Lord Ellenborough: A Biography of Edward Law, Earl of Ellenborough, Governor-General of India

Lord Ellenborough: A Biography of Edward Law, Earl of Ellenborough, Governor-General of India

Lord Ellenborough: A Biography of Edward Law, Earl of Ellenborough, Governor-General of India

Lord Ellenborough: A Biography of Edward Law, Earl of Ellenborough, Governor-General of India

Excerpt

Next to Peel, Lord Ellenborough was probably the ablest and most zealous administrator in the British Conservative party in the middle of the last century, and he was certainly its most impressive orator. Yet half a dozen of the members of Peel's ministry of 1841 -- Wellington, Gladstone, Aberdeen, Stanley (Derby), Graham, and perhaps Goulburn -- are better known today. He did not have enough of the politician in him to achieve the full success his brilliant talents warranted. For all his eloquence, his administrative capacity and grasp of affairs, his strenuous and devoted years of service to his country, he was something of a misfit in English politics. Only as Governor-General in India was he correctly cast for the rôle which had to be played, yet even here his abrupt recall has long been accepted as a sort of circumstantial evidence of inadequacy. Examination of the conditions of his administration and of his recall, subjects which have never been sufficiently or objectively studied, makes it clear now that his failure was essentially failure in England, not in India. He did not manage to carry the British public and the Court of Directors of the East India company along with him.

He was too stiff a Tory in his relations with the public for this age of nascent democracy. Convinced of the beneficence of aristocratic government, he conceived it to be as much his duty as his ambition to rule. From this conscious premise sprang his most serious shortcomings. Proud and haughty in his public manners, with a lofty independence easily mistaken for conceit, he refused any compromise with his own convictions. Like his forceful father, the Chief Justice, he reached his conclusions quickly and once he had taken his aim he shot straight to his mark, trusting the power with which he drove his shaft to push aside crosscurrents of opinion and prejudice. His impatient utterances, rarely relieved by any touch of geniality and too . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.