Charles Eyre

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For other people named Charles Eyre, see Charles Eyre (disambiguation).
Charles Eyre
Died 1729
Kew, Surrey, England
Occupation Colonial Administrator
Known for President of Bengal
Fort William, 1760

Sir Charles Eyre (died 1729) was an administrator of the British East India Company and founder of Fort William, Calcutta. He was a President of Bengal.[1]

Career[edit]

Fort William, Calcutta: a view from the inside, c. 1828

While in office, Eyre started work on Fort William, Calcutta in 1696.[2] On 10 November 1698, Eyre signed the document legalizing the British occupation of three small villages that formed the basis of the Fort William settlement; his signature, and not that of his father-in-law Charnock (who died 1692) appears on the document signed with the original landlords, the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family.[citation needed] In December 1699, Eyre was appointed President and Governor of Fort William in Bengal, and Bengal was at the same time constituted a Presidency. He was the first governor appointed by the Company to Bengal since William Hedges (agent and governor) in 1681 and William Gyfford (president and governor) in December 1683 (after which the title of governor had been temporarily dropped in favour of agent and chief of the bay of Bengal, Bengal having again been subordinated to Madras).[3]

As a merchant, Eyre amassed a fortune of 23,000 pagodas, which through the ingenuity of Thomas Pitt he converted into diamonds to take back with him to England in 1702, having first been ensured a sum of £13,800 through a bill of exchange.[4] His will was proved on 23 October 1729.

Personal life[edit]

Eyre was from Kew, Richmond, Surrey. Eyre was married to Mary, eldest daughter of Job Charnock. Eyre was a sometime resident of Kew, where he leased a house within the Kew Palace grounds from Sir Richard Levett, Lord Mayor of London who owned the palace as well as the house he leased to Eyre and the estate surrounding them. Levett was a powerful early London merchant who was a merchant adventurer in the Honourable East India Company and one of the first governors of the new Bank of England.[5] He was a knight.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Provinces of British India, World Statesmen
  2. ^ Fort William at Banglapedia
  3. ^ "The Governors Of Bengal", The Times, 9 October 1888, p.3, col.D.
  4. ^ Mentz, Søren. The English Gentleman Merchant at Work: Madras and the City of London 1660-1740 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2005), p. 134.
  5. ^ A Pilgrimage in Surrey, James S. Ogilvy, E. P. Dutton, New York, 1914
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Ellis
President of Bengal
12 August 1693 - January 1694
Succeeded by
Preceded by
none
Chief Agent of Bengal
January 1694 - 1698
Succeeded by
John Beard
Preceded by
John Beard
Chief Agent of Bengal
December 1699 - 26 May 1700
Succeeded by
Preceded by
President of Bengal
26 May 1700 - 7 January 1701
Succeeded by
John Beard