Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange

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Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange by Benjamin West [1]
Watercolour "Holy men outside Sir Thomas Strange house." In 1800, Strange became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Fort St. George (Madras), British India.

Sir Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange (November 30, 1756 – July 16, 1841) was the first Chief Justice of the erstwhile Supreme Court of Madras (which has since become the High Court of Madras) and in that capacity was also the first Chief Justice of the Madras Presidency, British India from 1801 to 1817. Earlier, from 1789–1797, he had been the sixth Chief Justice of Nova Scotia.

Thomas Strange was the son of Sir Robert Strange, a Scottish artist.[2] He was born in England, studied law at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1785. After practicing law for only four years he was appointed Chief Justice of Nova Scotia in 1790 and sent to Halifax where he stayed for seven years until 1797. He was instrumental in freeing slaves from their owners in the colony.[3] Strange donated his law library to the lawyers in Nova Scotia, which laid the foundation for the present library of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society.

He moved back to England in July 1796. He was knighted on 14 March 1798 and the same year was appointed Recorder of Fort St. George (Madras), British India.[2] In 1800, consequent to the Regulating Act of 1797, the Recorder's Court was superseded by the Supreme Court, and Strange was appointed Chief Justice. He commanded two of the four companies of Madras Militia and played an important role in suppressing the Vellore Mutiny of the soldiers of the East India Company in 1806.[2] After his retirement from service in India in 1817, he returned to England and in 1825 published the book, Elements of Hindu Law.[2]

A huge portrait of Sir Thomas Strange adorns the gallery of the Chief Justice's Court in the Madras High Court.

He died at Kempshot Rd, Lower Streatham on 3 September 1884 and was buried in West Norwood Cemetery.

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  1. ^ The portrait is now at the National Gallery of Scotland. According to Thomas Akins, this portrait hung in the legislature of Province House (Nova Scotia) in 1847 (See History of Halifax, p. 189).
  2. ^ a b c d Notes on painting, "Holy men outside Sir Thomas Strange House, British Library.
  3. ^ Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

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