was in no way shared by those acquainted with the actual facts. His former colleagues and subordinates in the government of India knew that the policy of refusing to sanction adoptions in the case of dependent native states had no connection with the mutiny, and that in the one case of annexation—that of Oudh—which may have had something to do with that military outbreak, it was not Dalhousie but the members of his council and the government at home who were responsible for the complete transfer of that state from native to British rule. When these charges were made, Dalhousie's state of health was such that it was impossible for him to defend himself, and it cannot be said that his former masters or the government of the day gave him that support which he might reasonably have expected. The policy of annexing dependent principalities owing to the failure of natural heirs was practically reversed by his successor, with the approval of the home government. In the meantime his physical sufferings were aggravated by distress of mind at the calamity in which India was involved, and at his inability to defend himself, or to aid by his advice and experience the measures which were taken to meet the crisis. He died on 19 Dec. 1860 at Dalhousie Castle, in the forty-ninth year of his age. He left two daughters, the younger of whom had shortly before his death married Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran. The elder, Lady Susan Ramsay, who was her father's close companion from the time she joined him in India, married after his death the Hon. Robert Bourke, brother of Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth earl of Mayo [q. v.] By a clause added to his will a few months before he died, he made over all his letters and private papers to the charge of his elder daughter, with instructions that at her death, or sooner if she should think fit, ‘all these and other documents bearing on the history of the Dalhousie family’ were to be delivered to the holder of the title of Dalhousie, with an injunction to let no portion of the private papers of his father or himself be made public until at least fifty years should have passed after his death.
Dalhousie ranks with the ablest of his predecessors in the government of India, and the brilliancy of his administration and the solid benefits conferred by it have not been equalled by that of any of his successors. While he extended the limits of British India by adding large provinces to the empire, his administrative achievements conferred on the country lasting benefits. To him India owes railways and telegraphs, the reform of the postal system, and the development of irrigation and road making. He removed imposts which shackled the internal trade of the country; did everything in his power to promote popular education; suppressed thuggism; successfully grappled with the crime of dacoity in British India and checked infanticide in the native states, while he improved the controlling machinery in some of the most important departments by substituting individual responsibility for the more dilatory and less effective system of boards and committees. He possessed in a remarkable degree some of the faculties which are most conducive to effective administration. He had a great capacity for work, and in that way set an invaluable example to those who worked under him. His despatches and minutes are models of official writing, dealing with every point of importance, meeting every objection that could possibly be raised, and invariably couched in language of the most transparent clearness. The labour he went through was enormous, but his work was never in arrears—the day's work was done in the day. He was an excellent judge of character. In placing John Lawrence in charge of the Punjáb, he enabled his successor to suppress the mutiny within a period far shorter than would have been possible had that province been placed in less efficient hands. By the members of his personal staff, and by others whose duties brought them into immediate contact with him, he was regarded with mingled sentiments of respect and affection. His relations with the members of his council were of the happiest kind. In that connection what was said by Lord William Bentinck regarding Sir Charles Metcalfe might have been said of Dalhousie, that ‘he never cavilled about a trifle and never yielded on a point of importance.’ To the court of directors he invariably paid the deference due to their position, and there never was a governor-general who received from that body a more thorough and cordial support. He was unquestionably a man of a masterful disposition and intolerant of opposition when satisfied that his own view was right. He was tenacious, at times perhaps over-tenacious, in maintaining his own authority, when any attempt was made to interfere in matters which he deemed to lie within his proper province. But when all is said, the fact remains that he was one of the greatest rulers, if not the greatest ruler, whom India has known.
There is a portrait, dated 1847, by Sir J. Watson Gordon in the National Portrait Gallery, London. A crayon drawing by George Richmond, R.A., belonged to Dalhousie's elder daughter.