Portrait


external image Charles%20Elliott%20%281776-1856%29.jpg
This image, believed to be of Charles, was kindly provided by Robin Elliott through his cousin Charles Baron, and is reproduced with his permission. It is thought to be a photograph of an oil miniature, the location of which is unknown. If you have this original, do please get in touch with us.



Marriage

external image Boileau%20Elliott%20arms%20left%20male%20and%20right%20female%20respectively.jpg
These arms (from the *NJB family archive) represent the marriage of Charles Elliott to Alicia Boileau (1779-1851) on 28 May 1802.

The left half (the 'male position') is the Elliott arms while the right half (the 'female position') is the Boileau arms. The elephant is very likely a reference to India where the pair lived for many years. 'Deo non fortuna' means 'from God, not by chance'. In the Boileau arms, the castle may represent Regnaud Boileau (d.1400) who was supposedly commissioned to build the castles of Nimes by King Charles VI of France in 1391. The crescent supposedly commemorates the death of Jean Boileau (d.1396) at the hands of the Turks whilst on crusade (presumably in the battle of Nicopolis).











Memorials


At St. Mary's Church, Tattingstone:
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Image courtesy of Charles Sale, www.gravestonephotos.com.

In this Vault repose the mortal remains of ALICIA the beloved wife of CHARLES ELLIOTT, ???? of Portland Place, London, who departed this Life on the 5th July, 1851, Aged 71 Years.
Also of the said CHARLES ELLIOTT, ???? who died on the 4th May, 1856, Aged 79 Years.
Also of WILLIAM HENRY ELLIOTT, ESQUIRE of H.M. Bengal Civil Service, Second Son of the said CHARLES ELLIOTT ESQUIRE who died on the 8th October 1870, Aged 59 Years.
Also of the Rev. CHARLES BOILEAU ELLIOTT, Eldest Son of the said CHARLES ELLIOTT ESQUIRE who died on the 1st July 1875, Aged 72 Years.
Also of EMILY GERTRUDE, his wife, who fell asleep on the 3rd January 1877, Aged 70 Years.


Also at St. Mary's Church, Tattingstone:
external image St%20Marys%20Tattingstone%20monument%20to%20Charles%20Elliott.jpg
Image courtesy of Charles Sale, www.gravestonephotos.com.

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF CHARLES ELLIOTT ESQUIRE, F.R.S. OF PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON.
FOR MANY YEARS A MAGISTRATE AND DEPUTY LIEUTENANT OF THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX, AND FORMERLY OF THE BENGAL CIVIL SERVICE; WHO DIED ON THE 4TH DAY OF MAY, 1856, IN THE 80TH YEAR OF HIS AGE.
IN PUBLIC, AS IN PRIVATE LIFE, HER WAS REMARKABLE FOR INTEGRITY, DECISION, AND SOUNDNESS OF JUDGMENT, WHILE HIS LIBERALITY CONSTITUTED HIM THE FRIEND OF THE POOR AND NEEDY.
"BLESSED IS HE THAT CONSIDERETH THE POOR" PS. XLI 1


Children


With Alicia Boileau (1779-1851):
  1. Rev. Charles Boileau Elliott (1803-1875).
  2. Harriet Alicia Elliott (1810-1811).
  3. William Henry Elliott (1811-1870).
  4. George Donnithorne Elliott (1815-1854).


Life in India


Charles was the Governor General’s agent in the Mughul court in Delhi, and some of his daily life there is described in an account written in ~1824 by Bishop Reginald Heber (1783-1826) (see *Hudson 1999 pp116-120):

"At eight I went accompanied by Mr Elliott with nearly the same formalities as at Lucknow, except that we were on elephants instead of in palanqueens, and that the procession was, perhaps, less splendid, and the beggars both less numerous and far less vociferous and importunate. We were received with presented arms by the troops of the palace drawn up within the barbican, and proceeded, still on our elephants, through the noblest gateway and vestibule which I ever saw. It consists, not merely of a splendid Gothic arch in the centre of the great gate-tower, but, after that, of a long vaulted aisle, like that of a Gothic cathedral, with a small, open, octagonal court at its centre, all of granite, and all finely carved with inscriptions from the Koran, and with flowers. This ended in a ruinous and exceedingly dirty stable-yard! where we were received by Captain Grant, as the Mogul's officer on guard, and by a number of elderly men with large gold-headed canes, the usual ensign of office here, and one of which Mr Elliott also carried.

We were now told to dismount and proceed on foot, a task which the late rain made inconvenient to my gown and cassock, and thin shoes, and during which we were pestered by a fresh swarm of miserable beggars, the wives and children of the stable servants. After this we passed another richly carved, but ruinous and dirty gateway, where our guides, withdrawing a canvas screen, called out, in a sort of harsh chant, 'Lo, the ornament of the world! Lo, the asylum of the nations! King of Kings! The Emperor Akbar Shah! Just, fortunate, victorious!' We saw, in fact, a very handsome and striking court, about as big as that at All Souls [College, Oxford], with low, but richly ornamented buildings. Opposite to us was a beautiful open pavilion of white marble, richly carved, flanked by rose bushes and fountains, and some tapestry and striped curtains hanging in festoons about it, within which was a crowd of people, and the poor old descendant of Tamerlane seated in the midst of them. Mr Elliott here bowed three times very low, in which we followed his example. This ceremony was repeated twice as we advanced up the steps of the pavilion, the heralds each time repeating the same expressions about their master’s greatness. We then stood in a row on the right-hand side of the throne, which is a sort of marble bedstead richly ornamented with gilding, and raised on two or three steps. Mr Elliott then stepped forwards, and, with joined hands, in the usual Eastern way, announced, in a low voice, to the Emperor, who I was.

I then advanced, bowed three times again, and offered a nuzzur of fifty-one gold mohurs in an embroidered purse, laid on my handkerchief, in the way practised by the baboos in Calcutta. This was received and laid on one side, and I remained standing for a few minutes, while the usual court questions about my health, my travels, when I left Calcutta, etc. were asked. I had thus an opportunity of seeing the old gentleman more plainly. He has a pale, thin, but handsome face, with an aquiline nose, and a long white beard. His complexion is little if at all darker than that of an uropean. His hands are very fair and delicate, and he had some valuable-looking rings on them. His hands and face were all I saw of him, for the morning being cold, he was so wrapped up in shawls, that he reminded me extremely of the Druid’s head on a Welsh halfpenny. I then stepped back to my former place, and returned again with five more mohurs to make my offering to the heir apparent, who stood at his father’s left hand, the right being occupied by the Resident. Next, my two companions were introduced with nearly the same forms, except that their offerings were less, and that the Emperor did not speak to them.

The Emperor then beckoned to me to come forwards, and Mr Elliott told me to take off my hat which had till now remained on my head, on which the Emperor tied a flimsy turban of brocade round my head with his own hands, for which however, I paid four gold mohurs more. We were then directed to retire to receive the ‘khelâts’ (honorary dresses) which the bounty of ‘the asylum of the world’ had provided for us. I was accordingly taken into a small private room, adjoining the zennana, where I found a handsome flowered caftan edged with fur, and a pair of common-looking shawls, which my servants, who had the delight of witnessing all this fine show, put on instead of my gown, my cassock remaining as before. In this strange dress I had to walk back again, having my name announced by the criers . . . as ‘Bahadur, Boozoony, Dowlut·mund’, etc. to the presence, where I found my two companions who had not been honoured by a private dressing·room, but had their khelâts put on them in the gateway of the court. They were, I apprehend, still queerer figures than I was, having their hats wrapped with scarves of flowered gauze, and a strange garment of gauze, tinsel, and faded ribbands, flung over their shoulders above their coats.

I now again came forward and offered my third present to the Emperor, being a copy of the Arabic Bible and the Hindoostanee Common Prayer, handsomely bound in blue velvet laced with gold, and wrapped up in a piece of brocade. He then motioned to me to stoop, and put a string of pearls round my neck, and two glittering but not costly ornaments in the front of my turban, for which I again offered five gold mohurs. It was, lastly, announced that a horse was waiting for my acceptance, at which fresh instance of imperial munificence, the heralds again made a proclamation of largess, and I again paid five gold mohurs. It ended by my taking my leave with three times three salaams, making up, I think, the sum of about three score, and I retired with Mr Elliott to my dressing·room, whence I sent to Her Majesty the Queen, as she is generally called, though Empress would be the ancient and more proper title, a present of five mohurs more, and the Emperor’s chobdars came early up to know when they should attend to receive their bukshish.

It must not, however, be supposed that this interchange of civilities was very expensive either to His Majesty or to me. All the presents which he gave, the horse included, though really the handsomest which had been seen at the court of Delhi for many years, and though the old gentleman evidently intended to be extremely civil, were not worth much more than three hundred sicca rupees, so that he and his family gained at least eight hundred sicca rupees by the morning’s work, besides what he received from my two companions, which was all clear gain, since the khelâts which they got in return, were only fit for May Day, and made up, I fancy, from the cast-off finery of the begum. On the other hand, since the Company have wisely ordered that all the presents given by native princes to Europeans should be disposed of on the Government account, they have liberally, at the same time, taken on themselves the expense of paying the usual money nuzzurs made by public men on these occasions. In consequence none of my offerings were at my own charge, except the professional and private one of the two books, with which, as they were unexpected, the Emperor, as I was told, was very much pleased. I had, of course, several buckshishes to give afterwards to his servants, but these fell considerably short of my expenses at Lucknow.

To return to the hall of audience. While in the small apartment where I got rid of my shining garments, I was struck with its beautiful ornaments. It was entirely lined with white marble, inlaid with flowers and leaves of green serpentine, lapis lazuli, and blue and red porphyry; the flowers were of the best Italian style of workmanship, and evidently the labour of an artist of that country. All, however, was dirty, desolate, and forlorn. Half the flowers and leaves had been picked out or otherwise defaced, and the doors and windows were in a state of dilapidation, while a quantity of old furniture was piled in one corner, and a torn hanging of faded tapestry hung over an archway which led to the interior apartments. ‘Such’, Mr Elliott said, ‘is the general style in which this palace is kept up and furnished. It is not absolute poverty which produces this, but these people have no idea of cleaning or mending anything.’ For my own part I thought of the famous Persian line, ‘The spider hangs her tapestry in the palace of the Caesars’...

There are, perhaps, few royal families which have displayed during their power so many vices and so few virtues as the house of Timur. Their power had been gradually declining ever since the time of Aurungzebe, and at present, Mr Elliott once observed to me, that he could not perceive the least chance, that, supposing our Empire in the East to be at an end, the King of Delhi could for a moment recover any share of authority. He did not even think that the greater princes of India, who would fight for our spoils, would any of them think it worth their while to make use of the Emperor’s name as a pageant [device] to sanction their own ambitious views; and he observed that, all things considered, few captive and dethroned princes had ever experienced so much liberality and courtesy as they had from British hands, and that they could not reasonably hope to gain by any diminution of our influence in India. Yet their present circumstances are surely pitiable, as well as an awful instance of the instability of human greatness. The gigantic genius of Tamerlane, and the distinguished talents of Akbar, throw a sort of splendour over the crimes and follies of his descendants: and I heartily hope that Government will reverence the ruins of fallen greatness, and that, at least, no fresh degradation is reserved for the poor old man whose idea was associated in my childhood with all imaginable wealth and splendour, under the name of ‘the Great Mogul!’...

I took the opportunity of enquiring in what degree of favour the name of the French stood in this part of India [among the Mahratta possessions], where, for so many years together, it was paramount. I was told that many people were accustomed to speak of them as often oppressive and avaricious, but as of more conciliating and popular manners than the English sahibs. Many of them, indeed... had completely adopted the Indian dress and customs, and most of them were free from that exclusive and intolerant spirit, which makes the English, wherever they go, a caste by themselves, disliking and disliked by all their neighbours.
Of this foolish, surly, national pride, I see but too many instances daily and I am convinced it does us much harm in this country. We are not guilty of injustice, or wilful oppression, but we shut out the natives from our society, and a bullying, insolent manner is continually assumed in speaking to them."



London life


On retiring early and returning to England, Charles lived at 47 Portland Place, London.