Cornwallis: The Imperial Years

Cornwallis: The Imperial Years

Cornwallis: The Imperial Years

Cornwallis: The Imperial Years

Excerpt

This second volume of our life of Cornwallis carries him from America to service halfway around the world in India. It covers his diplomatic activities on the European Continent on three different occasions, including his final service in negotiating the peace of Amiens, the only respite England enjoyed in the long struggle with France that began in 1793 and did not end until 1815. It shows him at work in the British cabinet as master general of the ordnance and engaged as lord lieutenant of Ireland in suppressing rebellion and tediously, frustratingly, carrying the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland. Finally, it follows him back to India again, where he sickened and died. Cornwallis served the empire in so many capacities during this time, worked so hard at so many different tasks, that the period from 1781 to his death in 1805 may justly be termed the imperial years.

Research for these imperial years we sometimes found as difficult as Cornwallis found his work. Part of the difficulty lay in our needing to familiarize ourselves with British India and the archives that tell its history. For the rest, we needed time to work in other areas -- ordnance, Ireland, diplomacy -- all of which Cornwallis entered and in all of which he made a lasting impression. Through it all we had to keep in mind the man as well as the institutions he served.

We should like to thank the many people who helped us, especially the officials of the Public Record Office, the trustees of the British Museum, and the officials of the India Office Library and Records. The India Office also permitted us to reproduce in our book photographs of Indian life from the many prints and pictures they possess. The National Portrait Gallery graciously . . .

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