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Governor Generals of India

Lord William Bentick (1833-35)

Mentioned above.

Sir Metclafe (1835)

He abolished the restrictions which had been imposed on the press.

Lord Auckland (1835-42)

Lord Auckland sided with the pro-British Ranjit Singh in the border dispute over Peshawar. It was Lord Auckland’s issuing of the Simla Manifesto that made the invasion inevitable.

He had been convinced by Macnaghten and others that Shah Shujah would be welcomed as new pro-British leader in Afghanistan. Alexander Burnes had counselled against overthrowing Dost Mohammed and replacing him with Shah Shujah but was overruled.

Lord Auckland was also feeding on a wider antipathy to Russia in the region and back in Europe. Russian influence was deemed to be taking a decisive influence in the Persian siege of Herat and it was believed that the Russian influence might soon stretch all the way to the borders of India unless challenged.

He had the full backing of his Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston for the activist policies that he was to pursue.

Lord Ellenborough (1842-44)

Lord Ellenborough served as the Governor General from 28 February 1842 to 15 June 1844. He is credited with bringing the Afghan War to an end.  His tenure of office was marked by a successful expedition to Kabul which went a long way in enhancing the prestige of the British in India which suffered a lot due to mismanagement of the Afghan War by his predecessor Lord Auckland.

During Ellenborough’s governor generalship, Sindh was annexed to the British government. This act has been condemned as high-handed by most writers.  Ellenborough also coerced Sindhia to enter into a humiliating treaty with the British.

Ellenborough was recalled in 1844 owing to his defiance of the orders of the Court of Directors of the Company.


Lord Hardinge I (1844-48)

His tenure of office was marked by the First Sikh War (1845). The English army occupied Lahore and dictated peace terms to the Sikhs (Treaty of Lahore, 1846).

Hardinge introduced the principle of giving preference to English educated Indians in public employment- a policy which gave great fillip to English education but changed its character. He is also credited to have suppressed human sacrifice by the Gonds.

Lord Dalhousie (1848- 56)

On 12th January 1848, Lord Dalhousie was appointed as Governor General of India. He ruled India about eight years from 1848 to 1856 and it was one of the greatest periods for British rule. His rule to different reform was brought to develop the situations of India.

The annexation policy was a deadly weapon for conquest which increased the East India Company rule to the elevation of glory. It was known as the Doctrine of Lapse.

The Doctrine of Lapse was based on the forfeiture for the right rule in the non-appearance for a natural successor. By thus policy, the province of Satara was annexed in 1848, the state of Sambhalpur in 1849, the state of Jhansi in 1853 and the state of Nagpur in 1954 was also annexed. The state of Punjab was annexed in 1849 after the Second Anglo Sikh war. The state of Burma was annexed. In 1853, the territory of Berar and in 1856, Oudh was also annexed.

Lord Dalhousie was also known as a successful administrator.
In 1857, the revolt was followed with many changes to include the shift of Indian administration as of East India Company to the dignity, honor, crown and territorial control of the local princes.

The non-regulation states were under a Chief Commissioner responsible to the Governor General in council. Oudh, Punjab and Burma were the non-regulating states.

Lord Dalhousie was one of the founders of the Telegraph and Postal systems. He developed railways and roads services. He was contributed to the unity and modernization of India.

He was great achievement for the creation of central, modernized states. Lord Dalhousie changes law, legalized re-marriage and abolished the disability for a transfer to Christianity to inherit paternal property. In the field of educational, Lord Dalhousie’s vernacular education system was appreciated. He established Anglo Vernacular Schools. The free trade policy was started, with free ports.

Lord Canning (1856-57)

He was responsible for the foundation of the universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The Revolt of 1857 took place during his tenure.

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