John Charles WHYTE [1824-1871]

Submitted by Admin on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:37
John Charles
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Birthplace (country)
(Day & Month are approximate.)

I'm looking for photos / sketches / portraits of him for the CPS project's history book. A Barrister, he was appointed as second Police Magistrate (the position previously called "Assistant Magistrate") in 1862. He left Hong Kong in 1870 [1], but I'm not sure if he carried on as Police Magistrate that long, as E W Goodlake was appointed as Second Police Magistrate in 1867.

Ok, the 1867 end-date is confirmed:

Of the Irish bar, called in Michaelmas Term, 1847; was previously Police Magistrate and resigned to take private practice in February, 1867. [2]

He gets the following mention in COLONIAL HONG KONG AND MODERN CHINA: Interaction and Reintegration, quoting [1] as its source:

J. C. Whyte, graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1847, appointed second police magistrate in 1862, acting judge of the court of summary jurisdiction in 1863, 1866, 1869, and a provisional member of the legislative council in 1866, died in 1871. See Norton-Kyshe, op. cit., Vol. 11, p. 39, 51, 81, 172, 174, 177.

There aren't any results for whyte in the photo search at HKPRO, and he didn't serve with Legco. No relevant results for whyte hong kong in the UKNA.

I haven't found any mentions of him in family trees.


  1. Both mentions come from History of the laws and courts of Hongkong. Whyte isn't mentioned in the book's index, though the relevant entries appear in a Google Books search.
  2. Appendix III of History of the laws and courts of Hongkong:

Photos that show this Person


Birth Index Ireland

John Charles Whyte born 1824


John Charles Whyte baptised 7 October 1824 at Swords Dublin Son of Edward Whyte and Mary

Death Records Ireland

John Charles Whyte age 45 died Thurles

National Archives of Ireland Calendars of Wills

John Charles Whyte formerly of Dublin and late of Victoria Hong Kong barrister-at law died 31 July 1870 at Thurles, County Tipperary Principal beneficiary/executor Letitia Whyte spinster.

The LegCo Database says he was appointed in an Official capacity as Acting Judge of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction from 1 April 1865 to 12 March 1866.

From my own research (online sources) the following seems to apply to Whyte:

John Charles Whyte worked in Hong Kong from 1862 to 1870, as a Police Magistrate, acting judge and provisional member of LegCo. Whyte was the eldest son of Edward Whyte, of Gardiner’s Place, Dublin. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin and was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1847. In 1862, he was appointed second Police Magistrate in Hong Kong, a position previously called Assistant Magistrate. He served until 1867 and was replaced by EW Goodlake. He took up private practice in February 1867. His offices were listed in "The China Directory" and "The Hong Kong List for the Far East" of 1868 as Queens Road. He is also listed as a committee member of the Hongkong Club. He was gazetted as acting judge of the court of summary jurisdiction in 1863, 1866, 1869, and a provisional member of LegCo in 1866. Whyte left Hong Kong in 1870 and died in 1871.

He was the first president of the St Vincent de Paul Society, which was founded in Hong Kong on 12 July 1863 by Rev Gaetano Favini. It was the first lay Catholic charitable organisation in the colony. Its mission was, and is, to visit the poor in their homes and help them in their social and religious lives, education of poor children, medical treatment for the sick and encourage them to stand on their own feet. Its volunteers visited needy families and raised funds to provide them with shoes and blankets. Whyte had been president of a branch of the society in Ireland.

Whyte’s deep faith crossed over into his working life. He was not alone in arguing that the law of England on Sunday observance should be respected in British colonies. The Daily Press reported that “the Sunday question came up again in October 1867, when John Charles Whyte, a police magistrate, contended in a case of gambling at the police court that an arrest on a Sunday was illegal”. The editorial pointed out the inconsistency of government policy that, on the one hand, the government built churches with government money “for the spread of the gospel exhorting people to keep holy the Sunday, on the other hand, it licensed drinking and gambling houses, which were open on Sundays”. Whyte was unable to erase Hong Kong’s unsabbatarian vices!