Canning, Charles John, 1st Earl

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Canning, Charles John, 1st Earl (1812–62). Canning served as an under-secretary to Robert Peel and as postmaster-general to Lord Aberdeen before being appointed governor-general of India in 1856. His years in office were dominated by the Indian mutiny of 1857. At first, he stood firm against the entreaties of several of his lieutenants to appease the rebels and declare an amnesty. He recalled an army from China and insisted on military reconquest. Afterwards he resisted demands for widespread vengeance and bloodshed, earning the nickname ‘Clemency Canning’. His post-mutiny policies centred on reorganizing the army and promoting the loyalty of Indians to Britain. He founded the first Indian universities, passed tenancy legislation, guaranteed the continuity of princely states, and banned interference in Indian religion and custom. Following the abolition of the East India Company in 1858, he became the first viceroy of India. Ill-health led him to resign from office in 1862.

David Anthony Washbrook

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