Biography of Charles Cornwallis

Discover your
family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

choose a state:
Start Now

Charles Cornwallis, son of the first Earl of Cornwallis, was born in Suffolk on the 31st of December, 1738. He was educated at Westminster and St. John’s College, Cambridge. He entered the army in 1759, and succeeded to the title and estates of his father in 1761. He was the most competent and energetic of all the British generals sent to America during the Revolution, but the cruelties exercised by his orders on a few occasions, have left an indelible stain upon his character. It was in pursuance of one of his orders, issued soon after the battle of Camden, that the unfortunate Colonel Isaac Hayne was executed by that tyrannical British officer, Lord Rawdon. Notwithstanding this cruel tragedy, which might have resulted otherwise had he been present, Cornwallis possessed some fine traits of character, had an amiable disposition, was greatly beloved by his men, and was bitterly opposed to “house-burning” when the fortunes of war were in his favor. In 1770, he and three other young peers, joined Lord Camden in protesting against the taxation of the American colonies. Mansfield, the Chief Justice, is said to have sneeringly remarked: “Poor Camden could only get four boys to join him.” Although opposed to the course of the British Ministry, yet, when hostilities commenced, he did not refuse to accept active employment against America. Soon after the war he was appointed Governor-General of the East Indies, which position he held for six years. During that time, he conquered the renowned Tippoo Sultan, for which service he was created a marquis and master of the ordnance. He was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1798 to 1801, and was instrumental in restoring peace to that country, then distracted by rebellion. He signed the treaty of Amicus in 1802, and in 1804 was again appointed Governor General of India. On his arrival at Calcutta, his health failed and he died at Ghazepore on the 5th of October, 1805, aged sixty-seven years.

MLA Source Citation:

Hunter, C. L. Sketches of Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical. 1877. Web. 30 January 2015. - Last updated on Aug 4th, 2012



Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.

Connect With Us!

Pin It on Pinterest


Share This

Share this post with your friends!