Persons of Interest – Part 2, Sir Charles Umpherston AITCHISON Posted 8 July 2019 by Tessa KeoughPicking up where we left off two weeks ago – In 1868 Charles re-joined the secretariat as foreign secretary and retained that appointment until 1878 during which time daughter Winifred Helen was born on 7th February 1871 and his only son also named Charles Umpherston Aitchison was born in 10th April 1875. He also received the degree LL.D from the University of Edinburgh on 24th February 1877. 1873 listing of Indian Army and Civil Service List As secretary Charles was extremely industrious and thorough in his work. He exercised a marked influence on successive governor generals, who regarded him as a wise and trusted advisor. During the earlier part of service in the Indian foreign office he commenced the compilation of a valuable work entitled A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads relating to India and neighboring Countries; the first volume appeared at Calcutta in 1862, and eleven volumes were issued by 1892; each treaty is prefaced by a clear historical narrative. In 1875 he published a treatise on The Native States of India, with the leading cases illustrating the principles which underlie their relations with the British government. A staunch believer in the policy of masterly inactivity, he regarded with grave apprehension the measures which, carried out under the government of Lord Lytton, culminated in the Afghan war of 1878-1879. 1873 – Order of the Star Listing – see No 74 British Burma Before the war broke out in 1878 he accepted the appointment of Chief Commissioner of British Burma. (from 30th March 1878 – 2nd July 1880) When holding that office, he raised two questions of considerable importance. The first was the question of the opium trade as bearing upon Burma and the second had reference to the relations of certain English public servants with the women of the country. Neither of these questions was dealt with officially by Lytton´s government; but with reference to the second the viceroy intimated semi-officially that he disapproved of a circular which Charles had issued, as mixing up morals with politics. After Charles departure from the province both these questions were taken up by his successor, who received the support of Lord Rippon´s government in dealing with them. The number of licensed opium shops was then reduced to one-third of those previously dealing with them, and the consumption of licit opium was reduced by two-fifths, involving loss of revenue of four lakhs (400,000) of rupees. On the other question, the principle of Charles´s circular, stopping the promotion of officers who continued the practice which he had denounced, was enforced. On 24th May 1881 he was nominated Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India – KCSI and became Sir Charles. The Punjab In 1881 Charles left Burma to become lieutenant-governor of the Punjab on the 4th April 1882. His government there was very successful, and – according to the Dictionary of National Biography – popular with all classes of the people. Amongst his major achievements in the field of public education, at that time, were the establishment of the AITCHISON College and the University of Punjab, both at Lahore. He was a staunch advocate of the policy of advancing indigenous Indians in the public service as they proved their fitness for higher posts and for more responsible duties. On this point, in connection with what is known as the Ilbert Bill, he advocated measures even more liberal that those proposed by Lord Ripon´s government. In 1882 he was awarded with the Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. Lahore College – Aitchison College (copyright) The moto of the college is “Rursum puer” which means “Perseverance Commands Success” He addressed the students in 1888 and said: “Much, very much, is expected of you. I trust you will use well the opportunities here afforded of you both for your education and for the formation of your character. … This is an institution which you will banish everything in thought and word and act that is mean, dishonorable or impure, and in which you will cultivate everything that is virtuous, true, manly and gentlemanly.” To be continued … Diana Aitchison, Member 7739 This is the second in a three-part series on Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison, KCSI CIE – this is a wonderful example of combining the facts and events of a person’s life with great visuals to help tell the story.