Posts Tagged ‘Francis Rawdon-Hastings 1st Marquess of Hastings’

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 Thomas Hislop 1st Baronet
5 July 1764 – 3 May 1843

Sir Thomas Hislop 1st Baronet was the third son of Lieutenant Colonel William Hislop of the Royal Artillery of the British Army. Like his two elder brothers, Hislop followed his father into the British Army, studying at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich before joining the 39th Regiment of Foot as an ensign in 1778. Both of his brothers would be killed in action fighting in India, James at the Battle of Pollilur in 1781 and William at Cundapore in 1783. Thomas Hislop’s first combat was during the American Revolutionary War, when his regiment served in the garrison during the Great Siege of Gibraltar. In 1783 at the end of the war, Hislop was promoted to lieutenant and purchased the rank of captain 1785, serving for a month with the 100th Regiment of Foot before returning to the 39th. In 1792 he left his regiment to become an aide to General David Dundas, with whom he participated in the invasion of Corsica at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars. At the capture of San Fiorenzo he was sent to Britain with the despatches, promoted to major and made an aide to Lord Amherst.

In 1795 Hislop undertook a secret diplomatic mission to Germany at the request of the Prince of Wales and was subsequently promoted to lieutenant colonel in the 115th Regiment of Foot, returning to the 39th six months later. In 1796 his regiment was sent to the West Indies, and Hislop participated in the capture of the Dutch colonies of Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo. After their capture, Hislop remained in the territory as military commander, raising a number of battalions of the West India Regiment. He moved to Trinidad as lieutenant governor in 1802 after the Peace of Amiens. In 1809, as British forces gathered for operations against the French Leeward Islands, Hislop joined them as a subordinate to Lieutenant-General George Beckwith and participated in the invasion of Martinique in February 1809 and the invasion of Guadeloupe in January 1810, commanding a division during the latter operation. He was promoted to major-general, and returned to Britain due to ill-health in 1811.

In 1812, Hislop was made commander-in-chief at Bombay as a lieutenant general and sailed to take up his position in the frigate HMS Java. On 29 December 1812, Java engaged USS Constitution and was captured, Hislop was made a prisoner. During the naval engagement, Hislop had remained on deck and participated in the fighting, and was commended for his service. He was released at Salvador in Brazil and returned to Britain. In late 1814, Hislop finally took up a post in India as Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army. He was rewarded for his services the same year with a baronetcy and investiture as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. In 1817, the Third Anglo-Maratha War broke out and Hislop was given command of the main British force, numbering 5,500 men. Advancing on 10 November, Hislop defeated the 35,000 strong army of Malhar Rao Holkar at the Battle of Mahidpur on 21 December and then ensured the surrender of the Maratha border fortresses. One fort at Talnar refused to surrender, and Hislop seized the fort and massacred all 300 of its defenders. With the campaign complete, Hislop’s army was dissolved in March 1818. For his leadership in the campaign he was advanced to a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

Hislop’s actions at Talnar came under investigation at the urging of the Governor-General of India, Lord Moira, and as a result he was specifically excluded from the vote of thanks proposed in the House of Commons. He was also embroiled in a controversy surrounding the distribution of the valuables confiscated from the Marathas, known as the “Deccan Prize”. Although Hislop claimed the rewards for distribution among his forces, an alternative claim for a force led by Lord Moira was held as equally valid even though they took no part in the fighting. Despite a political defence of his character by the Duke of Wellington, Hislop was removed from command in 1820.

He remained in India however and in 1822 he married Emma Elliott of Madras. Later in life he served as honorary colonel for the 51st Regiment of Foot and the 49th Regiment of Foot and spent a number of years after his return to Britain as an equerry to Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. He died at his home in Charlton, Kent in 1843.

His daughter, Emma Eleanor Elizabeth, married William Hugh Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 3rd Earl of Minto, in 1844.

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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.

Elizabeth Rawdon Countess of Moira
23 March 1731 – 11 April 1808


Elizabeth Rawdon

Elizabeth Rawdon Countess of Moira was a literary patron and antiquarian; she also held five English peerages in her own right. She was born at Donington Park, Leicestershire, England and died at Moira, County Down, Ireland.

Born as Elizabeth Hastings, she was the daughter of Theophilus Hastings, 9th Earl of Huntingdon and Selina Shirley, founder of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion religious denomination. Elizabeth was 16th Baron Botreaux and 15th Baron Hungerford, in her own right (suo jure), inheriting the titles on the death of her brother Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon. She was the third wife of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira.

Her husband was Earl of Moira, and Baron Rawdon of Moira, in the Irish Peerage; as his wife she was therefore Countess of Moira and Baroness Rawdon. She also inherited five English baronies from her brother Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon: Baroness Botreaux, Baroness Hungerford, Baroness de Moleyns, Baroness Hastings of Hastings and Baroness Hastings of Hungerford.

In the fifteenth century, several prominent families of Wiltshire (Botreaux, Hastings, Moleyns, and Hungerford) intermarried, inherited land from each other, and were occasionally summoned to parliament. By modern law, each of these summons is held to be in virtue of a permanent and heritable barony. Five of these summons are held to have created distinct baronies which were inherited by the family of Hastings: The two Hastings baronies exist because different titles were used in the summons; also, two of the Hungerfords, father and son, successively followed the wrong side in the Wars of the Roses and were attainted and executed, by which they lost everything including their titles; their inheritance was restored to the granddaughter and her husband (Edward Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings) by a reversal of the attainder, but only after the grandson-in-law had been summoned as Lord Hastings of Hungerford, a different title and so a different barony than his father’s summons as Lord Hastings of Hastings.

The son of this marriage did well at court, married Henry VIII’s mistress, and was made Earl of Huntingdon; his son also married well, to Catherine Pole, the eldest daughter of Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu and through him great-granddaughter of George of Clarence. She did not bring the Hastings any of the Pole titles, and the Poles did not inherit any titles from George of Clarence; he was attainted before he was executed for treason. Lord Montagu and his mother were also attainted and executed for conspiracy to displace Henry VIII, so none of their titles descended to the Hastings family. If they had not been forfeit, modern peerage law would hold them to be in abeyance; Catherine was one of several sisters.

The tenth Earl of Huntingdon was the Countess of Moira’s brother; when he died, a year after her husband, seated at her son’s dining-room table, she was the only surviving sister, and her sisters had had no children; so she inherited the baronies (but continued to be known as Countess of Moira). Since the Earldom had been created with descent to heirs male, it went to their cousin, Theophilus Henry Hastings, 11th Earl of Huntingdon.

In 1780, Lady Moira archaeologically investigated the remains of a bog body which was found on the husbands land and published her findings in 1785 in the periodical Archaeologia. It was the first documented scientific investigation of remains of a bog body find ever.

After her death in 1808, her son, Francis, inherited the baronies, and proved his right to be Baron Hastings – he had also taken the family name of Rawdon-Hastings according to his uncle’s will. As Earl of Moira, he had social position, but no political power after the Irish Parliament had been abolished in 1800. He had personally been created Baron Rawdon of Rawdon, in 1783, during his father’s lifetime, which gave him a seat in the British House of Lords; but sitting in the ancient Barony of Hastings was much more distinguished. His political career also went well; he had married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun in 1804 (as a Scottish Earldom, Loudon is inherited by the eldest daughter when there are no sons); was considered for Prime Minister after the assassination of Spencer Percival in 1812; and was Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1817. He continued to be known as Earl of Moira until he was promoted to be Marquess of Hastings on his return.

These descents are central to the line of potential descent of the Crown, which considers a claim based on the theory that Edward IV of England was illegitimate, and that the Crown should be traced through George of Clarence, his brother (with his attainder reversed), not through Edward’s daughter, Elizabeth of York.

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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 Thurlow 1st Baron Thurlow
9 December 1731 – 12 September 1806


Edward Thurlow

Edward Thurlow 1st Baron Thurlow was born at Bracon Ash, Norfolk, Thurlow was the eldest son of Reverend Thomas Thurlow. Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham, was his brother. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and at Caius College, Cambridge. However, he was forced to leave Cambridge in 1751 without a degree after coming into conflict with the authorities of the university. He was for some time articled to a solicitor in Lincoln’s Inn, but in 1754 he was called to the Bar, Inner Temple. After a slow start, Thurlow eventually established a successful legal practice. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1761 was elected a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1762.

Thurlow then turned to politics, and in 1768 he was elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth as a Tory. Two years later, as a recognition of his defence in the previous January of the expulsion of John Wilkes he was appointed Solicitor-General in the government of Lord North. He held this post until 1772, when he was promoted to Attorney General. He was to remain in this office for six years, during which period he became known as an ardent opponent of the American colonists’ strive for independence. He is noted for his defeat in the case of Woodfall, who was publisher of the Letters of Junius, upon which a verdict of mistrial was entered by Lord Mansfield.

In 1778 Thurlow was admitted to the Privy Council, raised to the peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Ashfield in the County of Suffolk, and appointed Lord Chancellor by Lord North. In this post he notably opposed the economical and constitutional reforms proposed by Edmund Burke and John Dunning. The Tory administration of Lord North fell in March 1782, after twelve years in office. The Whigs under Lord Rockingham came to power, but Thurlow nevertheless managed to cling on as Lord Chancellor. Rockingham died in July 1782, but Thurlow remained Lord Chancellor also when Lord Shelburne became Prime Minister. The latter government fell in April 1783, when a coalition government under Charles James Fox and Lord North was formed (with the Duke of Portland as titular Prime Minister). Thurlow was not invited to resume the role of Lord Chancellor, and instead the Great Seal was put into commission. He went into opposition and contributed to the downfall of the coalition in December 1783. William Pitt the Younger then became Prime Minister and reinstated Thurlow as Lord Chancellor. The relationship between Pitt and Thurlow was always fragile, and Thurlow often relied on his friendship with King George III to be able to remain in office. He opposed a bill for the restoration to the heirs of estates forfeited in the Jacobite rising of 1745. Partly to please the king, he consistently and strongly supported Warren Hastings, and negotiated with the Whigs to ensure his continued power in the event of a change of government. In 1792, when he attacked Pitt’s bill to establish a fund to redeem the national debt, he was finally dismissed.

As a way of compensation, Thurlow was given a second peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Thurlow in the County of Suffolk, with remainder to his younger brothers and their heirs male. He was never to hold office again and retired into private life. However, in 1797 he intrigued for the formation of a government from which Pitt and Fox should be excluded, and in which the Earl of Moira should be Prime Minister and himself Lord Chancellor. Despite the tacit support of the Prince of Wales the enterprise failed. His last recorded appearance in the House of Lords was in 1802.

Lord Thurlow never married, but left three natural daughters. He died at Brighton on 12 September 1806, aged 76, and was buried in the Temple Church. The barony of 1778 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the barony of 1792 according to the special remainder by his nephew Edward. He was the eldest son of the Right Reverend Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham.

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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.

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.

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