H. E. A. Cotton
|Harry Evan Auguste Cotton|
|Born||27 May 1868
|Died||7 March 1939
Sir Harry Evan Auguste Cotton CIE (better known as H. E. A. Cotton, or Evan Cotton) (24 May 1868 – 7 March 1939) was a barrister, administrator, journalist, historian and writer. His Calcutta Old and New, first published in 1909, remains unsurpassed to this day.
The son of Sir Henry Cotton, who had the rare distinction of presiding over the 1904 session of the Indian National Congress, he was born at Midnapore, where his father was then posted. He had his early schooling at Mount Liban School, Pau and then at Sherborne School.
He held an open scholarship at Jesus College, Oxford, where he obtained a second class in Classics Honour Mods, followed by second class degrees in history and jurisprudence. He was a keen debater and was elected secretary and then treasurer of the Oxford Union. He was called to the bar by Lincoln’s Inn.
He returned to England in 1906 and enlisted his name in the service of the Liberal Party in various capacities. In 1910 he was elected as a Progressive Councillor to the London County Council representing Finsbury East, a seat which he held until 1919. He became a Liberal Member of Parliament for a short period, winning Finsbury East at a by-election in July 1918. At the general election later that year, he contested the new Finsbury seat for the Liberals but was defeated.
He undertook the editorship of India, the weekly organ of the British Committee of the Indian National Congress.
He served as President of the Bengal Legislative Council from 1922 to 1925.
He was an active member of the Indian Historical Records Commission and was chairman from 1923 to 1925.
Estimate of the person
In all his activities, his primary concern was for India, a country served by four generations in the family. He provided strong support to the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms and served on an advisory committee at the India Office in connection with the 1919 Act. He was pivot of a small group that supported reforms. However, the changing political environment dampened his spirits. He later became a severe critic of the constitutional changes that led to the Round Table Conference.
In 1896, he married Nora, daughter of William H.Grimley of Bengal ICS. They had a daughter.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Calcutta: Old and New, The Century in India 1800-1900, Hartly House, Calcutta, Murray’s Handbook of India, Burma and Ceylon (13th and 14th editions)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)
- Ray, Nisith Ranjan Ray, Editor’s Note in the book Calcutta Old and New, 1909/1980, pp. 1-4, General Printers and Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
- "Henry John Stedman Cotton 1845 - 1915". Halhed genealogy & family trees. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "West Bengal Legislative Assembly". legislativebodiesinindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Obituary in The Times, 8 March 1939, p. 18