George Edward Lynch Cotton

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George Edward Lynch Cotton (October 29, 1813October 6, 1866) was an English educator and churchman.

He was born at Chester. He received his education at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he joined the Low Church party, and was a close friend of several disciples of Thomas Arnold, including CJ Vaughan and WJ Conybeare. Arnold's influence determined the character and course of Cotton's life.

He graduated B.A. in 1836, and became an assistant master at Rugby School. Here he worked devotedly for 15 years, inspired with Arnold's spirit and heartily entering into his plans and methods. He became master of the fifth form in about 1840 and was singularly successful. In 1852 he accepted the appointment of headmaster at Marlborough College, then in a state of almost hopeless disorganization, and in his six years of rule made huge improvements. In 1858 Cotton was offered the see of Calcutta, which, after much hesitation, he accepted. He was well fitted to the responsibility by the simplicity and strength of his character, his large tolerance, and the experience he had gained as teacher and headmaster at Rugby and Marlborough. The government of India had just been transferred from the British East India Company to the crown, and questions of education were eagerly discussed.

Cotton gave himself energetically to the work of establishing schools for British and Eurasian children. He did much to improve the position of the chaplains, and was unwearied in missionary visitation. His sudden death was widely mourned. On October 6, 1866, he had consecrated a cemetery at Kushtea on the Ganges, and was crossing a plank leading from the bank to the steamer when he slipped and fell into the river. He was carried away by the current and never seen again.

A memoir of his life with selections from his journals and correspondence, edited by his widow, was published in 1871.

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