William Ritchie (barrister)

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William Ritchie (1817–1862) was Advocate-General of Bengal from 1855 to 1862.

William Ritchie was born at Southampton Row, London in 1817. His father John Ritchie was a Scottish-born merchant of Baltimore. His mother Charlotte Thackeray's family from Hadley[disambiguation needed] had a long association with India, and her nephew was the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray. [1]

William Ritchie was educated at Eton 1829 to 1835 and Trinity College, Cambridge 1836 to 1839. After Cambridge, William lived with his family in Albany Street, London while reading for the Bar. His father John was the director of a bank that failed in November 1841, causing the Ritchie family to flee to the continent to escape creditors. Unable to maintain the expense of reading for the Bar in London, William instead looked to the Indian Bar where he could earn an immediate income to support his parents.[1]

Ritchie proposed to Augusta Trimmer on 28 August 1842 before sailing for India on 1 September on the Prince of Wales. William quickly built a name at the bar in Calcutta. Augusta joined him in Calcutta in 1845 where they were married on 4 December at St. John's Church. William and Augusta had eight children, including Sir Richmond Ritchie and Mrs Cornish.

Ritchie was appointed Advocate-General of Bengal in (1855?), also appointed the second Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta in 1859. William was appointed Legislative Member of the Council of the Governor-General of India in (1860?). William held these offices until his death in Calcutta on 22 March 1862.

William Ritchie had a popular reputation for his gentle, amiable, overly-polite manner and his honourable character. This reputation earned him the nickname "Gentleman Ritchie" at Cambridge.

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