Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras, 1687-92, Educationist

people whom india has forgotten.

Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras, 1687-92, Educationist.

Yale University is a name authorised by law, and is one of the four principal Universities of the United States. Founded in 1701, it received the name of its benefactor in 1718. It has been the alma mater of a great many distinguished men, among others of Calhoun, Fenimore Cooper, Dwight, Jonathan Edwards, Dana, and Silliman. It has seventy professors and 1,500 students.

It is stated by Alexander Hamilton that Yale hanged his butler for leaving his service without giving him notice ; but I have no doubt this is a skipper's yarn.

We find in the Indian Gazetteer that, being a Welshman, he probably gave the Fort of St. David's its name.

The epitaph on Yale's tombstone states that he was born in America, but he must have had Welsh proclivities, having been buried in Wales. He lies buried in the churchyard of Wrexham, North Wales, ten miles from Hawarden. His tomb in front of the church door is inscribed with the lines : — "Born in Ameiicn, in Europe bri.d. In Africa travelled and in Asia wed; Where long he lived and thrived, ia London dead, Much good, some ill he did, so hope all's even, And that his soul through mercy's gone to heaven."

The tooth of Time had almost effaced the quaint lines when a party of Yalensians visited the church a few years ago, and, seeing the state of things, caused the lettering to be re-cut. The church itself is more than five centuries old, and the curfew is rung by its bell every evening
post script:-

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. Yale amassed a fortune in his lifetime, largely through secret contracts with Madras merchant, 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.

In 1718, Cotton Mather contacted 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.

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