JUKES, ANDREW, British East India Company surgeon and political agent (b. prob. Scotland, 17 December 1774; d. Isfahan, 10 November 1821). Dr. Jukes was a graduate of King’s College Aberdeen and received his Certificate of the Corporation of Surgeons in 1797, becoming Assistant Surgeon on 8 August 1798 and Surgeon on 14 February 1806 (Crawford, p. 418). It is difficult to establish the precise dates for his employment by the East India Company and for his arrival in India. However, since he participated in the 4th Mysore War of 1798-99, he must have arrived in India earlier and been appointed Assistant Surgeon while in India (Dodwell, pp. 128-29).
Jukes’s first assignment in Persia was at Bušehr Residency, which fell under the jurisdiction of the East India Company and the Presidency of Bombay (Wright, 1977, pp. 62-63). His official title was that of Surgeon to the Residency and Acting Assistant and Translator (Elgood, p. 443). Graffiti by Jukes, dated 1804 at the Gate of All Nations in Persepolis, attests that he was in Persia at that time (Simpson, pp. 10, 21, 37, 44, 51, 63, 68; Curzon, II, p. 157). Also, a letter dated 2 January 1804 to Harford Jones (1764-1847), the British East India Company Resident in Baghdad, confirms that Jukes was in Bušehr at that date (Kentchurch Court Archives AL40/7879).
In February 1805 the East India Company appointed Jukes mehmāndāror escorting officer to Moḥammad Nabi Khan, the second Persian ambassador sent by Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah (1798-1834) to British India (Wright, 1985, pp. 46-41). Moḥammad Nabi Khan was so pleased with Jukes’s services that he wrote to Bombay requesting that Jukes be promoted to the rank of Surgeon. This request was approved on 14 February 1806 (Crawford, p. 418).
While Residency Surgeon in Bušehr, Jukes participated in two important British missions to the Persian court: one dispatched by the government in London and the other by the East India Company in India. The mission from England arrived in 1808, led by Sir Harford Jones (later Jones-Brydges), who was the first British diplomatic envoy from England to the Qajar court. When Sir Harford Jones left Bušehr for Tehran he took Jukes with him, who at that time was acting British Resident at Bušehr (Morier, 1812, pp. 37, 52, 69). Jukes was acting Resident at Bušehr in 1808 when Sir John Malcolm, who had arrived in Bušehr on his second mission to Persia, took William Bruce, the Resident, to Tehran with him (Residency Records Persian Gulf Bushihr 1806-08 R/15/1/10).
In April 1810, Jukes was sent by the East India Company from Bušehr to Tehran to prepare for Sir John Malcolm’s third mission (Wright, 1977, pp. 8, 63). He had been entrusted by Malcolm with letters to the Persian court and to Mirzā Bozorg Qāʾem-maqām (deputy to the Prime Minister). The content of Jukes’s letter to Mirzā Bozorg indicates it was Jukes’s duty to make certain that Malcolm was received by the Shah and the court and not refused an audience, as had happened during his second mission (Kentchurch Court Archives AL40/8736). Jukes succeeded with his assignment and accompanied Malcolm to Solṭāniyeh for an audience with Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah (Fasāʾi, p. 260; tr. Busse, 1972, pp. 133-34).
In addition to his political duties, Jukes practiced medicine during these missions and, in particular, tried to introduce Jenner’s smallpox vaccine to Persia (Morier, 1818, p. 191; Malcolm, p. 532 n). In this connection, Malcolm wrote: “Nothing can exceed the persevering humanity with which Mr. Jukes endeavoured to introduce vaccination into Persia” (ibid., p. 532, n.). He also practiced dentistry. Furthermore, according to Malcolm, Jukes kept a journal in which he recorded various diseases and medical practices in Persia (ibid.).
In 1821, when Jukes was back in Bombay, he was selected by Mountstuart Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, as his envoy representing the East India Company for negotiating with the Persian authorities the terms for stationing British troops at Qešm island and eliminating piracy in the Persian Gulf (Elgood, pp. 447-48; Ingram, pp. 234-35). He left Bombay in the company of the traveler and writer James Baillie Fraser (1783-1856) on a journey to Bušehr (Fraser, pp. 1-2). Having accomplished his mission, he died from cholera in Isfahan on his way to Tehran and was buried in All Saviors Cathedral in Isfahan (Fraser, pp. 120-26; Wright, 1999, p. 166)
Jukes was entrusted with many delicate missions in his life, given that he was a dedicated physician and a conscientious and hardworking person. In his own words, when William Bruce the Resident at Bušehr wrote to thank him for his services, he replied: “it has been the uniform wish and study of my life to please in every situation” (Residency Records Persian Gulf. Bushihr 1805-06 R/15/1/8). His character is described by others as mild and conciliatory (Ingram, p. 234). In addition, he was familiar with the Persian language and culture. These facts are borne out by a posthumous letter in recognition of Jukes’s valuable services written in June 1823 by Mountstuart Elphinstone, to the East India House in London to be conveyed to his family (British Library IOR/F/4/895/23297).
Jukes’s will, written in 1819, and the bequests he left bear witness to the fact that he was a devoted husband, father, and son, as well as a deeply religious man (British Public Records Office: Probate: 11/1677).
Archives containing unpublished material on Andrew Jukes. British Public Records Office (PRO) British Library India Office Records (IOR) British Library, Residency Records Persian Gulf Bushihr, 1806-08, R/15/1/10.
University of Exeter, Centre for Arab Gulf Studies, Bombay Diaries. The Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta. Kentchurch Court Archives, Hertfordshire, England.
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Dirom Grey Crawford, Roll of the Indian Medical Services, 1615-1930, London, 1930.
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Ernst Herzfeld, “Reisebericht,” ZDMG 80, 1926, pp. 225-84.
Harford Jones-Brydges, An Account of the Transactions of His Majesty’s Mission to the Court of Persia in the Years 1807-11, London, 1834.
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Idem, A Second Journey Through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, to Constantinople, Between the Years 1810 and 1816 London, 1818.
Sarah Searight, ed., Britain and Iran 1790-1980: Collected Essays of Sir Denis Wright, London, 2003.
St. John Simpson, “Making Their Mark: Foreign Travellers at Persepolis.” Arta 2005.001, pp. 1-77, accessible at www.achemenet.com.
Denis Wright, The English Amongst the Persians during the Qajar Period, 1787-1921, London, 1977.
Idem, “Sir John Malcolm and the Order of the Lion and Sun,” Iran 17, 1979, pp. 135-41, pls. I-IV. Idem, The Persians Amongst the English: Episodes in Anglo-Persian History, London, 1985.
Idem, “James Baillie Fraser: Traveller, Writer and Artist 1783-1856,” Iran32, 1994, pp. 125-34.
Idem, “Burials and Memorials of the British in Persia,” Iran 36, 1998, pp. 165-73.
Idem, “Burials and Memorials of the British in Persia: Further Notes and Photographs,” Iran 37, 1999, pp. 173-74.
Originally Published: September 15, 2009
Last Updated: April 17, 2012
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Vol. XV, Fasc. 2, pp. 216-217