Lord Ellenborough


Lord Ellenborough was appointed Governor-General of India in 1841 but did not take over the post until the end of February 1842. He was born Edward Law on 8 Sep 1790, the son of the Lord Chief Justice. He was a career politician holding various posts in Sir Robert Peel's and other administrations. In India he inherited the troubles in Afghanistan and was able to be more proactive than the previous GG, Lord Auckland. However his later handling of matters in Sind and Gwalior was wayward and he acted in a haughty and arrogant manner. The directors of the East India Company recalled him prematurely in 1844, and although there were heated debates about his policies in India, he was rewarded with an Earldom. In 1858, after the Indian Mutiny he was made president of the Board of Control for the fourth time. In this capacity he took it upon himself to write a stinging criticism of Lord Canning following his Oudh proclamation. He had this published in the Times which angered his colleagues who were not consulted. Votes of censure in both the House of Commons and the Lords resulted in him having to resign. He had his revenge on the East India Company when his proposals for transferring the administration of India to the crown were carried out. He was married twice, first to Lady Octavia the daughter of the Marquess of Londonderry, but she died in 1819. Secondly he was married to Jane Digby who had one affair after the other, the last one to a German prince, but it became public so he had to divorce her in 1830. He died in Cheltenham in Dec 1871.


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by Stephen Luscombe