The International Magazine/Volume 1/Issue 1/International Weekly Miscellany/George Cornewall Lewis
A work on The Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion has lately attracted much and apparently well-deserved attention in England. It is by George Cornewall Lewis, M.P. for Herefordshire, and Under Secretary of State for the Home Department. He is the eldest son of the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, Bart., M.P. for Radnor District, was born in London, in 1806, and received his school education at Eton, which he entered in 1819, and where he was a pupil of Doctor Hawtrey, the pres head master. The Illustrated London furnishes the following particulars of his subsequent career:
At Christmas, 1824, he left Eton, and the following year entered Christ Church, Oxford, where as a student he was one of the few who gave attention to modern languages, and especially German, from which, jointly with Mr. Tufnell, he translated Müller’s "Dorians." In 1828 he took his University degree as a first-class man in classics, and second-class in mathematics. In the same year he entered the Middle Temple, and in 1831 was called to the bar, and joined the Oxford Circuit. He had studied for the bar with no less diligence than at the University; but in consequence of weakness of the chest, was obliged, after his first circuit, to abandon the profession, in which, had health allowed him, his success was certain. In 1835 he was placed upon the commission of inquiry into the relief of the poor, (on the report of which was founded the Irish Poor-law,) and the state of the Church in Ireland; and afterward drew up an able report on the condition of the Irish in Great Britain. In 1836 he was appointed, with Mr. John Austin, a Commissioner to inquire into the Government of the Island of Malta, especially as to its tariff and expenditure. The Commission laid an elaborate report before Parliament, in accordance with the recommendations of which, such reductions were made as rendered the tariff of Malta one of the least restrictive in the world, and materially extended its trade; and they succeeded in establishing the freedom of the press in the island.
In January, 1839, Mr. Lewis was appointed a Poor-Law Commissioner, and held the office until July, 1847; when, determining to enter Parliament, he resigned, and was returned, with Mr. Joseph Bailey, Jr., and Mr. Francis Wegg Prosser, both Conservatives and Protectionist, without opposition, for Herefordshire. In November, 1847, he was appointed joint secretary of the Board of Control, with Mr James Wilson, M.P. for Westbury, and early in the following year made his first speech in the House, in opposition to a motion for the production of papers in the case of the lately deposed Rajah of Sattara. In April, 1848, Mr. Lewis was appointed Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, and was succeeded in the secretaryship of the Board of Control by the Hon. John E. Elliot, M.P. for Roxburghshire. In his in present office Mr. Lewis has served on the Smithfield Market Commission, appointed in November, 1849, which has just brought up its report; and upon that subject, the Irish Poor-Law, and Mr. Disraeli’s motion as to local burdens, has spoken in the House. Last year he brought forward a road bill to consolidate the management of highways, and dispose of the question of turnpike trusts and their advances. The bill was not proceeded with last session, and has again been brought forward this year, with reference, however, only to highways. Mr. Lewis has earned reputation as the translator of "Boukli’s Public Economy of Athens," which, as well as the "Dorians," has become a textbook, and passed through a second edition; and is known as author of an able essay on the "Use and Abuse of Political Terms," published in, 1832; on the "Origin and Formation of the Romance Languages," published in 1835; on "Local Disturbances in Ireland, and the Irish Church Question," in 1836; on the "Government of Dependencies," in 1841; and "On the Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion," in 1849.