Lord Charles Metcalfe: Biography, Life, Press Act 1935

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Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalfe was born on the 30th of January 1785 and died on 5 September 1846. He was known as Sir Charles Metcalfe and was a British colonial administrator between the years 1822-1845. Metcalfe started to serve as the acting Governor-General of India in the year 1835. Apart from this he also served as the Governor of Jamaica, as well as the Governor of the Province of  Canada. 

Also Read: Who was the First Governor General of India?

Charles Metcalfe Life and History

Charles Metcalfe was the second son of Maj. Thomas Metcalfe, the director of the East India Company. He received his education from the Eton College, Buckinghamshire. Metcalfe became a writer in the company’s service after he came to Calcutta in 1801. In the year 1803, he became personal secretary to Lord Wellesley, the governor-general of Bengal. In the year 1808, Metcalfe was sent to Lahore as an envoy to gain the support of Sikhs against the threat of Napoleon to India. Later, he served as a resident in Gwalior in the year 1810, in Delhi from 1811–19, and in Hyderabad from 1820–22. He succeeded to the baronetcy in the year 1822.

In 1827, he became a member of the all-India governing supreme council. After Lord William Bentinck, he became the acting governor-general in March 1835. However, afterwards, Lord Auckland was appointed as the governor-general because the British government refused to appoint an East India Company official to the post. Following this, Metcalfe became the lieutenant governor of the northwest provinces. He, however, denied the governorship of Madras and resigned in the year 1838 later returning to England. 

Following this he was appointed as the governor of Jamaica. However, he resigned in 1842 as he suffered from cancer and went back to England. He then accepted the governor-generalship of Canada in the following year. But due to his failing health, he returned to England in 1845.

Also Read: Development of Press in India: Here Is All You Need to Know

Charles Metcalfe and the Press Act of 1935

Sir Charles Metcalfe signed the Press Act in the year 1835 restoring press freedom. This made him famous as the “liberator of the Indian press” as he repealed the 1823 ordinance. This act facilitated the fast proliferation of newspapers and resulted in a significant increase in the number of newspapers in India. The act was in effect until 1856. 

The Press Act of 1835 made it mandatory for a printer or a publisher to give a detailed account of the premises of a publication. Moreover, it made it compulsory for the publisher to cease operations in case a similar declaration was issued.

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