Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Order of the Thistle
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/12/19



The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
Insignia of a Knight Companion of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
Awarded by the monarch of Scotland and successor states
Type Order of chivalry
Established 1687
Motto Nemo me impune lacessit
Criteria At the monarch's pleasure
Status Currently constituted
Founder James VII of Scotland
Sovereign Elizabeth II
Chancellor David, Earl of Airlie
Knight/Lady Companion
Extra Knight/Lady
First induction 29 May 1687
Last induction 9 June 2018
Total inductees
James VII: 8
Anne: 12
George I: 8
George II: 17
George III: 29
George IV: 10
William IV: 4
Victoria: 53
Edward VII: 8
George V: 27
George VI: 12
Elizabeth II: 56
Next (higher) Order of the Garter
Next (lower) Order of St Patrick
Order of the Thistle UK ribbon.png
Riband of the Order of the Thistle

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland (James II of England and Ireland) who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order. The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies, as well as certain "extra" knights (members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs). The Sovereign alone grants membership of the Order; he or she is not advised by the Government, as occurs with most other Orders.

The Order's primary emblem is the thistle, the national flower of Scotland. The motto is Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin for "No one provokes me with impunity").[1] The same motto appears on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom for use in Scotland and some pound coins, and is also the motto of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Scots Guards, The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The patron saint of the Order is St Andrew.

Most British orders of chivalry cover the whole United Kingdom, but the three most exalted ones each pertain to one constituent country only. The Order of the Thistle, which pertains to Scotland, is the second-most senior in precedence. Its equivalent in England, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, is the oldest documented order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, dating to the middle fourteenth century. In 1783 an Irish equivalent, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, was founded, but has now fallen dormant.


John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort in 1688; originator of the 'revived' Order

The claim that James VII was reviving an earlier Order is generally not supported by the evidence. The 1687 warrant states that during the 786 battle of Athelstaneford with Æthelstan of East Anglia, the cross of St Andrew appeared in the sky to Achaius, King of Scots; after his victory, he established the Order of the Thistle and dedicated it to the saint.[2] This seems unlikely, since Achaius died a century before Aethelstan.[3]

An alternative version is that the Order was founded in 809 to commemorate an alliance between Achaius and Emperor Charlemagne; there is some substance to this, as Charlemagne employed Scottish bodyguards.[4] Yet another is Robert the Bruce instituted the order after his victory at Bannockburn in 1314.[5]

Most historians consider the earliest credible claim to be the founding of the Order by James III, during the fifteenth century.[6] He adopted the thistle as the royal badge, issued coins depicting thistles and allegedly conferred membership of the "Order of the Burr or Thissil" on Francis I of France.[7][8] However, there is no conclusive evidence for this; in 1558, a French commentator described the use of the crowned thistle and St Andrew's cross on Scottish coins and banners but noted there was no Scottish order of knighthood.[9]

Writing around 1578, John Lesley refers to the three foreign orders of chivalry carved on the gate of Linlithgow Palace, with James V's ornaments of St Andrew, proper to this nation.[10] Some Scottish order of chivalry may have existed during the sixteenth century, possibly founded by James V and called the Order of St. Andrew, but lapsed by the end of that century.[11][12]

In 1610 William Fowler, the Scottish secretary to Anne of Denmark was asked about the Order of the Thistle. Fowler believed that there had been an Order, founded to honour Scots who fought for Charles VII of France. He thought it had been discontinued in the time of James V, and could say nothing of its ceremonies or regalia.[13]

James VII issued letters patent "reviving and restoring the Order of the Thistle to its full glory, lustre and magnificency" on 29 May 1687.[14][15] His intention was to reward Scottish Catholics for their loyalty but the initiative actually came from John, 1st Earl and 1st Jacobite Duke of Melfort, then Secretary of State for Scotland. Only eight members out of a possible twelve were appointed; these included Catholics, such as Melfort and the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, his elder brother James, 4th Earl and 1st Jacobite Duke of Perth, plus Protestant supporters like the Earl of Arran.[16]

After James was deposed by the 1688 Glorious Revolution and no further appointments were made until his younger daughter Anne did so in 1703.[17] It remains in existence and is used to recognise Scots 'who have held public office or contributed significantly to national life.'[18]

Founder knights; 1687 Creation

• James, Earl of Perth; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1716;
• George, Duke of Gordon; exiled in 1689 but returned home and pardoned, included in the 1703 revival by Anne, died 1716;
• John, Marquis of Atholl; reconciled with new regime in 1689, died 1703,
• James, Earl of Arran; confirmed in his titles by William III in 1698, heavily involved in the disastrous Darien Scheme, abstained from the vote passing the 1707 Acts of Union, killed in a famous duel with Lord Mohun, 1712;
• Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth; imprisoned after 1688, released in 1696 and moved to Paris, died 1701;
• John, Earl of Melfort; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1714;
• George, Earl of Dumbarton; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1692;
• Alexander, Earl of Moray; lost office after 1688, died at home 1701;


Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex in the robes of a Knight of the Order of the Thistle

The Kings of Scots, later the Kings of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom, have served as Sovereigns of the Order.[14][19] When James VII revived the Order, the statutes stated that the Order would continue the ancient number of Knights, which was described in the preceding warrant as "the Sovereign and twelve Knights-Brethren in allusion to the Blessed Saviour and his Twelve Apostles".[14][20] In 1827, George IV augmented the Order to sixteen members.[21] Women (other than Queens regnant) were originally excluded from the Order;[22] George VI created his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon a Lady of the Thistle in 1937 via a special statute,[23] and in 1987 Elizabeth II allowed the regular admission of women to both the Order of the Thistle and the Order of the Garter.[6]

From time to time, individuals may be admitted to the Order by special statutes. Such members are known as "Extra Knights" and do not count towards the sixteen-member limit.[24] Members of the British Royal Family are normally admitted through this procedure; the first to be so admitted was Prince Albert.[25] King Olav V of Norway, the first foreigner to be admitted to the Order, was also admitted by special statute in 1962.[26]

The Sovereign has historically had the power to choose Knights of the Order. From the eighteenth century onwards, the Sovereign made his or her choices upon the advice of the Government. George VI felt that the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle had been used only for political patronage, rather than to reward actual merit. Therefore, with the agreement of the Prime Minister (Clement Attlee) and the Leader of the Opposition (Winston Churchill) in 1946, both Orders returned to the personal gift of the Sovereign.[27]

Vestments of a Knight of the Thistle

Knights and Ladies of the Thistle may also be admitted to the Order of the Garter. Formerly, many, but not all, Knights elevated to the senior Order would resign from the Order of the Thistle.[28] The first to resign from the Order of the Thistle was John, Duke of Argyll in 1710;[29] the last to take such an action was Thomas, Earl of Zetland in 1872.[30] Knights and Ladies of the Thistle may also be deprived of their knighthoods. The only individual to have suffered such a fate was John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar who lost both the knighthood and the earldom after participating in the Jacobite rising of 1715.[31]

The Order has five officers: the Dean, the Chancellor, the Usher, the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the Secretary. The Dean is normally a cleric of the Church of Scotland. This office was not part of the original establishment, but was created in 1763 and joined to the office of Dean of the Chapel Royal.[32] The two offices were separated in 1969.[33] The office of Chancellor is mentioned and given custody of the seal of the Order in the 1687 statutes, but no-one was appointed to the position until 1913.[34] The office has subsequently been held by one of the knights, though not necessarily the most senior. The Usher of the Order is the Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod (unlike his Garter equivalent, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, he does not have another function assisting the House of Lords).[35] The Lord Lyon King of Arms, head of the Scottish heraldic establishment and whose office predates his association with the Order serves as King of Arms of the Order.[36] The Lord Lyon often—but not invariably—also serves as the Secretary.

Habit and insignia

The St Andrew with the saltire in the badge of the Order of the Thistle

The star of the Order of the Thistle

For the Order's great occasions, such as its annual service each June or July, as well for coronations, the Knights and Ladies wear an elaborate costume:[37]

• The mantle is a green robe worn over their suits or military uniforms. The mantle is lined with white taffeta; it is tied with green and gold tassels. On the left shoulder of the mantle, the star of the Order (see below) is depicted.[38]
• The hat is made of black velvet and is plumed with white feathers with a black egret or heron's top in the middle.[38]
• The collar is made of gold and depicts thistles and sprigs of rue. It is worn over the mantle.[38]
• The St Andrew, also called the badge-appendant, is worn suspended from the collar. It comprises a gold enamelled depiction of St Andrew, wearing a green gown and purple coat, holding a white saltire.[38] Gold rays of a glory are shown emanating from St Andrew's head.[39]

Aside from these special occasions, however, much simpler insignia are used whenever a member of the Order attends an event at which decorations are worn.

• The star of the Order consists of a silver St Andrew's saltire, with clusters of rays between the arms thereof. In the centre is depicted a green circle bearing the motto of the Order in gold majuscules; within the circle, there is depicted a thistle on a gold field. It is worn pinned to the left breast.[40] (Since the Order of the Thistle is the second-most senior chivalric order in the UK, a member will wear its star above that of other orders to which he or she belongs, except that of the Order of the Garter; up to four orders' stars may be worn.)[41]
• The broad riband is a dark green sash worn across the body, from the left shoulder to the right hip.[42]
• At the right hip of the Riband, the badge of the Order is attached. The badge depicts St Andrew in the same form as the badge-appendant surrounded by the Order's motto.[43]

However, on certain collar days designated by the Sovereign,[44] members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform, formal wear, or other costume. They will then substitute the broad riband of another order to which they belong (if any), since the Order of the Thistle is represented by the collar.[45]

Upon the death of a Knight or Lady, the insignia must be returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. The badge and star are returned personally to the Sovereign by the nearest relative of the deceased.[46]

Officers of the Order also wear green robes.[47] The Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod also bears, as the title of his office suggests, a green rod.[48]

One unusual recipient of the Order of the Thistle was James, Earl of Southesk (1827-1905). He was recognized by the Order for his adventurous spirit and his passion for the wilds of Canada. His portrait in marble by William Grant Stevenson depicts a stern man who had placed himself at some risk as he travelled through the Canadian wilderness and wrote about his admiration for the native peoples of North America.


Swords, helms and crests of Knights of the Thistle above their stalls in the Thistle Chapel. Lady Marion Fraser's helm and crest are second from the left

Stall plates of Knights of the Thistle

When James VII created the modern Order in 1687, he directed that the Abbey Church at the Palace of Holyroodhouse be converted to a Chapel for the Order of the Thistle, perhaps copying the idea from the Order of the Garter (whose chapel is located in Windsor Castle). James VII, however, was deposed by 1688; the Chapel, meanwhile, had been destroyed during riots. The Order did not have a Chapel until 1911, when one was added onto St Giles High Kirk in Edinburgh.[49] Each year, the Sovereign resides at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for a week in June or July; during the visit, a service for the Order is held. Any new Knights or Ladies are installed at annual services.[6]

Each member of the Order, including the Sovereign, is allotted a stall in the Chapel, above which his or her heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with mantling and topped by his crest. If he is a peer, the coronet appropriate to his rank is placed beneath the helm.[50] Under the laws of heraldry, women, other than monarchs, do not normally bear helms nor crests;[51] instead, the coronet alone is used (if she is a peeress or princess).[52] Lady Marion Fraser had a helm and crest included when she was granted arms; these are displayed above her stall in the same manner as for knights.[53] Unlike other British Orders, the armorial banners of Knights and Ladies of the Thistle are not hung in the chapel, but instead in an adjacent part of St Giles High Kirk.[54] The Thistle Chapel does, however, bear the arms of members living and deceased on stall plates. These enamelled plates are affixed to the back of the stall and display its occupant's name, arms, and date of admission into the Order.[55]

Upon the death of a Knight, helm, mantling, crest (or coronet or crown) and sword are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed to the back of the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights (and now Ladies) since 1911.[56] The entryway just outside the doors of the chapel has the names of the Order's Knights from before 1911 inscribed into the walls giving a complete record of the members of the order.

Precedence and privileges

Banners of Knights of the Thistle, hanging in St Giles High Kirk

Knights and Ladies of the Thistle are assigned positions in the order of precedence, ranking above all others of knightly rank except the Order of the Garter, and above baronets. Wives, sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights of the Thistle also feature on the order of precedence; relatives of Ladies of the Thistle, however, are not assigned any special precedence. (Generally, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives.)[57]

Knights of the Thistle prefix "Sir", and Ladies prefix "Lady", to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Ladies. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms.[58]

Knights and Ladies use the post-nominal letters "KT" and "LT" respectively.[6] When an individual is entitled to use multiple post-nominal letters, "KT" or "LT" appears before all others, except "Bt" or "Btss" (Baronet or Baronetess), "VC" (Victoria Cross), "GC" (George Cross) and "KG" or "LG" (Knight or Lady of the Garter).[41]

Knights and Ladies may encircle their arms with the circlet (a green circle bearing the Order's motto) and the collar of the Order; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar.[59] The Royal Arms depict the collar and motto of the Order of the Thistle only in Scotland; they show the circlet and motto of the Garter in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.[60]

Knights and Ladies are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. This high privilege is shared only by members of the Royal Family, peers, Knights and Ladies of the Garter, and Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the junior orders of chivalry and clan chiefs.[61]

Current members and officers

• Sovereign: Elizabeth II
• Knights and Ladies Companion:
1. The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine KT JP DL (1981)
2. The Earl of Airlie KT GCVO PC JP (1985)
3. The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres KT GCVO PC DL (1996)
4. The Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden KT DL (1996)
5. The Lord Mackay of Clashfern KT PC QC (1997)
6. The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn KT GCMG (2000)
7. Sir Eric Anderson KT (2002)
8. The Lord Steel of Aikwood KT KBE PC (2004)
9. The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG PC (2004)
10. The Lord Cullen of Whitekirk KT PC QC (2007)
11. The Lord Hope of Craighead KT PC QC (2009)
12. The Lord Patel KT (2009)
13. The Earl of Home KT CVO CBE (2014)
14. The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT CH (2014)
15. The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry KT KBE DL FSA FRSE (2017)
16. Sir Ian Wood KT GBE (2018)

• Extra Knights and Ladies Companion:

1. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE AK CC CMM QSO PC ADC(P) CD (1952)
2. Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay KG KT GCB OM AK CC QSO PC ADC(P) CD (1977)
3. Anne, Princess Royal KG KT GCVO QSO CD (2000)
4. Prince William, Earl of Strathearn KG KT PC ADC(P) (2012)

• Officers:

o Chancellor: The Earl of Airlie KT GCVO PC JP
o Dean: The Reverend Professor David Fergusson, OBE FBA FRSE
o Secretary of the Thistle: Elizabeth Roads LVO
o Lyon King of Arms: Joseph Morrow, CBE QC DL (Lord Lyon King of Arms)
o Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod: Rear Admiral Christopher Hope Layman CB DSO LVO

See also

• List of Knights and Ladies of the Thistle (1687–present)


1. 1687 Statutes, quoted in Statutes (1987), p6
2. This version, without the date, is given in the warrant 'reviving' the Order in 1687. (1687 warrant, quoted in Statutes, 1978, p. 1)
3. Nicholas, p4, footnote 1, notes that Achaius died more than a century before Aethelstan
4. Nicolas, Appendix,, quotes Nisbet's A system of heraldry, which relates this version.
5. Mackey and Heywood, p. 890
6. "The Monarchy Today: Queen and Public: Honours: The Order of the Thistle". The Royal Household. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
7. Nicolas, p. 3
8. Nicolas, footnote7, p. 15, quotes Nisbet in support of these claims.
9. Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 1 (1898), 206.
10. Leslie, John, Historie of Scotland, vol. 2, STS (1895), 230–1.
11. Stevenson, Katie "The Unicorn, St Andrew and the Thistle: Was there an Order of Chivalry in Late Medieval Scotland?", Scottish Historical Review. Volume 83, Page 3–22, April 2004
12. Nicolas quotes Elias Ashmole's Treatise on Military Orders (1672) which mentions a ceremony involving Knights of St Andrew (i.e. Knights of the Thistle) but Nicolas goes on to say that "it was not pretended that there were any "Knights of the Thistle" or "of St Andrew" after the accession of James VI in 1567"
13. E. K. Purnell & A. B. Hinds, HMC Downshire, vol. 2 (London, 1936), pp. xxii-xxiii, 388.
14. "No. 2251". The London Gazette. 13 June 1687. pp. 1–2.
15. 1687 Warrant, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 1
16. Glozier, Mathew (2000). "The Earl of Melfort, the Court Catholic Party and the Foundation of the Order of the Thistle, 1687". The Scottish Historical Review. 79 (208): 233–234. doi:10.3366/shr.2000.79.2.233. JSTOR 25530975.
17. Joseph Timothy Haydn's Book of Dignities (Longmans, 1851), p. 434
18. "The Order of the Thistle". The Royal Family. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
19. 1687 Warrant, quoted in Statutes (1978), p2 states revive the said Order, of which his Majesty is the undoubted and rightful Sovereign
20. 1687 Warrant and 1687 Statutes, quoted in Statutes (1987) pp. 1–3
21. Warrant of 8 May 1827, quoted in Statutes (1978)
22. Members of the Order had to be Knights Bachelor before appointment (1703 Statutes, article 14, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 17); only men could be created as such.
23. Additional statute, 12 June 1937, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 60
24. Many such statutes are quoted in Statutes (1978), all of which follow a fixed formula.
25. Additional statute 17 January 1842, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 33. The first Royal Knight (other than a monarch) was a younger son of George III, The Prince William Henry (later William IV), however he was admitted as one of the twelve ordinary knights (Nicolas, p. 51).
26. Additional statute of 18 October 1962, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 63
27. "The Monarchy Today: Queen and Public: Honours: The Order of the Garter". The Royal Household. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
28. Nicolas, p. 33, says that the Duke of Hamilton was given special permission by Queen Anne, hitherto unprecedented, to belong to both the Orders of the Thistle and Garter.
29. Nicolas, p. 32
30. The Times, 30 November 1872, p. 9
31. Nicolas, p. 35. Unlike the other British orders, the statutes of the Order of the Thistle do not specify a procedure for the removal of a Knight.
32. Warrant of 7 January 1763, quoted in Statutes (1978), pp28–29
33. "No. 44902". The London Gazette. 22 July 1969. p. 7525.
34. Statute of 8 October 1913, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 49
35. 1703 Statutes, article 13, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 17, refer to the office only as the Usher, and does not specify the colour of his baton of office, however by the time of a statute of 17 July 1717 he is referred to as Green Rod.
36. 1703 Statutes, article 11, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 17 does not assign any duties to Lord Lyon, but merely prescribes his vestments and insignia.
37. For an early illustration, see: Hélyot, P. (1719) 'Histoire des ordres monastiques, religieux et militaires, et des congregations séculières de l'un et de l'autre sexe, qui ont été établis jusqu'à présent' Paris, Vol. VIII, p. 389.
38. 1703 Statutes, article 2, quoted in Statutes (1978), pp. 15–16
39. Statute of 17 February 1714/15, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 20
40. 1703 Statutes, article 5, quoted in Statutes (1978), pp. 15–16
41. "Order of Wear". Ceremonial Secretariat, Cabinet Office. 13 November 2006. Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
42. 1703 Statutes, article 3, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 15. In the 1687 statutes the riband was purple-blue; the colour was changed by Queen Anne when she refounded the Order.
43. 1703 Statutes, article 3, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 15 refers to this item of insignia as the medal.
44. 1703 Statutes, article 7, quoted in Statutes (1978), p. 16
45. "Royal Insight: Mailbox". The Royal Household. February 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
46. Debrett's Peerage, p. 82
47. 1703 Statutes, article 11 (Secretary), article 12 (Lord Lyon), article 13 (Usher); Special statute of 10 July 1886 (Dean), Statute of 8 October 1913 (Chancellor), all quoted in Statutes (1978), pp. 15–16, 42 and 49–50
48. 1703 Statutes, article 13, quoted in Statutes (1978), pp. 15–16, says only that he carries his "baton of office"
49. Burnett and Hodgson, pp6–7. The 1703 statutes however continue to designate this as the chapel of the Order
50. Paul, pp32–33
51. Innes, p35
52. Cox, N. (1999). "The Coronets of Members of the Royal Family and of the Peerage (The Double Tressure)". Journal of the Heraldry Society of Scotland (22): 8–13. Archived from the original on 21 November 2001.
53. Burnett and Hodgson, p208
54. Innes, p42
55. Burnett and Hodgson, pp. 7–8, and illustrations on pp. 54 ff. Only stall plates for Knights and Ladies appointed after 1911 give the name and date of appointment.
56. Burnett and Hodgson
57. "The Scale of General Precedence in Scotland". Burke's Peerage. Archived from the original on 4 February 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2007.
58. The Crown Office (July 2003). "Forms of Address for use orally and in correspondence". Ministry of Justice. Archived from the original on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
59. Innes, p. 47. The circlet does not appear to be commonly used. Neither the collar nor the circlet are used on the stall plates; Burnett and Hodgson on the occasions when the insignia of the Order are mentioned in a grant or matriculation of arms in Burnett and Hodgson (e.g. pp. 134, 138, 174, 180, 198) it is only the collar which is used.
60. "The Monarchy Today: Queen and Public: Symbols: Coats of Arms". The Royal Household. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
61. Woodcock and Robinson, p. 93



• Burnett, C.J.; Hodgson, L. (2001). Stall Plates of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle in the Chapel of the Order within St Giles' Cathedral, The High Kirk of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: Heraldry Society of Scotland. ISBN 978-0-9525258-3-7.
• Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. London: Debrett's Peerage Ltd. 1995.
• Galloway, Peter (2009). The Order of the Thistle. Spink & Son Ltd. ISBN 978-1-902040-92-9.
• Innes of Learney, T. (1956). Scots heraldry; a practical handbook on the historical principles and modern application of the art and science (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.
• Mackey, A.G.; Haywood, H.L. (1946). Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7661-4719-5.
• Nicolas, N. H. (1842). History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, of the order of the Guelphs of Hanover; and of the medals, clasps, and crosses, conferred for naval and military service, Vol iii. London.
• Paul, J.B. (1911). The knights of the Order of the Thistle: a historical sketch by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and a descriptive sketch of their chapel by J. Warrack. Edinburgh.
• Order of the Thistle (1978). Statutes of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle: revived by His Majesty King James II of England and VII of Scotland and again revived by Her Majesty Queen Anne. Edinburgh.
• Woodcock, T.; Robinson, J.M. (1988). The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-211658-1.


• "The Monarchy Today: Queen and Public: Honours: The Order of the Thistle". The official website of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
• "Royal Insight: Mailbox". The Royal Household. February 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
• "The Scale of General Precedence in Scotland". Burke's Peerage. Archived from the original on 4 February 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2007.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:18 am

The British Expedition to Sikkim of 1888: The Bhutanese Role
by Matteo Miele
West Bohemian Historical Review VIII



In 1888, a British expedition in the southern Himalayas represented the first direct confrontation between Tibet and a Western power. The expedition followed the encroachment and occupation, by Tibetan troops, of a portion of Sikkim territory, a country led by a Tibetan Buddhist monarchy that was however linked to Britain with the Treaty of Tumlong. This paper analyses the role of the Bhutanese during the 1888 Expedition. Although the mediation put in place by Ugyen Wangchuck and his allies would not succeed because of the Tibetan refusal, the attempt remains important to understand the political and geopolitical space of Bhutan in the aftermath of the Battle of Changlimithang of 1885 and in the decades preceding the ascent to the throne of Ugyen Wangchuck.

[Bhutan; Tibet; Sikkim; British Raj; United Kingdom; Ugyen Wangchuck; Thirteenth Dalai Lama]

In1 1907, Ugyen Wangchuck2 was crowned king of Bhutan, first Druk Gyalpo.3 During the Younghusband Expedition of 1903–1904, the future sovereign had played the delicate role of mediator between English and Tibetans4 and in 1905, he received the Order of the Indian Empire.5 His destiny had nevertheless been ratified about twenty years earlier, when in 1885 the then young Trongsa6 Penlop7 had defeated – along with Paro8 Penlop and Wangdi Phodrang9 Dzongpon10 – his main rivals, Thimphu11 and Punakha12 dzongpons, in the Changlimithang battle.13 The State of Bhutan, in fact, was founded at the beginning of the seventeenth century by a Tibetan lama of the Drukpa14 school, the Zhabdrung,15 Ngawang Namgyel16 (1594–1651). After his death, however, the country – formally a Buddhist ‘theocracy’ based on the traditional Tibetan dual system of government – became the scenario of a long period of conflicts between the various local lords until precisely the victory of UgyenWangchuck in 1885 and his consequent coronation in the 1907.17 Later, in 1910, Bhutan would sign with the British the Treaty of Punakha with which the Kingdom accepted the English guide in foreign policy, while maintaining its secular and uninterrupted independence.18 The treaty was signed almost half a century after the Sinchula Treaty of 1865, which had marked the end of the Anglo-Bhutanese war (known as the ‘Duar War’) fought between 1864 and 1865.19 This paper will analyse the role of Bhutan between the British and the Tibetans during the British Expedition to Sikkim in 1888.

The Tibetan Occupation of Lingtu20 and the Three British Victories On 7 February 1888, Viceroy of India Frederick Hamilton-Temple- -Blackwood wrote to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatsho,21 a letter concerning the trespassing of Tibetan troops in Sikkimese territory: “I write this friendly letter to your Holiness regarding the presence of Tibetan troops at Lingtu in the territory of the Raja of Sikkim in the hope that relations of amity which have hitherto existed between the Government of India and the Government of Tibet may remain undisturbed. It is doubtless known to your Holiness that some time ago my Government, with the knowledge and concurrence of the Government of Pekin, proposed to send a mission to Lhassa with a view to placing on satisfactory footing the trade relations between India and Tibet. [. . . ] Unfortunately the object of the mission was misunderstood at Lhassa, and, in defence to the representations made to us on this subject through the Government of Pekin, the project was abandoned. The consideration thus shown to the wishes of the Tibetan Government ought to have removed any suspicions regarding the perfect friendliness of our intentions, and ought to have resulted at least in the re-establishment of the status quo ante. I regret to say that this result has not yet become apparent. A small body of Tibetan troops which had been sent forward into Sikkim territory for the purpose of stopping the mission on its way to the Tibetan frontier still remains encamped on the road which, in virtue of our treaty of Sikkim, we have the right to maintain and use, and I am informed that this force, instead of preparing to withdraw to Tibetan territory, have lately strengthened the position which they had taken up in defiance of our treaty rights. Being most anxious that our amicable relations should not be unnecessarily disturbed, I have hitherto refrained from taking measures for the expulsion of the intruders, and have confined myself to friendly requests that the troops should retire, but this forbearance cannot be indefinitely prolonged, and I now write to your Holiness to inform you that if the troops in question do not evacuate their position and retire within Tibetan territory before the 15th of March, I shall be constrained to make good by force our treaty rights in Sikkim. At the same time I wish to assure your Holiness that if the employment of force for the purpose above indicated should unfortunately become necessary, I have no intention, unless further provoked, of sending troops into Tibet, or of forcing on the Tibetan Government any trade convention which they do not wish to accept. All I desire is to ensure the withdrawal of the Tibetan troops within their own frontier, and to obtain a satisfactory guarantee that for the future our treaty rights and legitimate influence in Sikkim shall be duly respected. I trust your Holiness will perceive that in the attainment of this object is to be found the only firm, durable basis for those long-established amicable relations between the Government of India and the Government of Tibet which it is my earnest desire maintain and strengthen.”22

Today, Sikkim is a small state of India bordering the north and east with Tibet, west with Nepal, south-east with the Kingdom of Bhutan and south with the Indian state of West Bengal. Until the annexation of 1975, the country was an independent kingdom, known in Tibetan under the name of ’Bras ljongs, the ‘fruitful valley’. It was founded in 1642 with the coronation of Phuntshok Namgyal,23 first Chogyal,24 in the same year in which the fifth Dalai Lama, thanks to the help of the Mongols of Güši qan, subjected Tibet to the Geluk school.25 On 28th March 1861, the British and the Sikkimese signed the Treaty of Tumlong,26 at the end of the short Anglo-Sikkimese war.27 The document provided, inter alia, that “[i]f any disputes or questions arise between the people of Sikkim and those of neighboring States, such disputes or questions shall be referred to the arbitration of the British Government, and the Sikkim Government agrees to abide by the decision of the British Government” (article 17). Furthermore “[t]he Government of Sikkim will not cede or lease any portion of its territory to any other State, without the permission of the British Government” (article 19) and “[t]he Government of Sikkim engages that no armed force belonging to any other country shall pass through Sikkim without the sanction of the British Government” (article 20). Article 13 guaranteed the British the possibility of building “a road through Sikkim, with the view of encouraging trade”. The penultimate article of the treaty finally established that “[w]ith a view to the establishment of an efficient Government in Sikkim, and to the better maintenance of friendly relations with the British Government, the Rajah of Sikkim agrees to remove the seat of his Government from Thibet to Sikkim, and reside there for nine months in the year. It is further agreed that a vakeel28 shall be accredited by the Sikkim Government, who shall reside permanently at Darjeeling” 29 (article 22). In the years that followed, the road was therefore built along a route that from Darjeeling reached the Jelap Pass, on the border with Tibet,30 a few miles east of Gangtok.31 In 1886, three hundred Tibetan soldiers crossed the frontier for about thirteen miles and occupied Lingtu.32 In addition, the then Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal,33 who had ascended the throne in 1874,34 continued to reside for several months in Tibet, in the Chumbi35 Valley, in violation of Article XXII of the Treaty of Tumlong.36 Officially, the Chogyal had gone to Tibet following the arrival in Phari37 of a Sino-Tibetan delegation that was supposed to settle a crisis between Bhutan and Tibet.38 In a conciliatory response to the Tibetan encroachment, the British decided to stop the preparations for the Macaulay Mission to Tibet39 – a possibility provided by a “separate article” of the Chefoo Convention of 187640 –, obtaining, however, the construction by the Tibetans of a fortification on the road and blocking the trade route.41 In November 1887, the British sent Alfred Wallis Paul to Sikkim, together with John Claude White, to convince the Chogyal to return to his kingdom and leave the Chumbi Valley in Tibet.42 At the time, Paul was the Deputy Commissioner in Darjeeling.43

In Sikkim, the British official met the Phodong Lama44 – who ruled the small country, together with his brother, during the absence of the Chogyal –, but not the king who returned a few weeks later, around the end of the year, together with some Tibetans.45 The British realized that the Sikkimese political elite was substantially opposed to the closeness between the Chogyal and Tibet, with a couple of exceptions among the laymen and probably among the monks of Pemionchi.46 The need to stop the Tibetan occupation was necessary for the British, as well as for the matter itself and the defence of Sikkim, also to avoid “bad effect both in Bhutan and in Nepal”,47 the other two main Himalayan countries allied with London. The occupation of Lingtu was, however, on the Tibetan side, also a challenge to the Ch’ing authority, to the authority of Peking: in fact, in Lhasa – according to information that the British obtained – the rift in the guide of the question passed between a religious faction hostile to China, and contrary to the withdrawal from Lingtu, and a faction with a lay guide that “wish to obey China, to withdraw the force at Lingtu, and to abstain from further interference in the affairs of Sikkim”.48 It should be underlined that the occupation of Lingtu was taking place under the reign of a young Dalai Lama, born in 1876,49 and in particular in the passage of power between regent Ngawang Pelden Chokyi Gyeltshen, 50 who had passed away in the spring of 1886,51 and the new regent, Ngawang Lobzang Thrinle Rabgye,52 appointed in the same year.53

Alfred Wallis Paul managed to meet the Chogyal in mid-February 1888. On 20th March 1888,54 the British conquered the fort that had been built in Lingtu,55 forcing the Tibetans to flee over the Jelap Pass and into the Chumbi Valley, where they expected substantial reinforcements. 56 Thomas Graham was the head of the British forces in Sikkim.57 Alfred Wallis Paul was the Political Officer of the Sikkim Field Force.58 Two months later, on 22 May 1888, a Tibetan attack was launched against the British in Gnatong and it also ended with a British victory.59 A few weeks earlier, the British had obtained information about the imminence of a Tibetan attack by the Nepalese prime minister. 60 However, the Viceroy of India prevented Graham from overcoming the Jelap pass.61 In September, finally, the hostilities ceased with the final expulsion of the Tibetans beyond the Tuko-la pass62 and the entry of the British troops into Tibetan territory, in the Chumbi Valley on 26th September 1888.63

The British Expedition and the Bhutanese

The British had received from both the Kingdom of Nepal and the State of Bhutan the proposal to act as mediators in the Anglo-Tibetan crisis.64 In April, AlfredWallis Paul received a letter from the Deb Raja “asking to be allowed to mediate between Tibet and ourselves”.65 The then Deb Raja – as the English called the Druk Desi,66 i. e. the secular head of Bhutan – was Sangay Dorji,67 appointed by Ugyen Wangchuck after the victory of Changlimithang.68 The Deb Raja proposed “to send a Grand Lama and high officials” to Paul as mediators between the British and the Tibetans.69 Paul proposed to his superiors to “reply thanking him and saying we always wish to be at peace and are ready to listen to Tibet, if she will send deputation to meet me, and that he may send his officials here”.70 Furthermore, the letter of the Deb Raja “appeals to our treaty with Bhutan as making us and Bhutan one”.71 Despite the lack of optimism with respect to some result, the Lieutenant-Governor, Steuart Colvin Bayley, nevertheless proposed to endorse Paul’s response to the Deb Raja.72

The Viceroy of India, Dufferin, however, while approving, did not feel the need for a real negotiation with the Tibetans, defeated in the first confrontation, and feared instead that the Bhutanese representatives could hinder Paul’s action.73 The Bhutanese delegates had to refer only to the will of the British to live in peace with the Tibetans, but without any possibility to “permit any foreign power to interfere in the affairs of Sikkim, which is a State dependent upon the British Government”. 74 In case of further encroachments in the Sikkimese territory by the Tibetan troops, then “it will be necessary for us to go farther than we have done now, and to take from them some material guarantee for the maintenance of quiet on the frontier”.75 The representatives of the Deb Raja could propose to the Tibetans also the possibility of a direct meeting between Paul and a Tibetan delegation: “[t]hey should clearly understand that we regard their mediation as wholly in the interests of Tibet, from whom the first advance should come”.76 Lord Dufferin also asked Sir Steuart Colvin Bayley about the possibility of sending a message without the Bhutanese mediation.77

After the May defeat, the need of involving Bhutanese reinforces was more urgent for the Tibetans, while the British required a more decisive and clearer stance of the Manchu Empire, just to weaken the Tibetan influence on Sikkim and Bhutan.78 Already in the attack of May some Bhutanese were lined up in the ranks of the Tibetans.79 These 200 Bhutanese men, however, came with the old enemy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the Thimphu Dzongpon,80 Alu Dorji,81 who had taken refuge in Tibet after the defeat at the battle of Changlimithang.82 Paul himself saw some Bhutanese during the battle: “I myself noticed some Bhutanese in the fight and one of the prisoners corroborates this.”83 According to further information that reached Paul, after the second defeat, other Bhutanese were also going to join the Tibetans, in particular two officials subjected to Paro Penlop and the Dzongpon of Haa,84 inWestern Bhutan.85 At the beginning of July the Thimphu Dzongpon was near Rinchengong86 – one of the Tibetan villages near the Sikkimese border and where a large part of Lhasa’s troops were stationed87 – together with “140 Bhutanese soldiers, armed in part, so it is alleged, with 50 rifles, supplied by Kuzoo Lhase from the Sikkim Durbar”.88

The position of UgyenWangchuck, the real ruler of the country, was very different: “Chuchipa – the Tongso Penlow – had recently offered the Tibetans to come and mediate, but the latter had rejected his offer, saying they were strong enough to retake Lingtu: if they failed, they would let him know.”89 In addition to the Deb Raja and the Trongsa Penlop, the Paro Penlop also offered Paul his own mediation.90 After the battle in May, the three Bhutanese leaders sent the Dzongpon of Wangdi Phodrang and another envoy – a signer of the Sinchula Treaty and personal friend of Paul – to Phari, to meet the Tibetans.91 Later, they would have met Paul in Gnatong.92 Paul recognized the good faith and hopes of Ugyen Wangchuck and of his allies: “I believe, from motives of selfinterest, the ruling Chiefs of Bhutan are really anxious for peace, as they are in an awkward position.Without positive assurances of aid from ourselves, they are not strong enough to break with Tibet; while if they offend us, they fear a stoppage of their subsidy, if not further loss of territory. Whether they will be able to do anything is a different matter, which time alone will show.”93 In this regard, it is useful to underline that the British subsidy to Bhutan was the official motivation for UgyenWangchuck to reject the Tibetan requests to intervene in the conflict on the side of Lhasa: in fact, the Tibetans had tried to involve Ugyen Wangchuck, sending him different requests after the second defeat.94 However, the future monarch made clear that he did not want to risk losing the annual payment of 50,000 rupees from the British Government.95 The Sinchula treaty of 1865 guaranteed, in Article IV, an annual payment by the British to the Government of Bhutan in exchange for territorial transfers in the south of the country.96 The same treaty, however, provided in the article V the possibility for the British Government “to suspend the payment of this compensation money either whole or in part in the event of misconduct on the part of the Bhootan Government or its failure to check the aggression of its subjects or to comply with the provisions of the Treaty”. An important sum of money for Bhutan that Ugyen Wangchuck did not intend to lose without a powerful counterpart, identified by the future monarch in a territorial transfer as reported by [Donald?] Sunder97 to Major Henry Boileau, Deputy Commissioner of Julpigoree: “I am told that Tongso Penlow has asked for the whole of the strip of Tibetan country as far as a place called Gyase.”98 Furthermore, “[t]he agent for the Deb Raja and the Vakil’s son also say that the Tibetans will not attack till November next as they are not yet ready”.99 This last news was particularly useful for Alfred Wallis Paul.100 Boileau suggested in his letter that “the military authorities should post a wing in support at Julpai, the mere fact of doing so would instil fear into the minds of the Bhutanese; they have their spies about seeing what is going on. The Deb Raja’s agents who have come ostensibly about that strip of Jainti land hang on at Buxa, though they have been told the matter can’t be settled till the cold weather. I have thought this suspicious”.101

The Encounter between Paul and a Bhutanese Delegation

Alfred Wallis Paul met a Bhutanese delegation only on 20th August.102 The Bhutanese had consigned to the Political Officer “three letters from Dharma Raja, Deb Raja, and the Bhutan Council, respectively, dated 27th June and 2nd July, informing that, out of friendship and in accordance with our treaty, they had despatched Angdoforung [Wangdi Phodrang], Jongpen, Som Doozi, Deb Zimpen and Lama Tenzing as envoys to mediate”.103 In addition, two other letters, written directly by the three Bhutanese delegates at the beginning of August, however informed the Political Officer of their failure in the face of the Tibetan refusal to arrive at a diplomatic solution and thus their departure without meeting Paul.104 However, the delegation informed Paul about the state of the Tibetan forces as well as pointing out the neutrality of the Bhutanese nobles: “These Bhutanese state 10,000 Khamtaya troops arrived and 2,000 more Khamt troops are shortly expected – total already assembled at least 10,000. Tibetans have everything ready for an attack, but when did not hear. Provisions not plentiful; no assist has been given by Bhutanese Chiefs.”105

Concluding Considerations

On the geopolitical level, the Tibetan defeat represented a shift in the risks to the power of UgyenWangchuck, a weakening of the historical hegemonic role of Tibet in the southeastern region of the Himalayas and the consolidation of the British influence on the area. In 1890, the British would sign an agreement with the Chinese authorities in Calcutta that recognized the British role on Sikkim.106 The attempted mediation of the Bhutanese, although failed due to the Tibetan closure, also represented a further rapprochement between Bhutan and the British Raj. In 1909, John Claude White would write in this regard: “soon after the Sikhim Expedition of 1888–9 broke the power and influence of the Tibetans, and the cause of Aloo Dorji, who fought on their Side in the attack on Gnatong in May 1888 was lost. All subsequent attempts at interference by the Chinese and Tibetans were frustrated by the closer relationships with the Penlops which we maintained henceforth, and thus Ugyen Wangchuk’s influence in Bhutan was firmly established”.107

The factions of the battle of Changlimithang, re-proposing themselves in the Anglo-Tibetan conflict, with the defeated Thimphu Dzongpon on the side of the Tibetans and Ugyen Wangchuck and its main allies, the Paro Penlop and the Wangdi Phodrang Dzongpon, in a cautious and balanced position, began to clarify the role that Bhutan could play in Calcutta and London. Young Ugyen Wangchuck was ferrying his country – a cultural, religious and linguistic landmark of the Tibetan Buddhist world – towards a key-role in the geopolitical landscape of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the final decades of the Great Game, Ugyen Wangchuck would be able to preserve the independence and identity of Bhutan, unify it under his leadership and make it a political hinge between the Himalayan universe and the Raj to the south. In addition to political and military leadership, Ugyen Wangchuck also inaugurated his diplomatic career. The Bhutanese attempt of 1888 can be read as a prelude to the subsequent mediation work put in place by the Bhutanese under the leadership of the future Druk Gyalpo, the most important of which remains obviously carried forward directly by Trongsa Penlop himself during the Younghusband Expedition of the 1904, three years before his coronation in Punakha and the definitive birth of the monarchy.



* Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University, 46 Yoshida-shimoadachicho Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8501, Japan. E-mail:

1 This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 17F17306. The author is a JSPS International Research Fellow (Kokoro Research Center – Kyoto University).

2 O rgyan dbang phyug. In this paper it was preferred to adopt a phonetic transcription of Tibetan, Bhutanese and Sikkimese names. The names of the Bhutanese and Sikkimese royal families are transcribed respectively as ‘Wangchuck’ (dbang phyug) and ‘Namgyal’ (rnam rgyal), following the traditional transcriptions in the two Himalayan countries. Scientific transliteration is provided in footnotes and is however used for bibliographic references, according to the system defined by Prof. Turrell V. Wylie (see T.V. WYLIE, A Standard System of Tibetan Transcription, in: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 22, 1959, pp. 261–267). In the scientific transliteration, long vowels are indicated by a macron. It should be noted that the transcriptions of Tibetan, Bhutanese and Sikkimese names differ considerably in the British documents of the nineteenth century from the phonetic transcriptions commonly used today, making the reference doubtful in some cases. The Wade-Giles phonetic transcription system was adopted for the Chinese language.

3 ’Brug rgyal po.

4 DGE ’DUN RIN CHEN, Lho ’brug chos ’byung, Thimphu 1972, p. 375.

5 J. C. WHITE, Sikhim & Bhutan: Twenty-One Years on the North-East Frontier. 1887–1908, London 1909, pp. 140–144.

6 Krong gsar.

7 Dpon slob, translatable as ‘lord-master’.

8 Spa ro, in Western Bhutan.

9 Dbang ’dus pho brang.

10 Rdzong dpon, translatable as ‘lord of the fortress (rdzong)’.

11 Thim phu.

12 Spu na kha.

13 Lcang gling mi thang gi dmag ’dzing. On this period see K. PHUNTSHO, The History of Bhutan, Noida 2013, pp. 485–492; WHITE, pp. 131–134 and 281. On the birth of the Bhutanese monarchy see M. ARIS, The Raven Crown: The Origins of Buddhist Monarchy in Bhutan, Chicago 2005.

14 ’Brug pa.  

15 Zhabs drung.

16 Ngag dbang rnam rgyal.

17 On the theocratic period of Bhutan see Y. IMAEDA, Histoire médiévale du Bhoutan: établissement et évolution de la théocratie des ’Brug pa, Tokyo 2011. On the Bhutanese Buddhism see, inter alia, S. KUMAGAI (ed.), Bhutanese Buddhism and Its Culture, Kathmandu 2014.  

18 East India (Tibet). Further papers relating to Tibet, cd. 5240, London 1910, Treaty with Bhutan, signed 8th January 1910, No. 346, p. 214.

19 Full text of the Treaty of Sinchula in East India (Bootan). Further papers relating to Bootan, House of Commons Papers, 13, Vol. LII, London 1866, pp. 94–95.

20 Lung thur.

21 Thub bstan rgya mtsho.

22 The National Archives, London, Kew (further only TNA), Foreign Office (further only FO) 17/1108, The Viceroy of India to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, 7th February 1888, Enclosure of a letter to Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for India, No. 24, f. 21.

23 Phun tshogs rnam rgyal.

24 Chos rgyal (‘Dharma king’). Between 1642 and 1975, twelve chogyals ascended the throne of Sikkim. The first monarch was Phuntsok Namgyal (1604–1670), while the last one was Palden Thondup Namgyal (Dpal ldan don grub rnam rgyal, 1923– 1982) who reigned until 1975, when Sikkim was annexed to India. CHOS DBANG (Mkhan po), Sbas yul ’bras mo ljongs kyi chos srid dang ’brel ba’i rgyal rabs lo rgyus bden don kun gsal me long, Gangtok 2003, pp. 112–392. On the history of early Sikkim see S. MULLARD, Opening the Hidden Land: State Formation and the Construction of Sikkimese History, Leiden, Boston 2011.

25 Dge lugs.

26 Full text of the treaty in Copy or extracts of despatches relating to the Sikkim expedition, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, Vol. XL, 1862, pp. 44–46.

27 On this, see A. MCKAY, “A Difficult Country, a Hostile Chief, and a still more Hostile Minister”: the Anglo-SikkimWar of 1861, in: Bulletin of Tibetology, 45, 2, 2009 and 46, 1, 2010, pp. 31–48.

28 An ambassador or an agent. W. HAMILTON, The East-India Gazetter, Vol. II, London 1828, p. 733.

29 Sikkim ceded the Hill of Darjeeling to the British in 1835. See E. C. DOZEY, Concise History of Darjeeling District since 1835, Calcutta 1922, p. 3.

30 S. C. BAYLEY, The Sikkim Expedition of 1888, in: Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 58, 3005, June 24, 1910, pp. 734–736.

31 Sgang thog.

32 British Library, London (further only BL), IOR/L/MIL/17/12/60, Report on the Sikhim Expedition: From January 1888 to January 1890, prepared (under the orders of the Quarter Master General in India) by Lieutenant C. J. Markham, in the Intelligence Branch, Calcutta 1890, pp. 1–2; Frontier and overseas expeditions from India, compiled in the Intelligence Branch Division of the Chief of the Staff Army Head Quarters, India, Vol. IV, North and North-Eastern Frontier Tribes, Simla 1907, p. 50.

33 Mthu stobs rnam rgyal.

34 CHOS DBANG (Mkhan po), p. 223.

35 Chu ’bi.

36 Frontier and overseas expeditions from India, p. 50.

37 Phag ri.

38 TNA, FO 17/1108, J.Ware Edgar to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, 10th February 1888, No. 28, Enclosure No. 1, ff. 27–28, p. 2.

39 BL, IOR/L/MIL/17/12/60, Report on the Sikhim Expedition, p. 2; Frontier and overseas expeditions from India, p. 50. “Inasmuch as inquiry into the circumstances by the Chinese Government has shown the existence of many obstacles to the Mission to Thibet provided for in the Separate Article of the Chefoo Agreement, England consents to countermand the Mission forthwith. With regard to the desire of the British Government to consider arrangements for frontier trade between India and Thibet, it will be the duty of the Chinese Government, after careful inquiry into the circumstances, to adopt measures to exhort and encourage the people with a view to the promotion and development of trade. Should it be practicable, the Chinese Government shall then proceed carefully to consider Trade Regulations; but if insuperable obstacles should be found to exist, the British Government will not press the matter unduly.” Article IV of the Convention between Great Britain and China, relative to Burmah and Thibet. – Signed at Peking, July 24, 1886. Full text of the Convention in: British and Foreign State Papers (further only BSP), Vol. 77, pp. 80–81. The expedition had obtained the passports to Tibet from the Chinese authorities in November 1885. TNA, FO 17/987, Mr. O’Conor to the Marquess of Salisbury, 14th November 1885, f. 337.

40 “Her Majesty’s Government having it in contemplation to send a mission of exploration next year by way of Peking through Kan-Su and Koko-Nor, or by way of Ssu-Ch’uen to Thibet, and thence to India, the Tsung-li Yamên having due regard to the circumstances will, when the time arrives, issue the necessary passports, and will address letters to the high provincial authorities and the Resident in Thibet. If the Mission should not be sent by these routes, but should be proceeding across the Indian frontier to Thibet, the Tsung-li Yamên, on receipt of a communication to the above effect from the British Minister, will write to the Chinese Resident in Thibet, and the Resident, with due regard to the circumstances, will send officers to take due care of the Mission; and passports for the Mission will be issued by the Tsung-li Yamên, that its passage be not obstructed.” English text of the Agreement in: BSP, 71, pp. 753–759.

41 BL, IOR/L/MIL/17/12/60, Report on the Sikhim Expedition, p. 2; Frontier and overseas expeditions from India, p. 50.

42 WHITE, p. 19.  

43 The India List: Civil and Military, July, 1888, London 1888, p. 67; The India List and India Office List for 1905, London 1905, p. 584.

44 Pho gdong bla ma.

45 TNA, FO 17/1108, J.Ware Edgar to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, 10th February 1888, No. 28, Enclosure No. 1, p. 27; TNA, FO 17/1108, J. Ware Edgar to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, 17th January 1888, No. 22, Enclosure No. 1, f. 17, p. 1.

46 TNA, FO 17/1108, J. Ware Edgar to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, 10th February 1888, No. 28, Enclosure No. 1, f. 27, p. 1. Pemionchi monastery (Pemayangtse, pad ma yang rtse) is in South-Western Sikkim.

47 Ibidem.

48 Ibidem, f. 28, p. 4.

49 THUB BSTAN BYAMS PA TSHUL KHRIMS BSTAN ’DZIN, Rgyal dbang sku phreng bcu gsum pa thub bstan rgya mtsho’i rnam thar, Vol. 1, Pe cin n.d., p. 50.

50 Ngag dbang dpal ldan chos kyi rgyal mtshan.

51 BLO BZANG YE SHES BSTAN PA’I RGYAL MTSHAN, Rta tshag rje drung ngag dbang dpal ldan chos kyi rgyal mtshan gyi rnam thar, s.l. n.d., ff. 54b–55a.

52 Ngag dbang blo bzang ’phrin las rab rgyas.

53 L. PETECH, The Dalai-Lamas and Regents of Tibet: A Chronological Study, in: T’oung Pao, 47, 1959, p. 393.

54 TNA, FO 17/1108, A.W. Paul to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Bengal, Political Department, 25th February 1888, enclosed to J. Ware Edgar to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, 10th April 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 1, f. 119, p. 1.

55 East India (progress and condition). Statement exhibiting the moral and material progress and condition of India during the year 1888–89. Twenty-fifth number, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 384, Vol. LIII, 1890, p. 204; TNA, FO 17/1108, Sir J.Walsham to Marquis of Salisbury, 24th March 1888, Telegram No. 13, f. 63. Paul indicates 21st March as the day of the conquest of Lingtu, but he writes: “next day, the 21st, Lingtu was taken without opposition”, referring with “next day” to the battle of 19th March: an error is therefore possible. Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 2nd May 1888, enclosed to J. Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 8th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 2, f. 121, p. 6.

56 East India (progress and condition). Statement exhibiting the moral and material progress and condition of India during the year 1888–89. Twenty-fifth number, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 384, Vol. LIII, 1890, p. 204.

57 TNA, FO 17/1108, Sir J.Walsham to Foreign (copy to India Office), No. 60, f. 67.

58 Ibidem, f. 185.

59 Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 25th May 1888, attached to J. Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 29th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 3, ff. 122–123, pp. 8–9; East India (progress and condition). Statement exhibiting the moral and material progress and condition of India during the year 1888–89. Twenty-fifth number, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 384, Vol. LIII, 1890, p. 204.

60 TNA, FO 17/1108, From Viceroy (to India Office), 2nd May 1888, f. 76A.

61 Ibidem. From Viceroy (to India Office), 28th May 1888, f. 84.

62 East India (progress and condition). Statement exhibiting the moral and material progress and condition of India during the year 1888–89. Twenty-fifth number, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 384, Vol. LIII, 1890, p. 204.

63 TNA, FO 17/1108, Telegram of the 26th September 1888, from Paul, repeated from the Secretary, Bengal Government, Darjiling, to Foreign Secretary, Simla, 27th September 1888, No. 166, Enclosure No. 8, f. 291, p. 4; P. R. RAO, India and Sikkim: 1814–1970, New Delhi, Jullundur 1972, pp. 94–95.

64 TNA, FO 17/1108, The Government of India, Foreign Department to Viscount Cross, No. 128, f. 116, p. 1.

65 Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J.Ware Edgar, 2nd May 1888, enclosed to J.Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 8th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 2, f. 122, p. 7.

66 ’Brug sde srid.

67 Sangs rgyas rdo rje.

68 PHUNTSHO, p. 492.

69 TNA, FO 17/1108, Chief Secretary, Bengal, Calcutta to Foreign Department, Simla (Telegram), 14th April 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 8, f. 125, p. 14.

70 Ibidem.

71 Ibidem.

72 Ibidem.

73 “Viceroy will not refuse to give Paul authority which Lieutenant-Governor recommends. But he should reserve entire freedom of action and not permit himself to be hampered by the presence of the Bhutanese delegates. His position should be that we have very little to gain by entering by any negotiations with the Tibetans.” Ibidem, Foreign Department, Simla to Chief Secretary, Bengal, Calcutta (Telegram), 15th April 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 9, f. 125, p. 14.  

74 Ibidem, f. 126, p. 15.

75 Ibidem.

76 Ibidem.

77 “Viceroy wishes to know whether under circumstances Lieutenant-Governor thinks we might preferably send message direct, and avoid any inconveniences consequent on Bhutanese mediation.” Ibidem.

78 “One thing is certain, – the people of Sikkim and the Tibetan lower classes are firmly convinced that China is not friendly disposed to the English, but will help the Tibetans. If China can be induced to make some overt declaration in our favour, it will, in my humble opinion, considerably clear our present difficult position of inactivity by confirming the loyalty of Sikkim and Bhutan people towards us.” Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 9th July 1888, f. 132, p. 2.

79 Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J.Ware Edgar, 25th May 1888, attached to J.Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 29th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 3, f. 123, p. 9.

80 Ibidem, f. 123, p. 10. According to Ugyen Kazi, the Bhutanese with the Thimphu Dzongpon were just 50 men (ibidem). Ugyen Kazi (Ugyen Dorji), later important figure in Bhutanese political and diplomatic history, had recently returned to Kalimpong. T. TASHI, Gongzim Ugyen Dorji: The King’s Aide and Diplomat Par Excellence, edited by D. Chophel, Thimphu 2013, p. 10.

81 A lu rdo rje.

82 WHITE, p. 133.

83 TNA, FO 17/1108, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 25th May 1888, attached to J. Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 29th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 3, f. 123, p. 10.

84 Ha.

85 “Already, besides the Timpoo Jongpen, who has all along sided openly with the Tibetans, I hear the Zimpen and Nichen of Paro (two officers under the Penlow), as well as the Jongpen of Har-tamphiong, are collecting and arming men to help the enemy.” TNA, FO 17/1108, A.W. Paul to J.Ware Edgar, 9th July 1888, f. 132, p. 2.

86 Rin chen sgang; in the document “at Dudhyakham within half a mile of Rinchagong”, ibidem, f. 133, p. 3.

87 BL, IOR/L/MIL/17/12/60, Report on the Sikhim Expedition, p. 44.

88 TNA, FO 17/1108, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 9th July 1888, p. 133. In August, the Bhutanese under the command of the Thimphu Dzongpon were 300. BL, IOR/L/MIL/17/12/60, Report on the Sikhim Expedition, p. 44.

89 TNA, FO 17/1108, A.W. Paul to J. Ware Edgar, 25th May 1888, attached to J. Ware Edgar to H. M. Durand, 29th May 1888, No. 128, Enclosure No. 3, f. 123, p. 10.

90 Ibidem, A.W. Paul to J.Ware Edgar, 9th July 1888, ff. 133–134, pp. 3–4.

91 Ibidem.

92 Ibidem.

93 Ibidem, f. 134, p. 3.

94 Ibidem. Extract from a demi-official letter from Major H. Boileau, 11th August 1888, No. 152, Enclosure No. 1, f. 189.

95 “I have just heard as follows from Sunder at Buxa: He says – ‘The old Vakil’s son has just returned from Bhutan: he tells me that his Deb Zimpen and Angdoforang Jungpen will shortly return from Paro. The Tibetans have informed them that they need not come to negotiate for peace. The Tibetans are collecting all their men and are determined to fight. They will attack our troops from two or three direction. The Vakil’s son is unable to say more than this about their plan of operations. He tells me that messengers are frequently being sent to Tongso Penlow for resistance. He is said to have informed the Tibetans that, if Bhutan gives any help, the subsidy of Rs. 50,000 will be stopped.’” Ibidem.

96 “In consideration of the cession by the Bhootan Government of the territories specified in Article II. of this Treaty, and of the said Government having expressed its regret for past misconduct, and having hereby engaged for the future to restrain all evil-disposed persons from committing crimes within British territory or the territories of the Rajahs of Sikkim and Cooch Behar and to give prompt and full redress for all such crimes which may be committed in defiance of their commands, the British Government agree to make an annual allowance to the Government of Bhootan of a sum not exceeding fifty thousand rupees (Rs. 50,000), to be paid to officers not below the rank of Jungpen, who shall be deputed by the Government of Bhootan to receive the same. And it is further hereby agreed that the payments shall be made as specified below:– On the fulfillment by the Bhootan Government of the conditions of this Treaty, twenty-five thousand rupees (Rs. 25,000). On the 10th January following the first payment, thirty-five thousand rupees (Rs. 35,000). On the 10th January following, forty-five thousand rupees (Rs. 45,000). On every succeeding 10th January, fifty thousand rupees (Rs. 50,000).” Article IV of the Treaty of Sinchula.

97 The text of the letter of Boileau indicates only a certain Sunder at Buxa Fort. “I have just heard from Sunder at Buxa”, TNA, FO 17/1108, Extract from a demi-official letter from Major H. Boileau, dated 11th August 1888, No. 152, Enclosure No. 1, f. 176. He is probably Donald Sunder, a magistrate in Julpigoree (Jalpaiguri) according to The India List: Civil and Military, London 1888, p. 70.

98 Ibidem, Extract from a demi-official letter from Major H. Boileau, 11th August 1888, No. 152, Enclosure No. 1, f. 189. It is difficult to determine which place is referred to. It is unlikely to be Gyantse (Rgyal rtse), one of the main cities of Tibet. In this case, such a proposal by Ugyen Wangchuck should be read simply as a request aimed at total disengagement.

99 Ibidem.

100 Ibidem.

101 Ibidem.

102 Ibidem, Telegram from Chief Secretary, Bengal, Dacca to Foreign Secretary, Simla, 21st August 1888, No. 152, Enclosure No. 5, f. 191. For accuracy, 20th August is the date on which the meeting was communicated to Dhaka.

103 Ibidem, Telegram from Paul, repeated in a telegram from Chief Secretary, Bengal, Dacca to Foreign Secretary, Simla, 21st August 1888, No. 152, Enclosure No. 5, f. 191.

104 “[T]wo other letters, dated 2nd August, written by envoy collectively, and also Angdoforung separately, in which they regret refusal of Tibetans to listen to offers of mediation, has compelled them to return without visiting me.” Ibidem.

105 Ibidem.

106 Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet. Signed at Calcutta, March 17, 1890. With Regulations appended thereto, signed at Darjeeling, December 5, 1893, C. 7312, London 1894, pp. 1–3.

107 WHITE, pp. 133–134.  
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:28 am

Alfred Wallis Paul
by Who’s Who



[Bengal Civil Service. Year of appointment: 1870: Assistant Commissioner, Darjeeling, Bengal. Officiating 1st Grade] Paul, Alfred Wallis, B.A., C.I.E. (1889,; I.C.S. retired; .s. of late Paul of Bristol; b. 1847; educ: Clifton College, Oxford; passed B.A., 1870; joined I.C.S. in Bengal, 1870; on special duty in Tibet, 1886-99; British Commissioner under Anglo-Chinese Commission, 1890; retired, 1895. Address: Under Bank, Torquay. Clubs: Constitutional, Royal Yacht and Sport.

-- The Indian Biographical Dictionary (1915), by C. Hayavadana Rao

C.I.E. 1889; Indian Civil Service (retired); b. 1847; unmarried. Educ.: Clifton Coll.; Wadham Coll. Oxford (Scholar; B.A. 1870). Indian Civil Service, 1870-95; Political Officer Sikkim Expedition; British Commissioner under Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890; Deputy Comm. of Darjeeling. Address: Underbank, Torquay. Clubs: Constitutional, Royal Thames Yacht, Sports.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:31 am

by Richard T. Greer, Deputy Commissioner, Darjeeling
August 6, 1897
from "Routes in Sikkim," Compiled in the Intelligence Branch of the Quartermaster General’s Department in India, by Captain W. F. O’Connor, Royal Garrison Artillery
Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India.




1. Europeans visiting Sikkim are required to carry a pass, and, unless provided with a pass, will not be allowed beyond the Darjeeling frontier.

2. The Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling is authorized to issue passes for the ordinary routes in Sikkim on which bungalows are situated, in accordance with the rules laid down regarding travellers’ bungalows in Darjeeling and Sikkim.

3. The Political Officer in Sikkim (head-quarters at Gantok) is authorized to issue passes to persons wishing to leave the ordinary bungalow routes in Sikkim or to visit Yatung.

Travellers’ Bungalows in Darjeeling District and Sikkim.

The following bungalows are now open, besides dak bungalows at Kurseong, Punkabari, and Siliguri:

Passes issued by the Deputy Commissioner. (Under the Deputy Commissioner and Political Officer, Sikkim)

Number / Place / Distance in miles from Darjeeling / Distance in miles to next bungalow / Height in feet above sea-level.

1 / Senchal / 6 / -- / 8,000
2 / Rangaroon / 6-1/2 / -- / 5,700
3 / Badamtam / 7-1/2 / -- / 2,500
4 / Mirig / 25 / 14 (from Jorepokri) / 5,000
5 / Kalimpong / 28 (Via Rungit; 32 via Pasboke) / 10 / 4,000
6 / Rissisum / 38 (Via Rungit) / 12 (From Kalimpong) / 6,410
7 / Jorepokri / 13 / -- / 7,400
8 / Tangin / 23 / 9 / 10,074
9 / Sandakphu / 38 / 15 / 11,929
10 / Phalut / 51 / 13 / 11,811
12 / Dentam / 64 (50 via Chakung) / 10 / 4,500
13 / Pamiongchi / 76 (42 direct) / 12 / 6,920
14* / Singlip / 38 Direct / 4 / 2,300
15 / Rinchingpong / 86 (32 Direct) / 6 / 5,000
16 / Chakung / 98 (20 Diurect) / 12 / 5,100
17 / Rhenock / 48 / 5 / 3,000
18 / Ari / 51 (Via Pedong) / 8 (From Pedong) / 4,500
19 / Sedonehen / 59 or 62 / 12 / 6,500
20 / Gnatong / 69 or 72 / 9 / 12,800
21 / Namchi / 32 / 15 (From Namchi) / 1,200
22* / Tokul / 17 / 21 (From Chakung) / 5,200
23 / Sang / 37 / 20 (15 miles to Gantok) / 4,500
24 / Pakyang / 53 / 16 (15 from Pedong) / 4,700
25 / Gantok / 65 / 12 / 5,700
26 / Tumlong / 81 / 16 / 6,300
27 / Samatek / 97 / 16 / 6,800
28 / Toong / 110 / 13 / 4,000
29 / Cheongtang / 122 / 25 / 5,100

Passes issued by the Executive Engineer, P. W. D., Darjeeling. (Under the Ex. Engr., P.W.D.

30 / Pedong / 43 / 12 From Kalimpong / 4,760
31 / Pashoke / 17 (26 frm Pedang) / 11 From Rangaroon / 3,300
32 / Teesta Bridge / 19 (Via Rungit; 22 Via Pashoke) / -- / --
33 / Riang / 25 or 27 / 6 / 625
34 / Kalijhorn / 32 (Via Teesta Bridge) / 7 / 550

4. The bungalows are available only to persons provided with passes. A separate pass must be obtained for each occupant or party for each bungalow whether going or returning.

I. Fees.

Eight annas for each person for occupation during the day up to a maximum charge of eight rupees. One rupee per night for each occupant.

1. In the case of Senchal, Rangaroon, and Badamtam the charge for occupation by day only is four annas for each person up to a maximum of four rupees.

2. Passes may be cancelled by the local authorities without payment of compensation.

3. A refund of bungalow fees is not allowed after the issue of a pass.

4. Passes must be made over to the chowkidar in charge.

5. Fees are payable in advance to the Deputy Commissioner or Executive Engineer on the submission of the application for the pass.

6. Government officers on duty are allowed to occupy the bungalows free of charge.

II. Furniture, etc.

1. Beds, tables, chairs, lamps with wicks, candlesticks, crockery, glass and kitchen utensils are provided at each bungalow.

2. Visitors must take their own bedding, cutlery, linen, candles, oil for lamps, and provisions.

III. Provisions, etc.

1. Ordinary bazaar supplies are obtainable at Jorepokri, Dentam, Kalimpong, Teesta Bridge, Pedong, Namchi, Pakyong, and Ari.

2. Firewood is provided free of charge on the Nepal frontier road bungalows. At Kalimpong four annas a maund is payable.

IV. Accommodation.

1. There is accommodation for six persons at bungalows 1 to 3, 5 to 15, 26 and 27. Nos. 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25 and 28 have three rooms.

2. Bungalows 17 and 18 to 23 have only two rooms.

3. Two persons can be accommodated at the remaining bungalows, unless visitors take their own camp beds. At No. 29 the upper part of a monastery is used.

V. Servants.

1. A sweeper can be hired on the spot at Kalimpong, Jorepokri, Teesta Bridge, Rhenock, Ari, and Gantok.

2. Elsewhere travelers must take sweepers with them, and no pass will issue, except on this condition.

3. There is no resident khansamah at any bungalow.

VI. Situation.

1. On the Nepal frontier road: Nos. 7 to 10
In Sikkim: Nos. 11 to 29
On the road to the Jelap Pass: Nos. 18 to 20
On the Teesta valley road: Nos. 32 to 34
On the road to the Lachen valley: Nos. 26 to 29
Namchi and Song are on the Darjeeling-Gantok road (via Rungeet Bazar).
Pakyong is on the Pedong-Gantok road.
Rissisum is on the Daling road to the plains.

VII. Tours.

The following tours can be made:

(a) Darjeeling to Jorepokri, Tonglu, Sandakphu, Phalut, Chiabhanjan, Dentam, Pamiongchi, Rinchimpong, Chakung and back to Darjeeling.

(b) Darjeeling to Badamtam, Teesta Bridge, Pashoke and back to Darjeeling.

(c) Darjeeling to Badamtam or Pashoke, Teesta Bridge, Riang, Kalijhora, Siliguri and back by train to Darjeeling.

(d) Darjeeling, Badamtam or Pashoke, Kalimpong, Rissisum, Pedong, Ari, Sodonchen to Gnatong (for the Jelap pass) and back.

(e) Darjeeling to Pedong, Pakyong, Gantok, Son, Namchi and back to Darjeeling.

(f) Darjeeling to Gantok, Tumlong, Samatek, Toeng and Cheongtong (for Lachen Lachung).

VIII. Rates.

For coolie rates see the prescribed table of rates separately.
Eight annas a day is an average charge for each coolie hired in Darjeeling, four annas if hired in Kalimpong, and six annas in Sikkim.

IX. Map.

A Map of the locality can be obtained at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Price one rupee.

Richd [Richard] T. Greer,
Deputy Commissioner,

6th August 1897



* Wooden huts only, with two small rooms in each, and no furniture, but suitable for men wishing to fish. “Singlip” is called “Lipsig” on the map.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:31 am

Charles Webster Leadbeater
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19



Charles Webster Leadbeater
Leadbeater in 1914 (age 60)
Born 16 February 1854
Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK
Died 1 March 1934 (aged 80)
Perth, Australia
Known for Theosophist and writer

Charles Webster Leadbeater (/ˈlɛdˌbɛtər/; 16 February 1854 – 1 March 1934) was a member of the Theosophical Society, author on occult subjects and co-initiator with J. I. Wedgwood of the Liberal Catholic Church.

Originally a priest of the Church of England, his interest in spiritualism caused him to end his affiliation with Anglicanism in favour of the Theosophical Society, where he became an associate of Annie Besant. He became a high-ranking officer of the Society, but resigned in 1906 amid a sex scandal involving adolescent boys. He was readmitted after his champion Annie Besant became President and remained one of its leading members until his death in 1934, writing at least 69 books and pamphlets and maintaining regular speaking engagements, but continued to be involved in scandals.

Early life

Leadbeater was born in Stockport, Cheshire, in 1854. His father, Charles Sr., was born in Lincoln and his mother Emma was born in Liverpool. He was an only child. By 1861 the family had relocated to London, where his father was a railway contractor's clerk.[1][non-primary source needed]

In 1862, when Leadbeater was eight years old, his father died from tuberculosis. Four years later a bank in which the family's savings were invested became bankrupt. Without finances for college, Leadbeater sought work soon after graduating from high school in order to provide for his mother and himself. He worked at various clerical jobs.[2] During the evenings he became largely self-educated. For example, he studied astronomy and had a 12-inch reflector telescope (which was very expensive at the time) to observe the heavens at night. He also studied French, Latin and Greek.

An uncle, his father's brother-in-law, was the well-known Anglican cleric William Wolfe Capes. By his uncle's influence, Leadbeater was ordained an Anglican priest in 1879 in Farnham by the Bishop of Winchester. By 1881, he was living with his widowed mother at Bramshott in a cottage which his uncle had built, where he is listed as "Curate of Bramshott".[3] He was an active priest and teacher who was remembered later as "a bright and cheerful and kindhearted man".[4] About this time, after reading about the séances of reputed medium Daniel Dunglas Home (1833–1886), Leadbeater developed an active interest in spiritualism.

Theosophical Society

His interest in Theosophy was stimulated by A.P. Sinnett's Occult World, and he joined the Theosophical Society in 1883. The next year he met Helena Petrovna Blavatsky when she came to London; she accepted him as a pupil and he became a vegetarian.[5]

Around this time he wrote a letter to Kuthumi, asking to be accepted as his pupil.[6] Shortly afterward, an encouraging response influenced him to go to India; he arrived at Adyar in 1884. He wrote that while in India, he had received visits and training from some of the "Masters" that according to Blavatsky were the inspiration behind the formation of the Theosophical Society, and were its hidden guides.[7] This was the start of a long career with the Theosophical Society.

Headmaster in Ceylon

During 1885, Leadbeater traveled with Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907), first President of the Theosophical Society, to Burma and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In Ceylon they founded the English Buddhist Academy, with Leadbeater staying there to serve as its first headmaster under very austere conditions.[8] This school gradually expanded to become Ananda College, which now has more than 6,000 students and has a building named for Leadbeater.[9] After Blavatsky left Adyar in 1886 to return to Europe and finish writing The Secret Doctrine, Leadbeater claimed to have developed clairvoyant abilities.[10]

Return to England

In 1889, Sinnett asked Leadbeater to return to England to tutor his son and George Arundale (1878–1945). He agreed and brought with him one of his pupils, Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa (1875–1953). Although struggling with poverty himself, Leadbeater managed to send both Arundale and Jinarajadasa to Cambridge University. Both would eventually serve as International presidents of the Theosophical Society.

Meeting with Annie Besant

After H. P. Blavatsky's death in 1891, Annie Besant, an English social activist, took over leadership of the Theosophical Society along with Colonel Olcott.[11] Besant met Leadbeater in 1894. The next year she invited him to live at the London Theosophical Headquarters, where H.P. Blavatsky died in 1891.[12]

Writing and speaking career

Leadbeater wrote 69 books and pamphlets during the period from 1895 to his death in 1934, many of which continued to be published until 1955.[13] Two noteworthy titles, Astral Plane and the Devachanic Plane (or The Heaven World) both of which contained writings on the realms the soul passes through after death.

"For the first time among occultists, a detailed investigation had been made of the Astral Plane as a whole, in a manner similar to that in which a botanist in an Amazonian jungle would set to work in order to classify its trees, plants and shrubs, and so write a botanical history of the jungle. For this reason the little book, The Astral Plane, was definitely a landmark, and the Master as Keeper of the Records desired to place its manuscript in the great Museum." [14]

Highlights of his writing career included addressing topics such as: the existence of a loving God, The Masters of Wisdom, what happens after death, immortality of the human soul, reincarnation, Karma or the Law of Consequence, development of clairvoyant abilities, the nature of thought forms, dreams, vegetarianism, Esoteric Christianity[15]

He also became one of the best known speakers of the Theosophical Society for a number of years[16] and served as Secretary of the London Lodge.[17]


"Seeing" of music: a piece by Gounod (from a book Thought-Forms by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater).

Clairvoyance is a book by Leadbeater originally published in 1899 in London.[18][19] It is a study of a belief in seeing beyond the realms of ordinary sight.[20][21][22] The author mainly appeals readers "convinced of the existence of clairvoyance and familiar with theosophical terms."[23] Leadbeater claims that the "power to see what is hidden from ordinary physical sight" is an extension of common reception, and "describes a wide range of phenomena."[23][note 1][note 2]


1. What clairvoyance is.
2. Simple clairvoyance: full.
3. Simple clairvoyance: partial.
4. Clairvoyance in space: intentional.
5. Clairvoyance in space: semi-intentional.
6. Clairvoyance in space: unintentional.
7. Clairvoyance in time: the past.
8. Clairvoyance in time: the future.
9. Methods of development.[26][27]

Methods of development Leadbeater writes about the importance of control over thinking and the need for skill "to concentrate thought":

"Let a man choose a certain time every day—a time when he can rely upon being quiet and undisturbed, though preferably in the daytime rather than at night—and set himself at that time to keep his mind for a few minutes entirely free from all earthly thoughts of any kind whatever and, when that is achieved, to direct the whole force of his being towards the highest spiritual ideal that he happens to know. He will find that to gain such perfect control of thought is enormously more difficult than he supposes, but when he attains it, it cannot but be in every way most beneficial to him, and as he grows more and more able to elevate and concentrate his thought, he may gradually find that new worlds are opening before his sight."[28][note 3] [note 4]

Author's personal experience

"Ultramicroscopic seeing" of matter: the "ultimate" physical atom (from Occult Chemistry by A. Besant and C. W. Leadbeater).

Professor Robert Ellwood wrote that from 1884 to 1888 Leadbeater undertook a course of meditation practice "which awakened his clairvoyance."[25] One day when the Master Kuthumi visited, he asked whether Leadbeater had ever attempted "a certain kind of meditation connected with the development of the mysterious power called kundalini."[33][34] The Master recommended him to make a "few efforts along certain lines," and told him that he would himself "watch over those efforts to see that no danger should ensue." Leadbeater accepted the offer of the Master and became "day after day" working on this kind of meditation.[35] He worked on the task assigned to him for forty-two days, and it seemed to him that he was already on the verge of achieving a result when Kuthumi intervened and "performed the final act of breaking through which completed the process," and enabled Leadbeater thereafter to use astral sight while as he was retaining full consciousness in the physical body. It is equivalent to saying that "the astral consciousness and memory became continuous," whether the physical body was awake or asleep.[36][37][note 5]

Possible application In the chapter "Simple Clairvoyance: Full" the author argues that an occultist-clairvoyant can "see" the smallest particles of matter, for example, a molecule or atom, magnificating them "as though by a microscope."[40][note 6][note 7] In the chapter "Clairvoyance in Time: The Past" Leadbeater claims that before the historian who is in "full possession of this power" open up wonderful possibilities:

"He has before him a field of historical research of most entrancing interest. Not only can he review at his leisure all history with which we are acquainted, correcting as he examines it the many errors and misconceptions which have crept into the accounts handed down to us; he can also range at will over the whole story of the world from its very beginning."[43][note 8][note 9]

New editions and translations The book was reprinted several times and translated into some European languages. Second edition of the book was published in 1903, and third—in 1908.[18][note 10]

Resignation from the Theosophical Society

In 1906, critics were angered to learn that Leadbeater had given advice to boys under his care that encouraged masturbation as a way to relieve obsessive sexual thoughts. Leadbeater acknowledged that he had given this advice to a few boys approaching maturity who came to him for help. He commented, "I know that the whole question of sex feelings is the principal difficulty in the path of boys and girls, and very much harm is done by the prevalent habit of ignoring the subject and fearing to speak of it to young people. The first information about it should come from parents or friends, not from servants or bad companions."[45]

The revelations regarding Leadbeater's advice and resulting suspicion that he was sexually abusive prompted several members of the Theosophical Society to ask for his resignation. The Society held proceedings against him in 1906. Annie Besant, elected president of the Society in 1907, later stated in his defense:

"The so-called trial of Mr Leadbeater was a travesty of justice. He came before Judges, one of whom had declared before hand that 'he ought to be shot'; another, before hearing him, had written passionate denunciations of him, a third and fourth had accepted, on purely psychic testimony, unsupported by any evidence, the view that he was grossly immoral, and a danger to the Society..."[46]

Charges of misconduct that went beyond the advice he admitted giving were never proven. He nevertheless resigned.

Readmission to the Theosophical Society

After Olcott died in 1907, Annie Besant became president of the society following a political struggle. By the end of 1908, the International Sections voted for Leadbeater's readmission. He accepted and came to Adyar on 10 February 1909. At the time, Besant referred to Leadbeater as a martyr who was wronged by her and by the Theosophical Society, saying that "never again would a shadow come between her and her brother Initiate".[47]

Discovery of Krishnamurti

In 1909 Leadbeater encountered fourteen-year-old Jiddu Krishnamurti at the private beach of the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar. Krishnamurti's family lived next to the compound; his father, a long-time Theosophist, was employed by the Society. Leadbeater believed Krishnamurti to be a suitable candidate for the "vehicle" of the World Teacher, a reputed messianic entity[48] whose imminent appearance he and many Theosophists were expecting. The proclaimed savior would then usher in a new age and religion.[49]

Leadbeater assigned the pseudonym Alcyone to Krishnamurti and under the title "Rents in the Veil of Time", he published 30 reputed past lives of Alcyone in a series in The Theosophist magazine beginning in April 1910. "They ranged from 22,662 BC to 624 AD ... Alcyone was a female in eleven of them."[50]

Leadbeater stayed in India until 1915, overseeing the education of Krishnamurti; he then relocated to Australia. During the late 1920s, Krishnamurti disavowed the role that Leadbeater and other Theosophists expected him to fulfil.[51] He disassociated himself from the Theosophical Society and its doctrines and practices,[52] and during the next six decades became known as an influential speaker on philosophical and religious subjects.

Australia and The Science of the Sacraments

Leadbeater moved to Sydney in 1915. He was responsible for the construction of the Star Amphitheatre at Balmoral Beach in 1924. While in Australia he became acquainted with J. I. Wedgwood, a Theosophist and bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church who initiated him into Co-Masonry in 1915 and later consecrated him as a bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church in 1916.

Public interest in Theosophy in Australia and New Zealand increased greatly as a result of Leadbeater's presence there and Sydney became comparable to Adyar as a centre of Theosophical activity.[53]

The Manor, Sydney, Australia, where Leadbeater stayed from 1922 to 1929

In 1922, the Theosophical Society began renting a mansion known as The Manor in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. Leadbeater took up residence there as the director of a community of Theosophists. The Manor became a major site and was regarded as "the greatest of occult forcing houses".[54] There he accepted young women students. They included Clara Codd, future President of the Theosophical Society in America, clairvoyant Dora van Gelder, another future President of the Theosophical Society in America who during the 1970s also worked with Delores Krieger to develop the technique of Therapeutic touch, and Mary Lutyens, who would later write an authorized Krishnamurti biography.[55] Lutyens stayed there in 1925, while Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya stayed at another house nearby. The Manor became one of three major Theosophical Society sites, the others being at Adyar and the Netherlands. The Theosophical Society bought The Manor in 1925 and during 1951 created The Manor Foundation Ltd, to own and administer the house, which is still used by the Society.[56]

It was also during his stay in Australia that Leadbeater became the Presiding Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church and co-wrote the liturgy book for the church which is still in use today. The work represents an adaptation of the Roman Catholic liturgy of his time, for which Leadbeater sought to remove what he regarded as undesirable elements, such as (in his view) the blatant anthropomorphisms and expressions of the fear and wrath of God, which he regarded "as derogatory alike to the idea of a loving Father and to the men He has created in His own image." "If Christians", he wrote, "had been content to take what Christ taught of the Father in heaven, they would never have saddled themselves with the jealous, angry, bloodthirsty Jehovah of Ezra, Nehemiah and the others – a god that needs propitiating and to whose 'mercy' constant appeals must be made."[57]

Thus the Credo of the Liberal Catholic Church liturgy written by Leadbeater reads:

"We believe that God is Love and Power and Truth and Light; that perfect justice rules the world; that all His sons shall one day reach His Feet, however far they stray. We hold the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of man; we know that we do serve Him best when best we serve our brother man. So shall His blessing rest upon us and peace for evermore. Amen."[58]

Previously Leadbeater had written on the energies of the Christian sacraments in The Science of the Sacraments: An Occult and Clairvoyant Study of the Christian Eucharist, one of the most significant works of Christian esotericism. In his prologue to the latest edition of this book, John Kersey refers to the Eucharist proposed by Leadbeater as "a radical reinterpretation of the context of the Eucharist seen within a theological standpoint of esoteric magic and universal salvation; it is Catholicism expressing the love of God to the full without the burdens of needless guilt and fear, and the false totem of the temporal powers of the church."[59]

How Theosophy Came to Me

It is an autobiographical book by Leadbeater; it was first published in 1930.[60]

Spiritualism and Theosophy Leadbeater tells that he was interested always in a variety of anomal phenomena, and if in any newspaper report it was said about the appearance of ghosts or other curious events in the troubled house, he had been going immediately to this location. In a large number of instances it was a blank — "either there was no evidence worth mentioning, or the ghost declined to appear when he was wanted." Sometimes, however, there were signs of some success, and soon had collected "an amount of direct evidence" that could easily convince him, if would had needed, as he said, in order it was convincing.[61]

In attitude to spiritualism Leadbeater was initially set up quite skeptical, but still one day decided to conduct an experiment with his mother and a some small boy, who, as they later discovered, "was a powerful physical medium." They had a small round table with a leg in the middle and silk hat, which they put on the table, and then put their "hands upon its brim as prescribed." Surprisingly the hat gave "a gentle but decided half-turn on the polished surface of the table," and then began to spin so vigorously that it was difficult to keep on it their hands.[62]

Further, the author describes the events as follows:

"Here was my own familiar silk hat, which I had never before suspected of any occult qualities, suspending itself mysteriously in the air from the tips of our fingers, and, not content with that defiance of the laws of gravity on its own account, attaching a table to its crown and lifting that also! I looked down to the feet of the table; they were about six inches from the carpet, and no human foot was touching them or near them! I passed my own foot underneath, but there was certainly nothing there—nothing physically perceptible, at any rate."[63][64]

The author says that he was not himself thinking of the phenomenon "in the least as a manifestation from the dead," but only as the disclosure of some unknown new force.[65][note 11]

Leadbeater says that the first theosophical book that fell into his hands was Sinnett's The Occult World. Histories contained in this book were for him very interested, but "its real fascination lay in the glimpses which it gave of a wonderful system of philosophy and of a kind of inner science which really seemed to explain life rationally and to account for many phenomena," which Leadbeater has watched. He had written to Sinnett, who invited him to come to London in order to meet.[69][70][note 12] The author tells that when he had claimed of joining the Society, Sinnett "became very grave and opined that that would hardly do," since Leadbeater was a clergyman. He had asked him why the Society discriminates against members according to the cloth. Sinnett replied: "Well, you see, we are in the habit of discussing every subject and every belief from the beginning, without any preconceptions whatever; and I am afraid that at our meetings you would be likely to hear a great deal that would shock you profoundly."[71] But most members of the Council of the London Lodge approved the joining of Leadbeater. He was joined into the Theosophical Society together with professor Crookes and his wife. On that day at the Lodge meeting "have been some two hundred people present," including such as professor Myers, Stainton Moses and others.[72][note 13]



In a section I Meet Our Founder Leadbeater describes the "triumphant" appearance of Blavatsky at a meeting of the London Lodge of the British Theosophical Society, where he saw her for the first time.[note 14]

"Suddenly and sharply the door opposite to us opened, and a stout lady in black came quickly in and seated herself at the outer end of our bench. She sat listening to the wrangling on the platform for a few minutes, and then began to exhibit distinct signs of impatience. As there seemed to be no improvement in sight, she then jumped up from her seat, shouted in a tone of military command the one word 'Mohini!'[note 15] and then walked straight out of the door into the passage. The stately and dignified Mohini came rushing down that long room at his highest speed, and as soon as he reached the passage threw himself incontinently flat on his face on the floor at the feet of the lady in black. Many people arose in confusion, not knowing what was happening; but a moment later Mr. Sinnett himself also came running to the door, went out and exchanged a few words, and then, re-entering the room, he stood up on the end of our bench and spoke in a ringing voice the fateful words: 'Let me introduce to the London Lodge as a whole—Madame Blavatsky!' The scene was indescribable; the members, wildly delighted and yet half-awed at the same time, clustered round our great Founder, some kissing her hand, several kneeling before her, and two or three weeping hysterically."[75][note 16]

According to the author, the impression which Blavatsky made "was indescribable." She was looking straight through man, and obviously saw everything that was in one, and not everyone liked it. Sometimes Leadbeater heard from her very unpleasant revelations about those with whom she spoke. He's writing: "Prodigious force was the first impression, and perhaps courage, outspokenness, and straightforwardness were the second."[76]

Leadbeater writes that Blavatsky was the best interlocutor he had ever met: "She had the most wonderful gift for repartee; she had it almost to excess, perhaps." She also had knowledge of all sorts of things that relate to very different directions. She always had something to say, and it was never empty talk. She traveled a lot, and mostly on little-known places, and did not forget anything. She has been remembering even the most insignificant cases that had happened to her. She was a wonderful storyteller, who knew how to give a good story and make the right impression. "Whatever else she may have been, she was never commonplace. She always had something new, striking, interesting, unusual to tell us."[77][78]

In connection with the accusations of Blavatsky's enemies in her alleged fraud, cheating, forgery, Leadbeater writes: "The very idea of deception of any sort in connection with Madame Blavatsky is unthinkable to anyone who knew her... Her absolute genuineness was one of the most prominent features of her marvellously complex character."[77]

Letters from Kuthumi The author tells that during the study of spiritualism his greatest confidant was medium Eglinton. On one of the spiritualistic séances Eglinton's spirit guide "Ernest" agreed to take Leadbiter's letter in order to transmit it to the Master Kuthumi. In this letter the author "with all reverence" wrote that ever since he had first heard of theosophy his one desire had been to place himself under Master as a chela (pupil).[69][79][note 17] He also wrote about his current circumstances and has asked, has a pupil need to be in India within seven years of probation.[69][82]

The response from the Master Kuthumi has arrived a few months. The mahatma said that to be in India for seven years of probation isn't necessary—a chela can pass them anywhere. He offered to work for a few months at Adyar to see, may Leadbeater to be as a servant of the headquarters, and added a significant remark: "He who would shorten the years of probation has to make sacrifices for theosophy."[83][84][note 18]
The letter was ended with the following words:

"You ask me — 'what rules I must observe during this time of probation, and how soon I might venture to hope that it could begin'. I answer: you have the making of your own future, in your own hands as shown above, and every day you may be weaving its woof. If I were to demand that you should do one thing or the other, instead of simply advising, I would be responsible for every effect that might flow from the step and you acquire but a secondary merit. Think, and you will see that this is true. So cast the lot yourself into the lap of Justice, never fearing but that its response will be absolutely true.

Chelaship is an educational as well as probationary stage and the chela alone can determine whether it shall end in adeptship or failure. Chelas from a mistaken idea of our system too often watch and wait for orders, wasting precious time which should be taken up with personal effort. Our cause needs missionaries, devotees, agents, even martyrs perhaps. But it cannot demand of any man to make himself either. So now choose and grasp your own destiny, and may our Lord's the Tathâgata's memory aid you to decide for the best."[83][85]

After reading the letter, Leadbeater hurried back to London, not doubting his decision to devote his life to the service for the Masters. He hoped to send his answer with the help of Blavatsky. At first she refused to read the letter of the mahatma, saying that such cases are purely private, but as a result of Leadbeater's insistence, she finally read and asked him what answer he had decided to give. He said he wanted to quit his priesthood career and go to India, fully dedicating himself to a serving the Masters. Blavatsky assured him that, because of her constant connection with the mahatma, he already knows about Leadbeater's decision, and will give his answer in the near time. She warned that he need to stay close to her until he get an answer.[83][86][note 19] The author tells:

"She (Blavatky) was talking brilliantly to those who were present, and rolling one of her eternal cigarettes, when suddenly her right hand was jerked out towards the fire in a very peculiar fashion, and lay palm upwards. She looked down at it in surprise, as I did myself, for I was standing close to her, leaning with an elbow on the mantel-piece: and several of us saw quite clearly a sort of whitish mist form in the palm of her hand and then condense into a piece of folded paper, which she at once handed to me, saying: 'There is your answer'."[83][87]

It was a very short note, and read it as follows:

"Since your intuition led you in the right direction and made you understand that it was my desire you should go to Adyar immediately, I may say more. The sooner you go the better. Do not lose one day more than you can help. Sail on the 5th if possible. Join Upasika[note 20] at Alexandria. Let no one know that you are going, and may the blessing of our Lord and my poor blessing shield you from every evil in your new life. Greeting to you, my new chela.

−K.H."[83][89][note 21]

In section A Message the author tells how Blavatsky received in the going train car from the mahatma Kuthumi a note, which had several words intended for him: "Tell Leadbeater that I am satisfied with his zeal and devotion."[90]

Leadbeater claims that in early days of the Theosophical Society commissions and orders from the mahatmas were common, and members lived at a "level of splendid enthusiasm which those who have joined since Madame Blavatsky’s death can hardly imagine."[91]

Tisarana and pansil

Leadbeater in Adyar, 1885

During the few weeks of traveling from Egypt to India, Blavatsky radically transformed the personality of Leadbeater, who was "an ordinary lawn-tennis-playing curate—well-meaning and conscientious... incredibly shy and retiring," making him a worthy disciple of mahatmas.[92][note 22]

During a brief stop in Ceylon, Blavatsky who together with Olcott even earlier became a Buddhist invited Leadbeater to follow the example of the founders of the Theosophical Society. The author writes that she believed that since he was a Christian priest, his public demonstration of Buddhism could convince both Hindus and Buddhists of the honesty of his intentions and would allow him to become more useful for the mahatmas.[94]

After three times pronouncing of a praise to the Lord Buddha: "I reverence the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Perfect in Wisdom," Leadbeater recitated on the Pali sacred formula of the Tisarana and then the Pancha Sila.[95][note 23]

Upon arrival in Madras, Blavatsky has spoke in front of the Hindustanies who filled the room, indignant at the actions of the Christian missionaries.

"When at last she was allowed to speak, she began very well by saying how touched she was by this enthusiastic reception, and how it showed her what she had always known, that the people of India would not accept tamely these vile, cowardly, loathsome and utterly abominable slanders, circulated by these unspeakable—but here she became so vigorously adjectival that the Colonel hurriedly intervened, and somehow persuaded her to resume her seat, while he called upon an Indian member to offer a few remarks."[96][note 24]

The author informs that his life at Adyar was ascetic; there were practically no servants, except two gardeners and a boy who has been working in the office. Leadbeater ate every day porridge from wheat flakes, which he brewed himself, also he was being brought milk and bananas.[98] At the headquarters of the Society, Leadbeater had been taking post of the recording secretary, since that allowed him to remain in the center of the Theosophical movement, where, as he knew, in the materialized forms, the Masters were often shown themselves.[99][note 25]

One day the author had met with the mahatma Kuthumi on the roof of the headquarters, next to Blavatsky's room. He was near a balustrade which "running along the front of the house at the edge of the roof" when the Master "materialized," stepping over the balustrade, as if before that he had been flying through the air. Leadbeater says:

"Naturally I rushed forward and prostrated myself before Him; He raised me with a kindly smile, saying that though such demonstrations of reverence were the custom among the Indian peoples, He did not expect them from His European devotees, and He thought that perhaps there would be less possibility of any feeling of embarrassment if each nation confined itself to its own methods of salutation."[100]

Occult training

Subba Row

The author claims that when he arrived in India, he did not have any clairvoyant abilities. One day when Kuthumi "honoured" him with a visit, he asked whether Leadbeater had ever attempted "a certain kind of meditation connected with the development of the mysterious power called kundalini."[34][note 26] Leadbeater had heard of that power, but thinked it to be certainly out of reach for Western people. Yet Kuthumi recommended him to make a "few efforts along certain lines," and told him that he would himself "watch over those efforts to see that no danger should ensue." He accepted the offer of the Master and became "day after day" working on this kind of meditation. He was told that on average it would take forty days, if he do it constantly and vigorously.[35]

Leadbeater worked on the task assigned to him for forty-two days, and it seemed to him that he was already on the verge of achieving a result when Kuthumi intervened and "performed the final act of breaking through which completed the process," and enabled the author thereafter to use astral sight while as he was retaining full consciousness in the physical body. It is equivalent to saying that "the astral consciousness and memory became continuous," whether the physical body was awake or asleep.[102][37][note 27]

A lot of care and work was spent on occult training of the author by the Master Djwal Khul. Leadbeater tells:

"Over and over again He would make a vivid thought-form, and say to me: 'What do you see?' And when I described it to the best of my ability, would come again and again the comment: 'No, no, you are not seeing true; you are not seeing all; dig deeper into yourself, use your mental vision as well as your astral; press just a little further, a little higher.'"[103]

To participate in the training of Leadbeater, often came to headquarters swami Subba Row, "our great pandit," as the author calls him. And Leadbeater claims that he will forever remain an obligor to these "two great people" — Djwal Khul and Subba Row — for all the help which they gave him "at this critical stage" of his life.[104]


Leadbeater remains well-known and influential in New Age circles for his many works based on his clairvoyant investigations of life, including such books as Outline of Theosophy, Astral Plane, Devachanic Plane, The Chakras and Man, Visible and Invisible dealing with, respectively, the basic principles of theosophy, the two higher worlds humanity passes through after "death", the chakra system, and the human aura.

His writings on the sacraments and Christian esotericism remain popular, with a constant stream of new editions and translations of his magnum opus The Science of the Sacraments. His liturgy book is still used by many Liberal and Independent Catholic Churches across the world.

Selected writings

• Dreams (What they are and how they are caused) (1893)
• Theosophical Manual Nº5: The Astral Plane (Its Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena) (1896)
• Theosophical Manual Nº6: The Devachanic Plane or The Heaven World Its Characteristics and Inhabitants (1896)
• Invisible Helpers (1896)
• Reincarnation (1898)
• Our Relation to Our Children (1898)
• Clairvoyance (1899)
• Thought Forms (with Annie Besant) (1901)
• An Outline of Theosophy (1902)
• Man Visible and Invisible (1902)
• Some Glimpses of Occultism, Ancient and Modern (1903)
• The Christian Creed (1904)
• Occult Chemistry (with Annie Besant) (1908)
• The Inner Life (1911)
• The Perfume of Egypt and Other Weird Stories (1911)
• The Power and Use of Thought (1911)
• The Life After Death and How Theosophy Unveils It (1912)
• A Textbook of Theosophy (1912)
• Man: Whence, How and Whither (with Annie Besant) (1913)
• Vegetarianism and Occultism (1913)
• The Hidden Side of Things (1913)
• Australia & New Zealand: Home of a new sub-race (1916)
• The Monad and Other Essays Upon the Higher Consciousness (1920)
• The Inner Side Of Christian Festivals (1920)
• The Science of the Sacraments (1920)
• The Lives of Alcyone (with Annie Besant) (1924)
• The Liturgy According to the Use of the Liberal Catholic Church (with J.I. Wedgwood) (Second Edition) (1924)
• The Masters and the Path (1925)
• Talks on the Path of Occultism (1926)
• Glimpses of Masonic History (1926) (later pub 1986 as Ancient Mystic Rites)
• The Hidden Life in Freemasonry (1926)
• The Chakras (1927) (published by the Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois, USA)
• Spiritualism and Theosophy Scientifically Examined and Carefully Described (1928)
• The Noble Eightfold Path (1955)
• Messages from the Unseen (1931)

See also

• Chakras
• Clairvoyance
• Christian mythology
• K.H. Letters to C.W. Leadbeater
• Reincarnation
• Root race
• Theosophy and Christianity
• Theosophy and visual arts


1. When the Theosophical Society was created the investigation "the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man" was proclaimed its third major task.[24]
2. Professor Robert Ellwood stated, "The key to Leadbeater's teaching and theosophical style is the idea of clairvoyance, the capacity to see things that are hidden from ordinary eyes."[25]
3. "He (Leadbeater) suggests that if the aspirant should concentrate on living the pure and unselfish life and practice meditation, then possibly some form of psychic power may emerge spontaneously with little risk."[29]
4. Professor Radhakrishnan wrote: "By following the principles of the Yoga, such as heightening the power of concentration, arresting the vagaries of mind by fixing one's attention on the deepest sources of strength, one can master one's soul even as an athlete masters his body. The Yoga helps us to reach a higher level of consciousness, through a transformation of the psychic organism, which enables it to get beyond the limits set to ordinary human experience."[30] Uncommon power of the senses, by which man "can see and hear at a distance, follow as a result of concentration."[31] According to Buddhist philosophy, extra-sensory abilities achieved primarily "through meditation and wisdom."[32]
5. "The awakening of the kundalini arouses an intense heat, and its progress through the cakras is manifested by the lower part of the body becoming as inert and cold as a corpse, while the part—through which the kundalini passes—is burning hot."[38] Professor Olav Hammer wrote that in the most authoritative interpretation chakras were introduced to the Western audience by the Theosophists, mainly by Leadbeater.[39]
6. "The power of 'magnification' is said to be one of the powers, or siddhis, of the great yogi, meaning that he is able to look at small objects and see them greatly enlarged."[41]
7. "Leadbeater had first used his psychic powers in delving in to the atom at the request of Mr. Sinnett, and thus discovered that he possessed 'ultramicroscopic' vision."[42]
8. "Through concentration on the threefold modifications which all objects constantly undergo, we acquire the power to know the past, present and the future."[31]
9. See also: Man: Whence, How and Whither#Explorations of past lives
10. "19 editions published between 1899 and 2014 in 5 languages and held by 23 WorldCat member libraries worldwide."[44]
11. Tillett stated: "Leadbeater's interest in spiritualism increased after the death of his mother on May 24, 1882."[66] Also Matley wrote that Leadbeater has been on "few spiritualistic séances" of the mediums Husk[67] and Eglinton.[68]
12. His new life had started in 1883, when he has had read Sinnett's The Occult World. It had led the "young curate" to contact with the Theosophical Society in London.[25]
13. Leadbeater "was welcomed into the London Lodge on February 21, 1884."[25]
14. Senkevich wrote: "The appearance of Blavatsky at the meeting was triumphant, some of its participants fell down in front of her to their knees.... At this re-election meeting she was deservedly represented by the queen of occultism, all were obeying her will unquestioningly."[73]
15. Mohini Mohun Chatterji (1858–1936) was a private secretary to Henry Steel Olcott.[74]
16. "Then, on April 7, 1884, Leadbeater met Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott at a turbulent election meeting of the London Lodge. Deeply impressed by Blavatsky, from that day on Leadbeater's commitment tilted more and more away from Anglicanism and toward theosophy."[25]
17. Goodrick-Clarke wrote that "the very concept of the Masters" is the Rosicrucian idea of "invisible and secret adepts, working for the advancement of humanity."[80] And Tillett stated: "The concept of Masters or Mahatmas as presented by HPB involved a mixture of western and eastern ideas; she located most of them in India or Tibet. Both she and Colonel Olcott claimed to have seen and to be in communication with Masters. In Western occultism the idea of 'Supermen' has been found in such schools as... the fraternities established by de Pasqually and de Saint-Martin."[81]
18. Leadbeater "received a letter from the Master Koot Hoomi (K.H.) in October 31, 1884, just prior to Blavatsky's return to India. Leadbeater responded by writing a letter on November 1 in which he offered to give up his career in the Church and go to India with her to serve theosophy."[25]
19. Leadbeater passed the mahatma's letter to Blavatsky in London and asked her to read it, that she did unwillingly, since she believed so it was a confidential correspondence. He "then accompanied her to the home of the Cooper-Oakleyswhere, 'after midnight' (i.e., early November 2, 1884) a reply materialized on Blavatky's upturned hand while Leadbeater was watching."[25]
20. "Upasika is a name often used for H.P.B. in the Letters; the word is from Buddhism, where it denotes a Lay Disciple."[88]
21. With this note mahatma ordered to Leadbeater to leave England immediately, since it was his desire, and to join Blavatsky in Alexandria. "This he did, precipitously resigning his priesthood, putting his affairs in order, and sailing for India on November 5."[25]
22. Senkevich wrote: "The last trip of Blavatsky to India was described in memoirs by Charles Leadbeater, who was a young rural Anglican priest that had just joined the Theosophical Society. He had been accompanying Blavatsky from England to Port Said, from there — to Colombo, and then — to Madras."[93]
23. Leadbeater "took pansil, formally becoming a Buddhist, in Colombo, Ceylon, and then arrived in Adyar in December 1884."[25]
24. "As soon as the audience was quiet, Blavatsky began her fierce speech directed against Christian missionaries. In it, she used such an obscene word that Olcott jumped up in terror and looked pleadingly at her."[97]
25. "From 1884 to 1888, Leadbeater was recording secretary of the Theosophical Society, assistant to Olcott and a student of the Ancient Wisdom called theosophy."[25]
26. "Leadbeater and later Esotericists up to and including New Age writers have reinterpreted kundalini as simply a form of energy."[101]
27. Robert Ellwood wrote that from 1884 to 1888 Leadbeater has had a course of meditation practice "which awakened his clairvoyance."[25]
1. 1861 Census of England
2. Tillett, Gregory John; Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934, A Biographical Study, 1986,
3. 1881 Census of England
4. Warnon, Maurice H., "Charles Webster Leadbeater, Biographical Notes". "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
5. Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux. p. 13. ISBN 0-374-18222-1.
6. How Theosophy Came To Me, C. W. Leadbeater, Chpt 2 – A letter to the master, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai 600 020, India, First Edition 1930
7. Leadbeater, C.W. (1930). "How Theosophy Came To Me". The Theosophical Publishing House. Retrieved 26 March2008.
8. Lutyens 1975 p. 13.
9. Oliveira, Pedro, CWL Bio, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
10. How Theosophy Came To Me, C. W. Leadbeater, chpt 9 – Unexpected development; Psychic Training, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Chennai 600 020, India, First Edition 1930
11. Theosophical Society – World Headquarters, Adyar, Channai, India [1].
12. Astral Plane, CW Leadbeater, p. xviii,
13., "A Chronological Listing of C.W. Leadbeater's Books and Pamphlets", [2]
14. Astral Plane, CW Leadbeater[3]; Introduction by C. JINARAJADASA, p. xviii
15. [4]
16. Warnon, Maurice H.Biographical Notes Archived 16 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine
17. A Description of the Work of Annie Besant and C W Leadbetter Archived 19 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine, by Jinarajadasa
18. Editions.
19. Tillett 1986, p. 1078.
20. Britannica2.
21. Shepard 1991.
22. Melton 2001c.
23. Cambridge Books.
24. Kuhn 1992, p. 113.
25. Ellwood.
26. Leadbeater 1899.
27. Monograph.
28. Leadbeater 1899, p. 152; Tillett 1986, p. 907.
29. Harris.
30. Radhakrishnan 2008, Ch. 5/1.
31. Radhakrishnan 2008, Ch. 5/16.
32. Britannica1.
33. Tillett 1986, p. 161.
34. Melton 2001a.
35. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 131–32; Tillett 1986, pp. 161–62.
36. Leadbeater 1930, p. 133; Tillett 1986, p. 162.
37. Motoyama 2003, p. 190.
38. Eliade 1958, p. 246.
39. Hammer 2003, p. 184.
40. Leadbeater 1899, p. 42.
41. Tillett 1986, p. 220.
42. Tillett 1986, p. 221.
43. Leadbeater 1899, p. 106; Tillett 1986, pp. 197–98.
44. WorldCat.
45. Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934 – A Biographical Study, Gregory John Tillett, First Edition: University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, March 1986, 2008 Online Edition published at [Leadbeater.Org], chpt 10, p. 247.
46. Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934 – A Biographical Study, Gregory John Tillett, First Edition: University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, March 1986, 2008 Online Edition published at [Leadbeater.Org], chpt 11, p. 395.
47. Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934 – A Biographical Study, Gregory John Tillett, First Edition: University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, March 1986, 2008 Online Edition published at [Leadbeater.Org], chpt 11, pg 398
48. Lutyens 1975 pp. 20–21.
49. Lutyens 1975 pp. 11–12.
50. Lutyens 1975 pp. 23–24.
51. Lutyens 1975 "Chapter 33: Truth is a Pathless Land", pp. 272–275.
52. Lutyens 1975 pp. 276–278, 285.
53. Tillet, 1986, "supra"
54. Lutyens 1975 p. 191.
55. Tillet, 1982, "supra".
56. The Theosophist, August 1997, pp. 460–463.
57. The Liturgy according to the Use of the Liberal Catholic Church (Preface), p. 11.
58. The Liturgy according to the Use of the Liberal Catholic Church (Preface), p. 249.
59. The Science of the Sacraments, New 2007 edition (Preface by John Kersey), p. 11.
60. Formats and editions.
61. Leadbeater 1967, p. 8; Tillett 1986, pp. 99–100.
62. Leadbeater 1967, pp. 10–11; Tillett 1986, p. 101.
63. Leadbeater 1967, pp. 11–12; Tillett 1986, p. 102.
64. Melton 2001b.
65. Leadbeater 1967, p. 12; Tillett 1986, p. 102.
66. Tillett 1986, p. 107.
67. Melton 2001.
68. Matley 2013.
69. Leadbeater 1930, Ch. II.
70. Tillett 1986, pp. 112–13, 122.
71. Leadbeater 1930, p. 22; Tillett 1986, pp. 122–23.
72. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 24–5; Tillett 1986, pp. 124–25.
73. Сенкевич 2012, pp. 404–5.
74. Tillett 1986, p. 970.
75. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 43–4; Tillett 1986, pp. 131–32.
76. Leadbeater 1930, p. 50; Tillett 1986, p. 133.
77. Leadbeater 1930, Ch. IV.
78. Oliveira.
79. Tillett 1986, p. 126.
80. Goodrick-Clarke 2004, p. 6.
81. Tillett 1986, p. 966.
82. Tillett 1986, pp. 126–27.
83. Leadbeater 1930, Ch. V.
84. Jinarajadasa 1919, p. 33.
85. Jinarajadasa 1919, pp. 33–5.
86. Tillett 1986, p. 138.
87. Jinarajadasa 2013, First phenomenon.
88. Jinarajadasa 1919, p. 113.
89. Jinarajadasa 1919, p. 35; Tillett 1986, p. 139.
90. Leadbeater 1930, p. 62; Washington 1995, p. 117.
91. Leadbeater 1930, p. 91; Tillett 1986, pp. 144–45.
92. Leadbeater 1930, p. 92; Tillett 1986, p. 145.
93. Сенкевич 2012, p. 414.
94. Leadbeater 1930, p. 101; Tillett 1986, p. 147.
95. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 103–6; Tillett 1986, p. 148.
96. Leadbeater 1930, p. 118; Tillett 1986, p. 150.
97. Сенкевич 2012, pp. 416–17.
98. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 130–31; Tillett 1986, pp. 160–61.
99. Leadbeater 1930, p. 149; Tillett 1986, p. 158.
100. Leadbeater 1930, p. 151; Tillett 1986, p. 155.
101. Hammer 2003, p. 185.
102. Leadbeater 1930, p. 133; Tillett 1986, p. 162; Wessinger 2013, p. 36.
103. Leadbeater 1930, pp. 133–34; Tillett 1986, p. 163.
104. Leadbeater 1930, p. 134; Tillett 1986, p. 165. ... D_1509.pdf letter of J. Krishnamurti´s father to Rudolf Steiner dated 12.3.1912 talking about his efforts to avoid his sons having any future contact to Leadbeater


• "Abhijna". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• "Clairvoyance". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. 2005. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• "Formats and Editions of Clairvoyance". OCLC WorldCat. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• "Formats and editions of How theosophy came to me". OCLC WorldCat. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• "Clairvoyance (monograph)". OCLC WorldCat. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• "Clairvoyance by Charles Webster Leadbeater". Cambridge Books Online. Cambridge University Press. 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• "Leadbeater, Charles Webster 1854–1934". WorldCat Identities. OCLC WorldCat. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Melton, J. G., ed. (2001c). "Clairvoyance". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5th ed.). Gale Group. pp. 297–301. ISBN 0-8103-8570-8. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Melton, J. G., ed. (2001). "Husk, Cecil (1847–1920)". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5th ed.). Gale Group. pp. 757–58. ISBN 0-8103-8570-8. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Melton, J. G., ed. (2001a). "Kundalini". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5th ed.). Gale Group. pp. 881–83. ISBN 0-8103-8570-8. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Melton, J. G., ed. (2001b). "Levitation". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5th ed.). Gale Group. pp. 909–18. ISBN 0-8103-8570-8. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Shepard, L., ed. (1991). "Clairvoyance". Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. 1 (3rd ed.). Detroit: Gale Research Inc. pp. 292–94. ISBN 0810349159. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Eliade, M. (1958). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. Translated by Trask, W. R. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691017648. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Ellwood, R. S. (15 March 2012). "Leadbeater, Charles Webster". Theosopedia. Manila: Theosophical Publishing House. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Goodrick-Clarke, N. (2004). Helena Blavatsky. Western esoteric masters. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-457-X. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Hammer, O. (2003). Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Studies in the history of religions. Boston: Brill. ISBN 9789004136380. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Harris, P. S. (5 December 2011). "Clairvoyance". Theosopedia. Manila: Theosophical Publishing House. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Jinarajadasa, C., ed. (1919). Letters from the masters of the wisdom, 1881–1888. Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House. OCLC 5151989.
• Jinarajadasa, C. (2013) [1941]. The K. H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater. Literary Licensing, LLC. ISBN 9781258882549. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Kuhn, A. B. (1992) [1930]. Theosophy: A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom (PhD thesis). American religion series: Studies in religion and culture. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-56459-175-3.
• Leadbeater, C. W. (1899). Clairvoyance. London: Theosophical Publishing Society. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Leadbeater, C. W. (1930). How Theosophy Came to Me. Adyar: Theosophical Pub. House. OCLC 561055008. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• ———— (1967) [1930]. How Theosophy Came to Me (3rd ed.). Madras: Theosophical Pub. House. OCLC 221982801. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Matley, J. W. (2013) [1941]. "C. W. Leadbeater at Bramshott Parish". The K. H. Letters to C. W. Leadbeater. Literary Licensing, LLC. pp. 105–108. ISBN 9781258882549. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Motoyama, H. (2003) [1981]. Theories of the Chakras: Bridge to Higher Consciousness (Reprint ed.). New Age Books. ISBN 9788178220239. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
• Oliveira, P. "With Madame Blavatsky". CWL World. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Radhakrishnan, S. (2008). Indian Philosophy. 2 (2nd ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195698428.
• Tillett, Gregory J. (1986). Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934: a biographical study (PhD thesis). Sydney: University of Sydney (published 2007). OCLC 220306221. Retrieved 16 June 2018 – via Sydney Digital Theses.
• Washington, P. (1995). Madame Blavatsky's baboon: a history of the mystics, mediums, and misfits who brought spiritualism to America. Schocken Books. ISBN 9780805241259. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
• Wessinger, C. (2013). "The Second Generation Leaders of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)". In Hammer, O.; Rothstein, M. (eds.). Handbook of the Theosophical Current. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. Boston: Brill. pp. 33–50. ISBN 9789004235960. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
• Сенкевич, А. Н. (2012). Елена Блаватская. Между светом и тьмой [Helena Blavatsky. Between Light and Darkness]. Носители тайных знаний (in Russian). Москва: Алгоритм. ISBN 978-5-4438-0237-4. OCLC 852503157. Retrieved 14 June 2018.

Further reading

• Caldwell, Daniel. Charles Webster Leadbeater: His Life, Writings & Theosophical Teachings.
• Kersey, John. Arnold Harris Matthew and the Old Catholic Movement in England: 1908–52
• Kersey, John. The Science of the Sacraments by Charles Webster Leadbeater. New 2007 Edition with a Preface by John Kersey
• Michel, Peter. Charles W. Leadbeater:Mit den Augen des Geistes ISBN 3-89427-107-8 (In German; No English translation available)
• Tillett, Gregory. The Elder Brother: A Biography of Charles Webster Leadbeater.
• Lutyens, Mary. Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening; Avon Books (Discus), New York. 1983 ISBN 0-380-00734-7
• Oliveira, Pedro. CWL Speaks: C.W. Leadbeater's Correspondence concerning the 1906 Crisis in the Theosophical Society Foreword by Robert Ellwood ISBN 978-0-646-97305-0

External links

• How Theosophy Came to Me
• Works by Charles Webster Leadbeater at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Charles Webster Leadbeater at Internet Archive
• Works by Charles Webster Leadbeater at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• A chronological listing of C.W. Leadbeater's books and pamphlets
• C.W. Leadbeater life, writings and theosophical teachings at the Blavatsky Study Center
• Articles by and about C.W. Leadbeater
• C.W. Leadbeater articles and media
• Leadbeater in Sydney: Garry Wotherspoon (2011). "Leadbeater, Charles". Dictionary of Sydney. Dictionary of Sydney Trust. Retrieved 9 October 2015. [CC-By-SA]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:58 am

Tallapragada Subba Row
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19



Tallapragada Subba Row
తల్లాప్రగడ సుబ్బారావు
Subba Row
Born Tallapragada Subba Row
July 6, 1856
Died June 24, 1890 (aged 33)
Nationality Indian
Occupation Vakil

Tallapragada Subba Row(తల్లాప్రగడ సుబ్బారావు) (July 6, 1856 – June 24, 1890) was a Theosophist from a Hindu background and originally worked as a Vakil (Pleader) within the Indian justice system. His primary instructors in this field were Messrs. Grant and Laing, who saw to his establishment as a Vakil, a profession which became highly profitable for the time that he held it.

However, Subba Row's interest in the law paled when compared to the way he devoured philosophy, especially after an event in which he met two particular individuals. In 1882, he invited Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott to Madras (now Chennai), where he convinced them to make Adyar the permanent headquarters for the Theosophical Society. Prior to this meeting however, Subba Row was not known for any esoteric or mystical knowledge, even by his closest friends and parents. It was only after meeting the pair that he began to expound on metaphysics, astounding most of those who knew him.

Upon this meeting and thereafter, Subba Row became able to recite whatever passage was so requested of him from the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and many other sacred texts of India. He had, apparently, never studied these things prior to the fateful meeting, and it is stated that when meeting Blavatsky and Damodar K. Mavalankar, all knowledge from his previous lives came flooding back.

Theosophy in Adyar

Subba Row had initial problems with instructing non-Hindus. It was his distinct belief at the time that Hindu knowledge should remain with India, and not be extended to foreigners. In fact, even after passing over this hurdle, he was still especially private regarding his spiritual life, even to his mother and close friends. Unless the person he was speaking to had a deep understanding of mysticism, it was a fairly mute topic for him.

For many years then, Subba Row was instrumental in establishing Theosophy in India, and continued to work hard until the first draft of the Secret Doctrine was given to him. It was his initial compulsion to edit the piece when it had been proposed, but upon reading it, he utterly and completely refused to have anything to do with it. It was his opinion that the piece contained so many mistakes that he might as well be writing a completely new book were he to edit it.


In 1888, T. Subba Row resigned from the Theosophical Society along with J.N. Cook. Tensions between himself and many of the members, as well as with HPB, had grown too stressful to maintain. It was only slightly thereafter that he contracted a cutaneous disease, a sickness which manifested itself in an outbreak of boils in 1890 during his last visit to the Theosophical Society's headquarters in Madras. Eventually he would succumb to the disease that year, and died on June 24, 1890, saying that his guru had called him, and that it was time for his departure. He was cremated the morning after as per Hindu tradition.

Memorable works

Among the many memorable works he left to humanity, they include his commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, Esoteric Writings, and his Collected Writings in two volumes.

• T. Subba Row Collected Writings, Compiled and Annotated by Henk J. Spierenburg, Volume 1 en 2. Point Loma Publications, 2001, 2002. ISBN 1-889598-30-5 and ISBN 1-889598-31-3


• Notes on the Bhagavad Gita [1]
• On the Bhagavad Gita [2]
• Philosophy of the Gita [3]
• First Ray in Buddhism [4]
• What Is Occultism? [5]
• Comments on the Idyll of the White Lotus [6]
• Occultism of Southern India [7]
• Personal and impersonal God [8]
• Places of Pilgrimage [9]
• 12 signs of Zodiac [10]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:47 am

Sacred Books of the East
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19



The Sacred Books of the East is a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious texts, edited by Max Müller and published by the Oxford University Press between 1879 and 1910. It incorporates the essential sacred texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Islam.

All of the books are in the public domain in the United States, and most or all are in the public domain in many other countries.[1] Electronic versions of all fifty volumes are widely available online.

Volumes of the Sacred Books of the East
Vol. / Group / Published / Translator / Title and contents

1 / Hindu / 1879 / Max Müller / The Upanishads, Part 1 of 2. Chandogya Upanishad. Talavakara (Kena) Upanishad. Aitareya Upanishad. Kausitaki Upanishad. Vajasaneyi (Isa) Upanishad.
2 / Hindu / 1879 / Georg Bühler / The Sacred Laws of the Aryas, vol. 1 of 2. The sacred laws of the Aryas as taught in the school of Apastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana. pt. I. Apastamba and Gautama. (The Dharma Sutras).
3 / China / 1879 / James Legge / The Sacred Books of China, vol. 1 of 6. Part I of The Texts of Confucianism. The Shû king (Classic of History). The religions portions of the Shih king (Classic of Poetry). The Hsiâo king (Xiao Jing).
4 / Zor / 1880 / James Darmesteter / The Zend-Avesta, vol. 1 of 3. The Vendîdâd.
5 / Zor / 1880 / E. W. West Pahlavi Texts, vol. 1 of 5. The Bundahis, Bahman Yast, and Shayast La-Shayast.
6 / Islam / 1880 / E. H. Palmer / The Qur'an, vol. 1 of 2.
7 / Hindu / 1880 / Julius Jolly / The Institutes of Visnu.
8 / Hindu / 1882 / Kâshinâth Trimbak Telang / The Bhagavadgita With the Sanatsugâtiya and the Anugitâ.
9 / Islam / 1880 / E. H. Palmer / The Qur'an, vol. 2 of 2.
10 / Bud / 1881 / F. Max Müller (Dhammapada) Viggo Fausböll (Sutta-Nipata) / The Dhammapada and The Sutta-Nipâta, a collection of discourses; being one of the canonical books of the Buddhists, translated from Pāli; and The Dhammapada, a collection of verses, translated from Pāli.
11 / Bud / 1881 / T. W. Rhys Davids / Buddhist Suttas. The Mahâ-parinibbâna Suttanta, The Dhamma-kakka-ppavattana Sutta, The Tevigga Sutta'anta, The Âkankheyya Sutta'a, The Ketokhila Sutta'a, The Mahâ-Sudassana Sutta'anta, The Sabbâsava Sutta'a.
12 / Hindu / 1882 / Julius Eggeling / The Satapatha Brahmana according to the text of the Mâdhyandina school, vol. 1 of 5.
13 / Bud / 1881 / T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg / Vinaya Texts, vol. 1 of 3. The Patimokkha. The Mahavagga, I–IV.
14 / Hindu / 1882 / Georg Bühler / The Sacred Laws of the Aryas, vol. 2 of 2. The sacred laws of the Aryas as taught in the school of Apastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana. pt. II. Vâsishtha and Baudhâyana.
15 / Hindu / 1884 / Max Müller / The Upanishads, part 2 of 2. Katha Upanishad. Mundaka Upanishad. Taittiriya Upanishad. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. Svetasvatara Upanishad. Prasña Upanishad. Maitrayani Upanishad.
16 / China / 1882 / James Legge / The Sacred Books of China, vol. 2 of 6. Part II of The Texts of Confucianism. The Yi King: (I Ching).
17 / Bud / 1882 / T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg / Vinaya Texts, vol. 2 of 3. The Mahavagga, V–X, the Kullavagga I–II.
18 / Zor / 1882 / E. W. West / Pahlavi Texts, vol. 2 of 5. The Dâdistân-î Dinik and the Epistles of Mânûskîhar.
19 / Bud / 1883 / Samuel Beal / /The Fo-sho-hing-tsan-king, a life of Buddha, by Ashvaghosha, Bodhisattva; translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Dharmaraksha, A. D. 420./
20 / Bud / 1885 / T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg / Vinaya Texts, vol. 3 of 3. The Kullavagga, IV–XII.
21 / Bud / 1884 / H. Kern / The Saddharma-Pundarika or The Lotus of the True Law.
22 / Jain / 1884 / Hermann Jacobi / Jaina Sûtras, vol. 1 of 2, translated from the Prâkrit. The Âkârânga sûtra. The Kalpa sûtra.
23 / Zor / 1883 / James Darmesteter / The Zend-Avesta, vol. 2 of 3. The Sîrôzahs, Yasts, and Nyâyis.
24 / Zor / 1884 / E. W. West / Pahlavi Texts, vol. 3 of 5. Dinai Mainög-i khirad, Sikand-Gümanik Vigar, Sad Dar.
25 / Hindu / 1886 / Georg Bühler / The Laws of Manu. Translated, with extracts from seven commentaries.
26 / Hindu / 1885 / Julius Eggeling / The Satapatha Brahmana according to the text of the Mâdhyandina school, vol. 2 of 5, Books III–IV.
27 / China / 1885 / James Legge / The Sacred Books of China, vol. 3 of 6. Part III of the texts of Confucianism. The Lî Kî (Book of Rites), part 1 of 2.
28 / China / 1885 / James Legge / The Sacred Books of China, vol. 4 of 6. Part IV of the texts of Confucianism. The Lî Kî (Book of Rites), part 2 of 2.
29 / Hindu / 1886 / Hermann Oldenberg / The Grihya-sutras; rules of Vedic domestic ceremonies. vol. 1 of 2. Sankhyayana-Grihya-sutra. Asvalayana-Grihya-sutra. Paraskara-Grihya-sutra. Khadia-Grihya-sutra.
30 / Hindu / 1892 / Hermann Oldenberg, Max Müller / The Grihya-sutras; rules of Vedic domestic ceremonies. vol. 2 of 2. Gobhila, Hiranyakesin, Apastamba (Olderberg); Yajña Paribhashasutras (Müller).
31 / Zor / 1887 / Lawrence Heyworth Mills / The Zend-Avesta, vol. 3 of 3. The Yasna, Visparad, Afrînagân, Gâhs, and miscellaneous fragments.
32 / Hindu / 1891 / Max Müller / Vedic Hymns, vol. 1 of 2. Hymns to the Maruts, Rudra, Vâyu, and Vâta., with a bibliographical list of the more important publications on the Rig-veda.
33 / Hindu / 1889 / Julius Jolly / The Minor Law-Books: Brihaspati. (Part 1 of 1).
34 / Hindu / 1890 / George Thibaut The Vedanta-Sutras, vol. 1 of 3. Commentary by Sankaracharya, part 1 of 2. Adhyâya I–II (Pâda I–II).
35 / Bud / 1890 / T. W. Rhys Davids / The Questions of King Milinda, vol. 1 of 2. Milindapañha.
36 / Bud / 1894 / T. W. Rhys Davids / The Questions of King Milinda, vol. 2 of 2. Milindapañha.
37 / Zor / 1892 / E. W. West / Pahlavi Texts, vol. 4 of 5. Contents of the Nasks.
38 / Hindu / 1896 / George Thibaut / The Vedanta-Sutras, vol. 2 of 3, commentary by Sankaracharya, part 1 of 2. Adhyâya II (Pâda III–IV)–IV.
39 / China / 1891 / James Legge / The Texts of Taoism, Part 1 of 2. The Sacred Books of China, vol. 5 of 6. Also: The Tâo the king (Tao te Ching): The writings of Kwang-tze, books I–XVII.
40 / China / 1891 / James Legge / The Texts of Taoism, Part 2 of 2. Includes The Writings of Kwang Tse, books XVII–XXXIII, The Thâi-shang tractate of actions and their retributions, other Taoist texts, and the Index to vols. 39 and 40.
41 / Hindu / 1894 / Julius Eggeling / The Satapatha Brahmana according to the text of the Mâdhyandina school, vol. 3 of 5. Books V–VII.
42 / Hindu / 1897 / Maurice Bloomfield / Hymns of the Atharvaveda, Together With Extracts From the Ritual Books and the Commentaries.
43 / Hindu / 1897 / Julius Eggeling / The Satapatha Brahmana according to the text of the Mâdhyandina school, vol. 4 of 5, Books VII, IX, X.
44 / Hindu / 1900 / Julius Eggeling The Satapatha Brahmana according to the text of the Mâdhyandina school, vol. 5 of 5, Books XI–XIV.
45 / Jain / 1895 / Hermann Jacobi / Jaina Sûtras, vol. 2 of 2, translated from Prâkrit. The Uttarâdhyayana Sûtra, The Sûtrakritânga Sûtra.
46 / Hindu / 1897 / Hermann Oldenberg / Vedic Hymns, vol. 2 of 2. Hymns to Agni (Mandalas I–V).
47 / Zor / 1897 / E. W. West / Pahlavi Texts, vol. 5 of 5. Marvels of Zoroastrianism.
48 / Hindu / 1904 / George Thibaut / The Vedanta-Sutras, vol. 3 of 3, with the commentary of Râmânuja.
49 / Bud / 1894 / Edward Byles Cowell, F. Max Müller and Takakusu Junjiro / Buddhist Mahâyâna Texts. Part 1. The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha, translated from the Sanskrit by E. B. Cowell. Part 2. The larger Sukhâvatî-vyûha, the smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha, the Vagrakkhedikâ, the larger Pragñâ-pâramitâ-hridaya-sûtra, the smaller Pragñâ-pâramitâ-hridaya-sûtra, translated by F. Max Müller. The Amitâyur dhyâna-sûtra, translated by J. Takakusu.
50 / Index / 1910 / Moriz Winternitz, with a preface by Arthur Anthony Macdonell / General index to the names and subject-matter of the sacred books of the East.



External links

• Sacred Books of the East, PDF ebooks at
• Sacred Books of the East, at
• Scanned pdfs of complete set of Sacred Books of the East
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 14, 2019 4:56 am

Georg Bühler
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19




Professor Johann Georg Bühler (July 19, 1837 – April 8, 1898) was a scholar of ancient Indian languages and law.

Early life and education

Bühler was born to Rev. Johann G. Bühler in Borstel, Hanover, attended grammar school in Hanover, where he mastered Greek and Latin, then university as a student of theology and philosophy at Göttingen, where he studied classical philology, Sanskrit, Zend, Persian, Armenian, and Arabic. In 1858 he received his doctorate in eastern languages and archaeology; his thesis explored the suffix -tês in Greek grammar. That same year he went to Paris to study Sanskrit manuscripts, and in 1859 onwards to London, where he remained until October 1862. This time was used mainly for the study of the Vedic manuscripts at the India Office and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. While in England, Bühler was first a private teacher and later (from May 1861) assistant to the Queen's librarian in Windsor Castle.[1]

Academic career

In Fall 1862 Bühler was appointed assistant at the Göttingen library; he moved there in October. While settling in, he received an invitation via Prof. Max Müller to join the Benares Sanskrit College in India. Before this could be settled, he also received (again via Prof. Müller) an offer of Professor of Oriental Languages at the Elphinstone College, Bombay (now Mumbai). Bühler responded immediately and arrived on February 10, 1863 in Bombay. Noted Sanskrit and legal scholar Kashinath Trimbak Telang was then a student at the college. In the next year Bühler became a Fellow of Bombay University and member of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. He was to remain in India until 1880. During this time he collected a remarkable number of texts for the Indian government and the libraries of Berlin, Cambridge University, and Oxford University.

In the year 1878 he published his translations of the Paiyalachchhi, the oldest Prakrit dictionary, with glossary and translation. He also took responsibility for the translation of the Apastamba, Dharmasutra etc. in Professor Max Müller's monumental compilation and translation, the Sacred Books of the East, vols. 2, 14, and 25.

On 8 April 1898 Bühler drowned in Lake Constance, under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Contemporary accounts mostly attributed it to an accident, but it has been speculated that it was a suicide motivated by Bühler's connections to a scandal involving his former student Alois Anton Führer.[2]

Selected publications

• Prakrit dictionary Paiyalacchinamamala ("Beiträge zur kunde der indogermanischen sprachen", Göttingen 1878)
• Erklärung der Ashokainschriften ("Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen gesellschaft", 1883–1893)
• The roots of the Dhatupatha not found in literature ("Wiener zeitschrift für die kunde des morgenlandes", 1894)
• On the origin of the Kharosthi alphabet (ibid. 1895)
• Digest of Hindu law cases (1867–1869; 1883)
• Panchatantra with English notes ("The Bombay sanscrit series", 1868; 1891)
• Apastambiya Dharmasutra (1868–1871; 1892–1894)
• Catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts from Gujarat (4 vol., 1871–1873)
• Dachakumaracharita, with English notes ("Sanscrit series" no. 10, 1873, 1887; II, with P. Peterson)
• Vikramankacharita with an introduction (1875)
• Detailed report of a tour in Kashmir (1877)
• Sacred laws of the Aryas (I, 1879; II, 1883; vols. 2 and 14, "The Sacred Books of the East")
• Third book of sanscrit (1877; 1888)
• Leitfaden für den Elementarcursus des Sanskrit (1883)
• Inscriptions from the caves of the Bombay presidency ("Archaeological reports of Western India", 1883)
• Paleographic remarks on the Horrinzi palmleaf manuscript ("Anecdota oxoniensia", 1884)
• The laws of Manu translated ("The Sacred Books of the East", vol. 25, 1886)
• Translation of the Dhauli and Jaugada versions of the Ashoka edicts ("Archeological reports of Southern India", vol. I, 1887)
• On the Origin of the Indian Brahma Alphabet (German 1895, English 1898)

In the Schriften der Wiener Akademie der Wissenschaften:

• Über eine Sammlung von Sanskrit- und Prakrit-Handschriften (1881)
• Über das Zeitalter des Kashmirischen Dichters Somadeva (1885)
• Über eine Inschrift des Königs Dharasena von Valabhi (1886)
• Über eine neue Inschrift des Gurjara königs Dadda II (1887)
• Über eine Sendrakainschrift
• Über die indische Sekte der Yainas
• Über das Navasahasankacharita des Padmagupta (1888, with Th. Zachariae)
• Über das Sukrtasamkirtana des Arisimha (1889)
• Die indischen Inschriften und das Alter der indischen Kunstpoesie (1890)
• Indian studies: I. The Jagaducarita of Sarvananda, a historical romance from Gujarat (1892); II. Contributions to the history of the Mahabharata (with J. Kirste); III. On the origin of the Brahmi alphabet (1895)


1. Jolly, J.; Thite, G. U. (2010). "GEORG BÜHLER (1837-1898)". Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. 91: 155–186. JSTOR 41692167.
2. Charles Allen (2010), The Buddha and Dr. Führer: An Archaeological Scandal, Penguin Books India, pp. 173–176, ISBN 9780143415749


• Kirfel, Willibald (1955), Bühler, Johann Georg. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) Vol. 2, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, ISBN 3-428-00183-4, S. 726 f.
• Winternitz, Moritz (1903), Bühler, Georg. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Vol. 47, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 339–348.
• Jolly, Julius (1899). Georg Bühler 1837 - 1898, Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde, 1. Band, 1. Heft, A; Strassburg : Trübner

External links

• Works by Georg Bühler at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Georg Bühler at Internet Archive
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:38 am

Kashinath Trimbak Telang
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19




Kashinath Trimbak Telang CIE (20 August 1850, Bombay – 1 September 1893, Bombay) was an Indologist and Indian judge at Bombay High Court.


By profession an advocate of the high court, he also took a vigorous share in literary, social, municipal and political work, as well as in the affairs of the University of Bombay, over which he presided as vice-chancellor from 1892 until his death.[1]

At the age of five Telang was sent to the Amarchaud Wadi vernacular school, and in 1859 entered the high school in Bombay which bears the name of Mountstuart Elphinstone. Here he came under the influence of Narayan Mahadev Purmanand, a teacher of fine intellect and force of character, afterwards one of Telang's most intimate friends.[1]

From this school he passed to the Elphinstone College, of which he became a fellow, and after taking the degree of M.A. and LL.B., decided to follow the example of Bal Mangesh Wagle, the first Indian admitted by the judges to practise on the original side of the high court, a position more like the status of a barrister than a vakil or pleader. He passed the examination and was enrolled in 1872.[1]

His learning and other gifts soon brought him an extensive practice. He had complete command of the English language, and his intimacy with Sanskrit enabled him to study and quote the Hindu law-books with an ease not readily attained by European counsel. Telang, finding his career assured, declined an offer of official employment. But in 1889 he accepted a seat on the high court bench, where his judgments are recognized as authoritative, especially on the Hindu law.[1]

He was syndic of the university from 1881, and vice-chancellor from 1892 until his death. In that year also he was elected President of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. These two offices had never been held by a native of India before.The decoration of C.I.E. [Order of the Indian Empire] conferred on him in the 1884 Birthday Honours[2] was a recognition of his services as a member of a mixed commission appointed by the government to deal with the educational system of the whole of India. He was nominated to the Bombay legislative council in 1884, but declined a similar position on the viceroy's council. He was the first secretary of the Indian National Congress.[1]

Along with Pherozshah Mehta, he was the originator of the Bombay Presidency Association. When a student he had won the Bhugwandas scholarship in Sanskrit, and in this language his later studies were profound. His translation of the Bhagavad Gita into English prose and verse is a standard work, and available in Max Müller's monumental compilation, the Sacred Books of the East, vol. 8, as the Bhagavadgita With the Sanatsugâtiya and the Anugitâ (published 1882). Also notable is his publication, in 1884, of the historical Sanskrit play, Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta under the auspices of the Education Department and the Government Central Book Depot, Bombay. He criticized Albrecht Weber's hypothesis that the story of the Ramayana was influenced by the Homeric epics. While devoted to the sacred classics of the Hindus, Telang did not neglect his own vernacular, Marathi literature being enriched by his translation of Lessing's Nathan the Wise, and an essay on Social Compromise.[1]


• The Bhagavadgîtâ With the Sanatsugâtîya and the Anugîtâ (1882)
• Rise of the Maráthá Power (1900)
• Mudrarakshasa With the Commentary of Dhundiraja (1915)


1. Chisholm 1911.
2. "No. 25357". The London Gazette. 23 May 1884. p. 2287.


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Telang, Kashinath Trimbak". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
• Vasant Narayan Naik (1895). Kashinath Trimbak Telang, the Man and His Times. G. A. Natesan.

External links

• Works by or about Kashinath Trimbak Telang at Internet Archive
• Mudrarakshasa of Vishakhadatta (critical notes and introduction in English) includes 1713 CE commentary of Dhundhiraj; at google books [1]
• The Bhagvadgita with the Sanatsugatiya and Anugita Vol.8, The Sacred Books of the East. Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telang [2]
• Brief biography at Bombay High Court
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:56 am

Mountstuart Elphinstone
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/13/19



The manuscript of the Divine Comedy, a poem composed by Dante Alighieri in the 14th century, was written in the second half of the 15th century. It is a beautiful codex on parchment and richly illustrated. It was given to the Society by Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay and President of the Society from 1819–1827 and bears his signature.[3] In 1930, the Italian government under Benito Mussolini offered the society one million pounds, calling the book a national treasure.[3] Mussolini believed that the offer could not be refused, but to his shock, the Society turned down his request stating that it was donated by an ex-member of the Society and hence it was their property.

-- The Asiatic Society of Mumbai, by Wikipedia

Mountstuart Elphinstone
Governor of Bombay
In office: 1 November 1819 – 1 November 1827
Governor-General: The Marquess of Hastings
The Earl Amhurst
Preceded by: Sir Evan Nepean, Bt
Succeeded by: Sir John Malcolm
Personal details
Born: 6 October 1779, Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire, Scotland
Died: 20 November 1859 (aged 80), Hookwood, Surrey, England
Nationality: British
Alma mater: Royal High School
Occupation: Statesman, historian

Mountstuart Elphinstone's memorial in St Paul's Cathedral

The Hon Mountstuart Elphinstone FRSE (6 October 1779 – 20 November 1859) was a Scottish statesman and historian, associated with the government of British India. He later became the Governor of Bombay (now Mumbai) where he is credited with the opening of several educational institutions accessible to the Indian population. Besides being a noted administrator, he wrote books on India and Afghanistan.

Early life

Born in Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire (now Dunbartonshire) in 1779, and educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, he was the fourth son of the 11th Baron Elphinstone in the peerage of Scotland. Having been appointed to the civil service of the British East India Company, of which one of his uncles was a director, he arrived at Calcutta (now Kolkata) early in 1796 where he filled several subordinate posts. In 1799, he escaped massacre in Benares (now Varanasi) by the followers of the deposed Nawab of Awadh Wazir Ali Khan. In 1801 he was transferred to the Diplomatic Service where he was posted as the assistant to the British resident at the court of the Peshwa ruler Baji Rao II.


In the Peshwa court he obtained his first opportunity of distinction, being attached in the capacity of diplomatist to the mission of Sir Arthur Wellesley to the Marathas. When, on the failure of negotiations, war broke out, Elphinstone, though a civilian, acted as virtual aide-de-camp to Wellesley. At the Battle of Assaye, and throughout the campaign, he displayed rare courage and knowledge of tactics such that Wellesley told him he ought to have been a soldier. In 1804, when the war ended, Elphinstone was appointed British resident at Nagpur.[1] This gave him plenty of leisure time, which he spent in reading and study. Later, in 1807, he completed a short stint at Gwalior.

In 1808 he was appointed the first British envoy to the court of Kabul, Afghanistan, with the object of securing a friendly alliance with the Afghans against Napoleon's planned advance on India. However this proved of little value, because Shah Shuja was driven from the throne by his brother before it could be ratified. The most valuable permanent result of the embassy was in Elphinstone's work titled Account of the Kingdom of Cabul and its Dependencies in Persia and India (1815).[1]

After spending about a year in Calcutta arranging the report of his mission, Elphinstone was appointed in 1811 to the important and difficult post of resident at Pune (formerly known as Poona). The difficulty arose from the general complication of Maratha politics, and especially from the weakness of the Peshwas, which Elphinstone rightly read from the first. The tenuous peace between the Peshwas was broken in 1817 with the Marathas declaring war on the British. Elphinstone assumed command of the military during an important crisis during the Battle of Khadki and managed to secure a victory[1] despite his non-military background. As reparations, Peshwa territories were annexed by the British. Elphinstone became the Commissioner of the Deccan in 1818.


Elphinstone College, Mumbai, established in 1856

In 1819, Elphinstone was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Bombay, a post he held until 1827. During his tenure, he greatly promoted education in India, at a time when opinion in Britain was against educating the "natives". He may fairly be regarded as the founder of the system of state education in India. One of his principal achievements was the compilation of the "Elphinstone code."[1] He also returned many lands that had appropriated by the British to the Raja of Satara.

He built the first bungalow in Malabar Hill during this time, and following his example, many prominent people took up residence here. It soon became a fashionable locality, and remains so to the present.[2]

His connection with the Bombay Presidency is commemorated in the endowment of Elphinstone College by local communities, and in the erection of a marble statue by the European inhabitants.[1] However, the Elphinstone Road railway station and the Elphinstone Circle, both in Mumbai city, are not named after him but in honour of his nephew, John, 13th Lord Elphinstone, who later also became Governor of Bombay in the 1850s.

The township of Elphinstone, Victoria, Australia, was named after him. The suburb of Mount Stuart, Tasmania, Australia, and its main road, Elphinstone Road, were also named after him.[3]

There is a statue of him in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral in London.[4]

Return to Great Britain

Returning to Britain in 1829, after an interval of two years' travel, Elphinstone continued to influence public affairs,[1] but based in England rather than Scotland. Nevertheless, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1830 with his proposer being Sir John Robison.[5]

Sir John Robison KH FRSE FRSSA (11 June 1778 – 7 March 1843) was a Scottish inventor and writer on scientific subjects. He was the son of the physicist and mathematician, Professor John Robison.

-- John Robison (inventor), by Wikipedia

He twice refused appointment as Governor-General of India, preferring to finish his two-volume work, History of India (1841). He died in Hookwood, Surrey, England, on 20 November 1859. He is buried in Limpsfield churchyard.[6]

James Sutherland Cotton later wrote his biography as part of the Rulers of India series in 1892.[7]

The historian James Grant Duff named his son after Elphinstone.


• Elphinstone, Mountstuart. The History of India. Full text online at (Both volumes in HTML form, complete, chapter-by-chapter, with all footnotes)
• Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1843) [1841]. The History of India (Vol. 1). London : J. Murray.
• Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1841). The History of India (Vol. 2). London : J. Murray.
• Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1905). History of India (9th ed.). London: J. Murray. (Index)
• The Rise of British Power in the East (1887)

See also

• Asiatic Society of Bombay
• Horniman Circle Gardens


1. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Elphinstone, Mountstuart". Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 298–299.
2. "Malabar Hill: How a jungle turned into a posh address". DNA India. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
3. ... rt-history
4. St Paul's – The New Church
5. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
6. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
7. "Rulers of India: Mountstuart Elphinstone by J. S. Cotton". The English Historical Review. 7 (28): 813. October 1892. JSTOR 547455.

Further reading

• "Elphinstone, Mountstuart". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8752.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• J. S. Cotton, Mountstuart Elphinstone (Rulers of India series), (1892)
• T. E. Colebrooke, Life of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1884)
• G. W. Forrest, Official Writings of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1884)
• Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, Ch. 5, New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
• Montstuart Elphinstone (GFDL site)
• William Dalrymple, White Mughals Oxford UP 2002.
• Gautam Chandra, Veerendra Kumar Mishra & Pranjali. (2018) From inactivity to encouragement: the contribution of Lord Elphinstone to the educational development of the Madras Presidency (1837–1842), History of Education, 47:6, 763-778, DOI: 10.1080/0046760X.2018.1484181

External links

• The harsh lesson of Afghanistan: little has changed in 200 years, Ben Macintyre, November 13, 2008, The Times of London, Times Online,
• "Archival material relating to Mountstuart Elphinstone". UK National Archives.
• Mountstuart Elphinstone, and the making of southwestern India by J S Cotton (1911)
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