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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Vane 3rd Marquess of Londonderry’

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.

Sir Henry Vane-Tempest
25 January 1771 – 1 August 1813

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Henry Vane-Tempest

Sir Henry Vane-Tempest was the son and heir of Reverend Sir Henry Vane, 1st Baronet and his wife, Frances, née Tempest. He was Member of Parliament for the City of Durham from 1794 to 1800, replacing his uncle John Tempest from whom he inherited the Tempest estates in County Durham (notably Wynyard and Brancepeth) upon condition he adopt the name and arms of Tempest. He accepted the Chiltern Hundreds in 1800 before returning to Parliament as representative for the County Durham from 1807 until his death from apoplexy in 1813. He was appointed High Sheriff of Antrim in 1805.

Vane-Tempest inherited his father’s baronetcy in 1794. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Durham volunteer cavalry in early 1797. On 25 April 1799, he married Anne MacDonnell, 2nd Countess of Antrim and they had one child, Lady Frances Anne Vane-Tempest (1800–1865), who married Lord Charles Stewart (later Marquess of Londonderry). On his death the baronetcy became extinct. He is buried at Long Newton.

Vane-Tempest was a renowned sportsman of his day, owning the celebrated racehorse Hambletonian. In a match with Mr. Cookson’s Diamond over the Beacon Course at Newmarket in 1799, Hambletonian won by a neck, Sir Henry having wagered 3,000 guineas on the outcome. The aftermath is the subject of George Stubbs’ painting “Hambletonian Rubbing Down“.

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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.

Frances Anne Vane Marchioness of Londonderry
17 January 1800 – 20 January 1865

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Frances Anne Vane

Frances Anne Vane Marchioness of Londonderry was the daughter of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, 2nd Baronet and the second wife of Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. She inherited extensive lands from her father in north east England. Her mother was Anne MacDonnell, 2nd Countess of Antrim. With her husband, she developed an extensive coal mining operation that included coal mines, a railroad, and docks at Seaham.

She became an object of affection for the Tsar Alexander I of Russia after he saw her portrait.
She sought to promote her eldest son’s political career and was a patron of Benjamin Disraeli.

  • George Henry Robert Charles William Vane-Tempest, 5th Marquess of Londonderry
  • Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane; married John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.
  • Lady Alexandrina Octavia Maria Vane, godchild of Alexander I of Russia; married Henry Dawson-Damer, 3rd Earl of Portarlington.
  • Lord Adolphus Frederick Charles William Vane-Tempest, politician; became insane, and had to be medically restrained.
  • Lady Adelaide Emelina Caroline Vane; disgraced the family by eloping with her brother’s tutor, Rev. Frederick Henry Law.
  • Lord Ernest McDonnell Vane-Tempest, fell in with a press-gang and had to be bought a commission in the army, from which he was subsequently cashiered.

Frederick William Robert Stewart, 4th Marquess of Londonderry was her stepson.

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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.

Frederick William Robert Stewart 4th Marquess of Londonderry
7 July 1805 – 25 November 1872

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Frederick Stewart

Frederick Stewart 4th Marquess of Londonderry styled Viscount Castlereagh between 1822 and 1854, was a British nobleman and Tory politician. He was briefly Vice-Chamberlain of the Household under Sir Robert Peel between December 1834 and April 1835.

Stewart was born at Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London, the eldest son of Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, by his first wife Lady Catherine Bligh, daughter of John Bligh, 3rd Earl of Darnley. His mother died when he was seven and while his father was serving in the army overseas, Stewart was looked after by his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Castlereagh. He went to Eton in 1814, where he stayed until 1820. After his father succeeded to the marquessate of Londonderry in 1822, Stewart became known by the courtesy title Viscount Castlereagh.

Lord Castlereagh sat as Member of Parliament for County Down from 1826 to 1852. He served under the Duke of Wellington as a Lord of the Admiralty from 1828 to 1830 and under Sir Robert Peel as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household from December 1834 to April 1835. On 23 February 1835 he was sworn of the Privy Council. He was one of the Members of Parliament for County Down from 1826 until 1852. By the latter year, he “had fallen out with his father, the Marquess of Londonderry over their views on the land question [and] was obliged to retire because of these differences”. From 1845 until 1864 he was Lord Lieutenant of Down. In 1856 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick.

Lord Londonderry married Lady Elizabeth Frances Charlotte Jocelyn, widow of Viscount Powerscourt and daughter of Robert Jocelyn, 3rd Earl of Roden, at the British Embassy in Paris on 2 May 1846. There were no children from the marriage. He died at the White Rock Pavilion (this was almost certainly White Rock Villa as the White Rock Pavilion, now called the White Rock Theatre, wasn’t built until 1927) in Hastings in November 1872, aged 67, and was succeeded in the marquessate by his half-brother, George Vane-Tempest, 2nd Earl Vane. The Marchioness of Londonderry died on 2 September 1884, aged 70, and was buried with him in Newtownards.

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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.

Robert Stewart 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, Viscount Castlereagh
18 June 1769 – 12 August 1822

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Robert Stewart

Robert Stewart 2nd Marquess of Londonderry Viscount Castlereagh was an Irish and British statesman. As British Foreign Secretary, from 1812 he was central to the management of the coalition that defeated Napoleon and was the principal British diplomat at the Congress of Vienna. Castlereagh was also leader of the British House of Commons in the Liverpool government from 1812 until his suicide in August 1822. Early in his career, as Chief Secretary for Ireland, he was involved in putting down the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and was instrumental in securing the passage of the Irish Act of Union of 1800.

His foreign policy from 1814 was to work with the leaders represented at the Congress of Vienna to provide a peace in Europe consistent with the conservative mood of the day. Much more than prime minister Lord Liverpool, he was responsible for the repressive domestic measures.

Robert Stewart acquired the courtesy title Viscount Castlereagh in 1796 when his father was created Earl of Londonderry in the Irish peerage. Upon his father’s death in 1821, he succeeded as 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, a title to which his father had been raised in 1816. His younger half-brother, the soldier, politician and diplomat Charles Stewart (later Vane) succeeded him as 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

Robert Stewart was born in Henry Street, Dublin, Ireland, in 1769 the son of Robert Stewart (1739–1821) of Newtownards and Comber in County Down, with properties in Counties Donegal and Londonderry. The family seat was Mount Stewart, County Down.

The elder Stewart was an Irish politician and prominent Ulster landowner He was created Baron Londonderry in 1789, Viscount Castlereagh in 1795, and Earl of Londonderry in 1796 by King George III. In 1771 he was elected in the Whig interest to the Irish House of Commons, where he was a supporter of Lord Charlemont and his allies who called for greater independence from Britain. From the Act of Union of 1800, however, he sat in the British House of Lords as an Irish representative peer. In 1816 he was created Marquess of Londonderry by the Prince Regent.

Stewart’s mother, who died in childbirth when he was a year old, was Lady Sarah Frances Seymour, daughter of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford (a former British Ambassador to France (1764–65) and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1765–66)) and Isabella Fitzroy, daughter of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton. His father remarried five years later to Frances Pratt, daughter of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden (1714–94), a leading English jurist and prominent political supporter of both the 1st Earl of Chatham and his son, William Pitt the Younger. Through the elder Stewart’s marriages, he linked his family with the upper ranks of English nobility and political elites. The Camden connection was to be especially important for the political careers of both him and his elder son. By Frances Pratt, Stewart’s father had three children who survived to adulthood, including Stewart’s half-brother, Charles William Stewart (later Vane), Baron Stewart of Stewart’s Court and Ballylawn in County Donegal (1814) and 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (1822).

In 1794, Stewart married Amelia (Emily) Hobart a daughter of John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, a former British Ambassador to Russia (1762–65) and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1776–80). Her mother, Caroline Conolly, was the granddaughter of William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in the early 18th century and one of the wealthiest landowners in Ireland. Caroline’s brother, Thomas Conolly, was married to Louisa Lennox, sister of Emily FitzGerald, Duchess of Leinster, whose son and Emily’s cousin-by-marriage, the aristocratic rebel Lord Edward FitzGerald, was a leader of the United Irishmen and one of their martyrs in the early stages of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Emily Stewart was well known as a hostess for her husband in both Ireland and London and during some of his most important diplomatic missions. In later years she was a leader of Regency London high society as one of the Lady Patronesses of Almack’s. She is noted in contemporary accounts for her attractiveness, volubility and eccentricities. By all accounts, the two remained devoted to each other to the end, but they had no children. The couple did, however, care for the young Frederick Stewart, while his father, Stewart’s half-brother, Charles, was serving in the army.

Stewart had recurring health problems throughout his childhood, and his family elected to send him to The Royal School, Armagh, rather than to England for his secondary education. At the encouragement of Earl Camden, who took a great interest in him and treated him as a grandson by blood, he later attended St. John’s College, Cambridge (1786–87), where he applied himself with greater diligence than expected from an aristocrat and obtained first class in his last examinations. He left Cambridge due to an extended illness, and after returning to Ireland did not pursue further formal education.

In 1790, Stewart was elected as a Member of the Irish Parliament for Down in one of the most expensive elections in Irish history. Though for a time he was associated with the Northern Whig Club, he entered the Irish House of Commons as an Independent. He ran on a platform supporting Whig principles of electoral reform and opposing the Irish policies of the British Government. But even from the outset of his career, he was a personal supporter of the Prime Minister, William Pitt. Stewart was a lifelong advocate of Catholic concessions, though his position on the specific issue of Catholic Emancipation varied depending on his assessment of the potential repercussions on other policy priorities.

When war with France forced British Government attention on Ireland as a possible place of French invasion, the Irish Volunteers, seen as a potential source of disaffection, were disbanded by Dublin Castle, and a reorganised Militia was created in 1793. Stewart enrolled as an officer, a matter of course for a young Protestant aristocrat, and served as Lieutenant Colonel under the command of his wife’s uncle, Thomas Conolly. Between Stewart’s attendance to his militia duties, his pursuit of cultural, family and political interests in London, two trips to the Continent (in 1791, when he visited revolutionary Paris, and 1792), and the courtship of his wife whom he married in 1794, his life during this period was not centred on the activities of the Irish House of Commons, where he was listened to with respect but where he was not yet an important player. He was also beginning to disappoint some of his more radical original supporters in his constituency. As the French Revolution grew more bloody and Ireland more rebellious, Stewart increasingly worried about Ireland’s future if the threats from France succeeded in breaking Ireland’s links to Britain. He became further inclined to support not only Pitt personally but the British Government, even when he did not approve of a specific line taken in Irish policy.

In 1794, partly as a result of the promotion of Stewart’s interests by his Camden connections, he was offered the Government-controlled seat of Tregony in Cornwall, where he was elected to the British House of Commons on a similar platform of reform principles and support for Pitt, on whose side he sat in Westminster. In 1796, he transferred to a seat for the Suffolk constituency of Orford, which was in the interest of his mother’s family, the Seymour-Conways (Marquess of Hertford).

In 1795, Pitt replaced the popular Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Fitzwilliam, with Stewart’s uncle, the 2nd Earl Camden. Camden’s arrival in Dublin was greeted with riots, and that year Stewart crossed the floor to join the supporters of the British Government. Stewart became an essential adviser to the inexperienced and unpopular Lord Lieutenant, who was Stewart’s senior by only ten years.

In 1796, when the French invasion of Ireland failed at Bantry Bay due to bad weather and not to Ireland’s military preparations or the British Navy, Castlereagh as a leader of the Militia saw first hand how ripe Ireland was for breaking from Britain and becoming another French satellite. Despairing of obtaining timely military support from Britain if Ireland were again threatened with invasion, for the next several years, he was increasingly involved in measures against those promoting a Rising, but his initial principles of reform and emancipation continued to hold a place in his political thought.

In 1797, Castlereagh was at last appointed to office, as Keeper of the King’s Signet for Ireland. As martial law was declared in the face of growing turmoil, he was made both a Lord of the Treasury and a Member of the Privy Council of Ireland (1797–1800). At the urging of Camden, Castlereagh assumed many of the onerous duties of the often-absent Chief Secretary for Ireland who was responsible for day-to-day administration and asserting the influence of Dublin Castle in the House of Commons. In this capacity, and after March 1798 as Acting Chief Secretary, Castlereagh played a key role in crushing the Irish Rebellion of 1798, offering clemency to commoners who had supported the rebellion, and focusing instead on pursuing rebel leaders.

In 1799, in furtherance of both his own political vision and Pitt’s policies, Castlereagh began lobbying in the Irish and British Parliaments for an official union between the two, convinced that it was the best way to soothe the long-standing divides in Ireland, insulate Ireland from further radical disaffection, and protect Britain from French military threats via Ireland. His first attempt, at the opening of the Irish session of 1799, met with failure during long, heated debates. A year of further intense preparation followed, with an impressive display of Machiavellian tactics that included the common practice of bribery through peerages, honours and money, but bribery on a truly uncommon scale. In the summer of 1800, Castlereagh together with the Lord Lieutenant, Marquess Cornwallis, finally succeeded in steering the Irish Act of Union through both Parliaments.

During the campaign for the Act of Union, both Castlereagh and Cornwallis had, in good faith, forwarded informal assurances they had received from Pitt’s Cabinet to the Irish Catholics that they would be allowed to sit in Parliament. Both Castlereagh and Cornwallis knew Catholic emancipation would be critical if their objectives for Union were to be realised. Emancipation was, however, opposed by much of the British establishment, including George III, who was convinced that it would violate his royal oath as protector of the Protestant faith. Pitt tried to follow through on his commitment, but when it came to light that the King had approached Henry Addington, an opponent of Catholic emancipation, about becoming Prime Minister to replace the pro-emancipation Pitt, both Castlereagh and Pitt resigned in protest. Castlereagh would long be held personally responsible by many Catholics in Ireland for the breach of promise and the British Government’s betrayal of their rights.

In Dublin, he was a member of the Kildare Street Club. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1802.

When the newly united Parliament of the United Kingdom met in 1801, Castlereagh took his seat in the House of Commons from his Down constituency. By 1802, tensions between Tories supporting emancipation and those opposing had relaxed, and Addington had obtained his desired cessation of hostilities with France (the Peace of Amiens). At a shift in the composition of Addington’s Government, Castlereagh accepted the offer to enter the Cabinet as President of the Board of Control, where he mediated bitter disputes between the Governor-General of India, Richard Wellesley, and the Directors of the East India Company, smoothing quarrels while generally supporting Lord Wellesley’s policies.

After the renewal of the war against Napoleon, at the urging of Castlereagh and other long-time supporters, in 1804 Pitt returned as Prime Minister, and Castlereagh was promoted to Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. As the only other member of Pitt’s Government in the House of Commons, Castlereagh became Pitt’s political deputy, taking on ever more burdens as Pitt’s health continued to decline. After Pitt’s death in 1806, Castlereagh resigned amid the chaos of the Ministry of All the Talents. When that Government collapsed, Castlereagh again became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1807, this time in the ministry of the Duke of Portland.

As minister for War, he became involved in disputes with Foreign Secretary George Canning over the Walcheren Expedition and its failure. Canning saw it as a diversion of troops from the Peninsular War based on a hopeless plan. However, Castlereagh had the support of Lord Wellesley’s younger brother General Arthur Wellesley (future Duke of Wellington), and evidence later surfaced that Canning himself had interfered with the plan, selecting the Earl of Chatham to command the expedition. The Portland government became increasingly paralysed by disputes between the two men. Portland was in deteriorating health and gave no lead, until Canning threatened resignation unless Castlereagh was removed and replaced by Lord Wellesley. Wellesley himself was neither complicit with nor even aware of the arrangement, but Portland secretly agreed to make this change when it became possible.

Castlereagh discovered the deal in September 1809 and demanded redress. He challenged Canning to a duel, which Canning accepted. Canning had never before fired a pistol. The duel was fought on 21 September 1809 on Putney Heath. Canning missed but Castlereagh wounded his opponent in the thigh. There was much outrage that two cabinet ministers had resorted to such a method, and they both felt compelled to resign from the government. Six months later, Canning published a full account of his actions in the affair, and many who had initially rallied to him became convinced Castlereagh had been betrayed by his cabinet colleague.

Three years later, in 1812, Castlereagh returned to the government, this time as Foreign Secretary, a role in which he served for the next ten years. He also became leader of the House of Commons in the wake of Spencer Perceval’s assassination in 1812.

In his role of Foreign Secretary he was instrumental in negotiating what has become known as the quadruple alliance between Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia at Chaumont in March 1814, in the negotiation of the Treaty of Paris that brought peace with France, and at the Congress of Vienna. The Treaty of Chaumont was part of the final deal offered to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814. Napoleon rejected it and it never took effect. However, the key terms reaffirmed decisions that had been made already. These decisions were again ratified and put into effect by the Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815. The terms were largely written by Lord Castlereagh, who offered cash subsidies to keep the other armies in the field against Napoleon. Key terms included the establishment of a confederated Germany, the division into independent states, the restoration of the Bourbon kings of Spain, and the enlargement of Holland to include what in 1830 became modern Belgium. The treaty of Chaumont became the cornerstone of the European Alliance which formed the balance of power for decades.

At the Congress of Vienna, Castlereagh designed and proposed a form of collective and collaborative security for Europe, then called a Congress system. In the Congress system, the main signatory powers met periodically (every two years or so) and collectively managed European affairs. This system was used in an attempt to address the Polish-Saxon crisis at Vienna and the question of Greek independence at Laibach. The following ten years saw five European Congresses where disputes were resolved with a diminishing degree of effectiveness. Finally, by 1822, the whole system had collapsed because of the irreconcilable differences of opinion among Britain, Austria, and Russia, and because of the lack of support for the Congress system in British public opinion. The Holy Alliance, which Castlereagh opposed, lingered for some time, however, and even had effects on the international stage as late as the Crimean war. The order created by the Congress of Vienna was also more successful than Congresses themselves, preventing major European land wars until the First World War a century later. Scholars and historians have seen the Congress system as a forerunner of the modern collective security, international unity, and cooperative agreements of NATO, the EU, the League of Nations, and the United Nations.

In the years 1812 to 1822, Castlereagh continued to manage Britain’s foreign policy, generally pursuing a policy of continental engagement uncharacteristic of British foreign policy in the nineteenth century. Castlereagh was not known to be an effective public speaker and his diplomatic presentation style was at times abstruse. Henry Kissinger says he developed a reputation for integrity, consistency, and goodwill, which was perhaps unmatched by any diplomat of that era.

Despite his contributions to the defeat of Napoleon and restoration of peace, Castlereagh became extremely unpopular at home. He was attacked for his construction of a peace that gave a free hand to reactionary governments on the Continent to suppress dissent. He was also condemned for his association with repressive measures of the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth (the former Prime Minister Addington). As Leader of the House of Commons for the Liverpool Government, he was often called upon to defend government policy in the House. He had to support the widely reviled measures taken by Sidmouth and the others, including the infamous Six Acts, to remain in cabinet and continue his diplomatic work.

After the death of his father in 1821, Castlereagh became the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry. As a non-representative Irish peer Londonderry was eligible to sit in the House of Commons though he had to leave his Irish seat and instead be elected to an English seat. In 1822, he began to suffer from a form of paranoia or a nervous breakdown, possibly as a result of an attack of gout combined with the stress of public criticism. He was also severely overworked with both his responsibilities in leading the government in the House and the never-ending diplomacy required to manage conflicts among the other major powers. At the time, he said “My mind, is, as it were, gone.” Londonderry returned to his country seat at Loring Hall in Water Lane, North Cray, Kent on the advice of his doctor. On 9 August 1822 he had an audience with King George IV in which he appeared distracted and mentally disturbed. Among other surprising remarks he revealed to the King that he thought he was being blackmailed for homosexuality.

On 12 August, although his wife had succeeded in removing razors from his possession and even though his doctor was in attendance, Castlereagh managed to find a pen knife with which he committed suicide by cutting his own throat.

An inquest concluded that the act had been committed while insane, avoiding the harsh strictures of a felo de se verdict. The verdict allowed Lady Londonderry to see her husband buried with honour in Westminster Abbey near his mentor, William Pitt. Some radicals, notably William Cobbett, claimed a “cover-up” within the government and viewed the verdict and Castlereagh’s public funeral as a damning indictment of the elitism and privilege of the unreformed electoral system. His funeral on 20 August was greeted with jeering and insults along the processional route, although not to the level of unanimity projected in the radical press. A funeral monument was not erected until 1850 by his half-brother and successor, Charles Stewart Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

And yet, some of Castlereagh’s political opponents were gracious in their epigrams. Henry Brougham, a Whig politician and later the Lord Chancellor, who had battled frequently with Castlereagh, once almost to the point of calling him out, and had denigrated his skills as Leader, wrote in the week following Castlereagh’s death:

Put all their other men together in one scale, and poor Castlereagh in the other – single he plainly weighed them down… One can’t help feeling a little for him, after being pitted against him for several years, pretty regularly. It is like losing a connection suddenly. Also he was a gentleman, and the only one amongst them.

An English Heritage blue plaque is displayed at the entrance to the listed building Loring Hall, now a care facility for those with learning disabilities, in commemoration of Castlereagh, who occupied the property from 1811 until 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.

Amelia Stewart Viscountess Castlereagh
20 February 1772 – 12 February 1829

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Amelia Stewart

Amelia Stewart was from 1794 until 1821 generally known as Emily Stewart, Lady Castlereagh, was the wife of the Georgian era Irish statesman Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, who from 1812 to 1822 was British Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. Well-connected by birth to the aristocracy and wife of a prominent politician who was Britain’s leading diplomat during the close of the Napoleonic Wars, Lady Castlereagh was an influential member of Regency London’s high society.

Lady Castlereagh was a daughter of John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and his second wife, Caroline Conolly. The Earl of Buckinghamshire was an English courtier and politician who served as British Ambassador to Russia (1762–65) and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1776–80).

Her mother Caroline’s father, William Conolly, was the nephew and heir of William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in the early 18th century and an extremely wealthy Irish landowner. Caroline’s brother, Thomas Conolly, a noted Irish sportsman and Lady Castlereagh’s uncle, was married to Louisa Lennox, daughter of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and one of the famous Lennox sisters. Caroline’s mother, Anne Wentworth, was daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford.

Emily Hobart married Robert Stewart, son of the Irish politician and landowner Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, in 1794. Her husband used his courtesy title, Viscount Castlereagh, from 1796 until 1821, when he was created 2nd Marquess of Londonderry on his father’s death.

They were a notably devoted couple but had no children. They did, however, care for the young Frederick Stewart while his father, Charles, Lord Castlereagh‘s half-brother, was serving in the army. Her devotion to her husband, combined with her love of foreign travel, well equipped her for the life of a diplomat’s wife, and she was noted for her constant willingness to accompany her husband abroad, no matter how rigorous the journey.

Although there is no doubt that she was concerned by her husband’s deteriorating mental condition, which culminated in his suicide in August 1822, she may not have realised quite how serious the matter was : even days before the suicide she was insisting, in public at least, that while he had been “unwell” he was expected to recover fully. During his last days she was undoubtedly fully aware of his dangerous condition, but was forced to trust in the skill of their doctor, Charles Bankhead. Afterwards she was blamed, perhaps unfairly, by many of his friends and political colleagues, for concealing the serious nature of his mental illness: Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, in particular accused her of deceiving him about the extent of the problem.

After her husband’s death Emily lived quietly in the country for almost two years. In 1824 she returned to her old social life, arousing the censure of some of her husband’s friends who thought her conduct unfeeling. However her health soon failed and she died in 1829.

During the Regency of George IV, Lady Castlereagh, along with Lady Jersey, Dorothea Lieven, Lady Cowper, and others, was a Lady Patroness of Almack’s, one of the first and most exclusive mixed-gender social clubs in London. In their role as Patroness, they had great influence over the ton, determining social acceptance by designating who might receive “vouchers” (entrance tickets) to Almack’s, thereby setting and enforcing complex, unwritten social codes of the London social elite.

Credited with having introduced the quadrille to London, Lady Castlereagh is also remembered for having Almack’s doors closed, without exception, at eleven o’clock, even once turning away the Duke of Wellington. Her own parties were considered dull, and her manner was somewhat eccentric: guests described her conversation as an endless flow of trivial information delivered in an odd detached manner.

At their country home, Loring Hall, North Cray, Lady Castlereagh kept a private zoo, which featured antelopes, ostriches, kangaroos, and a notably bad-tempered tiger.

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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 Vane 3rd Marquess of Londonderry
18 May 1778 – 6 March 1854

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Charles Vane

Born in Dublin, Charles Stewart (as he then was), was the only son of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, by his second wife Lady Frances, daughter of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden. Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, was his half-brother. Charles Stewart was educated at Eton, and at the age of 16 was commissioned into the British Army as a Lieutenant. He saw service in Flanders in 1794, and was Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons by the time he helped put down the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Two years later he was elected to the Irish House of Commons as Tory representative for Thomastown, County Kilkenny, and after only two months exchanged this seat for that of Londonderry County. He sat for the latter constituency until the Act of Union in 1801, and represented then Londonderry in the British House of Commons until 1814.

In 1803 Stewart was appointed aide-de-camp to King George III, and four years later became Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. During the Corunna Campaign of 1808–1809 he commanded a brigade of cavalry, and played a prominent role in the cavalry clash of Benavente. In April 1809 he was made Adjutant General to Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) with the British forces fighting in the Peninsular War, a post in which he distinguished himself, particularly at the battles of Busaco and Talavera. He received the thanks of Parliament in 1810, and on 20 November 1813 was made Colonel of the 25th Light Dragoons, becoming a Knight of the Bath that same year. Until the end of the war he was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Berlin, and was also Military Commissioner with the allied armies, being wounded at the Battle of Kulm.

The recipient of numerous foreign honours, Stewart was also, in 1814, ennobled as Baron Stewart, of Stewart’s Court and Ballylawn in the County of Donegal. That same year he received honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, was admitted to the Privy Council, and was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber to the King. He was also made Ambassador to Vienna, a post he held for nine years, and was at the Congress of Vienna with his half brother Lord Castlereagh as one of the British plenipotentiaries, where, he made a spectacle of himself with his loutish behaviour, being apparently rather often inebriated, frequenting prostitutes quite openly, touching up young women in public, and once even starting a fist fight in the middle of the street with a Viennese coach driver (from whom he had to be rescued by the Austrian constabulary).

He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order in 1816 and made colonel of the 10th (The Prince of Wales’s Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars) on 3 February 1820.

His first wife was Lady Catherine Bligh, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Darnley, whom he married in 1804; she was three years older than he. She died during the night of 10–11 February 1812, of fever following a minor operation, while her husband was on active service in the Peninsula.

After he married his second wife Lady Frances Anne Vane-Tempest, daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, on 3 April 1819, Lord Londonderry took the surname of Vane, by royal licence, and used his new bride’s immense wealth to acquire the Seaham Hall estate in County Durham with a view to developing the coal fields there. He also built the harbour at Seaham, to rival nearby Sunderland.

The family also used their new-found wealth to redecorate their main country seat in Ireland, Mount Stewart, and bought Holderness House on London’s Park Lane, which they renamed Londonderry House.

Charles Stewart succeeded his half-brother as 3rd Marquess of Londonderry in 1822. The following year he was created Earl Vane and Viscount Seaham, of Seaham in the County Palatine of Durham, with remainder to the heirs male of the body of his second wife.

Governor of County Londonderry from 1823, Londonderry was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Durham in 1842 and the following year became Colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards. He was finally made a Knight of the Garter in 1853, and died a year later at Londonderry House. Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, County Down was erected in his memory.

He was succeeded as 4th Marquess of Londonderry by his son from his first marriage, and as 2nd Earl Vane by his son from his second marriage.

  • Frederick William Robert Stewart, 4th Marquess of Londonderry
  • George Henry Robert Charles William Vane-Tempest, 5th Marquess of Londonderry
  • Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane; married John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough.
  • Lady Alexandrina Octavia Maria Vane; married Henry Dawson-Damer, 3rd Earl of Portarlington.
  • Lord Adolphus Frederick Charles William Vane-Tempest; became insane
  • Lady Adelaide Emelina Caroline Vane; married, Rev. Frederick Henry Law.
  • Lord Ernest McDonnell Vane-Tempest

Through his daughter Lady Frances, Lord Londonderry was the great-grandfather of Winston Churchill.

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