Governor Generals of India

Governor Generals of India

Warren Hastings (1772-86)

In 1769 he Warren Hastings was appointed in Council in Madras.

Two years later he was sent back to Bengal as governor in charge of the company’s affairs there.

Warren Hastings acquired the new title of the governor-general and new responsibilities for supervising other British settlements in India.

But these powers had now to be shared with a Supreme Council of four others.

These four were ClaveringFrancisMonson, and Barwell.

Warren Hastings ended the Dual System put forth by Robert Clive.

Next step he took was to stop the payments of tributes to the Delhi Emperor.

He introduced settlement of land revenue in 1772 farming outlands to the highest bidder on an annual basis.

He was the conservator of Asiatic Society.

Following things were happened during Warren Hastings’ tenure:

The Act of 1773 approved for setting up of Supreme Court at Calcutta.

Founded the administrative system with district collectors, divisional commissioners in charge of revenue and law and order.

First Anglo Maratha War with the treaty of Salbai.

Second Anglo- Mysore War with the treaty of Mangalore.

Foundation of Asiatic Society of Bengal by William Jones in 1784.

Established the Calcutta Madarasa in 1781.

In 1784 the Calcutta Gazette was published.

Created five custom houses – CalcuttaHugaliMurshidabadDacca and Patna, and duties were lowered to 2 and a half percent payable by all merchants.

Royal treasury shifted from Murshidabad to Calcutta.

Warren Hastings tendered his resignation in protest against the Pits India Bill in 1785.

He was accused of the Rohilla war and Nand Kumar’s murder.

His impeachment lasted for seven years from 1788 to 1795. He was exonerated for all the charges.


Lord Cornwallis (1786-93)

Lord Cornwallis is Father of civil services in India

Prior to Cornwallis’s tenure, company employees were allowed to trade on their own accounts and use company ships to send their own goods back to Europe.

This practice was tolerated when the company was profitable, but by the 1780s the company’s finances were not in good shape.

Lord Cornwallis eliminated the practice, increasing employee salaries in compensation.

In 1790 he introduced circuit courts with company employees as judges and set up a court of appeals in Calcutta.

He had the legal frameworks of Muslim and Hindu law translated into English and promulgated administrative regulations and a new civil and criminal code.

This work, introduced in 1793, was known as the Cornwallis Code.

He introduced the Permanent Settlement system.


Sir John Shore (1793-98)

On 10 March 1793, he arrived at Calcutta, where he remained without official employment or responsibility until the departure of Cornwallis.

He succeeded to the government on 28 October 1793.

The period of Shore’s rule as governor-general was comparatively uneventful.

His policy was attacked as temporizing and timid.

He showed weakness in dealing with the mutiny of the officers of the Bengal army.

He settled the question of the Oudh succession.


Lord Wellesley (1798-1805)

Aims of Lord Wellesley were expansionism and imperialism.

Another aim was the removal of French influence from India.

To achieve his political aims Lord Wellesley relied on three methods: the system of’ Subsidiary Alliances‘, outright war, and the assumption of the territories of previously subordinated rulers.

Robert Clive and Warren Hastings followed the same policy.

 Events occurred during his tenure:

Formation of Madras Presidency after the annexation of the Kingdoms of Tanjore and Carnatic.

Censorship of Press Act 1799 was passed.

Fourth Anglo- Mysore War 1799 and defeat of Tipu Sultan

Wellesley annexed the South Kanara coast, Wynaad  in the south-east, Coimbatore and Darupuram in the south-east besides Shrirangapattanam.

Treaty of Bassien with Bajirao II and second Anglo- Maratha war.

The company’s territorial gains included the upper doab, all territories north of the Rajput states of Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Gohud, the part of Baroach, the Fort of Ahmedabad and Cuttack in Orissa.

Lord Wellesley established the Fort William College in Calcutta in 1800.

He opened Administrative Training College.

During his tenure, Christian missionaries established a printing press at Serampore.

In 1799 Wellesley took the administration of Tanjore, Surat, and Carnatic.

He introduced the Subsidiary Alliance policy.


Sir George Barlow (1805-07)

Sir George Barlow, 1st Baronet, served as Acting Governor-General of India from the death of Lord Cornwallis in 1805 until the arrival of Lord Minto in 1807.

An important event was the Mutiny of Vellore in 1806 in which the Indian soldiers killed many English officials.

Slave trade abolished in the British Empire in 1807.


Lord Minto (1807-13)

Lord Minto’s rule is famous for a treaty with Shah of Persia and Treaty of Amritsar (1809) with Ranjit Singh.

Importation of slaves into India was stopped.


Lord Hastings (1813-23)

Following things occurred during his tenure

Victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816).

The final conquest of the Marathas in 1818.

Purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.

He terminated the priorities of Magistrates.

He was the first to appoint Indians to the highest posts of responsibility.

The first vernacular newspaper Samahar Patrika begins to be published during his time.


Lord Amherst (1823-28)

Amherst was Governor-General of India from August 1823 to February 1828.

He acquired Malaya peninsula.

The principal events of his government were:

Annexation of Assam

First Burmese war of 1824

Cession of Arakan and Tenasserim to the British Empire.


Lord William Bentinck 1828-35

Lord William Bentinck was a man of peace, discipline and of the economy.

He was a liberal reformist who took an active part in the reform movement of England.

He was the first Governor-General who was sympathetic towards the Indian people and also tried to remove difficulties of the Indians.

After Cornwallis, it was Governor-General Lord William Bentick who paid attention to any new administrative reforms and introduced some changes in the sphere of administration.

He started the practice of appointing Indians in the Company’s service.

Cornwallis had stopped appointing Indians in administrative service.

Bentick appointed Indians in government service.

Now the educated Indians were also appointed to the post of Deputy Magistrate and Deputy Collector.

Bentick had introduced land revenue settlement in the North-Western province.

The Provincial Courts of appeal and circuit had been largely responsible for the huge arrears of cases.

The judicial procedure followed in these courts often resulted in delays and uncertainties.

Bentinck abolished these courts.

He established different grades of courts to avoid delay in the trial of cases.

He established a Supreme Court in Agra. The civil and criminal appeals were heard in this court.

A separate Sadar Diwani Adalat and Sadr Nizamat Adalat were set up at Allahabad for the convenience of the people of Delhi and Upper Provinces.

Lord William Bentinck also reduced the severity of the punishment.

In higher courts, Persian was replaced by English as the court language.

Qualified Indians were appointed as Munsiffs and Sadar Amins.

Bentinck reduced the high salary of civil Servants.

During those days opium was produced in Central India and was sent to China from KarachiBentick changed the route of the trade from Karachi to Bombay which gave the company a share in the profits in the form of duties.

Bentick also enhanced the income of the company by appointing Indians in administrative posts. The Indians were paid less salaries in comparison to their European Counterparts.

On the recommendations Lord Macauley, the decision was taken that the amount which was kept for education should be spent on the education of the Indians and the education be imparted through English medium.

The English language also became the official language and it helped the people of India for exchange of ideas.

William Bentinck is famous for his social reforms in Indian.

By the abolition of the systems of ‘Sati’ and the human sacrifice, he freed the society from two of the worst superstitions.

Raja Rammohan Roy the great Indian reformer supported this pioneering Venture of Bentinck.

Bentinck suppressed the system of Thugee. By the end of 1834 Thugee System was completely stopped.


Sir Charles Metcalf (1835-36)

At the age of nineteen, Metcalfe was appointed a political assistant to General Lake, who was then conducting the final campaign of the Second Anglo-Maratha War against Yashwantrao Holkar.

In 1808 he was selected by Lord Minto for the responsible post of envoy to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore.

Here, on 25 April 1809, he concluded the important treaty securing the independence of the Sikh states between the Sutlej and the Jumna.

On 14 November 1834, he was posted as Governor of the Presidency of Agra where he served for over four months till 20 March 1835.

Lord Metcalfe” is called Liberator of India Press.


Lord Auckland (1836-42)

Following events occurred during Lord Auckland’s tenure:

Tripatriate Treaty was signed between the companyRanjit Singh and Shah Shuja by which:

Ranjit Singh accepted the company’s mediation in disputes Amirs (sind).

Shah Shuja conceded his sovereign right to the company over Sind on condition of receiving the arrears of the tribute, the amount of which was to be determined by the company.

Lord Auckland improved of native schools.

He also expanded the commercial industry of India.


Lord Ellenborough (1842-44)

Following events occurred during Lord Ellenborough’s tenure:

Termination of the Afghan war.

The annexation of Sindh.

The imposition of humiliating treaties on Sindh and Gwalior.


Lord Hardinge (1844-48)

The First Anglo-Sikh War was fought between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company between 1845 and 1846.

This extended the British territory to the lands between the Beas and the Sutlej.

He prohibited female infanticide and suppression of human sacrifice.

In 1844 rebellion took place in Kolhapur.

English education declared as essential qualification for public services.


Lord Dalhousie (1848-56)

He served as the Governor-General of India from 1848-1856.

After the conquest of PunjabSindh, and Avadh, the frontiers of the company were extended and the military interest of India was transferred to the North.

Thus Dalhousie shifted the headquarters of the Bengal Artillery from Calcutta to Meerut.

As he had no confidence in the Indians, a new Gurkha regiment was created.

He was the father of Indian Railways.

The first railway line connecting Bombay with Thane was laid down in 1853.

The following year a railway line was constructed from Calcutta to Raniganj coal-fields.

In 1852 Dalhousie introduced the Electric Telegraph System in India.

The first telegraph line from Calcutta to Agra was opened in 1854, covering a distance of 800 miles.

By 1857, it was extended to Lahore and Peshawar.

In Burma, a line was laid down from Rangoon to Mandalay.

A new post office act was passed in 1854.

Postage stamps were issued for the first time.

Before Lord Dalhousie, military boards were in charge of the construction of Public Works.

A separate Public Works Department was established by Lord Dalhousie.

The Chief Works of this department was to construct roads, bridges and government buildings.

Irrigational works were undertaken on an extensive scale.

The construction of the Ganges Canal was completed and was inaugurated on April 8, 1854.

The construction of Grand Trunk Road was taken up.

Dalhousie’s special contribution was the construction of an engineering college at Roorkee and in other presidencies.

Dalhousie abolished female infanticide.

He also abolished the practice of human sacrifice practiced by the Khonds of OrissaMadras and Central Provinces.

Dalhousie passed the Religious Disability Act in 1850 which enabled the Hindu convert to inherit his ancestral property.

Moreover, he also passed the Widow Remarriage Act in 1855 which legalized the marriage of Hindu widows.

In 1856 Oudh was annexed on the pretext of misgovernment.

All ports of India were declared free.

The harbours of KarachiBombay and Calcutta were developed and lighthouses were also constructed.

In 1857 examining universities on the model of London University were established at CalcuttaBombay, and Madras.

These universities were to hold examinations and award degrees.

Vernacular Schools were opened in the villages and education was imparted to the children through vernacular or regional language of the province in the Lower Classes.

The Doctrine of Lapse was an annexation policy purportedly devised by Lord Dalhousie.

By applying the doctrine of lapse, Dalhousie annexed the States of Satara (1848 A.D.), Jaipur (1849 A.D.), Sambhalpur (1849 A.D.), Bahat (1850 A.D.), Udaipur (1852 A.D.), Jhansi (1853 A.D.), and Nagpur (1854 A.D.).


Indian History MCQs (1000 Solves Multiple choice questions with answers)