Lord William Bentinck - Encyclopedia


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LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK (1774-1839), governor-general of India, was the second son of the 3rd duke of Portland and was born on the 14th of September 1774. He entered the army, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and was present at Marengo. In 1803 he was nominated governor of Madras, where he quarrelled with the chief justice, Sir Henry Gwillim, and several members of his council. The sepoy mutiny at Vellore in 1807 led to his recall. His name was considered at this time for the post of governor-general, but Lord Minto was selected instead; and it was not until twenty years later that he succeeded Lord Amherst in that office. His governor-generalship (1827-1835) was notable for' many reforms, chief among which were the suppression of the Thugs, the abolition of suttee, and the making of the English language the basis of education in India. It was on this last subject that Lord Macaulay's famous minute was written. Lord William's administration was essentially peaceful, but progressive and successful. He died at Paris on the 17th of June 1839.

See Demetrius C. Boulger, Lord William Bentinck, in the "Rulers of India" series (1892).

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