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Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence

Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence (June 28, 1806 - July 4, 1857) was a British soldier and statesman in India, who died defending Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny.



Lawrence was the brother of John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence and was born at Matara, Ceylon. Educated at Foyle College, Derry and then Haileybury, in 1823 he joined the Bengal Artillery at the Calcutta suburb of Dum Dum, where also Henry Havelock was stationed about the same time. In the first Burmese War, Lawrence and his battery formed part of the Chittagong column which General Morrison led over the jungle-covered hills of Arakan, until fever decimated them, and Lawrence found himself back in Britain, wasted by a disease that never completely left him. He returned to India in 1829, and was appointed revenue surveyor by Lord William Bentinck at Gorakhpur. He spent some years in camp, during which he married his cousin Honoria Marshall, and surveyed every village in four districts, each larger than Yorkshire. He was then recalled to a brigade by the outbreak of the First Afghan War towards the close of 1838.

As assistant to Sir George Russell Clerk, he now added to his political experience in the management of the district of Ferozepore; and when news of disaster came from Kabul in November 1841 he was sent to Peshawar in order to push up supports for the relief of Sale and the garrison of Jalalabad. He was often unpopular with higher authorities due to his insistence that government should pay most attention to the welfare of the Indian population.

At the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War, the Treaties executed provided for a garrison to be based in Lahore. Lawrence remained there as Agent to the Governor General in charge of political relations of the British government with the Darbar.[1] By the Treaty of Bhairowal (1846), he was made the Resident at Lahore as well as Agent to the Governor-General for the North West Frontier.[2] While here, he governed the area with the help of officers, who were later known as 'Henry Lawrence's Young Men'

In 1856, he was appointed to the newly annexed province of Awadh as Chief Commissioner. In 1857 the Siege of Lucknow took place in the province and the British community, including the garrison of some 1700 men, took refuge in the British residency when the siege began on June 30. Commander Henry Lawrence was one of the first casualties, being wounded by an exploding shell on 2 July and dying two days later. When Lawrence was critically injured, he is supposed to have said to those around him: "Put on my tomb only this; Here lies Henry Lawrence who tried to do his duty." This epitaph appears on his tombstone at the Residency graveyard.

Educational institutions

Henry Lawrence established at three places, at that time all within India - the Lawrence Asylums for the education of the children of European soldiers serving in India. These institutions exist even today as the prestigious Lawrence School, Sanawar (HP, India), Lovedale (TN, India) and Ghora Ghali (Murree, Pakistan).

Henry Lawrence Island in the Indian Ocean, at 12N 93E, is named after him, as is the town of Lawrence in New Zealand.

See also


  1. ^ Political Diaries of the Agent to the Governor General, North West Frontier and Resident at Lahore. from 1st January 1847 to 4th March 1848, Pg i
  2. ^ Political Diaries of the Agent to the Governor General, North West Frontier and Resident at Lahore. from 1st January 1847 to 4th March 1848, Pg i


  • Essays, Military and Political, Written in India, London, W. H. Allen & Co. (1859)

External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.



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