George Yule

President: 1829-1892 (Allahabad, 1888)

Having had for its first three Presidents a Hindu, a Parsi and a Muslim respectively, the fourth Congress which met in Allahabad, turned for the first time, to a non - Indian for its Presidential chair.

In doing so, it thought of one who was not unfamiliar to Indians, but rather someone genuinely interested in their welfare and progress: George Yule. Under friendly pressure W. C. Bonnerjee persuaded him to accept the invitation of the Congress to preside over the Allahabad session.

He belonged to the business community. He was the chief of the well - known Andrew Yule and Co. in Calcutta. He had also been Sheriff of Calcutta and President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Yule was widely known in Indian circles for his breadth of outlook, liberal views and marked sympathy for Indian aspirations. Surendranath Banerjea who knew him intimately described him as "a hard headed Scotsman who saw straight into the heart of things, and never hesitated to express himself with the bluntness in which a Scotsman never fails, if he wants to show it."

The alacrity with which he accepted the invitation of the Congress and the ability with which he conducted the Allahabad session, made him both a popular and powerful figure in the public life of India and helped to enlarge India's national perspective. The Congress deputation that went to England in 1889, to press upon the British public the political reforms, which it advocated, received much help from Yule.

Indeed, he remained a staunch friend of the Congress and, even during his retirement in England, he actively espoused its cause as a member of the British Committee. On his early death in 1892, touching tributes were paid to his memory by the leaders of the Congress.

Throughout his Indian career, George Yule won the respect, the admiration, and the regard of everybody with whom he came in contact - Indian and European, official and non - official.

“Now, gentlemen, I will state more definitely the change we desire. We want the Legislative Council to be expanded to an extent that will admit of the representation of the various interests in the country, as far as that may be practicable. We want half the Councils to be elected, the other half to be in the appointment of Government, and we are willing that the right of veto should be with the Executive.”

From the Presidential Address - George Yule I.N.C. Session, 1888, Allahabad