Burnes, Sir Alexander, was born at Montrose in 1805, and entered the army of the East India Company at the age of seventeen. He soon attained such proficiency in Hindustani and Persian as to be appointed interpreter first at Surat and then at Cutch, where his attention was directed to the as yet imperfectly known regions in the north-west of India. In 1831 he was sent to Lahore with a present from William IV. to Runjit Singh, and he spent some two years in travels which led him into Afghanistan across the Hindu Kush range to Bokhara and Persia. The narrative which he published in 1834 brought him at once into notice. In 1835 he was instructed to procure at Sindh a treaty for the navigation of the Indus, and in 1836 was dispatched on a mission to Dost Mohammed at Cabul, where on the restoration of Shah Sujah in 1839 he became British resident. He refused to quit his post in the turbulent times that followed, and in November, 1841, was assassinated during an insurrection.