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Henry Hardinge

Henry HardingeBorn: 30-Mar-1785
Birthplace: Wrotham, Kent, England
Died: 24-Sep-1856
Location of death: South Park, Kent, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Military

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Governor-General of India, 1844-48

Military service: British Army (Field Marshal)

Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, British field marshal and governor-general of India, was born at Wrotham in Kent on the 30th of March 1785. After being at Eton, he entered the army in 1799 as an ensign in the Queen's Rangers, a corps then stationed in Upper Canada. His first active service was at the battle of Vimiera, where he was wounded; and at Corunna he was by the side of Sir John Moore when he received his death-wound. Subsequently he received an appointment as deputy quartermaster general in the Portuguese army from Marshal Beresford, and was present at nearly all the battles of the Peninsular War, being wounded again at Vittoria. At Albuera he saved the day for the British by taking the responsibility at a critical moment of strongly urging General Cole's division to advance. When peace was again broken in 1815 by Napoleon's escape from Elba, Hardinge hastened into active service, and was appointed to the important post of commissioner at the Prussian headquarters. In this capacity he was present at the battle of Ligny on the 16th of June 1815, where he lost his left hand by a shot, and thus was not present at Waterloo, fought two days later. For the loss of his hand he received a pension of 300; he had already been made a K.C.B., and Wellington presented him with a sword that had belonged to Napoleon. In 1820 and 1826 Sir Henry Hardinge was returned to parliament as member for Durham; and in 1828 he accepted the office of secretary at war in Wellington's ministry, a post which be also filled in Robert Peel's cabinet in 1841-44. In 1830 and 1834-35 he was chief secretary for Ireland. In 1844 he succeeded Lord Ellenborough as governor-general of India. During his term of office the first Sikh War broke out; and Hardinge, waiving his right to the supreme command, magnanimously offered to serve as second in command under Sir Hugh Gough; but disagreeing with the latter's plan of campaign at Ferozeshah, he temporarily reasserted his authority as governor-general. After the successful termination of the campaign at Sobraon he was created Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and of King's Newton in Derbyshire, with a pension of 3000 for three lives; while the East India Company yoted him an annuity of 5000, which he declined to accept. Hardinge's term of office in India was marked by many social and educational reforms. He returned to England in 1848, and in 1852 succeeded the duke of Wellington as commander-in-chief of the British army. While in this position he had the home management of the Crimean War, which he endeavored to conduct on Wellington's principles -- a system not altogether suited to the changed mode of warfare. In 1855 he was promoted to the rank of field marshal. Viscount Hardinge resigned his office of commander-in-chief in July 1856, owing to failing health, and died on the 24th of September of the same year at South Park near Tunbridge Wells. His elder son, Charles Stewart (1822-1894), who had been his private secretary in India, was the 2nd Viscount Hardinge; and the latter's eldest son succeeded to the title. The younger son of the 2nd Viscount, Charles Hardinge (b. 1858), became a prominent diplomat, and was appointed governor-general of India in 1910, being created Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.

    University: Eton College

    Governor-General of India (1844-48)
    UK Minister War Secretary (1841-44)
    UK Minister Chief Secretary for Ireland (1830)
    UK Minister War Secretary (1828-30)
    UK Member of Parliament Durham (1820, 1826)

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