Posts Tagged ‘Charles Grey 2nd Earl Grey’

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.

John Ponsonby 1st Viscount Ponsonby
1770 – 22 February 1855


John Ponsonby

John Ponsonby 1st Viscount Ponsonby, was the eldest son of the 1st Baron Ponsonby, and brother of Sir William Ponsonby, was born about 1770. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Irish House of Commons for Tallow between 1793 and 1797. Elected in 1798 for both Banagher and Dungarvan, he elected to sit for the latter from 1798 to the Act of Union in 1800/01. He then represented Galway Borough in the United Kingdom House of Commons until 1802.

On the death of his father on 5 November 1806, he succeeded him as Baron Ponsonby, and for some time held an appointment in the Ionian Islands. On 28 February 1826 he went to Buenos Aires as envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary until 1828 and moved then to Rio de Janeiro in the same capacity. An exceptionally handsome man, he was sent, it was reported, to South America by George Canning to please George IV, who was envious of the attention paid him by Lady Conyngham.

Once there he greatly fostered the creation of a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil to the benefit of British commerce: Uruguay. In 1830, he was entrusted with a special mission to Belgium on 1 December 1830, in connection with the candidature of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg to the throne, and remained in Brussels until Leopold was elected king on 4 June 1831. His dealings with this matter were adversely criticised in ‘The Guet-à-Pens Diplomacy, or Lord Ponsonby at Brussels, …’ London, 1831. But Lord Grey eulogised him in the House of Lords on 25 June 1831.

Thus, as a diplomat, he was sent twice by the British Empire to promote the instauration of buffer states to protect its interests, Uruguay and Belgium, both of which survive to this very day, still deeply similar to their bigger neighbours. In addition to this, Ponsonby was envoy to Naples from 8 June to 9 November 1832, ambassador at Constantinople from 27 November 1832 to 1841, and ambassador at Vienna from 10 August 1846 to 31 May 1850.

Through Lord Grey, who had married his sister Mary Elizabeth, he had great influence, but his conduct as an ambassador sometimes occasioned embarrassment to the ministry. He was, however, a keen diplomatist of the old school, a shrewd observer, and a man of large views and strong will. He was gazetted G.C.B. on 3 March 1834, and created Viscount Ponsonby, of Imokilly in the County of Cork on 20 April 1839.

The viscount had married, on 13 January 1803, Elizabeth Frances Villiers, fifth daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Jersey. She died at 62 Chester Square, London, on 14 April 1866, having had no issue. Ponsonby published ‘Private Letters on the Eastern Question, written at the date thereon,’ Brighton, 1854, and died at Brighton on 21 February 1855. The viscounty thereupon lapsed, but the barony devolved on his nephew William, son of Sir William Ponsonby.

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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.

Maurice Berkeley 1st Baron FitzHardinge
3 January 1788 – 17 October 1867


Maurice Berkeley

Maurice Berkeley 1st Baron FitzHardinge was born the illegitimate son of Frederick Berkeley, 5th Earl of Berkeley and Mary Berkeley (née Cole), Berkeley entered the Royal Navy in June 1802. Promoted to lieutenant on 9 July 1808, he joined the fifth-rate HMS Hydra on the east coast of Spain and then commanded gunboats on the Tagus, reinforcing the Lines of Torres Vedras, in Autumn 1810 during the Peninsular War. Promoted to commander on 19 December 1810, he was given command of the sixth-rate HMS Vestal. After being promoted to captain on 7 June 1814 and, having brcome a Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex on 18 June 1824, he took command of the fifth-rate HMS Semiramis, flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Cork in May 1828.

Entering politics, Berkeley became Whig Member of Parliament for Gloucester in the 1831 general election. He resigned his seat in April 1833 following his appointment as Fourth Naval Lord in the Grey ministry that month and remained in office until December 1834. He successfully became Member of Parliament for Gloucester again at the 1835 general election but, although he secured his old job as Fourth Naval Lord back again in the Second Melbourne ministry in July 1837, he was defeated at the 1837 general election. He remained in office as Fourth Sea Lord but became concerned over reductions in manning and resigned in March 1839.

Returning to sea, Berkeley was given command of the second-rate HMS Thunderer in January 1840 and served on the coast of Syria taking part in the capture of Acre in November 1840 during the Oriental Crisis. For this he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath and received the Naval Gold Medal.
At the 1841 general election Berkeley returned to Parliament as Member for Gloucester again and, while still serving in Parliament, he became the Third Naval Lord in the First Russell ministry in July 1846. He was also appointed a Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen on 17 November 1846. He went on to be Second Naval Lord in the same ministry in December 1847 and, having been promoted to the rank of rear-admiral on 30 October 1849, he briefly became First Naval Lord in the same ministry in February 1852 but left office when the Government fell from power the following month. He became Second Naval Lord in the Aberdeen ministry in January 1853 and First Naval Lord in the same ministry in June 1854. As First Naval Lord he focussed on manning the fleet and in carrying out reforms and improvements in the food, clothing, and pay of seamen. Having been advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 5 July 1855, become a member of the Privy Council on 13 August 1855 and been promoted to vice-admiral on 21 October 1856, he lost his seat in Parliament at the 1857 general election and resigned as First Naval Lord suffering from ill health in November 1857.

On 26 February 1861, after inheriting his brother’s estates, Berkeley unsuccessfully claimed the Barony of Berkeley as being one by tenure of Berkeley Castle. He was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 28 June 1861 and was created Baron FitzHardinge, of the city and county of Bristol on 3 August 1861. He was promoted to full admiral on 15 January 1862 and died at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire on 17 October 1867.

In 1823 Berkeley married Lady Charlotte Lennox, daughter of Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond; after his first wife died he married Lady Charlotte Moreton, daughter of Thomas Reynolds-Moreton, 1st Earl of Ducie in 1834.

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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.

William Charles Keppel 4th Earl of Albemarle
14 May 1772 – 30 October 1849


William Charles Keppel

William Charles Keppel 4th Earl of Albemarle was the only child of General George Keppel, 3rd Earl of Albemarle, and Anne, daughter of Sir John Miller, 4th Baronet. He succeeded in the earldom in October 1772, aged five months, on the early death of his father. He was educated at St John’s College, Cambridge.

On the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806, Lord Albemarle was appointed Master of the Buckhounds by Lord Grenville. Thereby he became an officer in the Master of the Horse’s department in the Royal Household and also the equivalent of today’s Representative of Her Majesty at Ascot. The Mastership of the Buckhounds being a political office, the holder changed with every government and because the Earl’s patrons fell in March 1807 he lost his position after only one year. He remained out of office until 1830 when he was sworn of the Privy Council and made Master of the Horse by Lord Grey which was the third ranking officer at court (after the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward). He continued in this office until November 1834, the last few months under the premiership of Lord Melbourne, and held the same post under Melbourne between 1835 and 1841. Consequently he was responsible for managing all matters equine at the changeover from one reign to the next and, in particular, at Queen Victoria’s Coronation. The Earl was accorded the honour of travelling to Westminster Abbey inside the Gold State Coach with the nineteen-year-old, and as yet unmarried Victoria, who recorded in her diary:

“At 10 I got into the State Coach with the Duchess of Sutherland and Lord Albemarle…It was a fine day, and the crowds of people exceeded what I have ever seen; their good humour and excessive loyalty was beyond everything, and I really cannot say how proud I feel to be the Queen of such a nation”.

In addition to managing the bloodstock of two successive Heads of State, when the horse was still a main mode of transport, the 4th Earl of Albemarle was also a leading racehorse owner of his day. As an owner, William Charles won two Classics (the 1000 Guineas in 1838 with Barcarolle and the 2000 Guineas in 1841), and the Ascot Gold Cup three times (with two different horses) in 1843, 1844, and 1845. The second Gold Cup win, in 1844, was by a colt which the Earl had not yet named. One of the witnesses of this triumph, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, let William Charles know how excited he had been by the race, and the Earl promptly named his horse “The Emperor” in honour of the distinguished Russian visitor. In 1845, when “The Emperor” won the Gold Cup (now renamed The Emperor’s Plate) again the Earl received a massive silver centrepiece paid for by the Tsar as the race prize based on Falconet’s well known sculpture of Peter the Great in St Petersburg, the base flanked by Russian equestrian troops. William Charles’s horses were also victorious in the 1840s in the Cesarevitch and Cambridgeshire major handicaps run at Newmarket.
In 1833 he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Hanoverian Order.

Lord Albemarle married, firstly, the Hon. Elizabeth Southwell, daughter of Edward Southwell, 20th Baron de Clifford, on 9 April 1792. They had eleven children:

  • William Keppel, Viscount Bury (1793 – 1804), died young.
  • Augustus Frederick Keppel, 5th Earl of Albemarle (1794 – 1851), who married Frances Steer. No issue.
  • Lady Sophia Keppel (c. 1798 – 1824), married Sir James Macdonald, 2nd Baronet and had issue.
  • George Thomas Keppel, 6th Earl of Albemarle (1799 – 1891), through whom is descended Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
  • Reverend Hon. Edward Southwell Keppel (1800 – 1883), Dean of Norwich, married Lady Maria, daughter of Nathaniel Clements, 2nd Earl of Leitrim.
  • Lady Anne Amelia Keppel (1803 – 1844), married Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, through whom is descended Sarah, Duchess of York; married, secondly, Edward Ellice.
  • Lady Mary Keppel (1804 – 1898), married Henry Frederick Stephenson, MP, and had issue.
  • Admiral Hon. Sir Henry Keppel (1809 – 1904), married Katherine Crosby and had issue.
  • Reverend Hon. Thomas Robert Keppel (1811 – 1863), married Frances Barrett-Lennard, daughter of Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 1st Baronet and had issue.
  • Lady Caroline Elizabeth Keppel (1814 – 1898), married the Very Reverend Thomas Garnier and had issue.
  • Lady Georgiana Charlotte (d. 1854), married William Henry Magan.

After his first wife’s death in November 1817, aged 41, Lord Albemarle married, secondly, Charlotte Susannah, daughter of Sir Henry Hunloke, 4th Baronet, on 11 February 1822. This marriage was childless. He died at Quidenham, Norfolk, in October 1849, aged 77, and was succeeded in the earldom by his second but eldest surviving son, Augustus.

The Dowager Countess, Charlotte Susannah, was nicknamed the “Rowdy Dow” by her stepchildren, who accused her of squandering the family’s fortune. In the words of one biographer: “[She] managed to disperse Keppel heirlooms with extravagant eccentricity.” The Dowager Countess of Albemarle died at Twickenham, London, in October 1862, aged 88.

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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.

Henry Brougham 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
19 September 1778 – 7 May 1868


Henry Brougham

Henry Brougham 1st Baron Brougham and Vauxwas born and grew up in Edinburgh, the eldest son of Henry Brougham, of Brougham Hall in Westmorland, and Eleanora, daughter of Reverend James Syme. The Broughams had been an influential Cumberland family for centuries. Brougham was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh, where he chiefly studied natural science and mathematics, but also law. He published several scientific papers through the Royal Society, notably on light and colours and on prisms, and at the age of only 25 was elected a Fellow. However, Brougham chose law as his profession, and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1800. He practised little in Scotland, and instead entered Lincoln’s Inn in 1803. Five years later he was called to the Bar. Not a wealthy man, Brougham turned to journalism as a means of supporting himself financially through these years. He was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Review and quickly became known as its foremost contributor, with articles on everything from science, politics, colonial policy, literature, poetry, surgery, mathematics and the fine arts.

In the early 19th century, Brougham, a follower of Newton, launched anonymous attacks in the Edinburgh Review against Thomas Young’s research that proved light was a wave phenomenon that exhibited interference and diffraction. Another example of Lord Brougham’s scientific incompetence is his attack against Sir William Herschel (1738–1822).

The success of the Edinburgh Review made Brougham a man of mark from his first arrival in London. He quickly became a fixture in London society and gained the friendship of Lord Grey and other leading Whig politicians. In 1806 the Foreign Secretary, Charles James Fox, appointed him secretary to a diplomatic mission to Portugal, led by James St Clair-Erskine, 2nd Earl of Rosslyn and John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent. The aim of the mission was to counteract the anticipated French invasion of Portugal. During these years he became a close supporter of the movement for the abolition of slavery, a cause to which he was to be passionately devoted for the rest of his life. Despite being a well-known and popular figure, Brougham had to wait before being offered a parliamentary seat to contest. However, in 1810 he was elected for Camelford, a rotten borough controlled by the Duke of Bedford. He quickly gained a reputation in the House of Commons, where he was one of the most frequent speakers, and was regarded by some as a potential future leader of the Whig Party. However, Brougham’s career was to take a downturn in 1812, when, standing as one of two Whig candidates for Liverpool, he was heavily defeated. He was to remain out of Parliament until 1816, when he was returned for Winchelsea. He quickly resumed his position as one of the most forceful members of the House of Commons, and worked especially in advocating a programme for the education of the poor and legal reform.

In 1812 Brougham had become one of the chief advisers to Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of George, Prince of Wales, the Prince Regent and future George IV. This was to prove a key development in his life. In April 1820 Caroline, then living abroad, appointed Brougham her Attorney-General. Earlier that year George IV had succeeded to the throne on the death of his long incapacitated father George III. Caroline was brought back to Britain in June for appearances only, but the king immediately began divorce proceedings against her. The Pains and Penalties Bill, aimed at dissolving the marriage and stripping Caroline of her Royal title on the grounds of adultery, was brought before the House of Lords by the Tory government. However, Brougham led a legal team (which also included Thomas Denman) that eloquently defended the Princess. The bill passed, but by the narrow margin of only nine votes. Lord Liverpool, aware of the unpopularity over the bill and afraid that it might be overturned in the House of Commons then withdrew the bill. The British public had mainly been on the Princess’s side, and the outcome of the trial made Brougham one of the most famous men in the country. His legal practice on the Northern Circuit rose fivefold, although he had to wait until 1827 before being made a King’s Counsel.

In 1826, Brougham, along with Wellington, was one of the clients and lovers named in the notorious Memoirs of Harriette Wilson. Before publication, Wilson and publisher John Joseph Stockdale wrote to all those named in the book offering them the opportunity to be excluded from the work in exchange for a cash payment. Brougham paid and secured his anonymity.

Brougham remained member of Parliament for Winchelsea until February 1830 when he was returned for Knaresborough. However, he represented Knaresborough only until August the same year, when he became one of four representatives for Yorkshire. His support for abolitionism brought him enthusiastic support. The Reverend Benjamin Godwin of Bradford devised and funded posters that appealed to Yorkshire voters who had supported William Wilberforce to repeat their choice (and Godwin’s) with the new candidate, Henry Brougham.

In November the Tory government led by the Duke of Wellington fell, and the Whigs came to power under Lord Grey. It was considered impossible to leave the popular Brougham out of the government, although his independent political standing was thought to be a possible impediment to the new administration. Grey initially offered him the post of Attorney General, which Brougham refused. He was then offered the Lord Chancellorship, which he accepted, and on 22 November he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland. He was to remain in this post for exactly four years.

The highlights of Brougham’s tenure was the passing of the 1832 Reform Act, of which he was a staunch supporter, and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, the cause to which he had been devoted to for so many years. However, he was increasingly considered a dangerous and unreliable colleague due to his perceived arrogance and selfishness, as well as his tendency to interfere with every department of state. This placed him into conflict with the rest of the government.

In 1834 the Lord Chancellor, Lord Brougham and Vaux, was asked, “Do you consider that a compulsory education would be justified, either on principles of public utility or expediency?” to which he replied

I am decidedly of opinion that it is justifiable on neither; but, above all, I should regard anything of the kind as utterly destructive of the end it has in view. Suppose the people of England were taught to bear it, and to be forced to educate their children by means of penalties, education would be made absolutely hateful in their eyes, and would speedily cease to be endured. They who have argued in favour of such a scheme from the example of a military government like that of Prussia have betrayed, in my opinion, great ignorance of the nature of Englishmen. (Report of the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education. 1834)

He nonetheless kept his post when the government was reconstructed in July 1834 under Lord Melbourne. The Melbourne administration was dismissed by the king in November the same year, and the Tories came to power under Sir Robert Peel. This government lasted only until April 1835, when Lord Melbourne was again summoned to form a government. However, Brougham was now so ill-regarded within his own party that he was not offered to resume the post of Lord Chancellor, which instead was put into commission. Melbourne told him frankly that his conduct had been one of the principal causes of the fall of the government, and when Brougham protested said brutally ” God damn you but you won’t get the Great Seal”. An even greater blow to him was when the post was eventually conferred on Charles Pepys, 1st Baron Cottenham, in January 1836.

Brougham was never to hold office again. However, for more than thirty years after his fall he continued to take an active part in the judicial business of the House of Lords, and in its debates, having now turned fiercely against his former political associates, but continuing his efforts on behalf of reform of various kinds. He also devoted much of his time to writing. He had continued to contribute to the Edinburgh Review, the best of his writings being subsequently published as Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III.

In 1834, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

In 1837, Brougham presented a bill for public education, arguing that “it cannot be doubted that some legislative effort must at length be made to remove from this country the opprobrium of having done less for the education of the people than any of the more civilized nations on earth”.

In 1838, after news came up of British colonies where emancipation of the slaves was obstructed or where the ex-slaves were being badly treated and discriminated against, Lord Brougham stated in the House of Lords:
“The slave … is as fit for his freedom as any English peasant, ay, or any Lord whom I now address. I demand his rights; I demand his liberty without stint… . I demand that your brother be no longer trampled upon as your slave!”

Brougham also edited, in collaboration with Sir Charles Bell, William Paley’s Natural Theology and published a work on political philosophy and in 1838 he published an edition of his speeches in four volumes. The last of his works was his posthumous Autobiography. In 1857 he was one of the founders of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science and was its president at a number of congresses.

In 1860 Brougham was given by Queen Victoria a second peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland and of Highhead Castle in the County of Cumberland, with remainder to his youngest brother William Brougham (died 1886). The patent stated that the second peerage was in honour of the great services he had rendered, especially in promoting the abolition of slavery.

Brougham had married Mary Spalding (d. 1865), daughter of Thomas Eden and widow of John Spalding, MP, in 1821. They had two daughters, both of whom predeceased their parents, the latter one dying in 1839. Lord Brougham and Vaux died in May 1868 in Cannes, France, aged 89, and was buried in the Cimetière du Grand Jas. The cemetery is up to the present dominated by Brougham’s statue, and he is honoured for his major role in building the city of Cannes. His hatchment is in Ninekirks, which was then the parish church of Brougham.

The Barony of 1830 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the Barony of 1860 according to the special remainder by his younger brother William Brougham.

Brougham wrote a prodigious number of treatises on science, philosophy, and history. Besides the writings mentioned in this article, he was the author of Dialogues on Instinct; with Analytical View of the Researches on Fossil Osteology, Lives of Statesmen, Philosophers, and Men of Science of the Time of George III, Natural Theology, etc. His last work was an autobiography written in his 84th year and published in 1871. However, his writings were not of lasting value; he is now especially notable for his services to political and especially legal reform, and to the diffusion of useful literature, which are his lasting monuments.

He was the designer of the brougham, a four-wheeled, horse-drawn style of carriage that bears his name.

Through Lord Brougham the renowned French seaside resort of Cannes became very popular. He had accidentally found the place in 1835, when it was little more than a fishing village on a picturesque coast, and bought there a tract of land and built on it. His choice and his example made it the sanitarium of Europe. The beach front promenade at Nice became known as the Promenade des Anglais (literally, “The Promenade of the English”).

A statue of him, inscribed “Lord Brougham”, stands at the Cannes waterfront, across from the Palais des festivals et des congrès.

Brougham holds the House of Commons record for non-stop speaking at six hours.

He was present at the trial of the World’s first steam powered ship on 14 October 1788 at Dalswinton Loch near Auldgirth, Dumfries and Galloway. William Symington of Wanlockhead built the two-cylindered engine for Patrick Miller of Dalswinton.

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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.

Duke of Argyll George William Campbell
22 September 1768 – 22 October 1839


George William Campbell

Argyll was the eldest son of John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll and his wife, Elizabeth Campbell, 1st Baroness Hamilton, daughter of Colonel John Gunning. He was known as Marquis of Lorn until his father’s death.

Argyll sat as Member of Parliament for St Germans from 1790 to 1796. In 1806 he succeeded his father in the dukedom and entered the House of Lords. He was Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland from 1827 to 1828 and again from 1830 and 1839.

In 1833 he was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Lord Steward of the Household in the Whig administration headed by Lord Grey, a position he retained when Lord Melbourne became prime minister in July 1834. The Wgigs fell from power in November 1834 but returned to office already in April 1835, when Argyll once again became Lord Steward under Melbourne. He continued in the post until his death in 1839. Argyll was also Lord-Lieutenant of Argyllshire from 1799 to 1839.

Cromwell had damaged the ancient family seat of Castle Campbell that overlooked Dollar in Clackmannanshire. George sold the land and buildings. He was a member of the British Fishing Society, White’s Club and a loyal companion of Beau Brummell.

Argyll married Lady Caroline Elizabeth Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Jersey, at Edinburgh, on 29 November 1810. This was three weeks after she had divorced Henry Paget, Lord Uxbridge, the future Marquis of Anglesey. They had no children. He died in October 1839, aged 71 at the family estate Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire, and was buried on 10 November 1839 at Kilmun, Cowal. His brother, Lord John Campbell, succeeded to his titles.

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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.

Edward Ellice
27 September 1783 – 17 September 1863


Edward Ellice

Known in his time as the “Bear“, was a British merchant and politician. He was a Director of the Hudson’s Bay Company and a prime mover behind the Reform Bill of 1832.

Ellice was born on 27 September 1783 in London, England to Alexander Ellice and Ann Russell. In 1795, his father purchased the Seigneury of Villechauve from Michel Chartier de Lotbinière, Marquis de Lotbinière.

He was educated at Winchester and at Marischal College, Aberdeen. He became a partner in the firm of Phyn, Ellices and Inglis, which had become interested in the XY Company in Canada. He was sent to Canada in 1803, and in 1804 became a party to the union of the XY and North West Companies. He became a partner in the North West Company, and during the struggle with Lord Selkirk he played an important part.

He engaged in the Canada fur trade from 1803, and as a result was nicknamed “the Bear”. On 30 October 1809 he married Hannah Althea Bettesworth, née Grey, daughter of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, and the widow of Captain George Edmund Byron Bettesworth. He had one son by her, Edward.

In 1820, he was, with the brothers William and Simon McGillivray, active in bringing about the union of the North West and the Hudson’s Bay Companies; and it was actually with him and the McGillivrays that the union was negotiated. He amalgamated the North West, XY, and Hudson’s Bay companies in 1821.

He was Member of Parliament for Coventry from 1818 to 1826, and again from 1830 to 1863. He served as a Secretary to the Treasury, and a whip in Lord Grey‘s government (DWW-the brother of his wife), 1830-1832. He was Secretary at War from 1832–1834, during which time he proposed that appointments in the army should be made directly from his office. He founded the Reform Club in 1836 and supported Palmerston as premier. He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1833.

He was awarded a DCL by St Andrews University. He privately urged French government to send troops into Spain in 1836. He was deputy-governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1843, he married, secondly, Anne Amelia Leicester, née Keppel, daughter of William Keppel, 4th Earl of Albemarle and widow of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. She died in the following year. His only son was Edward Ellice Jr., who also sat in Parliament. His brother General Robert Ellice married Eliza Courtney; one of their grandsons became his son’s heir in 1880.

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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.

Sir William Molesworth 8th Baronet
23 May 1810 – 22 October 1855


William Molesworth

Sir William Molesworth 8th Baronet a Radical British politician, who served in the coalition cabinet of The Earl of Aberdeen from 1853 until his death in 1855 as First Commissioner of Works and then Colonial Secretary.

Much later, when justifying to the Queen his own new appointments, Gladstone told her: “For instance, even in Ld Aberdeen’s Govt, in 52, Sir William Molesworth had been selected, at that time, a very advanced Radical, but who was perfectly harmless, & took little, or no part… He said these people generally became very moderate, when they were in office”, which she admitted had been the case.

Molesworth was born in London and succeeded to the baronetcy in 1823. He was educated privately before entering St John’s College, Cambridge as a fellow commoner. Moving to Trinity College, he fought a duel with his tutor, and was sent down from the university. He also studied abroad and at Edinburgh University for some time.

On the passing of the Reform Act 1832 Molesworth was returned to Parliament for the Eastern division of Cornwall, to support the ministry of Lord Grey. Through Charles Buller he made the acquaintance of George Grote and James Mill, and in April 1835 he founded, in conjunction with Roebuck, the London Review, as an organ of the Philosophic Radicals. After the publication of two volumes he purchased the Westminster Review, and for some time the united magazines were edited by him and J. S. Mill.

From 1837 to 1841 Molesworth sat for Leeds, and acquired considerable influence in the House of Commons by his speeches and by his tact in presiding over the select committee on Penal transportation. But his Radicalism made little impression either on the house or on his constituency. In 1839 he commenced and carried to completion, at a cost of £6000, a reprint of the entire miscellaneous and voluminous writings of Thomas Hobbes, which were placed in most of the English university and provincial libraries. The publication did him great disservice in public life, his opponents endeavouring to identify him with the freethinking opinions of Thomas Hobbes in religion as well as with the philosopher’s conclusions in favor of despotic government. From 1841 to 1845 he had no seat in parliament, but in 1842 served as High Sheriff of Cornwall

In 1845 Molesworth was returned for Southwark, and retained that seat until his death. On his return to parliament he devoted special attention to the condition of the colonies, and was the ardent champion of their self-government. In January 1853, Lord Aberdeen included him as the only Radical in his coalition cabinet as First Commissioner of Works, the chief work by which his name was brought into prominence at this time being the construction of the new Westminster Bridge; he also was the first to open Kew Gardens on Sundays. In July 1855, he was made Colonial Secretary, an office he held until his death in October of the same year.

Molesworth married Andalusia Grant Carstairs (d. 16 May 1888) on 9 July 1844.

He died on 22 October 1855, aged 45. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

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