Lord Cornwallis as Governor-General (1786-93)The first Governor-General under the new Act was Lord Cornwallis (the same Cornwallis who had surrendered at Yorktown in 1781). He held office between 1786 and 1793 representing the British government and answerable to the Board of Control. He was able to defy the mercenary interests of the East India Company when they conflicted with state policy.
- Cornwallis suspended the whole Board of Revenue for irregularities and enforced the new rules against private trade. He insisted on the company providing generous salaries in its place.
- He then reorganised the whole administration. From then on, a Company servant could join either the commercial or political branch of the East India Company, but not both. As a merchant, a man could still trade on his own account; as an official he had to be content with a large salary. This was the beginning of the Civil Service as known in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the end of the company's commercial activities.
- Cornwallis' next major measure was the Europeanisation of the services. All high Indian officials were dismissed and all posts worth more than £500 a year were reserved for Europeans.
- He also settled the revenue and land system of Bengal by giving the tax-farmers ten-year contracts.
- A third major reform was in the legal sphere. North's Regulating Act had introduced a Supreme Court which administered British law (to the confusion of Indian litigants who did not understand British law). Cornwallis took over criminal administration from the Indians and pruned the Muslim criminal code of some of its less humane features. The consequence was that the Indian legal code became one of the most enlightened in the world and was much more humane than the English system.