“Cornwallis life was embodiment of duty and sacrifice” - Justify.
Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded warren Hastings as Governor - General in 1786. He belonged to an influential and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pittand of Dundas, the most influential member of the Board of Control He distinguished himself as a remarkable soldier in the American war of Independence. Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence of the authorities at Home. After his return from America he was offered the Governor - Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as well as the confidence of his fellow countrymen. The parliament was prepared to give him extraordinary legal powers to carryout radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the majority of his council,-if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person from an aristocratic family for the post of Governor - General was initiated. It was his good fortune that he had an excellent team of subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant and Sir William Jones. Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution. Cornwallis, a blue-blooded aristocrat, was an ardent patriot. He discharged his duties fearlessly and his life was an embodiment of ‘duty and sacrifice’. He perceived the danger of Tipu’s growing power and curtailed it by boldly discarding the policy of non-intervention. As an administrator, he consolidated the company’s position in India and started the tradition of efficient and pure administration. Although there were defects in his permanent settlement of land revenue, his administrative and judicial reforms were solid achievements. He may be regarded the parent of the Indian Administrative Service and founder of an efficient and clean system of administration.