Lord Charles Cornwallis
Lord Charles Cornwallis was a British military officer and colonial ruler who served from 1786 until 1792 as the second Governor-General of Bengal after the Warren Hastings. In the United States, he was most known for his role as a British commander during the American Revolutionary War. He backed the colonialist demands as a member of the House of Lords, but as a senior commander, he was dispatched with reinforcements in 1776. Despite his defeat in America, he is often regarded as the most capable British generals that fought against the revolutionary colonialists. His loss at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781 by a joint American-French army is considered the end of the war.
He is famous in India for promulgating the Permanent Settlement of land and modernizing the judicial and administrative institutions during his two tenures as Governor-General. In 1805 he was appointed again as Governor-General but died as he reached India. Lord Charles Cornwallis was the first Governor-General who died in India. He fought against Tipu in the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92), removing a substantial danger to the British East India Company. He chooses the policy to not interfere in the affairs of princely states
Permanent settlement of the land of Bengal
Lord Charles Cornwallis was the first Governor-General to focus on tax reforms, and he got tremendous success. In his era the main thing was Permanent settlement of the land of Bengal, Bihar’s, and Orissa’s. He restructured the Board of Revenue, which was in charge of overseeing the operations of revenue collectors. In 1765, the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II awarded Dewani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the East Inida Company. When Lord Charles Cornwallis came to India, the common land revenue method for the farmer was to pay the tax to the Zamindar. The Zamindar gathered the money and gave 9/10ths to the government while retaining the remaining l/10th for himself. Cornwallis changed the method of land.
Features of Permanent settlement of the land of Bengal
In Last year’s attempt with the Zamindar system relied on a yearly income assessment. Cornwallis modified the payout schedule from annual to decennial to optimize the company’s earnings (10 years). Zamindars were once simply taxed collectors and had no land ownership rights. The company acknowledged them as landowners in the permanent settlement. It was decided that they would have inherited rights to collect money for the rest of their time. They had to pay a certain amount of land income every year on a fixed day. But if the Zamindar failed to pay the money on time, then the Company might sell their land at a public auction if they didn’t pay up. As a result of this, Zamindars were required to collect income from peasants and pay to the company at a predetermined time each month. To preserve security in their areas, zamindars were permitted to use force. In exchange for paying the set land revenue, they were to strengthen their tenants’ situations, but the corporation would not interfere with their internal transactions with tenants.
Cornwallis established courts in the states, districts, and provinces. Supreme Court of Calcutta was the highest court , Amin Court or Munsif Court was the lowest court. In cases where the value was less than Rs. 50, Munsif might decide on the matter of District Court. Session Judge‘ was the title of the district judge. The session judge was an Englishman who dealt exclusively to “Indians only ” not to Europeans.
- The Provincial Court was the superior court to Diwani Adalat for Appeal. They established four provincial courts of appeal, one in each of the four provinces of Dhaka, Kolkata, Patna, and Murshidabad. Except in English, these courts received appeals from all districts.
- After the provincial court, the “Sadar Diwani Adalat” (Highest Court of Appeal) was established. They had its headquarters in Calcutta and it was the Supreme Court of Appeal for Sadar Diwani Adalat (SDA). A Head Qazi, two Muftis, and two Pandits backed up the judge.
- Appeals from the “Sadar Diwani Adalat” were sent to the English king in response to the petition. Cases valued at more than 5000 rupees were only accepted by the King of England
Maratha-Mysore War 1785-1787
Maratha-Mysore War was fought between Marathas and Tipu Sultan. Marathas and Tipu Sultan fought in violent war while Lord Cornwallis was busy reforming the English empire. Tipu Sultan was the autonomous ruler of Mysore. Maratha formed a military alliance with the Nizam of Hyderabad to reclaim the lands that Mysore had taken from them in the 18th century. Tipu Sultan was determined to teach them a lesson, so he launched an assault. Marathas engaged Lord Cornwallis in the conflict, which began in 1785. In the 2nd Anglo Mysore war Tipu Sultan defeated the English brutally so Lord Charles Cornwallis decided not to participate in the war. For two years Tipu and Maratha along with Nizam of Hyderabad fought but ultimately ended the Maratha Mysore war after the treaty of Gajednragarh in 1787.
Third Anglo Mysore war 1790-92
The English and Mysore engaged in a third battle during the Cornwallis era. England’s greatest rival, Tipu, was a deadly opponent of English. He dispatched diplomats to France and Turkey to ally with other countries against the English. It was little reason Cornwallis started the preparation of battle against him “cruel necessity.” In addition, Cornwallis tried to acquire supporters among the native authorities. He reached an agreement with Nizam of Hyderabad. Nizam of Hyderabad was the ally of Tipu in the Second Anglo Mysore war but this time he betrayed Tipu and made a deal with the English.
King of Travancore was an English-dependent ally and Tipu had complaints against him. He gave protection to numerous Tipu-enemy chiefs who used to raid Tipu’s Malabar territory. In addition, he had bought two ports from the Dutch, which were very important to the Tipu territory’s economy. He had constructed a defensive wall there and Tipu considered this crossed his property line. Tipu tried to solve this issue diplomatically. However, after receiving no response from him, Tipu launched an invasion of country in December 1789 to settle the issue. At that time English came into the war.
Before launching a war on Tipu, Lord Charles Cornwallis took all necessary measures. Cornwallis met with Marathas and the Nizam of Hyderabad. In 1790, he signed a deal with Maratha and the Nizam of Hyderabad. Both parties decided to aid the English in their fight against Tipu. After the war, the Mysore state would be split equally amongst the three allies. Tipu was left alone to fight against them even France and Turkey didn’t help him. In 1790, the British launched a war against Tipu.
Treaty of Srirangapatnam
During the two-year conflict, Tipu battled by himself. The first English attack failed. After the first attack, Cornwallis gained command of the army in December 1790. In March 1791, he conquered Bangalore after advancing on the city. But later Tipu fought bravely during rain and English, Maratha, the Nizam of Hyderabad ran away from his area. Tipu won in Coimbatore in November of 1791. But he was alone and didn’t find any help, so he run out of energy. At Srirangapatnam, Cornwallis seized all the hillforts that stood in his way. Thus, Tipu entered discussions with English officials. Cornwallis accepted, and in March 1792, the Treaty of Srirangapatnam was signed.
After Treaty of Srirangapatnam Half of Tipu’s kingdom was handed to the enemies. Among other things, it was presented to the Nizam of Hyderabad as part of his inheritance. The Marathas stretched their borders to the river Tungabhadra, which is now part of India. English gained control of Malabar and the Raja of Coorg, Dindigul and the surrounding regions, Baramahal and the mountain passes.
Retirement of Lord Charles Cornwallis
In 1793 Cornwallis got retired. He was succeeded by the Lord John Shore as Governor-General.