Early Life of Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison
Charles Umpherston Aitchison was born on 20 May 1832 in Edinburgh to the parents Hugh Aitchison and Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Umpherston of Loanhead. Charles completed his education from the Royal High School. Later he studied at the University of Edinburgh and acquired his degree of M.A. on 23 April 1853. Later he went to Germany and studied the works of Fichte. He also attended the lectures of Tholuck at the University of Halle. Charles Umpherston Aitchison passed the first competitive examination for the British Indian Civil Service in 1855. After the completion of the study of law and oriental languages in England for a year, he went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 26 September 1856.
Career of Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison
Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison was appointed as an assistant in Hissar, which was a district of the North Western Provinces in March 1857. He was later transferred to British Punjab where he joined after the Great Revolt of 1857, also known as Sepoy Mutiny. His first station was in Amritsar in the new province and right after his arrival, Aitchison was employed under the orders of the Deputy Commissioner. Eventually he became the personal assistant to the Judicial Commissioner and compiled A Manual of the Criminal Law of the Panjab (Punjab) in the year 1860. Charles Umpherston Aitchison joined the secretariat of the British government of India as under- secretary in the political department in 1859. He served in the position until 1865. Aitchison published a treatise on The Native States of India in 1875. It included the leading cases that illustrated the principles which underlie their relations with the British administrations. He was appointed as the Chief Commissioner of British Burma in 1878, before the commencement of the war. Later in the year 1881, Charles Umpherston Aitchison left Burma and returned to British India.
He was then appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, which was annexed by British East India Company in 1849 after Second Anglo Sikh War through Treaty of Lahore. He served in office from 4 April 1882 to 2 April 1887. His administration in the region was very successful. Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison was a steadfast exponent of the policy of advancing native Indians in the public service as they proved their ability for higher designation and creditworthy duties. During the latter part of his tenure as the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, he had discharged the additional duty of presiding over the Public Service Commission. Aitchison performed this duty even after joining the council of the Governor General. Eventually he retired from his career and left British India in the year 1888.
Personal Life of Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison
Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison was married with Beatrice Lyell, the daughter of James Cox D.L. of Clement Park, Forfarshire on 2 February 1863. He was a religious man and supported the Christian missions in India. Aitchison died on 18 February 1896 at the age of 63 years, at Oxford, England.
Honours of Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison
Charles Umpherston Aitchison was knighted with the Knight Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India (KCSI) in the year 1881 and Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1882. He also received the degree of LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh in the year 1877. Aitchison was also granted an honorary M.A. from Oxford University in 1895.
(Last Updated on : 23-08-2012)
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