Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LEWIS , Sir GEORGE CORNEWALL ( 1806 - 1863 ), statesman ;

b. in London , 21 April 1806 , the elder son of ( Sir ) Thomas Frankland Lewis (q.v.) . He was educated at Eton and Christ Church , Oxford , and was called to the Bar in 1831 . He acted on various Government commissions of enquiry , and, in 1839 , succeeded his father as Poor Law commissioner . He was largely responsible for the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1841 . When the Poor Law Board was established in 1847 (a step of which he approved), his office lapsed. He immediately entered Parliament as M.P. for Herefordshire in 1847 (and held three minor offices), but he lost his seat in 1852 . He then became editor of The Edinburgh Review ( 1852-5 ). On his father's death he succeeded him as M.P. for Radnor boroughs , and at once became chancellor of the exchequer in Palmerston 's first administration ( 1855-8 ). In Palmerston 's second administration ( 1859-65 ) he was successively home secretary and secretary of State for war . He d. at Harpton Court on 13 April 1863 , aged 56. His numerous writings are fully listed in D.N.B. Walter Bagehot spoke of his career as ‘ the most rapid political rise of our time .’


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • G. F. Lewis (ed.), Letters of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, bart., to various friends (London, 1870) , 1870 ;
  • S. Webb and B. Webb , English Poor Law History I. The old Poor law. - II. The last hundred years (London, New York, 1927-29) , Part II, The Last Hundred Years , 1927.


Emeritus Professor David Williams, D.Litt., (1900-78), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959