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edward robert b. lytton lytton

Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton

Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton GCB GCSI GCIE PC (8 November, 183124 November, 1891) was an English statesman and poet. He served as Viceroy of India during the Great Famine of 1876–78. His uncompromising implementation of Britain's trading policy is blamed for the severity of the famine, which killed up to 10 million people. He worked as a poet under the pen name of Owen Meridith.

Life account

He was a son of novelists Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton and Rosina Doyle Wheeler. He was educated at Harrow School and at the University of Bonn. When eighteen years old, he went to the United States as private secretary of his uncle, Sir Henry Bulwer, who was Minister at Washington, DC.

When twenty-five years old, he published in London a volume of poems under the name of Owen Meredith. He went on to publish several other volumes under the same name. The most popular one is "Lucile", a story in verse published in 1860.

He was later secretary at different courts in Europe and Minister to Portugal and France. From 1876 to 1880 he was Viceroy and Governor-General of India. Lytton's tenure as Viceroy coincided with one of the worst recorded famines, and his uncompromising implementation of British Colonial Policy was a factor in its severity.

He succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Lytton in 1873, and in 1880 was created Viscount Knebworth, of Knebworth in the County of Hertford, and Earl of Lytton, in the County of Derby.

Marriage and children

On October 4, 1864 Lytton married Edith Villiers. She was a daughter of Edward Ernest Villiers (1806–1843) and Elizabeth Charlotte Liddell.

Her paternal grandparents were George Villiers and Theresa Parker. Her maternal grandparents were Thomas Liddell, 1st Baron Ravensworth and his wife Maria Susannah Simpson.

George Villiers was a son of Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon and Charlotte Capell. Theresa Parker was a daughter of John Parker, 1st Baron Boringdon and his second wife Theresa Robinson. Maria Susannah Simpson was a daughter of John Simpson and Anne Lyon.

Charlotte Capell was a daughter of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex and Lady Jane Hyde. Theresa Robinson was a daughter of Thomas Robinson, 1st Baron Grantham and Frances Worsley. Anne Lyon was a daughter of Thomas Lyon, 8th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and Jean Nicholsen.

Lady Jane Hyde was a daughter of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon and Jane Leveson-Gower.

They had at least seven children:

Career as Viceroy

In 1877, Lord Lytton convened a durbar (imperial assembly) in Delhi which was attended by around 84,000 people including princes and title holders. In 1878, he promulgated the Vernacular Press Act, which empowered him to confiscate the press and paper of a local language newspaper publishing 'seditious material'. The resulted in public outcry in Calcutta led by the Indian Association.

Indian Famine

Lord Lytton arrived as Viceroy of India in 1876. In the same year, a famine broke out in south India which claimed between 6.1 million and 10.3 million people.

While some Historians claim the famine was due to natural causes and thus the British Government bore no responsibility, some British and American historians recently argued the famine was man-made due to Lytton's policies.

Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878–1880

In 1876, Lytton sent an emissary to Afghanistan who was refused entry. In 1878, he ordered an invasion which not only failed in its objective, but whose costs (and brutality) became a major issue in the defeat of Disraeli's Conservative government by Gladstone's Liberals in 1880 . Lytton resigned with Disraeli.

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