Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Havelock, Arthur Elibank

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HAVELOCK, Sir ARTHUR ELIBANK (1844–1908), colonial governor, born at Bath on 7 May 1844, was fifth surviving son in a family of six sons and seven daughters of Lieut. -colonel William Havelock [q. v.] and Caroline Elizabeth (d. 1866), eldest daughter of Major Acton Chaplin of Aylesbury. He was a nephew of Sir Henry Havelock [q. v.]. In 1846 Arthur went to India with the rest of the family to join his father, who was then in command of the 14th light dragoons at Umbalia. After the death of his father at the battle of Ramnuggur on 22 Nov. 1848, he and his family came back to England, but returning to India in August 1850 settled at Ootacamund in the Nilgiri hills. He attended Mr. Nash's school there, but completed his education in England at a private school at Lee, near Blackheath (1859-60).

In 1860 he passed into the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and on 14 Jan, 1862 was gazetted ensign in the 32nd Cornwall light infantry. From 1862 to 1866 he performed garrison duty at Plymouth, the Curragh, Cork, and Colchester. Promoted lieutenant on 10 April 1866, he was stationed with his regiment at Gibraltar (1866-7), at Mauritius (1867-8), and at the Cape (1868-72). In August 1872 he returned to Mauritius, where he acted as paymaster ; promoted captain on 1 Feb. 1873, he was successively aide-de-camp to Mr. Newton, the acting governor, and to Sir Arthur Gordon (afterwards Lord Stanmore), the governor. From February 1874 to 1875 he was chief civil commissioner in the Seychelles islands; from 1875 to 1876, on Sir Arthur Gordon's recommendation, colonial secretary and receiver-general in Fiji. On his return to England in 1876 he definitely joined the colonial civil service, and retired from the army with the rank of captain in March 1877. In the same year he went out to the West Indies as president of Nevis, and in August 1878 was transferred to St. Lucia, where he served for a year as administrator. In 1879 he returned to the Seychelles as chief civil commissioner, and in 1880 was made C.M.G.

In February 1881 Havelock became governor of the West African settlements in succession to Sir Samuel Rowe [q. v.]. Before assuming office he acted as British commissioner at a conference in Paris for the provisional demarcation of boundaries between Sierra Leone and French Guinea. During his administration he was actively engaged in a frontier dispute with the negro republic of Liberia. On 20 March 1882, by order of the colonial office, he proceeded to Monrovia with four gunboats. His demands for the immediate extension of the British protectorate to the river Mafa and for an indemnity of 8500l. for British merchants were reluctantly conceded by the Liberian government. A treaty was signed to this effect, stipulating that Havelock should intercede with the British government to fix the line of the river Mano as the frontier, and that Liberia should be repaid all the sums she had spent in acquiring territories west of the Mano. On the refusal of the Liberian senate to ratify the treaty Havelock returned to Monrovia with the gunboats on 7 Sept. 1882, A hostile collision was averted, thanks to Havelock's tact. But the senate persisted in its opposition to the treaty, and in March 1883 Havelock quietly occupied the territories between the rivers Sherbro and Mano, which were claimed by the British government (Sir Harry Johnston, Liberia 1906, i. 277-9). The boundary between Sierra Leone and Liberia was eventually defined in 1903 by a mixed commission.

In 1884 Havelock was created K.C.M.G. for his services, and the following year served as governor of Trinidad. In 1886 he assumed the responsible post of governor of Natal. 3,^ The colony was passing through a period of financial depression, and the difficulties of administration were increased by the annexation of Zululand in May 1887 and Dinizulu's unsuccessful rebelhon in 1888. Returning to England in 1889, Havelock served on the international anti-slavery commission at Brussels ; and in 1890 was appointed governor of Ceylon. There he added to his reputation as an effective administrator. He carried out the railway extension to Kurunegala and Bandarawela, and acquired popularity with the natives by his abolition of the obnoxious 'paddy' tax, or levy on rice cultivation. Nominated governor of Madras in 1895, he travelled all over the presidency, and proved himself a vigilant champion of its interests. In defiance of orders from the Calcutta government he firmly refused to allow the Mecca pilgrim ships to touch at Madras. His action was subsequently justified by the comparative immunity of the Madras presidency from the plague of 1899 and 1900. He was made G.C.M.G. in 1895, G.C.I.E. in 1896, and G.C.S.I. in 1901, when he left Madras. Long residence in the tropics had undermined his health, and in 1901 he refused the governorships of the Straits Settlements and of Victoria. Eventually he accepted the easier past of governor of Tasmania, but resigned in 1904, before completing his term of office. He retired to Torquay, and died at Bath on 25 June 1908. A competent and painstaking official, he showed practical sympathy with the people under his rule and anxiety to mitigate the rigours of the law. He married on 15 Aug. 1871 Anne Grace, daughter of Sir William Norris. She died on 6 Jan. 1908, leaving one daughter.

[The Times, 26 June 1908; Army List, 1874; J. Ferguson, Ceylon in 1903; addresses presented to and replies delivered by Sir A. E. Havelock on his fifteenth tour in the Madras presidency, 1900; Madras Weekly Mail, 2 July 1908; private information from Col. Acton Havelock.]

G. S. W.