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Definition: Cornwallis, Charles, 1st Marquess from Philip's Encyclopedia

British general and statesman. In 1778 he became second in command of British forces in the American Revolution. His surrender at the Siege of Yorktown (1781) signalled the end of the war. As governor general of India (1786-93, 1805), he reformed the civil service and defeated Tipu Sahib of Mysore. Cornwallis resigned as viceroy of Ireland (1798-1801) after George III refused to accept the Act of Catholic Emancipation.


Summary Article: Cornwallis, Charles, 1st Marquis and 2nd Earl from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

British general in the American Revolution until 1781, when his defeat at Yorktown led to final surrender and ended the war. He then served twice as governor-general of India and once as viceroy of Ireland. He succeeded to the earldom in 1762, and was made a marquis in 1792.

Cornwallis was educated at Eton and Clare College, Cambridge. He joined the army, and in 1761 served on his first campaign, in Germany. He was made constable of the Tower in 1770. During the American Revolution, before his comprehensive defeat at Yorktown, he won victories over General Gates at Camden in 1780 and General Greene at Guilford in 1781. From 1786 onwards, while serving governor-general of India, he instituted many reforms and pacified the country. After capturing Bangalore in 1791 and concluding a treaty with Britain's main adversary Tipu Sahib, he returned to England in 1793. In 1798 he was appointed viceroy of Ireland, where he succeeded in subduing the rebellion led by Wolfe Tone; however, he resigned in 1801 because of the King's refusal to support prime minister William Pitt the Younger's proposal for Catholic emancipation. The following year, he was Britain's chief representative when the Peace of Amiens was concluded with France. In 1805 he was again sent to India, to replace Lord Wellesley as governor-general, but died at Ghazipur.

Ireland In June 1798, Cornwallis was given the unique position of joint viceroy and commander-in-chief in Ireland. His first task was to complete the suppression of the Rebellion of 1798, which he accomplished with noticeably more mercy towards the beaten rebels than his predecessor, the British general Gerard Lake (1744–1808). His main object as viceroy was to secure legislative union between Ireland and Britain. Cornwallis, like the British prime minister William Pitt, wanted Catholic emancipation to accompany union. This, allied with his leniency with the defeated United Irishmen, earned him the contempt of Irish loyalists and yeomen, who dubbed him ‘Croppywallis’ (Croppy being a derogatory term for a United Irishman). Cornwallis resigned in 1801 when George III refused to allow emancipation to accompany union. After Robert Emmet's insurrection in 1803 there was a move to bring him back to Ireland solely as commander-in-chief, but this was ruled out as too politically sensitive. In 1805 he was sent back to India to resume the governorship but died before he could take up the post.

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