Clemency Canning is also known as Viscount Canning. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 was the Governor-General of India. He was also a Statesman of British. He born on 14 December 1812, and died on 17 June 1862. He served as Governor-General of India from 1856-1858 after Earl of Dalhousie. After the transfer of powers from East India Company to Queen Victoria back in 1858, when the revolt was crushed, Viscount Canning became the first Viceroy of India.
Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856:
After becoming the Viceroy of India, Viscount Canning, with all the powers, passed the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856. Before the revolt, which was drafted by Canning’s predecessor Lord Dalhousie. According to Remarriage Act in Hinduism, if a woman’s husband dies, she can re-marriage again, and she will inherit the property.
Canning also passed the General Service Enlistment Act of 1856 after Remarriage Act
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion started on 10 May 1857 in the form of the outbreak 64 KM northeast of Delhi in “Meerut”. After the attack, British men captured the emperor of India of that time, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Many of the states of India like Mysore, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Rajputana did not support the emperor of India against the British Empire. Instead, they helped the British against the rebellion. The British forces crushed this rebellion. It led to the dissolution of the East India Company. Then the British reorganized the army, the administration system and the financial system by implementing the Government of India Act 1858.
The Government of India Act, 1858:
During the reign of Viscount Canning, the Government of India Act, 1858 was passed by Parliament, which created a position of Viceroy that the office of Viceroy was held by the person who was the Governor-General of India. In this way, all the powers were transferred from East India Company to British Empire.
Features of Government of India Act 1858
- A seat of secretary of state was created.
- The Queen’s Principal Secretary of State received the powers and duties of the Company’s Court of Directors. A council of fifteen members was appointed to assist the Secretary of State for India.
- The Crown was empowered to appoint a Governor-General and the Governors of the Presidencies
- Indian Civil service was taken under the secretary of state.
Introduction of Budget System:
British Economist James Wilson presented India’s first budget. Several pages made the cash flows very flexible in India. Wilson’s appointment was made to overcome the financial crises caused by the mutiny in 1857. Wilson provided a considerable contribution to Army, Police and other regulatory bodies in budget.
Formation of Imperial Civil Services:
Imperial services are today known as civil services. These positions were created by the British Government in India first, and the persons of these positions ruled over more than 300 million people during the British reign. At the time of the separation of India and Pakistan, the number of civil servants was also divided between the two companies.
Indigo revolt in Bengal:
During the Indian rebellion, the indigo crop was in great demand throughout the world. In 1859 farmers showed resistance against British planters who forced them to grow indigo under their terms. Those terms were considered unfavorable for farmers. So, farmers started a revolt against the British policies. This revolt ended in 1860.
Enactment of Indian Penal Code in 1860:
Indian Penal Code 1860 is the official criminal code of India. The provisions of this code were drafted on the recommendations of the first law code in India established in 1834. After the separation of British India, this code was inherited by separated states (India and Pakistan). From that time onwards, many changes are consistently taken place in the provisions of Indian Penal Code 1860.
The India council act 1861:
The India council act 1861 was passed by the British Government involving the Indian people in the law-making process. Sole purpose of the India council act 1861 was to do effective law-making by understanding the Indian tradition and culture.
The biggest drawback of the India council act 1861 was Indian members were not eligible to show resistance against the bill, and the entire bill was in a single meeting.
Indian Civil Service Act, 1861:
Under this act number of positions were created under the Government, which was only for the people of India who have been living in India for 7 years or more.
This act opened the door for Indians for posts of higher levels.
Establishment of Archaeological Survey of India:
In 1861, Alexander Cunningham was the first who perform the archaeological survey in India. Later he became its first Director-General. One detailed study of monuments in India, including the Buddhist monuments, lasted for a century.
The establishment of this survey was to preserve the monuments in India
Introduced Portfolio System which provide Foundation for Cabinet System:
The Indian Council Act 1860 was initially the act of the United Kingdom’s Parliament. This act changed the Indian’s executive council to operate as a new Cabinet run on the portfolio system.
After the independence war, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan suggested the British Officials take Indian residents in the administration of India.
University of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras:
During the revolt, Canning strictly monitored administration and other departments’ effectiveness during the peak time of rebellions and has established modern Universities like the University of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.
He was succeeded by John Lawrence.