Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/1002

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

import duties, including those on English cotton goods, and the establishment of complete free trade, was declared to be the fixed policy of the government, and this was in great measure carried into effect before 1880, when Strachey left India. The defective system on which the military accounts were kept occasioned a very erroneous estimate of the cost of the Afghan War of 1878–80. For this error Strachey was technically responsible, and it was made the occasion of a violent party attack which resulted in his resignation. The fact that almost the entire cost of the war was paid for out of revenue is a conclusive proof of the state of financial prosperity to which India attained as the result of his administration. From 1885 to 1895 Strachey was a member of the council of the secretary of state for India. He was joint author with Sir Richard Strachey of The Finances and Public Works of India (1882), besides writing India (3rd ed., 1903), and Hastings and the Rohilla War (1892). He died on the 19th of December 1907.

STRACHEY, SIR RICHARD (1817–1908), British soldier and Indian administrator, third son of Edward Strachey, was born on the 24th of July 1817, at Sutton Court, Somersetshire. From Addiscombe he passed into the Bengal Engineers in 1836, and was employed for some years on irrigation works in the Northwestern Provinces. He served in the Sutlej campaign of 1845–46, and was at the battles of Aliwal and Sobraon, was mentioned in despatches, and received a brevet-majority. From 1858 to 1865 he was chiefly employed in the public works department, either as acting or permanent secretary to the government of India, and from 1867 to 1871 he filled the post of director-general of irrigation, then specially created. During this period the entire administration of public works was reorganized to adapt it to the increasing magnitude of the interests with which this department has had to deal since its establishment by Lord Dalhousie in 1854. For this reorganization, under which the accounts were placed on a proper footing and the forest administration greatly developed, Strachey was chiefly responsible. His work in connexion with Indian finance was important. In 1867 he prepared a scheme in considerable detail for decentralizing the financial administration of India, which formed the basis of the policy afterwards carried into effect by his brother Sir John Strachey under Lord Mayo and Lord Lytton. He left India in 1871, but in 1877 he was sent there to confer with the government on the purchase of the East Indian railway, and was then selected as president of the commission of inquiry into Indian famines. In 1878 he was appointed to act for six months as financial member of the governor-general’s council, when he made proposals for meeting the difficulties arising from the depreciation of the rupee, then just beginning to be serious. These proposals did not meet with the support of the secretary of state. From that time he continued to take an active part in the efforts made to bring the currencies of India and England into harmony, until in 1892 he was appointed a member of Lord Herschell’s committee, which arrived at conclusions in accordance with the views put forward by him in 1878. He attended in 1892 the International Monetary Conference at Brussels as delegate for British India. Strachey was a member of the council of the secretary of state for India from 1875 to 1889, when he resigned his seat in order to accept the post of chairman of the East Indian Railway Company. Strachey’s scientific labours in connexion with the geology, botany and physical geography of the Himalaya were considerable. He devoted much time to meteorological research, was largely instrumental in the formation of the Indian meteorological department, and became chairman of the meteorological council of the Royal Society in 1883. From 1888 to 1890 he was president of the Royal Geographical Society. In 1897 he was awarded one of the royal medals of the Royal Society, of which he became a fellow in 1854; and in the same year he was created G.C.S.I. He died on the 12th of February 1908. His widow, Lady Strachey, whom he married in 1880, became well-known as an authoress and a supporter of women’s suffrage.

STRACHWITZ, MORITZ KARL WILHELM ANTON, Graf von (1822–1847), German poet, was born on the 13th of March 1822 at Peterwitz near Frankenstein in Silesia. After studying in Breslau and Berlin he settled on his estate in Moravia, where he devoted himself to literary pursuits. When travelling in Italy in 1847 he was taken ill at Venice, and died on the 11th of December at Vienna. Although he had thus only reached his twenty-fifth year, he revealed a lyric genius of remarkable force and originality. His first collection of poems, Lieder eines Erwachenden, appeared in 1842 and went through several editions. Neue Gedichte were published after his death in 1848. These poems are characteristic of the transition through which the German lyric was passing between 1840 and 1848; the old Romantic strain is still dominant, especially in his ballads, which are unquestionably his finest productions; but, side by side with it, there is to be seen the influence of Platen, to whose warmest admirers Strachwitz belonged, as well as echoes of the restless political spirit of those eventful years. His political lyric was, however, tempered by an aristocratic restraint which was absent from the writings of men like Herwegh and Freiligrath. Strachwitz’s early death was a great loss to German letters; for he was by far the most promising of the younger lyric poets of his time.

Strachwitz’s collected Gedichte appeared first in 1850 (8th ed., 1891); a convenient reprint will be found in Reclam’s Universal-bibliothek. See A. K. T. Tielo, Die Dichtung des Grafen Moritz von Strachwitz (1902).

STRADELLA, ALESSANDRO (?1645–1682), Italian composer, was one of the most accomplished musicians of the 17th century. The hitherto generally accepted story of his life was first circumstantially narrated in Bonnet-Bourdelot’s Histoire de la musique et de ses effets (Paris, 1715). According to this account, Stradella not only produced some successful operas at Venice, but also attained so great a reputation by the beauty of his voice that a Venetian nobleman engaged him to instruct his mistress, Ortensia, in singing. Stradella, the narrative goes on to say, shamefully betrayed his trust, and eloped with Ortensia to Rome, whither the outraged Venetian sent two paid bravi to put him to death. On their arrival in Rome the assassins learned that Stradella had just completed a new oratorio, over the performance of which he was to preside on the following day at S. Giovanni in Laterano. Taking advantage of this circumstance, they deter- mined to kill him as he left the church; but the beauty of the music affected them so deeply that their hearts failed them at the critical moment, and, confessing their treachery, they entreated the composer to Jensure his safety by quitting Rome immediately. Thereupon Stradella fled with Ortensia to Turin, where, notwithstanding the favour shown to him by the regent of Savoy, he was attacked one night by another band of assassins, who, headed by Ortensia’s father, left him on the ramparts for dead. Through the connivance of the French ambassador the ruffians succeeded in making their escape; and in the meantime Stradella, recovering from his wounds, married Ortensia, by consent of the regent, and removed with her to Genoa. Here he believed himself safe; but a year later he and Ortensia were murdered in their house by a third party of assassins in the pay of the implacable Venetian.

Recent research has shown that Stradella was the son of a Cavaliere Marc’ antonio Stradella of Piacenza, who in 1642–1643 was vice-marchese and governor of Vignola for Prince Boncompagni, who did not wish to live in the dominions from which he took the title of marchese di Vignola. He was deprived of his office in 1643 for having surrendered the castle to the papal troops, although it might have sustained a siege of several days and the help of the duke of Modena was expected. An elder brother of Alessandro, Francesco by name, became a member of the Augustinian order, and seems to have enjoyed the protection of the house of Este. Alessandro is supposed to have been born about 1645 or earlier, probably at Vignola, or Monfestino, a town on the road from Modena to Pistoja, to which his father retired after his dismissal; but no records of his birth have come to light in either of these places. The first certain date in his life is 1672, in which year he composed a prologue for the performance of Cesti’s opera La Dori at Rome; and we may conclude that he spent a considerable time at Rome about this period, since his