Posts Tagged ‘Francis Osborne 5th Duke of Leeds’

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.

Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquess of Hastings
9 December 1754 – 28 November 1826


Francis Rawdon-Hastings

Francis Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquess of Hastings was born at Moira, County Down, the son of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira and Elizabeth Hastings, 13th Baroness Hastings. He grew up there and in Dublin, Ireland. He joined the British Army on 7 August 1771 as an ensign in the 15th Foot. (The going rate for purchasing a commission for this rank was 200.) He was at Harrow School and matriculated at University College, Oxford, but dropped out. He became friends there with Banastre Tarleton. With his uncle Lord Huntington, he went on the Grand Tour. On 20 October 1773, he was promoted to lieutenant in the 5th Foot. He returned to England to join his regiment, and sailed for America on 7 May 1774.

In May 1789 he acted as the Duke of York’s second in his duel with Lieut.-Colonel Lennox on Wimbledon Common.

Rawdon was posted at Boston as a Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Foot’s Grenadier company, which was then under the command of Captain Francis Marsden. He first saw action at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Serving with the grenadiers, he participated in the second assault against Breed’s Hill (which failed), and the third assault against the redoubt. As his superior, a Captain George Harris, was wounded beside him, he took command of his company, for the successful assault. John Burgoyne noted in dispatches: “Lord Rawdon has this day stamped his fame for life.” He also was wounded during the assault. He was promoted Captain, and given a company in the 63rd Foot. After having recognized him, it is said that it was Lieutenant Lord Rawdon killed the American general Joseph Warren. Lord Rawdon is depicted in John Trumbull’s famous painting, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Rawdon is in the far background holding the British ensign.

During the Boston winter quarters, Rawdon made his stage debut, delivering a prologue for Aaron Hill’s tragedy, Zara, which had been written by John Burgoyne. He was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Sir Henry Clinton, and sailed with him on the expedition to Brunswick Town, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River, and then to the repulse at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. He returned with him to New York. On 4 August, he dined with General Clinton, Admiral Lord Howe, Lord Cornwallis, General Vaughan, and others. During the Battle of Long Island, he was at headquarters with Clinton.

On 15 September, Rawdon led his men at Kip’s Bay, an amphibious landing on Manhattan island. The next day, he led his troops in support of the Light Infantry that attacked Harlem Heights until the Americans withdrew.

He participated at the landings at Pell’s Point. The British pressed the Americans to White Plains, where on 1 November the Americans withdrew from their entrenchments.

On 8 December Rawdon landed with Clinton at Rhode Island, securing the ports for the British Navy. On 13 January 1777, with Clinton, he departed for London, arriving 1 March. During a ball at Lord George Germain’s, he met Lafayette, who was visiting London.

Returning to America in July, while Howe went to his Philadelphia campaign, Rawdon went with Clinton to the New York headquarters. He participated in the battles of the New York Highlands, where on 7 October, Fort Constitution (opposite West Point) was captured. However, this was too late to link up with General Burgoyne at Albany.

Rawdon was sent to Philadelphia with dispatches and returned to New York for the winter, where he raised a regiment, called the Volunteers of Ireland, recruited from deserters and Irish Loyalists. Promoted colonel in command of this regiment, Rawdon went with Clinton to Philadelphia. starting out on 18 June 1778, he went with Clinton during the withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York, and saw action at the Battle of Monmouth. He was appointed adjutant general. Rawdon was sent to learn news of the Battle of Rhode Island.

At New York, on 3 September 1779, he quarreled with Clinton, and resigned his position as adjutant general. He served with the Volunteers of Ireland during the raid on Staten Island by Lord Stirling on 15 January 1780.

He went south to the Siege of Charleston with reinforcements. After the city fell to the British, Lord Cornwallis posted him at Camden (16 August 1780) as the British sought to occupy South Carolina. Rawdon commanded the British left wing at the Battle of Camden. When Cornwallis went into Virginia, he left Rawdon in effective command in the South.

Perhaps his most noted achievement was the victory in 1781 at the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, in which, in command of only a small force, he defeated by superior military skill and determination, a much larger body of Americans. Thinking (in error) that General Nathanael Greene had moved his artillery away, Rawdon attacked Greene’s left wing, forcing the Americans to retire.

However, Rawdon was forced to begin a gradual retreat to Charleston. He relieved the Siege of Ninety-Six, evacuating its small garrison and conducting a limited pursuit of American troops. He withdrew his forces to Charleston. In July 1781, in poor health, he gave up his command. On his return to Great Britain, he was captured at sea by François Joseph Paul de Grasse, but was exchanged. After Rawdon’s departure, the British evacuated Charleston as the war drew to a close. They took thousands of Loyalists and freed slaves with them, having promised freedom to slaves of rebels who joined their lines, resettling these groups in Nova Scotia and the Caribbean.

Rawdon became active in associations in London. He was F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society ?) 1787 and F.S.A. (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries ?) 1793. For 1806-8 he was Grand Master of the Free Masons.

Following the declaration of war in 1793 of France upon Great Britain, Rawdon-Hastings (as he was now known) was appointed major general, on 12 October 1793. Sent by the Pitt ministry, Rawdon-Hastings launched an expedition into Ostend, France, in 1794. He marched to join with the army of the Duke of York, at Alost. The French general Pichegru, with superior numbers, forced the British back toward their base at Antwerp. Rawdon-Hastings left the expedition, feeling Pitt had broken promises.

Rawdon sat for Randalstown in the Irish House of Commons from 1781 until 1783. That year he was created Baron Rawdon, of Rawdon, in the County of York. In 1787, he became friends with the Prince of Wales, and loaned him many thousands of pounds. In 1788 he became embroiled in the Regency Crisis.
In 1789, he took the surname Hastings in accordance with his uncle’s will. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Moira on 20 June 1793, and thereafter served in the House of Lords for three decades.

In 1797 it was rumoured briefly that Rawdon (Moira) would replace Pitt as Prime Minister. There was some discontent with Pitt over his policies regarding the war with France. Additionally Pitt’s long tenure in office had given him ample opportunity to annoy various political grandees, including but not limited to Lords Leeds, Edward Thurlow and Lansdowne.

In mid-May a combination of these various figures, coupled with a handful of Members of Parliament, proposed to make Rawdon (Moira) the Prime Minister. Having fought in the American War and having led an expedition to Quiberon, he commanded widespread respect. His relationship to the Prince of Wales also established him as a potential rival to Pitt, who was supported strongly by King George III.

The prime motivation for the plan of having Rawdon (Moira) become Prime Minister was to secure peace with France, the plotters having come to believe (somewhat unfairly) that Pitt was an obstacle to this objective. But their plan collapsed barely a month later in mid-June because of a lack of support from the political establishment. Additionally when Rawdon (Moira) wrote to the King to propose the change of chief ministers, the monarch ignored him. Thus the proposal came to nothing.

He became Commander-in-Chief, Scotland with the rank of full general in September 1803.

Rawdon was a long-standing advocate of Irish issues, in particular Catholic Emancipation. At one point he was described by the Irish revolutionary Wolfe Tone as “The Irish Lafayette”.

Becoming a Whig in politics, he entered government as part of the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806 as Master-General of the Ordnance and Constable of the Tower, but resigned upon the fall of the ministry the next year. Being a close associate of the Prince-Regent, Moira was asked by him to form a Whig government after the assassination of Spencer Perceval in 1812 ended that ministry. Both of Moira’s attempts to create a governing coalition failed. The Tories returned to power under the Earl of Liverpool. On 6 December 1816, Moira was raised to the rank of Marquess of Hastings together with the subsidiary titles Viscount Loudoun and Earl of Rawdon.

He also became the patron of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet. Moore visited his patron’s new seat, Donington Hall, and wrote about his impressions of it. “I thought it all exceedingly fine and grand, but most uncomfortable.” Moore was later disappointed when Moira, having been appointed Governor General of India, did not offer to take him to India on his staff. The two men met but once again.

Through the influence of the Prince-Regent, Moira was appointed Governor-General of India in 11 November 1812. His tenure as Governor-General was a memorable one, overseeing the victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816); the final conquest of the Marathas in 1818; and the purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.

After delays clearing affairs, he reached Madras on 11 September 1813. In October, he settled in at Calcutta. British India then consisted of Madras, Bengal, and Bombay. He commanded an army of 15,000 British regulars, a Bengal army of 27 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of cavalry; a Madras army, led by General John Abercrombie of 24 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of native cavalry.

In May 1813, the Gurkhas declared war. Hastings sent four divisions in separate attacks led by General Bennet Marley with 8,000 men against Kathmandu, General John Sullivan Wood with 4,000 men against Butwal, General Sir David Ochterlony with 10,000 men against Amar Singh Thapa, and General Robert Rollo Gillespie, with 3,500 men against Nahan, Srinagar, and Garhwal. Only Ochterlony had some success; Gillespie was killed. After inconclusive negotiations, Hastings reinforced Ochterlony to 20,000 men, who then won the battle of Makwanpur on 28 February. The Gurkhas then sued for peace, under the Sugauli Treaty.

After raids by Pindaris in January 1817, Hastings led a force at Hindustan in the North; in the South, the Army of the Deccan, under the command of General Sir Thomas Hislop. The Peshwa was defeated by William Fullarton Elphinstone on the Poona. Appa Sahib was defeated at the battle of Nagpur. Hislop defeated Holkar at the Battle of Mahidpur.

Rawdon was active diplomatically, protecting weaker Indian states. His domestic policy in India was also largely successful, seeing the repair of the Mughul canal system in Delhi in 1820, as well as educational and administrative reforms. He confirmed the purchase of Singapore from the Sultan of Jahore, by Sir Stamford Raffles, in January 1819.

He became increasingly estranged from the East India Company’s Board of Control (see Company rule in India). He was appointed Governor of Malta in 1824. He died at sea off Naples two years later, aboard HMS Revenge. Following his directions, his right hand was cut off and preserved, to be buried with his wife when she died. This request was observed, and his hand was interred, clasped with hers in the family vault at Loudoun Kirk.

Inheriting Donington Hall from his uncle, Rawdon rebuilt it in Gothic style; Wilkins was the architect. He placed the estate at the disposal of the Bourbon Princes upon their exile in England following the French Revolution. He is said to have left a signed cheque-book in each bedroom for the occupant to use at pleasure.
He was awarded the freedom of the city of Dublin in recognition of his service in America.

Loyalists whom he rescued from the Siege of Ninety Six during the American Revolution were resettled by the Crown and granted land in Nova Scotia. They named their township Rawdon in his honor.

Hastings County, Ontario, and three of its early townships were named after him, by Loyalists who were resettled in Upper Canada after the American Revolution.

The HMS Moira was named in his honour in 1805, as was the Moira River in Ontario, Canada.

On 12 July 1804, at the age of 50, he married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun, daughter of Major-General James Mure-Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun and Lady Flora Macleod. They had six children:

  • Flora Elizabeth Rawdon-Hastings (11 February 1806 – 5 July 1839), died unmarried.
  • Hon. Francis George Augustus (1807–1807), died in infancy.
  • George Augustus Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 2nd Marquess of Hastings (4 February 1808 – 13 January 1844)
  • Sophia Frederica Christina Rawdon-Hastings (1 February 1809 – 28 December 1859), married John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute and had children.
  • Selina Constance Rawdon-Hastings (1810 – 8 November 1867), married Charles Henry and had children.
  • Adelaide Augusta Lavinia Rawdon-Hastings (25 February 1812 – 6 December 1860), married Sir William Murray, 7th Baronet of Octertyre.

The marquess also allegedly fathered an illegitimate son by Jemima French, whom she named George Hunn Nobbs. Some sources do not believe this claim by Nobbs.

Read Full Post »

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 William Frederick Osborne 6th Duke of Leeds
21 July 1775 – 10 July 1838


George William Frederick Osborne

George William Frederick Osborne 6th Duke of Leeds was born in London, the eldest son of Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds and his first wife, Amelia, Baroness Darcy de Knayth, daughter of Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness. Francis Osborne, 1st Baron Godolphin, was his younger brother. His parents divorced in 1779. In January 1784, aged eight, he succeeded as 13th Baron Darcy de Knayth and 10th Baron Conyers on the early death of his mother. In 1799 he also succeeded his father in the dukedom of Leeds.

Leeds was appointed Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1802, a post he held until his death. In May 1827 he entered George Canning’s government as Master of the Horse. He continued in this office under Lord Goderich between August 1827 and January 1828 and under the Duke of Wellington between January 1828 and November 1830. He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1827 and made a Knight of the Garter the same month.


Charlotte Townshend

Leeds married Lady Charlotte Townshend, daughter of George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend, on 17 August 1797. They had three children:

  • Francis Godolphin Osborne, 7th Duke of Leeds (1798–1859)
  • Lady Charlotte Mary Anne Georgiana Osborne (c. 1806–1836), married Sackville Lane-Fox and had issue.
  • Lord Conyers George Thomas William Osborne (1812–1831), died young.

The Duke of Leeds died in London in July 1838, aged 62, and was succeeded in the dukedom by his eldest and only surviving son, Francis. The Duchess of Leeds died in July 1856, aged 80.

Read Full Post »

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 Furze Brettingham

Robert Furze Brettingham like his uncle he spent a part of his early life in Italy, from where he returned in 1781. Brettingham’s subsequent works, and the drawings which he exhibited on his return at the exhibitions of the Royal Academy, showed that he did not neglect his opportunities for study in Italy. Among them may be noted in 1783 a drawing of a sepulchral chapel from the Villa Medici at Rome, in 1790 the design for a bridge which he had erected in the preceding year at Benham Place, in Berkshire, and the entrance porch of the church at Saffron Walden restored by him in 1792.

In 1773 he published another edition of his uncle’s Plans, &c. of Holkham, also, like it, in atlas folio, “to which are added the ceilings and chimney-pieces, and also a descriptive account of the statues, pictures, and drawings, not in the former edition.” Descriptive Account Brettingham wrote the descriptive account; as in the original edition, the plans are ascribed to Matthew Brettingham, and William Kent is ignored.

The sudden death in 1790 of the prison architect William Blackburn, provided the great opportunity of Brettingham’s life, and he soon gained a lucrative practice. Blackburn left many designs incomplete, several of which Brettingham subsequently carried into execution. He erected gaols at Reading, Hertford, Poole, Downpatrick, Northampton, and elsewhere.

In 1771 his name appears associated with those of the leading architects of the time in the foundation of the Architects’ Club, which met to dine at the Thatched House Tavern on the first Thursday each month. Other original members of this club included Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam, John Soane, James Wyatt, and Samuel Pepys Cockerell. About this time Brettingham also held the post of resident clerk in the Board of Works, which he resigned in 1805.

His works for private patrons include the “Temple of Concord” in the grounds of Audley End House, a rectangular Corinthian imitation ruin built for Sir John Griffin in 1790 to celebrate George III’s recovery from insanity, and a mausoleum in Scotland for the Fraser family. He also carried out work at Winchester House, St. James’s Square, erected originally for the Duke of Leeds; 9 Berkeley Square, afterwards sold to the Marquis of Buckingham; Buckingham House, 91 Pall Mall, rebuilt in 1794 by Sir John Soane; Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square; 80 Piccadilly, for Sir Francis Burdett; Charlton, Wiltshire, for the Earl of Suffolk; Waldersham, Kent, for the Earl of Guilford; Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, for the Hon. W. Wyndham; Longleat, Wiltshire; and Roehampton, Surrey, and Hillsborough House in Ireland, both for the Marquess of Downshire. Brettingham was held in much regard by his professional brethren, and was the esteemed master of many who later attained eminence in the architectural profession. The exact date of his death is not known.

Read Full Post »

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.

Francis Osborne 5th Duke of Leeds
29 January 1751 – 31 January 1799


Francis Osborne

Francis Osborne 5th Duke of Leeds was the son of Thomas Osborne, 4th Duke of Leeds, by his wife Lady Mary, daughter of Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin, and Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough. He was educated at Westminster School and at Christ Church, Oxford.

Leeds was a Member of Parliament for Eye in 1774 and for Helston from 1774 to 1775; in 1776 having received a writ of acceleration as Baron Osborne, he entered the House of Lords, and in 1777 Lord Chamberlain of the Queen’s Household. In the House of Lords he was prominent as a determined foe of the prime minister, Lord North, who, after he had resigned his position as chamberlain, deprived him of the office of Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1780. He regained this, however, two years later.

Early in 1783 Leeds was selected as ambassador to France, but he did not take up this appointment, becoming instead Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under William Pitt the Younger in December of the same year. As secretary he was little more than a cipher: although they were friends of long-standing, Pitt developed a poor opinion of Leeds’ judgement and frequently had to restrain his bellicose instincts. The abandonment of his anti-Russian policy was the final blow and he left office in April 1791. He had done nothing to foster good relations with the newly independent United States of America: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson complained of his obstructive attitude and ” aversion to having anything to do with us “. Subsequently he took little part in politics: in 1792, hearing rumours that a new coalition might be formed, he unwisely offered himself as its head and met with a firm rebuff from both Pitt and the King.

Leeds married firstly in 1773 Lady Amelia Darcy, daughter of Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness on 29 November 1773. Lady Amelia became Baroness Darcy de Knayth and Baroness Conyers in her own right in 1778. They were divorced in 1779. Their marriage produced three children:

  • George William Frederick Osborne, Marquess of Carmarthen (21 July 1775 – 10 July 1838), later 6th Duke of Leeds; married Lady Charlotte Townshend, daughter of the 1st Marquess Townshend.
  • Lord Francis Osborne (18 October 1777 – 15 February 1850), later 1st Baron Godolphin; married The Hon. Elizabeth Eden, third daughter of the 1st Baron Auckland.
  • Lady Mary Henrietta Juliana Osborne (1776-1862); married Thomas Pelham, 2nd Earl of Chichester.

He married secondly Catherine, daughter of Thomas Anguish, in 1788 and had two more children:

  • Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne (1789-1861); unmarried.
  • Lady Catherine Anne Sarah Osborne (1791-1878); married Major John Whyte-Melville on 1 June 1819 and had issue. .

Leeds died in London in January 1799, aged 48, and was succeeded in the dukedom by his eldest son from his first marriage, George Osborne, 6th Duke of Leeds. His second son from his first marriage, Lord Francis Osborne, was created Baron Godolphin in 1832. The dowager Duchess of Leeds died in October 1837, aged 73.

Read Full Post »