Everard Charles Cotes (1862—1944)

He was an English-born entomologist and journalist who spent much of his life in India. He married the Canadian journalist and novelist Sara Jeannette Duncan, who was far better-known than he was. He published a number of scientific books and papers on entomology as well as two more journalistic books resulting from his travels.


Life etc in Wikipedia


Born in the Rectory of Newington, Wallingford (Berkshire) late in 1862, his father was the Reverend Septimus Cotes, who was Rector of Newington for 47 years, until his death in January, 1893. His mother, Ellen, had been born in Athlone, Ireland. There was a very considerable age difference between his parents, his father having been born in about 1810, his mother in 1833 or so. They married in 1858. Everard was the first-born of two sons. They also had four daughters. He attended Clifton College and matriculated at Oxford University in June 1881 without belonging to a college. He gained honours in mathematical Mods in 1883. There is no indication that he ever went on to take an Oxford degree and his books do not attribute any degree to him on their title pages.

He then went to India and in April 1884 began working in the Natural History section at the Indian Museum, Calcutta, with the position of First Assistant to the Superintendent. In December 1891 another person took his position while he served temporarily as Deputy Superintendent. He returned to his former rank in March 1892 but in May the same year he was appointed Deputy Superintendent and retained that position until he resigned in April 1895.  During these years he published a considerable number of books on Indian entymology,a subject which had presumably interested prior to his departure from England.

             The dynamic, modern Canadian woman who was to become his wife, Sara Jeannette Duncan, was born in Ontario in 1861. In 1885 she began to write book reviews for the ''Washington Post', then returned to Canada, writing for ''The Globe'' and the ''Montreal Star.'' Late in 1888, she and a friend, Lily Lewis, began a journey round the world, which gave her the inspiration for her first book, published in 1890, ''A Social Departure '', a fictionalized account of their experiences. In India she met Everard Cotes on February 28, 1889, at a reception at the Calcutta mansion of the Viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, whom she had previously met in Canada.(Sara Jeannette Duncan: A Brief Chronology,” in Duncan’s ''Set in Authority'', edited by Germaine Warkentin. Broadview Press. 1996. p.336.). A few weeks later, in March, she accepted his proposal of marriage, made during a visit to the Taj Mahal, then continued with her journey until May 1889, when she arrived in England. They were married on December 6, 1890, in St. Thomas’ Church, Calcutta.

During the spring of 1891 they visited Europe, but were back in India by June. Little is known of Cotes’s relationship with his wife. Clearly an independent woman, she made frequent trips to England and North America, sometimes accompanied by Cotes but often alone. She was a very professional writer and is reported to have spent at least some time writing every day of her life. (Debra Martens. “A Canadian Author in Chelsea: Sara Jeannette Duncan.” ''The Chelsea Society Report'' 2013. p37.) After her marriage, she always published using the name “Mrs Everard Cotes” in conjunction with her own name, “Sara Jeannette Duncan.” In April 1894, after he resigned from the Museum, it seemed that they would go back to England permanently. They visited Paris on their way to England, and Cotes began to plan a completely new career, in journalism, probably inspired by his wife. Cotes seems to have planned to stay in England but by January 1895 they were back in India, where Cotes had been offered the position of Editor of the ''Indian Daily News'' (Calcutta), a position he held until 1897. Duncan assisted him by writing editorials and articles during those years, while she continued to write the novels for which she is celebrated.

In March 1897, Cotes resigned from the ''Indian Daily News'' and became a government press correspondent in Simla, where they had a house. By 1900, after making several journeys to England and North America, Duncan was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She was by now back living with Cotes in Simla. In 1901 they moved to Calcutta, where Cotes was charged with finding recruits for the Boer War.  After several years of this kind of living, he moving between Calcutta and Simla, his wife between India and England or North America, Cotes set off alone early in 1906 on a visit with other journalists to the Far East, passing through China, Manchuria, Korea and Japan, not long after the end of the Russo-Japanese War. This resulted in his first book, ''Signs and Portents in the Far East'', published early in 1907 in London and New York.

In 1907 the Indian News Agency was established by Cotes, who had previously also been serving as the Indian correspondent of the London ''Daily Mail'' In 1910 the INA was taken over by Reuters with the formation of the Eastern News Agency. Reuters owned one half, Cotes the other half. Everard Cotes became the managing director of the Eastern News Agency, which included Associated Press of India and Indian News Agency, an important position that he held from 1910 until 1919. (Jonathan Silberstein-loeb: ''The International Distribution of News: the Associated Press, Press Association, and Reuters'', 1848-1947 - Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise. Cambridge UP. 2014. p.175) In 1912, Cotes’s wife brought her niece, Nellie Masterman, back to India with her and she stayed there with Cotes until his final departure from India in 1919. In November 1912 they moved to Delhi in order to be closer to the source of news. However, apart from a period of life in Simla in 1915, Cotes’s wife was absent from India throughout the War. She was writing plays, which were produced in Canada and London with limited success.

Cotes finally sold his share in the Eastern News Agency in 1919, and joined his wife in London, where they leased a house, 17 Paultons Square in Chelsea.  He retained the connection with Reuters, serving as a Reuters correspondent. Duncan visited Canada for the last time in the autumn of 1919, together with her husband, who was reporting for Reuters on the tour of the Prince of Wales. In 1920, Cotes spent seven months touring Australia with the Prince of Wales and the following year he published ''Down Under with the Prince'', his account of the tour.

In May 1922 they moved to a house in Ashtead, Surrey, but Duncan’s health was failing and she died on July 22, 1922. She was buried in the churchyard of St Giles Church in Ashtead, with the inscription “This leaf was blown far.” Cotes, who was her beneficiary, worked as parliamentary correspondent for the ''Christian Science Monitor in the following years. In 1923, already aged 61, he married Phoebe Violet Delaforce. His second wife had been born in 1900 in Portugal, the daughter of Henry John Delaforce, of a notable port-wine shipping family. They had two children, John and Mary. Everard Charles Cotes died at their home, Birdshill Cottage, Oxshott, Surrey, on October 4, 1944.

Rupert Gude writes:  "Everard Charles Cotes's son went on to be a chest physician in South Wales and a leading expert on pneumoconiosis (miner's lung disease). He later moved his research to Newcastle where he is retired.  His daughter was a medical biochemist and doctor who worked for the Medical Research Council in Millhill, London on erythropoeitin, a blood hormone and is retired in London."




''A Catalogue of the Moths of India'', compiled by E. C. Cotes, First Assistant to the Superintendent, Indian Museum, Calcutta and Colonel [[Charles Swinhoe]] F.L.S, F.Z.S.. Calcutta : Printed by order of the Trustees of the Indian Museum (1887)  Volume 1-7


Shorter papers:


The Experimental Introduction of Insecticides into India. With a short account of modern insecticides and methods of applying them.  (1888)

A Preliminary Account of the Wheat and Rice Weevil in India (Notes on Economic Entomology. no. 1.)  (1888)

Notes On Economic Entomology. (1889)

Silkworms in India (1890)

The Locusts of Bengal, Madras, Assam, and Bombay, etc (1891)

White Insect Wax in India, etc  (1891)

The Wild Silk Insects of India (1891)


''Silk''. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India, 1893


''An Elementary Manual of Zoology'' Designed for the Use of Forest Officers in India. Prepared for the Forest Department of India by E. C. Cotes, Deputy Superintendent of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, and Lecturer on Zoology at the Imperial Forest School, Dehra Dun. Calcutta: Office Of The Superintendent, Government Printing, India. 1893. (Cover title: Indian Forest Zoology)


The Poisonous Snakes of India” by E.C. Cotes in McClure's Magazine, April 1894, pp. 466-474


''An account of the insects and mites which attack the tea plant in India''. Calcutta : Superintendent of government printing, India, 1895


Everard Cotes. ''Signs and Portents in the Far East''. London: Methuen.1907.


Everard Cotes. ''Down Under with the Prince''. London: Methuen. 1921.