On This Day: 4 March 1700/01

On this day in 1701, Thomas Hyde wrote to Thomas Bowrey about the three copper plates he sent him a fortnight ago directed to you by Mrs Bartlets waggon at the white lion at Holborn brigge. The engraver charged £5 for the three plates. Payment could be made via Mr Perry at the while lyon in Bread street, drawing a Bill upon Mr Wise in Oxford and sending that Bill to me.

Thomas Hyde was the Oxford orientalist who was an expert in oriental languages and script and was helping Bowrey with his Dictionary Malayo-English English-Malayo. As the librarian, he had produced a catalogue of the  Bodleian Library.  He was the official Eastern interpreter for Charles II, James II and William III. As Hyde’s wife sent her regards to Bowrey and his wife, it would appear that the Bowreys and Hydes had met.

Whilst Bowrey learned to speak Malay whilst working in the East Indies, he does not appear to have been able to write the language which, at the time, used only an Arabic script. The copper plates sent by Hyde were for printing the scripts in the Dictionary. Initially, the alphabet had been engraved on two plates but upon second thoughts Hyde, who had published a number of books himself, had it engraved on one plate which is cheaper for your printing.

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