Sir Charles Trevelyan, 1st Baronet

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Charles Trevelyan, sitting second from left, with John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence, Viceroy of India and other council members. c. 1864

Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, 1st Baronet, KCB (2 April 1807 – 19 June 1886) was a British civil servant and colonial administrator. As a young man, he worked with the colonial government in Calcutta, India; in the late 1850s and 1860s he served there in senior-level appointments. Trevelyan was instrumental in the process of reforming the British civil service in the 1850s.


  • There can be no dispute as to what our duty as the rulers of India requires us to do. But it has been said, and may be said again, that whatever our duty may be, it is not our policy to enlighten the natives of India; that the sooner they grow to man's estate, the sooner they will be able to do without us; and that by giving them knowledge, we are giving them power, of which they will make the first use against ourselves.
  • The Arabian or Mahommedan system is based on the exercise of power and the indulgence of passion, Pride, ambition, the love of rule, and of sensual enjoyment, are called in to the aid of re~ ligion. The earth is the inheritance of the Faith- ful : all besides are infidel usurpers, with whom no measures are to be kept, except what policy may require. Universal dominion belongs to the Mahornmedans by Divine right. Their religion obliges them to establish their predominance by 'the sword; and those who refuse to conform arc to be kept in a state of slavish subjection.
  • The Indians will, I hope, soon stand in the same position towards us in which we once stood towards the Romans.
    • On The Education Of The People Of India" 1838 Chapter 7, The Political Tendency of the different System of Education in use in India. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [1]
  • The Irish smallholder lives in a state of isolation, the type of which is to be sought for in the islands of the South Sea, rather than in the great civilised communities of the ancient world. A fortnight for planting, a week or ten days for digging, and another fortnight for turf-cutting, suffice for his subsistence; and during the rest of the year he is at leisure to follow his own inclinations, without even the safeguard of the intellectual tastes and legitimate objects of ambition which only imperfectly obviate the evils of leisure in the higher ranks of society.
  • The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.
    •  Charles Trevelyan, head of administration for famine relief during the Great Irish famine In: McCourt, John (19 March 2015). "Writing the Frontier: Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland". OUP Oxford.

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