Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax
|The Right Honourable
The Viscount Halifax
|Chancellor of the Exchequer|
6 July 1846 – 21 February 1852
|Prime Minister||Lord John Russell|
|Preceded by||Henry Goulburn|
|Succeeded by||Benjamin Disraeli|
20 December 1800|
Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England
|Died||8 August 1885
Hickleton Hall, Doncaster, England
|Spouse(s)||Lady Mary Grey (d. 1884)|
|Alma mater||Oriel College, Oxford|
Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, GCB, PC (20 December 1800 – 8 August 1885), known as Sir Charles Wood, 3rd Bt between 1846 and 1866, was a British Whig politician and Member of Parliament. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852.
A Liberal and Member of Parliament from 1826 to 1866, Wood served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord John Russell's government (1846–1852), where he opposed any further help for Ireland during the Great Famine there. The extreme parsimony of the British Government towards Ireland while Wood was in charge of the Treasury greatly enhanced the suffering of those affected by famine. Wood believed in the economic policy of Laissez-faire and preferred to leave the Irish to starve rather than 'undermine the market' by allowing in cheap imported seed.  Wood later served as President of the Board of Control under Lord Aberdeen (1852–1855), as First Lord of the Admiralty in Lord Palmerston's first administration (1855–1858), and as Secretary of State for India in Palmerston's second government (1859–1866). He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1846, and in 1866 he was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Halifax, of Monk Bretton in the West Riding of the County of York.
As the President of the Board of Control, Wood did a yeoman's job in spreading education in India when in 1854 he sent a despatch to Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General of India. It was recommended therein that:
- An education department was to be set in every province.
- Universities on the model of the London university be established in big cities such as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
- At least one government school be opened in every district.
- Affiliated private schools should be given grant in aid.
- The Indian natives should be given training in their mother tongue also.
In accordance with Wood's despatch, Education Departments were established in every province and universities were opened at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857 and in Punjab in 1882 and at Allahbad 1887.
Lord Halifax married Lady Mary, (3 May 1807 – 6 July 1884), 5th daughter of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, 29 July 1829 and had four sons and three daughters. Lady Halifax died in 1884. Lord Halifax survived her by just over a year and died in August 1885, aged 84. He was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Charles, who was the father of E. F. L. Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax. Children : Charles Lindley Wood, 2nd Viscount ; Francis Lindley Wood ; Capt R.N. Henry John Lindley Wood ; Lt Col. Fredrick George Lindley Meynell Wood ; Emily Charlotte Wood ; Alice Louisa Wood ; Blanche Edith Wood (1840 - 21 July 1921) married 21 Sept 1876, Col. Hon. Henry William Lowry-Corry (30 June 1845 – 6 May 1927).
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- Steele, David (May 2009). "Wood, Charles, first Viscount Halifax (1800–1885)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29865. Retrieved 21 June 2009. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Kinealy, Christine, This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52. Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 1994.
- Ó Gráda (Editor), Cormac, Famine 150: Commemorative Lecture Series. Teagasc / U.C.D., Dublin, 1997.
- Kinealy, Christine, A Death-Dealing Famine: The Great Hunger in Ireland. Pluto Press, London, 1997.
- Kinealy, Christine, 'Was Ireland a Colony? The Evidence of the Great Famine' in Terrence McDonough (Editor), Was Ireland A Colony?. Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 2005.
- Boyce, D. George, New Gill History of Ireland Vol. 5: Nineteenth Century Ireland. Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 2005.
- Hickey, D.J., and Doherty, J.E., A New Dictionary of Irish History from 1800. Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 2003.
- Ó Gráda, Cormac, Ireland's Great Famine: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. U.C.D., Dublin, 2006.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Halifax