In 1879 the Government of Lord Lytton dismissed him from his position in the Secretariat. No clear reason was given except that it "was based entirely on the consideration of what was most desirable in the interests of the public service". The press declared that his main wrong doing was that he was too honest and too independent. The Pioneer wrote that it was "the grossest jobbery ever perpetrated" ; the Indian Daily News wrote that itwas a "great wrong" while The Statesman said that "undoubtedly he has been treated shamefully and cruelly." The Englishman in an article dated 27 June 1879, commenting on the event stated, "There is no security or safety now for officers in Government employment."
Hume retired from the civil service in 1882. In 1883 he wrote an open letter to the graduates of Calcutta University, calling upon them to form their own national political movement. This led in 1885 to the first session of the Indian National Congress held in Bombay.
Mary Anne Grindall died in 1890, and their only daughter was the widow of Mr. Ross Scott who was sometime Judicial Commissioner of Oudh. Hume left India in 1894 and settled at The Chalet, 4, Kingswood Road, Upper Norwood in London. He died at the age of eighty-three on 31 July 1912. His ashes are buried in Brookwood Cemetery.