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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Ootacamund: Photo 40

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Governor Lushington had been briefly in India as a young man, but had then returned to London and begun a career in politics. As a Tory member in the Commons, his career was not glorious: an official history records that "of course, [he] voted with his colleagues on all major issues.... He was not an able speaker and was sometimes inaudible in the reporters' gallery. He rarely spoke at any length...." Lushington found himself in debt and concluded that a return to India as a presidency governor would be a smart move. It took some years to wangle it, but he succeeded. The official record continues that "his administration of Madras was not satisfactory to the government at home, especially because he... spent too much of his time trying to establish a British colony in the Nieilgherry [sic] Hills." The harsh judgment may be fair, but it's hard not to sympathize with Lushington. Bishop John Matthias [Turner] came to India late, when he was 43. At the start of his outbound journey, he wrote to a friend that "I believe myself to be in the path of duty." In Calcutta he badgered the British community to attend Sunday services. He then undertook a trip through India, including the visit recorded here. He returned to Calcutta in "the most exhausting heat and fatigue." People noted that "the Bishop returned to us not in a good state of health." It was an understatement: he bishop promptly died, "another victim to the fatal climate of India." He had not yet completed his second year in office.


The Annual Biography and Obituary, 1833, pp. 258-72.

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