The Collections of Colonel Colin Mackenzie (1754-1821), Dr. Leyden and Mr. C. P. Brown constitute the nucleus of the vast collection of manuscripts preserved in Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, which consists of manuscripts of works in literature, history, philosophy and science, written in South Indian and Oriental languages, and of Kaifiyats and inscriptions, found in many places belonging to different periods.
Colonel Colin Mackenzie who came to India in 1783 as a Cadet of Engineers on the Madras Establishment of the East India Company took a keen interest in the study of ancient mathematics and, of Logarithm in particular, and in Oriental languages. He collected a large number of manuscripts, coins, inscriptions, maps ete., bearing on the literature, religion, history, manners and customs of the people not only from different parts of India but also from Ceylon and Java.
On his appointment as Surveyor-General of India in 1818, Colonel Mackenzie took his valuable collections with him to Calcutta and went on adding to them till his death in 1821.
This collection was bought from Mrs. Mackenzie for 10,000 pounds by the East India Company in 1821 and divided into three parts. While one part was retained in London, the other parts were sent to Calcutta and Madras.
Mr. C. P. Brown (1798-1184) presented to the East India Company his own valuable collections of paper manuscripts of Sanskrit and Telugu works. This collection was brought to India in 1855.