Lawrence, born in 1806 into an Irish family at Matara, Ceylon was the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander William Lawrence and the brother of John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence, was educated at Foyle College, Derry and then at East India Company's Addiscombe Military Seminary. After his education and training, he decided to pursue his career in military and in 1823 he joined the Bengal Artillery in Dum Dum, a suburb of Calcutta. In the first Burmese War, Lawrence and his battery was part of the Chittagong column led by one General Morrison where the soldiers had to fight in the highly wooded hills of Arakan, infested with wild animals and bad mosquitoes. It was a tough terrain where military operations required skill and endurance. Unfortunately, the European solders, unaccustomed to such hot tropical forest conditions, were stricken with nasty fever that decimated them. As for Lawrence, very much affected by fever, he was back in Britain to recuperate. Because of the severity of the disease, he could not completely recover from its effects. Back India in 1829, he took up the job of revenue surveyor offered by Lord William Bentinck at Gorakhpur. While working, he married his cousin Honoria Marshall, and soon he had to join the brigade during the outbreak of the First Afghan War towards the close of 1838.
Being an assistant to Sir George Russell Clerk, he now got a chance to gain political experience in the management of the district of Ferozepore. When disaster struck the British military in Afghanistan in November 1841, he was deputed to take care of supports for the relief of Sale and the garrison of Jalalabad.
Unlike numerous British officers who had least concern for the natives, Lawrence attitude toward Indian was different. A devout Christian, with good knowledge of Indian languages, he was reported to have been "sympathetic and kind-hearted," with an unusual "disregard for money or personal luxury," which endeared him to his men despite his rather "fiery temper" (Moreton). On many an occasion, he impressed on the government to pay serious attention to the welfare of the Indian population and because of his insistence in this particular matter, he earned the ire of the higher authorities and was unpopular. The period December 1843 to 1845 saw him as the British Resident Minister in Nepal.
After the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War, Lawrence by the Treaty of Bhairowal (1846), became the Resident at Lahore as well as Agent to the Governor-General for the North West Frontier. While here, he governed the area with the help of a group of officers, later known as Henry Lawrence's "Young Men"
|Henry Larence died here Lucknow. www.findagrave.com|
|Henry Lawrence. www.findagrave.com|
|Henry Lawrence. www.victorianweb|
|Henry Lawrence. victorianweb|
He is well remembered in India as the founder of Lawrence Schools for the education of the children of British soldiers, known as the Lawrence Military Asylums, at four places.Three of these institutions survive today as the prestigious Lawrence School, Sanawar, near Shimla (HP, India), Lawrence School, Lovedale,
Nilgiri Hills, (Tamil Nadu, India) and Lawrence College, Ghora Gali (Murree, Pakistan): the fourth, which does not survive, was at Mount Abu, in present-day Rajasthan. They are known with their impressive motto, "Never Give In." One historian considered Lawrence one among the "extraordinary commanders" who "possessed in abundance that greatest of all virtues, courage" (Featherstone 12). Lawrence's wife had died in India in 1854, but he was survived by three of their four children.
Lawrence in 1843, along with Sir James Outram, supported Rev. Alexander Duff in founding the Free Church Institution in Kolkata
(after the split in the Scottish Church). Later it merged to form the Scottish Church's College, known since 1929 (when the Church of Scotland was unified) as Scottish Church College.