Currie, Sir Frederick
Currie, Sir Frederick
Foreign Secretary to Government of India (1799-1875)
Diplomat, son of Mark Currie, was born on 3 February 1799. He came out to India in 1820, and served in various capacities in the civil and judicial departments before being appointed a judge in the North-West Frontier Province.
He became foreign secretary to Government of India at Fort William in 1842. During the first Sikh war (1845-46), he remained with Governor-General Lord Hardinge and was instrumental in arranging with the Sikhs the terms of the first treaty of
Lahore. He was an officiating member of the supreme council at Calcutta, 1847-48. As foreign secretary, Sir Frederick Currie fell in with the designs of Governors-General Ellenborough and Hardinge on the Sikh kingdom. He supported Major George Broadfoot’s action in 1845 which amounted to virtual seizure of Lahore possessions on the left bank of the Sutlej.
In March 1848, Currie was appointed Resident at Lahore. When in April 1848, the report of Multan uprising reached him, he hastily ordered a strong Sikh force to proceed to Multan. Governor-General Dalhousie rebuked him for despatching "an avowedly disloyal force" to Multan. Currie immediately countermanded the order. Following Lord Dalhouise’s policy, he directed Herbert Edwardes, the Political Assistant at Bannu who had marched against Diwan Mal Raj with his Lahore contingent to keep away from Multan, for the Diwan’s surrender would have rendered infructuous Lord Dalhousie’s plan for an eventual full-scale campaign in the Punjab. Currie’s inaction provoked much hostile criticism in Britain, but Dalhousie defended him in a long despatch to the Home Government.
Forestalling Lord Dalhousie’s instructions, Currie expelled Maharani Jind Kaur from the of Ranjit Singh had been kept under strict surveillance. She was considered to be a woman of great resolution and the British feared that she might sway the Sikh army against them. Currie implicated her in a fictitious plot, had her allowance reduced to one-third and, contrary to the advice of the Council, had her removed to Firozpur. She was soon after sent to Banaras.
Frederick Currie became a director of the East India Company in 1854 and its chairman in 1857. He died on 11 September 1875.