Elihu Yale, the American Nabob of Queen Square

Elihu Yale, the American Nabob of Queen Square

Elihu Yale, the American Nabob of Queen Square

Elihu Yale, the American Nabob of Queen Square

Excerpt

For many years, as to Kipling's Explorer, there has come to me

. . . one everlasting whisper, day and night repeated, so: Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the ranges. Something lost behind the ranges. Lost, and waiting for you. Go.

Before the War it was exciting to go and find behind the ranges of the Andes the white temples of Machu Picchu and the palace of the Last of the Incas. Recently it has been just as exciting to find behind the ranges of monumental archives in the India Office in London a journal kept by Elihu Yale in southern India and hundreds of his letters and minutes; to find, with my wife, in the musty files of the little newspapers of the time of George I, scores of notices of the forty days of auction sales of the incredible "Collection of Elihu Yale, Esq., (late Governor of Fort St. George)" with its thousands of paintings, including examples of Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Teniers, Sir Peter Lely, et al.; to locate in the heart of England a charming family portrait of the great Nabob enjoying a pipe and a glass of Madeira with his son-in-law, Lord James Cavendish, and the Duke of Devonshire; to discover in a quiet churchyard in the lovely valley of the Char the last resting place of his "Wicked wife"; and finally to find a copy of his will, hidden away in the Minutes of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

It has been entertaining, if not quite so exciting, to learn that "Old Eli" was not born in New Haven and never even lived in Connecticut; that he was the first American-born millionaire to marry his daughters into the English nobility; that he went to Madras as a "Writer" at ten pounds a year and returned, twentyseven years later, an enormously rich Nabob, the owner of princely diamonds, one of which was larger than the famous "Hope Diamond"; and that he was a devoted son of the Church of England, whose gifts of books and other valuable goods to the College were . . .

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