Charles Eliot (diplomat)
Sir Charles Eliot
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong|
|Succeeded by||Prof. G.P. Jordan|
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield|
|Succeeded by||Herbert Fisher|
8 January 1862|
Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire
|Died||16 March 1931
Strait of Malacca
|Alma mater||Cheltenham College
Balliol College, Oxford
Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot, GCMG, PC (8 January 1862 – 16 March 1931) was a British knight diplomat, colonial administrator and botanist. He served as Commissioner of British East Africa in 1900–1904. He was British Ambassador to Japan in 1919–1925.
Eliot was born in the village of Sibford Gower near Banbury, Oxfordshire, England and educated at Cheltenham College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a double first in classical moderations and Greats, as well as winning the Craven, Ireland and Hertford scholarships. Remarkably, he also won the Boden Sanskrit Scholarship and the Houghton Syriac prize. He was a noteworthy linguist, with a full knowledge of 16 languages and conversant in 20 more.
Eliot served in diplomatic posts in Russia (1885), Morocco (1892), Turkey (1893), and Washington, D.C. (1899). He also served as British Commissioner in Samoa, and was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the New Year honours list 1 January 1900.
British East Africa
In 1900, he was appointed commissioner of British East Africa, and on 1 January 1902 he was appointed Commissioner, Commander-in-Chief and Consul-General for the East Africa Protectorate, including the mainland dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar, and also as British Agent and Consul-General for the island dominions of the Sultan. He is credited with having initiated the policy of white supremacy in the British East Africa protectorate (now Kenya).
In April 1902, the first application for land in British East Africa was made by the East Africa Syndicate – a company in which financiers belonging to the British South Africa Company were interested – which sought a grant of 500 square miles (1,300 km2) sq. m., and this was followed by other applications for considerable areas, a scheme being also propounded for a large Jewish settlement. During 1903 the arrival of hundreds of prospective settlers, chiefly from South Africa, led to the decision to entertain no more applications for large areas of land, especially as questions were raised concerning the preservation for the Maasai of their rights of pasturage. In April 1903, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, the famous American scout and then a Director of the East African Syndicate, sent an expedition consisting of John Weston Brooke, John Charles Blick, Mr. Bittlebank, and Mr. Brown, to assess the mineral wealth of the region. The party, known as the "Four B.'s", travelled from Nairobi via Mount Elgon northwards to the western shores of Lake Rudolph, experiencing plenty of privations from want of water, and of the danger from encounters with the Maasai.
In the carrying out of this policy of colonisation a dispute arose between Eliot and Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary. Lansdowne, believing himself bound by pledges given to the East Africa Syndicate, decided that they should be granted the lease of the 500 square miles (1,300 km2) they had applied for; but after consulting officials of the protectorate then in London, he refused Eliot permission to conclude leases for 50 square miles (130 km2) each to two applicants from South Africa. Eliot thereupon resigned his post, and in a public telegram to the prime minister, dated Mombasa, 21 June 1904, gave as his reason:- "Lord Lansdowne ordered me to refuse grants of land to certain private persons while giving a monopoly of land on unduly advantageous terms to the East Africa Syndicate. I have refused to execute these instructions, which I consider unjust and impolitic." On the day Sir Charles sent this telegram the appointment of Sir Donald William Stewart, the chief commissioner of Ashanti (Ghana), to succeed him was announced.
In 1905 Eliot was the first Vice-Chancellor of the newly created University of Sheffield until 1912 when he was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong; he served there until 1918 when he was recalled to the diplomatic service becoming high commissioner and consul-general in Siberia.
He was the British Ambassador to Japan in 1920–1926: though the position was not renewed, he stayed in Japan, studying the practice of Buddhism there. He regretted the 1921 decision to end the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1923.
In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Roman Ghirshman, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 70+ works in 100+ publications in 5 languages and 3,000+ library holdings.
- The East Africa Protectorate (1905)
- Turkey in Europe (1908)
- Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch (1921)
- A Finnish Grammar (1890)
- "On Some Nudibranchs from East Africa and Zanzibar, Part V," Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1904 (2): 83–105, Pls. 3–4.
- "The Nudibranchiata of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition," Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1905 (41): 519–532.
- "Nudibranchiata, with some remarks on the families and genera and description of a new genus, Doridomorpha," pp. 540–573, pl. 32. In: J. Stanley Gardiner. (1906). The Fauna and Geography of the Maldive and Laccadive Archipelagoes, Being the Account of the Work Carried on and of the Collections Made by an Expedition during the Years 1899 and 1900, vol. 2. p. 563.
- List of Ambassadors from the United Kingdom to Japan
- Anglo-Japanese relations
- Buddhism in Japan
- Edward Carlyon Eliot
- Nussbaum, "Eliot, Charles Norton Edgcumbe," p. 174, p. 174, at Google Books; Ian Nish. (2004). British Envoys in Japan 1859–1972, pp. 114–122.
- Winckworth, Ronald. (1931). "Obituary. Sir Charles Eliot, 1862–1931," Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 224–226.
- The London Gazette: . 16 January 1900.
- The London Gazette: . 4 February 1902.
- Fergusson, W.N. (1911). Adventure, Sport and Travel on the Tibetan Steppes, p. preface. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 6 August 2011
- WorldCat Identities: Eliot, Charles Sir 1862–1931
- Nish, Ian. (2004). British Envoys in Japan 1859–1972. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. 10-ISBN 1901903516/13-ISBN 9781901903515; OCLC 249167170
- Winckworth, Ronald. (1931). "Obituary. Sir Charles Eliot, 1862–1931," Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 19(5): 224–226.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Works by Charles Eliot at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Charles Eliot at Internet Archive
- UK in Japan, Chronology of Heads of Mission
- National Archives, Eliot, Charles Norton Edgcumbe
Sir Arthur Henry Hardinge
|Governor of Kenya
Sir Donald William Stewart
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield