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Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge: Wikis


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The Viscount Hardinge
30 March 1785–24 September 1856
Field Marshal Henry Hardinge
Place of birth Wrotham, Kent
Place of death Royal Tunbridge Wells
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1799 - 1856
Rank Field Marshal
Battles/wars Napoleonic Wars
First Anglo-Sikh War
Awards GCB
Other work Governor-general of India
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Member of Parliament

Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, GCB, PC (30 March 1785 – 24 September 1856) was a British field marshal and Governor-general of India.


Army career

Born at Wrotham in Kent and after attending Durham School he entered the British Army in 1799 as an ensign in the Queen's Rangers, a corps then stationed in Upper Canada.[1] 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 the latter was killed.[1] Subsequently he was appointed deputy-quartermaster-general in the Portuguese army and was present at many of the the battles of the Peninsular War.[1] At Albuera, in 1811, he saved the day for the British by taking the responsibility at a critical moment of strongly urging General Cole's division to advance.[1] He was wounded again at Battle of Vitoria in 1813.[1]

When war broke out again in 1815 after Napoleon's escape from Elba, Hardinge returned to active service.[1] He was present at the Battle of Ligny on June 16, 1815, where he lost his left hand by a shot, and thus was not present at Waterloo two days later.[1] Wellington presented him with a sword that had belonged to Napoleon.[1]

Political service

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 he also filled in Sir Robert Peel's cabinet in 1841-1844.[1] In 1830 and 1834-1835 he was chief secretary for Ireland.[1] In 1844 he succeeded Lord Ellenborough as governor-general of India.[1] During his term of office the first Sikh War broke out and Hardinge, waiving his right to the supreme command, offered to serve as second in command under Sir Hugh Gough.[1] After the successful termination of the campaign he was created Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and of King's Newton in Derbyshire.[1]


He returned to England in 1848, and in 1852 succeeded the Duke of Wellington as commander-in-chief of the British army.[1] While in this position he had responsibility for the direction of the Crimean War, which he endeavoured to conduct on Wellington's principles - a system not altogether suited to the changed mode of warfare.[1] In 1855 he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.[1]

A commission was set up to investigate the failings of the British military during the Crimean campaign.[1] As Hardinge was delivering the report of the commission to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he collapsed with a stroke.[1] Albert helped him to a sofa, where despite being paralysed on one side, he continued to deliver his report, apologizing for the interruption.[2] Viscount Hardinge resigned his office of commander-in-chief in July 1856, owing to failing health, and died later in the same year at South Park near Tunbridge Wells.[1]


In 1821 he married Lady Emily Jane, seventh daughter of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.[1] 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, Henry, succeeded to the title. The younger son of the 2nd Viscount, Charles Hardinge (b. 1858), became a prominent diplomatist, and was appointed Viceroy of India in 1910, being created Baron Hardinge of Penshurst.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Howlett, David J.. "Hardinge, Henry, first Viscount Hardinge of Lahore (1785–1856)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008). Retrieved 9 September 2009.  
  2. ^ Weintraub, Stanley (1997). Albert: Uncrowned King London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5756 9Weintraub, p.334
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Wharton
Michael Angelo Taylor
Member of Parliament for Durham
With: Michael Angelo Taylor
Succeeded by
Michael Angelo Taylor
Sir Roger Gresley
Preceded by
Charles Ross
James Loch
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Charles Ross
Succeeded by
Charles Ross
Winthrop Mackworth Praed
Preceded by
Jonathan Raine
John Doherty
Member of Parliament for Newport (Cornwall)
With: Jonathan Raine 1831
Viscount Grimston 1831–1832
constituency abolished
Preceded by
James Brogden
Sir John Malcolm
Member of Parliament for Launceston
Succeeded by
William Bowles
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Ward
Clerk of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir George Clerk, Bt
Preceded by
The Viscount Palmerston
Secretary at War
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Leveson Gower
Preceded by
Lord Francis Leveson-Gower
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Edward Smith-Stanley
Preceded by
Edward Littleton
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Viscount Morpeth
Preceded by
Thomas Macaulay
Secretary at War
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Fremantle
Preceded by
The Marquess of Anglesey
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
The Lord Raglan
Government offices
Preceded by
William Wilberforce Bird, acting
Governor-General of India
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dalhousie
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Viscount Hardinge
Succeeded by
Charles Hardinge
Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Wellington
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Succeeded by
The Duke of Cambridge

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.



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