Cecil Beadon

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Sir Cecil Beadon KCSI (1816–1880) was an English administrator in British India, serving as lieutenant-governor of Bengal from 1862 to 1866, when he was relieved of the post after a commission of inquiry.


He was the youngest son of Richard Beadon, and grandson of Richard Beadon, the bishop of Bath and Wells His mother was a sister of William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury. He was educated at Eton College and Shrewsbury School.

At the age of eighteen he was presented with an appointment to the Bengal civil service, which had been placed by the court of directors at the disposal of his uncle Lord Heytesbury, nominated as Governor-General of India in 1835 (by Robert Peel, but the nomination was cancelled by the fall of Peel's administration). Reaching India in 1836, Beadon spent time in district offices administration, and was serving as magistrate of Murshidabad when in 1843 he was appointed under-secretary to the government of Bengal. From that time his promotion was rapid. After filling posts in the revenue administration, he was selected in 1850 by James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie to represent the Bengal presidency on a commission on the postal system. He then held in succession the posts of secretary to the government of Bengal, secretary to the government of India in the home department, foreign secretary, member of the council of the governor-general (1860–2), and finally that of lieutenant-governor of Bengal (1862–6). He was backed by three Governors-General, Hardinge, Dalhousie who consulted him on internal administration, and Canning. During most of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Beadon was home secretary.

In Bengal, measures Beadon implemented in the Assam tea trade were held to have caused a slump, and the mission of Ashley Eden to Bhutan went badly, and was followed by the Bhutan war. The Orissa famine of 1866 found him absent from Calcutta for health reasons. The Governor-General, Sir John Lawrence did not overrule Beadon's view of the famine. The report of a commission of inquiry on the handling of the famine was unfavourable to Beadon, who left India and returned to England.

He died on 18 July 1880 in his sixty-fifth year.


He was twice married, first in 1837 to Harriet, daughter of Major R. H. Sneyd of the Bengal cavalry; and secondly in 1860 to Agnes, daughter of W. H. Sterndale. He left several children.

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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie, ed. (1885). "Beadon, Cecil". Dictionary of National Biography 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Further reading[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Peter Grant
Lieutenant-governor of Bengal
Succeeded by
Sir William Grey