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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Stanhope 3rd Earl Stanhope’

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.

George Burnett
1776–1811

George Burnett was the son of a farmer at Huntspill in Somerset, where he was born about 1776. After an introduction to classical literature by a clergyman in the neighbourhood, he was sent to Balliol College, Oxford, with a view to his taking orders in Church of England. After two or three years’ residence he became disillusioned with college life, and took part in the scheme of pantisocracy with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.

After a period supported by his father, Burnett obtained admission as a student at Manchester New College. He was appointed pastor of a congregation at Great Yarmouth, but did not remain there long. He subsequently became, for a short time, a student of medicine in the University of Edinburgh. He was at one time appointed domestic tutor to two sons of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope, but both his pupils very shortly left their father’s house. Burnett then became an assistant surgeon in a militia regiment.

He soon went to Poland with the family of Count Zamoyski, as English tutor, but in less than a year returned to England, without any employment. He left Huntspill, where he had been writing, and his relatives received no communication from him. From November 1809 till his death, which took place in the Marylebone Infirmary in February 1811, he relied on friends.

He contributed to the Monthly Magazine a series of letters which were reprinted under the title of ‘View of the Present State of Poland,’ Lond. 1807. He next published ‘Specimens of English Prose Writers, from the earliest times to the close of the seventeenth century; with sketches biographical and literary; including an account of books, as well as of their authors, with occasional criticisms,’ 3 vols. Lond. 1807; a compilation forming a companion to George Ellis’s ‘Specimens of the Early English Poets.’ He also wrote the introduction to the ‘Universal History,’ published under the name of Dr. William Fordyce Mavor. His last production, consisting of a selection from John Milton’s prose works, with new translations and an introduction (2 vols. Lond. 1809,), was compiled at Huntspill in 1808–9, and dedicated to Lord Erskine.

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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.

Alexander Tilloch
28 February 1759 – 26 January 1825

Alexander Tilloch was the son of John Tilloch, a tobacco merchant and magistrate of Glasgow, where he was born. He was educated at Glasgow University, and turned his attention to printing. In 1781 he began work on stereotypes. In 1725 William Ged had obtained a privilege for a development of Van der Mey’s process, but encountered practical difficulties. Tilloch independently developed a process by 1782, and worked with Andrew Foulis the younger, printer to the university of Glasgow. On 28 April 1784 they took out a joint patent for England (No. 1431) for ‘printing books from plates instead of movable types,’ and another for Scotland about the same time. They made no great use of it, however. From Tilloch Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope derived knowledge of the process of making stereotype plates.

In 1787 Tilloch moved to London, and in 1789, in connection with others, purchased The Star, an evening daily paper, of which he remained editor until 1821. At that time forgery of Bank of England notes was common, and Tilloch in 1790 laid before the British ministry a mode of printing which would render forgery impossible. Receiving no encouragement, he brought his process before the notice of the Commission d’Assignats of the Legislative Assembly, at Paris, but then came the outbreak of war. In 1797 he submitted to the Bank of England a specimen of a note engraved after his plan, accompanied by a certificate signed by Francesco Bartolozzi, Wilson Lowry, William Sharp and other engravers, to the effect that they did not believe it could be copied by any of the known arts of engraving. He could not, however, persuade the authorities to accept it, though in 1810 they adopted the process of Augustus Applegath, which Tilloch claimed in 1820, in a petition to parliament, to be virtually his own.

In 1797 he projected and established the Philosophical Magazine, a journal devoted to scientific subjects, and intended for the publication of new discoveries and inventions. He devoted much of his time to the conduct of the magazine, of which he remained sole proprietor until 1822, when Richard Taylor became associated with him. The only previous journal of this nature in London was the Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and the Arts, founded by William Nicholson in 1797. It was incorporated with Tilloch’s Magazine in 1813.

On 20 August 1808 Tilloch took out a patent (No. 3161) for ‘apparatus to be employed as a moving power to drive machinery and mill work.’

In later life Tilloch devoted attention to scriptural prophecy, joined the Sandemanians, and occasionally preached to a congregation in Goswell Street. On 11 January 1825 he took out a patent (No. 5066) for improvements in the ‘steam engine or apparatus connected therewith,’ and it is stated that the engineer, Arthur Woolf took up his suggestions. Tilloch was a member of numerous learned societies at home and on the continent, among others of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries, and of the Regia Academia Scientiarum of Munich. He collected manuscripts, coins, and medals, of which he left a considerable number.

He died in Barnsbury Street, Islington, on 26 January 1825. His wife, Margaret née Simpson, (1760-1783) died following the birth of a second child, who also died, leaving a daughter, Elizabeth (1781-1851), who later married John Galt.

Tilloch was the author of:

  • ‘Dissertation on the opening of the Sealed Book,’ Arbroath; 2nd edit. Perth, 1852; printed from a series of papers published in the ‘Star’ in 1808–9, signed ‘Biblicus.’ From the introduction it appears that the papers were intended to deal with the whole Book of Revelation.
  • ‘Dissertations introductory to the Study and right Understanding of the Apocalypse,’ London, 1823.

Tilloch also edited the ‘Mechanic’s Oracle,’ commenced in July 1824 and discontinued soon after his death.

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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.

Thomas Fyshe Palmer
August 1747 – 2 June 1802

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Thomas Fyshe Palmer

Thomas Fyshe Palmer was born in Ickwell, Bedfordshire, England, the son of Henry Fyshe who assumed the added name of Palmer because of an inheritance, and Elizabeth, daughter of James Ingram of Barnet.

Palmer was educated at Eton College and Queen’s College, Cambridge from 1765, with the purpose of taking holy orders in the Church of England. He graduated B.A. in 1769, M.A. in 1772, and BD in 1781. He obtained a fellowship of Queens’ in 1781, and officiated for a year as curate at Leatherhead, Surrey. While at Leatherhead he was introduced to Samuel Johnson, and dined with him in London; but he had become disillusioned with some aspects of the Church of England.

Palmer then read in Joseph Priestley’s works, and became a Unitarian. For the next ten years Palmer preached Unitarianism to congregations in Dundee and other Scottish towns. A Unitarian society had been founded by William Christie, a merchant, at Montrose, and Palmer offered his services as a preacher (14 July 1783). In November 1783 Palmer reached Montrose, and remained as Christie’s colleague till May 1785. He then moved to Dundee to become pastor of a new Unitarian society there, and he founded a Unitarian church. He preached also in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Arbroath, and Forfar, and formed further Unitarian societies. In 1789 he took temporary charge of the society at Newcastle. In 1792 his sermons in Edinburgh attracted attention, and pamphlets were published in refutation of his doctrines.

When agitation for political reform began in 1792, Dundee became one of its centres in Scotland. A society called the ‘Friends of Liberty’ was formed in 1793, and met in the Berean meeting-house in the Methodist Close, beside the house where Palmer lived in the Overgait. The society was composed mainly of working men. One evening in June 1793 Palmer was attended a meeting, when George Mealmaker, weaver in Dundee, brought a draft of an address to the public which he purposed circulating as a handbill. Palmer revised it, modifying it to a complaint against the government for war taxation, and a claim for universal suffrage and short parliaments. The address was sent to be printed in Edinburgh in July 1793. The authorities were alarmed, and decided to meet an anticipated revolution in time; and, in the belief that they were attacking a revolutionary leader, Palmer was arrested in Edinburgh on 2 August on a charge of sedition as the author of the document.

At the preliminary legal inquiry he refused to answer the questions put to him, pleading his ignorance of Scots law. He was confined in Edinburgh gaol, but afterwards freed on bail. An indictment was served on him directing him to appear at the circuit court, Perth on 12 September to answer to the charge. The presiding judges were David Rae, Lord Eskgrove and Alexander Abercromby, Lord Abercromby; the prosecutor was John Burnett, advocate-depute, assisted by Allan Maconochie; and Palmer was defended by John Clerk, and Mr. Haggart. One of the first witnesses was George Mealmaker, who admitted that he was the author of the address, and stated that Palmer was opposed to its publication. Other officials of the ‘Friends of Liberty’ corroborated, and the evidence proved nothing relevant to the charge beyond the fact that Palmer had ordered one thousand copies to be printed, but had given no instructions as to distribution.
Both the judges summed up adversely, and, when the jury found the accused guilty, he was sentenced to seven years’ transportation. The conviction of Palmer, following close on that of Thomas Muir, raised indignation among the Whig party throughout the kingdom; and during February and March 1794 attempts were made by the Earl of Lauderdale and Earl Stanhope in the House of Lords, and by Charles James Fox and Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the House of Commons, to obtain the reversal of the sentence. But the government, under William Pitt, was too strong.

Palmer was detained in Perth Tolbooth for three months, then taken to London and placed on the hulk Stanislaus at Woolwich, where he was put in irons for forced labour for three months. Palmer left in the Surprize, along with the so-called Scottish Martyrs, Thomas Muir, William Skirving and Maurice Margarot, embarking in February but sailing in April 1794, with a gang of convicts for Botany Bay. The vessel arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales, on 25 October, and as Palmer and his companions had letters of introduction to the governor, they were well treated, and had houses assigned to them.

Whilst serving his seven years of exile in Sydney Palmer did not suffer the usual convict restraint, and he engaged in business enterprises. Besides cultivating the land, the exiled reformers constructed a small vessel, and traded to Norfolk Island. At the end of 1799 Palmer and his friend James Ellis—who had followed him from Dundee as a colonist—combined with others to purchase a vessel in which they might return home, when Palmer’s sentence expired in September 1800.

Palmer and Ellis intended to trade on the homeward way, and provisioned their vessel for six months; but their hopes of securing cargo in New Zealand were disappointed, and they were held up for half a year. They sailed to Tongatabu, where a war prevented them from landing. They steered for the Fiji Islands, where they were well received; but while making for Goraa, one of the group, their vessel struck a reef. Having refitted, they started for Macao.

Adverse storms drove them about the Pacific until their provisions were exhausted, and they were compelled to put in at Guguan, one of the Ladrone Islands, then under Spanish rule. Spain and Britain were then at war, and Spanish governor treated them as prisoners of war. When Palmer was attacked with dysentery, he succumbed. He died on 2 June 1802, and was buried by the seashore. Two years later an American captain touched at the Isle of Guguan, and, having found out where Palmer had been buried, he had the body exhumed and taken on board his vessel, with the governor’s permission. The remains were taken to Boston, Massachusetts, and reinterred in the cemetery there.

A monument was erected in the Old Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh, in 1844 to commemorate Palmer, Muir, and the other Scottish Martyrs.

Palmer’s publications were mostly magazine articles and pamphlets.

  • To the Theological Repository he contributed regularly in 1789–90, as Anglo-Scotus.
  • In 1792 he published a controversial pamphlet entitled An Attempt to refute a Sermon by H. D. Inglis on the Godhead of Jesus Christ, and to restore the long-lost Truth of the First Commandment, against Henry David Inglis.
  • His Narrative of the Sufferings of T. F. Palmer and W. Skirving was published in 1797.

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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.

Charles Stanhope 3rd Earl Stanhope
3 August 1753 – 15 December 1816

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Charles Stanhope

Charles Stanhope 3rd Earl Stanhope was son of the 2nd Earl Stanhope, he was educated at Eton and the University of Geneva. While in Geneva, he devoted himself to the study of mathematics under Georges-Louis Le Sage, and acquired from Switzerland an intense love of liberty.

In politics he was a democrat. As Lord Mahon he contested the Westminster without success in 1774, when only just of age; but from the general election of 1780 until his accession to the peerage on 7 March 1786 he represented through the influence of Lord Shelburne the Buckinghamshire borough of High Wycombe. During the sessions of 1783 and 1784 he supported William Pitt the Younger, whose sister, Lady Hester Pitt, he married on 19 December 1774. He was close enough to be singled out for ridicule in the Rolliad:

——This Quixote of the Nation
Beats his own Windmills in gesticulation;
To strike, not please, his utmost force he bends,
And all his sense is at his fingers’ ends, &c. &c.

When Pitt strayed from the Liberal principles of his early days, his brother-in-law severed their political connection and opposed the arbitrary measures which the ministry favoured. Lord Stanhope’s character was generous, and his conduct consistent; but his speeches were not influential.

He was the chairman of the “Revolution Society,” founded in honour of the Glorious Revolution of 1688; the members of the society in 1790 expressed their sympathy with the aims of the French Revolution. In 1794 Stanhope supported Thomas Muir, one of the Edinburgh politicians who were transported to Botany Bay; and in 1795 he introduced into the Lords a motion deprecating any interference with the internal affairs of France. In all these points he was hopelessly beaten, and in the last of them he was in a “minority of one”—a sobriquet which stuck to him throughout life—whereupon he seceded from parliamentary life for five years.

Stanhope was an accomplished scientist. This started at the University of Geneva where he studied mathematics under Georges-Louis Le Sage. Electricity was another of the subjects which he studied, and the volume of Principles of Electricity which he issued in 1779 contained the rudiments of his theory on the “return stroke” resulting from the contact with the earth of the electric current of lightning, which were afterwards amplified in a contribution to the Philosophical Transactions for 1787. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society so early as November 1772, and devoted a large part of his income to experiments in science and philosophy. He invented a method of securing buildings from fire (which, however, proved impracticable), the first iron printing press and the lens which bear his name, and a monochord for tuning musical instruments, suggested improvements in canal locks, made experiments in steam navigation in 1795–1797 and contrived two calculating machines.

When he acquired extensive property in Devon, Stanhope projected a canal through that county from the Bristol to the English Channel and took the levels himself.

His principal labours in literature consisted of a reply to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) and an Essay on the rights of juries (1792), and he long meditated the compilation of a digest of the statutes.

He married twice:

Firstly on 19 December 1774 to Lady Hester Pitt (19 October 1755 – 20 July 1780), daughter of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (“Pitt the Elder”), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, by whom he had progeny three daughters:

    • Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope (1776–1839) a traveller and Arabist who died unmarried at the age of 63 in Syria.
    • Lady Griselda Stanhope (1778–1851), wife of John Tickell.
    • Lady Lucy Rachel Stanhope (1780–1814) who eloped with Thomas Taylor of Sevenoaks, the family apothecary, following which her father refused to be reconciled to her; but Pitt made her husband Controller-General of Customs and his son was one of the Earl of Chatham’s executors.

Secondly in 1781 he married Louisa Grenville (1758–1829), daughter and sole heiress of the Hon. Henry Grenville, Governor of Barbados in 1746 and ambassador to the Ottoman Porte in 1762), a younger brother of Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos and of George Grenville. She survived him and died in March 1829. By his second wife he had progeny three sons:

    • Philip Henry Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope (1781–1855), eldest son and heir.
    • Charles Banks Stanhope (1785–1809), aide-de-camp to John Moore. He was killed at the Battle of Corunna
    • James Hamilton Stanhope (1788–1825) captain and lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Foot Guards.

Lord Stanhope died at the family seat of Chevening, Kent and was succeeded by his eldest who shared much of his father’s scientific interest but is known also for his association with Kaspar Hauser.

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