- Elihu Yale
name = Elihu Yale
office = President of Fort St George (Madras)
term_start = 8 August 1684,25 July 1687
term_end = 26 January 1685,3 October 1692
William Langhorne, William Gyfford
William Gyfford, Nathaniel Higginson
5 April 1649
birth_place = Boston,
8 July 1721
Elihu Yale (
April 5, 1649, in Boston, Massachusetts- July 8, 1721, in London, England), was the first benefactor and namesake of Yale Universityin New Haven, Connecticut, United States.
Born in Boston,
Massachusettsto David Yale (1613-1690) and Ursula Knight (1624-1698), Yale was the grandson of Ann Lloyd (1591-1659), who after the death of her first husband, Thomas Yale (1590-1619) in Chester. Cheshire, England, married Governor Theophilus Eaton (1590-1657) of New Haven Colony. At the age of four, the Yale family moved to England and never returned to North America.
For 20 years, Yale was part of the
British East India Company, and he became the second governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1687, after Streynsham Master. He was instrumental in the development of the Government General Hospital, housed at Fort St. George. [ [http://www.madrasmedicalcollege.edu/history.htm Madras Medical College History] ] Yale amassed a fortune in his lifetime, largely through secret contracts with Madras merchants, against the East India Company's directive. By 1692, Elihu Yale's repeated flouting of East India Company regulations and growing embarrassment at his illegal profiteering resulted in his being relieved of the post of governor.cite news|url=http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/04/stories/2005050400441000.htm|title=Yale, India, and the failure of the 'global university'|publisher=The Hindu|date= 4 May 2005|accessdate=2008-04-19]
Cotton Mathercontacted Yale and asked for his help. Mather represented a small institution of learning that had been founded as the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701, and it needed money for a new building in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale sent Mather a carton of goods that the school subsequently sold, earning them 560 pounds sterling, a substantial sum in the early 1700s. In gratitude, officials named the new building Yale; eventually the entire institution became Yale College.
Tenure as President of Madras
As soon as Elihu Yale took over the administration of
Fort St Georgeon July 26, 1687, he implemented an order dated January 14, 1685which required the British at Fort St George to make all attempts at procurement of the town of St Thome on lease. To this effect, Chinna Venkatadri was sent to negotiate with the local Governor on August 4, 1687. The mission was successful and Chinna Venkatadri assumed sovereignty over St Thome for a period of three years. Notwithstanding the vehement protests of the Portuguese inhabitants of St Thome, the British gained absolute control over all lands up to St Thomas Mountfor a period of three years.
In September 1688, the Mughal Emperor
Aurangazebtook Golcondaafter a prolonged battle. The Sultan of Golcondawas taken prisoner and the state annexed by the Mughals. The newly designated Mughal Subedarof the province immediately sent a letter to the British authorities at Fort St George demanding that the British at Madras acknowledge the overlordship of the Mughal Emperor. To this, the British complied willingly. Aurangazeb guaranteed the independence of Madras, but in return demanded that the British supply troops in the event of a war against the Marathas. It was around this time that Yale's three-year old son David Yale died and was interred in the Madras cemetry.
The records of this period mention a flourishing slave trade in Madras. When the demand began to increase rapidly, the British merchants began to kidnap young children and deport them to distant parts of the world, very much against their will. The administration of Fort St George eventually stepped in and introduced laws to curb the menace. On
February 2, 1688, Elihu Yale, with the support of a majority of factors, decreed that henceforth, slaves should be examined by the judges of the choultrybefore being transported. Transportation of young children, in particular, was made illegal.
During Yale's Presidency, a plan for setting up a corporation in Madras was conceived by Josiah Child, the President of the Board of Directors of the British East India Company, in a letter addressed to the factors at Madras on
28 September 1687. Three months later, Josiah Child and his deputy had an audience with James II, and as per the ensuing discussions, a Charter was issued by the king on 30 December 1687which established the Corporation of Madras. The charter came into effect on 29 September 1688, and a Corporation was established comprising a Mayor, 12 Aldermen, 60-100 Burgesses and sergeants. Nathaniel Higginson, who was then the second member of the Council of Fort St George took office as the Mayor of Madras.
On June 22, 1688, an Armenian delegation to London met with the Directors of the British East India Company and demanded permission for Armenian traders to settle in Madras. Soon Armenians began to arrive in Madras in large numbers giving rise to the large and powerful Armenian community which played a significant part in the politics of Madras in the 1700s. In August 1689, a French fleet appeared near the coast of Ceylon compelling the Governor of
PulicatLawrence Pitt who was on high seas to seek protection within the bastions of Fort St George. Throughout the year 1690, French naval ships from Pondicherry ravaged the coast in order to drive the British and the Dutch out of the East Indies but were unsuccessful. They eventually withdrew from their enterprise when faced with heavy losses. It was also during this time that the British purchased the town of Tegnapatnam from the Marathas.
Accusations of Corruption and Removal
As governor of Fort St. George, Yale purchased territory for private purposes with East India Company funds, including a fort at Tevnapatam (now
Cuddalore). Yale imposed high taxes for the maintenance of the colonial garrisonand town, resulting in an unpopular regime and several revolts by Indians, brutally quelled by garrison soldiers. Yale was also notorious for arresting and trying Indians on his own private authority, including the hanging of a stable boy who had absconded with a Company horse..
Charges of corruption were brought against Elihu Yale in the last years of his Presidency. He was eventually removed in 1692 and replaced with Nathaniel Higginson as the President of Madras.
Death and legacy
Yale died on
July 8, 1721in London, England but was buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. Giles in Wrexham, Wales. His tomb is inscribed with these lines:
:"Born in America, in Europe bred ":"In Africa travell'd and in Asia wed":"Where long he liv'd and thriv'd; In London dead":"Much good, some ill, he did; so hope all's even":"And that his soul thro' mercy's gone to Heaven":"You that survive and read this tale, take care":"For this most certain exit to prepare":"Where blest in peace, the actions of the just":"Smell sweet and blossom in silent dust."
Wrexham Tower, part of Saybrook College, Yale, is a
replicaof that of St. Giles' Church, Wrexham.
In her article for "
Atlantic Monthly" about Skull and Bones, Alexandra Robbinsalleges that the gravestoneof Elihu Yale was stolen years ago from its proper setting in Wrexham, and is displayed in a glass case, in a room with purple walls, which belongs to a building called "the Tomb" of the Skull and Bones at Yale University.
In 1999, "
American Heritage" magazine rated Elihu Yale the "most overrated philanthropist" in American history, arguing that the college that would later bear his name (Yale University) was successful largely because of the generosity of a man named Jeremiah Dummer, but that the trustees of the school did not want it known by the name "Dummer College".
*"Elihu" later became the name of a "senior society" founded in 1903 at Yale.
Tom Wolfe, who earned a Ph.D. in American Studiesfrom Yale, named the African-American Atlantapolice chief in " A Man in Full" Elihu Yale.
*Yale College, a college in
Wrexham, is also named after Elihu Yale.
*Elihu Yale is the name given to a
JD Weatherspoons Public Housein the town of Wrexham.
Theodore Roosevelt's son Quentin kept a Hyacinth macawnamed Eli Yale.
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