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William Jones (philologist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/10/19



William Jones
A steel engraving of Sir William Jones, after a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal
In office: 22 October 1783[1] – 27 April 1794[2]
Personal details
Born: September 28, 1746, Westminster, London
Died: April 27, 1794 (aged 47), Calcutta

Sir William Jones FRS FRSE (28 September 1746 – 27 April 1794) was an Anglo-Welsh philologist, a puisne judge on the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, and a scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among European and Indian languages, which he coined as Indo-European.

Jones is also credited for establishing the Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1784.


William Jones was born in London at Beaufort Buildings, Westminster; his father William Jones (1675–1749) was a mathematician from Anglesey in Wales, noted for introducing the use of the symbol π. The young William Jones was a linguistic prodigy, who in addition to his native languages English and Welsh,[3] learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew and the basics of Chinese writing at an early age.[4] By the end of his life he knew eight languages with critical thoroughness, was fluent in a further eight, with a dictionary at hand, and had a fair competence in another twelve.[5]

Jones' father died when he was aged three, and his mother Mary Nix Jones raised him. He was sent to Harrow School in September 1753 and then went on to University College, Oxford. He graduated there in 1768 and became M.A. in 1773. Financially constrained, he took a position tutoring the seven-year-old Lord Althorp, son of Earl Spencer. For the next six years he worked as a tutor and translator. During this time he published Histoire de Nader Chah (1770), a French translation of a work originally written in Persian by Mirza Mehdi Khan Astarabadi. This was done at the request of King Christian VII of Denmark: he had visited Jones, who by the age of 24 had already acquired a reputation as an orientalist. This would be the first of numerous works on Persia, Turkey, and the Middle East in general.

Tomb of William Jones in Calcutta

In 1770, Jones joined the Middle Temple and studied law for three years, a preliminary to his life-work in India. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 30 April 1772. After a spell as a circuit judge in Wales, and a fruitless attempt to resolve the conflict that eventually led to the American Revolution in concert with Benjamin Franklin in Paris, he was appointed puisne judge to the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Calcutta, Bengal on 4 March 1783, and on 20 March he was knighted. In April 1783 he married Anna Maria Shipley, the eldest daughter of Dr. Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of St Asaph. Anna Maria used her artistic skills to help Jones document life in India. On 25 September 1783 he arrived in Calcutta.

Jones was a radical political thinker, a friend of American independence. His work, The principles of government; in a dialogue between a scholar and a peasant (1783), was the subject of a trial for seditious libel after it was reprinted by his brother-in-law William Shipley.

In the Subcontinent he was entranced by Indian culture, an as-yet untouched field in European scholarship, and on 15 January 1784 he founded the Asiatic Society in Calcutta[3] and started a journal called Asiatick Researches. He studied the Vedas with Rāmalocana, a pandit teaching at the Nadiya Hindu university, becoming a proficient Sanskritist.[3] Jones kept up a ten-year correspondence on the topic of jyotisa or Hindu astronomy with fellow orientalist Samuel Davis.[6] He learnt the ancient concept of Hindu Laws from Pandit Jagannath Tarka Panchanan.[7]

Over the next ten years he would produce a flood of works on India
, launching the modern study of the subcontinent in virtually every social science. He also wrote on the local laws, music, literature, botany, and geography, and made the first English translations of several important works of Indian literature.

Sir William Jones sometimes also went by the nom de plume Youns Uksfardi (یونس اوکسفردی, "Jones of Oxford"). This pen name can be seen on the inner front cover of his Persian Grammar published in 1771 (and in subsequent editions).

He died in Calcutta on 27 April 1794 at the age of 47 and is buried in South Park Street Cemetery.[8]

Scholarly contributions

Jones is known today for making and propagating the observation about relationships between the Indo-European languages. In his Third Anniversary Discourse to the Asiatic Society (1786) he suggested that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin languages had a common root, and that indeed they may all be further related, in turn, to Gothic and the Celtic languages, as well as to Persian.[9] Although his name is closely associated with this observation, he was not the first to make it. In the 16th century, European visitors to India became aware of similarities between Indian and European languages[10] and as early as 1653 Van Boxhorn had published a proposal for a proto-language ("Scythian") for Germanic, Romance, Greek, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic and Iranian.[11] Finally, in a memoir sent to the French Academy of Sciences in 1767 Gaston-Laurent Coeurdoux, a French Jesuit who spent all his life in India, had specifically demonstrated the existing analogy between Sanskrit and European languages.[12][13] In 1786 Jones postulated a proto-language uniting Sanskrit, Iranian, Greek, Latin, Germanic and Celtic, but in many ways his work was less accurate than his predecessors', as he erroneously included Egyptian, Japanese and Chinese in the Indo-European languages, while omitting Hindustani[11] and Slavic[14]

Nevertheless, Jones' third annual discourse before the Asiatic Society on the history and culture of the Hindus (delivered on 2 February 1786 and published in 1788) with the famed "philologer" passage is often cited as the beginning of comparative linguistics and Indo-European studies.[15]

The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanscrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family.

This common source came to be known as Proto-Indo-European.[16]

Jones was the first to propose a racial division of India involving an Aryan invasion but at that time there was insufficient evidence to support it. It was an idea later taken up by British administrators such as Herbert Hope Risley but remains disputed today.[17]

Jones also propounded theories that might appear peculiar today but were less so in his time. For example, he believed that Egyptian priests had migrated and settled down in India in prehistoric times. He also posited that the Chinese were originally Hindus belonging to the Kshatriya caste.[18]

Jones, in his 1772 ‘Essay on the Arts called Imitative’, was one of the first to propound an expressive theory of poetry, valorising expression over description or imitation: “If the arguments, used in this essay, have any weight, it will appear, that the finest parts of poetry, musick, and painting, are expressive of the passions...the inferior parts of them are descriptive of natural objects”.[19] He thereby anticipated Wordsworth in grounding poetry on the basis of a Romantic subjectivity.[20]

Jones was a contributor to Hyde's Notebooks during his term on the bench of the Supreme Court of Judicature. The notebooks are a valuable primary source of information for life in late 18th century Bengal and are the only remaining source for the proceedings of the Supreme Court.

Encounter with Anquetil duperron

In Europe a discussion as to the authenticity of the work of first translation of Avesta arose. It was the first evidence of an indo-european language as old as sanskrit that had been translated into a european language. It was suggested that the so-called Zend-Avesta was not the genuine work of Zoroaster, but was a forgery. Foremost among the detractors, it is to be regretted, was the distinguished Orientalist, Sir William Jones. He claimed, in a letter published in French (1771), that Anquetil had been duped, that the Parsis of Surat had palmed off upon him a conglomeration of worthless fabrications and absurdities. In England, Sir William Jones was supported by Richardson and Sir John Chardin; in Germany, by Meiners. Anquetil du Perron was labelled an impostor who had invented his own script to support his claim.[21] It is not curious that Jones didn't include Iranian in his naming the cluster of indoeuropean languages, especially since he hadn't any idea about the relationship between avestan and sanskrit as the two main branches of this language family.

Chess poem

In 1763, at the age of 17, Jones wrote the poem Caissa, based on a 658-line poem called "Scacchia, Ludus" published in 1527 by Marco Girolamo Vida, giving a mythical origin of chess that has become well known in the chess world. This poem he wrote in English.

In the poem the nymph Caissa initially repels the advances of Mars, the god of war. Spurned, Mars seeks the aid of the god of sport, who creates the game of chess as a gift for Mars to win Caissa's favour. Mars wins her over with the game.

Caissa has since been characterised as the "goddess" of chess, her name being used in several contexts in modern chess playing.

Schopenhauer's citation

Arthur Schopenhauer referred to one of Sir William Jones's publications in §1 of The World as Will and Representation (1819). Schopenhauer was trying to support the doctrine that "everything that exists for knowledge, and hence the whole of this world, is only object in relation to the subject, perception of the perceiver, in a word, representation." He quoted Jones's original English:

... how early this basic truth was recognized by the sages of India, since it appears as the fundamental tenet of the Vedânta philosophy ascribed to Vyasa, is proved by Sir William Jones in the last of his essays: "On the Philosophy of the Asiatics" (Asiatic Researches, vol. IV, p. 164): "The fundamental tenet of the Vedânta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms."

Schopenhauer used Jones's authority to relate the basic principle of his philosophy to what was, according to Jones, the most important underlying proposition of Vedânta. He made more passing reference to Sir William Jones's writings elsewhere in his works.

Oration by Hendrik Arent Hamaker

In 1822 the Dutch orientalist Hendrik Arent Hamaker accepted a professorship at the University of Leiden, and gave as his inaugural lecture in Latin De vita et meritis Guilielmi Jonesii (Leiden, 1823).[22]

Cited by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Berenice" starts with a motto, the first half of a poem, by Ibn Zaiat: Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas. It was taken from the works of William Jones, and here is the missing part (from Complete Works, Vol. 2, London, 1799):

Dixi autem, an ideo aliud praeter hoc pectus habet sepulchrum?

My companions said to me, if I would visit the grave of my friend, I might somewhat alleviate my worries. I answered "could she be buried elsewhere than in my heart?"


Listing in most cases only editions and reprints that came out during Jones's own lifetime, books by, or prominently including work by, William Jones, are:

• Muhammad Mahdī, Histoire de Nader Chah: connu sous le nom de Thahmas Kuli Khan, empereur de Perse / Traduite d'un manuscrit persan, par ordre de Sa majesté le roi de Dannemark. Avec des notes chronologiques, historiques, géographiques. Et un traité sur la poésie orientale, par Mr. Jones, 2 vols (London: Elmsly, 1770), later published in English as The history of the life of Nader Shah: King of Persia. Extracted from an Eastern manuscript, ... With an introduction, containing, I. A description of Asia ... II. A short history of Persia ... and an appendix, consisting of an essay on Asiatick poetry, and the history of the Persian language. To which are added, pieces relative to the French translation / by William Jones (London: T. Cadell, 1773)
• William Jones, Kitāb-i Shakaristān dar naḥvī-i zabān-i Pārsī, taṣnīf-i Yūnus Ūksfurdī = A grammar of the Persian language (London: W. and J. Richardson, 1771) [2nd edn. 1775; 4th edn. London: J. Murray, S. Highley, and J. Sewell, 1797]
• [anonymously], Poems consisting chiefly of translations from the Asiatick languages: To which are added two essays, I. On the poetry of the Eastern nations. II. On the arts, commonly called imitative (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1772) [2nd edn. London: N. Conant, 1777]
• [William Jones], Poeseos Asiaticæ commentariorum libri sex: cum appendice; subjicitur Limon, seu miscellaneorum liber / auctore Gulielmo Jones (London: T. Cadell, 1774) [repr. Lipsiae: Apud Haeredes Weidmanni et Reichium, 1777]
• [anonymously], An inquiry into the legal mode of suppressing riots: with a constitutional plan of future defence (London: C. Dilly, 1780) [2nd edn, no longer anonymously, London: C. Dilly, 1782]
• William Jones, An essay on the law of bailments (London: Charles Dilly, 1781) [repr. Dublin: Henry Watts, 1790]
• William Jones, The muse recalled, an ode: occasioned by the nuptials of Lord Viscount Althorp and Miss Lavinia Bingham (Strawberry-Hill: Thomas Kirgate, 1781) [repr. Paris: F. A. Didot l'aîné, 1782]
• [anonymously], An ode, in imitation of Callistratus: sung by Mr. Webb, at the Shakespeare Tavern, on Tuesday the 14th day of May, 1782, at the anniversary dinner of the Society for Constitutional Information ([London, 1782])
• William Jones, A speech of William Jones, Esq: to the assembled inhabitants of the counties of Middlesex and Surry, the cities of London and Westminster, and the borough of Southwark. XXVIII May, M. DCC. LXXXII (London: C. Dilly, 1782)
• William Jones, The Moallakát: or seven Arabian poems, which were suspended on the temple at Mecca; with a translation, and arguments (London: P. Elmsly, 1783),
• [anonymously], The principles of government: in a dialogue between a scholar and a peasant / written by a member of the Society for Constitutional Information ([London: The Society for Constitutional Information, 1783])
• William Jones, A discourse on the institution of a society for enquiring into the history, civil and natural, the antiquities, arts, sciences, and literature of Asia (London: T. Payne and son, 1784)
• William Davies Shipley, The whole of the proceedings at the assizes at Shrewsbury, Aug. 6, 1784: in the cause of the King on Friday August the sixth, 1784, in the cause of the King on the prosecution of William Jones, attorney-at-law, against the Rev. William Davies Shipley, Dean of St. Asaph, for a libel ... / taken in short hand by William Blanchard (London: The Society for Constitutional Information, 1784)
• William Davies Shipley, The whole proceedings on the trial of the indictment: the King, on the prosecution of William Jones, gentleman, against the Rev. William Davies Shipley, Dean of St. Asaph, for a libel, at the assize at Shrewsbury, on Friday the 6th of August, 1784, before the Hon. Francis Buller ... / taken in short-hand by Joseph Gurney (London: M. Gurney, [1784])
• Jones, William (1786). "A dissertation on the orthography of Asiatick words in Roman letters". Asiatick Researches. 1: 1–56.
• Works by William Jones at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• [William Jones (ed.)], Lailí Majnún / a Persian poem of Hátifí (Calcutta: M. Cantopher, 1788)
• [William Jones (trans.), Sacontalá: or, The fatal ring: an Indian drama / by Cálidás ; translated from the original Sanscrit and Prácrit (London: Edwards, 1790) [repr. Edinburgh: J. Mundell & Co., 1796]
• W. Jones [et al.], Dissertations and miscellaneous pieces relating to the history and antiquities, the arts, sciences, and literature, of Asia, 4 vols (London: G. Nicol, J. Walter, and J. Sewell, 1792) [repr. Dublin: P. Byrne and W. Jones, 1793]
• William Jones, Institutes of Hindu law: or, the ordinances of Menu, according to the gloss of Cullúca. Comprising the Indian system of duties, religious and civil / verbally translated from the original Sanscrit. With a preface, by Sir William Jones (Calcutta: by order of the government, 1796) [repr. London: J. Sewell and J. Debrett, 1796] [trans. by Johann Christian Hüttner, Hindu Gesetzbuch: oder, Menu's Verordnungen nach Cullucas Erläuterung. Ein Inbegriff des indischen Systems religiöser und bürgerlicher Pflichten. / Aus der Sanscrit Sprache wörtlich ins Englische übersetzt von Sir W. Jones, und verteutschet (Weimar, 1797)
• [William Jones], The works of Sir William Jones: In six volumes, ed. by A[nna] M[arie] J[ones], 6 vols (London: G. G. and J. Robinson, and R. H. Evans, 1799) [with two supplemental volumes published 1801], [repr. The works of Sir William Jones / with the life of the author by Lord Teignmouth, 13 vols (London: J. Stockdale and J. Walker, 1807)], vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4, vol. 5, vol. 6, supplemental vol. 1, supplemental vol. 2

See also

• Gaston-Laurent Coeurdoux
• James Prinsep
• Alexander Cunningham
• Anquetil duperron


1. Curley, Thomas M. (1998). Sir Robert Chambers: Law, Literature, & Empire in the Age of Johnson. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 353. ISBN 0299151506. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
2. Curley 1998, p. 434.
3. Anthony 2010, p. 6.
4. Said 1978, p. 77.
5. Edgerton 2002, p. 10.
6. Davis & Aris 1982, p. 31.
7. "Dictionary of Indian Biography". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
8. The South Park Street Cemetery, Calcutta, published by the Association for the Preservation of Historical Cemeteries in India, 5th ed., 2009
9. Patil, Narendranath B. (2003). The Variegated Plumage: Encounters with Indian Philosophy : a Commemoration Volume in Honour of Pandit Jankinath Kaul "Kamal". Motilal Banarsidass Publications. p. 249.
10. Auroux, Sylvain (2000). History of the Language Sciences. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. p. 1156. ISBN 3-11-016735-2.
11. Roger Blench Archaeology and Language: methods and issues. In: A Companion To Archaeology. J. Bintliff ed. 52–74. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2004.
12. Wheeler, Kip. "The Sanskrit Connection: Keeping Up With the Joneses". Dr.Wheeler's Website. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
13. See:
 Anquetil Duperron (1808) "Supplément au Mémoire qui prècéde" (Supplement to the preceding memoir), Mémoires de littérature, tirés des registres de l'Académie royale des inscriptions et belles-lettres (Memoirs on literature, drawn from the records of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belle-lettres), 49 : 647-697.
 John J. Godfrey (1967) "Sir William Jones and Père Coeurdoux: A philological footnote," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 87 (1) : 57-59.
14. Campbell & Poser 2008, p. 37.
15. Jones, Sir William (1824). Discourses delivered before the Asiatic Society: and miscellaneous papers, on the religion, poetry, literature, etc., of the nations of India. Printed for C. S. Arnold. p. 28.
16. Damen, Mark (2012). "SECTION 7: The Indo-Europeans and Historical Linguistics". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
17. Bates, Crispin (1995). "Race, Caste and Tribe in Central India: the early origins of Indian anthropometry". In Robb, Peter (ed.). The Concept of Race in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-19-563767-0. Retrieved 2 December2011.
18. Singh 2004, p. 9.
19. Quoted in M H Abrams, ‘’The Mirror and the Lamp’’ (Oxford 1971) p. 88
20. M Franklin, ‘’Orientalist Jones’’ (2011) p. 86
21. "The First European Translation of the Holy Avesta". Retrieved 8 December 2019.
22. P.J. Blok, P.C. Molhuysen, p. 534, Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek. D.3 (1914).


• Campbell, Lyle. (1997). American Indian languages: The historical linguistics of Native America. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1.
• Edgerton, Franklin (2002) [1936]. "Sir William Jones, 1746-1794". In Sebeok, Thomas A. (ed.). Portrait of Linguists. Volume 1. Thoemmes Press. pp. 1–17. ISBN 978-1-441-15874-1.
• Cannon, Garland H. (1964). Oriental Jones: A biography of Sir William Jones, 1746–1794. Bombay: Asia Pub. House Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
• Cannon, Garland H. (1979). Sir William Jones: A bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Amsterdam: Benjamins. ISBN 90-272-0998-7.
• Cannon, Garland H.; & Brine, Kevin. (1995). Objects of enquiry: Life, contributions and influence of Sir William Jones. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-1517-6.
• Franklin, Michael J. (1995). Sir William Jones. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1295-0.
• Jones, William, Sir. (1970). The letters of Sir William Jones. Cannon, Garland H. (Ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-812404-X.
• Mukherjee, S. N. (1968). Sir William Jones: A study in eighteenth-century British attitudes to India. London, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-05777-9.
• Poser, William J. and Lyle Campbell (1992). Indo-european practice and historical methodology, Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, pp. 214–236.
• Campbell, Lyle; Poser, William (2008). Language Classification: History and Method. Cambridge University Press. p. 536. ISBN 052188005X.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Jones, Sir William" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 501.
• "Sir William Jones (1746 - 1794): As a Philologist, a Persian Scholar and Founder of Asiatic Society" by R M Chopra, INDO-IRANICA, Vol.66, (1 to 4), 2013.
• Singh, Upinder (2004). The discovery of ancient India: early archaeologists and the beginnings of archaeology. Permanent Black. ISBN 9788178240886.
• Said, Edward W. (1978). Orientalism. Random House. ISBN 9780804153867.
• Anthony, David W. (2010). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. Princeton University Press. ISBN 1400831105.
• Davis, Samuel; Aris, Michael (1982). Views of Medieval Bhutan: the diary and drawings of Samuel Davis, 1783. Serindia.

External links

• Works by or about William Jones at Internet Archive
• Urs App: William Jones's Ancient Theology. Sino-Platonic Papers Nr. 191 (September 2009) (PDF 3.7 Mb PDF, 125 p.; includes third, sixth, and ninth anniversary discourses)
• The Third Anniversary Discourse, On The Hindus
• Caissa or The Game at Chess; a Poem.
• The principles of government; in a dialogue between a scholar and a peasant. (London?; 1783)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:54 am

Reincarnation feudal, should end now: Dalai Lama amid successor row with China
by The Times of India
Updated: Oct. 25, 2019, 22:49 IST




1. "The tradition should end now as reincarnation has some connection with the feudal system," the Dalai Lama said in Dharamshala

2. China has said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by Beijing and the selection should take place within the country based on an over 200-year old historical process

Spiritual leader Dalai Lama (TOI file photo)

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetans, has said the tradition of reincarnation "should end now". Traditionally, Dalai Lamas have been chosen after the reincarnation of a deceased Dalai Lama has been identified. The issue has been a cause of disagreement between China and the Tibetan community for a long time.

"The tradition should end now as reincarnation has some connection with the feudal system," the Dalai Lama, the 14th to hold this position, said in Dharamshala on Friday. The Dalai Lama was addressing a gathering of college students from Bhutan and India at his residence in McLeodganj when he was asked about keeping alive traditional values in modern times and passing them on to future generations.

"Any culture needs to evolve over a period of time. Like the Buddhist community in India has no tradition of reincarnation or lama institution. It developed in Tibet. I think there is some feudal connection to it and it needs to change now," he told the students.

"Institutions need to be owned by the people, not by an individual. Like my own institution, the Dalai Lama's office, I feel it is linked to a feudal system. In 1969, in one of my official statements, I had mentioned that it should continue ... But now I feel, not necessarily. It should go. I feel it should not be concentrated in a few people only (Tibetans)," he said.

Elaborating, he added, "The system should end, or at least change with the changing times. There have been cases of individual lamas who use reincarnation (to get their way) but never pay attention to study and wisdom," he said, adding that he feels there should be no institutions of lamas and no reincarnations now.

China has said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by Beijing and the selection should take place within the country based on an over 200-year old historical process.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:12 am

Part 1 of 2

Ceylon's Department of Public Instruction, 1868 [Excerpt]
From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900: An Economic and Social History
by Roland Wenzlhuemer



8.5 The Departments

Many of the preferences and goals of an administration are reflected by the number and nature of its departments. In the nineteenth century, the most important departments in Ceylon were the Survey Department, the Public Works Department (PWD), the Department of the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Land Registry Department (alongside the Medical, Police, Customs and Postal Departments common to most administrations). The Survey Department and the PWD were concerned with the improvement of the infrastructure. The Department of the Royal Botanical Gardens (together with Kew Gardens) provided botanical know-how and support to the plantation enterprise. The Land Registry Department occupied itself with the creation of clear titles to land -- a crucial position in a plantation-based economy.

The last decades of the nineteenth century saw a certain diversification of administrative interests and, thus, a reorganisation of the departments. The first measure in that respect was the reorganization of the Police Department in 1865. Hitherto, the Government Agents had been in charge of the police in their province with only a small force of policemen at their direct disposal and relying on the native headmen for much of the work. With overworked GAs and a rising crime rate, this system was not efficient anymore: Consequently, after 1865 police forces were, step by step, stationed in the entire island. The Government Agents still had a small force of policemen at their headquarters, but were relieved of the responsibility for their whole province.74 The Inspector-General of Police, a member of the CCS, now was in charge of the whole police force.

The Department of Public Instruction was founded in the year 1868. As the next chapter thoroughly deals with the development of education and educational policy, reference to the creation of the Department of Public Instruction will be made there.


Chapter Nine: Education

9.1 British Educational Policy, 1796-1867

The history of education in nineteenth century Ceylon is closely linked with several other aspects of British policy in the island. In the first place, the state of the government revenue – that itself depended heavily on the fortunes of the plantation industry -- set up the financial framework, within which colonial educational policy could be realised. As the propagation of education has never been a preference of the British administration throughout the nineteenth century, expenditure on educational facilities has often been the first to suffer during times of financial difficulties. Second, the British approach to the education of the Crown's 'native subjects' was only partly based on humanitarian thoughts. Practical considerations constantly influenced education policies. The want of English-speaking clerks for the lower ranks of the administration, for instance, led to an emphasis on English education in the wake of the Colebrooke-Cameron report. Later, the policy was reversed. The administrative machinery could not absorb the newly created English-educated class anymore. Third, the competition of the various religious bodies and groups in Ceylon played a significant role in the development of education in Ceylon. At first, the struggle for predominance in the field of education was mainly a struggle between different Christian missionary societies. Later -- in the course of the so-called 'religious revivals’ that will be discussed in detail in a later chapter -- the representatives of the indigenous religious faiths joined the competition as well.

Until the implementation of the Colebrooke-Cameron reforms in the early 1830s, the propagation of education was largely neglected by the colonial government. When the British took over the Dutch possessions on the island, two separate school system existed. The Dutch had established a network of Christian parish schools that had been under central government control. Outside this system there existed a fairly large number of traditional Buddhist schools. These pansala schools were attached to Buddhist monasteries and managed by the clergy.1 Most of the pansalas were located in the Kandyan highlands (and, therefore, came under British authority only in 1815). The pansala network was less tight in the Maritime Provinces. During the administration of the East India Company from 1796 to 1798, education was not considered particularly important and the Dutch parish schools fell into complete neglect. Only with the arrival of Governor Frederick North in 1798 these schools were revived again and soon stood at the centre of the government's education policy. North -- who is said to have been influenced by religious motives more than by educational ones -- appointed the Colonial Chaplain Rev. James A. Cordiner as Principal of Schools. North and Cordiner showed a keen interest in the establishment of a network or vernacular schools, but in 1803 their ambitions were put to a stop by the Colonial Office's retrenchment policy. The parish schools were abolished on financial grounds and only the English Academy -- established by North as the first English school in Ceylon in 1800 -- survived the cutting back of funds.2

North's successors, Thomas Maitland and Robert Brownrigg, did not revive the parish schools. While Maitiand showed no interest in the propagation of education at all, Brownrigg's Governorship saw the arrival of four important missionary societies on the island. In 18 12, the Baptist Missionary Society came to Ceylon and started to set up missionary schools. The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society followed in 1814, the American Mission in 1816 and the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1818.3 The Wesleyans, the CMS and – on a smaller scale -- the Baptists immediately started to establish schools in the centres of the maritime regions -- preferably in and around Colombo.4 Due to political reasons, the American Mission was not allowed into Colombo and, thus, concentrated solely on missionary activity in the Jaffna peninsula.

The missionary societies regarded education as the principal vehicle of conversion and mainly established vernacular schools to reach the mass of the 'heathens.’ In these schools the local languages -- i.e. Sinhala or Tamil -- were used for the instruction of the pupils.5 Under Brownrigg, the colonial government's education policy confined itself to supporting the activities of the missionary bodies. In 1817, an Archdeaconry (subordinate to Calcutta) was established in Ceylon and the Church of England became the official church of the state. The remaining government schools came under the supervision of the Church of England and its Ecclesiastical Establishment.6

The missionaries were admitted to the Kandyan regions in 1820. After the conquest of Kandy in 1815, the Kandyan Convention had assured British protection to Buddhism, but with the suppression of the Kandyan Rebellion in 1818 a new proclamation was issued that limited government support to Buddhism. Moreover, Brownrigg officially extended government protection to all religions and, therefore, found it possible to open the Kandyan regions to the missionary bodies.7

Thanks to Brownrigg's support, the missionary societies soon occupied a more important position than the government in the spread of education. Under Brownrigg's successor Edward Barnes, the role of the missionaries became even more pronounced as Barnes showed interest only in the economic progress of the island. He did not actively support the missionary societies, but, due to government neglect, he left educational matters almost completely to the churches. Jayaweera states that Barnes "discouraged educational enterprise, state or private, and all but killed state schools; the latter were reduced to four English and ninety parish schools by 1830.”8 When Colebrooke arrived in Ceylon in 1829, the missionary bodies practically controlled the educational system of the island -- partly due to the active support of Brownrigg, partly due to Barnes' indifference.

As he did on most matters of colonial administration, Colebrooke also commented on the prevalent system of education. Sumathipala points out that, when Colebrooke investigated educational matters on the island, only about 800 pupils (out of a total of 26,970) received an English education. About half of those attended the five existing government English schools.9 As Colebrooke occupied a more practical viewpoint concerning the future of education in Ceylon,10 he recommended to discontinue any government activity in the spheres of vernacular education and laid additional emphasis on the importance of English education on the island. In his opinion, the intended opening of the lower ranks of the CCS to the Ceylonese required English-educated personnel. The spread of Western -- i.e. British – ideas and values would unify the island and foster local participation in the administration and judicature.11 Consequently, Governor Horton -- whose task it was to implement most of Colebrooke's recommendations -- closed all government vernacular schools. Furthermore, government English schools were closed in many locations where missionary schools already taught English. Thus, the missionaries were given an additional inducement to engage in English education12 as Colebrooke objected to the missionaries' preference for vernacular education.13 The Archdeacon of the Church of England became the head of the first School Commission in 1834. This commission implemented Colebrooke's recommendations almost to the letter and concentrated entirely on the establishment of English schools.14 The missionary societies soon followed the government policy and laid their emphasis on the foundation of English schools as well.15 The School Commission managed to expand educational facilities (primarily for the teaching of English) in the next years. However, the government schools constantly lost more ground to the rapidly spreading missionary schools.

The School Commission and its policy exclusively represented the Church of England -- the Anglicans. No members of other religious instruction was made a compulsory subject in government schools. Only in 1841 Governor Stewart Mackenzie reorganized the mission and created the Central School Commission. In the new commission Presbyterians, Roman Cathoiics, Wesleyans and Anglicans were all given a voice -- but none of the indigenous religious faiths was represented.16 The creation of the Central School Commission triggered several changes in the educational policy of Ceylon. From 1841 on, government schools were open to children of all Christian denominations. Furthermore, the first grant-in-aid system for nongovernment English schools was introduced and enabled missionary English schools to receive a government grant (provided that they allowed inspection and examination by the commission). As they had a long tradition of English teaching, schools in Jaffna made particular use of the grant-in-aid system and, consequently, several government schools in the peninsula were closed down.17

The Wesleyan Rev. William Gogerly presided the commission from 1843 onwards and implemented a comparatively progressive policy. Together with Governor Colin Campbell he introduced several new schemes. In 1843, the Central School Commission made provisions for vernacular education in elementary schools. In 1845, a Native Normal School for the training of teachers in vernacular education was established. Two years later, 30 vernacular schools were opened.18 As a consequence, government expenditure on education rose from £2,999 in the year 1841 to £11,4-15 in 1847 19 (i.e. from 0.8% to 2.2% of the total expenditure).20

In the course of the first serious coffee crisis in 1848 and the following financial depression, government expenditure on education was drastically reduced. Vernacular education suffered hardest. Although most government vernacular schools continued to exist, the introduction of fees and the closing down of the Native Normal School prevented further progress in vernacular education.21 The neglect of education policy continued when the depression had been overcome and the coffee mania of the 1850s had set in. Economic advance and the improvement of the infrastructure were the sole interest of the administration during that time. Without government guidance the policy of the Central School Commission changed almost every year during the 1850s -- laying emphasis on English education in one year and promoting vernacular instruction in the next.22 Education, therefore, remained largely the domain of the missionary bodies. The Christian supremacy in the field was underlined by the Central School Commission's policy to give grants exclusively to schools run by Christian institutions.23 No pansala or other non-Christian school had ever received a grant so far.

In the 1860s, the Roman Catholic community -- led by the Archbishop of Colombo Christopher Bonjean -- put up first resistance to the prevailing system. When the Tamil MLC Muttu Coomaraswamy (backed by the Burgher MLC Martenz) requested the creation of a special committee to investigate the matter, a Subcommittee of the Legislative Council was eventually appointed to conduct inquires about the state of education in Ceylon.24 In 1865, the Morgan Committee -- named after its president, Queen's Advocate Richard F. Morgan -- took up its work.

9.2 The Morgan Committee and the Department of Public Instruction

The Morgan Committee presented its final report in 1867. The implementation of its proposals not only placed the administration of education on a sound institutional footing but also led to a reversal of government educational policy on the island. Of the various changes advocated by the Committee only three major points shall be discussed here: the establishment of the Department of Public Instruction, the emphasis on vernacular education and the introduction of the so-called Denominational System based on a revised grant-in-aid system. Governor Hercules Robinson said in an address to the Legislative Council in 1870:

I have to announce to you the adoptions of a distinct policy the tendency of which will be to extend the operations of government in the direction of establishing village schools as yet unprovided with the means of instruction, but gradually to contract its operations in respect of English schools in the lawn districts where an effective system of grant-in-aid will enable the government to employ its funds to much greater advantage than in maintaining schools of its own.25

From 1869/70 onwards, the Committee's proposals were gradually realised. The Morgan Report expressed the opinion that the government had an obligation to spread (vernacular) education in the entire island. It has been said that the Committee's views had not so much been shaped by the needs of the population but "by the current trends in England and India which favoured some form of state responsibility for education."26 Accordingly, vernacular education gained new momentum with the implementation of the Report's proposals. The number of government vernacular schools increased from 64 in 1869 to 347 in 1881.27 The report also proposed the abolition of government English elementary schools on the assumption that superior (i.e. English) education was only required by a small minority of the population. Superior Central schools -- already existent in some of the population centres -- and Anglo-vernacular schools28 [28. In Anglo-vernacular schools English was not the medium of instruction, but merely a subject. The pupils learned English with explanations and instructions given in the vernacular.] should provide the necessary facilities for those who could afford an English education. All school fees for vernacular education were abolished, whereas superior English education was only available against the payment of substantial fees.29 Wickremeratne even holds that it was one of the main goals of the colonial government's educational policy after 1867 to retain the growing educational gap.30

The inefficiency of the Central School Commission was demonstrated by its last report of the year 1867. The report showed that since 1840 only 86 new schools had been established.31 The Morgan Committee decided to do away with the Commission and create the Department of Public Instruction. The Governor, the Executive Council and the School Commission suggested the additional creation of an advisory board -– consisting of representatives of all races and denominations -– to control and assist the Director of Public Instructions. But Morgan opposed this view, and, on his advice, the Legislative Council voted against the establishment of such a board.32 Consequently, the Director of Public Instruction was directly and solely responsible for the implementation of the government's educational policy.

After 1867 the management of many government English schools was handed over to the missionary societies. Other schools were simply closed when missionary English schools existed in the vicinity. The government followed this policy without consideration of the religious feelings of the population.33 The measures of the Morgan Report provided no conscience clause that could exempt Buddhist or Tamil pupils from the compulsory attendance of religious instruction. Due to the government's gradual retreat from English education and the promotion of missionary English schools, everybody with a desire to learn English was exposed to the proselytising ambitions of the missionaries.
Sumathipala quotes Ponnambalam Ramanathan who in 1884 presented a memorial of several Jaffna Hindus to the Legislative Council, in which the petitioners complained about the religious intolerance in the missionary schools:

[C]hildren who are obliged to go to these missionary schools are forced by the missionaries, under pain of fines and expulsion, to read the Bible whether they liked it or not [ ... ] Hindu boys who, for want of their own English schools, resort to the missionary schools, have learnt to make mental reservations and are getting skilled in the art of dodging. The holy ashes put on at home during worship are carefully rubbed off as they approach the Christian school and they affect the methods of Christian boys while at school. [ ... ] There is a great deal too much of hypocrisy in Jaffna in the matter of religion, owing the fact that the love of the missionaries for proselytes is as boundless as the love of the Jaffnese to obtain some knowledge of English at any cost. […] If there is no conscience clause in the grant-in-aid code, I think the sooner a clause of that kind is introduced the better it will be for religious freedom in Ceylon.34

While religious instruction was not a subject in government schools anymore, the private grant-receiving schools were free to teach the subject. Almost all of the grant-aided schools were under Christian management and, thus, held compulsory religious instruction lessons (mostly held in the first school hour). Throughout the nineteenth century, the pupils were compelled to attend these lessons. No conscience clause existed.

The government's gradual retreat from English education gained momentum, when the plantation economy experienced first signs of the coffee crisis in the late 1870s. Government coffers suffered from a lack of funds. Thus, the Legislative Council's Retrenchment Committee proposed in 1883 to hand over local Anglo-vernacular and English schools to the Municipal and Local Boards. Ordinance 33 of 1883 was passed and made provisions for the transfer of English and mixed schools located within the limits of municipalities to the local authorities. But only in Puttalam such a transfer was successful. Most other Municipal and Local Boards lacked the financial means to assume control over the government schools. The missionaries stepped in and took over the management of the schools. Therefore, 21 government English schools were either handed over to the missionary bodies or closed until the end of 1884.37 The Colombo Academy (renamed the Royal College in 1881) remained the only government English school within the boundaries of a municipality.38 The government's vernacular education policy was more successful. Between 1873 and 1900, the number of government vernacular schools increased from 241 to 484. Still the government was outperformed by the missionaries who increased the number of their schools from 237 to 1,186.39 Jayasuriya states that on several recorded occasions government vernacular schools were also handed over to the missionaries or closed, if a missionary school of the same type was near.40

The government relied heavily on the grant-in-aid system introduced by the Morgan Report and considered it a practicable way to outsource educational responsibility to the missionaries. The allocation of such grants was based on the principal of payment by results. Officials of the Department of Public Instruction conducted examinations in the schools. The results of these examinations decided whether a school was eligible for a grant and, if so, for what grant category. The grant in-aid system did not place any restriction on religious instruction in the grant-aided schools -- although examinations were conducted in secular subjects only. Grants were given in the categories A, B and (since 1872) C -- in descending order of the allocated sum. Grants for C schools were small and awarded only for three years. During that time the C school had to qualify for an A or B grant. The distinction in A, B and C schools was applied to every type of school. Among those types English schools received the highest grants, followed by Anglo-vernacular and, finally, vernacular schools.41

The working of the grant-in-aid system was tightly connected with the financial state of the colony. Initially comparatively generous grants were made. The coffee plantations' prosperity had reached new heights and the government coffers were filled up to the rim. The missionary societies seized the opportunity and most missionary schools applied for a grant. In 1870, the first year of the new scheme, 223 schools received a grant. Six year later the number of eligible schools had increased to 697.42

The government and the Department for Public Instruction were both pleased with the working of the grant-in-aid system from its very inception.
More and more educational responsibility was passed to the private missionary bodies that competed fiercely for grants and constantly established more schools. The missionaries were the main beneficiaries of the system-- even though, in theory, all private schools (i. e. not just missionary schools) could apply for a government grant since the revisions of the Morgan Committee.Although the indigenous religious groups quickly realised the potential of the grant-in-aid system, they could not make full use of the scheme due to several hindrances. Unlike their Christian counterparts, the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims had not participated in the field of education prior to the 1870s on any significant scale. The considerable number of Buddhist pansala schools had existed outside the official educational system of the island since the arrival of the British. The pansalas contributed to the spread of literacy in the vernacular and were very valuable for the villagers, but they worked on different principles than government or missionary schools. Therefore, they could not serve as a training ground in (Western) educational management. Apart from the Buddhist pansalas, the indigenous communities had little experience in the management of schools, although every now and then a local school was set up and run on private funds.

The indigenous religion groups' ambitions to secure government grants did not only suffer from their lack of experience in schools management. The often also lacked the money to set up schools in the first place. And when they managed to do so, they faced the fierce opposition of the missionary bodies, the partiality of the British officials and -- the most formidably -- provisions of the so-called Distance Rule as introduced in 1874. Thus, only four Buddhist and one Hindu school were registered for a grant in the year 1880 (ten years after the introduction of the revised scheme) -- as against a total of 833 grant-aided schools in that year.43

The missionary societies with their headquarters in Europe or America had much larger financial resources at their disposal than the local Buddhist or Hindu communities. This gave the missionaries a distinct advantage over their native competitors, as the initial investment to set up and run a school was considerable and grants were only given to schools already up and running. Furthermore, the opposition of the missionaries and their influence on the European officials often delayed or prevented the registration of Buddhist and Hindu schools for a grant.
Jayasuriya gives several examples for this practice and both Jayasuriya and Sumathipala quote the Director of Public Instruction on one particular case in the Northern Province:

During the last two years some applications were considered for the registration of schools under Sivite [Hindu] managers. They were large schools, had existed for many years, and fulfilled every condition required by the existing regulations. The case of one of the schools was submitted to my particular attention by the Tamil members of the Legislative Council. The protests of one of the Managers against the registration of such schools has been of a very determined kind, and he directly claims for the Society he represents the 'exclusive possession' of the district in which his schools are situated. Indeed with reference to a school which had been in existence for nearly twenty years, he says,

'If it can be made plain that the school is really needed, the teacher should be required to accept Mission management as the sole condition to receiving government aid.'44

Only rarely did such cases reach the Director of Public Instruction -- and even then it seems that little has been done to keep the Christian missionaries from interfering. The school in the referred case did not receive the grant.45 Christian lobbying slowed down the development of native schools and, above all, increased the lead of the missionary societies in the educational field. And with the introduction of the Distance Rule in 1874 an additional and crucial advantage in the competition for grants was given to those bodies with a large number of already registered schools -- i.e. the Christian missionary societies. The new rule made provisions for the refusal of grants for schools established within three miles of an existing government or grant-in-aid school of the same type -- except in special circumstances.46 Taking into account that the missionary schools had right from the introduction of the grant-in-aid scheme seized the opportunity and established numerous schools, it becomes clear that such a rule prevented the registration of new schools in many localities. The existence of a government or missionary grant-aided school in a village (or in the vicinity thereof) made the allocation of a grant for another school in that area impossible. This served a severe blow to the Buddhist and Hindu schools that explicitly aimed at providing indigenous educational facilities as alternative to the already established missionary institutions. With 595 grant-in-aid schools in 1874 47 (and the number rapidly increasing) it was hard enough to find a suitable place for a school with no other grant-in-aid school already existent. In the important population centres, where numerous missionary schools competed for pupils, the registration of a grant-aided school was almost impossible. The working of the Distance Rule satisfied both the secular authorities (for financial considerations) and the Protestant missionaries (whose educational supremacy it safeguarded). The Distance Rule was, therefore, included in Bruce's Revised Code of 1880. And in 1891, the even more restrictive quarter-mile rule was introduced.

9.3 Education, 1880-1900

Since the mid-1870s, the government and its Department of Public Instruction tried to keep expenditure on education outside the grant-in-aid system as low as possible. Even within the grant-in-aid system steps were taken to check the expansions of the scheme and to prevent the allocation of government funds to non-Christian bodies. The Distance Rule of 1874 is the best example for that policy. However, the adopted measures did not immediately lead to a reduction of expenditure in education. But during the peak of the coffee crisis in the early years of the 1880s, severe cutbacks in government expenditure had to be made and the education funds were chosen as one field of reduction.

When the government instructed Charles Bruce, the Director of Public Instruction, to compile a thoroughly revised code for schools in 1879, the upcoming financial crisis provided a good part of the motivation behind that undertaking.48 But the short-term financial relief of the government’s funds was limited as the expenditure on education started to drop only in 1885 (see Table 9.1)49 -- when Bruce's revisions had been enacted as the Revised Code for Schools in 1880. At least, the provisions of the Revised Code checked the rapid and hitherto almost uncontrolled multiplication of missionary grant-in-aid schools to a certain extent. One of the most important measures of the code was the introduction of higher average attendance requirements for A, B and C schools in order to receive a grant. Furthermore, schools that did not fulfill the requirements could now be removed from the grants list altogether.50 The Distance Rule of 1874 was confirmed and its three-mile clause substituted by a two-mile equivalent. These measures brought the expansion of grant-in-aid schools to a temporary halt between 1880 and 1886 (see Table 9.2), but would not lead to a substantial decrease of education expenditure. When expenditure did start to drop in the year 1885, it was not a direct consequence of the Revised Code for Schools implemented five years earlier. Rather, the government’s retreat from English education and the closing (or transfer) of government schools in municipalities caused the drop.

Moreover, the new Director of Public Instruction H.W. Green had reduced the grants assigned to English schools to the same rate payable to Anglo-vernacular or vernacular schools in the new Revised Code for Aided Schools in 1885.51

Table 9.1: Expenditure on Education and Total Expenditure, 1880-1900.
Year / ( I ) / (2) / (3) / (4) / (5)

1880 / 223,951 / 286,505 / 510,456 / 14,264,490 / 3.58
1881 / 230,522 / 273,779 / 504,301 / 13,533,259 / 3.73
1882 / 237,420 / 272,515 / 509,935 / 12,494,664 / 4.08
1883 / 235,356 / 255,875 / 491,23 I / 12,222,234 / 4.02
1884 / 237,153 / 263,356 / 500,509 / 12,318,218 / 4.06
1885 / 197,653 / 237,338 / 434,991 / 12,611 ,207 / 3.15
1886 / 198,546 / 248, 770 / 447,316 / 13,013,067 / 3.44
1887 / 205,751 / 255,022 / 460,113 / 13,313,039 / 3.46
1888 / 208,649/ 259,696 / 468,345 / 14,630,121 / 3.2
1889 / 213,989 / 272,521 / 486,510 / 14,906,281 / 3.26
1890 / 214,I 90 / 271,127 / 485,317 / 15,316 ,224 / 3.17
1891 / 215,023 / 302,628 / 517,651 / 16,435,079 / 3.15
1892 / na /na / 546,295 / 17,762,466 / 3.08
1893 / na / na / 600,837 / 18,276,108 / 3.29
1894 / na / na / 597,388 / 20,342,899 / 2.94
1895 / na / na / 636,270 / 20,899,714 / 3.04
1896 / na / na / 668,274 / 21,237,860 / 3.15
1897 / na / na / 716,767 / 21 ,634,378 / 3.31
1898 / na / na / 738,122 / 22,843,852 / 3.23
1899 / na / na / 778,134 / 24,950,940 / 3.12
1900 / na / na / 820,134 / 25,321,988 / 3.24
Source: Ceylon Statistical Blue Books, 1880- 1900.
(1) Expenditure on the Department of Public Instruction (Rs)
(2) Expenditure on Educational Services (Rs)
(3) Total Expenditure on Education (Rs)
(4) Total Expenditure of the Colony (Rs)
(5) % of (3) of (4)

During the 1870s the competition for government grants between the different Christian denominations had not only led to the uncontrolled multiplication of missionary schools in Ceylon, the establishment of numerous schools with unqualified staff and insufficient equipment had also been a side-effect of this rush into education. If such schools were located in the right places and run by the right management, they received a grant even if they could not live up to the general educational standards. The main reason for the establishment of ill-equipped schools was the fact that the government grants of the prosperous 1870s had often sufficed to cover the total costs of a school.52 The management had to contribute only marginal sums out of its own pocket.

Table 9.2: Government, Grant-in-Aid and Unaided Schools 1880-1900
-- / Government Schools / Grant-in-Aid Schools / Unaided Schools*
Year / Schools / Pupils / Schools / Pupils / Schools* / Pupils*

1880 / 369 / 21,29 4 / 833 / 59,820 / 585 / 7,236
1881 / 398 / 23,626 / 839 / 61,131 / 645/ 8,874
1882 / 421 / 26,597 / 832 / 62,842 / na / na
1883 / 437 / 27,656 / 836 / 61,374 / 652 / 12,291
1884 / 431 / 27,677 / 814/ 59,776 / 560 / 13,265
1885 / 417 / 26,624/ 819 / 57,320 / 2,134 / 20,062
1886 / 425 / 29,653/ 849 / 57,955 / 2, 126 / 22,956
1887 / 440 / 32,565 / 899 / 62,995 / 2,292 / 24,994
1888 / 438 / 35,948 / 919 / 66,400 / 2,427 / 28,823
1889 / 440 / 39,026 / 938/ 69,483/ 2,590 / 29,785
1890 / 436 / 40,290 / 984 / 73 ,698 / 2,617 / 32,464
1891 / 436 / 41 ,746 / 971 / 74,855 / 2,645 / 37,242
1892 / 453 / 42,190 / 1,024 / 82,637 / 2,395 / 33,631
1893 / 456 / 41 ,680 / 1,005 / 81,598 / 2,415 / 33,969
1894 / 468 / 44,366 / 1,042 / 86,968 / 2,408 / 32,576
1895 / 477 / 44,252 / 1,096 / 90,229 / 2,242 / 35,353
1896 / 474 / 44,538 / 1,130 / 94,400 / 2,268 36,720
1897 / 474 / 45,113 / 1,172 / 102,485 / 2,331 / /36,908
1898 / 479 / 46,279 / 1,220 / 103,951 / 2,330 / 34,805
1899 / 489 / 47,482 / 1,263 / 111,145 / 1,887 / 34,841
1900 / 500 / 48,642 / 1,328 / 120,751 / 2,089 / 38,881
Source: Administration Reports 1880-1900 .
• Punsala schools included from 1885 onwards

It was the main goal of the Revised Code for Schools of 1880 to prevent the further multiplication of such inefficient schools. Judging from the statistics the code was at least partially successful in that regard. Another problem of the educational system in Ceylon lay in the uneven distribution of educational facilities on the island. Most government and missionary schools were concentrated in the Western and Northern Province.53 The spread of education in the poverty-stricken North-Central province was totally neglected until 1887. In that year, only 31 schools with 643 pupils existed in the whole province, while the Western Province had 1,077 schools and 54,207 pupils (these figures include government, grant-in-aid and unaided schools).54 Table 9.3 and Table 9.4 show the province-wise distribution of schools and pupils and the percentage of all children attending school in each province.

Table 9.3: Province-wise Distribution of Schools and Pupils, 1880-1900


Table 9.4: Province-wise Percentage of Children Attending School, 1887-1900

The implementation of the Distance Rule and its confirmation in 1880 do not seem to have contributed substantially to a more even spread of education over the whole island. Only in 1888, the number of schools in the NCP started to increase, but the number of pupils per schools averaged only ten to fifteen between 1888 and 1900.55 Charles Bruce believed that only additional government resources and an annual education expenditure of 5% of the total government revenue could remedy the uneven distribution of educational facilities. Unsurprisingly, his proposals were not implemented.56

The missionary monopoly on government grants slowly started to break up in the 1890s, but the missionary societies still enjoyed a greatly privileged position within the grant-in-aid system. In 1900, Protestant missionary societies controlled 58.8% of all grant-aided schools (attended by 52.4% of all pupils of grant-in-aid schools). The Roman Catholics managed 25.3% of the aided schools with 27.8% of the pupils. By that time, however, the efforts of the indigenous communities had at least borne some fruits. The Buddhists now ran 10.7% of the aided schools and taught 15% of the pupils. Hindu schools accounted for 4.9% of all grant-in-aid schools with 5.9% of the pupils. The Muslims had been only marginally successful. In 1900 they managed 4 (0.3%) grant-aided schools with 199 (0.3%) pupils.57

The struggle of the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims for adequate representation in the field of education will be discussed in detail in the chapter on "The Religious Revivals." But it must be noted here that the partial success of these communities' ambitions by the year 1900 is even more noteworthy if we recapitulate the provisions of the Distance Rules. In 1880, the so-called two-mile rule had been introduced to substitute the three-mile rule of 1874. Jayasuriya quotes the provisions of the two-mile rule:

As a general rule, no application will be entertained for aid to a boys' school when there already exists a flourishing boys' school of the same class within two miles of the proposed site, without some intervening obstacle, unless the average daily attendance for six months prior to the date of the application exceeds 60. An Anglo-vernacular school will be considered as of the same class as a vernacular school.58

The narrowing of the three-mile radius to only two miles did not have much practical effect, because the network of existing government or grant-in-aid schools covered the more interesting locations in the towns tightly enough to prevent the establishment of new schools under the provisions of 1880 as well. But the introduction of the average attendance requirements for six months prior to the application made an exception to the rule -- as provided for under exceptional circumstances in the circular of 1874 -- even harder. The two-mile rule of 1880, therefore, further hampered the progress of indigenous schools. But the most serious setback to the ambitions of the Buddhists and Hindus came in 1891 with the amendment of the two-mile rule. The required average attendance of 60 pupils for boys' schools and 40 for girls' schools was extended from six to twelve months prior to the application. Furthermore, the so-called quarter-mile rule was introduced, and no grant-aided school could be established within a quarter of a mile of another school of the same class -- under no circumstances whatsoever. The amendment was a serious blow to the Buddhists and Hindus for two reasons: first, in more densely populated areas the native religious groups had frequently succeeded in maintaining the required average attendance for the registration of a grant. This became more difficult now with the extension of the period to twelve months. And if the new school was situated within a quarter of a mile of another school, the registration for a grant was impossible now. In smaller towns and villages with already established schools, this rule often prevented the allocation of new grants completely.59 These provisions were detrimental enough to Buddhist and Hindu ambitions in the field, but the real harm was done by the retrospective application of the amended rule. Already existing and registered schools that fell under the provisions of the quarter-mile rule lost their grant and many had to be closed down.60 Under these adverse circumstances the number of grant-aided Buddhist and Hindu schools in the year 1900 (as shown above) appears to be even more noteworthy. The existence of these schools clearly indicates the momentum that the indigenous religious revivals had gained by the late 1880s and 1890s.
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Part 2 of 2


Chapter Twelve: Revivals

12.1 Christian Missionary Activity and Buddhist Response

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, all the widespread indigenous faiths in Ceylon -- i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism and the Islam -- went through so-called religious revivals. The usage of the term 'revival' in that respect reflects the opinion of many of the contemporary Christian missionaries on the island: that the indigenous religions were, for all practical purposes, 'dead.' Therefore, the emergence of Buddhist, Hindu and Moslem activism to defend their faiths against Christian proselytising efforts has been characterised as a revival. For the sake of comprehension (and because it has become so well-established a term among historians) the term 'religious revival' is used in this work as well -- notwithstanding the fact that the indigenous religions in Ceylon have not been unimportant prior to their revival. Even Governor Longden pointed out that "[i]f ever any religion was alive and has been kept alive in face of much to kill it, it is the Buddhism of Ceylon."1 The same can certainly be said about Hinduism and Islam on the island.

The Christian missionaries' belief that Buddhism in Ceylon was practically dead stemmed mainly from their misinterpretation of Buddhist tolerance. Soon after the arrival of the five important missionary societies on the island, all of them started to engage in proselytising. The London Missionary Society (LMS) came to Ceylon with four missionaries in 1805, but did not expand its missionary activities in the following decades. The American Mission, arriving in 1816, was only admitted to the Jaffna peninsula for political reasons. It established a large network of schools in that region during the following decades. Due to its geographical location, the American Mission hardly came in touch with Buddhism. The Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists and the Church (of England) Missionary Society (CMS) -- i.e. the Anglicans -- arrived in 1812, 1814 and 1818 respectively and established their headquarters in the Western and Southern Provinces. These missionary societies, thus, became the main opponents of the Buddhists.2 Although the Baptists, Wesleyans and Church missionaries alike immediately started to propagate Christianity and to discredit Buddhism, there was little Buddhist response in the beginning. The Buddhist behaviour towards the Christian religion and its propagators "seems to have been nonantagonistic."3

Malalgoda gives several examples for the Buddhist monks' tolerance towards the Christians. He names two bikkhus who assisted the Auxiliary Bible Society in Colombo to translate the Bible into the vernacular. Furthermore, at several occasions Buddhist monks helped in the preparation of places of Christian worship or placed the preaching-halls of their temples at the disposal of the missionaries.4 "The missionaries who took to itinerant preaching often spent the nights at Buddhist monasteries where they were received by the resident monks with the sort of hospitality with which they greeted their own brethren."5 It is not surprising that most missionaries did not understand the kindness and hospitality of the bikkhus. When a monk of the Kotte temple told the CMS missionary Rev. Selkirk "that the English people worshipped Jesus Christ, and that the Singhalese people worshipped Buddha, that they were both good religions",6 he expressed the Buddhists' altitude of peaceful religious coexistence. The Christians, however, took such manifestations of religious tolerance for apathy and indifference on the side of the sangha and became even more vigorous in their attacks against Buddhism.

The missionaries were especially active in the field of education. With the support of the colonial government, they de facto monopolised education and used this monopoly to teach religious instruction in their schools. The missionaries attached great importance to the expansion of their school network. The factionalism between the different Christian denominations, and the competition for primacy in the field of education throughout the nineteenth century illustrates this. But although the Christian missions attached such a high importance to education and to conversion through religious instruction in the schools, they -- after a couple of years -- also discovered the disadvantages of such a narrow focus on education. The missionaries found that they often only made nominal converts. Many pupils would behave like Christians in school, but practiced Buddhism or Hinduism at home. Therefore, the missionaries started to extend their proselytising activities beyond the field of education and engaged in preaching and the production of printed pamphlets and tracts.

Although preaching was the traditional and most honourable way to spread the gospel, the missionaries experienced considerable difficulties in that field in Ceylon. First of all, the itinerant life of a preacher was not at all as convenient as that of a school master or teacher. And the reaction of the villagers to their sermons was often not what the preachers expected. The practice of preaching was well-established in Buddhism as well and the villagers were used to listening to preachers. But, as Malalgoda points out, the villagers "had rather fixed notions about the "proper" time, place and manner of preaching. The missionaries ignored those to their own cost."8 Additionally, only few Christian missionaries had enough knowledge of Sinhala to deliver stirring sermons. Therefore, many Sinhalese did not take the Christian preachers too seriously and tried to avoid their sermons whenever possible. Nevertheless, the missionaries strongly believed in the importance of itinerant preaching and carried on with it. In the 1840s, they also started to entangle Buddhist monks in public debates with the intention to publicly prove the superiority of the Christian faith. But the bikkhus -- still nonantagonistic -- avoided such confrontations whenever possible throughout the 1840s and 1850s.9

[Each religion] contains a partial revelation of God's will, but each is incomplete; and He comes to fulfil them all. In each case Christianity seeks not to destroy but to take all that is right and raise it to perfection. Christianity is the full, final truth, towards which every religion has been straining.

-- Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester, 1904-1979, by Eric J. Sharpe

While the missionaries' success as preachers remained limited, they wielded more influence through the distribution of religious pamphlets and tracts. The Wesleyans acquired a printing press in 1815 and were followed by the CMS in 1823 and the Baptists in 1841. These presses were not only used to print translations of the Bible, Catechisms or Prayer Books, but to produce periodicals and pamphlets as well.10 The Christian tracts were issued in fairly large numbers and enjoyed a comparatively wide circulation. According to the managers of the printing presses, 1,500,000 copies had been circulated between 1849 and 1861." These pamphlets were of rather limited use in the making of converts. But this was not the direct goal of the missionaries anymore. The Christian missions had realised that their proselytising efforts would not show any effect as long as the Buddhist community did not react in some way. Therefore, the religious tracts primarily aimed at the provocation of the Buddhist leaders. They should induce the bikkhus to accept the Christian challenge and openly confront the missionaries. With the publication of a treatise called "Kristiyani Prajnapti" ("The Evidences and Doctrines of the Christian Religion") by the Wesleyan Rev. D. J. Gogerly in 1849 the missionaries finally achieved their goal. The treatise was reprinted in 1853 and 1856 and enlarged in 1861.12 Unlike previous Christian pamphlets "Kristiyani Prajnapti" did not so much rely on religious polemics but tried to give evidences and proofs for the superiority of Christianity. The treatise repeatedly challenged the Buddhist community to disprove its theses.13

The Christians finally got the Buddhist response that they had been waiting for so long. Surprisingly to the missionaries, the Buddhist did not merely respond by attending public debates. Buddhist reaction came in all three spheres of missionary activity: the acquisition of a printing press and the publication of Buddhist tracts was the first adopted measure. In the 1860s and 1870s, eloquent bikkhus successfully challenged missionary preachers in public debates. And in the 1870s and more significantly in the 1880s and 1890s the Buddhist community -- with outside help -- managed to expand their educational activities considerably. Therefore, the so-called revival of Buddhism was not caused by "the vigorous effort which is being made to revive Buddhism in Ceylon, upon the foundation of European interest and encouragement"14 -- an explanation frequently offered by the missionaries --, but by the missionaries' "vigorous effort" to provoke a Buddhist reaction to their frequent offences.

In 1855, the Church missionaries sold their Kotte printing press, because other presses had been established and the old press had become obsolete for the mission. Through various middlemen the Buddhists managed to acquire that press and started to issue Buddhist pamphlets on the same press that had been used against them for such a long time. Mohottivatte Gunananda founded the Sarvajna Sasanabhivrddhidayaka Dharma Samagama (the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism) in 1862 and used the press to issue replies to Gogerly's "Kristiyani Prajnapti." In the same year, a second press was established at Galle called the Lamkopokara Press. Hikkaduve Sumangala was responsible for most of the Lunkopokara publications.15

The first person [from the United Kingdom ever to be fully ordained as a Buddhist monk]was an Irish-born Japanese Buddhist called Charles Pfoundes, born Charles James William Pounds to Irish Anglican parents in the South East of Ireland in 1840. In 1889 Pfoundes, led a Buddhist mission to London as a representative of the Japanese “Buddhist Propagation Society” founded in 1887, and after spending three years there promoting Buddhism, returned to Kobe, Japan in 1892, never again to return to Europe.

-- Allan Bennett, by George Knowles

Around 1863, newly arrived in Japan, Charles changed his surname to Pfoundes, learned Japanese and developed a passion for studying Japanese customs and culture. He subsequently made a career for himself as an East-West middleman, based mainly in Japan but with a thirteen-year period (1879-1892) in London where he gave innumerable talks on Japan and other topics and in 1889 founded the ‘Buddhist Propagation Society’; the first-ever Buddhist mission to the West (Bocking et al. 2014).

-- -- Mrs Pounds and Mrs Pfoundes: A Futuristic Historical Essay in Honour of Professor Ursula King [Charles James William Pounds Pfoundes] [Excerpt], by Brian Bocking

Up until recently it has been widely accepted that the British monk Ananda Metteyya’s (Allan Bennett) founded and organized the first Buddhist mission to the West in London in 1908. Recent collaborative research by historians in Japan and Ireland however has shown that this assumption needs to be revised. In fact it was not Theravadian but rather Japanese Mahayana Buddhists who were the first to try to teach Buddhism in the West. In 1889 the Japanese-sponsored Buddhist Propagation Society (BPS) of Japan launched a mission to London led for three years by the Irish-born Buddhist Captain Charles Pfoundes. The Buddhist Propagation Society had chosen a particularly opportune time to send its mission. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Japanese-themed opera The Mikado was running to record crowds in London and several exhibitions of Japanese art in London and Paris had created a fascination in things Japanese.

-- The hidden history of Buddhism in the West [Charles Pfoundes], by Bhante Dhammika of Australia

This article challenges two general assumptions shared by scholars of Western Buddhism: (1) that the earliest Buddhist missions to the West were those established in California from 1899 onwards; and (2) that Ananda Metteyya‘s (Allan Bennett‘s) London mission of 1908 was the first Buddhist mission to London and thus to Europe. Recent collaborative research by scholars in Ireland and Japan demonstrates instead that the Japanese-sponsored 'Buddhist Propagation Society' (BPS) launched in London in 1889 and led for three years by the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles Pfoundes predates both of the above-mentioned 'first' Buddhist missions....

In this article, we set out to demonstrate that the first London Buddhist mission was in fact established in 1889, predating even the Californian missions by a decade. From 1889 to 1892, the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles J. W. Pfoundes (1840-1907) headed an official Buddhist mission known as the 'Buddhist Propagation Society'. This was based in Westminster, operated throughout London and its suburbs and was the first and indeed only foreign outpost of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai (lit. 'Overseas Propagation Society' but normally translated 'Buddhist Propagation Society'), an initiative of a group of reformist Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhists based in Kyoto.

The Buddhist Propagation Society in London and Pfoundes' role in it were of course known to, and publicised by, his Buddhist sponsors in Japan at the time5 and at least one contemporary Japanese account6 was available to Notto Thelle, who in 1987 wrote:

The Society for Communication with Western Buddhists (Obei Bukkyo Tsushinkai) was founded in 1887; it was later reorganized as the Buddhist Propagation Society (Kaigai Senkyo Kai, literally Overseas Missionary Society), under the leadership of Akamatsu Renjo. Its purpose was to propagate Buddhism in the West, through missionaries and publications. A branch office was established in London in 1890, and a journal was published, entitled Bijou of Asia [Ajia no hōshu].

…[a]nother Western Buddhist, C. Pfoundes, also supported Japanese Buddhists against Christianity. He had first come to Japan in the 1860s as an officer in the British navy and remained for about twelve years, of which he reportedly spent seven or eight years in Buddhist temples. As an admirer of the ancient Japanese civilization and of Buddhism, he had dedicated much of his time to lecturing on Buddhism in the United States (1876-1878) and in England (1878-1893). He served as secretary of the London branch of the Buddhist Propagation Society and came to Japan again in 1893 at the invitation of his Buddhist friends. In his many meetings he appealed to the national sentiment and attacked Christian missionaries for slighting Buddhism and despising Japan as a barbarian country. Both Olcott and Pfoundes left Japan after controversies with their Japanese sponsors.

-- The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892, by Brian Bocking, University College Cork; Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland Maynooth; and Shin‘ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology

For several years, the Buddhist-Christian confrontation remained mainly confined to religious publications. In 1865, however, Bulathgama Sumana proved his organisational talent when he accepted the Christian debating challenge and led the Buddhists into the first public controversy with the Christian missionaries at Baddegama near Galle. The Buddhists vastly outnumbered the Christians at the encounter16 and their debaters could easily match with the missionaries. But most important, the Baddegama controversy was a demonstration of power on the side of the Buddhists -- addressed to the Christians as well as to the Sinhalese population.17 Although the Baddegama Buddhist-Christian encounter was not so much a debate as an exchange of written questions and answers, it deeply impressed the audience. Rev. George Parsons' report on the Baddegama meeting has often been cited:

The spirit of controversy broke out in November last [i.e. November 1864], and though I was partly prepared for it, I was slow to believe it would become such a serious matter until urged by our people to prepare for a fierce contest. The result fully justified their anxieties, for never before in Ceylon was there such a marshalling of the enemy against Christianity. The one aim of the fifty priests and their two thousand followers who assembled here on February 8 [1865], was not to defend Buddhism but to overthrow Christianity.18

The public controversy at Baddegama was swiftly followed by another meeting in Varagoda in August 1865. Again, only written statements were exchanged. One year later, however, the first public Buddhist Christian debate took place at Udanvita. A second debate was held at Gampola in 1871.19 But it was the Panadura debate or 1873 that really boosted Buddhist self-confidence. The two-day event at Panadura on 26 and 27 August attracted about 5,000 listeners on the first day and, allegedly, more than 10,000 on the second.20 Speaking for the Buddhist sangha, Mohottivatte Gunananda clearly outperformed the Christian debaters David de Silva and F. S. Sirimanne. The Buddhists impressively demonstrated their mass mobilisation skills and the "potential that lay dormant."21 Although the Christians would never admit a 'defeat' in the Panadura debate, the Buddhists had no doubts about who had been 'victorious' in the public controversy and drew considerable strength and self-confidence from their performance at the debate.22 Bond even says that these public debates -- and specifically the Panadura debate and their publication by the Buddhist printing presses "marked the beginning of the lay Buddhist revival and reformation. When Gunananda defeated the Christians in debate at Panadura, lay Buddhists began to realize anew the potential of their own tradition."23 And the Panadura debate had other lasting effects as well: firstly, Mohottivatte's impressive achievements as public orator and defender of Buddhism made him a symbolic figure for the revival of Sinhalese Buddhism. And eventually, one copy of J. B. Peebles' American edition of John Capper's "A Full Account of the Buddhist Controversy held at Pantra"21 fell into the hands of one Colonel Henry' Steel Olcott, who will reappear later in this chapter, and aroused his interest in Ceylonese Buddhism.

The Panadura debate of 1873 was the last public controversy betwcen Christians and Buddhists in Ceylon. By that time, the Buddhist sangha -- together with a number of laymen -- had responded to Christian agitation by means of the press and by attending public debates. Apparently, the Buddhists had drawn enough self-confidence from both these activities to enter the third and most important domain of Christian proselytising efforts: the 1870s saw the first Buddhist attempts to participate in the field of education. But progress in that sphere was slow and suffered many setbacks. Although Buddhist pansala schools and a number of monastic colleges (pirivenas) enjoyed a longstanding tradition in Ceylon and contributed significantly to the spread of literacy in the vernacular, it was far beyond their scope to make inroads into Christian controlled secular education. The bikkhu teachers in the pansalas and pirivvenas neither had the skills nor the will to offer their pupils the secular education that they received in missionary schools and that prepared them for secular careers.

Even when the Department of Public Instruction under the Directorship of H. W. Green (1883- 89) began to show some interest in the improvement and extension of the pansala schools, the Buddhist monks did not seize the opportunity and preferred to carry on with their traditional ways of instruction.25 Accordingly, Vidyodaya Pirivena under its principal Hikkaduve Sumangala was the only monastic educational institution registered for a government grant in the 1870s and 1880s.26 It became clear that the Buddhist sangha had neither the experience and skills nor the financial means to compete with the Christian missions in the field of education. Buddhist progress in education, therefore, depended largely on the participation of the Buddhist laity. With the help or Buddhist laymen, the first non-monastic Buddhist school was opened at Dodanduva in 1869 and registered for a government grant in 1872. But altogether only four Buddhist schools received a grant in 1880.27

12.2 The Buddhist Revival: Theosophist Organisation

The early Buddhist attempts to participate In the government's grant-in-aid school scheme failed thoroughly and could not penetrate Christian predominance in that field. The Buddhist sangha lacked the financial and organisational means to set up schools that could fulfill the grant-in-aid eligibility criteria. These deficits stemmed mainly from the non-existence of a broad lay basis and support from that direction. Thus, the Buddhist community depended on an external stimulus to generate more financial and organisational momentum. This stimulus arrived in Ceylon in the year 1880 in the person of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.23 Being a man with broad philosophical interests and considerable organisational skills, Olcott had founded the Theosophical Society together with Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and William Quan Judge in 1875. The society was "dedicated to the uplifting of humanity through a better understanding of the oneness of life and the practical application of this principle."30 At about that time, a copy of Capper's account of the Panadura debate had fallen in Olcott's hands back in America and had got him interested in the Ceylonese Buddhists' struggle against Christian proselytising. Thus, Olcott and Blavatsky -- after having sailed to India in 1878 to establish the Theosophical Society's new headquarters there – visited the island in 1880. Olcott had been in touch with Hikkaduve Sumangala and Mohottivatte Gunananda before his arrival and word had spread that a Western supporter of Buddhism was on the way to Ceylon. Accordingly, Olcott and Blavatsky were awaited, welcomed and, indeed, celebrated by a huge crowd of Buddhists when they landed at Galle. A few days after their arrival, Olcott and Blavatsky publicly converted to Buddhism. Only later they stated that they had already embraced Buddhism back in New York and that their public conversion had merely been a confirmation thereof.31

After Theosophical Society founders H. P. Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott heard about the debates, they wrote to Gunananda and Sumangala, who invited them to visit in Ceylon. Gunananda became an early member of the TS and remained such until his death. His membership certificate is serial number 116 of 1877.[1] He translated a portion of Isis Unveiled to Sinhalese.

-- Mohotiwatta Gunananda, by Theosophy Wiki

Notwithstanding Olcott's almost triumphal reception in Ceylon, the sangha and part of the Buddhist population were initially suspicious of his intentions. In fact, the ideas of Theosophy -- and, therefore, of the Theosophical Society -- and of Buddhism were not compatible. Theosophy neglects the primacy of one religion over the others. Strictly speaking, it neglects the relevance of sectarianism in religion. Many Buddhists were well aware of the contradiction in Olcott's conversion to Buddhism and his claim of being a Theosophist.32 But they were also ready to appreciate the potential benefits of Olcott's involvement: first, Olcott and the Theosophists were antagonistic to Christian proselytising and, thus, opposed the Christian missionaries' activitIes in Ceylon; second, the conversion of a Western sahib to Buddhism strongly supported any Buddhist claims to the superiority of their religion;33 and third, the leaders of the movement were well aware of Olcott's organisational skills.

Prior to Olcott's arrival in Ceylon, the participation of laymen in the Buddhist movement has been marginal. In the 1870s, some laymen had actively supported the erection of Buddhist run schools, but such help had been scarce and funds were constantly running low. Lay participation on a much broader basis was necessary if the Buddhists wanted to set up and run schools on their own. The Buddhist sangha had a lot of experience in preaching and the many inner-Buddhist sectarian controversies of earlier days had improved their debating skill. But neither could the sangha itself raise sufficient money nor were the monks skilled in secular teaching or the administration of schools. Low-Country businessmen, however, did have access to financial resources and had already acquired administrative experience in their various business operations. The new and growing class of educated Sinhalese had both an understanding of administration and some idea of teaching. The creation and expansion of a Buddhist school network, thus, depended on the contributions and the dedication of these affluent groups of lay Buddhists.

In some projects, Sinhalese laymen had already participated before Olcott's arrival in Ceylon. The Vidyodaya Oriental College, for instance, owed its existence and its successful running largely to the efforts and the financial support of its Committee of Managers that consisted mainly of Low-Country businessmen such as Don Philip de Silva Apa Appuhami, Don Velon Vikramatilaka Appuhami, Hewavitharanage Don Carolis, Lansage Don Andris Perera and Wettasinghage Don Cornelis de Silva.34 From the establishment of the Vidyodaya Pirivena in the year 1873 until its registration for a government grant in 1877 the Committee carried most of the financial burden.15 This illustrates the importance of lay participation In the establishment of a Buddhist school network. Olcott instantly realised the potential of the Buddhist laity and also saw that a common organisational structure had to be created in order to overcome internal differences along caste and class lines. To provide the much needed organisational background, he founded the Buddhist branch of the Theosophical Society in 1880.

In fact, Olcott founded two independent branches of the Theosophical Society in Ceylon: a Buddhist branch and a non-Buddhist branch. The latter went by the name of Lanka Theosophical Society. Its secular approach to 'occult research' did not attract many members and it did not play a significant role in the revitalisation of Buddhist movement.36 The Buddhist branch soon became known as the Buddhist Theosophical Society (BTS) and emerged as the main organisation for the propagation of Buddhist interests in Ceylon. Olcott had established two separate divisions in the BTS, one lay and one clerical. Sumangala was the chairman of the clerical division that consisted of leading bikkhus of all different nikayas.37 [37. The Buddhist sangha has never been a homogenous body. Three main sects – nikayas – existed in Ceylon and competed for primacy. The Siam Nikaya represented only the goyigamas and goyigama interests. The Ramanya and Amarapura Nikayas were themselves subdivided along caste lines. Internal and external competition in and between these nikayas had made unity against Christian proselytising difficult. For additional information on the social structure of Sinhalese Buddhism see Hans-Dieter Evers, “Die Soziale Organisation der Singhalesischen Religion,” Koelner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 16, no. 2 (1964).] Olcott attached great importance to the integration and representation of the different nikayas in the clerical division of the BTS, but the innovative potential of the BTS was clearly concentrated in the lay division:

The real significance of the BTS [ ... ] lay in its providing an organization for the laity, who until that time had been divided by their loyalties to individual temples and branches of the Sangha. [ ... ] The lay organization of the BTS not only gave the laymen a new sense of unity in opposing the Christians, but it also gave them independence from the monks to participate in the reform of Buddhism. [ ... ] The new elite laity, with their activist inclinations, supported by this new freedom and intellectual encouragement, grew in the BTS and laid the foundations for reform.38

Branches of the Buddhist Theosophical Society were founded at Galle, Matara, Bentota, Welitara and Kandy. The headquarters were in Colombo. The lay division immediately attracted influential Sinhalese of "different caste and localities"39 and channelled their contributions and activities into one common path of action. This marked a new phase of Buddhist agitation and provided the Buddhist movement with hitherto unseen financial and administrative means. Nevertheless it has to be remarked that it was mainly Olcott's personal presence and influence that held the BTS together and in working condition. Olcott frequently left Ceylon to engage in other activities. During his absence the enthusiasm of parts of the laity and of the sangha seemed to fade somewhat. The financial devotion of the laymen to the Buddhist cause ebbed during these times of absence and especially Olcott's Buddhist Education Fund proved to be a limited success for similar reasons.40

12.3 The Buddhist Revival: Central Issues

The common goal of the Buddhist Theosophical Society and the Buddhist sangha was the propagation of Buddhism and the resistance against Christian proselytising efforts. Olcott himself attached prime importance to the progress of Buddhist educational institutions and, when he arranged a national Buddhist convention shortly before his first departure from Ceylon, the main topics discussed were the improvement of Buddhist educational facilities and the question of Buddhist temporalities.41 Returning to Ceylon in 1881, Olcott founded the Buddhist Education Fund and started touring the whole island to collect donations for the fund. However, apart from some notable contributions from affluent members of the new economic elite public generosity was very limited. By October 1884 the collections in the Western Province had only raised the modest sum of Rs 4,085.22. 42 In the Southern Province the collected sum amounted to Rs 6,906.43 in February 1885.43 As it had been decided that the donated sums were loaned on interest and only the interest would be spent, the available funds were meagre. Furthermore, only half of the proceeds were allocated to the establishment and upkeep of Buddhist schools. Therefore, the total sum available for the support of schools in the Southern Province in the year 1885 merely amounted to 235 Rupees and 41.4 Cents. This sum was unequally distributed to four schools in the Southern Province.44 Unsurprisingly, Olcott was not pleased with the working of the Buddhist Education Fund.

Notwithstanding the limited financial benefits accumulated through the Buddhist Education Fund, Buddhist participation in grant-in-aid education gradually grew during the 1880s and even gained some additional momentum in the 1890s. While there were only four Buddhist schools (all of these only offering vernacular education) registered for a government grant in 1880, 45 the year 1900 saw already 142 grant-aided schools under Buddhist management.46 The Buddhists ran 10.7% of all grant-aided schools in 1900 -- as against only 0.5% in 1880. Although the available figures -- albeit incomplete – suggest that a good part of that progress has been made in the 1890s, the modest proceeds of the Buddhist Education Fund -- together with other contributions -- facilitated the initial setting up of schools and financed their maintenance until they could register for a government grant.

The registration for such a grant was the prime goal of every school management. Although the grants were not particularly generous, they sufficed to keep a school up and running. Prior to the Theosophists' organisational input, most Buddhist bikkhus or laymen had neither the experience nor the organisational backing to set up a school that could fulfill the high government eligibility criteria. In those few cases in which a grant was awarded, the management faced the difficult task of maintaining the standard of the school, as grants were given on a yearly basis. The school at Dodanduva, for instance, had been the first Buddhist school in Ceylon to be registered for a government grant in 1872. But only two years later, the school lost the grant, because the inexperienced management had not been able to maintain the quality of the teaching and to achieve the necessary attendance quotas. Several other grant-aided Buddhist schools also lost their grants again due to very similar reasons.47 Therefore, the increase in the number and the quality of Buddhist schools during the 1880s and 1890s must largely be attributed to the organizational improvements in the Buddhist movement. The clerical division of the BTS played only a supporting role in that sphere. It was the growing involvement of Western-educated laymen in the Buddhist Theosophical Society and the contribution made by American and English Theosophists that enabled the Buddhist movement to provide high-standard secular education (partly in English) to a growing number of pupils.48

Although most activities of Olcott and the Buddhist Theosophical Society aimed at the expansion of Buddhist educational facilities, there were other issues as well that demanded the attention of the Buddhist revivalist movement. The unsolved Temple Lands Question,49 [Since their arrival in Ceylon, the British had tried to settle the so-called Temple Lands or Buddhist Temporalities Question. Most of the Buddhist temples traditionally owned substantial plots of land adjacent to the temples. This land was usually exempted from tax. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the British struggled to find a proper way to administrate this land, but failed to do so due to the diverging interests of the Colonial Government, the Colonial Office, the Christian pressure groups and the Buddhist community. For more information on the Buddhist Temporalities Question see K.D.G. Wimalarame, “The Impact of British Policy on the Buddhist Temporalities of Sri Lanka” (paper presented at the Multi-Disciplinary International Conference on the occasion of 50th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka, 23-25 February 1998); Hans-Dieter Evers, Buddhism and British Colonial Policy in Ceylon, 1815-1875 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines, Institute of Asian Studies, 1964).… ] for instance, had been the second important topic at the Buddhist convention summoned by Olcott during his first stay in Ceylon. Little headway was made in that respect and the Buddhist Temporalities Question remained unsolved. However, the discussion of that problem further unified the Buddhist movement in its opposition to the Christian missionaries and the government -- a development that the Colonial Office had feared for a long time.50 In the year 1883, Colonel Olcott founded the so-called Buddhist Defence Committee as a further step toward the unification of the Buddhist movement. The foundation of the committee was a reaction to the Kotahena Riots of the same year and, particularly, to the government reaction to these riots.

On Easter Day 1883 a Buddhist procession passing by a Roman Catholic church at Kotahena was violently attacked by a Catholic mob who apparently felt offended by the lively procession. The police was not able to control the situation. About 30 persons were injured in the conflict and one Buddhist was lethally wounded.51 The so-called Riots Commission was appointed to investigate the incident. The report of the commission gives an elaborate description of the violent Buddhist-Christian encounter:

In the meantime matters were becoming serious at Kotahena. The Roman Catholic services in the morning had been concluded, and the congregation had dispersed, and all was apparently quiet. A little before one o'clock the neighbourhood was alarmed by the sudden and violent ringing of the cathedral bell, followed at once by the ringing of the bells in all the Catholic churches in the neighbourhood, and without delay, as if at a preconcerted signal, large bodies of men ready armed with clubs, and marked on the forehead and back with white crosses, began to assemble at St. Lucia's corner. [ ... ] Meantime, as the [Buddhist] procession advanced, reports were brought from the front that a crowd was gathering at Kotahena; and […] rumours reached them that disturbances had begun, and that a Buddhist priest had been assaulted. The procession, which up to this time was unarmed and unprotected, naturally became excited, and the male portion rushed into a timber yard close by and took possession of whatever sticks and weapons they could find. [The processions finally reached St. Lucia’s corner] The front ranks of each party, which were now close upon each other, broke through the line of police and commenced a hand-to-hand fight. The Buddhists, in order to force a passage, attempted to drive their carts through the Catholic mob, but the latter seized and killed the bullocks, broke up the carts, and burned them and their contents on the public highway. During a lull in the fight, Assistant Superintendent Holland succeeded in persuading a body of Catholics to follow him to the cathedral, where one of the Roman Catholic Fathers addressed them, and the crowd began to separate. A heavy shower of rain, and the appearance of a mounted military officer assisted in dispersing the men, and by the time a detachment of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers arrived all actual fighting had ceased [ ... ] During the riot many persons received severe injuries, one Buddhist being mortally wounded, and thirty persons including twelve constables, so seriously hurt as to necessitate their being admitted to hospital: this number was probably only a small proportion of the total number injured.52

Although several Catholic offenders were arrested, the Acting Queen's Advocate Charles Ferdinands released them as there was no reliable evidence for a conviction. This infuriated the Buddhist community. And the findings of the Riots Commission -- originally instated to respond to Buddhist demands for thorough investigation -- did little to moderate Buddhist public opinion as well.53 The Commission gave the following reasons for the violent outbreaks of 25 March 1883:

I. The proximity of the Buddhist temple and the Roman Catholic cathedral at Kotahena.

2. The gradual revival of Buddhism and the controversies consequent thereon.

3. The protracted nature of the Buddhist festival, and the grand scale in which it was carried out by so bitter an opponent of the Christian religion as Migettuwatte Unnanse.

4. The continuance of the Buddhist festival through Holy Week.

5. The spreading of false reports regarding insults to Christian religion, which were believed by the Roman Catholics, and greatly exasperated them.

6. The apparent inability of the Roman Catholic authorities to control the more ignorant of their flock.

7. The indiscretion and indecision displayed by the police in granting, withholding, and cancelling [procession] licenses.

8. The insufficiency of the information possessed by the police, and defective arrangements made by them, as well as their neglect to properly vindicate the law on the first appearance of disorder; and their failing to realize, till too late, the magnitude of the disturbance on Easter-day.54

Disappointed by the release of the Catholic suspects and by the appeasing report of the Riots Commission, the Buddhists contacted Olcott who arrived in Ceylon in January 1884. The Buddhist Defence Committee was founded and Olcott was appointed a "special delegate, to represent the Buddhists and their cause, i.e., to seek redress for grievances in addition to other rights and privileges".55 Thus, Colonel Olcott eventually became the official spokesman of the Sinhalese Buddhist community in that matter. He visited Governor Gordon, who had recently taken over the Governorship from Longden, and brought forward the Buddhist complaints against Ferdinands and the Riots Commission. Olcott not only sought a just investigation of the Kotahena riots, but pressed for a formal declaration of the government's religious neutrality, the appointment of Buddhist registrars, the settlement of the Buddhist Temporalities Question and the recognition of Vesak56 as a public holiday.

Olcott also directly intervened with the Colonial Office and the Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord Derby. Although Derby was generally sympathetic to Olcott and his request, the Colonial Office left the final decision to Governor Gordon.57 In his despatch of 18 February 1884, Gordon informed Derby about his meeting with Olcott and the latter planned to travel to London and bring the matter directly before the Secretary of State. Gordon stated that Olcott obviously occupied an influential position in the Buddhist community -- although Olcott himself might have overestimated his importance according to Gordon.58 Probably as a tribute to Olcott's influence, Gordon gave in to some of the Buddhists' minor demands. He made Vesak a public holiday and followed Olcott's suggestion to reconsider the Temple Lands problem. On the other hand, Gordon refused to appoint Buddhist registrars or to officially declare the government's neutrality in religious affairs.59 Thus, the politically more important demands of the Buddhists were declined. Moreover, the ordinance to improve the management of temple lands introduced by Gordon in 1889 quickly proved to be unsuccessful.60 However, Gordon's modest and mostly symbolic concessions further enhanced his public image as a "friend of the natives". Olcott as well profited from the concessions and fortified his position within the Buddhist revivalist movement in Ceylon.61

The Buddhist Defence Committee and its work as a pressure group was one of the first cases of open political agitation on the Buddhist side. The immediate benefits were limited, but by the time the Buddhist community became more vociferous. The firm Buddhist resistance to the highly oppressive quarter-mile rule of 1891 illustrates this. Although Buddhist agitation could not prevent the retrospective implementation of the quarter-mile rule, the improved organizational backing of the Buddhists enabled them to circumvent the ordinance's provisions and further expand their school network in the 1890s.62 But it was not only the enhanced organisation of the Buddhist movement that gave additional momentum to Buddhist demands. During the so-called Kalutara Bo tree affair63 Buddhists laymen held:

the first anti-government mass demonstration [on 26 November 1896] concerning religion in the south western coastal area, the centre of the Buddhist revival. It came after a full century of British rule and foreshadowed both the more widely supported agitation over sacred space.64

Without the encouragement of the BTS or any other Buddhist organization, a petty dispute between the British authorities and the local Buddhists over a Bo tree and a Buddhist shrine led to a mass assembly of Buddhist laymen and an explicitly anti-government demonstration. This highlights the changing quality of Buddhist resistance and agitation during the 1890s and the importance of the lay element in the movement. Therefore, Olcott's main impact on the Buddhist revivalist movement was the provision of an organisational background to increase and strengthen the participation of the Buddhist laity. The new economic elites played a crucial role in the expansion of Buddhist educational facilities, in the provision of funding and in the organisation of the movement. In their identification with the Buddhist cause they saw a means to enhance their social status and to challenge the primacy of the traditional elites.65 During the closing years of the nineteenth century, Buddhist consciousness and resistance spread among the lower social ranks as well -- as it can be seen in the Kalutara demonstration of 1896. It was in those years that the religious nationalism of the Buddhist movement gradually acquired political nationalist qualities.66 Although Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism became an eminent political force only in the twentieth century – for the first time in the Temperance Movement67 -- its roots reach back to the Buddhist revivalist movement of the 1880s and 1890s. The growth of political nationalism on the soil of religious ideas must mainly be attributed to the influence of the economic elites who tried to use the movement as a public base to support their own claims to political representation and social elite status.

12.4 The Hindu Revival

The emergence of political nationalist overtones in the Buddhist revivalist movement during the 1890s also had an impact on Buddhist-Hindu relations. Years before Buddhism started to defend itself against Christian inroads, the Tamil Hindus of northern Ceylon had already witnessed a gradual revival of their religion. The economic situation in the Jaffna Peninsula, the greater importance attached to education, the backing by South Indian Hindus and the individual contribution of Arumugam Navalar are some of the more often cited causes for the comparatively early take-off of Hindu religious revivalism. When the Buddhists eventually followed the Hindu example, relations between Hindu and Buddhist revivalists were usually amicable.68 Hindu and Buddhist interests were welded together by the existence of a common foe -- Christianity. On the Hindu side the brothers Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Ponnambalam Arunachalam even actively supported the Buddhist movement. Ramanathan -- in his role as Tamil MLC -- supported the recognition of Vesak as a public holiday, suggested to found a National Buddhist Hindu College and donated Rs 25.000 to that cause. However, he later withdrew this donation, when the Buddhist-Hindu joint-venture failed due to a conflict over the management of the college.69

The Hindu revival was mostly free of political nationalist aspirations. In the first place, the vellala caste was the motor behind Hindu revivalism. Being the Tamil counterpart to the Sinhalese goyigamas, the vellalas occupied the top position in the Tamil caste system. Accordingly, the main social and political aim of the vellala Hindu revivalists lay rather in the preservation of their superior position. Openly nationalist or anti-colonial agitation would not have been very helpful in that respect. Similarly, the comparatively tight educational network -- both missionary and indigenous -- that had been established in the Jaffna Peninsula and the high importance attached to education by the Tamils had secured them an influential position in the colonial administration by the second half of the nineteenth century – at least in comparison to Sinhalese or Muslim representation in that sphere. Therefore, social and political emancipation through the proclamation of nationalist ideas and notions was neither necessary nor helpful for the Hindu revivalists. The rigid Tamil caste system and the resulting social stratification practically excluded lower castes from participating in the revivalist movement. The movement did not aim at social reform -- a fact frequently pointed out by De Silva70 --, nor did it propagate nationalist ideas. Thus, Hindu revivalism can be characterised as a cultural and religious revivalism aiming at the maintenance of the social and political status quo.

The leading figure in early Hindu revivalism was Arumugam Navalar (1822- 1879). Educated at a Wesleyan Methodist school, Navalar started teaching at the Methodist Central School in Jaffna after his graduation and helped to translate the Bible into Tamil. In 1848, he quitted his post and founded his first Saivite school.71 The foundation of Hindu schools as an alternative to the Christian missionary schools remained an important issue throughout Navalar's life, but his contribution to the preservation of orthodox Saivism72 [72. Hindu revivalism was more precisely the revival of Saivism – the Hindu worship centring on the cult of Siva. The particular form of Saivism celebrated was the Saiva Siddhanta (“Established Truth”) philosophy which had become a largely Tamil and literate discourse after the twelfth century in south India, with the principal texts being the agamas. […] In essence, Siddhanta outlines a doctrine of existence as consisting of manifestations of the supreme godhead, Siva, as well as a scheme for the maintenance of life and the acquisition of knowledge leading to release (moksa).” Ibid., 394] was even more significant. In that context, Navalar was active in the restoration and renovation of many Hindu temples in the Jaffna Peninsula. He publicised an impressive number of Saivite religious texts, thus "preserving the heritage of the Hindus in Sri Lanka".73 He used his education and the organisational skills acquired at the Wesleyan school in favour of the Hindu cause.

Like many other Ceylon Tamils, Navalar had received and benefited from a Christian education, but had never converted to Christianity. Attending Christian schools -- even if it was necessary to impersonate a good Christian while at school -- was widespread among the well-to-do Tamils due to the boundless "love of the Jaffnese to obtain some knowledge of English at any cost.”74 The importance that the Tamils attached to education in general (and to English education in particular) stemmed from the limited economic opportunities of the Jaffna Peninsula. Extraordinarily high population density, increasing pressure on land and the lack of urbanisation and industrialization severely affected the economic prosperity of the peninsula. 75 Therefore, "[t]he acquisition of education, specifically English education, became the substitute for industrialization and economic growth in the peninsula. It helped to mop up excess manpower from the land and the Tamils of Jaffna were well poised to take advantage of the new opportunities.”76 The existence of a tight-knit network of Wesleyan and American missionary schools in the densely populated northern areas facilitated the acquisition of vernacular and English education. At the same time, the importance attached to education by the Tamils accelerated the establishment of indigenous educational facilities. Although the missionary societies fought bitterly against the foundation of Tamil schools, there were as many as 65 Saivite and private schools on the island with an average attendance of 4,289 pupils in the year 1900.17
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:08 am

Alfred Woodley Croft
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Accessed: 12/11/19



Croft, Sir Alfred Woodley, M.A.; LL.D.; K.C.I.E.; (1887); C.I.E. (1884) J.P. for Devon: b. 84 s. of late Charles Woodley Croft, of Plymouth. Educ: Mannamead School, Plymouth; Exeter College, Oxford; Lecturer: Exeter Coll, Oxford 1863-5; appointed to Bengal Educational Department, 1866; was Professor, Presy-Coll, Calcutta, 1866-73; Principal Decoa College, 1873-4; Inspector of Schools, 1874-6; Director Public Instruction, Bengal, 1877-97;

Member, Indian Education Commition, 1882-3; M.L.C. Bengal, 1887-92; President, Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1892-93: Trustee, Indian Museum, 1894-96; Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University, 1894-96
, Governor and Treasurer, South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital (Plymouth), a Governor, Plymouth High School for Boys; and a Trustee of Kelly College, Travistock. Address: Rumleigh, Bere Alston, S. Devon. Club: Royal Western Yacht, Plymouth.

-- Sir Alfred Woodley Croft, by C. Hayavadana Rao, The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915)

Sir Alfred Woodley Croft
© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Walter Stoneman
Commissioned, 1917

Born: 7 February 1841, Plymouth, Devon, England
Died: 29 October 1925 (aged 84), Tavistock, Devon, England
Nationality: United Kingdom
Occupation: Colonial administrator

Sir Alfred Woodley Croft KCIE (7 February 1841 – 29 October 1925)[1] was a British educationist and administrator who spent most of his career in India. From 1877 until his retirement in 1897 he was Director of Public Instruction in Bengal, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in November 1884.

Born in Compton Gifford, he was the son of Charles and Charlotte Croft. He was educated at the Mannamead School. He graduated BA in philosophy from the Exeter College, Oxford in 1863 and an MA in 1871. He went to Calcutta to join the Bengal Education Service in 1866 as a professor of philosophy to Presidency College, then under the University of Calcutta.[2]

Previously Croft was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1887 he was raised to a knighthood as a Knight Commander of the order and was described as a Director of Public Instruction for Bengal.[3]

He served as the vice chancellor of the University of Calcutta from 1893-1896.[2] In 1897, the University awarded him with an honorary doctorate degree on the occasion of his retirement.[4]

He was also a member of the Bengal Legislative Council from 1887 to 1892.[2]

Croft returned to England and never married, he died in Tavistock on 29 October 1925.[5]


1. Florence Nightingale (2005). Florence Nightingale on Women, Medicine, Midwifery and Prostitution. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-0-88920-466-9. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
2. Clive Whitehead (2003). Colonial Educators: The British Indian and Colonial Education Service 1858-1983. I.B.Tauris. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-1-86064-864-9. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
3. "Jubilee Honours For India." The Times [London, England] 16 Feb. 1887: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
4. "Annual Convocation". University of Calcutta. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012.
5. "Sir A. W. Croft." The Times [London, England] 31 Oct. 1925: 14. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Order of the Indian Empire
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19



Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire
The insignia of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire
Awarded by the British monarch
Type Order of chivalry
Established: 1878
Motto: Imperatricis auspiciis [Empress guidance]
Awarded for: At the monarch's pleasure
Status: Not awarded since 1947
Dormant order since 2010
Founder: Queen Victoria
Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
Grades: Knight Grand Commander (GCIE); Knight Commander (KCIE); Companion (CIE)
Next (higher) Order of St Michael and St George
Next (lower) Royal Victorian Order

The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:

1. Knight Grand Commander (GCIE)
2. Knight Commander (KCIE)
3. Companion (CIE)

No appointments have been made since 1947, the year that India and Pakistan became independent from the British Raj. With the death of the last surviving knight, the Maharaja of Dhrangadhra, the order became dormant in 2010.

The motto of the Order is Imperatricis auspiciis, (Latin for "Under the auspices of the Empress"), a reference to Queen Victoria, the first Empress of India. The Order is the junior British order of chivalry associated with the British Indian Empire; the senior one is The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India.


The British founded the Order in 1878 to reward British and native officials who served in India. The Order originally had only one class (Companion), but expanded to comprise two classes in 1887.[1] The British authorities intended the Order of the Indian Empire as a less exclusive version of the Order of the Star of India (founded in 1861);[2] consequently, many more appointments were made to the former than to the latter.

On 15 February 1887, the Order of the Indian Empire formally became "The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire" and was divided into two classes: Knights Commander and Companions, with the following first Knights Commander:[3]

• General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts
• Edward Drummond
• Sir Alfred Comyns Lyall
• Bhagvat Singh
• Robert Anstruther Dalyell
• Maxwell Melvill
• Alexander Cunningham
• Rana Shankar Baksh Singh
• Dietrich Brandis
Sir Monier Williams
• Pusapati Ananda Gajapati Raju, Maharaja of Vizianagram
• Donald Campbell Macnabb
• Sir Alexander Meadows Rendel
• Nawab Munir ud-Daula Salar Jang, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad
• George Christopher Molesworth Birdwood
• Ranjit Singh, Raja of Ratlam
• Surgeon-General Benjamin Simpson
• Albert James Leppoc Cappel
• Sayyid Hassan Ali Khan Bahadur, Nawab of Murshidabad
• Lachmessur Singh, Maharaja of Darbhanga
• Bapu Sahib Avar
• Donald Mackenzie Wallace
Alfred Woodley Croft
• Bradford Leslie

However, on 21 June 1887, a further proclamation regarding the Order was made; the Order was expanded from two classes to three – Knight Grand Commander, Knight Commander and Companion. Seven Knights Grand Commander were created, namely:[4]

• The Prince of Wales
• The Duke of Edinburgh
• The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
• The Duke of Cambridge
• Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay
• Lord Connemara, Governor of Madras
• General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts (promoted from a Knight Commander)

Appointments to both Orders ceased after 14 August 1947. The Orders have never been formally abolished, and as of 2012 Queen Elizabeth II remains the Sovereign of the Orders. There are no living members of the order.

• The last Grand Master of the Order was Rear Admiral The 1st Viscount Mountbatten of Burma (later promoted and created Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma; 1900–1979), the last Viceroy of India. Lord Mountbatten was killed in an IRA bombing in County Sligo on 27 August 1979.
• The last surviving GCIE, Maharaja Sri Sir Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma (1912–1991), the Maharaja of Travancore, died on 19 July 1991 in Trivandrum.
• The last surviving KCIE, Maharaja Sri Sir the Maharaja of Dhrangadhra (1923–2010), the Maharaja of Dhrangadhra-Halvad, died at Dhrangadhra on 1 August 2010.[5]
• The last surviving CIE, Sir Ian Dixon Scott (1909–2002), died on 3 March 2002.[6]

The fictional characters Purun Dass (invented by Rudyard Kipling) and Harry Paget Flashman (invented by George MacDonald Fraser) each held a KCIE; Kipling's engineer Findlayson in The Day's Work (1908) aspires to the CIE.


The British Sovereign serves as the Sovereign of the Order. The Grand Master held the next-most senior rank; the position was held, ex officio, by the Viceroy of India. Members of the first class were known as "Knights Grand Commanders" rather than "Knights Grand Cross" so as not to offend the non-Christian Indians appointed to the Order.

At the time of foundation in 1878 the order had only one class, that of Companion, with no quota imposed. In 1886, the Order was divided into the two classes of Knights Commander (50 at any given time) and Companions (no quota). The following year the class of Knight Grand Commander (25 at any given time) was added;[7] the composition of the other two classes remained the same. The statute also provided that it was "competent for Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors, at Her or their pleasure, to appoint any Princes of the Blood Royal, being descendants of His late Majesty King George the First, as Extra Knights Grand Commanders".

By Letters Patent of 2 Aug 1886, the number of Knights Commander was increased to 82, while Commanders were limited to 20 nominations per year (40 for 1903 only). Membership was expanded by Letters Patent of 10 June 1897, which permitted up to 32 Knights Grand Commander.[8] A special statute of 21 October 1902 permitted up to 92 Knights Commander, but continued to limit the number of nominations of Commanders to 20 in any successive year. On 21 December 1911, in connection with the Delhi Durbar, the limits were increased to 40 Knights Grand Commander, 120 Knights Commander, and 40 nominations of companions in any successive year.[9]

British officials and soldiers were eligible for appointment, as were rulers of Indian Princely States. Generally, the rulers of the more important states were appointed Knights Grand Commanders of the Order of the Star of India, rather than of the Order of the Indian Empire. Women, save the princely rulers, were ineligible for appointment to the Order. Female princely rulers were admitted as "Knights" rather than as "Dames" or "Ladies". Other Asian and Middle Eastern rulers were also appointed as well.

Vestments and accoutrements

Maharaja Thakore Shri Sir Bhagwatsinhji Sagramji Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Gondal GCSI, GCIE, in a 1911 photograph, during his visit to London for the coronation of King George V. He is wearing the mantle, collar and star of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire.

Maharaja Sri Sir Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma III, Maharaja of the Kingdom of Travancore, GCSI, GCIE, wearing the sash, star and badge of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE)

Photo of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya's badge

Members of the Order wore elaborate costumes on important ceremonial occasions:

• The mantle, worn only by Knights Grand Commander, comprised dark blue satin lined with white silk. On the left side was a representation of the star (see photo at right).
• The collar, also worn only by Knights Grand Commander, was made of gold. It was composed of alternating golden elephants, Indian roses and peacocks.

At less important occasions, simpler insignia were used:

• The star, worn only by Knights Grand Commander and Knights Commander, had ten points, including rays of gold and silver for Knights Grand Commander, and of plain silver for Knights Commander. In the centre was an image of Victoria surrounded by a dark blue ring with the motto and surmounted by a crown.[10]
• The badge was worn by Knights Grand Commander on a dark blue riband, or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip, and by Knights Commander and Companions from a dark blue ribbon around the neck. It included a five-petalled crown-surmounted red flower, with the image of Victoria surrounded by a dark blue ring with the motto at the centre.

The insignia of most other British chivalric orders incorporates a cross: the Order of the Indian Empire does not in deference to India's non-Christian tradition.

Precedence and privileges

Members of all classes of the Order were assigned positions in the order of precedence. Wives of members of all classes also featured on the order of precedence, as did sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.)

Knights Grand Commanders used the post-nominal "GCIE", Knights Commanders "KCIE" and Companions "CIE." Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders prefixed "Sir" to their forenames. Wives of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders could prefix "Lady" to their surnames. Such forms were not used by peers and Indian princes, except when the names of the former were written out in their fullest forms.

Knights Grand Commanders were also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They could, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights Commanders and Companions were permitted to display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.

Notable appointees

The first two kings of Bhutan were presented with the KCIE:

• Ugyen Wangchuck, the first King, received the KCIE in 1905 from John Claude White, the first Political Officer in Gangtok, Sikkim. He was promoted to a GCIE in 1921.
• Jigme Wangchuck, the second King, received the KCIE in 1931 from Lieutenant-Colonel J.L.R. Weir, also the Political Officer in Gangtok at the time.

Other appointees include:

• Sheikh Khaz'al Khan of Mohammerah received the GCIE in 1916, promoted from a KCIE in 1910.
• Mahamahopadhyay Pandit Mahesh Chandra Nyayratna Bhattacharyya of Calcutta, eminent Sanskrit scholar, principal of the Sanskrit College, academic administrator, philanthropist and social reformer. He was made a Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) on 24 May 1881, six years before the title of Mahamahopadhyay was conferred as a personal distinction on the occasion of the Jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria, for eminence in oriental learning. He was arguably the first Bengali CIE. The titles entitled him to take rank in the Durbar immediately after titular Rajas.
• Prabhu Narayan Singh of Benares, The Maharaja of Benares from the Royal House of Benares received the KCIE in 1892.
• Sir M. Visvesvaraya, a notable Engineer and Statesman, who served as the 19th Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918, received the KCIE from King George V in 1915.
• Sir V. Bhashyam Aiyangar, The first Indian to be appointed Advocate-General of the Madras Presidency and Law member of the executive council of the Governor of Madras between 1897 and 1900, was created as a CIE in 1895, however his later promotion to the rank of Knight Bachelor in 1900 often overshadows his CIE status.
• Mahadev Govind Ranade, a distinguished Indian scholar, social reformer and author. He was a founding member of the Indian National Congress[1] and owned several designations as member of the Bombay legislative council, member of the finance committee at the centre, and the judge of Bombay High Court. In 1897, Ranade served on a committee charged with the task of enumerating imperial and provincial expenditure and making recommendations for financial retrenchment. This service won him the decoration of CIE.
• Sir Jadunath Sarkar, a distinguished Indian Bengali historian and aristocrat.
• Nawab Sir Khwaja Salimullah Bahadur of Dhaka Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) – 23 December 1911, Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI) – New Year Honours, 1909, Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI) – New Year Honours, 1906.
• Abdul Karim, "the Munshi", Queen Victoria's favourite Indian servant, was created a CIE.
• Nawab Sir Imam Buksh Khan Mazari, Nawab of Rojhan Mazari
• Rao Bahadur Kanti Chandra Mukharji (Chief Member of the Jaipur State council, Member of the Famine Commission of India) was made a CIE in 1891.
• Nawaab Syed Shamsul Huda was made a KCIE in 1916.
• Jagadish Chandra Bose was made a CIE in 1903.
• Sir Md. Azizul Haque was made a CIE in 1937.
• Khwaja Nazimuddin was made a KCIE in 1934, promoted from a CIE in 1926
• C.D. Deshmukh was appointed a CIE in 1937.
• Sir Narayanan R. Pillai, a member of the ICS and later the first Secretary of External Affairs of India, was appointed a CIE in 1939 and knighted with the KCIE in 1946.
• Benegal Rama Rau was appointed a CIE in 1931.
• Colonel Rao Bahadur Thakur Sir Sadul Singh of Rora was appointed a CIE in 1920.[11]
• Atul Chandra Chatterjee was appointed a CIE in 1919, knighted with the KCIE in 1925 and promoted to a GCIE in 1933.
• Bashir Hussain Zaidi was appointed a CIE in 1941.
• Iskander Mirza was made a CIE in 1945.
• Sheikh Isa ibn Ali Al Khalifa, Ruler of Bahrain, was made a KCIE in 1919, as was his son, Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa (1872–1942) in 1935. His grandson, Sheikh Salman ibn Hamad Al Khalifa (1895–1961), was also made a KCIE in 1943.
• Nawab Sayyid Hassan Ali Mirza Khan Bahadur, Nawab of Murshidabad, received the KCIE in 1887 and was promoted to a GCIE in 1890.
• Emperor Gojong of Korea received the GCIE in 1900.
• Lakhajirajsinhji II Bavajirajsinhji, 12th Thakore Saheb of Rajkot, was created a KCIE in 1908.
• Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah of Kuwait received the KCIE in 1911. His great-grandson, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received one in 1930, promoted from a CIE in 1922.
• Raja of Panagal, Premier of Madras from 1921 to 1926 was awarded a CIE and later made KCIE.
• Maharaja Sir Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana of Nepal received the GCIE in 1945, promoted from a KCIE in 1924.
• Faisal bin Turki, Sultan of Muscat and Oman, received the GCIE in 1903. His son, Taimur bin Faisal, received the KCIE in 1926 and his grandson, Said bin Taimur, received the GCIE in 1945.
• Raja Sir Martanda Bhairava Tondaiman Bahadur, Raja of Pudukkottai was appointed GCIE on 1 January 1913.
• William Robert Cornish, Surgeon-General—head of medical services—in the Madras Presidency.[12]
• John Thomas Donovan, late of the Indian Civil Service was appointed CIE in 1931.[13]
• Gopal Krishna Gokhale was made CIE.

Mantle worn by GCIE

• Khan Bahadur Maj.Gen. Fateh Naseeb Khan CIE, January 1931 (Alwar State Forces)[14]
• Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Law Member of India and Dewan of Travancore from 1936 to 1947 was appointed a CIE in 1923 and knighted with the KCIE in 1926. He was also a recipient of KCSI.
• Francis Spring, the civil engineer, was made a KCIE.
• Leonard William Reynolds, the Agent to the Governor General was made a KCIE.
• Nawab Muhammad Ali Beg, Sir Afsar Ul Mulk, MVO (1906), CIE (1887), Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Nizam of Hyderabad was promoted to the rank of KCIE by His Majesty King Edward VII in the 1908 Birthday Honours
• H. V. Nanjundaiah acting dewan of mysore, Privy councillor to the Maharaja of Mysore and first Vice Chancellor of the Mysore University was awarded the CIE in 1915[15]
• Sardar Bahadur Sir Shamsher Singh Grewal KCIE, Diwan of Jind state during the reign of Raja-I-Rajgan Maharaja Raghbir Singh
• Waldemar Haffkine, developer of the first vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague, was knighted to the CIE in 1897.

See also

• List of Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire


1. Buckland, C. E. (1901). Bengal Under the Lieutenant-Governors: Being a Narrative of the Principal Events and Public Measures During Their Periods of Office, from 1854 to 1898, p. 699. Calcutta: S. K. Lahiri & Co.
2. Orders Associated with the Indian Empire,; accessed 1 July 2017.
3. "No. 25673". The London Gazette. 15 February 1887. p. 787.
4. "No. 25773". The London Gazette. 5 January 1888. p. 219.
5. Obituary of The Maharaja of Dhrangadhra-Halvad,, 2 September 2010
6. Obituary for Sir Ian Dixon Scott,, 11 March 2002.
7. "The London Gazette". 21 June 1887. p. 3364. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
8. "The London Gazette". 1 January 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
9. "Edinburgh Gazette". 15 December 1911. p. 1317. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
10. Boutell, Charles (1908). English Heraldry, p. 290. London: Reeves & Turner.
11. "No. 31712". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1919. p. 5.
12. Obituary (1897), "Surgeon-General Cornish C.I.E.", The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 18: 656–61, doi:10.1177/146642409701800412
13. The Dublin University Calendar - Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). 28 February 2009. Retrieved 1 July2017.
14. Various (15 March 2007). Alwar State List of Leading Officials, Nobles and Personages. Potter Press. p. 4. ISBN 1-4067-3137-4.
15. Journal & Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 6 September 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2017.

External links

• Media related to Order of the Indian Empire at Wikimedia Commons
• The Royal Ark
• The February 1887 reformation of the Order
• The June 1887 reformation of the Order
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:48 am

Donald Mackay, 11th Lord Reay
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19



The Right Honourable, The Lord Reay, KT GCSI GCIE PC FBA JP DL
Governor of Bombay
In office: 1885–1890
Monarch: Victoria
Preceded by: Sir James Fergusson, Bt
Succeeded by: The Lord Harris
Under-Secretary of State for India
In office: 11 March 1894 – 21 June 1895
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by: George W. E. Russell
Succeeded by: The Earl of Onslow
Personal details
Born: 22 December 1839, The Hague, Netherlands
Died: 1 August 1921 (aged 81)
Nationality: British
Political party: Liberal
Spouse(s): Fanny Hasler

Donald James Mackay, 11th Lord Reay KT GCSI GCIE PC FBA JP DL (22 December 1839 – 1 August 1921) (in the Netherlands: Donald Jacob, Baron Mackay, Lord of Ophemert and Zennewijnen) was a Dutch-born British administrator and Liberal politician.


Mackay was born Donald Jacob baron Mackay in The Hague, Netherlands,[1] the son of Aeneas Mackay, 10th Lord Reay,[2] a Dutch member of Parliament, and jonkvrouw Maria Catharina Anna Jacoba Fagel,[1] daughter of Mr. Jacob baron Fagel and jkvr. Maria Boreel, relative of the Boreel baronets.[3]

Political career

Lord Reay succeeded his father in 1876 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1877.[3] He was created Baron Reay, of Durness in the County of Sutherland, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, in 1881.[4] In 1885 he was appointed Governor of Bombay,[5] a post he held until 1890.[2] He was appointed a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire in 1887 and a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India in 1890.[3] After his return to Britain he served as Under-Secretary of State for India between 1894 and 1895 in Lord Rosebery Liberal administration.[2] He was also a British delegate at the Second Peace Conference which led to the signing of the Hague Convention 1907. Other British delegates included Ernest Satow and Eyre Crowe.

Perhaps his most memorable contribution to politics was during the crisis over the People's Budget of 1909-10, where the House of Lords, violating a convention going back more than 200 years, rejected the Budget. Reay strongly opposed this act, and gave the memorable warning : "Oligarchies are seldom destroyed and more frequently commit suicide".[6]

Other public appointments

Apart from his political and administrative career Lord Reay was Rector of St Andrews University from 1884 to 1886,[7] Chairman of the London School Board (1897 – 1904), President of the Royal Asiatic Society (1893–1921) and University College, London, and first President of the British Academy from 1901 to 1907.[8] He was also Lord Lieutenant of Roxburghshire from 1892 to 1918 and served as President of the first day of the 1882 Co-operative Congress.[9] He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1906[10] and made a Knight of the Thistle in 1911.[11]

He received an honorary doctorate (LL.D) from the University of Glasgow during their 450th jubilee celebrations in June 1901.[12]

He remained in contact with the Dutch community and attended the reception and spoke with the famous Dutch writer Louis Couperus (1863-1923) on the occasion of his visit to London in June 1921, being invited by the Dutch ambassador in London, René de Marees van Swinderen (1860-1955), and which visit was mainly organised by his translator Alexander Teixeira de Mattos (1865-1921).[13]


Lord Reay married Fanny Georgiana Jane, daughter of Richard Hasler, of Aldingbourne, Sussex, in 1877. They had no children. He died in August 1921, aged 81. On his death the barony of 1881 became extinct while he was succeeded in the Scottish title by his cousin Eric baron Mackay (1870-1921) who was succeeded only three months later by his son Sir Aeneas Alexander baron Mackay (1905-1963), 13th Lord Reay, member of the House of Lords (1955-1959).[2]


1. Birth certificate, The Hague Municipal Archive
2. Sir Donald James Mackay, 11th Lord Reay
3. Nederland's Adelsboek 88 (1999), p. 28.
4. "No. 25021". The London Gazette. 30 September 1881. p. 4891.
5. "No. 25448". The London Gazette. 3 March 1885. p. 920.
6. Roy Jenkins Churchill Macmillans 2001 p.165
7. Lord Rectors of St Andrews 1858-to date Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
8. Donald James Mackay, KT, FBA, 11th Baron Reay (1839-1921)[permanent dead link]
9. Congress Presidents 1869-2002 (PDF), February 2002, archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008, retrieved 10 May 2008
10. "No. 27886". The London Gazette. 16 February 1906. p. 1133.
11. Knights of the Thistle
12. "Glasgow University jubilee". The Times (36481). London. 14 June 1901. p. 10.
13. Ronald Breugelmans, Louis Couperus. Lion of the season. Raamsdonk, De Roofpers, 1982

External links

• Photograph of Lord Reay at the National Portrait Gallery
• Papers of Lord Reay from his time as Governor of Bombay [Mumbai] are held at ... ons/a-z/r/.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:46 am

Alfred Comyn Lyall
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19



Portrait of Alfred Comyn Lyall.

Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall, GCIE, KCB, PC, FBA (4 January 1835 – 10 April 1911) was a British civil servant, literary historian and poet.

Early life

He was born at Coulsdon in Surrey, the second son of Alfred Lyall and Mary Drummond Broadwood, daughter of James Shudi Broadwood. He was educated at Eton College. His elder brother, James Broadwood Lyall, was already serving in India, and this may have influenced him towards a career in that direction. He attended Haileybury College with that purpose in mind. In 1862 he married Cora Cloete, daughter of Peter Cloete. He died while on a sojourn to Farringford House, the family home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.[1]

Indian career

After Eton and Haileybury, Lyall joined the Indian Civil Service in 1856, and served a long career in India. He landed at Calcutta in January 1856. After four months of training he was posted as an Assistant Magistrate at Bulandshahr in Doab, a part of the North-West Provinces. He was there when the Indian Rebellion of 1857 occurred: his house was burned down and he was nearly killed when fleeing as his horse was shot from under him. He joined the Khaki Risala of Volunteers, an irregular European cavalry unit. He helped "pacify" Bulandshahr. In May 1858 he was transferred to Shahjehanpur where he helped "restore order". In April 1861 he returned to England for about eighteen months. On his return to India he was appointed Assistant Magistrate at Agra. In 1864 he was appointed district manager of Nagpur at Hoshungabad in the Central Provinces, before being appointed commissioner in Berar in 1867. He was now earning £3000 a year. He went on to become Home Secretary to the Government of India in 1873 and the governor-general's agent in the state of Rajputana the following year. His next post was as Foreign Secretary to Government of India from 1878 to 1881 (during this period he helped negotiate peace and a monarchy in Afghanistan). He was then appointed Lieutenant-Governor of North-West Provinces, and Chief Commissioner of Oudh (North-West Provinces) from 1882 to 1887 (he introduced a degree of local self-government to that area). He also founded the University of Allahabad and became its first chancellor. He was made an honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge in 1893.[2] He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1902, having served on the India Council [Council of India] from 1888 to 1902.

Lyall's ideas regarding the development and organisation of society in India were developed principally during the time he spent working in the Central Provinces, Berar and Rajputana between 1865 and 1878. He was, in the opinion of Crispin Bates, "one of the more programmatic of nineteenth century writers on Indian history" and his writings on the subject are "somewhat dubious".[3] Another historian, Clive Dewey, believes that

Lyall was generally recognised as one of the most brilliant civilians of his generation; he retired, after a dazzling career, as governor of the United Provinces. Cadres composed exclusively of action men do not produce savants like Lyall; still less do they turn them into heroes.[4]:13


Lyall was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1887, Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1881, and Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) in 1896. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor on 11 August 1902,[5] following an announcement of the King's intention to make this appointment in the 1902 Coronation Honours list published in June that year.[6]


His Verses Written in India was published in 1889. He wrote a number of other books on poetry. He wrote also books on Indian history, Warren Hastings, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. His literary achievements brought him advanced degrees, a D.C.L. from Oxford (1889) and an LL.D. from Cambridge (1891), an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge (1893), and membership in the British Academy (1902).

A more comprehensive list of his known publications is given below:

Asiatic Studies, Religious and Social: First Series. (John Murray. London, 1882)
• The Rise and Expansion of the British Dominion in India. (John Murray. London, 1893)
Warren Hastings (English Men of Action Series). (Macmillan & Co. London, 1889)[7]
• Verses Written in India. (Kegan Paul, Trench. London, 1889)
Asiatic Studies: Religious and Social in India, China & Asia: Second Series. (John Murray. London, 1899)
• Tennyson (English Men of Letters series). (Macmillan & Co. London, 1902)
The Life of the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, 2 vols. (John Murray. London, 1905)
• Etudes sur les moeurs religieuses et socials de l'Extrême-Orient. (French translation of Asiatic Studies, First & Second Series: Fontemoing, Paris. 1907–1908)
• Studies in Literature and History. (published posthumously by John Murray. London, 1915)


Lyall married Cornelia Arnoldina Cloete (c. 1836 – 1913) at Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk on 12 November 1862. They had four children (two sons and two daughters). Their second daughter Mary Evelina (1868–1948) married the Indian civil servant John Ontario Miller (1857–1943). Lyall was also guardian to Malcolm Lyall Darling, who was subsequently knighted.[4]:13, 102

Lyall's uncles included George Lyall (1779–1853), a chairman of the East India Company, and William Rowe Lyall (1788–1857), a dean of Canterbury (1845–1857). His brother James Broadwood Lyall (1838–1916) also served in the Indian Civil Service, becoming Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab.[8] His sister Mary Sybilla (1836–1891) was married to Francis James Holland (1828–1907) Canon at Canterbury Cathedral.

Inscription in memory of Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall


1. According to an inscription in St Agnes’ Church, Freshwater
2. "Lyall, Sir Alfred Comyn (LL891SA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
3. Bates, Crispin (1995). "Race, Caste and Tribe in Central India: the early origins of Indian anthropometry". In Robb, Peter (ed.). The Concept of Race in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 978-0-19-563767-0.
4. Dewey, Clive (1993). Anglo-Indian Attitudes: Mind of the Indian Civil Service. A. & C. Black. ISBN 978-0-82643-254-4.
5. "No. 27464". The London Gazette. 12 August 1902. p. 5174.
6. "The Coronation Honours". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 5.
7. Schulte, Ed. (1890). "Warren Hastings by Alfred Lyall; English Men of Action". Historische Zeitschrift. 65 (2): 365–366. JSTOR 27597463.
8. Mittal, Satish Chandra (1995). "Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall". India Distorted: A Study of British Historians on India. 2. M.D. Publications. p. 285. ISBN 978-8-17533-018-4.

Further reading

• Henry Mortimer Durand, The Life of Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall, 1913.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alfred Comyn Lyall.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:48 am

Privy Council of the United Kingdom
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19



Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council
Royal Coat of Arms
Abbreviation Privy Council, PC
Privy Council of England
Privy Council of Scotland
Privy Council of Ireland
Formation 1 May 1708
Legal status Non-executive advisory body
List of current members
Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II
Lord President of the Council
Jacob Rees-Mogg
Clerk of the Council
Richard Tilbrook
Privy Council Office

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, commonly known as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or simply the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

The Privy Council formally advises the sovereign on the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, and corporately (as Queen-in-Council) it issues executive instruments known as Orders in Council, which among other powers enact Acts of Parliament. The Council also holds the delegated authority to issue Orders of Council, mostly used to regulate certain public institutions. The Council advises the sovereign on the issuing of Royal Charters, which are used to grant special status to incorporated bodies, and city or borough status to local authorities. Otherwise, the Privy Council's powers have now been largely replaced by its executive committee, the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

Certain judicial functions are also performed by the Queen-in-Council, although in practice its actual work of hearing and deciding upon cases is carried out day-to-day by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Judicial Committee consists of senior judges appointed as Privy Counsellors: predominantly Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and senior judges from the Commonwealth. The Privy Council formerly acted as the High Court of Appeal for the entire British Empire (other than for the United Kingdom itself), and continues to hear appeals from the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories, and some independent Commonwealth states.


Further information: Privy Council of England, Privy Council of Scotland, English law, and Scots law
The Privy Council of the United Kingdom was preceded by the Privy Council of Scotland and the Privy Council of England. The key events in the formation of the modern Privy Council are given below:

In Anglo-Saxon England, Witenagemot was an early equivalent to the Privy Council of England. During the reigns of the Norman monarchs, the English Crown was advised by a royal court or curia regis, which consisted of magnates, ecclesiastics and high officials. The body originally concerned itself with advising the sovereign on legislation, administration and justice.[1] Later, different bodies assuming distinct functions evolved from the court. The courts of law took over the business of dispensing justice, while Parliament became the supreme legislature of the kingdom.[2] Nevertheless, the Council retained the power to hear legal disputes, either in the first instance or on appeal.[3] Furthermore, laws made by the sovereign on the advice of the Council, rather than on the advice of Parliament, were accepted as valid.[4] Powerful sovereigns often used the body to circumvent the Courts and Parliament.[4] For example, a committee of the Council—which later became the Court of the Star Chamber—was during the 15th century permitted to inflict any punishment except death, without being bound by normal court procedure.[5] During Henry VIII's reign, the sovereign, on the advice of the Council, was allowed to enact laws by mere proclamation. The legislative pre-eminence of Parliament was not restored until after Henry VIII's death.[6] Though the royal Council retained legislative and judicial responsibilities, it became a primarily administrative body.[7] The Council consisted of forty members in 1553,[8] but the sovereign relied on a smaller committee, which later evolved into the modern Cabinet.

By the end of the English Civil War, the monarchy, House of Lords, and Privy Council had been abolished. The remaining parliamentary chamber, the House of Commons, instituted a Council of State to execute laws and to direct administrative policy. The forty-one members of the Council were elected by the House of Commons; the body was headed by Oliver Cromwell, de facto military dictator of the nation. In 1653, however, Cromwell became Lord Protector, and the Council was reduced to between thirteen and twenty-one members, all elected by the Commons. In 1657, the Commons granted Cromwell even greater powers, some of which were reminiscent of those enjoyed by monarchs. The Council became known as the Protector's Privy Council; its members were appointed by the Lord Protector, subject to Parliament's approval.[9]

In 1659, shortly before the restoration of the monarchy, the Protector's Council was abolished.[9] Charles II restored the Royal Privy Council, but he, like previous Stuart monarchs, chose to rely on a small group of advisers.[10] Under George I even more power transferred to this committee. It now began to meet in the absence of the sovereign, communicating its decisions to him after the fact.

Thus, the British Privy Council, as a whole, ceased to be a body of important confidential advisers to the sovereign; the role passed to a committee of the Council, now known as the Cabinet.[11]

Origin of the term

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of the word privy in Privy Council is an obsolete meaning "of or pertaining exclusively to a particular person or persons, one's own";[12] hence the Council is personal to the sovereign. It is closely related to the word private, and derives from the French word privé.


Privy Council of a King by Thomas Rowlandson. 1815
"Up with the Holy Office"
"Seculum per Ignem" [Generation through fire]
"War to the Freemen"
Down with the Constitution.
[King] Yes, yes. [The King with his donkey ears and his hoof-feet stepping on "Magna Charta" and "Laws", underneath is pile of skulls; on either side demon dogs]

The sovereign, when acting on the Council's advice, is known as the King-in-Council or Queen-in-Council.[13] The members of the Council are collectively known as The Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council[14] (sometimes The Lords and others of ...).[15] The chief officer of the body is the Lord President of the Council, who is the fourth highest Great Officer of State,[16] a Cabinet member and normally, either the Leader of the House of Lords or of the House of Commons.[17] Another important official is the Clerk, whose signature is appended to all orders made in the Council.[18]

Both Privy Counsellor and Privy Councillor may be correctly used to refer to a member of the Council. The former, however, is preferred by the Privy Council Office,[19] emphasising English usage of the term Counsellor as "one who gives counsel", as opposed to "one who is a member of a council". A Privy Counsellor is traditionally said to be "sworn of" the Council after being received by the sovereign.[20]

The sovereign may appoint anyone a Privy Counsellor,[21] but in practice appointments are made only on the advice of Her Majesty's Government. The majority of appointees are senior politicians, including Ministers of the Crown, the few most senior figures of the Loyal Opposition, the Parliamentary leader of the third-largest party, a couple of the most senior figures in the devolved British governments and senior politicians from Commonwealth countries. Besides these, the Council includes a very few members of the Royal Family (usually the consort and heir apparent only), a few dozen judges from British and Commonwealth countries, a few clergy and a small number of senior civil servants.

There is no statutory limit to its membership:[22] at January 2012, there were about 600 members;[23] they had risen in number to over 650 by June 2015.[24]

However, the members have no automatic right to attend all Privy Council meetings, and only some are summoned regularly to meetings (in practice at the Prime Minister's discretion).

The Church of England's three senior bishops – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York[22] and the Bishop of London[25] – become Privy Counsellors upon appointment. Senior members of the Royal Family may also be appointed, but this is confined to the current consort and heir apparent and consort.[22] Prince Philip is at present the most senior member by length of service,[23] and he is the only current Privy Counsellor not appointed by the reigning monarch, having been sworn of the Council by her father. The Private Secretary to the Sovereign is always appointed a Privy Counsellor,[26] as are the Lord Chamberlain, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the Lord Speaker. Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,[27] judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales,[28] senior judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session (Scotland's highest law court)[29] and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland[30] also join the Privy Council ex officio.

The balance of Privy Counsellors is largely made up of politicians. The Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and the Leader of HM Opposition are traditionally sworn of the Privy Council upon appointment.[22] Leaders of major parties in the House of Commons, First Ministers of the devolved assemblies,[31] some senior Ministers outside Cabinet, and on occasion other respected senior parliamentarians are appointed Privy Counsellors.

Because Privy Counsellors are bound by oath to keep matters discussed at Council meetings secret, the appointment of the Leaders of Opposition Parties as Privy Counsellors allows the Government to share confidential information with them "on Privy Council terms".[22] This usually only happens in special circumstances, such as in matters of national security. For example, Tony Blair met Iain Duncan Smith (then Leader of HM Opposition) and Charles Kennedy (then Leader of the Liberal Democrats) "on Privy Council terms" to discuss the evidence for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.[32]

Although the Privy Council is primarily a British institution, officials from some other Commonwealth realms are also appointed.[22] By 2000, the most notable instance was New Zealand, whose Prime Minister, senior politicians, Chief Justice and Court of Appeal Justices were traditionally appointed Privy Counsellors.[33] However, appointments of New Zealand members have since been discontinued. The Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Governor-General and the Chief Justice of New Zealand are still accorded the style Right Honourable, but without membership of the Council.[34] Until the late 20th century, the Prime Ministers and Chief Justices of Canada and Australia were also appointed Privy Counsellors.[35][36] Canada also has its own Privy Council, the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (see below). Prime Ministers of some other Commonwealth countries that retain the Queen as their sovereign continue to be sworn of the Council.[22]

Privy Council oath and initiation rite

Viviana Radcliffe examined by the Earl of Salisbury and the Privy Council in the Star Chamber. Illustration by George Cruikshank from William Harrison Ainsworth's novel Guy Fawkes.

It was formerly regarded by the Privy Council as criminal, and possibly treasonous, to disclose the oath administered to Privy Counsellors as they take office.[37] However, the oath was officially made public by the Blair Government in a written parliamentary answer in 1998, as follows.[38] It had also been read out in full in the House of Lords during debate by Lord Rankeillour on 21 December 1932.[39]

You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto the Queen's Majesty, as one of Her Majesty's Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done, or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Honour, Crown, or Dignity Royal, but you will let and withstand the same to the uttermost of your Power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will, in all things to be moved, treated, and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all Matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors, you will not reveal it unto him, but will keep the same until such time as, by the Consent of Her Majesty, or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance unto the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.[38]

A form of this oath dates back to at least 1570.[40]

Privy counsellors can choose to affirm their allegiance in similar terms, should they prefer not to take a religious oath.[41] At the induction ceremony, the order of precedence places Anglicans (being those of the established church) before others.[42]

The initiation ceremony for newly appointed privy counsellors is held in private, and typically requires kneeling on a stool before the sovereign and then kissing hands.[43][44] According to The Royal Encyclopaedia: "The new privy counsellor or minister will extend his or her right hand, palm upwards, and, taking the Queen's hand lightly, will kiss it with no more than a touch of the lips."[44] The ceremony has caused difficulties for privy counsellors who advocate republicanism; Tony Benn said in his diaries that he kissed his own thumb, rather than the Queen's hand, while Jeremy Corbyn reportedly did not kneel.[44] Not all members of the privy council go through the initiation ceremony; appointments are frequently made by an Order in Council, although it is "rare for a party leader to use such a course."[45]

Term of office

Membership is conferred for life. Formerly, the death of a monarch ("demise of the Crown") brought an immediate dissolution of the Council, as all Crown appointments automatically lapsed.[46] By the 18th century, it was enacted that the Council would not be dissolved until up to six months after the demise of the Crown.[47] By convention, however, the sovereign would reappoint all members of the Council after its dissolution.[48][49] In practice, therefore, membership continued without a break.[22] In 1901, the law was changed to ensure that Crown Appointments became wholly unaffected by any succession of monarch.[50]

The sovereign, however, may remove an individual from the Privy Council. Former MP Elliot Morley was expelled on 8 June 2011, following his conviction on charges of false accounting in connection with the British parliamentary expenses scandal.[51][52] Before this, the last individual to be expelled from the Council against his will was Sir Edgar Speyer, Bt., who was removed on 13 December 1921[53][54] for collaborating with the enemy German Empire, during the First World War.[55]

Individuals can choose to resign, sometimes to avoid expulsion. Three members voluntarily left the Privy Council in the 20th century: John Profumo,[55] who resigned on 26 June 1963;[56][57] John Stonehouse,[55] who resigned on 17 August 1976[56][58] and Jonathan Aitken, who resigned on 25 June 1997[59] following allegations of perjury.[55][60]

So far, three Privy Counsellors have resigned in the 21st century, coincidentally all in the same year. On 4 February 2013, Chris Huhne announced that he would voluntarily leave the Privy Council after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.[61] Lord Prescott stood down on 6 July 2013, in protest against delays in the introduction of press regulation, expecting others to follow.[62] Denis MacShane resigned on 9 October 2013, before a High Court hearing at which he pleaded guilty of false accounting and was subsequently imprisoned.[63]


Queen Victoria convened her first Privy Council on the day of her accession in 1837.

Meetings of the Privy Council are normally held once each month wherever the sovereign may be in residence at the time.[64] The quorum, according to the Privy Council Office, is three,[65] though some statutes provide for other quorums (for example, section 35 of the Opticians Act 1989[66] provides for a lower quorum of two).

The sovereign attends the meeting, though his or her place may be taken by two or more Counsellors of State.[67][68] Under the Regency Acts 1937 to 1953,[69] Counsellors of State may be chosen from among the sovereign's spouse and the four individuals next in the line of succession who are over 21 years of age (18 for the heir to the throne).[68] Customarily the sovereign remains standing at meetings of the Privy Council, so that no other members may sit down,[19] thereby keeping meetings short. The Lord President reads out a list of Orders to be made, and the sovereign merely says "Approved".[70]

Few Privy Counsellors are required to attend regularly. The settled practice is that day-to-day meetings of the Council are attended by four Privy Counsellors, usually the relevant Minister to the matters pertaining.[67] The Cabinet Minister holding the office of Lord President of the Council, currently Jacob Rees-Mogg MP,[71] invariably presides.[72] Under Britain's modern conventions of parliamentary government and constitutional monarchy, every order made in Council is drafted by a Government Department and has already been approved by the Minister responsible – thus actions taken by the Queen-in-Council are formalities required for validation of each measure.[67]

Full meetings of the Privy Council are held only when the reigning sovereign announces his or her own engagement (which last happened on 23 November 1839,[73] in the reign of Queen Victoria); or when there is a demise of the Crown, either by the death or abdication of the monarch.[32] A full meeting of the Privy Council was also held on 6 February 1811, when George, Prince of Wales was sworn in as Prince Regent by Act of Parliament.[74] The current statutes regulating the establishment of a regency in the case of minority or incapacity of the sovereign also require any regents to swear their oaths before the Privy Council.[75]

In the case of a demise of the Crown, the Privy Council – together with the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London as well as representatives of Commonwealth realms – makes a proclamation declaring the accession of the new sovereign and receives an oath from the new monarch relating to the security of the Church of Scotland, as required by law. It is also customary for the new sovereign to make an allocution to the Privy Council on that occasion, and this Sovereign's Speech is formally published in The London Gazette. Any such Special Assembly of the Privy Council, convened to proclaim the accession of a new sovereign and witness the monarch's statutory oath, is known as an Accession Council. The last such meetings were held on 6 and 8 February 1952: as Elizabeth II was abroad when the last demise of the Crown took place, the Accession Council met twice, once to proclaim the sovereign (meeting of 6 February 1952), and then again after the new queen had returned to Britain, to receive from her the oath required by statute (meeting of 8 February 1952).[76]


The sovereign exercises executive authority by making Orders in Council upon the advice of the Privy Council. Orders-in-Council, which are drafted by the government rather than by the sovereign, are secondary legislation and are used to make government regulations and to make government appointments. Furthermore, Orders-in-Council are used to grant Royal Assent for Measures of the National Assembly for Wales,[77][78] and laws passed by the legislatures of British Crown dependencies.[79]

Distinct from Orders-in-Council are Orders of Council: the former are issued by the sovereign upon the advice of the Privy Council, whereas the latter are made by members of the Privy Council without requiring the sovereign's approval. They are issued under the specific authority of Acts of Parliament, and most commonly are used for the regulation of public institutions.[79]

The sovereign also grants Royal Charters on the advice of the Privy Council. Charters bestow special status to incorporated bodies; they are used to grant "chartered" status to certain professional, educational or charitable bodies, and sometimes also city and borough status to towns.[80] The Privy Council therefore deals with a wide range of matters, which also includes university and livery company statutes,[81] churchyards,[82] coinage and the dates of bank holidays.[64] The Privy Council formerly had sole power to grant academic degree-awarding powers and the title of university,[83] but following the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 these powers have been given to the Office for Students for educational institutions in England.[84]


Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Privy Council comprises a number of Standing Committees:[85]

• Baronetage Committee
• Cabinet of the United Kingdom
• Committee for the Affairs of Jersey and Guernsey
• Committee for the Purposes of the Crown Office Act 1877
• Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
• Scottish Universities Committee
• Universities Committee

The Baronetage Committee was established by a 1910 Order in Council, during Edward VII's reign, to scrutinise all succession claims (and thus reject doubtful ones) to be placed on the Roll of Baronets.[85]

The Committee for the Affairs of Jersey and Guernsey recommends approval of Channel Islands legislation.[85]

The Committee for the purposes of the Crown Office Act 1877 consists of the Lord Chancellor and Lord Privy Seal as well as a Secretary of State. The Committee, which last met in 1988, is concerned with the design and usage of wafer seals.[85]

The Scottish Universities Committee considers proposed amendments to the statutes of Scotland's four ancient universities.[85] The Universities Committee, which last met in 1995, considers petitions against statutes made by Oxford and Cambridge Universities and their colleges.[85]

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,[86] consists of senior judges who are Privy Counsellors.[87] The decision of the Committee is presented in the form of "advice" to the monarch, but in practice it is always followed by the sovereign (as Crown-in-Council), who formally approves the recommendation of the Judicial Committee.[88]

Within the United Kingdom, the Judicial Committee hears appeals from ecclesiastical courts, the Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports, prize courts and the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, appeals against schemes of the Church Commissioners and appeals under certain Acts of Parliament (e.g., the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975).[89] The Crown-in-Council was formerly the Supreme Appeal Court for the entire British Empire,[90] but a number of Commonwealth countries have now abolished the right to such appeals.[91] The Judicial Committee continues to hear appeals from several Commonwealth countries, from British Overseas Territories, Sovereign Base Areas and Crown dependencies.[89] The Judicial Committee had direct jurisdiction in cases relating to the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, but this was transferred to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in 2009.[87]

In addition to the Standing Committees, ad hoc Committees are notionally set up to consider and report on Petitions for Royal Charters of Incorporation and to approve changes to the bye-laws of bodies created by Royal Charter.[85]

Committees of Privy Counsellors are occasionally established to examine specific issues. Such Committees are independent of the Privy Council Office and therefore do not report directly to the Lord President of the Council.[85] Examples of such Committees include:[85]

• the Butler Committee – operation of the intelligence services in the runup to military intervention in Iraq
• the Chilcot Committee – for the Chilcot Inquiry on the use of intercept materials
• the Gibson Committee of enquiry set up in 2010 – to consider whether the UK security services were complicit in torture of detainees.

Notable orders

The Civil Service is formally governed by Privy Council Orders, as an exercise of the Royal prerogative. One such order implemented HM Government's ban of GCHQ staff from joining a Trade Union.[92][93] Another, the Civil Service (Amendment) Order in Council 1997, permitted the Prime Minister to grant up to three political advisers management authority over some Civil Servants.[94][95]

In the 1960s, the Privy Council made an order to evict the 2,000 inhabitants of the 65-island Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, in preparation for the establishment of a joint United States–United Kingdom military base on the largest outlying island, Diego Garcia, some 60 miles (97 km) distant. In 2000 the Court of Appeal ruled the 1971 Immigration Ordinance preventing resettlement unlawful. In 2004, the Privy Council, under Jack Straw's tenure, overturned the ruling. In 2006 the High Court of Justice found the Privy Council's decision to be unlawful. Sir Sydney Kentridge described the treatment of the Chagossians as "outrageous, unlawful and a breach of accepted moral standards": Justice Kentridge stated that there was no known precedent "for the lawful use of prerogative powers to remove or exclude an entire population of British subjects from their homes and place of birth",[94][96][97] and the Court of Appeal were persuaded by this argument, but the Law Lords (at that time the UK's highest law court) found its decision to be flawed and overturned the ruling by a 3–2 decision thereby upholding the terms of the Ordinance.[98]

Rights and privileges of members

The Privy Council as a whole is termed "The Most Honourable" whilst its members individually, the Privy Counsellors, are entitled to be styled "The Right Honourable".[99]

Each Privy Counsellor has the right of personal access to the sovereign. Peers were considered to enjoy this right individually; members of the House of Commons possess the right collectively. In each case, personal access may only be used to tender advice on public affairs.[100]

Only Privy Counsellors can signify royal consent to the examination of a Bill affecting the rights of the Crown.[101]

Members of the Privy Council are privileged to be given advance notice of any prime ministerial decision to commit HM Armed Forces in enemy action.[102]

Privy Counsellors have the right to sit on the steps of the Sovereign's Throne in the Chamber of the House of Lords during debates, a privilege which was shared with heirs apparent of those hereditary peers who were to become members of the House of Lords before Labour's partial Reform of the Lords in 1999, diocesan bishops of the Church of England yet to be Lords Spiritual, retired bishops who formerly sat in the House of Lords, the Dean of Westminster, Peers of Ireland, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.[103] While Privy Counsellors have the right to sit on the steps of the Sovereign's Throne they do so only as observers and are not allowed to participate in any of the workings of the House of Lords. Nowadays this privilege is rarely exercised. A notable recent instance of the exercising of this privilege was used by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and David Lidington, who watched the opening of the debate of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 in the House of Lords.[104]

Privy Counsellors are accorded a formal rank of precedence, if not already having a higher one.[105] At the beginning of each new Parliament, and at the discretion of the Speaker, those members of the House of Commons who are Privy Counsellors usually take the oath of allegiance before all other members except the Speaker and the Father of the House (who is the member of the House who has the longest continuous service).[106] Should a Privy Counsellor rise to speak in the House of Commons at the same time as another Honourable Member, the Speaker usually gives priority to the "Right Honourable" Member.[107] This parliamentary custom, however, was discouraged under New Labour after 1998, despite the Government not being supposed to exert influence over the Speaker.[108]

All those sworn of the Privy Council are accorded the style "The Right Honourable", but some nobles automatically have higher styles: non-royal dukes are styled "The Most Noble" and marquesses, "The Most Honourable". Modern custom as recommended by Debrett's is to use the post-nominal letters "PC" in a social style of address for peers who are Privy Counsellors.[109] For commoners, "The Right Honourable" is sufficient identification of their status as a Privy Counsellor and they do not use the post-nominal letters "PC".[33][109][110] The Ministry of Justice revises current practice of this convention from time to time.[111]

Other councils

The Privy Council is one of the four principal councils of the sovereign. The other three are the courts of law, the Commune Concilium (Common Council, or Parliament) and the Magnum Concilium (Great Council, or the assembly of all the Peers of the Realm). All are still in existence, or at least have never been formally abolished, but the Magnum Concilium has not been summoned since 1640 and was considered defunct even then.[100][112]

Several other Privy Councils have advised the sovereign. England and Scotland once had separate Privy Councils (the Privy Council of England and Privy Council of Scotland). The Acts of Union 1707 united the two countries into the Kingdom of Great Britain and in 1708 the Parliament of Great Britain abolished the Privy Council of Scotland.[113][114] Thereafter there was one Privy Council of Great Britain sitting in London.[115] Ireland, on the other hand, continued to have a separate Privy Council even after the Act of Union 1800. The Privy Council of Ireland was abolished in 1922, when the southern part of Ireland separated from the United Kingdom; it was succeeded by the Privy Council of Northern Ireland, which became dormant after the suspension of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972. No further appointments have been made since then, and only three appointees were still living as of November 2017.[116]

Canada has had its own Privy Council—the Queen's Privy Council for Canada—since 1867.[117] While the Canadian Privy Council is specifically "for Canada", the Privy Council discussed above is not "for the United Kingdom"; in order to clarify the ambiguity where necessary, the latter was traditionally referred to as the Imperial Privy Council. Equivalent organs of state in other Commonwealth realms, such as Australia and New Zealand, are called Executive Councils.[118][119]

See also

• List of Royal members of the Privy Council
• List of current Privy Counsellors
• List of longest-serving current Privy Counsellors
• List of senior members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom
• List of Privy Council Orders
• Committee of the Privy Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations
• Clerk to the Privy Council
• Court uniform and dress in the United Kingdom
• Historic list of Privy Counsellors
• Baronetage
• Burke's Peerage & Baronetage


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2. Dicey, p. 24.
3. Dicey, pp. 12–14.
4. Gay, p. 2.
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6. Maitland, p. 253.
7. Goodnow, p. 123
8. Maitland, p. 256.
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10. Warshaw, p. 7.
11. Gay and Rees, pp. 2–3.
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18. Brazier, p. 199, note 109.
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32. "So what is the Privy Council?". BBC. 18 February 2003. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
33. "The title "The Honourable" and the Privy Council". New Zealand Honours. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 3 July 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
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37. Hattersley, Roy (14 December 2000). "Let's abolish this absurdity". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 24 April 2010. Quoting those words from the Privy Council's oath is certainly an offence and possibly treason.
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39. "HL Deb Vol 86 cc520-35". Hansard. London: Parliament of the United Kingdom. 21 December 1932. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
40. Joseph Robson Tanner, Tudor Constitutional Documents: A.D. 1485-1603, with an Historical Commentary (Cambridge University Press, 1930), p. 225.
41. "Privy Counsellors - Glossary page". UK Parliament.
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43. Privy Council: Guide to its origins, powers and members, BBC News (8 October 2015).
44. Privy council: Jeremy Corbyn did not kneel for the Queen, Guardian (11 November 2015).
45. Wintour, Patrick (8 October 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn rejects formal privy council induction by Queen". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
46. Blackstone, I. 176.
47. The most recent enactment deferring dissolution was the Succession to the Crown Act 1707 (6 Ann. c. 41). Complete textas originally enacted. Text of the Succession to the Crown Act 1707 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from . Section VIII provided, "... the Privy Council of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors for the Kingdom of Great Britain, shall not be determined or dissolved by the death or demise of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors; but such Privy Council shall continue and act as such by the space of six months next after such demise, unless sooner determined by the next successor to whom the imperial Crown of this realm is limited and appointed to go, remain, and descend; ..." Despite becoming obsolete in 1901, this section remained on the statute book until it was repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1973 (c. 39), section 1(1) and Schedule 1 part I.
48. H. Cox, p. 389.
49. See, for example, the proclamation following the accession of Queen Victoria on the death of William IV: "By the Queen: A Proclamation: Requiring all Persons, being in Office of Authority or Government at the Decease of the late King, to proceed in the Execution of their respective Offices". The London Gazette. London: Francis Watts (19514): 1625–1626. 27 June 1837. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
50. The Demise of the Crown Act 1901 (1 Edw. 7 c. 5), "An Act to amend the Law relating to the Holding of Offices in case of the Demise of the Crown" (original text), Text of the Demise of the Crown Act 1901 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from . Section 1(1) provides, "The holding of any office under the Crown, whether within or without His Majesty's dominions, shall not be affected, nor shall any fresh appointment thereto be rendered necessary, by the demise of the Crown." The act came into force within six months of the death of Victoria and section 1(2) ensured that no offices were vacated on the subsequent accession of Edward VII. See also commentary in Appendix 2 of the report that preceded the 1973 Act: Law Commission, Scottish Law Commission (1972). Statute Law Revision: Fourth Report. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. 30–55. ISBN 0-10-151080-2. Retrieved 7 June 2010. (LC 49, SLC 26, Cmnd 5108).
51. "Morley's Privy Council expulsion". The Independent. 9 June 2011.
52. "No. 59820". The London Gazette. 14 June 2011. p. 11257.
53. Rayment, Leigh (1 April 2008). "Privy Counsellors 1836–1914". Retrieved 17 September 2008. Sir Edgar Speyer (struck off 13 Dec 1921)
54. "No. 32547". The London Gazette. 12 December 1921. p. 10123.
55. Staff reporter (1997). "Queen Accepts Aitken's Resignation". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 February2008. The Queen has accepted Jonathan Aitken's resignation from the Privy Council. [...] Two former disgraced Ministers, John Profumo and John Stonehouse, have also resigned from the Council, but no one has been thrown off since 1921 when Sir Edgar Speyer was struck off for collaborating with the Germans in the First World War.
56. Rayment, Leigh (2 April 2008). "Privy Counsellors 1915–1968". Retrieved 17 September 2008. John Dennis Profumo (resigned 26 Jun 1963) [...] John Thomson Stonehouse (resigned 17 Aug 1976)
57. "No. 43041". The London Gazette. 28 June 1963. p. 5533.
58. "No. 46994". The London Gazette. 19 August 1976. p. 11347.
59. Rayment, Leigh (10 September 2008). "Privy Counsellors 1969–present". Retrieved 17 September 2008. Jonathan William Patrick Aitken (resigned 25 June 1997)
60. "No. 54817". The London Gazette. 26 July 1997. p. 4381.
61. "Huhne admits speeding points lie". 4 February 2013 – via
62. "Prescott resigns from Privy Council". 6 July 2013 – via
63. "London Gazette No 60653". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
64. "Queen and Privy Council". Monarchy Today. Royal Household. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
65. "Privy Council website". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
66. "Section 35, Opticians Act 1989". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
67. Gay and Rees, p. 4.
68. "Counsellors of State". Monarchy Today. Royal Household. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
69. "No. 48172". The London Gazette. 29 April 1980. p. 6361.
70. Brazier, p. 199.
71. "Lord President of the Council". Retrieved 25 July 2019.
72. "Roles and Responsibilities of the Lord President". Privy Council Office. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
73. The Times, 25 November 1839, p. 5.
74. "Gazette of 7 February 1811". London Gazette. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
75. Regency Act 1937, Sect. 2.2 and 4.1.
76. The Times, 7 February 1952, p. 6; The Times, 8 February 1952, p. 6.
77. Participation, Expert. "Government of Wales Act 2006".
78. Order in Council dated 9 July 2008, approving The NHS Redress (Wales) Measure 2008, the first Measure to be passed by the Assembly on 6 May 2008. Office of Public Sector Information.
79. House of Commons Information Office (May 2008). "Statutory Instruments" (PDF). ISSN 0144-4689. Fact Sheet No.L7 Ed 3.9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
80. "Royal Charter". Privy Council Office. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
81. Gay and Rees, p. 5.
82. H. Cox, p. 393.
83. "Degree awarding powers and university title". QAA. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 16 October2017.
84. Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (2017 c. 29 ss. 42–60). Text of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 as originally enacted or made within the United Kingdom, from Retrieved 9 April 2019.
85. Privy Council Committees, released as part of a response from Privy Council Office (United Kingdom) to a request made using WhatDoTheyKnow, accessed 16 January 2015.
86. N. Cox, Abolition or Retention of the Privy Council, Sect. 2.
87. Gay and Rees, p. 6.
88. Maitland, p. 463.
89. "Role of the JCPC". Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
90. Iwi, p. 128.
91. N. Cox, Abolition or Retention of the Privy Council, Sect. 11.
92. "Do we need the Privy Council?". BBC News. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
93. ThirdWay—Google Boeken. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
94. BBC Radio 4—What's the Point of ... The Privy Council, 12 May 2009
95. "Civil Service Order in Council 1995 (as amended between 1995 and 2005)" (PDF). Civil Service Commissioners. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
96. Secretary of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs v Bancoult, R (on the application of) 2007 EWCA Civ 498 (23 May 2007)
97. BBC—Court victory for Chagos families, 11 May 2006
98. "Judgments—R (On The Application of Bancoult) V Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2014.
99. "Privy Council members". Privy Council Office. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
100. N. Cox, Peerage Privileges, pp. 25–6.
101. Hayter, Sect. 7.177.
102. "Jones informed of Syria drone strike". BBC. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
103. Hayter, Sect. 1.37.
104. "Respect Brexit decision, peers urged". BBC. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
105. Blackstone, I. 318.
106. Walker, A; Wood, E (14 February 2000). "The Parliamentary Oath" (PDF). Research Paper 00/17. House of Commons Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2000. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
107. "Privy Council". BBC. 19 May 1998. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
108. "Modernisation of the House of Commons—Fourth Report: Precedence for Privy Counsellors". Modernisation of the House of Commons Select Committee. 4 March 1998. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
109. "Privy Counsellors and Crown Appointments". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
110. "Letters after the name". Debrett's. Retrieved 13 September 2017. In a social style of address for a peer who is a privy counsellor it is advisable that the letters PC should follow the name. For all other members of the Privy Council the prefix ‘Rt Hon’ before the name is sufficient identification.
111. "Peers". Forms of address. Ministry of Justice. 2008. Archived from the original on 27 August 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
112. Blackstone, I. Chapter 5.
113. "Privy Council Records". National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
114. O'Gorman, Frank (2016). The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688-1832. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 9781472507747.
115. Black, Jeremy (1993). The politics of Britain, 1688-1800. Manchester University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0719037611.
116. Rayment, Leigh (27 May 2014). "Privy Counsellors—Ireland". Retrieved 13 February 2015.
117. "The Queen's Privy Council for Canada". Privy Council Office. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
118. "Federal Executive Council Handbook" (PDF). Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. June 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
119. "Executive Council". New Zealand Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the originalon 3 July 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.


• Blackstone, W (1838). Commentaries on the Laws of England. New York: W.E. Dean.
• Brazier, R (1997). Ministers of the Crown. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-825988-3.
• Cox, H (1854). The British Commonwealth, Or, A Commentary on the Institutions and Principles of British Government. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.
• Cox, N (2002). "The Abolition or Retention of the Privy Council as the Final Court of Appeal for New Zealand: Conflict Between National Identity and Legal Pragmatism". New Zealand Universities Law Review. 20. doi:10.2139/ssrn.420373.
• Cox, N (2008). "Peerage Privileges since the House of Lords Act 1999". Selected Works of Noel Cox. Berkeley Electronic Press. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
• Dicey, A (1887). The Privy Council: the Arnold prize essay, 1860. London.
• Gay, O; Rees, A (2005). "The Privy Council" (PDF). House of Commons Library Standard Note. SN/PC/2708. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
• Goodnow, F (1897). Comparative Administrative Law: an Analysis of the Administrative Systems, National and Local, of the United States, England, France and Germany. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 978-1-58477-622-2.
• Hayter, P (2007). Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords (21st ed.). Archived from the original on 19 November 2008.
• Iwi, E (1937). "A Plea for an Imperial Privy Council and Judicial Committee". Transactions of the Grotius Society. Transactions of the Grotius Society, Vol. 23. 23: 127–146. JSTOR 742946.
• Maitland, F (1911). The constitutional history of England: a course of lectures. Cambridge.
• Michael Pulman (1971) The Elizabethan Privy Council in the Fifteen Seventies (Berkeley: University of California Press)
• Warshaw, S (1996). Powersharing: White House—Cabinet relations in the modern presidency. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-2869-9.
• David Rogers (2015) By Royal Appointment : Tales from the Privy Council—the unknown arm of Government, London : Biteback Publishing.

External links

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More spoken articles

• Privy Council Office homepage
• Judicial Committee of the Privy Council homepage
• BBC: Do we need the Privy Council?; BBC Radio 4: Whats the point of the Privy Council?
• BBC: Privy Council: Guide to its origins, powers and members, 8 October 2015
• "Privy Counsellors". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 12 May 2009. col. 998–1013.
• Guardian Comment - Roy Hattersley on the Privy Council
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Order of the Bath
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/11/19



The Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Civil Knight Grand Cross Star of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath: "Rays of silver issuing from a centre and charged with three Imperial Crowns, one and two, within a circle gules whereon inscribed the motto of the Order in gold"[1]
Awarded by Sovereign of the United Kingdom
Type: Order of chivalry
Established: 18 May 1725; 294 years ago
Motto: TRIA JUNCTA IN UNO ("three joined in one")
and Ich dien ["I serve"] (Military Division)
Awarded for: Service, at the monarch's faith
Status: Currently constituted
Founder: George I of Great Britain
Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
Great Master: Prince Charles
Grades: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCB; Knight/Dame Commander (KCB/DCB); Companion (CB)
Former grades Knight Companion (KB)
Next (higher): Order of St Patrick
Next (lower): Order of the Star of India
Ribbon bar of the Order of the Bath

Coat of arms of the British monarch as sovereign of the Order of the Bath

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath)[2] is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725.[3] The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath".[4] George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order".[5] He did not (as is commonly believed) revive the Order of the Bath,[6] since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.[7][8]

The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently Charles, Prince of Wales,[9] and three Classes of members:[10]

• Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
• Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)
• Companion (CB)

Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division.[11] Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class, Knight Companion (KB), which no longer exists.[12] Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants.[13][14] Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.[15]

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).[16]


Knights of the Bath

A painting by Edmund Leighton depicting an investiture of a fictional knight receiving the accolade

In the Middle Ages, knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification)[17] during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight.[18] It was this accolade which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword,[19] or "dubbing" him, as is still done today. In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families.[17]

Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, KB, with sash, c.1630.

From the coronation of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations, investitures of the Prince of Wales or Royal dukes, and royal weddings,[20] and the knights so created became known as Knights of the Bath.[17] Knights Bachelor continued to be created with the simpler form of ceremony. The last occasion on which Knights of the Bath were created was the coronation of Charles II in 1661.[21]

From at least 1625,[22] and possibly from the reign of James I, Knights of the Bath were using the motto Tria juncta in uno (Latin for "Three joined in one"), and wearing as a badge three crowns within a plain gold oval.[23] These were both subsequently adopted by the Order of the Bath; a similar design of badge is still worn by members of the Civil Division. Their symbolism however is not entirely clear. The 'three joined in one' may be a reference to the kingdoms of England, Scotland and either France or Ireland, which were held (or claimed in the case of France) by English and, later, British monarchs. This would correspond to the three crowns in the badge.[24] Another explanation of the motto is that it refers to the Holy Trinity.[13] Nicolas quotes a source (although he is sceptical of it) who claims that prior to James I the motto was Tria numina juncta in uno (three powers/gods joined in one), but from the reign of James I the word numina was dropped and the motto understood to mean Tria [regna] juncta in uno (three kingdoms joined in one).[25]

Foundation of the order

The prime mover in the establishment of the Order of the Bath was John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, England's highest heraldic officer. Sir Anthony Wagner, a recent holder of the office of Garter, wrote of Anstis's motivations:

It was Martin Leake's[26] opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against the heralds that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense. It is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the Earl Marshal, which was not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship already established, but also to Sir Robert Walpole and the Whig ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the Pretender and the circumstances under which he came into office ... The main object of Anstis's next move, the revival or institution of the Order of the Bath was probably that which it in fact secured, of ingratiating him with the all-powerful Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole.[27]

Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister, who used the Order of the Bath as a source of political patronage

The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed considerably from the modern honours system in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of deserving accomplishments. The only honours available at that time were hereditary (not life) peerages and baronetcies, knighthoods and the Order of the Garter (or the Order of the Thistle for Scots), none of which were awarded in large numbers (the Garter and the Thistle are limited to 24 and 16 living members respectively.) The political environment was also significantly different from today:

The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political world. The King was limited in that he had to choose Ministers who could command a majority in Parliament, but the choice remained his. The leader of an administration still had to command the King's personal confidence and approval. A strong following in Parliament depended on being able to supply places, pensions, and other marks of Royal favour to the government's supporters.[28]

The attraction of the new Order for Walpole was that it would provide a source of such favours to strengthen his political position. He made sure that most of the 36 new honorees were peers and MPs who would provide him with useful connections.[29][30] George I having agreed to Walpole's proposal, Anstis was commissioned to draft statutes for the Order of the Bath. As noted above, he adopted the motto and badge used by the Knights of the Bath, as well as the colour of the riband and mantle, and the ceremony for creating a knight. The rest of the statutes were mostly based on those of the Order of the Garter, of which he was an officer (as Garter King of Arms).[31] The Order was founded by letters patent under the Great Seal dated 18 May 1725, and the statutes issued the following week.[32][33]

The Order initially consisted of the Sovereign, a Prince of the blood Royal as Principal Knight, a Great Master and thirty-five Knights Companion.[34] Seven officers (see below) were attached to the Order. These provided yet another opportunity for political patronage, as they were to be sinecures at the disposal of the Great Master, supported by fees from the knights. Despite the fact that the Bath was represented as a military Order, only a few military officers were among the initial appointments (see List of Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath). They may be broken down into categories as follows (note that some are classified in more than one category):[35]

• Members of the House of Commons: 14
• The Royal Household or sinecures: 11
• Diplomats: 4
• The Walpole family, including the Prime Minister: 3
• Naval and Army Officers: 3
• Irish Peers: 2
• Country gentlemen with Court Appointments: 2

Admiral Lord Rodney (appointed a Knight Companion in 1780) wearing the riband and star of the Order

Sir Alexander Milne (1808–1896) was concurrently KCB (civil division) and GCB (military division); he is pictured wearing both sets of insignia.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Callaghan wearing the insignia of a military Companion of the Order

The majority of the new Knights Companions were knighted by the King and invested with their ribands and badges on 27 May 1725.[36] Although the statutes set out the full medieval ceremony which was to be used for creating knights, this was not performed, and indeed was possibly never intended to be, as the original statutes contained a provision[37] allowing the Great Master to dispense Knights Companion from these requirements. The original knights were dispensed from all the medieval ceremonies with the exception of the Installation, which was performed in the Order's Chapel, the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey, on 17 June. This precedent was followed until 1812, after which the Installation was also dispensed with, until its revival in the twentieth century.[38] The ceremonies however remained part of the Statutes until 1847.[39]

Although the initial appointments to the Order were largely political, from the 1770s appointments to the Order were increasingly made for naval, military or diplomatic achievements. This is partly due to the conflicts Britain was engaged in over this period.[21][40] The Peninsular War resulted in so many deserving candidates for the Bath that a statute was issued allowing the appointment of Extra Knights in time of war, who were to be additional to the numerical limits imposed by the statutes, and whose number was not subject to any restrictions.[41] Another statute, this one issued some 80 years earlier, had also added a military note to the Order. Each knight was required, under certain circumstances, to supply and support four men-at-arms for a period not exceeding 42 days in any year, to serve in any part of Great Britain.[42] This company was to be captained by the Great Master, who had to supply four trumpeters, and was also to appoint eight officers for this body, however the statute was never invoked.[36]

Restructuring in 1815

In January 1815, after the end of the Peninsular War, the Prince Regent (later George IV) expanded the Order of the Bath "to the end that those Officers who have had the opportunities of signalising themselves by eminent services during the late war may share in the honours of the said Order, and that their names may be delivered down to remote posterity, accompanied by the marks of distinction which they have so nobly earned."[12]

The Order was now to consist of three classes: Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander, and Companions. The existing Knights Companion (of which there were 60)[43] became Knight Grand Cross; this class was limited to 72 members, of which twelve could be appointed for civil or diplomatic services. The military members had to be of the rank of at least Major-General or Rear Admiral. The Knights Commander were limited to 180, exclusive of foreign nationals holding British commissions, up to ten of whom could be appointed as honorary Knights Commander. They had to be of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or Post-Captain. The number of Companions was not specified, but they had to have received a medal or been mentioned in despatches since the start of the war in 1803. A list of about 500 names was subsequently published.[44] Two further officers were appointed, an "Officer of arms attendant on the Knights Commanders and Companions", and a "Secretary appertaining to the Knights Commanders and Companions"[12] The large increase in numbers caused some complaints that such an expansion would reduce the prestige of the Order.[13]

The Victorian era

In 1847, Queen Victoria issued new statutes eliminating all references to an exclusively military Order. As well as removing the word 'Military' from the full name of the Order, this opened up the grades of Knight Commander and Companion to civil appointments, and the Military and Civil Divisions of the Order were established. New numerical limits were imposed, and the opportunity also taken to regularise the 1815 expansion of the Order.[45][46] The 1847 statutes also abolished all the medieval ritual, however they did introduce a formal Investiture ceremony, conducted by the Sovereign wearing the Mantle and insignia of the Order, attended by the Officers and as many GCBs as possible, in their Mantles.[47]

In 1859 a further edition of the Statutes was issued; the changes related mainly to the costs associated with the Order. Prior to this date it had been the policy that the insignia (which were provided by the Crown) were to be returned on the death of the holder; the exception had been foreigners who had been awarded honorary membership. In addition foreigners had usually been provided with stars made of silver and diamonds, whereas ordinary members had only embroidered stars. The decision was made to award silver stars to all members, and only require the return of the Collar. The Crown had also been paying the fees due to the officers of the Order for members who had been appointed for the services in the recent war. The fees were abolished and replaced with a salary of approximately the same average value. The offices of Genealogist and Messenger were abolished, and those of Registrar and Secretary combined.[48]

The 20th century

Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns in his dress uniform, wearing the star, ribbon, and badge of a military Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

In 1910, after his accession to the throne, George V ordered the revival of the Installation ceremony,[21] perhaps prompted by the first Installation ceremony of the more junior Order of St Michael and St George, held a few years earlier,[49] and the building of a new chapel for the Order of the Thistle in 1911.[50] The Installation ceremony took place on 22 July 1913 in the Henry VII Chapel,[51][52] and Installations have been held at regular intervals since.

Prior to the 1913 Installation it was necessary to adapt the chapel to accommodate the larger number of members. An appeal was made to the members of the Order, and following the Installation a surplus remained. A Committee was formed from the Officers to administer the 'Bath Chapel Fund', and over time this committee has come to consider other matters than purely financial ones.[53]

Another revision of the statutes of the Order was undertaken in 1925, to consolidate the 41 additional statutes which had been issued since the 1859 revision.[54]

Women were admitted to the Order in 1971.[21] In the 1971 New Year Honours, Jean Nunn became the first woman admitted to the order.[55] In 1975, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, an aunt of Elizabeth II, became the first (and to date only) woman to reach the highest rank, Dame Grand Cross.[21] Princess Alice (née Douglas-Montagu-Scott) was a direct descendant of the Order's first Great Master,[56] and her husband, who had died the previous year, had also held that office.



The British Sovereign is the Sovereign of the Order of the Bath. As with all honours except those in the Sovereign's personal gift,[57] the Sovereign makes all appointments to the Order on the advice of the Government.

Great Master

Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, Great Master 1843–1861. During the nineteenth century, Knights Grand Cross wore their mantles over imitations of seventeenth-century dress. They now wear them over contemporary attire.

The next-most senior member of the Order is the Great Master, of which there have been nine:

• 1725–1749: John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu[58][59]
• 1749–1767: (Vacant)
• 1767–1827: Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
• 1827–1830: Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (later King William IV)
• 1830–1837: (Vacant)
• 1837–1843: Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex[60][61]
• 1843–1861: Albert, Prince Consort[62][63]
• 1861–1897: (Vacant)
• 1897–1901: Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII)[64]
• 1901–1942: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn[65]
• 1942–1974: Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester[66]
• 1974–present: Charles, Prince of Wales.[9]

Originally a Prince of the Blood Royal, as the Principal Knight Companion, ranked next after the sovereign.[67] This position was joined to that of the Great Master in the statutes of 1847.[68] The Great Master and Principal Knight is now either a descendant of George I or "some other exalted personage"; the holder of the office has custody of the seal of the order and is responsible for enforcing the statutes.[11]


Sash and star of Grand Cross, civil division

The statutes also provide for the following:[21]

• 120 Knights or Dames Grand Cross (GCB) (of whom the Great Master is the First and Principal)
• 355 Knights Commander (KCB) or Dames Commander (DCB)
• 1,925 Companions (CB)

Regular membership is limited to citizens of the United Kingdom and of other Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is Sovereign. Appointees are usually officers of the armed forces or senior civil servants, such as permanent secretaries.[13]

Warrant appointing Italian Captain (later Admiral) Ernesto Burzagli as an honorary Companion of the Order

Members appointed to the Civil Division must "by their personal services to [the] crown or by the performance of public duties have merited ... royal favour."[69] Appointments to the Military Division are restricted by the minimum rank of the individual. GCBs hold the rank of admiral in the Royal Navy, general in the British Army or Royal Marines, or air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.[15] KCBs must at least hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general in the Army or Marines, or air marshal.[70] CBs tend be of the rank of rear admiral, major general in the Army, Royal Navy or Royal Marines, or air vice marshal in the Royal Air Force, and in addition must have been Mentioned in Despatches for distinction in a command position in a combat situation, although the latter is no longer a requirement. Non-line officers (e.g. engineers, medics) may be appointed only for meritorious service in wartime.[71]

Admiral Sir George Zambellas KCB (military division)

Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the Queen and foreigners may be made Honorary Members.[72] Queen Elizabeth II has established the custom of awarding an honorary GCB to visiting (republican) heads of state, for example Gustav Heinemann and Josip Broz Tito (in 1972),[73] Ronald Reagan (in 1989), Lech Wałęsa (in 1991),[21] Censu Tabone (in 1992), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, George H. W. Bush (in 1993),[74] Nicolas Sarkozy (in 2008),[75] and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (in 2012), as well as Turkish President Abdullah Gül,[76] Slovenian President Danilo Türk,[77] Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and South African President Jacob Zuma[78] (Royal Heads of State are instead usually made Stranger Companions of the Order of the Garter). Foreign generals are also often given honorary appointments to the Order, for example: Marshal Ferdinand Foch and Marshal Joseph Joffre during the First World War; Marshal Georgy Zhukov,[79] King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur during the Second World War;[80] and General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Colin Powell after the Gulf War.[81][82] A more controversial member of the Order was Robert Mugabe, whose honour was stripped by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."[83]

Honorary members do not count towards the numerical limits in each class.[84] In addition the statutes allow the Sovereign to exceed the limits in time of war or other exceptional circumstances.[85]


The Order of the Bath now has six officers:[86]

• Dean: Dean of Westminster (ex officio), Very Rev. John Hall,
• King of Arms: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB[87]
• Registrar and Secretary: Rear Admiral Iain Henderson CB CBE[88][89]
• Deputy Secretary: Alexander Matheson of Matheson, yr.
• Genealogist: Thomas Woodcock CVO
• Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod: Major General James Gordon CB CBE[90]

The office of Dean is held by the Dean of Westminster. The King of Arms, responsible for heraldry, is known as Bath King of Arms; he is not, however, a member of the College of Arms, like many heralds. The Order's Usher is known as the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod; he does not, unlike his Order of the Garter equivalent (the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod) perform any duties in the House of Lords.

There were originally seven officers, each of whom was to receive fees from the Knights Companion both on appointment and annually thereafter. The office of Messenger was abolished in 1859.[48] The office of Genealogist was abolished at the same time, but revived in 1913.[91] The offices of Registrar and Secretary were formally merged in 1859, although the two positions had been held concurrently for the previous century.[92] An Officer of Arms and a Secretary for the Knights Commander and Companions were established in 1815,[12] but abolished in 1847.[93] The office of Deputy Secretary was created in 1925.

Under the Hanoverian kings certain of the officers also held heraldic office. The office of Blanc Coursier Herald of Arms was attached to that of the Genealogist, Brunswick Herald of Arms to the Gentleman Usher, and Bath King of Arms was also made Gloucester King of Arms with heraldic jurisdiction over Wales.[94] This was the result of a move by Anstis to give the holders of these sinecures greater security; the offices of the Order of the Bath were held at the pleasure of the Great Master, while appointments to the heraldic offices were made by the King under the Great Seal and were for life.[95]

Habit and insignia

An embroidered representation, or "chaton", of the star of the civil division of the Order

The insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the civil division of the order

Mantle of the Order

The insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the military division of the order

Star and neck badge of a Knight Commander of the civil division of the order

Members of the Order wear elaborate costumes on important occasions (such as its quadrennial installation ceremonies and coronations), which vary by rank:

The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of crimson satin lined with white taffeta. On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.[96]

The hat, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, is made of black velvet; it includes an upright plume of feathers.[97]

The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold and weighs 30 troy ounces (933 g). It consists of depictions of nine imperial crowns and eight sets of flowers (roses for England, thistles for Scotland and shamrocks for Ireland), connected by seventeen silver knots.[96]

On lesser occasions, simpler insignia are used: The star is used only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander. Its style varies by rank and division; it is worn pinned to the left breast:

The star for military Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of a Maltese Cross on top of an eight-pointed silver star; the star for military Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. Each bears in the centre three crowns surrounded by a red ring bearing the motto of the Order in gold letters. The circle is flanked by two laurel branches and is above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien (older German for "I serve") in gold letters.[96]

The star for civil Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of an eight-pointed silver star, without the Maltese cross; the star for civil Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. The design of each is the same as the design of the military stars, except that the laurel branches and the words Ich dien are excluded.[96]

The badge varies in design, size and manner of wearing by rank and division. The Knight and Dame Grand Cross' badge is larger than the Knight and Dame Commander's badge, which is in turn larger than the Companion's badge;[98] however, these are all suspended on a crimson ribbon. Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a riband or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.[96] Knights Commander and male Companions wear the badge from a ribbon worn around the neck. Dames Commander and female Companions wear the badge from a bow on the left side:

The military badge is a gold Maltese Cross of eight points, enamelled in white. Each point of the cross is decorated by a small gold ball; each angle has a small figure of a lion. The centre of the cross bears three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock, emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side. Both emblems are surrounded by a red circular ring bearing the motto of the Order, which are in turn flanked by two laurel branches, above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien in gold letters.[96]

The civil badge is a plain gold oval, bearing three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle and a shamrock, emanating from a sceptre on the reverse side; both emblems are surrounded by a ring bearing the motto of the Order.[96]

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or eveningwear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar.[96]

The collars and badges of Knights and Dames Grand Cross are returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood upon the decease of their owners. All other insignia may be retained by their owners.[96]

Star, Knight Grand Cross Military Division

Neck badge, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935

Star, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis

Star and neck Badge awarded to Sir Charles Taylor du Plat

Medal Ribbon of the Order of the Bath


Westminster Abbey with a procession of Knights of the Bath, by Canaletto, 1749

The Chapel of the Order is the Henry VII Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey.[99] Every four years, an installation ceremony, presided over by the Great Master, and a religious service are held in the Chapel; the Sovereign attends every alternate ceremony. The last such service was Thursday, 24 May 2018, in the Order's 293rd year, and was presided over by the Prince of Wales[100] The Sovereign and each knight who has been installed is allotted a stall in the choir of the chapel.

As there are a limited number of stalls in the Chapel, only the most senior Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed. A stall made vacant by the death of a military Knight Grand Cross is offered to the next most senior uninstalled military GCB, and similarly for vacancies among civil GCBs.[99] Waits between admission to the Order and installation may be very long; for instance, Marshal of the Air Force Lord Craig of Radley was created a Knight Grand Cross in 1984, but was not installed until 2006.[21]

Above each stall, the occupant's heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame's rank (if she is a peer or member of the Royal family) is used.[99]

Above the crest or coronet, the knight's or dame's heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order.

Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm, mantling and crest (or coronet or crown) are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights (and now Dames) throughout history.

When the grade of Knight Commander was established in 1815 the regulations specified that they too should have a banner and stall plate affixed in the chapel.[12] This was never implemented (despite some of the KCBs paying the appropriate fees) primarily due to lack of space,[101] although the 1847 statutes allow all three classes to request the erection of a plate in the chapel bearing the member's name, date of nomination, and (for the two higher classes) optionally the coat of arms.[102]

Precedence and privileges

Coat of arms of the Marquess of Carisbrooke (1886–1960) with the circlet and collar as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Coat of arms of the Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Members of the Order of the Bath are assigned positions in the order of precedence.[103] Wives of male members also feature on the order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special precedence. Generally, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.)

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander prefix "Sir", and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commander prefix "Dame", to their forenames.[104] Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary foreign members and clergymen do not receive the accolade of knighthood, and so are not entitled to the prefix "Sir", unless the former subsequently become Commonwealth citizens.

Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCB"; Knights Commander use "KCB"; Dames Commander use "DCB"; Companions use "CB".[105]

Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters.[106] Furthermore, they may encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a red circle bearing the motto) with the badge pendant thereto and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter.

Knights and Dames Commander and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, around their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet. Members of the Military division may encompass the circlet with "two laurel branches issuant from an escrol azure inscribed Ich dien", as appears on the badge. Members of the Order of the Bath and their children are able to be married in Westminster Abbey in London.[107]


It is possible for membership in the Order to be revoked. Under the 1725 statutes the grounds for this were heresy, high treason, or fleeing from battle out of cowardice. Knights Companion could in such cases be degraded at the next Chapter meeting. It was then the duty of the Gentleman Usher to "pluck down the escocheon [i.e. stallplate] of such knight and spurn it out of the chapel" with "all the usual marks of infamy".[108]

Only two people were ever degraded – Lord Cochrane in 1813 and General Sir Eyre Coote in 1816, both for political reasons, rather than any of the grounds given in the statute. Lord Cochrane was subsequently reinstated, but Coote died a few years after his degradation.[109]

Under Queen Victoria's 1847 statutes a member "convicted of treason, cowardice, felony, or any infamous crime derogatory to his honour as a knight or gentleman, or accused and does not submit to trial in a reasonable time, shall be degraded from the Order by a special ordinance signed by the sovereign". The Sovereign was to be the sole judge, and also had the power to restore such members.[110]

The situation today is that membership may be cancelled or annulled, and the entry in the register erased, by an ordinance signed by the Sovereign and sealed with the seal of the Order, on the recommendation of the appropriate Minister. Such cancellations may be subsequently reversed.[111]

In 1923 the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross, by King George V. Mussolini was stripped of his GCB in 1940, after he had declared war on the UK.[112]

William Pottinger, a senior civil servant, lost both his status of CB and Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 1975 when he was gaoled for corruptly receiving gifts from the architect John Poulson.[113]

Romanian president Nicolae Ceauşescu was stripped of his honorary GCB status by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 December 1989, the day before his execution. Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, was stripped of his honorary GCB status by the Queen, on the advice of the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."

Vicky Pryce, former wife of Chris Huhne, was stripped of her CB by Queen Elizabeth II on 30 July 2013, following her conviction for perverting the course of justice.[114]

Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross

• Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
• Grand Master: Charles, Prince of Wales

Knights and Dames Grand Cross
Military rank (if any) / Name / Post-nominals / Year appointed

Air Chief Marshal Sir David Evans GCB CBE 1979
The Lord Armstrong of Ilminster GCB CVO 1983
Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Craig of Radley GCB OBE 1984
General Sir George Cooper GCB MC DL 1984
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Peter Harding GCB 1988
Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE 1988
Sir Clive Whitmore GCB CVO 1988
Sir Peter Middleton GCB 1989
Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick Hine GCB GBE 1989
Sir William Heseltine GCB GCVO AC QSO PC 1990
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst GCB DL 1991
Air Chief Marshal Sir David Parry-Evans GCB CBE 1991
Field Marshal The Lord Inge KG GCB PC DL 1992
Sir Terence Heiser GCB 1992
Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL 1992
The Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB CVO PC 1992
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon GCB CBE 1993
General The Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE 1993
Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB GCVO OBE DL 1994
General Sir John Waters GCB CBE 1994
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Alcock GCB KBE 1995
The Lord Burns GCB 1995
Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns GCB KCVO CBE 1997
General Sir Roger Wheeler GCB CBE 1997
Sir Anthony Battishill GCB 1997
The Lord Fellowes GCB GCVO QSO PC 1998
Rt Hon. Sir John Chilcot GCB PC 1998
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE 1999
Field Marshal The Lord Walker of Aldringham GCB CMG CBE DL 1999
General Sir Jeremy Mackenzie GCB OBE DL 1999
Sir Nigel Wicks GCB CVO CBE 1999
The Lord Wilson of Dinton GCB 2001
Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh GCB DL 2002
Sir Hayden Phillips GCB 2002
Sir David Omand GCB 2004
Admiral The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC PC 2004
General Sir Michael Jackson GCB CBE 2004
Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Stirrup KG GCB AFC 2005
Sir Richard Mottram GCB 2006
The Lord Janvrin GCB GCVO QSO PC 2007
General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL 2008
Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy GCB CBE DSO 2008
Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB DL 2008
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB OBE 2010
General The Lord Houghton of Richmond GCB CBE ADC Gen 2011
Sir David Normington GCB 2011
General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO 2011
The Lord O'Donnell GCB 2011
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB 2012
General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE ADC 2013
The Lord Macpherson of Earl's Court GCB 2015
Admiral Sir George Zambellas GCB DSC ADC DL 2016
Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE ADC DL 2016
The Lord Geidt GCB GCVO OBE QSO PC 2018
General Sir Nicholas Carter GCB CBE DSO ADC Gen 2019

Honorary Knights and Dames Grand Cross
Position / Name / Post-nominals / Year appointed / Office when awarded

Head of state Mexico Luis Echeverría GCB 1973 50th President of Mexico
Head of state Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said GCB GCMG GCVO 1982 Sultan of Oman
Head of state Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir GCB GCMG 1990 4th President of Iceland
Head of state Poland Lech Wałęsa GCB 1991 2nd President of Poland
Head of state Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah GCB GCMG 1992 Sultan of Brunei
Head of state Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski GCB GCMG 1996 3rd President of Poland
Head of state Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso GCB 1997 34th President of Brazil
Head of state Jordan Abdullah II of Jordan GCB GCMG KCVO 2001 King of Jordan
Head of state South Africa Thabo Mbeki GCB 2001 2nd President of South Africa
Head of state Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo GCB 2004 12th President of Nigeria
Head of state Germany Horst Köhler GCB 2004 9th President of Germany
Head of state Malta Eddie Fenech Adami GCB 2005 7th President of Malta
Head of state Lithuania Valdas Adamkus GCB 2006 9th President of Lithuania
Head of state Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves GCB 2006 4th President of Estonia
Head of state Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva GCB 2006 35th President of Brazil
Head of state Latvia Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga GCB 2006 6th President of Latvia
Head of state Ghana John Kufuor GCB 2007 2nd President of Ghana
Head of state Turkey Abdullah Gül GCB 2008 11th President of Turkey
Head of state France Nicolas Sarkozy GCB 2008 23rd President of France
Head of state Slovenia Danilo Türk GCB 2008 4th President of Slovenia
Head of state Mexico Felipe Calderón GCB 2009 56th President of Mexico
Head of state South Africa Jacob Zuma GCB 2010 4th President of South Africa
Head of state Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani GCB GCMG 2010 Emir of Qatar
Head of state United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan GCB 2010 2nd President of the United Arab Emirates
Head of state Indonesia Indonesian Presidential Seal gold.svg Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono GCB 2012 6th President of Indonesia
Head of state Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah GCB 2012 15th Emir of Kuwait
Head of state South Korea Park Geun-hye GCB 2013 18th President of South Korea
Head of state France François Hollande GCB 2014 24th President of France
Head of state Singapore Tony Tan GCB 2014 7th President of Singapore
Head of state Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto GCB 2015 57th President of Mexico
Head of state Germany Joachim Gauck GCB 2015 11th President of Germany
Head of state Colombia Juan Manuel Santos GCB 2016 32nd President of Colombia

Honorary Knights and Dames Commander
Military rank (if any) / Name / Post-nominals / Year appointed

General / United States Colin Powell / KCB / 1993

See also

For people who have been appointed to the Order of the Bath, see the following categories:

• Category:Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
• Category:Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
• Category:Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath
• Category:Dames Commander of the Order of the Bath
• Category:Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath
• List of Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
• List of Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath
• Category:Knights of the Bath
• Category:Companions of the Order of the Bath
• List of honorary British knights and dames
• List of people who have declined a British honour
• List of revocations of appointments to orders and awarded decorations and medals of the United Kingdom
In his 1978 novel Desolation Island, Patrick O'Brian wrote that Capt. Jack Aubrey had named to the Order of the Bath.


1. Montague-Smith, P. W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p. 896.
2. The word "Military" was removed from the name by Queen Victoria in 1847. Letters Patent dated 14 April 1847, quoted in Statutes 1847.
3. Statutes 1725, although Risk says 11 May
4. Anstis, Observations, p. 4.
5. Letters patent dated 18 May 1725, quoted in Statutes 1725.
6. The purely legendary pre-history was associated with Henry IV.
7. Wagner, Heralds of England, p 357, referring to John Anstis, who proposed the Order, says: "He had the happy inspiration of reviving this ancient name and chivalric associations, but attaching it, as it never had been before, to an Order or company of knights."
8. Perkins, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, p. 1: "It can scarcely be claimed that a properly constituted Order existed at any time during the preceding centuries [prior to the reign of Charles II]".
9. "No. 46428". The London Gazette. 10 December 1974. p. 12559.
10. Statutes 1925, article 2.
11. Statutes 1925, article 5.
12. "No. 16972". The London Gazette. 4 January 1815. pp. 17–20.
13. "Order of the Bath". Official website of the British monarchy. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
14. Statutes 1925, articles 8–12.
15. Statutes 1925, article 8.
16. See, for example, the order of wear for orders and decorations Archived 28 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine , the Royal Warrant defining precedence in Scotland ("No. 27774". The London Gazette. 14 March 1905. pp. 2012–2014.) or the discussion of precedence at ... edence.htm
17. Risk, History of the Order of the Bath, p. 6.
18. The Manner of making Knights after the custom of England in time of peace and at the Coronation, that is Knights of the Bath, quoted in Perkins, pp. 5–14.
19. According to Anstis (Observations, p. 73) such knights were sometimes known as Knights of the Sword or Knights of the Carpet
20. Anstis, p. 66.
21. " feature article on the Order of the Bath". Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2006.
22. Risk, p. 114.
23. Nicolas, History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, p. 38–39.
24. The later usage by the Order of the Bath does not make things any clearer. The presence of the rose, thistle and shamrock(symbols of England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively) in the Collar supports the above claim. The shamrocks however were not added until the 19th century, probably as a result of a suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks, who in his proposal observed that the presence of the shamrock would "greatly augment the meaning of the motto" (Risk, p 115). A further explanation for the crowns is provided in the 1725 statutes of the Order. The coat of arms which was to appear on the Order's seal (Azure three imperial crowns Or, that is, three gold imperial crowns on a blue background) was described as being anciently attributed to King Arthur.
25. Nicolas, p 38, quoting Bishop Kennet Register and Chronicle Ecclesiastical and Civil from the Restoration of King Charles II faithfully taken from the manuscripts of the Lord Bishop of Peterborough, (1728) p. 410.
26. Garter King of Arms from 1754 to 1773, and an officer of arms for some 25 years before that
27. Wagner, pp. 348, 357.
28. Risk, p. 2.
29. Andrew Hanham, "The Politics of Chivalry: Sir Robert Walpole, the Duke of Montagu and the Order of the Bath." Parliamentary History 35.3 (2016): 262–297.
30. In the words of his son, Horace Walpole, "The Revival of the Order of the Bath was a measure of Sir Robert Walpole, and was an artful bank of favours in lieu of places. He meant to stave off the demand for Garters, and intended that the Red [i.e. the Order of the Bath] should be a step to the Blue [the Order of the Garter]; and accordingly took one of the former for himself." Horace Walpole, Reminiscences (1788)
31. Nicolas, p. 237–238, footnote.
32. Risk, p. 4.
33. Statutes 1725.
34. Statutes 1725, article 2.
35. Risk, p. 15, 16.
36. Risk, p. 16.
37. Statutes 1725, article 6, the same article which state "[the Great Master shall] take especial care that ... the antient Rituals belonging to this Knighthood be observed with the greatest Exactness"
38. No Installation had been held between 1812 and the coronation of George IV in 1821, by which time the number of knights exceeded the number of stalls in the chapel. To allow the knights to wear their collars at the coronation (which they could not do until installed) they were dispensed from the Installation, and this precedent was subsequently followed. (Risk, p. 43).
39. Risk, p. 10.
40. Risk, p. 20.
41. Statute dated 8 May 1812, quoted in Statutes 1847.
42. Statute dated 20 April 1727, quoted in Statutes 1847.
43. The Times, 10 January 1815, p. 3.
44. "No. 17061". The London Gazette. 16 September 1815. pp. 1877–1882.
45. Letters Patent dated 14 April 1847.
46. The document by which the Prince Regent modified the structure of the Order in 1815 was a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual. This is of lesser authority than Letters Patent under the Great Seal, by which the Order and its Statutes were originally established. It had been questioned on a number of occasions whether the Statutes of the Order could be modified by anything less than such Letters Patent. The 1847 Letters Patent retroactively confirmed the validity of the 1815 document and the subsequent appointments to the Order
47. Risk, p. 61.
48. Risk, p. 70.
49. Risk, p. 89.
50. Perkins, p. 122.
51. Risk, p. 92.
52. Perkins, pp. 124–131.
53. Risk, pp. 95–96.
54. 16 in Queen Victoria's reign, 6 in Edward VII's and 19 in George V's. (Risk, p. 97)
55. Allen, Philip (2004). "Nunn, Jean Josephine (1916–1982)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
56. Risk, p. 102.
57. The Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, the Order of Merit and the Royal Victorian Order
58. "No. 6376". The London Gazette. 25 May 1725. p. 1.
59. Nicolas, Appendix p. lxx gives the first four Great Masters, although he considers the latter three to have only been acting Great Masters
60. "No. 19570". The London Gazette. 19 December 1837. p. 3309.
61. "No. 19592". The London Gazette. 23 February 1838. p. 407.
62. Prince Albert was appointed acting Great Master sometime in 1843, and the appointment was made substantive by the 1847 Statutes, article 4. Risk says that he was appointed acting Great Master on 31 March 1843, however The Times, reporting the death of the Duke of Sussex (22 April 1843, pp. 4–5) says that the office of acting Great Master became vacant on his death. At any rate when the executors of the Duke of Sussex delivered his insignia together with the seal and statutes to the Queen on 20 June (The Times, 21 June 1843, p. 6) Prince Albert was then acting Great Master.
63. "No. 20737". The London Gazette. 25 May 1847. pp. 1947–1957.
64. The Times, 22 June 1897, p. 10.
65. "No. 27289". The London Gazette. 26 February 1901. p. 1414.
66. The Times, 25 February 1942, p. 7.
67. Statutes 1725, article 4.
68. Letters Patent dated 14 April 1847, quoted in Statutes 1847.
69. Statutes 1925, article 9.
70. Statutes 1925, article 10.
71. Statutes 1925, article 12.
72. Statutes 1925, article 15.
73. The Times, 25 October 1972, p. 21.
74. The Times, 1 December 1993, p. 24.
75. Samuel, Henry (27 March 2008). "Nicolas Sarkozy awarded honorary title". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
76. "Abdullah Gül". Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
77. "Queen begins state visit to Slovenia". BBC. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2008.
78. Monare, Moshoeshoe (6 March 2010). "Zuma's taste of British protocol". Independent Online. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
79. The Times, Issue 50193; 13 July 1945; p. 4; col A.
80. The Times, 27 May 1943, p. 4.
81. The Times, 21 May 1991.
82. Branigan, Tania (12 May 2004). "Colin Powell claims Scottish coat of arms". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 December2008.
83. Smyth, Chris (25 June 2008). "Queen strips Robert Mugabe of knighthood in 'revulsion' at violence". The Times. London. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
84. Statutes 1925, article 18.
85. "In the event of any future wars or of any action or services civil or military meriting peculiar honour and reward ... to increase the numbers in any of the said classes and in any of the said divisions". Statutes 1925, article 17.
86. Court Circular, 17 May 2006.
87. HM Government (7 December 2018). "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood". The London Gazette. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
88. Court Circular, 13 June 2006.
89. "No. 58010". The London Gazette. 13 June 2006. p. 8073.
90. HM Government (7 December 2018). "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood". The London Gazette. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
91. Risk, p. 93.
92. Risk, pp. 13, 70.
93. Statutes 1847, article 15.
94. Statute dated 17 January 1726 (according to Risk, p. 14). Both the 1812 and 1847 editions of the Statutes give the date as 17 January 1725, but this is most probably a misprint since the Order was not founded until May 1725, and the additional statute also specified the office holders by name.
95. Risk, p. 14.
96. Statutes 1925, article 23.
97. The hat was made of white satin (Statutes 1725, article 8), but was changed to black velvet at the command of George IV for his coronation (Nicolas, p. 198). The hat is not explicitly specified in the 1847 or 1925 statutes
98. Statutes 1925, articles 23, 24, 25.
99. Statutes 1925, article 21.
100. Westminster Abbey: HRH The Prince of Wales attends Order of the Bath installation; Thursday, 24th May 2018
101. Risk, p. 40.
102. Statutes 1847, article 18.
103. Statutes 1925, article 22.
104. Statutes 1925, article 20.
105. Order of the Bath Archived 28 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The post-nominal letters are not mentioned in the Statutes of the Order
106. Statutes 1925, article 28.
107. FAQ: Westminster Abbey Archived 28 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine , Retrieved 9 April 2016.
108. Statutes 1725, article 3.
109. Risk, p. 30.
110. Statutes 1847, article 26.
111. Statutes 1925, article 30.
112. Ishaan Tharoor, 2012, "Disgraced British Knights: A Not-So-Chivalrous History", Time (1 February). (Access: 1 August 2016).
113. "No. 46561". The London Gazette. 2 May 1975. p. 5731.
114. "No. 60583". The London Gazette. 30 July 2013. p. 14994.


• Anstis, John (1752). Observations introductory to an historical essay, upon the Knighthood of the Bath. London: James Woodman.
• Galloway, Peter (2006). The Order of the Bath. Phillimore. ISBN 1-86077-399-0.
• Hanham, Andrew. "The Politics of Chivalry: Sir Robert Walpole, the Duke of Montagu and the Order of the Bath." Parliamentary History 35.3 (2016): 262-297.
• Nicolas, Nicholas H. (1842). History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, Vol iii. London.
• Perkins, Jocelyn (1920). The Most Honourable Order of the Bath : a descriptive and historical account (2nd ed.). London: Faith Press.
• Risk, James C. (1972). The History of the Order of the Bath and its Insignia. London: Spink & Son.
• Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1725.
• Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1812.
• Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1847.
• Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1925.
• "Royal Insight > May 2006 > Focus: The Order of the Bath". Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2006.
• "Order of the Bath". Official website of the British monarchy. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2011.

External links

This audio file was created from a revision of the article "Order of the Bath" dated 2005-04-11, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)

More spoken articles

• Search recommendations for the Order of the Bath on The UK National Archives' website.
• Brennan, I. G. (2004). "The Most Honourable Order of the Bath".
• Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society. (2002). "The Most Honourable Order of the Bath".
• Velde, F. R. (2003). "Order of Precedence in England and Wales".
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