ELIOT, Charles Norton Edgcumbe. Sibford Gower, Oxfordshire 8.1.1862 — Strait of Malacca 126.96.36.199.1931. Sir. British Orientalist and Diplomat. Educated at Cheltenham College and at Balliol College, Oxford (classical philology, also Sanskrit). From 1886 in diplomatic service: served in St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Morocco, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Washington. In 1901-04 High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief of the British East African Protectorate. Retired from the service because of a political disagreement with London, came to England and became the Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University. In 1912-18 the first Vice-Chancellor and principal of the new Hongkong University. In 1918 returned to the diplomatic service and, after a while as British High Commissioner in Siberia, in 1919-26 was the ambassador in Tokyo. In 1926 he retired and, living mainly in Japan, concentrated in his studies on Japanese Buddhism. Died on board travelling to England. As a scholar CE was many-sided, but Japan had the first place. According to his contemporaries he was free of racial prejudices and appreciated much Indian thought. In 1926 he was elected as the first foreign member in the Imperial Academy of Japan. He was G.C.M.G., C.B., M.A., and Honorary D.Litt. (Oxon.), LL.D. (Edinb.), and Hon. D.C.L. (Durham). His hobby was the study of nudibranch molluscs, of which he described about 30 new species. Unmarried.
Publications: Finnish Grammar. 1890; Turkey in Europe. 1900; The East African Protectorate. 1905; Letters from the Far East. 1907.
– articles in the Enc. Brit.: History of Asia, the Hungarian language, the Huns, Kashgar, the Khazars, the Tartars, and the Turks; many articles on marine biology (molluscs).
– “Hinduism in Assam”, JRAS 1910, 1155-1186.
– Hinduism and Buddhism. 1-3. 350+324+517 p. L. 1921.
– Japanese Buddhism. 1935.
Sources: R. F. Johnston, JRAS 1931, 728-731; Wikipedia with photo.