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Pye
Pye
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Charles Wynn, then president of the board of control. The degree of honorary M.A. was then conferred upon him by the university. He sailed for Madras in 1829, and served in that presidency in various subordinate appointments in the revenue and judicial departments until 1839, when he returned to England on furlough. On again settling in India in 1843, he served first as sub-secretary and afterwards as secretary to the board of revenue, whence he was promoted in 1850 to be revenue secretary to government, succeeding in 1855 to the chief secretaryship. In 1862 he was appointed a member of the council of the governor, and he retired from that post in 1867. He was made a K.C.S.I. in 1866. On the occasion of his retirement a eulogistic notice of his services was published by the government of Madras in the ‘Fort St. George Gazette.’ ‘His excellency the governor in council deems it due to that distinguished public officer,’ the notice ran, ‘to place on record the high sense which the government entertain of his services, and of the valuable aid and advice which they have invariably received from him at the council board.’

Gifted with an enormous capacity for work, extremely shrewd in his judgment both of men and of measures, and wonderfully free from prejudice, Pycroft was an invaluable adviser to those with whom he was associated in public business. One of his most useful qualities was his great accuracy. This was noticed by the examiners who awarded to him the writership in 1828, and it characterised his work throughout his public life. He may be regarded as the first of the competition wallahs, for he was the first man appointed to the Indian civil service on the result of a competitive examination. He died at Folkestone on 29 Jan. 1892. He married, in 1841, Frances, second daughter of Major H. Bates, R.A.

[Personal knowledge; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886.]

A. J. A.

PYE, HENRY JAMES (1745–1813), poetaster and poet laureate, was eldest son of Henry Pye (1710–1766) of Faringdon, Berkshire. His mother was Mary, daughter of David James, rector of Woughton, Buckinghamshire. She died on 13 May 1806, aged 88. The father, who was M.P. for Berkshire from 1746 till his death, was great-grandson of Sir Robert Pye [q. v.] Henry, born in London on 20 Feb. 1745, was educated at home until 1762, when he entered Magdalen College, Oxford, as a gentleman-commoner. He was created M.A. on 3 July 1766, and D.C.L. at the installation of Lord North as chancellor in 1772. On the death of his father, on 2 March 1766, Pye inherited the estates at Faringdon and debts to the amount of 50,000l. His resources long suffered through his efforts to pay off this large sum. His house at Faringdon, too, was burned down soon after his succession to it, and the expenses of rebuilding increased his embarrassments. He married at the age of twenty-one, and at first devoted himself to the pursuits of a country gentleman. He joined the Berkshire militia, and was an active county magistrate. In 1784 he was elected M.P. for Berkshire. Soon afterwards his financial difficulties compelled him to sell his ancestral estate, and he retired from parliament at the dissolution of 1790. In 1792 he was appointed a police magistrate for Westminster. One of his most useful publications was a ‘Summary of the Duties of a Justice of the Peace out of Sessions,’ 1808 (4th edit. 1827).

From an early age Pye cultivated literary tastes, and his main object in life was to obtain recognition as a poet. He read the classics and wrote English verse assiduously, but he was destitute alike of poetic feeling or power of expression. His earliest publication was an ‘Ode on the Birth of the Prince of Wales’ in the Oxford collection of 1762, and he has been doubtfully credited with ‘The Rosciad of Covent Garden,’ 4to, a poem published in London in the same year. In 1766 appeared ‘Beauty: a Poetical Essay,’ a didactic lucubration in heroic verse, which well exemplifies Pye's pedestrian temper. There followed ‘Elegies on Different Occasions,’ 1768; ‘The Triumph of Fashion: a Vision,’ 1771; ‘Farringdon Hill: a Poem in Two Books,’ 1774; ‘The Progress of Refinement,’ in three parts, 1783; ‘Shooting,’ 1784; and ‘Aeriphorion,’ 1784 (on balloons); all of which move along a uniformly dead level of dulness. Nevertheless Pye collected most of them in two octavo volumes, as ‘Poems on Various Subjects,’ 1787. Meanwhile, in 1775, he exhibited somewhat greater intelligence in a verse translation, with notes, of ‘Six Olympic Odes of Pindar, being those omitted by Mr. West.’ He pursued the same vein in a translation of the ‘Poetics of Aristotle’ in 1788, which he reissued, with a commentary, in 1792. His ‘Amusement: a Poetical Essay,’ appeared in 1790.

In 1790 Pye was appointed poet laureate, in succession to Thomas Warton, and he held the office for twenty-three years. He doubtless owed his good fortune to the support he had given the prime minister, Pitt, while he sat in the House of Commons. No selec-