Bentinck, Lord William
(1774–1839)
   Governor General of India from 1828 to 1835, Lord William Bentinck was the second son of the Duke of Portland, leader of the so-called Portland Whigs and effectively Prime Minster in the Ministry of the All the Talents (1807–1809). As a young man, he was commissioned in the army, and was in and out of Parliament for a family-controlled seat between 1796 and 1826. Family influence saw him appointed Governor of Madras from 1803 to 1807.
   On his return from India, Bentinck commanded a brigade with credit under Sir John Moore at Corunna. Appointed ambassador to Sicily in 1811, he became an enthusiast for Italian nationalism, in line with his inherited Whig principles, eventually being recalled in 1815 under Austrian pressure. Appointed Governor General of India by his old ally Canning, Bentinck served from 1828–1835. In India, he focused on reducing expenditure and enhancing revenues. He abolished suttee and waged war against the thugs. He also made English the official language of government and was lauded by Macaulay for having aimed to “elevate the intellectual and moral character of the nations committed to his charge.”
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Boulger, Demetrius C. Lord William Bentinck. Oxford: Clarendon, 1897.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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