Edward Thornton, 2nd Count of Cacilhas

British diplomat (1817-1906)

Sir Edward Thornton GCB (13 July 1817 – 26 January 1906) was a prominent British diplomat, who held posts in Latin America, Turkey, Russia, and served for fourteen years as Minister to the United States.

Partial photo of Thornton, held by the National Archives.
Caricature by Carlo Pellegrini, published in Vanity Fair in 1886.


  • Close to the town on the east, and on the right bank of the Ghoghra, are extensive ruins, said to be those of the fort of Rāma, King of Oude, hero of the Rāmāyana, and otherwise highly celebrated in the mythological and romantic legends of India.”
  • “Not the smallest traces of these temples, however, now remain; and according to the native tradition, they were demolished by Aurungzebe who built a mosque on part of the site”.
  • “A quadrangular coffer of stone, white washed five ells long, four broad, and protruding five or six inches above ground, is pointed out as the cradle in which Rama was born, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu; and is accordingly abundantly honoured by the pilgrimages and devotions of the Hindoos.”
  • “Ayodhyā or Oude is considered by the best authorities to be the most ancient city in Hindostan; and Prinsep mentions that some of its coins in the cabinet of the Asiatic Society of Bengal are of such extreme antiquity that the characters in which their legends are graven are totally unknown. According to Elphinstone, “from thence the princes of all Indian countries are sprung.”
    • History of British Empire in India’.quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited.
  • [According to tradition] Vikramaditya, king of Oojein, half a century before the Christian era, and by him [Ayodhya was] embellished with 360 temples. Not the smallest traces of these temples, however, now remain and according to native tradition, they were demolished by Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on part of the site. The falsehood of the tradition is, however, proved by an inscription on the wall of the mosque, attributing the work to the conqueror Babur, from whom Aurangzeb was fifth in descent. The mosque is embellished with fourteen columns of only five or six feet in height, but of very elaborate and tasteful workmanship, said to have been taken from the ruins of the Hindoo fanes....
    • Edward Thornton, A Gazetteer of the Territories Under the Government of the East India Company, [1] Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [2]