James Baillie Fraser (11 June 1783 – January 1856) Timeline
Journal of a Tour through Part of the Himala Mountains and to the Sources of the Jumna and the Ganges (1820); A Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan in the Years 1821 and 1822, including some Account of the Countries to the North-East of Persia (1825); and Travels and Adventures in the Persian Provinces on the Southern Banks of the Caspian Sea (1826). His romances include The Kuzzilbash, a Tale of Khorasan (1828), and its sequel The Persian Adventurer (1830); Allee Neemroo (1842); and The Dark Falcon (1844). He also wrote An Historical and Descriptive Account of Persia (1834); A Winter's Journey (Tâtar,) from Constantinople to Teheran (1838); Travels in Koordistan, Mesopotamia, etc. (1840) Mesopotamia and Assyria (1842); and Military Memoirs of Col. James Skinner (1851).
James was born at Reelig in the county of Inverness. He was the eldest of five sons of Edward Satchel Fraser (1751–1835) and his wife Jane. He grew up on the family estate and studied under a tutor in Edinburgh.
He lived from 1799 (16) to 1811 (26) in Guiana to oversee the sugar plantations that they owned in Berbice. He returned from the West Indies in 1806 (23) due to ill health. All of his brothers travelled in the East and had successful careers.
Family debts. In early 1813 James set sail for India, hoping to set up a trade business in Calcutta to help pay off the family debts. His ship ran into a sandbank off Madras and he was finally able to reach Calcutta only in October. The trade venture did not do well and failed the next year.
In January 1815 (32) he went to join his brother William (assassinated in 1835)
In 1816 (33) James returned to Calcutta and joined a partner in shipping business. He also took more interest in art and worked with professional artists William Havell (1782–1857) and George Chinnery (1744–1852).
Journal of a Tour through Part of the Himala Mountains and to the Sources of the Jumna and the Ganges (1820) (37)
Narrative of a journey into Khorasān, in the years 1821 (38) and 1822 (39). Including some account of the countries to the north-east of Persia; with remarks upon the national character, government, and resources of that kingdom.
He travelled west to Bombay, and then accompanied the East India Company officer Andrew Jukes to Persia, sailing to Bushahr and then on to Tehran, and finally reached London in 1823 (40). Jukes died on the way at Esfahan in 1821 (38). During this journey Fraser sketched and kept a diary, published as Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan in the Years 1821 and 1822 (1825) and Travels and Adventures in the Persian Provinces of the Southern Banks of the Caspian Sea (1826).
In 1823 (40) he married Jane, daughter of Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, a sister of the historian Patrick Fraser Tytler.
Account of the Countries to the North-East of Persia (1825)
In 1826 (43) he published Views of Calcutta and its Environs.
Travels and Adventures in the Persian Provinces on the Southern Banks of the Caspian Sea (1826) (43)
Fiction: The Kuzzilbash, a Tale of Khorasan (1828) (45)
The Persian Adventurer (1830) (47)
Russian moves in Turkey caused fears in Britain around 1833 (50) and Lord Glenelg sent James to investigate in Persia.
An Historical and Descriptive Account of Persia (1834) (51)
In June 1836 (53) Fraser was appointed escort officer or mehmāndār to the three Qajar princes, Rezaqholi Mirza, Teymur Mirza, and Najafqholi Mirza, who had come to London to seek help and protection from the British government.
He also accompanied them on their return until Constantinople. He managed to enter and sketch mosques and Persian shrines which no European had entered before. During this period he travelled extensively on horseback but his health was impaired by the exposure.
A Winter's Journey (Tâtar,) from Constantinople to Teheran (1838) (55)
Travels in Koordistan, Mesopotamia, etc. (1840) (57)
Based on these travels he wrote several historic novels and romances.
Mesopotamia and Assyria (1842) (59)
Allee Neemroo (1842) (59)
The Dark Falcon (1844) (62)
Military Memoirs of Col. James Skinner (1851) (68)
He died without children at his estate in Reelick on 23 January 1856.