Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Edward Cornwallis


Cornwallis, Edward (1713-1776), governor of Nova Scotia (1749-52), was born in London, England, on February 22, 1713, the son of Charles, fourth Baron Cornwallis, and Lady Charlotte Butler, daughter of the Earl of Arran. He and his twin brother, who became archbishop of Canterbury, were appointed royal pages, when they were twelve years old, and both of them were aided by the influence of the court all their lives. In 1731 he joined the army, and he served until 1748, when he retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In May, 1749, he was appointed governor and captain-general of Nova Scotia, and was sent out to Nova Scotia with a company of 2,500 settlers. He remained governor of Nova Scotia for three years; and on his return to England in 1753, he left a flourishing little town, with three courts for the administration of the law, a body of militia, and several fortifications. His later military life was unfortunate, for he shared in the disgrace of Admiral John Byng at Minorca in 1756, and of General Sir John Mordaunt in Africain 1760, and only the influence of his friends saved him from dismissal. In 1762, he was appointed governor of Gibraltar ; and he held this office until his death there on January 23, 1776. He married in 1753 Mary (d. 1775), daughter of Viscount Townshend, and he had no children. See J. Macdonald, The Hon. Edward Cornwallis ( Nova Scotia hist. soc. coll., vol. xii).

[Consult the article on Cornwallis at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography]

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Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 133.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College