Joseph Dacre Carlyle

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Joseph Dacre Carlyle (4 June 1759 – 18 April 1804) was an English orientalist.


He was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, where his father George Carlyle practised as a physician.[1] He was educated at Carlisle grammar school and then entered Christ's College, Cambridge, shortly moving to Queens' College. He proceeded B.A. in 1779,[2] and was elected a fellow of Queens', took his M.A, degree in 1783, and B.D. in 1793. During his residence at Cambridge he studied with David Zamio (Europeanised name) from Baghdad. He was appointed Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic on the resignation of William Craven in 1796.[3]

In the meantime he had obtained some church preferment at Carlisle, and had succeeded Paley in 1793 as chancellor of the diocese. In 1792, he published the 'Rerum Ægyptiacarum Annales,' translated from the Arabic of Yûsuf ibn Taghri Birdi, a meagre work of slight historical value; and in 1796 'Specimens of Arabian Poet' (with some account of the authors selected) translations in which a certain elegance of diction is more striking than the fidelity to the spirit and colour of the originals.[3]

In 1799, he was appointed chaplain to Lord Elgin's mission to Constantinople, with the special duties of learned referee; and he made a tour through Asia Minor, Palestine, Greece, and Italy, collecting Greek and Syriac manuscripts for a proposed new version of the New Testament, which unfortunately he did not live to accomplish.[3]

Returning to England in September 1801, he was presented the living of Newcastle-on-Tyne; but his health had been seriously impaired by the fatigues of travel, and he also suffered from a special and painful malady, to which he succumbed on 13 April 1804.[4]


Carlyle's Poems suggested chiefly by Scenes in Asia Minor, Syria and Greece, together with some translations from the Arabic, were published after his death, 1805, with extracts from his journal and a preface by his after. He had also almost completed an account of his tour through the Troad, which was never published. His Arabic Bible, revised from Walton's text, was issued at Newcastle, edited by Henry Ford, professor of Arabic at Oxford, in 1811.[3]

Some manuscripts from Carlyle's collection[edit]


  1. ^ John Sykes (1833). Local Records or Historical Register of Remarkable Events. Printed for and sold by J.Sykes. p. 20. 
  2. ^ "Carlyle, Joseph Dacre (CRLL775JD)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ a b c d Lane-Poole 1887.
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911.