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Clerk, George Russell (DNB01)

CLERK, Sir GEORGE RUSSELL (1800–1889), Indian civilian, born at Worting House in Hampshire, was the eldest son of John Clerk of Worting House, by his wife, the daughter and coheiress of Carew Mildmay of Shawford House, Hampshire. He was educated at Haileybury College, and entered the service of the East India Company as a writer on 30 April 1817. On 20 Aug. 1819 he became assistant to the magistrate of the suburbs of Calcutta, and in 1820 assistant in the office of the superintendent of stamps. On 30 June he was transferred to Nuddea as assistant to the magistrate, judge, and registrar, and on 13 Nov. he became first assistant to the secretary to the government in secret and political departments. On 28 Nov. 1821 he was nominated second assistant to the resident in Rajputana. On 13 March 1824 he visited England on leave, returning in 1827, and on 17 Aug. was appointed first assistant to the resident at Delhi. On 28 June 1831 he was made political agent at Ambala, and then became in succession British envoy at Lahore, where he played a distinguished part, and on 11 Nov. 1846 governor of Bombay. He resigned the last office early in 1848, and, returning to England, was created K.C.B. on 27 April 1848. He declined the governorship of the Cape of Good Hope, but in 1853 undertook the duties of a commissioner for settling the boundary of the colony and arranging for the establishment of independence in the Orange Free State, and in 1854 handed over the government of the Orange Free State to a convention of Boers. In 1856 he was nominated permanent undersecretary to the India board, on the reconstruction of the India administration, in 1857 he became secretary of the India board, and in 1858 permanent under-secretary of state for India to Lord Stanley and Sir Charles Wood (afterwards first Viscount Halifax) [q. v.] On 23 April 1860 he was a second time nominated governor of Bombay, but he resigned in April 1862 in consequence of ill-health. He was succeeded by his warm friend Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere [q. v.], and on 14 Dec. 1863 was appointed a member of the Indian council. On the establishment of the order of the Star of India on 25 June 1861 he was made a knight, and on its extension on 24 May 1866 he was nominated G.C.S.I. He died in London on 25 July 1889 at his residence, 33 Elm Park Gardens. He married Mary (d. 26 Nov. 1878), widow of Colonel Stewart.

[Times, 27 July 1889; Men of the Time, 1887; Dodwell and Miles's Bengal Civil Servants, 1839; Statesman and Friend of India, 4 Feb. 1888; Roberts's Forty-one Years in India, 1897, i. 440; Martineau's Life of Frere, 1895; Noble's South Africa, 1877, pp. 156-62.]

E. I. C.