Sir William Muir (1819-1905)

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Sir William Muir (1819-1905) was Principal of Edinburgh University from 1885 to 1903.

William Muir was born in Glasgow in 1819. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and then at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. After his university education he gained a post with the East India Company in the North-West Provinces of India. He entered the Bengal Civil Service in 1837 and became Secretary to the Governor of the North-West Provinces at Agra. His work, particularly during the Sepoy Mutiny (when he was in charge of the Intelligence Department) and his experience, influence, and writing on the history of Islam, led to his appointment in 1868 as Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces. He had been created Knight Commander of the Star of India in 1867. Between 1874 and 1876 Muir was Financial Minister to the Government of India, and from 1876 to 1885 he was a Member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India. On leaving India he joined the Council of India in London but resigned on his appointment as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University in 1885. During his term of office, the University underwent many changes as a result of the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889. Muir resigned in 1903 because of ill health and died at Dean Park House in Edinburgh on 11 July 1905.