Dictionary of Indian Biography/Aitchison, Sir Charles Umpherston

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AITCHISON, SIR CHARLES UMPHERSTON (1832-1896)

I.C.S. : born May 20, 1832, son of Hugh Aitchison, of Edinburgh : educated at the High School and University there : and at the University of Halle : passed in the first competitive examination, while Haileybury was being abolished : arrived in India in 1856 : he narrowly escaped the massacre of Emropeans at Hissar in 1857 : was Under Secretary in the Foreign Department of the Government of India, 1859-65, and, after some executive work, was Foreign Secretary, 1868-78. Sharing, as he did, the views of Lord Lawrence on questions of Central Asian and Afghan policy, he was strongly opposed to the measures which led to the second Afghan War of 1878-80. He was Chief Commissioner of British Burma from March, 1878, to July, 1880; Lieutenant-Governor of the Panjab, 1882-87; Member of the Supreme Council from April, 1887. to Nov. 1888 : also President of the important Public Service Commission in 1887-88 : K.C.S.I. in 1881, C.I.E. in 1882 : also LL.D. of Edinburgh and honorary M.A. of Oxford. He compiled the first edition of the Treaties, Engagements and Sunnuds, an authoritative work of reference, always quoted under his name : wrote also The Native States of India, and Lord Lawrence in the Rulers of India series : he died at Oxford Feb. 18, 1896.