Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/324

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

father's commercial ability and reputation for personal integrity, as well as his philanthropic temper, and he joined his father in contributing a sum of money exceeding twelve thousand pounds to the Mechanics' Institute. On the death of his father he became head of the firm at Bombay. Factories for the manufacture of silk and cotton goods were opened there, and gave employment to large numbers of natives. Sassoon maintained and extended his firm's relations with Persia, and, in recognition of his services to Persian trade, the shah of Persia made him a member of the order of the Lion and Sun in 1871. At Bagdad he erected a building for the school of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. In Bombay he gave conspicuous proof of his loyalty to the English government and public spirit, conferring on the city a vast series of benefactions. In 1872 he gave a lakh of rupees (10,000l.) towards the rebuilding of the Elphinstone High School. He afterwards added an additional half lakh as a thank-offering for the recovery of the Prince of Wales. The building, which finally cost 60,000l., was completed in 1881. Sassoon also gave an organ to the town-hall in commemoration of the Duke of Edinburgh's visit, and he commemorated the visit (in 1876) of the Prince of Wales, who was entertained by his wife, by erecting at Bombay an equestrian statue of him by J. E. Boehm, R.A., while he placed a statue of the prince consort in the Victoria and Albert Museum. But his main benefaction to Bombay was the construction of the Sassoon dock at Colaba, the first wet dock on the western coast of India. This great work, which covered an area of 195,000 square feet, was commenced in 1872 and completed in 1875.

The English government early recognised Sassoon's public services. In 1867 he was appointed companion of the Star of India, and a year later he became a member of the Bombay legislative council. On retiring from this position in 1872 he was made a knight of the Bath. Next year he paid a visit to England, and in November 1873 he received the freedom of the city of London on account of his ‘munificent and philanthropic exertions in the cause of charity and education, especially in our Indian empire.’

Soon afterwards he settled definitely in England. He acquired a mansion in London at Albert Gate, Knightsbridge, and another residence at Brighton, and filled a leading position in fashionable society. The Prince of Wales was his frequent guest, and he entertained the shah of Persia on his visit to England in 1889. At the same time he identified himself with the Jewish community in Great Britain, was liberal in his donations to Jewish charities, and acted as a vice-president of the Anglo-Jewish Association. He was created a baronet on 22 March 1890; and died at his house, 1 Eastern Terrace, Brighton, on 24 Oct. 1896. He was buried in a private mausoleum, elaborately designed, which he had set up on land adjoining his Brighton residence. A caricature portrait in ‘Vanity Fair’ (16 Aug. 1879) entitled him ‘The Indian Rothschild.’

By his wife Hannah (d. 1895), daughter of Meyer Moses of Bombay, whom he married in 1838, he had one surviving son, Edward Albert, born in 1856, who succeeded to the baronetcy.

[Times, 26 Oct. 1896; Times of India, 31 Oct. 1896; Men and Women of the Time, 14th ed. p. 753; Temple's Men and Events of my Time in India, 1882, pp. 260, 274; Jewish Chronicle, 30 Oct. 1896; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage.]

E. I. C.

SATCHWELL, BENJAMIN (1732–1809), founder of the Leamington Spa Charity, born in 1732, was a self-taught shoemaker, working at the then obscure village of Leamington Priors, Warwickshire, where he lived all his life. He was a somewhat eccentric but energetic man, who used to settle all the village disputes. On 14 Jan. 1784 he discovered a saline spring—the second found at Leamington—on a piece of land belonging to his friend William Abbotts, who, with Satchwell, was chiefly instrumental in promoting the prosperity of the modern town of Leamington. Baths were opened by Abbotts in connection with the spring in 1786, and invalids began to resort to the place. In 1788 Satchwell established the first regular post office at Leamington. From time to time he described the Spa and its cures in the ‘Coventry Mercury’ and other provincial papers, and in his character of ‘the village rhymer’ kept poetical annals of the Spa, and saluted distinguished visitors with addresses. About 1794, when the builders and speculators came to Leamington, Satchwell took an active part in developing the place, being assisted with money by Mr. Walhouse, a clergyman of independent means. A row of houses built by Satchwell near the post office was called ‘Satchwell Place.’

In 1806 he instituted the Leamington Spa Charity, and became its treasurer and secretary. This charity provided for the accommodation of invalids of scanty means while sojourning at the Spa. No one was assisted, or allowed to stay more than a month, without a medical certificate. Satchwell died in 1809, in the seventy-seventh year of his