Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.
General John Burgoyne
February 24 1722 to August 4 1792
Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. I know that he seems to die on the very earliest part of the Regency but he was such a colorful character that I think he deserves to be remembered.
He might have been the illegitimate son of Lord Bingley, who was his godfather. His ‘father’ was Captain Burgoyne. He attended the Westminster School, as did Thomas Gage who he later served under. He made numerous friends there including Lord James Strange, son of the Earl of Derby. In 1737 Burgoyne purchased a commission n the prestigious and expensive Horse Guards. This is when he became known as Gentleman Johnny. In 1745 he was promoted to lieutenant, and in 1747 he was able to purchase a captaincy.
Having met his friend Strange’s sister, but not securing the good opinion of Lord Derby, he and Charlotte Stanley, eloped. Brugoyne had to sell his commission and live off the proceeds because the Earl cut them off. The new couple toured Europe since that was cheaper than living in England. Then with the birth of a daughter and the intercession of Lord Strange, there was a reconciliation with the Earl of Derby. John becoming a favorite of the Earl’s who now used his influence to help Burgoyne.
With the outbreak of the Seven Years War, Burgoyne returned to service and by 1758 he was a lieutenant colonel in the Coldstream Guards. During the war, Burgoyne was instrumental in introducing light cavalry into the British Army. In this, Burgoyne showed initiative which was sorely needed in the British Military establishment.
Now he began to sit for Parliament, and also serve in the army. In 1761 he sat for Midhurst, and in 1762 he served as a Brigadier-general in Portugal. In 1768 he sat for Preston and in 1772 he called for an investigation of the East India Company and its alleged widespread corruption. In 1775, the first play he wrote, The Maid of the Oaks was produced.
In the army he had the rank of Major-General and with the American War of Independence, he was given a command. In 1777, he was given a command that should have coordinated with General’s Howe and Clinton. Howe stayed put, a coward, and Clinton moved to slow to support Burgoyne. Even so, Burgoyne was successful at first, but overwhelming American forces under Gates caused Burgoyne to lose at Saratoga and he had to surrender his entire army. The American forces then broke the treaty of surrender that had been agreed to and imprisoned the army. It has taken many years to put the blame for the loss at Saratoga to the orders issued by Lord Germain, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. His orders allowed Howe and Clinton their chance to send Burgoyne to defeat, instead of to victory.
It took until 1782 for Burgoyne’s friend to see him restored and he was made commander in chief in Ireland then. He retired from public service coming out once more for the Impeachment of Warren Hastings. But in between he spent more time as a dramatist. He wrote The Heiress and assisted Richard Brinsley Sheridan with The Camp and several other plays and operas.
Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
John Phillip Kemble
Wellington (the Military man)
General Banastre Tarleton
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Sir Walter Scott
Sir Harry Smith
Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon (Lady Smith)
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Patronesses of Almacks
Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
Mrs. Drummond Burrell
Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador