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Item - BSL - 1822 Indian Colonial Commissions
1822-1851 3 BRITISH INDIAN GOVERNOR SIGNED DOCUMENTS
 

1822 - 1851 BRITISH INDIAN ARMY COMMISSION TRIFECTA
A WHO'S WHO OF COLONIAL INDIA AND THE BRITISH FAR EAST
 


1822 Munro Commission
 


1831 Lushington Commission
 

1851 Pottinger Commission
 

Sir Thomas Munro
The Driving Forces behind the development of British Policy in India and the Far East
Sir Henry Pottinger


Through Thirty Years and Three British Sovereign's Reigns the Tale Of British India is Told. Here are the Men who Served the Empire in the British Far East from Munro to Lushington to Pottinger, the First Governor of Hong Kong. Included on these Three Commissions are another unresearched 14 signatures of British Military and Colonial Officers. A short list shows: Lt. Gen Armstrong, Montgomery, Harris, Callaghan, Oliver, Eliot, Stratton, Reed and others.


1822 - Ensign William Pitt McDonald is appointed a Lieutenant in the 21st Regiment of Native Infantry in this British Indian Army Military Commission. The Document is signed by
The Honorable Major General Sir Thomas Munro, bart., K.C.B.: "GOVERNOR and COMMANDER in CHIEF of the Fort and Garrison of Fort St. George, and Town of MADRASPATNAM, and of all the Forces which are, or shall be employed for the Service of the United Company of Merchants of England, trading to the East Indies, in the said Fort, Garrison, and Town, and President of the Council of Fort St. George, and the rest of the Council." Dated January 18, 1822 in the Third Year of the Reign of George IV.
 


1831 - Lieutenant William Pitt MacDonald is appointed a Captain in the 41st Regiment of Native Infantry in this British Indian Army Military Commission. The Document is signed by
The Right Honorable Stephen Rumbold Lushington: "GOVERNOR and COMMANDER in CHIEF of the Fort and Garrison of Fort St. George, and Town of MADRASPATNAM, and of all the Forces which are, or shall be employed for the Service of the United Company of Merchants of England, trading to the East Indies, in the said Fort, Garrison, and Town, and President of the Council of Fort St. George, and the rest of the Council." Dated November 11, 1831 in the Second Year of the Reign of William IV.
 


1851 - Senior Captain (Brevet Major) William Pitt MacDonald is appointed a Major in the 41st Regiment of Native Infantry in this British Indian Army Military Commission. The Document is signed by
The Right Honorable Lieutenant General Sir Henry Pottinger, bart., G.C.B.: "GOVERNOR and COMMANDER in CHIEF of the Fort and Garrison of Fort St. George, and Town of MADRASPATNAM, and of all the Forces which are, or shall be employed for the Service of the East India Company, in the said Fort, Garrison, and Town, and President of the Council of Fort St. George, and the rest of the Council." Dated December 2, 1851 in the Fifteenth Year of the Reign of Victoria.
 

The Honorable Major General Sir Thomas Munro
bart., K.C.B, (1761-1827)
Governor General and Commander in Chief of the Madras District

Biographical Note

Born is Glasgow on the 27th of May 1761, Thomas Munro was the son of an eminent merchant family. In 1779, with his father's business now failing, he was given a cadetship and sent off to India. During his first few years he fought against Hyder Ali until a definitive treaty of peace was entered into with Tippoo Sultan. In February, 1786 he was promoted to a lieutenancy. During the following years Munro was attached to military intelligence and studied the Hindustani and Persian languages, achieving a fluency not often seen among Europeans. In 1790 Tippoo Sultan broke the peace and Munro returned to active duty with the 21st Regiment.  In 1796 Munro was appointed Captain and, following the siege of Seringapatam and death of Tippoo, he was given charge of the civil administration of Kanara. His success in re-establishing order and governmental control led to his promotion to Major in 1800. He was then entrusted with the superintendence of what were called the "Ceded Districts": a certain extent of territory, yielded up in perpetuity to the British East India Company by Nizam, in lieu of a monthly subsidy which had been previously exacted from him. Munro was successful in converting one of the most disorderly provinces in India into one of the most secure and tranquil districts in the possession of the Company. During the time of his services in the Ceded Districts, Munro was promoted, 24th April, 1804, to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

In 1807 Colonel Munro returned to England. He spent most of his time in Edinburgh, where he resumed his favourite study, chemistry, attending the lectures of Dr. Hope and reading such works on the subject as had appeared in his absence. During his residence in Britain, he took a lively interest in the Peninsular war, and was known to be in constant communication with the Duke of Wellington, who had become acquainted with him in the East. During his English hiatus he accompanied Sir John Hope to the Scheldt as a volunteer and was present at the siege of Flushing. With the East India Company's charter drawing to a close, there was a great of public inquiry into whether or not to renew it. Colonel's Munro's testimony at the various committees and inquiries led to his appointment as the head of a Special Commission with instructions to reform the judicial and police systems and he returned, now married, in 1814 to Madras, India.

In 1815 he was promoted to full colonel. While instituting civil reforms in the Madras region, in July of 1817, the Pindari War broke out with the Mabrattas and Munro asked to be re-assigned to active duty. His service was so exemplary and successful that his name became known throughout Europe and the Indian sub-continent. Canning said in the House of Commons: "He went into the field with not more than five or six hundred men, of whom a very small proportion were Europeans ... Nine forts were surrendered to him or taken by assault on his way; and at the end of a silent and scarcely observed progress he emerged ... leaving everything secure and tranquil behind him."  He was promoted to Brigadier General in December of 1817. In the succeeding campaign which lasted till the beginning of August, 1818, General Munro reduced all the Peshwa’s territories between the Toombuddra and Kistna, and from the Kistna northward to Akloos on the Neemah, and eastward to the Nizam’s frontier. His health greatly impaired by the excessive fatigue which he had undergone, he resolved to resign all his commissions, both civil and military, and to retire into private life. In October of 1818 he was made a Companion of the Bath and returned with his family to England. He was however only home a few months when he received a formal communication from the government, appointing him to the governorship of Madras, and was soon after, in October 1819, promoted to the rank of major-general, and invested, November, 1819, with the insignia of K.C.B. Sir Thomas returned to India in 1820. Subsequently the Burmese war erupted, and Sir Thomas turned his attentions towards that struggle. In this war he again distinguished himself, as he had so often done before, by singular bravery, talent, and intelligence, and performed such important services that he was elevated, June 1825, to the dignity of a baronet of Great Britain. Finally in 1827, after repeated requests, Major General Sir Thomas Munro was relieved of duty and given permission to retire home to England. His replacement, the Right Honourable S. Lushington, relieved him of command in April of 1827. 

Making a final farewell tour in the "Ceded Districts" Sir Thomas contracted cholera and died on the 6th of July 1827, perhaps fittingly never leaving the India that had so occupied his life and efforts. An equestrian statue of him was erected in Madras city. He is perhaps best known as the founder of the systems of revenue assessment and general administration known as "ryotwari" which remained substantially unchanged for over 100 years.

 

The Right Honourable Stephen Rumbold Lushington (1776 - 1868)

Born in Rodmersham, Kent, he was the son of the Reverend James Stephen Lushington and Mary Christian.  He married Mary Anne Hearne and subsequently Annie Elizabeth Harris daughter of Lord Harris on December 9, 1797. Lushington held Office as a Member of Parliament and was the Junior Secretary of the Treasury from 1814 to 1823. He then held the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury from 1823 to 1827.  He subsequently held the Office of the Governor of Madras between 1827 and 1832.
 

Sir Henry Eldred Curwen Pottinger (1789 - 1856)
(Chinese Name 砵甸乍; also 璞鼎查 in Qing document)
 British Soldier and Colonial Administrator
1st Governor of Hong Kong.
 

Henry Pottinger was born at Mount Pottinger, at that time a rural area outside of Belfast, Ireland. In 1801, he went to Bombay and in 1806 joined the British East India Company. In 1809 he fought in the Mahratta war as a lieutenant. Pottinger later explored much of the land between India and Persia and became Resident Administrator of Sindh in 1820. He later held the same post in Hyderabad.

He became the second British Administrator of Hong Kong (1841 - 1843) and the first Governor of Hong Kong ( 1843 - 1844). Before this appointment, Pottinger led a navy to defeat Yick Shan (奕山) at Humen and, as an envoy for the United Kingdom, negotiated the terms of the Treaty of Nanking (1842), which ended the First Opium War, with the Chinese Qing Empire. On 26 June 1843, he was appointed to become the Chief Commander of the British troops stationed in Hong Kong. During his very short tenure, Pottinger established executive and legislative chambers, with one discussing political affairs band one designing legal codes. However, the chambers did not convene often, and this gave Pottinger wide-ranging powers to decide on policy. Towards the end of his tenure, Pottinger lost the support of the local British merchants and was isolated. He left on 7 May 1844. During his governorship, Hong Kong became the major port for trading opium in China.

Pottinger became a member of the Privy Council in 1844, and finally Governor of Madras in 1847. In 1851, the time of this Commission, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. He died in retirement in Malta in 1856.
 

Document Specifications:  The Three Documents each measures approx. 11" wide x 10" tall (280mm x 255mm) and are printed and handwritten and signed on vellum with appropriate paper-over-wax embossed seals.  Documents are in fine to very fine condition with some slight staining, spotting and tropical residue. There are two normal vertical file folds, normal parchment wrinkles and a reverse side docketing notation. There are also numerous additional signatures to be researched.  These are authentic signed documents of early British rule in India signed by some of the great British War heroes and Giants in Colonial Administration.

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.

End of Item - BSL - 1822IndianCommisions

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