Sir George Cornewall Lewis



Speech of Sir George Lewis on the Introduction of

the Bill for the Better Government of India.


In the House of Commons, on Friday, February 12, 1858.

London: James Ridgway, 1858


Sir George Lewis was an English politician, statesman, classical scholar, and author.  Born in London on April 21, 1806, Lewis died at Harpton Court, Radnorshire, Wales, April 13, 1863, and was buried in his family's vault in the lady-chapel of Old Radnor Church.

Lewis had a distinguished career as a Member of Parliament (1847), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1855-1858), Home Secretary (1859-1861), and Secretary of War (1861-1863).  In addition to his political life, he served as editor of the Edinburgh Review (1852-1855), and he wrote numerous articles for that publication.  Lewis authored several books that include An Essay on the Origin and Formation of the Romance Languages (1835), On Local Disturbances in Ireland, and on the Irish Church Question (1836), An Essay on the Government of Dependencies (1841), Enquiry into the Credibility of the Early Roman History (2 vols., 1855), The Financial Statement, 1857: Speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Committee of Supply (1857), Suggestions for the Application of the Egyptological Method to Modern History (1862), and An Historical Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients (1862).  Lewis also translated several German historical works into English.

This 1858 speech is valuable for understanding a mid-nineteenth century British view of India, a governmental view of The East India Company, and India's relation to the government of Britain.  Prime Minister Palmerston (1784-1865) introduced the India Bill of 1858, which called for the final dismantling of The East India Company's control of British India, and Lewis--as Chancellor of the Exchequer--supports the government's position.  On August 2, 1858, Parliament passed the Government of India Act, and the governance of India passed formally from The East India Company to the British crown.


Not specifically related to any missionaries in India, Lewis reviews the history of The East India Company in India and the problems the Company and the Crown encountered, which provides a political context for understanding the Serampore mission.  Various acts of Parliament and numerous Governors-General of British India are discussed.


Speech of Sir George Lewis on the Introduction of

the Bill for the Better Government of India.

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Created:    August 4, 2003        Updated:    August 9, 2003