the most useful mineral remedies". l\!Ioreover,the students could not avoid the
dirty work, because "no servants were allowed ... the practical pupils themselves making
the fires, cleaning the vesselsemployed, applying clay lutes, etc."32 The evaluation of the
Manual of Chemistry and the courses inwhich it was used can bedonebest by considering
the results of examinations. At the end of the second termin September of 1836 ageneral
examination for prizes washeld. There was aqualifying examination lasting fivehours and
for the winners afinal examination of six hours. This examination was under the sponsor-
ship of the government inthe formof agoldand asilver medal and of Baboo Dwarkanath
Tagore, an Indian believer in the importance of Western science, who provided money for
cash prizes. The Collegegave certificates of merit to those below the top winners. The
preliminary examination was entirely descriptive, e.g., "Describe the properties of Carbonic
Acid, and give some account of its natural history and its connexion with the respiratory
functions of animals and plants". The final examination contained some description, but
there were more difficult questions involving explanation and proof; e.g., "Explain the
meaning of the term isomeric, and give illustrations of the subject with diagrams;"
"describe the experimental proofs both analytical and synthetic of the composition of
SIR WILLIAM B. O'SHAUGHNESSY 113
water". There were five outside -examiners from the Indian Medical Service, including
Corbyn. Dr. Bramley, the principal of the College, had an 86 page report printed
33
and
forwarded to the General Committee of Public Instruction. Included were the rules
under which the exalninations were conducted, the questions, the essay answers of five
winners, the names of examiners and the winners, and prefatory remarks by Bramley and
O'Shaughnessy. The former declared that the results were so satisfactory and creditable
to the students that hefelt obliged to have them published. The latter had composed the
examination and said that the queries were the most difficult he could devise. In another
report discussing the examination Bramley remarked that the results "displayed the com-
plete success which had attended Dr. O'Shaughnessy's labours. I have no hesitation in
saying that no chemical class in the world could have surpassed, and few would have
equalled the brilliant replies of these youths" .34 Corbyn remarked on the examination as
follows: ((Theeffect of this course will bebest shown by the result of the examination of the
professor's pupils ... their acquirements ... are, innumerous instances, not to besurpassed
by the students of any of the seminaries in Europe. Moreover, their application and
perseverance arenot tobesurpassed ... they have had the reward which their industry and
talents had sojustly entitled them to expect". Corbyn continues his description by saying
that "Such an examination ishighly creditable to the pupils and especially to their teacher:
indefatigable, eloquent, and devoted to the science, he is admirably adapted for the post he
fills". However, the ((pupil" was not enthralled with the course to the point of blindness,
for heconcludes by pointing out that the professor has afewdefects, such assometimes being
too quick so that his experiments do not work.
35
Another examination in September 1837 was given public notice.
36
That the import-
ance and prestige of this event had risen markedly can be inferred from the formality
accompanying the distribution of prizes and certificates. Aconvocation was assembled in
the theatre of the College attended by the Deputy Governor, members of the Council of
India, and members of the General Committee of Public Instruction, and a number of
Europeans and Indians. The examiner was James Prinsep who reported onthe examina-
tion that ((theextent and accuracy of the information onthe singlesubject selected [arsenic]
to test the abilities of the pupils has far surpassed my expectation; and I do not think that
in Europe any class of chemical pupils would befound capable of passing abetter examina-
tion". This high praise by Prinsep isespecially significant for two reasons. Firstly, hewas
an Orientalist, and resigned from the General Committee of Public Instruction when the
Anglicists werevictorious. Thus hecould hardly bebiased infavour of amodeof instruction
to which heobjected at first. Secondly, hewas an extremely talented chemist. Although
not university educated, he had some early instruction in analysis and from then on was
self-taught, and produced at least fifty publications, mostly inphysics and chemistry.37 He
saw service in the East India Company's n1ints and for many years was secretary of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal. He and O'Shaughnessy werethe two most knowledgeable chem-
ists in India during the first half of the nineteenth century. The accolade of Prinsep was
the most satisfying which O'Shaughnessy and his students could have hoped to attain.
Moreover, a lengthy quotation of Prinsep's report was enshrined inthe history of Indian
education by being included inCharles Trevelyan's contemporary classic.
38
Trevelyan adds
his approval of the characteristics of the students: ((The pupils are animated by the
most lively professional zeal, and they evince adegree of quickness and intelligence inthe
prosecution of their studies which has perhaps never been surpassed".
114 MEL GORMAN
By 1838the original students whohad persevered had studied abroad fieldof chemistry,
pharmacy, and materia medica under O'Shaughnessy's tutelage. This year the examina-
tion isdescribed asstricter and longer than those inEngland. It was alaboratory examina-
tion consisting of identifying the contents of unlabelled bottles by qualitative analysis,
"putting the student's knowledge of the subjects to the severest possible test". Again the
examiners were pleased very well with the results.
39
In 1840O'Shaughnessy was appointed chemical examiner (analyst) to the government
whileretaining his professorship. His duties wereto analyse inthe Collegelaboratories any
sample of commercial or legal importance to various governmental agencies. The double
duty proved too arduous. He became ill and was forced to go on furlough on November
1841.40 He recuperated in England, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in r843,41
visited Joseph Henry inAmerica in June r843,42and returned to India the next year. In
November r844 the government separated the positions of professor of chemistry and
chemical examiner; O'Shaughnessy resumed the latter and relinquished teaching.
43
There-
after he devoted himself to many pursuits in science and technology. He is remembered
best for establishing the electric telegraph in India,44 for which he was knighted in r856.
He retired to England in r860, and died in Southsea, 8January r889.
In retrospect, the impetus for the establishment of chemical education at aprofessional
level was provided by the government of India's decision in favour of Western learning
taught in English, coupled with adesire to improve the delivery of health services to native
Indians by instituting for them amedical school onthe European model. It was fortunate
that ascientist of O'Shaughnessy's calibre was available for the professorship of chemistry.
His education in the subject was the best available, hehad some teaching experience, and
his publications demonstrate his commitment to the research ideal. Of paramount import-
ance was his ability to reach the goal of successful teaching by adapting to the colonial
condition. Primarily this involved his understanding of the initial level of the intellectual
abilities of Indian youths, and his nurture of their minds along chemical lines to the high
attainments evidenced inthe examination results. Hehad ahigh regard for his pupils and
his confidence in them was manifested by untiring and inspirational zeal on their behalf.
His knowledge of native resources for experimentation was another facet of hisadaptability.
Both of these aspects areeasily identifiable inhisManual of Chemistry. Thehigh standards
of chemistry instruction introduced by O'Shaughnessy at the Medical Collegeof Calcutta
were so firmly planted that they continued in unabated effect after his departure. His
teaching provided a model for emulation by Professors who followedhim at Calcutta and
other medical schools aswell asinother types of institutions. Chemical education in India
never looked back and today enjoys arespected eminence.
REFERENCES
I. George, Basal1a, "The Spread of Western Science", Science, 156, (1967) 611. Basalla presents a
"model" of the introduction of modern sciences into non-European nations consisting of three
phases: (1) exploratory or pre-colonial, (2) colonial, and (3) independent or post-colonial. The
present paper deals with chemical education in the colonial period of India.
2. John O'Donovan, The Genealogies, Tribes, and Customs of Hy-Fiachrach, Dublin, 1844, 386-7; J.
Fahey, The Diocese of Kilmacduagh, Dublin, 1893, 154; P. J. Dalton, J . Galway A rchaelogical and
Hist. Soc., 6, (1909-10), 52-63; an essay review of Robert S. Rait, The Story of anlrish Property,
Oxford, 1908.
SIR WILLIAM B. O'SHAUGHNESSY 115
3. List of the Graduates in Medicine in the University of Edinburgh from 1705-1866, Edinburgh, 1867,
88.
4. O'Shaughnessy's scientific career was very diversified. During thirty years in India he made
contributions to botany, pharmacology, philology, physics, journal editing, and medical education.
His invention of an electric motor is described by Gorman, Technology and Culture, 9(1968),184,
and his controversy with Faraday over the use of lightning rods in India is presented by Gorman,
I sis, 58 (1967) 96. His work in electrochemistry, forensic chemistry, metallurgy, and gun-cotton
is described in ref. 26 in this paper; see also refs. 26 and 44. For additional biographical details
seeDictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 1938, XIV, 1204; Joseph Foster, Peerage, Baronetage
and Knightage, Westminster, 1880, 660; Frederick Boase, Modern English Biography, 1897, II,
1270; C. E. Buckland, Dictionary of Indian Biography, London, 1906, 324; East India Registry
and Directory, London, 1834-1862, passim; William A. Shaw, The Knights of England, London,
1906, II, 352; D. G. Crawford, Roll of the Indian Medical Service, 1615-1930, London, 1930, 106;
London Times, II January 1889; Proc. Roy. Soc. London, 46 (1889), XVIII; Telegraphic I. and
Electrical Rev., 24 (18 January 1889), 68; Hampshire Post (Portsmouth), 18January 1889; British
Med. I., 1, 40, 1902.
5. On extramural teachers when O'Shaughnessy was a student see J. B. Morrell, A mbix, 16 (1969),
66, Hugo Reid, Mem,oir of the Late David Boswell Reid, Edinburgh, 1863, 1-12, and Robert
Christison, Biographical Sketch of the Late Edward Turner, M.D., Edinburgh, 1837, 18, 41.
6. Private communication from Charles P. Finlayson, University of Edinburgh, 18December 1967.
See Alexander Grant, The Story of the University of Edinburgh, London, 1884, II, 397 and 425,
for Hope and Christison, respectively.
7 J. B. Morrell, Ambix, 16 (1969),66-80.
8. Fielding Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine, London, 1960, 768-69.
9 [Robert Christison], The Life of Sir Robert Christison, Bart., London, 1885, 294.
10. W. B. O'Shaughnessy, Lancet, 1829-1830, II, 330, 452, 633; Lancet, 1830-1831, I, 33, 806 and II,
193
II. W. B. O'Shaughnessy, Lancet, 1830-1831, II, 213. For a description of the monopolistic role of
the College of Physicians in licensing of London doctors see M. Jeanne Peterson, The Medical
Profession in Mid- Victorian London, London, 1978, 6-8. Even Lister on his return to London
from Scotland in 1877 was regarded as a foreigner, notwithstanding his sixteen years of success
in the north; Guy Wrench, Lord Lister: His Life and Work, London, 1913, 273.
12. O'Shaughnessy to the Warden of the University of London; five letters between May and August,
1831, University College London archives.
13. W. C. B. Eatwell, On the Rise and Progress of Rational Medical Education in Bengal, Calcutta,
1860, 4-10; Cordier, A nnales d' Hygiene et de M idecine Coloniales, 4 (1901), 77-89; Anon., Calcutta
Review, 42 (1866), 106-25.
14 J. Allan, J. W. Haig and H. H. Dodwell, The Cambridge Shorter History of India, Cambridge,
1934, 714-15.
IS. M. R.. Paranjpe, A Source Book of Modern Indian Education, London, 1938, 8.
16. For a full discussion of the debate see S. Nurulla and J. P. Naik, A History of Education in India,
Bombay, 1951, 131-52.
17 Charles E. Trevelyan, On the Education of the People of India, London, 1838, 28-9 and 207-20.
18. Discussion and documentation of these directives are in J. A. Richey, Selection from Educational
Records, Calcutta, 1922, 312-23.
19 H. Sharp, Selections from Educational Records, Calcutta, 1920, 107-17; George Trevelyan, The
Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, London, 1876, I, 398-403; Percival Spear, Cambridge Historical
I, 6 (1938), 78-101; K. A. Ballhatchet, ibid., 10 (1951), 224-29.
20. H. Sharp, op. cit., 130-1; Paranjpe, op. cit., 49-50.
21. Larwood, H. J . C., "Science in India before 1850", Brit. J. Educational Studies, 7 (1958), 36;
"Science and Education in India before the Mutiny", Annals of Science, 17 (1961), 81; "Western
Science in India before 1850", J. Roy. Asiatic Soc. of Great Britain and Ireland, 1962, 62.
22. Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal,
for the Year 1836, Calcutta, 1837, 59.
rr6 MEL GORMAN
23. H. H. Goodeve and W. B. O'Shaughnessy, Calcutta Medical and Physical Society Quarterly J., 1
(1837), V-VII.
24. M. J. Bramley and W. B. O'Shaughnessy, First General Examination for Prizes and Certificates,
Calcutta, 1836, 3-6.
25. W. B. O'Shaughnessy, Manual of Chemistry, Arranged for Native, General and Medical Students,
and the Subordinate Medical Department of the Service, Calcutta, 1842 (2nd ed.); preface to the
first edition, III-VIII, preface to the second edition, IX.
26. Mel Gorman, J. Chemical Ed., 46 (1969), 99-13.
27. The first edition of the Manual of Chemistry was published in 1837. One thousand copies were
printed, and the government bought most of them, primarily for use in the Calcutta Medical
College. SeeBoard's Collections, vol. 1892, p. 5, "Extract of India Public Consultations, 21 June
1837", in India Office Records, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. I have been unable
to locate a copy; the discussion in this article is based on the second edition (1842).
28. A practical list of O'Shaughnessy's publications appears in the Catalogue of Scientific Papers,
1800-1863, Royal Society of London, IV, 77.
29. M. J. Bramley, quoted in n. 22, p. 61.
30. F. Corbyn, India Journal of Medical and Physical Science, 1(1836), 570-74.
31. W. B. O'Shaughnessy, op. cit., n. 24, 5-6.
32. M. J. Bramley, quoted in n. 22, p. 60.
33. M. J. Bramley and W. B. O'Shaughnessy, First General Examination for Prizes and Certificates,
Calcutta, 1836.
34. M. J. Bramley, quoted in n. 22, p. 62.
35. F. Corbyn, op. cit., n. 30, p. 572.
36. Calcutta Monthly Journal, 3, July-December 1937, 826-27.
37. Catalogue of Scientific Papers, 1800-1863, Royal Society of London, V, 23-4; Dictionary of National
Biography, Oxford, XVI, 395-96.
38. Charles E. Trevelyan, op. cit., n. 17, 30-3.
39. The Medical College of Bengal, Calcutta, 1839, 1-21.
40. Letters from India and Bengal, vol. 33, paragraph 43, India Office Records, Foreign and Common-
wealth Office, London.
41. Record of the Royal Society, Edinburgh, 1940, 469.
42. I am indebted to Dr. Nathan Reingold, editor of the Joseph Henry papers, for this information.
43. India and Bengal Despatches, vol. 48, 1846, p. 555, India Office Records, Foreign and Common-
wealth Office, London.
44. Gorman, "Sir William O'Shaughnessy, Lord Dalhousie, and the Establishment of the Telegraph
System in India", Technology and Culture, 12 (1971), 581.
EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Dr. W. H. Brock, after more than a decade of service, has this year retired from the
honorary editorship of Antbix. Onbehalf of all members of the Society, and readers of the
Journal everywhere, I thank himfor his invaluable contribution to this periodical, and to
the scholarly study of the history of chemistry at large.
Dr. W. A. Smeaton will continue to serve as reviews editor of An'tbix, and to himalso,
thanks are due fromus alL Finally I must register apersonal debt of gratitude to both
Dr. Brock and Dr. Smeaton for the advice and help they have given to me as incoming
editor. Without them I would ?ave been lost: nevertheless, the responsibility for any
errors that may have escaped their vigilance is entirely my own.
MICHAEL A. SUTTON