TN History Textbook: Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793) Notes | Study Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793) Notes | Study Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC

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 Page 1


Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded Warren
Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. He belonged to an influential
and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He
was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pitt and of Dundas, the
most influential member of the Board of Control. He distinguished
himself as a remarkable soldier in the American War of Independence.
Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American
troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence
of the authorities at Home. After his return from
America he was offered the Governor-
Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong
sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as
well as the confidence of his fellow
countrymen.  The Parliament was prepared to
give him extraordinary legal powers to carry
out radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s
India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the
majority of his council, if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis
was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person
from an aristocratic family for the post of  Governor-General was
initiated.  It was his good fortune that  he had an excellent team of
subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant, and Sir William
Jones.  Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial
circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution.
Tipu Sultan and the Third Mysore War (1790-92)
The Treaty of Mangalore (1784) exhibited the military strength
of Mysore, exposed English weaknesses and increased Tipu’s
strength. Like his father he wanted to eliminate the English from
India. His other designs were to wreak vengeance on the Nizam and
on the Marathas as they had betrayed his father during the hour of
need.
The chief causes for the Third Mysore War were:
1. Tipu Sultan strengthened his position by undertaking various
internal reforms. This created worries to the British, the Nizam
of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
2. Moreover, Tipu made attempts to seek the help of France and
Turkey by sending envoys to those countries.
3. He also expanded his territories at the cost of his neighbours,
particularly the Raja of Travancore, who was an ally of the
British.
4. In 1789, the British concluded a tripartite alliance with the
Nizam and the Marathas against Tipu.
LESSON 2
LORD CORNWALLIS (1786-1793)
Learning Objectives
Students will understand
1. The Third Mysore War and Tipu Sultan’s efforts to defeat the
British.
2. Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
3. Judicial Reforms.
4. Police and other reforms.
5. Achievements of Lord Cornwallis.
 
LORD CORNWALLIS 
15 16
Page 2


Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded Warren
Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. He belonged to an influential
and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He
was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pitt and of Dundas, the
most influential member of the Board of Control. He distinguished
himself as a remarkable soldier in the American War of Independence.
Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American
troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence
of the authorities at Home. After his return from
America he was offered the Governor-
Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong
sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as
well as the confidence of his fellow
countrymen.  The Parliament was prepared to
give him extraordinary legal powers to carry
out radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s
India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the
majority of his council, if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis
was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person
from an aristocratic family for the post of  Governor-General was
initiated.  It was his good fortune that  he had an excellent team of
subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant, and Sir William
Jones.  Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial
circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution.
Tipu Sultan and the Third Mysore War (1790-92)
The Treaty of Mangalore (1784) exhibited the military strength
of Mysore, exposed English weaknesses and increased Tipu’s
strength. Like his father he wanted to eliminate the English from
India. His other designs were to wreak vengeance on the Nizam and
on the Marathas as they had betrayed his father during the hour of
need.
The chief causes for the Third Mysore War were:
1. Tipu Sultan strengthened his position by undertaking various
internal reforms. This created worries to the British, the Nizam
of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
2. Moreover, Tipu made attempts to seek the help of France and
Turkey by sending envoys to those countries.
3. He also expanded his territories at the cost of his neighbours,
particularly the Raja of Travancore, who was an ally of the
British.
4. In 1789, the British concluded a tripartite alliance with the
Nizam and the Marathas against Tipu.
LESSON 2
LORD CORNWALLIS (1786-1793)
Learning Objectives
Students will understand
1. The Third Mysore War and Tipu Sultan’s efforts to defeat the
British.
2. Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
3. Judicial Reforms.
4. Police and other reforms.
5. Achievements of Lord Cornwallis.
 
LORD CORNWALLIS 
15 16
War broke out in May 1790 between the
English and Tipu. It was fought in three phases.
The first phase commenced when Medows, the
Governor of Madras, initially directed the
campaign to invade Mysore but Tipu’s rapid
movements halted the progress of the English
troops and inflicted heavy losses on them. In the
meantime, Cornwallis himself assumed command
in December 1790. This was the beginning of
the second phase of the war. Marching from Vellore, he captured
Bangalore in March 1791, but Tipu’s brilliant strategies prolonged
the war and Cornwallis was forced to retreat to Mangalore due to
lack of provisions. The third phase of the war began when timely aid
from the Marathas with plenty of provisions helped him to resume
his campaign and marched against Srirangapattinam again. This time
Tipu was at a disadvantage.  Swiftly the English forces occupied the
hill forts near Srirangapattinam and seized it in February 1792. Tipu
Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the British.
The terms of the treaty were as follows:
(i) Tipu had to give up half his dominions.
(ii) He had to pay a war indemnity of three crore rupees
and surrender two of his sons as hostages to the English.
(iii) Both sides agreed to release the prisoners of war.
The Treaty of Srirangapattinam is a significant event in the
history of South India. The British secured a large territory on the
Malabar Coast. In addition they obtained the Baramahal district and
Dindugal. After this war, although the strength of Mysore had been
reduced, it was not extinguished. Tipu had been defeated but not
destroyed.
Reforms
The internal reforms of Cornwallis can be studied under three
main heads.
(i) Administrative reforms
(ii) Revenue reforms  or Permanent Settlement (given in
Lesson -7)
(iii) Judicial and other reforms
Administrative Reforms
The greatest work of Cornwallis was the purification of the
civil service by the employment of capable and honest public servants.
He aimed at economy, simplification and purity. He found that the
servants of the Company were underpaid. But they received very
high commissions on revenues. In addition to that they conducted
forbidden and profitable private trade in the names of relatives and
friends. Cornwallis, who aimed at cleansing the administration,
abolished the vicious system of paying small salaries and allowing
enormous perquisites. He persuaded the Directors of the Company
to pay handsome salaries to the Company servants in order that they
might free themselves from commercial and corrupting activities.
Further, Cornwallis inaugurated the policy of making
appointments mainly on the basis of merit thereby laying the
foundation of the Indian Civil Service. To cut down on extravagances,
he abolished a number of surplus posts. Another major reform that
Cornwallis introduced was the separation of the three branches of
service, namely commercial, judicial and revenue. The collectors,
the king-pins of the administrative system were deprived of their
judicial powers and their work became merely the collection of
revenue.
17 18
Tipu Sultan
Page 3


Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded Warren
Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. He belonged to an influential
and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He
was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pitt and of Dundas, the
most influential member of the Board of Control. He distinguished
himself as a remarkable soldier in the American War of Independence.
Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American
troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence
of the authorities at Home. After his return from
America he was offered the Governor-
Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong
sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as
well as the confidence of his fellow
countrymen.  The Parliament was prepared to
give him extraordinary legal powers to carry
out radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s
India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the
majority of his council, if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis
was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person
from an aristocratic family for the post of  Governor-General was
initiated.  It was his good fortune that  he had an excellent team of
subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant, and Sir William
Jones.  Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial
circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution.
Tipu Sultan and the Third Mysore War (1790-92)
The Treaty of Mangalore (1784) exhibited the military strength
of Mysore, exposed English weaknesses and increased Tipu’s
strength. Like his father he wanted to eliminate the English from
India. His other designs were to wreak vengeance on the Nizam and
on the Marathas as they had betrayed his father during the hour of
need.
The chief causes for the Third Mysore War were:
1. Tipu Sultan strengthened his position by undertaking various
internal reforms. This created worries to the British, the Nizam
of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
2. Moreover, Tipu made attempts to seek the help of France and
Turkey by sending envoys to those countries.
3. He also expanded his territories at the cost of his neighbours,
particularly the Raja of Travancore, who was an ally of the
British.
4. In 1789, the British concluded a tripartite alliance with the
Nizam and the Marathas against Tipu.
LESSON 2
LORD CORNWALLIS (1786-1793)
Learning Objectives
Students will understand
1. The Third Mysore War and Tipu Sultan’s efforts to defeat the
British.
2. Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
3. Judicial Reforms.
4. Police and other reforms.
5. Achievements of Lord Cornwallis.
 
LORD CORNWALLIS 
15 16
War broke out in May 1790 between the
English and Tipu. It was fought in three phases.
The first phase commenced when Medows, the
Governor of Madras, initially directed the
campaign to invade Mysore but Tipu’s rapid
movements halted the progress of the English
troops and inflicted heavy losses on them. In the
meantime, Cornwallis himself assumed command
in December 1790. This was the beginning of
the second phase of the war. Marching from Vellore, he captured
Bangalore in March 1791, but Tipu’s brilliant strategies prolonged
the war and Cornwallis was forced to retreat to Mangalore due to
lack of provisions. The third phase of the war began when timely aid
from the Marathas with plenty of provisions helped him to resume
his campaign and marched against Srirangapattinam again. This time
Tipu was at a disadvantage.  Swiftly the English forces occupied the
hill forts near Srirangapattinam and seized it in February 1792. Tipu
Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the British.
The terms of the treaty were as follows:
(i) Tipu had to give up half his dominions.
(ii) He had to pay a war indemnity of three crore rupees
and surrender two of his sons as hostages to the English.
(iii) Both sides agreed to release the prisoners of war.
The Treaty of Srirangapattinam is a significant event in the
history of South India. The British secured a large territory on the
Malabar Coast. In addition they obtained the Baramahal district and
Dindugal. After this war, although the strength of Mysore had been
reduced, it was not extinguished. Tipu had been defeated but not
destroyed.
Reforms
The internal reforms of Cornwallis can be studied under three
main heads.
(i) Administrative reforms
(ii) Revenue reforms  or Permanent Settlement (given in
Lesson -7)
(iii) Judicial and other reforms
Administrative Reforms
The greatest work of Cornwallis was the purification of the
civil service by the employment of capable and honest public servants.
He aimed at economy, simplification and purity. He found that the
servants of the Company were underpaid. But they received very
high commissions on revenues. In addition to that they conducted
forbidden and profitable private trade in the names of relatives and
friends. Cornwallis, who aimed at cleansing the administration,
abolished the vicious system of paying small salaries and allowing
enormous perquisites. He persuaded the Directors of the Company
to pay handsome salaries to the Company servants in order that they
might free themselves from commercial and corrupting activities.
Further, Cornwallis inaugurated the policy of making
appointments mainly on the basis of merit thereby laying the
foundation of the Indian Civil Service. To cut down on extravagances,
he abolished a number of surplus posts. Another major reform that
Cornwallis introduced was the separation of the three branches of
service, namely commercial, judicial and revenue. The collectors,
the king-pins of the administrative system were deprived of their
judicial powers and their work became merely the collection of
revenue.
17 18
Tipu Sultan
Judicial Reforms
In the work of judicial reorganization, Cornwallis secured the
services of Sir William Jones, who was a judge and a great scholar.
Civil and criminal courts were completely reorganized.
1. At  the top of the judicial system, the highest civil and criminal
courts of appeal, namely Sadar Diwani Adalat and Sadar
Nizamat Adalat were functioning at Calcutta. Both of them
were presided over by the Governor-General and his Council.
2. There were four provincial courts of appeal at Calcutta, Dacca,
Murshidabad and Patna, each under three European judges
assisted by Indian advisers.
3. District and City courts functioned each under a European
judge. Every district was provided with a court. As already
stated, Cornwallis had taken away from the collectors of their
judicial powers and made them solely responsible for the
collection of revenue. As a result, District Judges were
appointed.
4. Indian judges or Munsiffs were appointed to all the courts at
the bottom of the judicial system.
In criminal cases, Muslim law was improved and followed. In
civil cases, Hindu and Muslim laws were followed according to the
religion of the litigants. In suits between Hindus and Muslims, the
judge was the deciding authority. Cornwallis was merciful by
temperament. He hated barbarous punishments and abolished those
like mutilation and trial by ordeal.
Cornwallis was better known as a law giver than as an
administrator. With the help of his colleague, George Barlow,
Cornwallis prepared a comprehensive code, covering the whole field
of administration’, judicial, police, commercial and fiscal. This Code
was based upon the principle of Montesquieu, “the Separation of
Powers”, which was popular in the West in 18
th
 century. In order to
curb undue exercise of authority Cornwallis made all officials
answerable to the courts.
Police Reforms
The effective implementation of judicial reforms required the
reorganisation of police administration. The District Judge controlled
the police. Each district was divided into thanas or police circles
each of which was about 20 square miles. It was placed under an
Indian officer called the daroga who was ably assisted by many
constables. However, the police organization was not effective. In
the words of Marshman, ‘the daroga enjoyed almost unlimited power
of extortion and became the scourge of the country”.
Other Reforms
Cornwallis reformed the Board of Trade which managed the
commercial investments of the Company. With the aid of Charles
Grant, he eradicated numerous abuses and corrupt practices. Fair
treatment was given to weavers and Indian workers. He increased
the remuneration for honest service.
Estimate of Cornwallis
Cornwallis, a blue-blooded aristocrat, was an ardent patriot.
He discharged his duties fearlessly, and his life was an embodiment
of ‘duty and sacrifice’. He perceived the danger of Tipu’s growing
power and curtailed it by boldly discarding the policy of
nonintervention. As an administrator, he consolidated the Company’s
position in India and started the tradition of efficient and pure
administration. Although there were defects in his Permanent
Settlement of Land Revenue, his administrative and judicial reforms
were solid achievements. He may be regarded the parent of the Indian
19 20
Page 4


Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded Warren
Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. He belonged to an influential
and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He
was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pitt and of Dundas, the
most influential member of the Board of Control. He distinguished
himself as a remarkable soldier in the American War of Independence.
Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American
troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence
of the authorities at Home. After his return from
America he was offered the Governor-
Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong
sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as
well as the confidence of his fellow
countrymen.  The Parliament was prepared to
give him extraordinary legal powers to carry
out radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s
India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the
majority of his council, if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis
was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person
from an aristocratic family for the post of  Governor-General was
initiated.  It was his good fortune that  he had an excellent team of
subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant, and Sir William
Jones.  Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial
circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution.
Tipu Sultan and the Third Mysore War (1790-92)
The Treaty of Mangalore (1784) exhibited the military strength
of Mysore, exposed English weaknesses and increased Tipu’s
strength. Like his father he wanted to eliminate the English from
India. His other designs were to wreak vengeance on the Nizam and
on the Marathas as they had betrayed his father during the hour of
need.
The chief causes for the Third Mysore War were:
1. Tipu Sultan strengthened his position by undertaking various
internal reforms. This created worries to the British, the Nizam
of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
2. Moreover, Tipu made attempts to seek the help of France and
Turkey by sending envoys to those countries.
3. He also expanded his territories at the cost of his neighbours,
particularly the Raja of Travancore, who was an ally of the
British.
4. In 1789, the British concluded a tripartite alliance with the
Nizam and the Marathas against Tipu.
LESSON 2
LORD CORNWALLIS (1786-1793)
Learning Objectives
Students will understand
1. The Third Mysore War and Tipu Sultan’s efforts to defeat the
British.
2. Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
3. Judicial Reforms.
4. Police and other reforms.
5. Achievements of Lord Cornwallis.
 
LORD CORNWALLIS 
15 16
War broke out in May 1790 between the
English and Tipu. It was fought in three phases.
The first phase commenced when Medows, the
Governor of Madras, initially directed the
campaign to invade Mysore but Tipu’s rapid
movements halted the progress of the English
troops and inflicted heavy losses on them. In the
meantime, Cornwallis himself assumed command
in December 1790. This was the beginning of
the second phase of the war. Marching from Vellore, he captured
Bangalore in March 1791, but Tipu’s brilliant strategies prolonged
the war and Cornwallis was forced to retreat to Mangalore due to
lack of provisions. The third phase of the war began when timely aid
from the Marathas with plenty of provisions helped him to resume
his campaign and marched against Srirangapattinam again. This time
Tipu was at a disadvantage.  Swiftly the English forces occupied the
hill forts near Srirangapattinam and seized it in February 1792. Tipu
Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the British.
The terms of the treaty were as follows:
(i) Tipu had to give up half his dominions.
(ii) He had to pay a war indemnity of three crore rupees
and surrender two of his sons as hostages to the English.
(iii) Both sides agreed to release the prisoners of war.
The Treaty of Srirangapattinam is a significant event in the
history of South India. The British secured a large territory on the
Malabar Coast. In addition they obtained the Baramahal district and
Dindugal. After this war, although the strength of Mysore had been
reduced, it was not extinguished. Tipu had been defeated but not
destroyed.
Reforms
The internal reforms of Cornwallis can be studied under three
main heads.
(i) Administrative reforms
(ii) Revenue reforms  or Permanent Settlement (given in
Lesson -7)
(iii) Judicial and other reforms
Administrative Reforms
The greatest work of Cornwallis was the purification of the
civil service by the employment of capable and honest public servants.
He aimed at economy, simplification and purity. He found that the
servants of the Company were underpaid. But they received very
high commissions on revenues. In addition to that they conducted
forbidden and profitable private trade in the names of relatives and
friends. Cornwallis, who aimed at cleansing the administration,
abolished the vicious system of paying small salaries and allowing
enormous perquisites. He persuaded the Directors of the Company
to pay handsome salaries to the Company servants in order that they
might free themselves from commercial and corrupting activities.
Further, Cornwallis inaugurated the policy of making
appointments mainly on the basis of merit thereby laying the
foundation of the Indian Civil Service. To cut down on extravagances,
he abolished a number of surplus posts. Another major reform that
Cornwallis introduced was the separation of the three branches of
service, namely commercial, judicial and revenue. The collectors,
the king-pins of the administrative system were deprived of their
judicial powers and their work became merely the collection of
revenue.
17 18
Tipu Sultan
Judicial Reforms
In the work of judicial reorganization, Cornwallis secured the
services of Sir William Jones, who was a judge and a great scholar.
Civil and criminal courts were completely reorganized.
1. At  the top of the judicial system, the highest civil and criminal
courts of appeal, namely Sadar Diwani Adalat and Sadar
Nizamat Adalat were functioning at Calcutta. Both of them
were presided over by the Governor-General and his Council.
2. There were four provincial courts of appeal at Calcutta, Dacca,
Murshidabad and Patna, each under three European judges
assisted by Indian advisers.
3. District and City courts functioned each under a European
judge. Every district was provided with a court. As already
stated, Cornwallis had taken away from the collectors of their
judicial powers and made them solely responsible for the
collection of revenue. As a result, District Judges were
appointed.
4. Indian judges or Munsiffs were appointed to all the courts at
the bottom of the judicial system.
In criminal cases, Muslim law was improved and followed. In
civil cases, Hindu and Muslim laws were followed according to the
religion of the litigants. In suits between Hindus and Muslims, the
judge was the deciding authority. Cornwallis was merciful by
temperament. He hated barbarous punishments and abolished those
like mutilation and trial by ordeal.
Cornwallis was better known as a law giver than as an
administrator. With the help of his colleague, George Barlow,
Cornwallis prepared a comprehensive code, covering the whole field
of administration’, judicial, police, commercial and fiscal. This Code
was based upon the principle of Montesquieu, “the Separation of
Powers”, which was popular in the West in 18
th
 century. In order to
curb undue exercise of authority Cornwallis made all officials
answerable to the courts.
Police Reforms
The effective implementation of judicial reforms required the
reorganisation of police administration. The District Judge controlled
the police. Each district was divided into thanas or police circles
each of which was about 20 square miles. It was placed under an
Indian officer called the daroga who was ably assisted by many
constables. However, the police organization was not effective. In
the words of Marshman, ‘the daroga enjoyed almost unlimited power
of extortion and became the scourge of the country”.
Other Reforms
Cornwallis reformed the Board of Trade which managed the
commercial investments of the Company. With the aid of Charles
Grant, he eradicated numerous abuses and corrupt practices. Fair
treatment was given to weavers and Indian workers. He increased
the remuneration for honest service.
Estimate of Cornwallis
Cornwallis, a blue-blooded aristocrat, was an ardent patriot.
He discharged his duties fearlessly, and his life was an embodiment
of ‘duty and sacrifice’. He perceived the danger of Tipu’s growing
power and curtailed it by boldly discarding the policy of
nonintervention. As an administrator, he consolidated the Company’s
position in India and started the tradition of efficient and pure
administration. Although there were defects in his Permanent
Settlement of Land Revenue, his administrative and judicial reforms
were solid achievements. He may be regarded the parent of the Indian
19 20
Administrative Service and founder of an efficient and clean system
of administration.
Sir John Shore (1793-98) succeeded Cornwallis as Governor
General and his administration was uneventful.
Learning Outcome
The students have learnt
1. The causes, course and results of the Third Mysore
War.
2. Changes made in the administrative machinery by
Cornwallis.
3. Judicial reforms and its importance.
4. Reorganization of police.
5. A general estimate on the administration of Lord
Cornwallis.
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. Lord Cornwallis introduced
(a) Mahalwari System
(b) Permanent Revenue Settlement
(c) Ryotwari System
(d) Jagirdari System
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. Lord Cornwallis prepared the law code with the help of his
colleague ……..
III. Match the following.
1. Tripartite Alliance a. 1784
2. Treaty of Srirangapattinam b. 1786
3. Treaty of Mangalore c. 1789
4. Amendment to Pitt’s India Act d. 1792
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Tipu Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the
French.
b) Daroga was a revenue official.
c) The Third Anglo-Mysore War took place after the death of
Haider Ali.
21 22
Page 5


Lord Cornwallis, a warrior-statesman, succeeded Warren
Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. He belonged to an influential
and aristocratic family which had wider political connections. He
was also a close friend of Prime Minister Pitt and of Dundas, the
most influential member of the Board of Control. He distinguished
himself as a remarkable soldier in the American War of Independence.
Although he surrendered at York Town in 1781 before the American
troops, his reputation was not spoiled. He still enjoyed the confidence
of the authorities at Home. After his return from
America he was offered the Governor-
Generalship in India.
Cornwallis was prompted by a strong
sense of public duty and enjoyed the respect as
well as the confidence of his fellow
countrymen.  The Parliament was prepared to
give him extraordinary legal powers to carry
out radical reforms in the administration of Bengal. It amended Pitt’s
India Act in 1786 so as enable him to overrule the decision of the
majority of his council, if necessary. The appointment of Cornwallis
was significant in one respect. A new tradition of choosing a person
from an aristocratic family for the post of  Governor-General was
initiated.  It was his good fortune that  he had an excellent team of
subordinates comprising John Shore, James Grant, and Sir William
Jones.  Although Cornwallis commenced his work under beneficial
circumstances, he had to carry out his policy with caution.
Tipu Sultan and the Third Mysore War (1790-92)
The Treaty of Mangalore (1784) exhibited the military strength
of Mysore, exposed English weaknesses and increased Tipu’s
strength. Like his father he wanted to eliminate the English from
India. His other designs were to wreak vengeance on the Nizam and
on the Marathas as they had betrayed his father during the hour of
need.
The chief causes for the Third Mysore War were:
1. Tipu Sultan strengthened his position by undertaking various
internal reforms. This created worries to the British, the Nizam
of Hyderabad and the Marathas.
2. Moreover, Tipu made attempts to seek the help of France and
Turkey by sending envoys to those countries.
3. He also expanded his territories at the cost of his neighbours,
particularly the Raja of Travancore, who was an ally of the
British.
4. In 1789, the British concluded a tripartite alliance with the
Nizam and the Marathas against Tipu.
LESSON 2
LORD CORNWALLIS (1786-1793)
Learning Objectives
Students will understand
1. The Third Mysore War and Tipu Sultan’s efforts to defeat the
British.
2. Administrative Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
3. Judicial Reforms.
4. Police and other reforms.
5. Achievements of Lord Cornwallis.
 
LORD CORNWALLIS 
15 16
War broke out in May 1790 between the
English and Tipu. It was fought in three phases.
The first phase commenced when Medows, the
Governor of Madras, initially directed the
campaign to invade Mysore but Tipu’s rapid
movements halted the progress of the English
troops and inflicted heavy losses on them. In the
meantime, Cornwallis himself assumed command
in December 1790. This was the beginning of
the second phase of the war. Marching from Vellore, he captured
Bangalore in March 1791, but Tipu’s brilliant strategies prolonged
the war and Cornwallis was forced to retreat to Mangalore due to
lack of provisions. The third phase of the war began when timely aid
from the Marathas with plenty of provisions helped him to resume
his campaign and marched against Srirangapattinam again. This time
Tipu was at a disadvantage.  Swiftly the English forces occupied the
hill forts near Srirangapattinam and seized it in February 1792. Tipu
Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the British.
The terms of the treaty were as follows:
(i) Tipu had to give up half his dominions.
(ii) He had to pay a war indemnity of three crore rupees
and surrender two of his sons as hostages to the English.
(iii) Both sides agreed to release the prisoners of war.
The Treaty of Srirangapattinam is a significant event in the
history of South India. The British secured a large territory on the
Malabar Coast. In addition they obtained the Baramahal district and
Dindugal. After this war, although the strength of Mysore had been
reduced, it was not extinguished. Tipu had been defeated but not
destroyed.
Reforms
The internal reforms of Cornwallis can be studied under three
main heads.
(i) Administrative reforms
(ii) Revenue reforms  or Permanent Settlement (given in
Lesson -7)
(iii) Judicial and other reforms
Administrative Reforms
The greatest work of Cornwallis was the purification of the
civil service by the employment of capable and honest public servants.
He aimed at economy, simplification and purity. He found that the
servants of the Company were underpaid. But they received very
high commissions on revenues. In addition to that they conducted
forbidden and profitable private trade in the names of relatives and
friends. Cornwallis, who aimed at cleansing the administration,
abolished the vicious system of paying small salaries and allowing
enormous perquisites. He persuaded the Directors of the Company
to pay handsome salaries to the Company servants in order that they
might free themselves from commercial and corrupting activities.
Further, Cornwallis inaugurated the policy of making
appointments mainly on the basis of merit thereby laying the
foundation of the Indian Civil Service. To cut down on extravagances,
he abolished a number of surplus posts. Another major reform that
Cornwallis introduced was the separation of the three branches of
service, namely commercial, judicial and revenue. The collectors,
the king-pins of the administrative system were deprived of their
judicial powers and their work became merely the collection of
revenue.
17 18
Tipu Sultan
Judicial Reforms
In the work of judicial reorganization, Cornwallis secured the
services of Sir William Jones, who was a judge and a great scholar.
Civil and criminal courts were completely reorganized.
1. At  the top of the judicial system, the highest civil and criminal
courts of appeal, namely Sadar Diwani Adalat and Sadar
Nizamat Adalat were functioning at Calcutta. Both of them
were presided over by the Governor-General and his Council.
2. There were four provincial courts of appeal at Calcutta, Dacca,
Murshidabad and Patna, each under three European judges
assisted by Indian advisers.
3. District and City courts functioned each under a European
judge. Every district was provided with a court. As already
stated, Cornwallis had taken away from the collectors of their
judicial powers and made them solely responsible for the
collection of revenue. As a result, District Judges were
appointed.
4. Indian judges or Munsiffs were appointed to all the courts at
the bottom of the judicial system.
In criminal cases, Muslim law was improved and followed. In
civil cases, Hindu and Muslim laws were followed according to the
religion of the litigants. In suits between Hindus and Muslims, the
judge was the deciding authority. Cornwallis was merciful by
temperament. He hated barbarous punishments and abolished those
like mutilation and trial by ordeal.
Cornwallis was better known as a law giver than as an
administrator. With the help of his colleague, George Barlow,
Cornwallis prepared a comprehensive code, covering the whole field
of administration’, judicial, police, commercial and fiscal. This Code
was based upon the principle of Montesquieu, “the Separation of
Powers”, which was popular in the West in 18
th
 century. In order to
curb undue exercise of authority Cornwallis made all officials
answerable to the courts.
Police Reforms
The effective implementation of judicial reforms required the
reorganisation of police administration. The District Judge controlled
the police. Each district was divided into thanas or police circles
each of which was about 20 square miles. It was placed under an
Indian officer called the daroga who was ably assisted by many
constables. However, the police organization was not effective. In
the words of Marshman, ‘the daroga enjoyed almost unlimited power
of extortion and became the scourge of the country”.
Other Reforms
Cornwallis reformed the Board of Trade which managed the
commercial investments of the Company. With the aid of Charles
Grant, he eradicated numerous abuses and corrupt practices. Fair
treatment was given to weavers and Indian workers. He increased
the remuneration for honest service.
Estimate of Cornwallis
Cornwallis, a blue-blooded aristocrat, was an ardent patriot.
He discharged his duties fearlessly, and his life was an embodiment
of ‘duty and sacrifice’. He perceived the danger of Tipu’s growing
power and curtailed it by boldly discarding the policy of
nonintervention. As an administrator, he consolidated the Company’s
position in India and started the tradition of efficient and pure
administration. Although there were defects in his Permanent
Settlement of Land Revenue, his administrative and judicial reforms
were solid achievements. He may be regarded the parent of the Indian
19 20
Administrative Service and founder of an efficient and clean system
of administration.
Sir John Shore (1793-98) succeeded Cornwallis as Governor
General and his administration was uneventful.
Learning Outcome
The students have learnt
1. The causes, course and results of the Third Mysore
War.
2. Changes made in the administrative machinery by
Cornwallis.
3. Judicial reforms and its importance.
4. Reorganization of police.
5. A general estimate on the administration of Lord
Cornwallis.
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. Lord Cornwallis introduced
(a) Mahalwari System
(b) Permanent Revenue Settlement
(c) Ryotwari System
(d) Jagirdari System
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. Lord Cornwallis prepared the law code with the help of his
colleague ……..
III. Match the following.
1. Tripartite Alliance a. 1784
2. Treaty of Srirangapattinam b. 1786
3. Treaty of Mangalore c. 1789
4. Amendment to Pitt’s India Act d. 1792
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Tipu Sultan concluded the Treaty of Srirangapattinam with the
French.
b) Daroga was a revenue official.
c) The Third Anglo-Mysore War took place after the death of
Haider Ali.
21 22
V. State whether the following statements are True or False.
1. The Treaty of Mangalore exposed the weakness of the
English.
2. During the time of Lord Cornwallis Hindu Law followed in
criminal cases.
VI. Write short notes (Any three points).
1. Treaty of Srirangapattinam.
2. Police Reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
VII. Answer briefly (100 words).
1. Discuss the causes for the Third Mysore War.
2. Write the judicial reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
VIII. Answer in detail (200 words).
1. Estimate the reforms of Lord Cornwallis.
“Cornwallis’ life was embodiment of duty and sacrifice” –
Justify.
23
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