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Moore, Robin James (1964) Sir Charles Wood's Indian Policy, 1853-1866. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Sir Charles Wood's presidency of the Board of Control (1853-1855) coincided with the dawning of an age of reform. Wood's Government of India Act reformed the Indian legislature, abolished the civil patronage and provided for establishing a law commission in England. Prompted by educationalists, Wood closed Haileybury College and opened the civil service to university graduates. Advised by reformers of long Indian experience, he issued his famous education despatch. Under pressure from the Manchester school, he prosecuted public works and railways vigorouslyland pursued a pacific diplomatic policy. As Secretary of State after the mutiny (1859-1866), Wood was faced with reconstructing the foundations of British rule. Regarding the reduction and improvement of the military forces as essential to financial and military stability, he demanded retrenchments and, though opposed by his Council and by Canning, abolished the Local European army. Partly to win the support of prominent Indians, he endorsed Canning's "conciliatory" policy - the "adoption despatch", the delegation of administrative functions to landlords, and the nomination of Indian legislative councillors. Seeking to avoid friction between Indians and English settlers, and having a Whiggish regard for liberty and property, he was concerned to safeguard civil rights and customary rights to land. He consolidated Britain's 121, and preserved Indians from exploitation, by exercising fully his overriding authority. However, he failed to provide adequately for social and economic regeneration. Though he favoured extending the permanent settlement and constructing irrigation works, his failure to establish a new and elastic source of revenue led him to retard these improvements. Again, his attachment to the doctrines of laissez-faire and self-help undermined his good intentions with regard to education and railways. His policy reflects many of the strengths and weaknesses of mid-Victorian Whiggery.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:32

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