As a political officer on secondment from the British Indian Army from 1876 to 1897 during the British Raj, he was attached to the Foreign Department of the Indian Government. His career in India was a mixture of military administrative business on the volatile North-West Frontier, and diplomacy and foreign politics advising Maharajas or accompanying the Viceroy in the Princely States.
After leaving the Army, Evans Gordon returned to Britain and in 1900 was elected as Conservative Party MP for Stepney on an anti-alien platform. As a result of the pogroms in Eastern Europe, an increasing number of Jews were arriving in Britain either to stay, or en route for America. Evans Gordon, as a 'restrictionist', was heavily and actively involved in the passing of the Aliens Act 1905, which sought to limit the number of people allowed to enter Britain, even temporarily. He held Stepney from 1900 to 1907.
William Eden Evans Gordon[n 1] was born in Chatham, Kent, the youngest son of Major-General Charles Spalding Evans Gordon (19 September 1813–18 January 1901) and his first wife, Catherine Rose (23 July 1815 – 1858), daughter of Rev. Dr. Alexander Rose, D.D., a Presbyterian minister of Inverness. William was the youngest of seven children. See also Family tree below.
His mother died in 1858, soon after he was born. He was educated at Cheltenham College (entering in October 1870 at the same time as his older brother Charles [Jr.]), and at the Royal Military College, where he was an unattached Sub-Lieutenant on 15 July 1876.
William Evans-Gordon was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the 67th Foot on 15 January 1877. He transferred on 3 July to the Madras Staff Corps of the Indian Army, attached to the 41st Madras Native Infantry in 1880 as Wing Officer and Quartermaster.[n 2] From November 1881— December 1883 he was extra ADC to the Governor of Madras, M. E. Grant Duff, serving as Wing Officer and Quartermaster in 1883 with the 8th Madras Native Infantry. In 1884, Evans Gordon served under the Foreign Department attached to 1st Regt. Central India Horse (Mayne's Horse) in Guna.[n 3]
During the joint Russo-British Afghan Boundary Commission 1885–1887 under Colonel Joseph West Ridgeway he was busy working as Boundary Settlement Officer and Assistant in charge of Banswara State and Pratapgarh; as an Attaché of the Indian Foreign Dept. he worked on translating documents into French and German, apparently for the uniformed but 'unofficial' military observers from those countries. He had charge of the Frontier branch of the Foreign Dept., and collated the Boundary Commission's documentation.
From 1884–88 he was Assistant Secretary during the greater part of the Viceroy Lord Dufferin's tenure, accompanying the Viceroy on his tours, and translating at his interviews with Indian princely rulers. In 1885 Evans Gordon was back with the 8th Madras Regt. in Saugor as Officiating 3rd Class Political Assistant, and the following year he was attached to the Foreign Department of the Indian Government.
In September 1886 Evans Gordon accompanied the Foreign Secretary of the Indian Government (Sir Mortimer Durand) up the military road being built through the Khyber Pass by Colonel Robert Warburton, to the new fort at Landi Kotal. The Durand Line remains the international boundary between Afghanistan and modern-day Pakistan.
On 15 July 1887 William Evans Gordon was promoted Captain in the Indian Staff Corps, as Assistant Secretary at the Foreign Department from 1888–92. As political officer in 1888 he was prominently connected with negotiations for the surrender of Ghazi Ayub Khan, who eight years before had defeated a British army at the Battle of Maiwand during the Second Anglo-Afghan War and had laid siege to Khandahar. He sought refuge in Persia, where he entered into negotiations with Sir Mortimer Durand, now ambassador at Teheran. Evans-Gordon took charge of him on his arrival in India and escorted him and his entourage from Karachi to Rawalpindi.
He was appointed Joint-Commissioner in Ladakh in 1889 (where he was described as "an energetic and able officer"), and Assistant Resident in the recently annexed Jammu and Kashmir in November 1890, ruled by Maharaja Pratap Singh. During his Indian furloughs he travelled in many parts of the East, and penetrated some distance into Tibet in 1891. He accomplished a remarkable ride on horseback from Leh to Srinagar, 250 miles, in 33 hours; crossed three passes of the Himalayas at around 13,500 ft.; covered the distance, 152 miles, in 37 hours
He was political officer in attendance on the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III[n 4] when he travelled to Europe in 1894. In March 1895 he was appointed Officiating Political Resident in Jhalawar State (a subdivision of the Rajputana Agency during the British Raj) Evans-Gordon was promoted Major on 15 July 1896.
In 1896 he was also connected with the deposition of the Maharaja of Jhalawar, Rana Zalim Singh, for which he was criticized in Parliament, though the Secretary of State asserted that the Political Agent had acted with "discretion and tolerance".
He retired on pension on 13 May 1897, and on 17 February 1900 was appointed a Major in the Reserve of Officers. he was awarded the Legion of Honour, Reserve of Offs., 4th Class, on 17 February 1900.
The Times of India Illustrated Weekly of 5 September 1906 reported that in Kashmir, at Ladakh, and in attendance on the Gaekwar in Europe, he "won the trust and esteem of all the chiefs and magistrates with whom he was brought into relation."
Photo of Wiliam Evans-Gordon outside the House of Commons, National Portrait Gallery, CC 3. 0 licence.
The Stepney constituency, one of the poorest districts of London, saw in a rise in immigration during the late 19th century and early 20th century, partially as a result of the Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire As far back as 1889 a House of Commons Committee had concluded that there was an increase in pauperism in the East End of London due to the crowding out of English labour in foreign immigrants.
In July 1894 Lord Rosebery proposed a Bill in the House of Lords designed to reform the current legislation on aliens, although it was withdrawn in August 1894 after its second reading. Restrictionism came to be a notable canvassing topic in the 1892 and 1895 General Elections,; and the recently-succeeded Earl of Hardwicke proposed a similar Aliens Bill in 1898. In 1898, a year after William Evans-Gordon left the Army, a by-election was held in Stepney after the sudden death of the standing Tory MP Frederick W. Isaacson.[n 6] Evans-Gordon stood as the Conservative candidate, but lost to the Liberal journalist W. C. Steadman by 20 votes.
Evans-Gordon was elected as MP for Stepney on an anti-alien platform in the 1900 general election and held the seat until 1907. Along with the somewhat older Howard Vincent, he was among the first MPs to arouse public opposition to immigration. Although the growing sense of anti-alien feeling found expression in certain localised quarters of the franchised electorate, the primary issues in the 1900 poll were a desire to end the Second Boer War (hence the nickname), and the vexed question of Home rule for Ireland.
After his election William Evans-Gordon became the brains and driving force behind the British Brothers League (BBL) – an anti-alien pressure group formed in Stepney in May 1901 – although he took care to front the League with one William Stanley Shaw, an unimportant City clerk who was its first president. Howard Vincent (MP for Sheffield Central since 1885) and several East End Conservative MPs – Murray Guthrie, Spencer Charrington and Thomas Dewar – became members of the League.
Evans-Gordon became known as one of the most vocal critics of aliens at the time, commenting that 'a storm is brewing which, if it is allowed to burst, will have deplorable results'. Once elected he continued his theme of anti-immigrant rhetoric, claiming in 1902 that 'not a day passes but English families are ruthlessly turned out to make room for foreign invaders. The rates are burdened with the education of thousands of foreign children.'
Over a two-month period Evans-Gordon travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, finding out at first hand about the highly restrictive conditions imposed on Jews in the Pale of Settlement and in Rumania[n 8] His book (with map) about his fact-finding mission, The Alien Immigrant (Evans-Gordon 1903) is an even-handed account of his research. In the first chapter, it highlights the apparent concern of the British Board of Deputies for (and sometimes antipathy towards) the refugees from foreign shores. Although it contains some gratuitous low-level antisemitism, the book in general disinterestedly records the situation of the Jews, at one point favourably comparing conditions of the poor of Libau to the "horrors of the East End." On the other hand, the conditions of hand-loom workers in Łódź moved him to this description:
The industry is carried on under appalling conditions. I shall never forget the places in which I saw this work being done. It would need the pen of a Zola to describe them. Three or four looms were crammed into one room with as many families. I have never, even in Vilna or the East of London, seen human beings condemned to live in such surroundings. They had the appearance of half-starved consumptives.
The last chapter contains examples of other unwelcome aliens, such as organised gangs of German robbers.[n 9] The book was dedicated "To my friend Edward Steinkopff",[n 10] who bought the deep blue St. James's Gazette in 1886.[n 11] The St. James Gazette under its new owner may have been connected with the start of a new Anti-Alienism movement in the press in 1886.
The book was used in the evidence that he presented to the Aliens Commission in its inquiries. This eventually resulted in the Aliens Act 1905 which placed restrictions on Eastern European immigration, although discussion of the Bill in Parliament provoked considerable opposition. Winston Churchill was MP for Manchester North West, where one third of his constituents were Jewish. Like his father Lord Randolph Churchill, Churchill bucked the trend of widespread antisemitism in the British upper classes, and actively opposed the Aliens Bill. In an open letter to Nathan Laski (a prominent member of the Jewish community in his constituency and father of Harold Laski), Churchill quoted a speech by Lord Rothschild, a Liberal supporter and member of the Aliens Commission:
"The Bill introduced into the House of Commons proposes to establish in this country a loathsome system of police interference and espionage, of passports and arbitrary power exercised by police officers who in all probability will not understand the language of those upon whom they are called to sit in judgement. This is all contrary to the recommendations proposed by the Royal Commission. [...] The whole bill looks like an attempt on the part of the Government to gratify a small but noisy section of their own supporters and to purchase a little popularity in the constituencies by dealing harshly with a number of unfortunate aliens who have no votes."
Despite the repeated denials of Arnold White and Evans-Gordon, anti-semitism was a central element of the campaign for the Aliens Bill 1900–1905. The indigent refugees from Russia, Rumania and Poland had further defenders in Parliament, such as Sir Charles Trevelyan, 3rd Baronet, Liberal MP for Elland who – speaking against the Aliens Bill in 1904 – said:
"Among many people already — not many in this House, but many people outside of it — there is a frankly anti-Semitic movement, and I deplore it. I believe this is an evil step in the same direction as the Governments of Russia and Rumania have been going. It may be that it is not intended, but the action of many Members of this House has been calculated to excite the feeling which we know to exist in part of our population, and with the case of the persecution of Dreyfus reverberating through the West of Europe there is no use saying that there is no danger of this kind in our own country. I think it is a fortunate thing that we have been peculiarly free from any anti-Semitic movement in England, and we have not lost by it. We have had statesmen, manufacturers, merchants, and the like who themselves, or their predecessors, came to this country as aliens exactly as do those people you now wish to exclude. It seems to me a useless and short-sighted, and at this moment very largely an inhuman policy, to keep out those who may, after all, be like those of whom I have just spoken."
In his 1905 election address, Evans-Gordon laid stress on the recently passed Aliens Act, which he had been greatly instrumental in carrying. He proceeds to explain his position with regard to the Jews.
"It has been falsely asserted that the Aliens Act is aimed against the Jewish people, and that I have been actuated by anti-Semitism. I will not stoop to repudiate such charges. No man views with greater horror and indignation than I the recent barbarous and indescribable massacres of Jews in Russia. But in expressing my deep sympathy with the victims of this most terrible persecution I am bound to repeat my conviction that the solution of the Jewish problem in Eastern Europe will not and cannot be found in the transference of thousands of poverty-stricken and helpless aliens to the most crowded quarters and overstocked markets of our greatest cities. It will be found in the statesmanlike scheme of the Jewish Territorialist Organization for the inauguration of which we are indebted to the genius and patriotism of Mr. Israel Zangwill." 
Vincent and Evans-Gordon successfully "stampeded their party into introducing laws to keep the foreigner out." Although a section of the Conservative party had managed to persuade the Commons to pass anti-Jewish legislation, after only six months the Liberals had a landslide election victory in 1906. Although the Aliens Act was not repealed by the incoming Liberal government, the law was not strictly enforced. Evans Gordon held on to his seat amid the general Tory defeat, and continued to campaign for further anti-immigration legislation. In his successful bid for re-election in 1906, he spoke against the Sinti (German Gypsies) who were trying to settle in England; and, borrowing the slogan of the BBL, he campaigned with the slogan 'England for the English and Major Gordon for Stepney'.
I think our people were rather hard on him. The Aliens Bill in England and the movement which grew around it were natural phenomenon which might have been foreseen...Sir William Evans-Gordon had no particular anti-Jewish prejudices...he was sincerely ready to encourage any settlement of Jews almost anywhere in the British Empire but he failed to see why the ghettoes of London or Leeds should be made into a branch of the ghettoes of Warsaw and Pinsk [...] Sir William Evans-Gordon gave me some insight into the psychology of the settled citizen. 
Evans-Gordon received a knighthood in 1905.
In 1892 Captain William Evans Gordon married Julia Charlotte Sophia Stewart (b. 21 June 1846) (Julia, Marchioness of Tweeddale), daughter of Lt.-Colonel Keith William Stewart Mackenzie (9 May 1818 – ? June 1881)[n 14] and of Hannah Charlotte Hope Vere.[n 15]
Julia was previously twice married: firstly (as his second wife, on 8 October 1873) to the Right Hon. Arthur Hay, 9th Marquess of Tweeddale, d. 1878; without issue. Secondly, in 1887 she married (as his second wife), the Right Hon. Sir John Rose, 1st Baronet, GCMG, of Queensgate, London, who died in 1888; without issue. Her third marriage to William Evans Gordon was also without issue.
Julia was the sister of James Stewart-Mackenzie, 1st Baron Seaforth, who fought with the 9th Lancers during the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1878–1880 (later Colonel of the regiment), and was later military secretary to M. E. Grant Duff. He married the daughter of Edward Steinkopff, owner of the St James's Gazette and dedicatee of Evans-Gordon's The Alien Immigrant.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
William Charles Steadman
| Member of Parliament for Stepney
Frederick Leverton Harris
The Stepney by-election of 1907 was held on 10 May 1907. The by-election was held due to the resignation of the incumbent Conservative MP, William Evans-Gordon. It was won by the Conservative candidate Frederick Leverton Harris.1913
was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1913th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 913th year of the 2nd millennium, the 13th year of the 20th century, and the 4th year of the 1910s decade. As of the start of 1913, the Gregorian calendar was
13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.Arthur Hay, 9th Marquess of Tweeddale
Colonel Arthur Hay, 9th Marquess of Tweeddale FRS FRSE FZS (9 November 1824 – 29 December 1878), known before 1862 as Lord Arthur Hay and between 1862 and 1876 as Viscount Walden, was a Scottish soldier and ornithologist.Ayub Khan (Emir of Afghanistan)
Ghazi Mohammad Ayub Khan (Pashto: غازي محمد ايوب خان) (1857 – April 7, 1914, Urdu: غازی محمد ایوب خان) was also known as The Victor of Maiwand or The Afghan Prince Charlie and was, for a while, the governor of Herat Province in Afghanistan. He was Emir of Afghanistan from October 12, 1879 to May 31, 1880 and was also the leader of Afghans in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. He is today remembered as National Hero of Afghanistan and is buried in Peshawar.David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale
David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale (13 March 1878 – 17 March 1958), was an English landowner and was the father of the Mitford sisters, in whose various novels and memoirs he is depicted.Edward John Sartoris
Edward John Sartoris (30 May 1814 – 23 November 1888) was a British landowner and Liberal politician of French ancestry.English Defence League
The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right, Islamophobic organisation in the United Kingdom. A social movement and pressure group that employs street demonstrations as its main tactic, the EDL presents itself as a single-issue movement opposed to Islamism and Islamic extremism, although its rhetoric and actions target Islam and Muslims more widely. Founded in 2009, its heyday lasted until 2011, after which it entered a decline. It is presently chaired by Tim Ablitt.
Established in London, the EDL coalesced around several football hooligan firms protesting the public presence of the small Salafi Islamist group Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah in Luton, Bedfordshire. Tommy Robinson, a former member of the British National Party (BNP), soon became its de facto leader. The organisation grew swiftly, holding demonstrations across England and often clashing with anti-fascist protesters from Unite Against Fascism and other groups, who deemed it a racist organisation victimising British Muslims. The EDL also established a strong social media presence on Facebook and YouTube. Moving towards electoral politics, it established formal links with the far-right British Freedom Party, a breakaway from the BNP. The EDL's reputation was damaged in 2011 after supporters were convicted of plotting to bomb mosques and links were revealed with Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik. In 2013 Robinson—supported by the Quilliam think tank—left the group; he claimed it had become too extreme, and established the rival Pegida UK. The group's membership declined significantly following Robinson's departure and various branches declared independence.
Ideologically on the extreme-right or far-right of British politics, the EDL is part of the international counter-jihad movement. Officially, it presents itself as being opposed to Islamism, Islamic extremism, and jihadism, although its rhetoric repeatedly conflates these with Islam and Muslims more broadly. Rejecting the idea that Muslims can truly be English, the EDL presents Islam as an intolerant, primitive threat seeking to take over Europe. Political scientists and other commentators have characterised this Islamophobic stance as culturally racist. Both online and at its events, EDL members have incited violence against Muslims, with supporters carrying out violent acts both at demonstrations and independently. The EDL's broader ideology features nationalism and populism, blaming a perceived decline in English culture on high immigration rates and an uncaring political elite. It distinguished itself from Britain's traditional far-right by rejecting biological racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. Although several of its leaders were previously involved in fascist organisations and some neo-Nazis and other fascists attended EDL events, commentators differ on whether the EDL itself is ideologically fascist or not.
Headed by a small leadership team, the EDL sub-divided into over 90 local and thematic divisions, each with considerable autonomy. Its support base consisted primarily of young, working-class white British men, some from established far-right and football hooligan subcultures. Polls indicated that most UK citizens opposed the EDL, and the group was repeatedly challenged by anti-fascist groups. Many local councils and police forces discouraged EDL marches, citing the high financial cost of policing them, the disruptive influence on community harmony, and the damage caused to counter-terrorism operations.Football Lads Alliance
The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) is a movement in the United Kingdom founded by John Meighan in 2017. According to The Times, "the movement was set up as a self-proclaimed 'anti-extremist' movement" but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics and far-right activists.The Premier League has warned clubs that "the group is using fans and stadiums to push an anti-Muslim agenda". Concern has also been expressed that the Alliance is "giving cover to the far right" and "uses a secret Facebook page full of violent, racist and misogynistic posts".Howard Vincent
Colonel Sir Charles Edward Howard Vincent (31 May 1849 – 7 April 1908), known as Howard Vincent or C. E. Howard Vincent, was a British soldier, barrister, police official and Conservative Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1908.Leverton Harris
Frederick Leverton Harris (17 December 1864 – 14 November 1926) was a British businessman and Conservative Party politician. He sat in the House of Commons for three periods between 1900 and 1918.
His role in Parliament was largely insignificant until World War I, when he used his knowledge of shipping to play a crucial role in the United Kingdom's economic warfare against the German Empire, and joined the government in 1916 in a newly created post with specific responsibility for the blockade of Germany. As the war drew to a close, his political career looked set to flourish, but was destroyed by scandal.List of Conservative Party MPs (UK)
This is a list of Conservative Party MPs. It includes all Members of Parliament elected to the British House of Commons representing the Conservative Party from 1834 onwards. Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly or the European Parliament are not listed. Those in italics are overall leaders of the Conservative Party, those in bold are Prime Ministers.List of MPs elected in the 1900 United Kingdom general election
This is a list of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the 27th Parliament of the United Kingdom at the 1900 general election, held over several days from 25 September to 24 October 1900.
Notable newcomers to the House of Commons included Winston Churchill, Thomas James Macnamara, Jack Seely and Bonar Law. Also notable was the election of the first two Labour MPs, Keir Hardie and Richard Bell.List of United Kingdom by-elections (1900–1918)
This is a list of parliamentary by-elections in the United Kingdom held between 1900 and 1918, with the names of the incumbent and victor and their respective parties. Where seats changed political party at the election, the result is highlighted: pink for a Labour gain, light blue for a Conservative (including Liberal Unionist and Irish Unionist) gain, orange for a Liberal (including Liberal-Labour) gain, green for a Sinn Féin gain, light green for an Irish Parliamentary Party gain and grey for any other gain.October 31
October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 61 days remain until the end of the year.Sharon Ebanks
Sharon Elizabeth Ebanks (born 1967 or 1968) is a former member of the British National Party and one of the founder members of the New Nationalist Party. In 2006, she was wrongly declared elected to Birmingham City Council.St James's Gazette
The St James's Gazette was a London evening newspaper published from 1880 to 1905. It was founded by the Conservative Henry Hucks Gibbs, later Baron Aldenham, a director of the Bank of England 1853–1901 and its governor 1875–1877; the paper's first editor was Frederick Greenwood, previously the editor of the Conservative-leaning Pall Mall Gazette.The St James's Gazette was bought by Edward Steinkopff, founder of the Apollinaris mineral water company, in 1888. Greenwood left, to be succeeded by Sidney Low (1888–97), Hugh Chisholm (1897–99) and Ronald McNeill (1900–1904). Steinkopff sold the paper to C. Arthur Pearson in 1903, who merged it with the Evening Standard in March 1905, ending the paper's daily publication.
A weekly digest of the paper, the St James's Budget, appeared from 3 July 1880 until 3 February 1911.Stepney (UK Parliament constituency)
Stepney was a parliamentary constituency centred on the Stepney district of the East End of London. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post system.The Link (UK organization)
The Link was established in July 1937 as an 'independent non-party organisation to promote Anglo-German friendship'. It generally operated as a cultural organisation, although its journal, the Anglo-German Review, reflected the pro-Nazi views of Barry Domvile, and particularly in London it attracted a number of anti-semites and pro-Nazis. At its height the membership numbered around 4,300.
The Link was opposed to war between Britain and Germany, and because of this attracted the support of some British pacifists. When The Link and the Anglo-German Review were included among a number of peace organisations across the political spectrum in the Peace Service Handbook (a publication put out by the Peace Pledge Union), the Daily Telegraph and The News Chronicle published articles accusing the PPU of supporting Nazism. In response, PPU member Stuart Morris wrote to the papers stating there was no connection between the PPU and The Link, and that the former organisation did not support the German demand for colonies or peace at the expense of smaller nations. The PPU also sent a letter to its group leaders dissociating The Link from the PPU, and ceased publishing the Peace Service Handbook.The organisation was investigated by Maxwell Knight, head of counter-subversion in MI5 and future role model for James Bond's boss M. The organisation closed shortly after the start of World War II in 1939.
Barry Domvile was interned in 1940 as someone who might "endanger the safety of the realm".According to Anthony Masters, the Link was allegedly resurrected in 1940 by Ian Fleming, then working in the Department of Naval Intelligence, in order to successfully lure Rudolf Hess (deputy party leader and third in leadership of Germany, after Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring) to Britain in May 1941.W. C. Steadman
William Charles Steadman (12 July 1851 – 20 July 1911), usually known as W. C. Steadman, was a prominent trade unionist and Liberal or Lib-Lab politician.