Cotton, George Edward Lynch

Cotton, George Edward Lynch Anglican bishop of Calcutta and metropolitan of the Anglican dioceses of India and Ceylon, was born at Chester, England, Oct. 29, 1832. After studying at Westminster School and Trinity College, he was appointed to a mastership in Rugby School, and shortly after was elected to a fellowship at Trinity College. About 1841 he succeeded to the mastership of the fifth form, the highest but one. In 1852 he was elected head master of Marlborough College, which under his management rose to a high position among leading public schools. In 1858 he was appointed to the metropolitan see of Calcutta, where he rendered himself generally beloved. In 1863, with the full concurrence of the governor general, he officially sanctioned an innovation in the use of consecrated churches, which had often been desired, but never till then secured. Since the mutiny, several Scotch regiments have been stationed in the barracks of Upper India, and in many stations they have no churches of their own. Bishop Cotton ordered that at a convenient hour on the Sunday the Episcopal churches should be available for their worship, and that the Presbyterian clergyman should have full liberty to officiate after the rules of his own Church, to the great dissatisfaction of the High-Church party in the Church of England. In England strong measures were suggested in order to compel him to retract. But he knew that the measure was right in itself, that the law was on his side, and that his conduct was heartily approved by the Indian government and by all right-thinking men. In the same spirit, when the Marriage Bill was brought before the Legislative Council, to provide increased facilities for the marriage of Presbyterians and Nonconformists, and give to Nonconformist ministers and registrars powers which they do not possess in England itself, he gave the act his cordial approval. He was accidentally drowned while disembarking from a steamer, October 6, 1866. — Ann. Amer. Cyclopaedia for 1866, p. 261; Brit. Quart. Review, Jan. 1867.

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