Charles Eliot (diplomat)

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The Honourable
Sir Charles Eliot
GCMG, PC
Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot.jpg
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong
In office
1912–1918
Succeeded by Prof. G.P. Jordan
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield
In office
1905–1913
Succeeded by Herbert Fisher
Personal details
Born (1862-01-08)8 January 1862
Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire
Died 16 March 1931(1931-03-16) (aged 69)
Strait of Malacca
Spouse(s) never married
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.[1]

He was also known as a malacologist and marine biologist.[2] He named the sea slug species Chelidonura varians Eliot, 1903.

Career[edit]

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.[3]

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.[4]

British East Africa[edit]

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.[5] He is credited with having initiated the policy of white supremacy in the British East Africa protectorate (now Kenya).[citation needed]

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.[6]

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.

University Administration[edit]

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.[7]

Japan[edit]

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.[7] He regretted the 1921 decision to end the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1923.[7]

Taken ill with influenza, he decided to return to England, but died on the journey on 16 March 1931 and was buried at sea in the Straits of Malacca.[7] He never married.[7]

Selected works[edit]

In a statistical overview derived from writings by and about Sir Charles Eliot, OCLC/WorldCat encompasses roughly 106 works in 355 publications in 2 languages and 4,509 library holdings.[8]

  • The East Africa Protectorate (1905)
  • Turkey in Europe (1908)
  • Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch (1921)
  • Japanese Buddhism (1935)
  • A Finnish Grammar (1890)

Malacology[edit]

  • 1900. Notes on tectibranchs and naked mollusks from Samoa. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia, pp. 512-523, pl. 19.
  • 1901. Notes on a remarkable nudibranch from north-west America. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 4(4):163-165.
  • 1902. On some nudibranchs from Zanzibar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 2:62-72, pls. 5-6.
  • 1903. On some nudibranchs from east Africa and Zanzibar, part II. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1:250-257.
  • 1903a. On some nudibranchs from east Africa and Zanzibar. Part III. Dorididae Cryptobranchiatae, I. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 2:354-385, pls. 22-24.
  • 1904. On some nudibranchs from east Africa and Zanzibar. Part IV. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1:380-406, pls. 23-24.
  • 1904a. On some nudibranchs from east Africa and Zanzibar. Part V. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 2:83-105, pls. 3-4.
  • 1904b. On the Doris planata of Alder and Hancock. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 6(3):180-181.
  • 1905. Note on Geitodoris planata (Alder & Hancock). Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 6(4):186-187.
  • 1905a. On some nudibranchs from the Pacific, including a new genus, Chromodoridella. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 6(4):229-238.
  • 1905b. Notes on two rare British nudibranchs, Hero formosa, var. arborescens, and Staurodoris maculata. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 6(4):239-243.
  • 1905c. On some nudibranchs from east Africa and Zanzibar. Part VI. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 2:268-298, pls. 16-17.
  • 1905d. The Nudibranchiata of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 41(3) No. 22, pp. 519-532.
  • 1905f. Nudibranchs from the Indo-Pacific. I. Notes on a collection dredged near Karachi and Maskat. Journal of Conchology 11(8):237-256.
  • 1906. The genus Doriopsilla Bergh. Journal of Conchology 11(12):366-367.
  • 1906a. On the nudibranchs of southern India and Ceylon, with special reference to the drawings by Kelaart and the collections belonging to Alder and Hancock preserved in the Hancock Museum at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pp. 636-691, pls. 42-47.
  • 1906b. On the nudibranchs of southern India and Ceylon, with special reference to the drawings by Kelaart and the collections belonging to Alder and Hancock preserved in the Hancock Museum at Newcastle-on-Tyne.—No. 2. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pp. 999-1008.
  • 1906c. Notes on some British nudibranchs. Journal of the Marine Biological Association, new series, 7(3):333-382, pls. 11-12.
  • 1906d. Report upon a collection of Nudibranchiata from the Cape Verde Islands, with notes by C. Crossland. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 7(3):131-159, pl. 14.
  • 1906e. 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 (Ed.) 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.
  • 1907. Nudibranchs from the Indo-Pacific. III. Journal of Conchology 12(3):81-92.
  • 1907a. Nudibranchs from New Zealand and the Falkland Islands. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 7(6):327-361, pl. 28.
  • 1907b. Mollusca. IV. Nudibranchiata. National Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904. Natural History 2:1-28, 1 pl.
  • 1908. On the genus Cumanotus. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, new series 8(3):313-314.
  • 1908a. Reports on the marine biology of the Sudanese Red Sea. XI. Notes on a collection of nudibranchs from the Red Sea. Journal Linnean Society London, Zoology 31:86-122.
  • 1909. Report on the nudibranchs collected by Mr. James Hornell at Okhamandal in Kattiawar in 1905-6. In: Report to the government of Baroda on the marine zoology of Okhamandal 1:137-145.
  • 1909a. Notes on a collection of nudibranchs from Ceylon. Spolia Zeylanica. Colombo 6(23):79-95.
  • 1909b. The Nudibranchiata of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Report of the Scientific Results of the Voyage of S. Y. “Scotia” during the years 1902, 1903, and 1904, under the leadership of William S. Bruce, Volume V—Zoology, Part II, Nudibranchiata, pp. 11-24.
  • 1910. Nudibranchs collected by Mr. Stanley Gardiner from the Indian Ocean in H.M.S. Sealark. In: Reports of the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition to the Indian Ocean in 1905, under the leadership of Mr. J. Stanley Gardiner, M.A. Transactions of the Linnean Society, Zoology, series 2, 13(2):411-439, pl. 25.
  • 1910a. Notes on nudibranchs from the Indian museum. Records of the Indian Museum 5(4):247-252, pl. 19.
  • 1910b. On some nudibranchs from the coast of Natal. Annals of the Natal Museum 2:221- 225.
  • 1910d. A monograph of the British nudibranchiate Mollusca: with figures of the species. pt. VIII (supplementary). Figures by the late Joshua Alder and the late Albany Hancock, and others, pp. 1-198, pls. 1-8. Ray Society, London.
  • 1911. Chromodorids from the Red Sea, collected and figured by Mr. Cyril Crossland. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pp. 1068-1072, pl. 61.
  • 1912. A note on the rare British nudibranch Hancockia eudactylota Gosse. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, p. 770, pl. 85.
  • 1913. Japanese nudibranchs. Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University Tokyo 35:1-47, pls. 1-2.
  • 1916. Mollusca Nudibranchiata. In: Fauna of the Chilka Lake. Memoirs of the Indian Museum 5:375-380.
  • 1916a. Zoological results of a tour in the far east. Mollusca Nudibranchiata. Memoirs Asiatic Society Bengal 6
  • with T. J. Evans. 1908. Doridoeides gardineri: a doridiform cladohepatic nudibranch. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 52(2):279-299, pls. 15-16.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nussbaum, "Eliot, Charles Norton Edgcumbe," p. 174, p. 174, at Google Books; Ian Nish. (2004). British Envoys in Japan 1859–1972, pp. 114–122.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Winckworth, Ronald. (1931). "Obituary. Sir Charles Eliot, 1862–1931," Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 224–226.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27154. p. 285. 16 January 1900.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27403. p. 709. 4 February 1902.
  6. ^ Fergusson, W.N. (1911). Adventure, Sport and Travel on the Tibetan Steppes, p. preface. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
  7. ^ a b c d e Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 6 August 2011
  8. ^ WorldCat Identities: Eliot, Charles

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Henry Hardinge
Governor of Kenya
1900–1904
Succeeded by
Sir Donald William Stewart
Academic offices
Preceded by
New position
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield
1905–1912
Succeeded by
Herbert Fisher