The famous authoress and lecturer on religious, philosophical, and scientific subjects was born on October 1, 1847, and twenty years later married the Rev. Frank Besant, Vicar of Sibsey, in Lincolnshire, from whom she was legally separated in 1873. It was the following year that her name first became prominent in connection with Free Thought, while she ultimately distinguished herself as a socialistic and trade union worker. She has written many books, and, for some years past, has made her home at Adyar, Madras, India. There the Theosophical Society, of which she is president, has its headquarters. No woman has worked harder on behalf of the girls and women of India than Mrs. Besant, and she is acknowledged to be one of the best informed authorities on Indian affairs. At Benares she has founded a women's college and girls' school, and her work in India was officially recognised in 1906, when a signed portrait of the late King Edward was sent to one of the institutions she had founded.
During her stay in this country Mrs. Besant's time will be much occupied in lecturing at the Queen's Hall, London, and elsewhere. The needs of India, she asserts, are mainly t h r e e - cducation, political freedom, and economic freedom. As regards the first-named, Mrs. Besant contends that the present system of education in India is unsuited to the needs of the people, and therefore to a large extent useless. She also urges the advisability o f appointing a royal prince as Viceroy.
Mrs. Annie Besant
E. H. Mills