The work of Team Macintosh is now officially underway! On Monday of this week, Lauren Muir and Ophelia King began their three-week stint as Placement Research Assistants in the Department of Geography. Much of the first day was devoted to discussing the workflow process: Lauren and Ophelia each take a first pass at transcribing an image of manuscript material, before swapping over for a phase of verification. The verified transcript is then passed to me for final checking and approval.
Notwithstanding the challenges of reading eighteenth-century handwriting, Lauren and Ophelia have already made great inroads into the correspondence relating to Macintosh’s time in India in the late 1770s and early 1780s. One of Macintosh’s principal correspondents during this time was the Madras civil servant Thomas Lewin (1753–1843), whose gossipy, occasionally poetic letters offer much interest and insight. The portrait below (sold at auction in 2014) shows Lewin at age 30.