Metcalfe, Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, Baron
METCALFE, CHARLES THEOPHILUS METCALFE, BARON (1785-1846), Indian and colonial administrator, was born at Calcutta on the 30th of January 1785; he was the second son of Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe, then a major in the Bengal army, who afterwards became a director of the East India Company, and was created a baronet in 1802. Having been educated at Eton, he in 1800 sailed for India as a writer in the service of the Company. After studying Oriental languages as the first student at Lord Wellesley's College of Fort William, he, at the age of nineteen, was appointed political assistant to General Lake, who was then conducting the final campaign of the Mahratta war against Holkar. In 1808 he was selected by Lord Minto for the responsible post of envoy to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore; here, on the 2Sth of April 1809, he concluded the important treaty securing the independence of the Sikh states between the Sutlej and the Jumna. Four years afterwards he was made resident at Delhi, and in 1819 he received from Lord Hastings the appointment of secretary in the secret and political department. From 1820 to 1825 Sir Charles (who succeeded his brother in the baronetcy in 1822) was resident at the court of the nizam, and afterwards was summoned in an emergency to his former post at Delhi. In 1827 he obtained a seat in the supreme council, and in March 1835, after he had acted as the first governor of the proposed new presidency of Agra, he provisionally succeeded Lord William Bentinck in the governor-generalship. During his brief tenure of office (it lasted only for one year) he carried out several important measures, including that for the liberation of the press, which, while almost universally popular, complicated his relations with the directors at home to such an extent that he resigned the service of. the Company in 1838. In the following year he was appointed by the Melbourne administration to the governorship of Jamaica, where the difficulties created by the recent passing of the Negro Emancipation Act had called for a high degree of tact and ability. Sir Charles Metcalfe's success in this delicate position was very marked, but unfortunately his health compelled his resignation and return to England in 1842. Six months afterwards he was appointed by the Peel ministry to the governor-generalship of Canada, and his success in carrying out the policy of the home government was rewarded with a peerage shortly after his return in 1845. He died at Malshanger, near Basingstoke, on the 5th of September 1846.
See J. W. Kaye's Life and Correspondence of Charles Lord Metcalje (London, 1854).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)