Lord Cornwallis (1786-93) :

Lord Cornwallis twice held the high post of governor general. His first tenure lasted from 1786 to 1793. For second time, he came to India in 1805, but died before he could do any wonders again.

Lord Cornwallis was the First English Nobleman to come to India to undertake the office of the Governor General and also the first of Parliamentary Governor Generals of India. He was also the First Governor General to die in India {during his second term}. Lord Cornwallis introduced a new revenue system under the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793 with a view to stabilize land revenue and create a loyal contented class of Zamindars. This abolished periodic auction of Zamindari rights and established permanent Zamindari rights to collect land revenue from the tenants and payment of a fixed amount to the Government treasury every year. During his tenure, doors of covenanted services were closed for Indians. He got the power of commutation of punishment. He defeated Tipu in third Anglo-Mysore war and signed Treaty of Srirangpatanam.

To “curb” the corruption in the company, Cornwallis was given sufficient powers and authorities. He put in place the rules and regulations for the servants of the company.

The next important change Cornwallis did was to set up courts in the states, districts and provinces. The Supreme Court of Calcutta was the final court of appeal.

The Cornwallis era is known for a very steep increase in litigation in India. The administrative reforms of Cornwallis were based upon the permanent settlement of revenue.

So far Police was under the Zamindars. It was taken away from Zamindars and handed over to the Superintendent of the Police at District level. The Police was Europeanized. They were now paid salary and given unlimited powers to arrest the suspected persons.

Lord Cornwallis retired in 1793, and was succeeded by Sir John Shore