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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Grey’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Henry Whitbread
4 January 1795 – 21 June 1867

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William Henry Whitbread

William Henry Whitbread was an English Whig and Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1818 to 1835.

Whitbread was the son of brewer Samuel Whitbread and his wife Lady Elizabeth Grey, the eldest daughter of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was awarded a M.A. in 1816 and became a partner with his brother Samuel Charles Whitbread in the brewing firm.

In 1818 Whitbread was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Bedford and held the seat until 1835. He was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire and became High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1837.

Whitbread lived at Southill, Bedfordshire and died at the age of 72.

Whitbread married, Harriet Sneyd, daughter. of the Rev. Wettenhall Sneyd, of the Isle of Wight on 5 November 1845. They had no family.

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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.

George Edmund Byron Bettesworth
1785 – 16 May 1808

Captain George Edmund Byron Bettesworth was famous for being wounded 24 times. At an early age he went to sea as midshipman under Captain Robert Barlow, who commanded the frigate HMS Phoebe. While with Phoebe Bettesworth participated in two notable single ship actions. On 21 December 1797 Phoebe captured the French 36-gun frigate Nérëide. Then on 19 February 1801, she captured the 38-gun Africaine, which was crowded with the 400 soldiers she was carrying to Egypt. In the battle, Phoebe had one man killed and 14 wounded. The French had some 200 men killed, and 143 wounded, many of them critically. The high casualty count was due to the soldiers remaining on deck as a point of honor, even though they could not contribute to the battle.

Bettesworth remained with Phoebe until January 1804 when was he was promoted to lieutenant on HMS Centaur. On 4 February 1804 he took part in a cutting out expedition that captured the 16-gun French privateer Curieux at Fort Royal harbour, Martinique. Bettesworth received a slight wound in this engagement. The Royal Navy took Curieux into service as the sloop-of-war HMS Curieux. After her first commander, Robert Carhew Reynolds, died of the wounds he had received during her capture, Bettesworth then became her commander.

While captain of the Curieux, Bettesworth one day took her jolly boat in shore, together with the purser, who played his violin. A local black came out of the undergrowth on shore and held up a pair of fowl, indicating that he sought to sell them. Bettesworth took the bait and had his men row to the shore. The moment the boat touched the beach, a squadron of cavalry burst from the undergrowth. Their gunfire wounded Bettesworth in the thigh, causing substantial loss of blood, and broke the coxswain’s arm. At Bettesworth’s urging, the crew of his boat got it off the beach and rowed back to Curieux. On the way back Bettesworth wanted to open a bottle of champagne, but the purser broke it in his nervousness.

On 8 February 1805, Curieux chased the French 16-gun privateer Dame Ernouf for twelve hours before being able to bring her to action. After forty minutes of hard fighting the Frenchman, which had a larger crew than Curieux, maneuvered to attempt a boarding. Bettesworth turned with the result that the French vessel got stuck in a position where Curieux could rake her deck. Unable to fight back, the Dame Ernouff struck. Curieux suffered five killed and four wounded, including Bettesworth, whom a musket ball had hit in the head. The Frenchman had 30 killed and 40 wounded. The French recaptured Dame Ernouf shortly thereafter, but the British then recaptured her again too.

That same year (1805) he brought home from Antigua despatches from Admiral Nelson, apprising the government of Admiral Villeneuve’s homeward flight from the West Indies. On the way Bettesworth spotted the French fleet and alerted the Admiralty. His information led to Rear Admiral Robert Calder’s interception of the Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Finisterre. For his services, Lord Barham promoted Bettesworth to Post-Captain.

In July 1806, he became captain of the 22-gun Banterer class Post-ship HMS Crocodile, on the Guernsey station, and later Halifax, Nova Scotia. While with Crocodile, Bettesworth was involved in an unsuccessful claim for salvage rights to the American vessel Walker. A French privateer had captured Walker, but her crew has subsequently recaptured their ship when Crocodile came on the scene and escorted her to Halifax. For this service, Crocodile claimed salvage rights. The court did not agree.

In October 1807, Bettesworth took command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Tartar. That month his cousin, the poet Lord Byron, wrote:

“Next January … I am going to sea for four or five months with my cousin, Captain Bettesworth, who commands the Tartar, the finest frigate in the navy … We are going probably to the Mediterranean or to the West Indies, or to the devil; and if there is a possibility of taking me to the latter, Bettesworth will do it, for he has received four-and-twenty wounds in different places, and at this moment possesses a letter from the late Lord Nelson stating that Bettesworth is the only officer in the navy who had more wounds than himself.”

The promised voyage never took place and on 16 May 1808 Bettesworth died in the Battle of Alvøen . Tartar was watching some vessels outside Bergen and decided to cut some of them off from the protecting gunboats. However, Tartar became becalmed amid the rocks, which enabled the schooner Odin and five gunboats to attack. Their first shots killed Bettesworth, and in all Tartar lost two dead and seven wounded before she could escape. Tartar did manage to sink one gunboat.

Bettesworth had married Lady Hannah Althea Grey, the second daughter of General Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey and Elizabeth Grey, on 24 August 1807, while he was captain on Crocodile. After Bettesworth’s death, she married Edward Ellice, a merchant, on 30 October 1809. She died on 28 July 1832.

Betteworth’s body was buried at Howick, Northumberland, in the vault of the Grey family, on 27 May 1808. Major Trevanion, “a brother of Captain Bettesworth” and probably his natural brother as he was born John Bettesworth, was chief mourner. (Byron’s grandmother was a Miss Trevanion; John Bettesworth’s paternal grandmother was a Trevanion, through whom he inherited the Caerhays estate.)

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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.

Samuel Whitbread (Politician)
January 18, 1764 – 6 July 1815

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Samuel Whitbread

Samuel Whitbread (Politician) was born in Cardington, Bedfordshire, the son of the brewer Samuel Whitbread. He was educated at Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford and St John’s College, Cambridge, after which he embarked on a European ‘Grand Tour’, visiting Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Prussia, France and Italy. He returned to England in May 1786 and joined his father’s successful brewing business.

Whitbread was elected Member of Parliament for Bedford in 1790, a post he held for twenty-three years. Whitbread was a reformer — a champion of religious and civil rights, for the abolition of slavery, and a proponent of a national education system. He was a close friend and colleague of Charles James Fox. After Fox’s death, Whitbread took over the leadership of the Whigs, and in 1805 led the campaign to have Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, removed from office.

Whitbread admired Napoleon and his reforms in France and Europe. He hoped that many of Napoleon’s reforms would be implemented in Britain. Throughout the Peninsular War he played down French defeats convinced that sooner or later Napoleon would triumph, and he did all he could to bring about a withdrawal of Britain from the continent. When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 he was devastated.

Whitbread began to suffer from depression, and on the morning of 6 July 1815, he committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor.

Whitbread married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of the first Earl Grey on 26 December 1787. Their sons William Henry Whitbread and Samuel Charles Whitbread were also Members of Parliament.

Samuel Whitbread Academy in Central Bedfordshire is named after him.

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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.

Samuel Whitbread
30 August 1720 – 11 June 1796

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Samuel Whitbread

Whitbread was born at Cardington in Bedfordshire, the seventh of eight children. He left for London aged 14 and became an apprentice to a London brewer, John Witman.

Whitbread went into partnership with Thomas Shewell in 1742, investing £2,600 in two of Shewell’s small breweries, the Goat Brewhouse (where porter was produced) and a brewery in Brick Lane (used to produce pale and amber beers).

Demand for the strong, black porter meant the business had to move to larger premises in Chiswell Street in 1750. Starting over, Whitbread invested in all the latest technology to industrialize production, storing the beer in large vats. The brewery was also one of the first to employ a steam engine (purchasing a sun and planet gear engine from James Watt’s company in 1785).

By 1760, it had become the second largest brewery in London (producing almost 64,000 barrels annually). Five years later Whitbread bought out Shewell for £30,000.

In May 1787 the brewery was visited by King George III and Queen Charlotte.

By the end of the century, Whitbread’s business was London’s biggest producer of beer, producing 202,000 barrels in 1796.

Whitbread was appointed High Sheriff of Hertfordshire for 1767–68 and elected Member of Parliament for Bedford in 1768, and held the seat until 1790, and then represented Steyning from 1792 to 1796. He was an early supporter for the abolition of slavery and took part in some of the anti-slavery debates of 1788 in the House of Commons.

He married firstly Harriet Hayton by whom he had two daughters, one of whom, Emma Maria Elizabeth Whitbread, married Henry St John, 13th Baron St John of Bletso and one son, the politician, Samuel Whitbread.

He married secondly Lady Mary Cornwallis by whom he had one daughter, Mary Whitbread who married Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet, 3rd son of Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey of Howick.

Whitbread became very rich and bought Lord Torrington’s Southill Estate, Elstow Manor, and other substantial property. When he died on 11 June 1796, the Gentleman’s Magazine claimed that he was “worth over a million pounds”.

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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

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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.

John MacBride
1735 – 17 February 1800

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John MacBride

John MacBride was born in Scotland around 1735, the second son of the Presbyterian minister Robert MacBride. The MacBrides moved to Ireland shortly after John’s birth, when Robert became minister of Ballymoney, in County Antrim. John’s brother, David MacBride, became a noted medical writer. John MacBride initially went to sea with the merchant service in 1751, and joined the navy as an able seaman three years later, in 1754. He served first aboard the 24-gun HMS Garland in the West Indies for a number of years, before returning to Britain and serving aboard HMS Norfolk, the flagship in the Downs for a few months.

MacBride passed his lieutenant’s examination and received his commission in 1758. He was moved into the hired cutter Grace, and in 1761 came across a French privateer anchored in the Dunkirk roadstead. MacBride made contact with the frigate HMS Maidstone and asked her captain for four armed and manned boats. Maidstone‘s captain readily agreed. The British boarded the vessel, and carried the ship with two men wounded. MacBride himself shot and killed the French lieutenant as he aimed a gun at the British boat. The total French losses were two dead and five wounded. Having secured the vessel, the British took her out to sea under the guns of a French battery. (DWW-a real cutting out expedition!)

MacBride’s good service brought him a promotion to master and commander on in 1762, and an appointment to command the fireship HMS Grampus. From there he moved to command the sloop HMS Cruizer in 1763. After some time spent on the Home station, MacBride received a promotion to post-captain in 1765, and took command of the 30-gun HMS Renown. This was followed in 1765 with command of the 32-gun HMS Jason, and a mission to establish a colony on the Falkland Islands. (DWW-so Argentina can be angry at MacBride.)

MacBride arrived with Jason, HMS Carcass and the storeship HMS Experiment, in January 1766, with orders to secure a settlement and to inform any existing inhabitants that the islands were a British possession. The British consolidated Port Egmont, made several cruises in the surrounding waters, and in December came across the French settlement. In a cordial meeting MacBride informed the French governor M. de Neville of the British claim, which the French politely rejected.

Unbeknownst to both de Neville and MacBride, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who had established the French settlement, had agreed to sell the colony to Spain. The resulting tensions between the Spanish and British claims would nearly lead to war in 1770, but in the meantime MacBride returned home, reporting the situation to the government.

He later published a 13-page monograph, in 1770, entitled A Journal of the Winds and Weather…at Falkland Islands from 1 February 1766 to 19 January 1767.

After his return to Britain MacBride was given command of the 22-gun HMS Seaford in 1767 and employed to cruise in the English Channel. He spent several years aboard Seaford, before transferring to take command of the 32-gun HMS Arethusa in 1771, followed by the 32-gun HMS Southampton later that year.

He was in command of Southampton in 1772 when he received orders to command a small squadron tasked with transporting Caroline Matilda, former Queen of Denmark and Norway and sister of King George III, from Elsinore to Stadt. The squadron consisted of Southampton, and two of MacBride’s former commands, Seaford, and Cruizer. In 1773 he took command of HMS Orpheus.

With the outbreak of war with the American colonies, MacBride was appointed to take command of the 64-gun HMS Bienfaisant in 1776. He was present at the Battle of Ushant in 1778, but did not become heavily engaged in the confused action.

In the ensuing argument over the outcome of the battle, MacBride gave evidence in favour of Admiral Keppel that was an important factor in Keppel’s acquittal at his court-martial. MacBride was less supportive of Sir Hugh Palliser.

He remained in command of Bienfaisant, and joined Sir George Rodney’s fleet to relieve Gibraltar. During the voyage the British fleet came across a Spanish convoy transporting naval stores from San Sebastián to Cádiz, and engaged it. The British succeeded in capturing the convoy, while MacBride distinguished himself in engaging the Spanish flagship Guipuscoana, which surrendered to him.

In 1780 the fleet again encountered Spanish ships, this time off Cape St. Vincent. The Spanish fleet, under Admiral Juan de Lángara, were engaged in the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, and again MacBride was in the thick of the action.

He took his ship in to engage the San Domingo, with the Bienfaisant narrowly escaping significant damage after her opponent blew up. He then went on to chase down and capture Lángara’s flagship, the 80-gun Fenix.

MacBride sent Lieutenant Thomas Louis aboard to take possession, but as a smallpox outbreak was raging on the Bienfaisant, MacBride did not take the usual step of transferring some of the captured officers and men aboard his own ship. Both ships made it to Gibraltar without incident, after which MacBride was given the honour of taking Rodney’s despatches back to Britain. MacBride set off at once, but was delayed by adverse winds. Consequently his despatches arrived several days after an identical set had reached London, delivered by Captain Edward Thomson, who had left Rodney later than MacBride, but who had had a faster voyage.

Rodney’s fleet returned to Britain, and MacBride rejoined the Bienfaisant. In early August a large French privateer, the 64-gun Comte d’Artois, was reported to have sailed from Brest to cruise off the Irish south coast. MacBride was ordered to sail in company with the 44-gun HMS Charon and to capture the dangerous vessel. After several days in search of the vessel, a mysterious sail was finally sighted early on 13 August, chasing after some of the ships of a convoy departing from Cork.

MacBride ranged up and fell in with the unidentified ship, which hoisted English colours. Both ships came within pistol shot, and it was not until there was some communication between the two ships, that MacBride could be satisfied of her identity. By now the two ships were so close, with Bienfaisant off the Comte de’Artois‘s bow, that neither ship could bring their main guns to bear. Instead both ships opened fire with muskets until MacBride could manoeuvre away and a general action ensued.

After an hour and ten minutes the French vessel surrendered, having had 21 killed and 35 wounded, while Bienfaisant had three killed and 20 wounded. The Charon had only joined the action towards the end of the engagement and had a single man wounded. The capture had an unusual sequel, for just over a year later, and under a different captain, Bienfaisant captured another privateer, this time named Comtesse d’Artois.

In a further coincidence MacBride was appointed in 1781 to command the 40-gun HMS Artois. MacBride served in the North Sea with Sir Hyde Parker’s fleet, and fought against the Dutch at the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1781. After the battle Parker temporarily moved MacBride into the 80-gun HMS Princess Amelia, whose captain, John MacCartney, had been killed during the battle.

MacBride resumed command of Artois after the fleet’s return to port, and continued to cruise in the North Sea. On 3 December he engaged and captured two large 24-gun Dutch privateers, the Hercules and Mars. Nine men were killed and fifteen wounded on Mars, while 13 were killed and 20 wounded on Hercules. Artois had one man killed and six wounded.

By 1782 MacBride was operating in the Channel, and in April was sent out as a scout ahead of the main force under Admiral Samuel Barrington, which aimed to intercept a French squadron that had left Brest bound for the East Indies. He sighted the force on 20 April and alerted Barrington. The British moved in and that day and the following captured over half of the French force. After this success MacBride was appointed to the Irish station in June, where he worked in the impress service while Artois cruised under her first lieutenant.

At the end of the war with America, MacBride left the Artois, but was able to obtain command of the 32-gun HMS Druid. He commanded her until the end of 1782, after which he was temporarily unemployed at sea. MacBride took this opportunity to enter politics, and in 1784 he was elected as MP for Plymouth, holding the seat until 1790. He gave several speeches on naval matters, and sat on the Duke of Richmond’s commission into the defences of Portsmouth and Plymouth between 1785 and 1786.

He opposed a plan for fortifying the naval dockyards, both on the commission and in parliament. In 1788 he returned to an active, though not a seagoing command, when he took over the Plymouth guardship, the 74-gun HMS Cumberland. By 1790, with the threat of the Spanish Armament looming, MacBride took Cumberland to Torbay to join the fleet assembling there under Lord Howe.

MacBride was promoted to rear-admiral in 1793, as part of the general promotion following the outbreak of war. He became commander-in-chief on the Downs station, commanding a frigate squadron with his flag in Cumberland, later transferring his flag to the 32-gun HMS Quebec.

He took possession of Ostend after the French retreat in early 1793, and in October transported reinforcements under General Sir Charles Grey to assist in the defense of Dunkirk. He took command of the 36-gun HMS Flora at the end of the year and sailed from Portsmouth carrying an army under the Earl of Moira to support French royalists in Brittany and Normandy.

Following this service he took command of a small squadron in the Western Approaches, flying his flag in a number of different vessels, including the sloop HMS Echo, the 74-gun HMS Minotaur and the 64-gun HMS Sceptre.

The squadron did not achieve any significant successes, and MacBride had the misfortune to break his leg while mounting his horse, forcing him to temporarily relinquish his duties. He was promoted to rear-admiral of the red in 1794, and later to vice-admiral of the blue.

Promoted to vice-admiral of the white in 1795, MacBride became commander of the squadron in the North Sea assigned to watch the Dutch fleet in the Texel, flying his flag in the 74-gun HMS Russell. He stepped down from the post in late 1795, and was not actively employed at sea again. He was promoted to admiral of the blue on 14 February 1799. Admiral John MacBride died of a paralytic seizure at the Spring Garden Coffee House, London on 17 February 1800.

MacBride married early in his career, but no details are known, other than that his wife was the daughter of a naval officer. She is presumed to have died, for MacBride married Ursula Folkes, eldest daughter of William Folkes of Hillington Hall, in 1774. Their son, John David MacBride, became principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford. MacBride’s daughter, Charlotte, married Admiral Willoughby Thomas Lake in 1795.

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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 Ralph Abercromby
7 October 1734 – 28 March 1801

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Ralph Abercromby

Sir Ralph Abercromby KB was a Scottish soldier and politician. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-general in the British Army, was noted for his services during the Napoleonic Wars, and served as Commander-in-Chief, Ireland.

He twice served as MP for Clackmannanshire, and was appointed Governor of Trinidad.

He was the eldest son of George Abercromby of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, and a brother of the advocate Alexander Abercromby, Lord Abercromby. He was born at Menstrie, Clackmannanshire. Educated at Rugby and the University of Edinburgh, in 1754 he was sent to Leipzig University to study civil law, with a view to his proceeding to a career as an advocate.

Abercromby was a Freemason. He was a member of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No 2, Edinburgh, Scotland

On returning from the continent he expressed a strong preference for the military profession, and a cornet’s commission was accordingly obtained for him (March 1756) in the 3rd Dragoon Guards. He served with his regiment in the Seven Years’ War, and the opportunity thus afforded him of studying the methods of Frederick the Great moulded his military character and formed his tactical ideas.

He rose through the intermediate grades to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the regiment (1773) and brevet colonel in 1780, and in 1781 he became colonel of the King’s Irish infantry. When that regiment was disbanded in 1783 he retired upon half pay.

Up to this time, he had scarcely been engaged in active service, and this was due mainly to his disapproval of the policy of the government, and especially to his sympathies with the American colonists in their struggles for independence. His retirement is no doubt to be ascribed to similar feelings. On leaving the army he for a time took up political life as Member of Parliament for Clackmannanshire. This, however, proved uncongenial, and, retiring in favour of his brother, he settled at Edinburgh and devoted himself to the education of his children.

However, when France declared war against Great Britain in 1793, he hastened to resume his professional duties. Being esteemed one of the ablest and most intrepid officers in the whole British forces, he was appointed to the command of a brigade under the Duke of York, for service in the Netherlands. He commanded the advanced guard in the action at Le Cateau, and was wounded at Nijmegen. The duty fell to him of protecting the British army in its disastrous retreat out of Holland, in the winter of 1794–1795. In 1795, he received the honour of a Knighthood of the Bath, in acknowledgment of his services.

The same year he was appointed to succeed Sir Charles Grey, as commander-in-chief of the British forces in the West Indies. In 1796, Grenada was suddenly attacked and taken by a detachment of the army under his orders. Abercromby afterwards obtained possession of the settlements of Demerara and Essequibo, in South America, and of the islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Trinidad.

In this part of his career Abercromby was involved in crushing the revolt of the Garifuna (Carib) people on Saint Vincent, bringing to an end their centuries-long resistance to European colonization. One of Abercromby’s officers killed the Garifuna chief Joseph Chatoyer on 14 March 1795. While this was a minor campaign on the scale of Abercromby’s overall career, it is well remembered up to the present on Saint Vincent, where Chatoyer is revered as a national hero.

On 17 April 1797, Abercromby, with a force of 7,000-13,000 men, which included German mercenary soldiers and Royal Marines and a 60 to 64 ship armada, invaded the island of Puerto Rico. Island Governor and Captain General Don Ramón de Castro and his forces, consisting of the mostly Puerto Rican born Regimiento Fijo de Puerto Rico and the Milicias Disciplinadas, repelled the attack.

On 30 April, after two weeks of fierce combat, which included prolonged artillery exchanges and even hand to hand combat, Abercromby was unable to overcome San Juan’s first line of defense and withdrew. This was to be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in the Americas.

Abercromby returned to Europe, and, in reward for his important services, was appointed colonel of the regiment of Scots Greys, entrusted with the governments of the Isle of Wight, Fort-George and Fort-Augustus, and raised to the rank of lieutenant-general. He held, in 1797–1798, the chief command of the forces in Ireland.

After holding for a short period the office of commander-in-chief in Scotland, Sir Ralph, when the enterprise against the Dutch Batavian Republic was resolved upon in 1799, was again called to command under the Duke of York. The campaign of 1799 ended in disaster, but friend and foe alike confessed that the most decisive victory could not have more conspicuously proved the talents of this distinguished officer.

His country applauded the choice when, in 1801, he was sent with an army to dispossess the French of Egypt. His experience in the Netherlands and the West Indies particularly fitted him for this new command, as was proved by his carrying his army in health, in spirits and with the requisite supplies, in spite of very great difficulties, to the destined scene of action. The debarkation of the troops at Abukir, in the face of strenuous opposition, is justly ranked among the most daring and brilliant exploits of the British army.

A battle in the neighbourhood of Alexandria (21 March 1801) was the sequel of this successful landing, and it was Abercromby’s fate to fall in the moment of victory. He was struck by a spent ball, which could not be extracted, and died seven days after the battle, aboard HMS Foudroyant, which was moored in the harbour.

He was buried in the Commandery of the Grand Master, the Knights of St John, Malta

By a vote of the House of Commons, a monument was erected in his honour in St Paul’s Cathedral, Abercromby Square in Liverpool is named in his honour. His widow was created Baroness Abercromby of Tullibody and Aboukir Bay, and a pension of £2,000 a year was settled on her and her two successors in the title.

On 17 November 1767 Abercromby married Mary Anne, daughter of John Menzies and Ann, daughter of Patrick Campbell. They had seven children. Of four sons, all four entered Parliament, and two saw military service.

  • Hon. Anne Abercromby
  • Hon. Mary Abercromby
  • Hon. Catherine Abercromby
  • George Abercromby, 2nd Baron Abercromby
  • General Hon. Sir John Abercromby
  • James Abercromby, 1st Baron Dunfermline
  • Lt.-Col. Hon. Alexander Abercromby

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In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Grey

23 October 1729 – 14 November 1807

220px-1stEarlGreyCharles Grey

Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, KB PC  was a British general of the 18th century.  He served in the Seven Years’ War, American War of Independence and French Revolutionary War. Following the Battle of Paoli in 1777 he became known as “No-flint Grey”.

Grey was born at his family’s estate, known as Howick, 30 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne and one mile from the North Sea, in Northumberland. His exact birthdate is unknown, but he was baptized 23 October 1729, so he was probably born in October. His father was Henry Grey (later Sir Henry Grey, first baronet of Howick) and his mother was Hannah Grey (née Wood).

Because he had three older brothers, Grey didn’t expect to inherit his father’s titles and estates, so he pursued a career in the military.

In 1744, with financial assistance from his father, Grey purchased a commission as an ensign in the 6th Regiment of Foot. He soon went to Scotland with the Sixth Regiment to suppress the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Following victory there, the Sixth Regiment spent the next few years in Gibraltar. In December 1752, he purchased a lieutenancy in the Sixth Regiment. In March 1755, he formed a new independent company and became their captain. Two months later, he purchased a captaincy in the 20th Regiment of Foot, also called the East Devonshire Regiment (and later the Lancashire Fusiliers), in which James Wolfe served as lieutenant colonel. In 1757, while with Wolfe’s regiment, he participated in the unsuccessful attack on Rochefort.

In the Seven Years’ War, he served as adjutant in the staff of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and on 1 August 1759 was wounded at Minden. On 14 October 1760 he commanded a Light Company at the Battle of Campen, where he was again wounded. One year later, as Lt. Colonel of the 98th Foot, he participated in the Capture of Belle Île, off the coast of Brittany. Next, he served at the Battle of Havana in 1762. Later, he was on the staff of Wilhelm, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe during the Spanish invasion of Portugal (1762). In 1763 he retired on half-pay, but in 1772 he received a promotion to Colonel and served as aide-de-camp to King George III.

During the American War of Independence he was one of the more successful army leaders. He was rapidly promoted, becoming a Major General in 1777 and commanding the 3rd Brigade at the Battle of Brandywine. He earned the nickname “No-flint Grey” after the Battle of Paoli nighttime attack of 1777, before which he had collected flints from the muskets of his troops before they engaged the American revolutionaries using bayonets, thus maintaining the element of surprise. Immediately thereafter, he commanded the 3rd Brigade again at the Battle of Germantown and the Battle of Monmouth.

In 1778 he led raids at New Bedford on 5–6 September, destroying nearly all the shipping and burning twenty shops and twenty-two houses in the town, and Martha’s Vineyard, where between 10 and 15 September, the British carried off all the sheep, swine, cattle and oxen that they could find with promise of payment in New York. Grey then used the same tactic as he had at Paoli in the Baylor Massacre. He was recalled to England and became a knight of the Order of the Bath and a lieutenant general. He later was appointed commander-in-chief of the British troops in America, but hostilities ended before he could take command.

At the outset of the war with Revolutionary France, in 1793, Sir Charles Grey was appointed commander of the West Indian expedition. First, however, he went to Ostend to participate in the relief of Nieuwpoort, Belgium. In early 1794, he and Admiral Sir John Jervis led a British force to capture Martinique. The campaign lasted about six weeks with the British capturing Fort Royal and Fort Saint Louis on 22 March, and Fort Bourbon two days later. The British then occupied Martinique until the Treaty of Amiens returned the island to the French in 1802. Next Grey was involved in the invasion of Guadeloupe.

Between the years of 1797 and 1807 General Grey held the position of Governor of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands

In late 1794 he returned to England. From 1798 to 1799 he served as Commander of the Southern District, retiring in 1799. In acknowledgment of his service, he was raised in January 1801 to the peerage as Baron Grey, of Howick in the County of Northumberland. In 1806, he was created Earl Grey and Viscount Howick, in the County of Northumberland. He died the next year, at the age of 78.

In 1762, Grey married Elizabeth Grey, the daughter of George Grey of Southwick, their children were:

  •     Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey,  British statesman and prime minister after whom Earl Grey tea is named. and who married Mary Elizabeth Ponsonby.
  •     Lady Elizabeth Grey  married Samuel Whitbread
  •     Hon. Henry George Grey, G.C.H., G.C.B., Colonel in the 13th Light Dragoons, who married Charlotte Des Voeux
  •     Sir George Grey, 1st Baronet of Fallodon, K.C.B., married Mary Whitbread,daughter of Samuel Whitbread
  •     Hon. Lt. Col. William Grey married Maria Shirreff
  •     Hon. Rt. Revd Edward Grey Bishop of Hereford married firstly Charlotte Elizabeth Croft, secondly Elizabeth Adair, and thirdly Eliza Innes
  •     Lady Hannah Althea Grey  married George Edmund Byron Bettesworth

Grey and his wife brought up Eliza Courtney, the illegitimate daughter of their son Charles with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. He was also an ancestor of Prime Ministers Anthony Eden and Alec Douglas-Home, and of Diana, Princess of Wales

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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.

Gerogiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
June 7 1757 to March 30 1806

I am sure many of we students of the Regency Era have encountered Georgiana before. My first encounter was hearing her described as rather racy over in Devonshire House in one of the many Heyer novels about the period. And though there was no date portrayed there, it was not until these last years where I have encountered more about whom Georgiana truly was that I learned she died so early in the period, even before Prinny became Regent.

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Georgiana was a great-great-grandaunt of Diana, Princess of Wales. She was the daughter of the 1st Earl of Spencer and the Great-Great-Grandaugther of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, so she is also in the chain that is related to Winston Churchill. Her niece was Lady Caroline Lamb. One should get the sense that Georgiana was rather well connected.

As we can see from her pictures she was worthy of being a celebrated beauty. She formed a large salon of literry and political figures. Her and her husbands family were Whigs and thus against the power of King George III and supporters of men such as Charles James Fox with whom she may have had an affair. She had an affair with Charles Grey, later Prime Minister and they had a child, Eliza Courtney who is an ancestor of Sarah, Duchess of York or as many call her, Fergie!

To say racy about these affairs and the arrangement with her husband is something that the Anglican Church should have a hard time accepting. She introduced her best friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster to her husband the Duke and the three lived together for 25 years. The Duke marrying Lady Elizabeth after Georgiana died.

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Aside from her many affairs, she is also known for her love of fashion, certainly someone who would have sat in the front row of the runway if they had designer shows in her time. She also was fond of gambling and owed a great deal of money when she died. She kept the amounts of her debts secret from the Duke and after her death, when he learned of them, he said, “Is that all?”

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Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III George IV
William IV Lady Hester Stanhope
Princess Charlotte Queen Charlotte
Queen Adelaide Dorothea Jordan
Maria Fitzherbert Lord Byron
Princess Caroline Percy Bysshe Shelley
John Keats Jane Austen
Charles James Fox Lady Caroline Lamb

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:

Cassandra Austen
William Wilberforce
Thomas Clarkson
Hannah More
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Edmund Kean
John Phillip Kemble
John Burgoyne
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Moore
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Reynolds
Rowlandson
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Beau Brummell
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Henry Mildmay
Henry Pierrepoint
Scrope Davies
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
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
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Edmund Burke

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

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In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I am bringing back a favorite of mine whose research I shared at the English Historical Fiction authors site. I previously posted there. But as this had so many notables involved, who will be profiled in the upcoming months, I thought to add it here again. I am also swamped today preparing for NaNoWriMo, and helping on the EHFA book that is to be published this coming year.

If you are so inclined to friend me at NaNoWriMo, I shall help to encourage you to victory and hope you will do so for me as well.

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):
   George III
   George IV
   William IV
   Lady Hester Stanhope
   Princess Charlotte
   Queen Charlotte
   Princess Caroline
   Queen Adelaide
   Dorothea Jordan
   Maria Fitzherbert

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:

Lord Byron
Shelley
Keats
Jane Austen
Lady Caroline Lamb
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
Charles James Fox
William Wilberforce
Thomas Clarkson
Hannah More
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Edmund Kean
John Phillip Kemble
John Burgoyne
Harriet Mellon
Mary Robinson
Wellington (the Military man)
Nelson
Howe
St. Vincent
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Gillray
Rowlandson
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Marquis of Stafford  George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Beau Brummell
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
Henry Mildmay
Henry Pierrepoint
Scrope Davies
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings

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

The days the world’s most powerful man, the richest man and smartest man came together

While such an occurrence probably happens often enough these days, Warren Buffet in a room with Stephen Hawking and the US President, perhaps, before mass transportation, the airplane, and instant telecommunications, this event would have been hard put to have taken place.

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I should hazard that in the time of the Regency era, it hardly ever happened.

While researching previous Regency era novels, I developed a fascination for the early introduction of trains and railways. In

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The End of the World which is set in the exact area that rail tracks were laid down well ahead of train engines being invented, I had found that the practice was developed to haul copper from the mines to the coast. A theme shown in that book.

The research on early locomotion led me to learn of George Stephenson
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and his son Robert. Prior to this I had heard of Stephenson’s Rocket. Now I learned more about the locomotive engine that won the Rainhill Time Trials for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway of 1829.

The day our three greatest titled men on earth met was for the opening of that very railway, and it turned out to be fateful in many ways.

It certainly would have taken men of vision to realize that the steam engine had so many uses, including the change of how we felt about distance. That is a societal change that I would argue, though not here, altered the world. Prior to this event, the use of steam engines to power a means of transport, we were reliant on our feet, horses (camels, elephants, etc.) and shipping either by rowing, or wind powered. (Of course that last mode required water as well.)

The advent of steam which leads to the use of railways, I thought to make a centerpiece of a Regency story, but the events of September 15th, 1830 were so momentous that I had written three chapters in The Fastest Love on Earth before I realized that it was the predominant opening theme that brought my hero and heroine together.

Not only they, did I have attend this event, but in reality so too did the Prime Minister of England, Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington.

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One of the few investors, or owners if you will, of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the friend of the Duke and also the wealthiest man of the 19th century. The Marquess of Stafford, or George Granville Leveson-Gower was thus there with the most powerful man, Wellington.

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With Wellington as the world’s most powerful man, Leveson-Gower as its richest, and Stephenson whose inventions fundamentally change the world as its smartest man, none could see that what they were doing that day would bring such a great change to all mankind, or the fall of the very government that had backed it within a matter of weeks.

While the government of Great Britain understood the event to be momentous enough that the Duke travelled north to participate, the success that railway travel became was not anticipated by the company at the time.

This new form of transport proved so successful that in the first six months of 1831, over 188 thousand passengers were carried on the trains. By the end of one full year from the start, September of 1831, nearly half a million travelled on the railway.

But the first day when these great men came together is what is important. The key additional personality that would cause the fall of Wellington’s government was that of William Husskisson.

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On this momentous day, there were several political realities also taking place. The North was much different from London and the South and Wellington’s presence was not only to praise the achievement of the railway, but also to show that he was concerned with the people of the North.

Husskisson was the MP for Liverpool and had been a member of Wellington’s Cabinet. He had been Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He resigned over the lack of representation for Manchester. He was thus very much involved in the political life of the North, representing one end of the railway, and concerned with the other end.

Now at this juncture, it was thought that Huskisson and Wellington would make amends and they would shake hands while the events of the day played out.

There were so many special attendees on the day of the event that several locomotives were put into service. There was also so much to do that things got started late. By 11, the trains were rolling.

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All seemed as it should, a band had been playing and was on one of the cars pulled by the Northumbrian locomotive to continue playing. Behind the car with the band was a special car that Wellington and the most important of those invited that day were on. Not Husskisson, though.

After the late start the next thing to go wrong was a collision. The first day of rail travel on Earth (aside from some small time freight hauling) there was a crash. Two lines were being used that day and one train had a wheel jump the track. The train following, not able to fully determine that this one had stopped hit it, but no one was injured as the trains were not traveling very fast.

This was minor. A few miles later though, at Parkside, things turned the day of triumph into one mixed with tragedy.

Recognizing that people would not be used to any sort of vehicle moving so fast, speeds of 10 and fifteen miles an hour, the Liverpool and Manchester had printed flyers advising the celebrants to not disembark from their train cars and visit with the other passengers. This though was ignored.

Mr. Husskisson especially had reason to leave his car and walk to that of the Duke’s carriage attached to the Northumbrian. Should the two find common ground, it would mean much for both. Husskisson might return to the cabinet, while Wellington would get support in the North.

With an eye to reconciliation, Husskisson approached the Duke and the two shook hands. Even as this occurred, others saw that the Rocket locomotive was approaching on the parallel track. Soon the cry was taken up that an engine was coming and all needed to the clear the track. There were no steps up to the Duke’s car, as these were detachable and had not been deployed. When the oncoming train was within 80 feet all that remained on the tracks were William Holmes, The Prince Esterházy, and Husskisson.

All but Husskisson reached safety. The Member for Liverpool, and once again hopeful of joining the Wellington government was struck by the Rocket. His leg and thigh crushed. (The first day of passenger rail service, the first passenger rail accident.)

There were three doctors amidst the contingent of celebrants, one of whom was Henry Herbert Southey who most recent posting had been with the recently deceased King, George IV. One would believe the man to be a very accomplished doctor since he had been the physician to the king. Yet he and the other two, had no practical experience with such accidents.

As all became calm enough to think, George Stephenson proposed transporting the injured MP to Manchester as the trains were pointed that way. The cars behind the Northumbrian locomotive were detached, and Husskisson was placed on the band’s carriage, the band now turning to walk back to Liverpool. (As the day grew longer, a hard rain came as well and poured on these entertainers.)

The Northumbrian departed and worked up to speeds of 40 miles an hour, the fastest speed ever achieved. It did little to save Husskisson, who insisted to be carried to his friend’s home, Reverend Blackburne who lived at Eccles, 4 miles short of Manchester. While there, Husskisson became too traumatized to be operated on by the time competent surgeons arrived to assess the situation. He died sometime after nine PM.

During this time it took a while to have the trains with the celebrants continue their journey. The mobs of people began to get restless and remembered how much they disliked Wellington. They even pelted his car with vegetables.

The trains were to have made their round trip and finish by 4 PM, by 9 they still had not done so. The death of William Husskisson, and certainly the actions of the crowd that day would lead Wellington to decide that he could not return to the North for the funeral of the man. Husskisson was not only noted for his views in the North, but wanting to reconcile with Wellington. The Duke however, through his actions, or inactions after Husskisson’s death lost the support of those who were friends of the deceased lawmaker.

When Wellington decided not to attend the funeral of the man who had only moments before the cause of his demise, had shaken the Duke’s hand, it forced a breach in his support large enough that by two months from the opening of the railway and the fateful events of that day, there was a no confidence vote against him. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Earl Grey.

The beginning of modern transportation, the age of Steam, saw the end of Wellington’s government. If Husskisson had survived, or never been injured. If the trains had returned to course, or Wellington had journeyed back to the funeral. It is highly possible that the world would have known a different outcome, then what did occur.

What I see, when looking at the facts, and the ability to share them with my readers is that the truth is stranger than fiction. I don’t think it is possible to arrange for so much fodder for a good story, than what occurred on September 15th, 1830.

Research
Wolmar, Christian (2007). Fire & Steam
Garfield, Simon (2002). The Last Journey of William Huskisson

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