Who was Sir George Barlow?

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Sir George Barlow

Until the arrival of Lord Morley Minto in 1807, Sir George Hilaro Barlow was the acting Governor-General of India after the death of Lord Charles Cornwallis in 1805. He is also known as the only governor-general to lose an area of British territory. Moreover, the Permanent Settlement was executed by Sir George Barlow which faced a lot of criticism all throughout India. 

What was the Early Life of Sir George Barlow?

Born on the 20th of January, 1763, George Hilaro Barlow was the 1st Baronet. On the 16th of April, 1789, he married the daughter of Burton Smith, Elizabeth with whom he had 15 children. In the year 1803, George Barlow let George Pratt Barlow, his kinsman into his house in India. Though, in 1816, his marriage was dissolved by the Act of Parliament. 

What did Sir George Barlow do in India?

In the year 1778, Sir George Barlow began working for the East India Company. He worked as the Board of Revenue’s secretary under Lord Cornwallis. Furthermore, 10 years after he joined the Company he implemented the Permanent Settlement in 1788. 

Also Read – Lord Wellesley: Background, Rule, Significant Events

What was the New Code of Regulation by Sir George Barlow?

The New Code of Regulation or the Cornwallis Code of 1793 was put together by Sir George Barlow.

  • Lord Cornwallis championed the cause of justice by implementing significant reforms. 
  • The official responsible for revenue collection was relieved of judicial responsibilities, and separate Civil and Criminal Courts were instituted at the district level. 
  • Additionally, provincial appellate courts were established in key locations such as Dacca, Calcutta, Murshidabad, and Patna. 
  • Lord Cornwallis addressed issues of bribery and corruption by increasing judges’ salaries, thus ultimately putting an end to the practice of using court funds for improper purposes.

Also Read – Lord Auckland: Life and Role in India

What were Lord Barlow’s Leadership Challenges during his Administration in Madras?

In 1796, Sir George Barlow assumed the role of chief secretary of the Supreme Government of Calcutta. Subsequently, in October 1801, he became a member of the Council. Sir George Barlow’s administrative journey continued when he was appointed as the President of Madras in 1807.

  • Sir George Barlow’s leadership which was previously effective in Bengal now proved unsuitable for the more democratic administration of Madras. 
  • He struggled with the disorderly and corrupt military department and faced challenges in exerting control over the army. The corruption within the military sector had a cascading impact on the civil service.
  • Despite these challenges, Sir George Barlow was determined to bring order to both the military and government in Madras.
  • He initiated efforts to punish those individuals deemed responsible for corruption thus striving to rectify the chaotic state of affairs during his tenure.

Also Read: What is the Difference between Governor-General and Viceroy

How did Lord Barlow’s Power come to an End?

Lord George Barlow’s attempts at reform proved unsuccessful due to the challenging influence of organised vested interests. A conflict ensued with top military and civil service officials thus leading to a rebellion within the army. Consequently, the court of directors had to recall him from Madras in 1813 to restore order.

Relevant Blogs

Lord CornwallisLord Curzon
Lord LansdowneLord Dalhousie
Lord CanningLord Amherst
Lord MacaulayLord Lytton
Lord Minto ILord William Bentinck
Lord Charles MetcalfeLord Irwin


When and why did Lord Barlow become the acting Governor-General of India?

From 1805, after the death of Lord Cornwallis till the arrival of Lord Minto in 1807, Lord George Barlow was the acting Governor-General of India. 

What was the Cornwallis Code?

The Cornwallis Code or the New Code of Regulation by Sir George Barlow sought to bring reformation in the existing reforms for the benefit of the British company. Lord Cornwallis addressed issues of bribery and corruption by increasing judges’ salaries, thus ultimately putting an end to the practice of using court funds for improper purposes. 

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