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Sir Chaloner Alabaster
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Birth: Sep. 14, 1838
Death: Jun. 28, 1898

Consul General. He was educated at King's College, London, and matriculated at London University in 1852. He was appointed a student interpreter in China in 1855, being attached to the Superintendency of Trade at Hongkong. He was present at the first bombardment of Canton, and was attached to Admiral Sir M Seymour until the capture of Canton, for which service he received the China medal with Canton clasp. When it was determined to send the bloodthirsty Commissioner Yeh in exile to Calcutta, he was chosen to accompany him, and remained with the prisoner until Yeh's death. Much of his peculiar and recondite knowledge of Chinese philosophy was gained from his conversations with Yeh during his captivity. On his return to China he was first attached to Sir Frederick Bruce's mission, and was successively interpreter at Canton, Amoy, and Swatow, having plenty of experience of fighting against piratical villages while he was attached to the Swatow Consulate. He was appointed interpreter at Shanghai in 1861, and accompanied the Ever Victorious Army under Gordon and his predecessors in several of its engagements with the rebels. In August 1862 he was lent to the Chinese Government to assist in the reorganisation of the Sungkiangforce. He was one of the organisers of the Mixed Court here, and was successively in charge of the Consulates at Chefoo, Swatow, Shanghai, Ningpo, Amoy, Ichang, and Hankow. In 1885 he was acting Consul-General at Shanghai, and was then transferred to Canton, where he was made Consul ­General. In the distribution of Birthday Honours in 1892 he was made a K.C.M.G., and in November 1892 he retired on a pension after more than thirty-seven years' invaluable service. His wife was a very well-known and very amiable and popular Shanghai lady, Miss Laura Macgowan. He was one of the cleverest and ablest men in the Consular service; with strong opinions of his own, and absolutely ignorant of fear. He was much too original, too decided, too anti-Chinese, to please Sir Thomas Wade, and he would have got on better if he had been more ready to fall in with his chief`s views; but his experience generally, and especially his long and intimate companionship with Yeh, had shown him what the Chinese mandarin is in his heart; and he could not be imposed upon by them as his simpler and more soft-hearted chief was. His friends knew that with all his occasional bitterness he had a heart of pure gold, and would take any amount of trouble to help people who were really in trouble. He had no patience with shams and pretensions; he saw through them directly, and the man had to get up early who proposed to get round "the Buster," as he was affectionately termed It was worth a great deal to spend an evening with "the Buster," who would be smoking two cheroots at once, and the Dean, and hear them discuss men and things, with an incessant flow of wit and humour. It was Alabaster who turned Trinity Church here into a Cathedral and his friend the Chaplain, Mr. Butcher, into a Dean. He had no authority to do it beyond the public approval, but he did it. Socially, he was very popular, and this popularity was enhanced by the respect that even those who were not his personal friends had for his spirited performance of his Consular duties. He was one of the founders and leading spirits of the Beefsteak Club and the original Debating Society, and one of the founders and warmest supporters of the Amateur Dramatic Club.

- Extract from the North-China Herald, July 11, 1898.
 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Laura Abbie MacGowan Alabaster (1847 - 1924)
 
 Children:
  Rupert Cecil Alabaster (1878 - 1919)*
  Rupert Cecil Alabaster (1878 - 1919)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
East Cemetery
Bournemouth
Bournemouth Unitary Authority
Dorset, England
 
Created by: julia&keld
Record added: Aug 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56807366
Sir Chaloner Alabaster
Added by: Greg Harrison
 
Sir Chaloner Alabaster
Added by: julia&keld
 
Sir Chaloner Alabaster
Added by: julia&keld
 
 
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in remembrance, on behalf of Alabaster Society
- Laraine Hake
 Added: Mar. 20, 2011

- julia&keld
 Added: Mar. 3, 2011
 
 
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