Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Mangles, Ross Donnelly

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MANGLES, ROSS DONNELLY (1801–1877), chairman of the East India Company, born in 1801, was the son of James Mangles (d. September 1838) of Woodbridge, near Guildford, by his wife Mary, youngest daughter of John Hughes of Guildford. He was named after Admiral Sir Ross Donnelly [q. v. Suppl.], on whose ship his relative, James Mangles [q. v.], first served. He was educated at Eton and the East India Company's College at Haileybury. On 30 April 1819 he entered the Bengal civil service as a writer. He arrived in India in the following year, and on 28 Sept. 1821 he was appointed assistant to the secretary to the board of commissioners for the ceded and conquered provinces. In 1822 he was acting collector of government customs and town duties at Farukhabad, and on 12 June 1823 he was nominated assistant to the secretary to the board of revenue for the Lower Provinces and acting commissioner of the Sundarbans. On 26 Aug. 1825, during the first Burmese war, he became secretary to the commissioner of Pegu and Ava. On 21 April 1826 he was appointed deputy-secretary in the judicial and territorial departments. After a visit to England extending from April 1828 to November 1831, he became on 6 Dec. officiating junior secretary to the sadr board of revenue. On 3 April 1832 he was nominated deputy-secretary in the general department; on 22 Feb. 1833 magistrate and collector of Tipperah; on 1 July magistrate and collector of customs and land revenue at Chittagong; and on 4 Nov. magistrate and collector of Agra. On 13 May 1835 he was placed in the important post of secretary to the government of Bengal in the judicial and revenue departments. This office he continued to hold until his final return to England early in 1839. It was one of especial authority, because, during the absence of the governor-general, George Eden, earl of Auckland [q. v.], who was also, in accordance with custom, lieutenant-governor of Bengal, the administration of affairs of the province fell almost entirely into the hands of the secretary. So great was Mangles's influence, that the natives used to say that there were over them three English lords —'Lord Colvin [see John Russell Colvin], Lord Auckland, and Lord Mangles.' On 28 May 1838 he also filled the position of temporary member of the sadr board of revenue.

On his return to England he turned his attention to politics, and at the general election of 1841 he was returned to parliament on 1 July in the liberal interest for Guildford, a borough which his father had represented from 1831 till 1837. This seat he retained until 1858. He gained a high reputation in parliament as an authority on India matters. He was elected a director of the East India Company on 14 April 1847, and filled the post of chairman in 1857-8, when he was succeeded by Sir Frederick Currie [q. v.], the last chairman of the company. Mangles retired from parliament on his appointment, on 21 Sept. 1858, as a member of the council of India. This office he held until 1866, when he resigned his seat on account of advancing age. He died in London at 23 Montagu Street, Montagu Square, on 16 Aug. 1877. On. 16 Feb. 1830 he married Harriet, third daughter of George Newcome of Upper Wimpole Street. By her he had issue. His son, Ross Mangles, obtained the Victoria Cross for gallant conduct near Arrah in 1857 during the Indian mutiny.

Mangles was the author of:

  1. 'A Brief Vindication of the East India Company's Government of Bengal from the Attacks of Messrs. [Robert] Rickards and [John] Crawfurd' [q. v.], London, 1830, 8vo.
  2. 'Christian Reasons of a Member of the Church of England for being a Reformer,' London, 1840, 8vo.

He contributed several articles on Indian affairs to the 'Edinburgh Review.'

[Illustrated London News, 9 Oct. 1858 (with portrait); Times, 21 Aug. 1877; Ann. Reg. 1877, ii. 156; Dodwell and Miles's Bengal Civil Servants, 1839; Temple's Men and Events of my Time in India, 1882, p. 412.]

E. I. C.