Lord William Henry Cavendish Bentinck

14th Sep 1774 - 17th Jun 1839

Claimant or beneficiary

Biography

Army officer, diplomat, governor-general of India 1828-1835; appears in compensation records as incumbrancer of marriage settlement of Comte de Montalembert with Elizabeth Rosee [sic] Forbes.

Second son of William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, third duke of Portland (1738–1809), and Lady Dorothy Cavendish (1750–1794), only daughter of William Cavendish, fourth duke of Devonshire. His elder brother William became the 4th Duke of Portland and was the father of Lord George Bentinck (1802-1848).

He is best known for his overseeing a major period of social, economic, and political reform in India. Some have argued that these laid the foundations for modern India. However, assessments of his importance and the degree of his ideological coherence vary. But John Rosselli (J. Rosselli, Lord William Bentinck: the making of a liberal imperialist, 1774–1839 [1974]) argued that, as D. M. Peers has put it:

' . . .  there was a set of core ideas at work on Bentinck, which included a slow but steady transition from the whiggism of Edmund Burke to the constitutional liberalism of the mid-nineteenth century, a heady dose of evangelicalism, and a paternalistic view of society that justified the autocratic measures that imperial rule often required.'

Sources

T71/894 Trinidad No. 1684

Douglas M. Peers, ‘Bentinck, Lord William Henry Cavendish- (1774–1839)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004); online edn., accessed 26/09/2012. For the reforms see, for example, Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge University Press, 1997), ch. 2 ('Liberalism and empire').


Further Information

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Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (1)

£2,411 0S 0D
Unsuccessful claimant (Trustee)

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

Governor
India 
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Governor-general of...

Political (1)

MP
Whig 
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Camelford Cornwall
1796
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Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire
1796 - 1803
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Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire
1812 - 1814
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Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire
1816 - 1826
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King's Lynn Norfolk
1826 - 1828
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Glasgow Lanark
1836 - 1839