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Prinsep
Prinsep
394

a majority, but was unseated by petition on technical grounds connected with his qualification which were immediately removed by the House of Commons. He then canvassed for a seat in the court of directors of the East India Company, to which he was elected in 1850. He took a prominent part in the discussions at the India House, and when the number of directors was diminished under the act of 1853, he was one of those elected by ballot to retain their seats. In 1858, when the council of India was established, he was one of the seven directors appointed to the new council.

In the council of India, in which Prinsep held office for sixteen years, only retiring in 1874, when failing sight and deafness disqualified him for the post, he displayed the same activity which had characterised his whole official life. He recorded frequent dissents from the decisions of the secretary of state. He was much opposed to some of the measures adopted after the mutiny. He emphatically disapproved of the abolition of the system of recruiting British troops for local service in India, and joined on that occasion with thirteen other members of the council in a written protest against the course taken by the cabinet in deciding this question before the council of India had been consulted on it. He also disapproved of the original scheme for the establishment of staff corps for India, and especially of that part of it which provided for the appointment of officers from the line for Indian service. He was much opposed to the re-establishment of a native government in Mysore, after the country had been administered for thirty years by British officers. On financial grounds he deprecated the prosecution of the works undertaken to improve the navigation of the Godavery river, which subsequently, owing to their enormous cost, had to be abandoned. In his last year of office he recorded a protest against the adoption of the narrow, or metre, gauge for Indian railways.

Busy as was Prinsep's official life, he found time to write—besides his history of Lord Hastings's administration—works on the origin of the Sikh power in the Punjáb (1834), on the historical facts deducible from recent discoveries in Afghanistan (1844), on the social and political condition of Thibet, Tartary, and Mongolia (1852), and in 1853 he published an exhaustive pamphlet on the India question, when the so-called Charter Act of that year was under discussion. He also, when in India, brought out Ramachandra Dasa's 'Register of the Bengal Civil Servants 1790-1842, accompanied by Actuarial Tables' (Calcutta, 1844), a subject to which he had given a good deal of attention. At the same time he was a facile verse-writer. Quite in his old age he printed for private circulation a little volume entitled 'Specimens of Ballad Poetry applied to the Tales and Traditions of the East.' He kept up his classical studies to the end of his life. When failing health entailed upon him sleepless nights, he often whiled away the time by translating the 'Odes of Horace' into English verse. He was a keen mathematician. Only a few days before his death he worked out a new method of proving the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid, which was favourably reported on by so competent a mathematician as Professor Clifford.

In private life Prinsep was greatly beloved. Always genial and kindly, he was generous in the extreme. Some five or six years after his return from India he settled at Little Holland House, a roomy old house in Kensington, with a large garden, the site of which is now occupied by Melbury Road. There he cultivated the society of artists, more than one of whom are largely indebted to his help and encouragement for their success in life. Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A., was one of his most attached friends, and had his home with Prinsep at the old Little Holland House for twenty-five years. Another was Sir Edward Burne-Jones, who, when a young and struggling artist, attracted Prinsep's notice and assistance.

Prinsep died on 11 Feb. 1878, at the house of Mr. Watts at Freshwater in the Isle of Wight. His wife, Sara Monckton, daughter of James Pattle,died on 15 Dec. 1887, leaving three sons: the present Sir Henry Thoby Prinsep, a judge of the high court at Calcutta; Valentine Cameron Prinsep, Royal Academician, and Arthur Haldimand Prinsep, a major-general (retired) of the Bengal cavalry, and C.B. He also left one daughter, who married Mr. Charles Gurney.

Prinsep was a man of commanding presence, with a remarkably keen eye and a pleasant expression of countenance. There are two portraits of him, both by Watts. One drawn in crayons in 1852 belongs to the Hon. Mr. Justice Prinsep; the other in oils, painted twenty years later, belongs to Mr. Leslie Stephen. There is an excellent photograph by his sister-in-law, Mrs. Julia Margaret Cameron [q. v.] Watts also painted a portrait of Mrs. Prinsep.

Of Prinsep's numerous brothers one, James, is separately noticed. Another, Charles Robert Prinsep (1789-1864), was admitted a pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, 23 May 1806, and proceeded B.A. 1811 and M.A. 1814. He was called to