GRANT, Captain NATHANIEL PHILIP, a military officer of the East India Company (b. New York 1774, k. near Ḵorramābād, April 1810). He arrived in India as a cadet in December 1800, eventually serving as a captain in the Bengal fifteenth native infantry regiment.
In January 1809 Grant was sent by John Malcolm to Makrān “to ascertain whether an European army could penetrate into India by the southern coast of Persia” (Grant, p. 340). He landed at Gavāter on 30 January 1809 and, ostensibly as a horse buyer, traveled in European dress via Čāhbahār (q.v.) inland to Bampur, then back by a different route to the coast and along it to Bandar ʿAbbās (q.v.). He concluded that the invasion of India was “perfectly practicable” since, contrary to expectations, water was available. He also found the inhabitants “more civil and hospitable” than expected (Grant, pp. 328-42).
In February 1810 Grant returned to Persia with Malcolm’s mission (Lorimer, Gazeteer I, p. 1903) and was sent with Lt. Fotheringham to Baghdad with instructions to explore the country between the Tigris and the Persian frontier. Ignoring the advice of Claudius Rich, the East India Company’s resident in Baghdad, the pair entered Lorestān by a notoriously dangerous route and were murdered, along with their Armenian servants, by Kalb-ʿAli Khan, a rebellious Lor chieftain, near Ḵorramābād (Curzon, Persian Question II, pp. 278-79). Accounts differ whether this was for their gold or their refusal to apostatize (Kaye, II, pp. 9-10; Layard, II, pp. 324-25.). Grant was not married (Hodson, II, p. 318).
Archival sources: British Library, Oriental and India Office collections, especially series L/P and S; Public Record Office, Kew, U.K, especially series FO60.
See also N. P. Grant, “Journal of A Route Through the Western Parts of Makran,” JRAS 5, 1839.
V. C. P. Hodson, Officers of the Bengal Army 1753-1834, 4 vols., London, 1946.
J. W. Kaye, The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir J. Malcolm, 2 vols., London, 1856.
John Macdonald Kinneir, A Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, London, 1813; repr. New York, 1973, pp. 202 ff., 447-54.
Henry Layard, Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Babylonia, 2 vols., London, 1887.
Denis Wright, The English Amongst the Persians, London, 1977, pp. 150-51.
Originally Published: December 15, 2002
Last Updated: February 17, 2012
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Vol. XI, Fasc. 2, pp. 187-188