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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth’

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.

James George Stopford 3rd Earl of Courtown
15 August 1765 – 15 June 1835

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James George Stopford

James George Stopford 3rd Earl of Courtown was known as Viscount Stopford from 1770 to 1810, was an Anglo-Irish peer and Tory politician.

Courtown was the eldest son of James Stopford, 2nd Earl of Courtown, and his wife Mary (née Powys). Educated at Eton College, he served with the Coldstream Guards and achieved the rank of Captain.

In 1790, he was elected to the House of Commons for Great Bedwyn, a seat he held until 1796 and again from 1806 to 1807. He also represented Lanark from 1796 to 1802, Dumfries from 1803 to 1806 and Marlborough from 1807 to 1810. In 1793, he succeeded his father as Treasurer of the Household in the government of William Pitt the Younger, a post he held until 1806 (from 1801 to 1804 under the Premiership of Henry Addington), and again from 1807 to 1812 under the Duke of Portland and Spencer Perceval.

Courtown succeeded his father in the earldom 1810 and held office in the House of Lords as Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners under the Earl of Liverpool between 1812 and 1827 and as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard under Sir Robert Peel in 1835. He was admitted to the Privy Council in 1793 and made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1821.

Lord Courtown married Lady Mary, daughter of Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch and Lady Elizabeth Montagu, in 1791. They had five sons and one daughter. The two eldest sons died as infants. Their fifth and youngest son the Hon. Sir Montagu Stopford (1798–1864) was a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy and the grandfather of General Sir Montagu George North Stopford. Lady Courtown died in April 1823, aged 53. Lord Courtown survived her by twelve years and died in June 1835, aged 69. He was succeeded in the earldom by his third but eldest surviving son James.

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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 Wedderburn 1st Earl of Rosslyn
3 February 1733 – 2 January 1805

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Alexander Wedderburn

Alexander Wedderburn 1st Earl of Rosslyn was the eldest son of Peter Wedderburn (a lord of session as Lord Chesterhall) and was born in East Lothian.

Wedderburn acquired the rudiments of his education at Dalkeith and at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and in his fourteenth year matriculated at the University of Edinburgh. Though he desired to practise at the English bar, in deference to his father’s wishes he qualified as an advocate at Edinburgh, in 1754. His father was called to the bench in 1755, and for the next three years Wedderburn stuck to his practice in Edinburgh, during which period he employed his oratorical powers in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and passed his evenings in social and argumentative clubs.

In 1755 the precursor of the later Edinburgh Review was started, and Wedderburn edited two of its issues. The dean of faculty at this time, Lockhart, afterwards Lord Covington, a lawyer notorious for his harsh demeanour, in the autumn of 1757 assailed Wedderburn with more than ordinary insolence. Wedderburn retorted with extraordinary powers of invective, and, on being rebuked by the bench, declined to retract or apologize. Instead, he left the court forever.

Wedderburn was called to the English bar at the Inner Temple in 1757. To shake off his Scottish accent and to improve his oratory, he engaged the services of Thomas Sheridan and Charles Macklin. To secure business and to conduct his cases with adequate knowledge, he studied the forms of English law. He solicited William Strahan, a printer, to get him employed in city causes, and he entered into social intercourse with busy London solicitors. His local connections and the incidents of his previous career introduced him to the notice of his countrymen Lord Bute and Lord Mansfield.

When Lord Bute was prime minister, Wedderburn used to go on errands for him, and it is to Wedderburn’s credit that he first suggested to the premier the propriety of granting Samuel Johnson a pension.

Through the favor of Lord Bute, he was returned to parliament for the Ayr Burghs in 1761. In 1763 he became king’s counsel and bencher of Lincoln’s Inn, and for a short time went the northern circuits, but was more successful in obtaining business in the Court of Chancery. He obtained a considerable addition to his resources (Carlyle puts the amount at £10,000) on his marriage in 1767 to Betty Anne, sole child and heiress of John Dawson of Marly in Yorkshire.

When George Grenville, whose principles leaned to Toryism, quarrelled with the court, Wedderburn affected to regard him as his leader in politics. At the dissolution in the spring of 1768 he was returned by Sir Lawrence Dundas for Richmond as a Tory, but in the questions that arose over John Wilkes he took the popular side of Wilkes and liberty, and resigned his seat in May 1769. In the opinion of the people he was now regarded as the embodiment of all legal virtue; his health was toasted at the dinners of the Whigs amid rounds of applause, and, in recompense for the loss of his seat in parliament, he was returned by Lord Clive for his pocket-borough of Bishop’s Castle, in Shropshire, in January 1770.

During the next session he acted vigorously in opposition, but his conduct was always viewed with distrust by his new associates, and his attacks on the ministry of Lord North grew less and less animated in proportion to its apparent fixity of tenure. In January 1771 he was offered and accepted the post of solicitor-general. The high road to the woolsack was now open, but his defection from his former path has stamped his character with general infamy. Junius wrote of him, “As for Mr Wedderburn, there is something about him which even treachery cannot trust,” and Colonel Barr attacked him in the House of Commons. The new law officer defended his conduct with the assertion that his alliance in politics had been with George Grenville, and that the connection had been severed on his death.

All through the American War of Independence he consistently declaimed against the colonies, and he was bitter (and, some historians say, downright slanderous) in his attack on Benjamin Franklin before the Privy Council. In June 1778 Wedderburn was promoted to the post of attorney-general, and in the same year he refused the dignity of chief baron of the exchequer because the offer was not accompanied by the promise of a peerage. At the dissolution in 1774 he had been returned for Okehampton in Devon, and for Castle Rising in Norfolk, and selected the former constituency; on his promotion as leading law officer of the crown he returned to Bishops Castle. The coveted peerage was not long delayed. In June 1780 he was created chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, with the title of Baron Loughborough.

During the existence of the coalition ministry of North and Fox, the great seal was in commission (April to December 1783), and Lord Loughborough held the leading place among the commissioners. For some time after that ministry’s fall he was considered the leader of the Whig party in the House of Lords, and, had the illness of the King George III brought about the return of the Whigs to power, the great seal would have been placed in his hands. The king’s restoration to health secured William Pitt The Younger’s continuance in office, and disappointed the Whigs. In 1792, during the period of the French Revolution, Lord Loughborough seceded from Fox, and on 28 January 1793 he received the great seal in the Tory cabinet of Pitt. The resignation of Pitt on the question of Catholic emancipation (1801) put an end to Wedderburn’s tenure of the Lord Chancellorship, for, much to his surprise, no place was found for him in Addington’s cabinet. Pitt’s friends believed he had been guilty of treachery over the Emancipation issue; and even the King, who used Loughborough as a spy in Cabinet, later commented that his death removed ” the gretest knave in the Kingdom”.

His first wife died childless in 1781, and the following year he married Charlotte, youngest daughter of William, Viscount Courtenay; but her only son died in childhood. Lord Loughborough accordingly obtained in 1795 a re-grant of his barony with remainder to his nephew, Sir James St Clair Erskine. The end of his tenure as Lord Chancellor in 1801 was softened by the grant of an earldom (he was created Earl of Rosslyn on 21 April 1801, with remainder to his nephew), and by a pension of £4000 per annum. After this date he rarely appeared in public, but he was a constant figure at all the royal festivities. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1787 and accepted an honorary vice presidency at London’s charitable Foundling Hospital in 1799.

He attended a festive gathering, quite typical for this time in his life, at Frogmore, in December 1804. On the following day he was seized with an attack of gout in the stomach, and on 2 January 1805 he died at his seat, Baylis, near Salt Hill, Windsor. His remains were buried in St Paul’s Cathedral on 11 January.

At the bar Wedderburn was the most elegant speaker of his time, and, although his knowledge of the principles and precedents of law was deficient, his skill in marshalling facts and his clearness of diction were marvellous; on the bench his judgments were remarkable for their perspicuity, particularly in the appeal cases to the House of Lords. For cool and sustained declamation he stood unrivalled in parliament, and his readiness in debate was universally acknowledged. In social life, in the company of the wits and writers of his day, his faculties seemed to desert him. He was not only dull, but the cause of dullness in others, and even Alexander Carlyle confesses that in conversation his illustrious countryman was stiff and pompous. In Wedderburn’s character ambition banished all rectitude of principle, but the love of money for money’s sake was not among his faults.

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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 Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852

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Charles Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis was born in Grosvenor Square, even though his family’s estates were in Kent. He was the eldest son of Charles Cornwallis, 5th Baron Cornwallis. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, and niece of Sir Robert Walpole. His uncle, Frederick, was Archbishop of Canterbury. Frederick’s twin brother, Edward, was a military officer, colonial governor, and founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His brother William became an Admiral in the Royal Navy. His other brother, James, eventually inherited the earldom from Cornwallis’s son, Charles.

The family was established at Brome Hall, near Eye, Suffolk, in the 14th century, and its members would represent the county in the House of Commons over the next three hundred years. Frederick Cornwallis, created a Baronet in 1627, fought for King Charles I, and followed King Charles II into exile. He was made Baron Cornwallis, of Eye in the County of Suffolk, in 1661, and by judicious marriages his descendants increased the importance of his family.

Cornwallis was educated at Eton College and Clare College, Cambridge. While at Eton, he received an injury to his eye by an accidental blow while playing hockey, from Shute Barrington, later Bishop of Durham. He obtained his first commission as Ensign in the 1st Foot Guards, on 8 December 1757. He then sought and gained permission to engage in military studies abroad. After travelling on the continent with a Prussian officer, Captain de Roguin, he studied at the military academy of Turin. Upon completion of his studies in Turin in 1758, he traveled to Geneva, where he learned that British troops were to be sent to the Continent in the Seven Years’ War. Although he tried to reach his regiment before it sailed from the Isle of Wight, he learnt upon reaching Cologne that it had already sailed. He managed instead to secure an appointment as a staff officer to Lord Granby.

A year later, he participated at the Battle of Minden, a major battle that prevented a French invasion of Hanover. After the battle, he purchased a captaincy in the 85th Regiment of Foot. In 1761, he served with the 12th Foot and was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. He led his regiment in the Battle of Villinghausen on 15–16 July 1761, and was noted for his gallantry. In 1762 his regiment was involved in heavy fighting during the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. A few weeks later they defeated Saxon troops at the Battle of Lutterberg and ended the year by participating in the Siege of Cassel.

In January 1760 Cornwallis became a Member of Parliament, entering the House of Commons for the village of Eye in Suffolk. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Cornwallis in 1762, which resulted in his elevation to the House of Lords. He became a protege of the leading Whig magnate, and future Prime Minister, Lord Rockingham.

He was one of five peers who voted against the 1765 Stamp Act out of sympathy with the colonists. In the following years, he maintained a strong degree of support for the colonists during the tensions and crisis that led to the War of Independence.

On July 14, 1768, he married Jemima Tullekin Jones, daughter of a regimental colonel. The union was, by all accounts, happy. They settled in Culford, Suffolk, where their children, Mary (28 June 1769 – 17 July 1840), and Charles were born. Jemima died on 14 April 1779.

During the postwar years, Cornwallis had remained active in military matters. He became colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot in 1766. With the outbreak of the war in North America, Cornwallis put his previous misgivings aside and sought active service.

Promoted to lieutenant general in North America, he began his service in 1776 under General Sir Henry Clinton with the failed Siege of Charleston. He and Clinton then sailed for New York City, where they participated in General William Howe’s campaign for New York City. Cornwallis was often given a leading role during this campaign; his division was in the lead at the Battle of Long Island, and he chased the retreating George Washington across New Jersey after the city fell. Howe recognized the successful close of the campaign “much to the honor of his lordship and the officers and soldiers under his command.”

General Howe granted Cornwallis leave in December 1776; however it was cancelled after Washington launched his surprise attack on Trenton on 26 December. Howe ordered Cornwallis to return to New Jersey to deal with Washington. Cornwallis gathered together garrisons scattered across New Jersey and moved them towards Trenton. On 2 January 1777, as he advanced on Trenton, his forces were engaged in extended skirmishing that delayed the army’s arrival at Washington’s position on the Assunpink Creek until late in the day. Cornwallis was unable to dislodge Washington in the battle that followed. Cornwallis prepared his troops to continue the assault of Washington’s position the next day, and critically failed to send out adequate patrols to monitor the Americans. During the night, Washington’s forces slipped around Cornwallis’s and attacked the British outpost at Princeton. Washington’s success was aided by a deception: he had men maintain blazing campfires and keep up sounds of camp activity during his movement. Cornwallis spent the winter in New York and New Jersey, where the forces under his command were engaged in ongoing skirmishes with the Americans.

Cornwallis continued to serve under Howe on his campaign for control of the rebel capital, Philadelphia. Cornwallis was again often in an advance role, leading the flanking manoeuvre at the Battle of Brandywine, and playing key roles at Germantown and Fort Mercer. With the army in winter quarters in Philadelphia, Cornwallis finally returned home for leave. Upon his return in 1778, Howe had been replaced by Clinton as commander in chief, and Cornwallis was now second in command. The entry of France into the war prompted the British leaders to redeploy their armed forces for a more global war, and Philadelphia was abandoned. Cornwallis commanded the rearguard during the overland withdrawal to New York City and played an important role in the Battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778. After a surprise attack on the British rearguard, Cornwallis launched a counter-attack which checked the enemy advance. Even though Clinton commended Cornwallis for his performance at Monmouth, he eventually came to blame the earl for failing to win the day. In November 1778, Cornwallis once more returned to England to be with his ailing wife Jemima, who died in February 1779.

Cornwallis returned to America in July 1779, where he was to play a central role as the lead commander of the British “Southern strategy” (which was to invade the south on the assumption that a significantly more Loyalist population would rise up and assist in putting the rebellion down). At the end of 1779, Henry Clinton and Cornwallis transported a large force south and initiated the second siege of Charleston during the spring of 1780, which resulted in the surrender of the Continental forces under Benjamin Lincoln. After the siege of Charleston and the destruction of Abraham Buford’s Virginia regiments at Waxhaw, Clinton returned to New York, leaving Cornwallis in command in the south. The relationship between Clinton and Cornwallis had noticeably soured during the Charleston campaign, and they were barely on speaking terms when Clinton left.

The task Clinton left Cornwallis with was to, first and foremost, preserve the gains made by taking Charleston, and only then engage in offensive moves. Clinton’s orders gave Cornwallis wide latitude in how to achieve the goal of pacifying both South and North Carolina, after which Clinton expected Cornwallis to move into Virginia. Clinton wrote, “I should wish you to assist in operations which will certainly be carried on in the Chesapeake as soon as we are relieve from our apprehension of a superior fleet and the season will admit …” However, Clinton provided Cornwallis with a relatively modest force of British, German, and provincial (Loyalist) regiments—about 3,000 men—with which to accomplish all of this. The forces he was given to accomplish this were limited by the necessity of keeping a large British force in New York under Clinton to shadow Washington. Cornwallis was expected to recruit more Loyalists, who were believed to be more numerous in the southern colonies.

Cornwallis established a series of outposts in South Carolina, but keeping communication and supply lines open was an ongoing challenge. Supplies not available locally (like uniforms, camp gear, arms, and ammunition) were delivered all too infrequently, supply ships were frequent targets of local privateers, and bad weather impeded the work. In order to help provide fresh food and forage for his troops, Cornwallis established two commissioners. The first was responsible for administering goods confiscated from Patriots (he avoided confiscating supplies from Loyalists since he depended on them for manpower and intelligence), and the second for administering land that was confiscated. A chronic shortage of hard currency (another supply only infrequently delivered to Charleston) made it difficult to purchase supplies from any source, either Patriot or Loyalist. Cornwallis also attempted to reestablish civil authority under British or Loyalist oversight. Although these attempts met with limited success, they were continually undermined by Patriot activity, both political and military, and the indifferent abuses of British and Loyalist forces. Patriot militia companies constantly harassed Loyalists, small British units, and supply and communication lines.

In August 1780 Cornwallis’ forces met a larger but relatively untried army under the command of Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden, where they inflicted heavy casualties and routed part of the force. The relatively untried Continentals in Gates’ army were routed, and suffered heavy casualties. This served to keep South Carolina clear of Continental forces, and was a blow to rebel morale. The victory added to his reputation, although the rout of the American rebels had as much to do with the failings of Gates (whose rapid departure from the battlefield was widely noted) as it did the skill of Cornwallis. In London, Cornwallis was perceived as a hero, and was viewed by many there as the right man to lead the British forces to victory over the rebels.

As the opposition seemed to melt away, Cornwallis optimistically began to advance north into North Carolina while militia activity continued to harass the troops he left in South Carolina. Attempts by Cornwallis to rally Loyalist support were dealt significant blows when a large gathering of them was defeated at Kings Mountain, only a day’s march from Cornwallis and his army, and another large detachment of his army was decisively defeated at Cowpens. He then clashed with the rebuilt Continental army under General Nathanael Greene at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina, winning a Pyrrhic victory with a bayonet charge against a numerically superior enemy. In the battle, he controversially ordered grape shot to be fired into a mass of combat that resulted in friendly casualties but helped break the American line.

Cornwallis then moved his forces to Wilmington on the coast to resupply. Cornwallis himself had generally been successful in his battles, but the constant marching and the losses incurred had shrunk and tired out his army. Greene, whose army was still intact after the loss at Guilford Courthouse, shadowed Cornwallis toward Wilmington, but then crossed into South Carolina, where over the course of several months American forces regained control over most of the state.

Cornwallis received dispatches in Wilmington informing him that another British army under Generals William Phillips and Benedict Arnold had been sent to Virginia. Believing that North Carolina could not be subdued unless its supply lines from Virginia were cut, he decided to join forces with Phillips.

On arrival in Virginia, Cornwallis took command of Phillips’ army. Phillips, a personal friend of Cornwallis, died one week before Cornwallis reached his position at Petersburg. He then sought to fulfill orders Clinton had given to Phillips, and raided the Virginia countryside, destroying American military and economic targets.

In March 1781, in response to the threat posed by Arnold and Phillips, General Washington had dispatched the Marquis de Lafayette to defend Virginia. The young Frenchman had 3,200 men at his command, but British troops under Cornwallis’ command totalled 7,200. Lafayette skirmished with Cornwallis, avoiding a decisive battle while gathering reinforcements. It was during this period that Cornwallis and Clinton exchanged a series of letters in which Clinton issued a number of confusing, contradictory, and not entirely forceful orders. Cornwallis eventually received firm orders from Clinton to choose a position on the Virginia Peninsula—referred to in contemporary letters as the “Williamsburg Neck”—and construct a fortified naval post to shelter ships of the line. In complying with this order, Cornwallis put himself in a position to become trapped. With the arrival of the French fleet under the Comte de Grasse and General Washington’s combined French-American army, Cornwallis found himself cut off. After the Royal Navy fleet under Admiral Thomas Graves was defeated by the French at the Battle of the Chesapeake, and the French siege train arrived from Newport, Rhode Island, his position became untenable. He surrendered after about three weeks’ siege to General Washington and the French commander, the Comte de Rochambeau, on 19 October 1781.

Cornwallis, apparently not wanting to face Washington, claimed to be ill on the day of the surrender, and sent Brigadier General Charles O’Hara in his place to surrender his sword formally. Washington had his second-in-command, Benjamin Lincoln, accept Cornwallis’ sword.

Cornwallis returned to Britain with Benedict Arnold, and they were cheered when they landed in Britain on 21 January 1782. His surrender did not mark the end of the war, though it ended major fighting in the American theatre. Because he was released on parole, Cornwallis refused to serve again until the war came to an end in 1783. An attempt was made to exchange him for Henry Laurens, an American diplomat who was released from the Tower of London in anticipation that Cornwallis would be freed from his parole, but the attempt failed.

His tactics in America, especially during the southern campaign, were a frequent subject of criticism by his political enemies in London, principally General Clinton, who tried to blame him for the failures of the southern campaign. Cornwallis, however, retained the confidence of King George III and the government of the Earl of Shelburne, but he was placed in a financially precarious state by his inability to be on active duty.
In August 1785 he was sent to Prussia as an ambassador to the court of Frederick the Great to sound out a possible alliance. He attended manoeuvres along with the Duke of York where they encountered his old opponent Lafayette.

In 1786 Cornwallis was made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. The same year he accepted appointment as Governor-General and commander in chief in India. He had in 1782 been offered the governor-generalship only, but refused the post until he also received military command as well.

Cornwallis engaged in reforms of all types, that had an impact on many areas of civil, military, and corporate administration. According to historian Jerry Dupont, Cornwallis was responsible for “laying the foundation for British rule throughout India and setting standards for the services, courts and revenue collection that remained remarkably unaltered almost to the end of the British era.” He also enacted important reforms in the operations of the British East India Company and, with the notable exception of the Kingdom of Mysore, managed to keep the company out of military conflicts during his tenure.

Prior to Cornwallis’s tenure, company employees were allowed to trade on their own accounts and use company ships to send their own goods back to Europe. This practice was tolerated when the company was profitable, but by the 1780s the company’s finances were not in good shape. Cornwallis eliminated the practice, increasing employee salaries in compensation. He also worked to reduce nepotism and political favouritism, instituting the practice of merit-based advancement.

Criminal and civil justice systems in the company’s territories were a confusing overlay of legal systems, jurisdictions, and methods of administration. Cornwallis had the company take over the few remaining judicial powers of the Nawab of Bengal, the titular local ruler of much of the Bengal Presidency, and gave some judicial powers to company employees. In 1790 he introduced circuit courts with company employees as judges, and set up a court of appeals in Calcutta. He had the legal frameworks of Muslim and Hindu law translated into English, and promulgated administrative regulations and a new civil and criminal code. This work, introduced in 1793, was known as the Cornwallis Code. One consequence of the code was that it instituted a type of racism, placing the British as an elite class on top of the complex status hierarchy of caste and religion that existed in India at the time. Cornwallis held racist views, in a manner common at the time; of mixed European-Indians he wrote, “…as on account of their colour & extraction they are considered in this country as inferior to Europeans, I am of opinion that those of them who possess the best abilities could not command that authority and respect which is necessary in the due discharge of the duty of an officer.”
Cornwallis’s attitude toward the lower classes did, however, include a benevolent and somewhat paternalistic desire to improve their condition. He introduced legislation to protect native weavers who were sometimes forced into working at starvation wages by unscrupulous company employees, outlawed child slavery, and established in 1791 a Sanskrit college for Hindus that is now the Government Sanskrit College in Benares. He also established a mint in Calcutta that, in addition to benefiting the poor by providing a reliable standard currency, was a forerunner of India’s modern currency.

Part of the Cornwallis Code was an important land taxation reform known in India as the Permanent Settlement. This reform permanently altered the way the company collected taxes in its territories, by taxing landowners (known as zamindars) based on the value of their land and not necessarily the value of its produce. In the minds of Cornwallis and its architects, the reforms would also protect land tenants (ryots) from the abusive practices of the zamindars intended to maximize production. Cornwallis, a landed gentleman himself, especially believed that a class of landed gentry would naturally concern themselves with the improvement of the lands, thus also improving the condition of its tenants. Nevertheless, the Permanent Settlement effectively left the peasants at the mercy of the landowners. While the Company fixed the land revenue to be paid by the landowners, the zamindars were left free to extract as much as they could from the peasantry

Cornwallis had been sent to India with instructions to avoid conflict with the company’s neighbors. Early in his tenure he abrogated agreements with the Maratha Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad that he saw as violating the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore that ended the Second Anglo-Mysore War. This ensured the company’s non-involvement in the Maratha-Mysore War (1785–1787). He was, however, manouevred into the establishment of a new company based at Penang (in present-day Malaysia), where conflict was avoided when he agreed to pay a stipend to the local rajah for use of the base. Fort Cornwallis in Penang is named for Cornwallis.

The King of Nepal appealed to Cornwallis in 1792 for military assistance. Cornwallis declined the king’s request, sending instead Colonel William Kirkpatrick to mediate the dispute. Kirkpatrick was the first Englishman to see Nepal; by the time he reached Kathmandu in 1793, the parties had already resolved their dispute.

The company was unavoidably drawn into war with Mysore in 1790. Tipu Sultan, Mysore’s ruler, had expressed contempt for the British not long after signing the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore, and also expressed a desire to renew conflict with them. In late 1789 he invaded the Kingdom of Travancore, a company ally according to that treaty, because of territorial disputes and Travancore’s harbouring of refugees from other Mysorean actions. Cornwallis ordered company and Crown troops to mobilize in response. The 1790 campaign against Tipu was conducted by General William Medows, and it was a limited success. Medows successfully occupied the Coimbatore district, but Tipu counterattacked and was able to reduce the British position to a small number of strongly held outposts. Tipu then invaded the Carnatic, where he attempted unsuccessfully to draw the French into the conflict. Because of Medows’ weak campaigning, Cornwallis personally took command of the British forces in 1791.

When the war broke out, Cornwallis negotiated alliances with the Marathas and Hyderabad. Cornwallis ascended the Eastern Ghats to reach the Deccan Plateau in February 1791. After successfully besieging Bangalore, Cornwallis then joined forces with Hyderabadi forces that he described as “extremely defective in almost every point of military discipline”, and their presence in the army ultimately presented more difficulties than assistance. These forces then marched toward the Mysorean capital at Seringapatam, compelling Tipu to retreat into the city at the Battle of Arakere on 15 May. Dwindling provisions, exacerbated by Tipu’s slash-and-burn tactics, forced Cornwallis to abandon the idea of besieging Seringapatam that season, so he retreated to Bangalore.

In January 1792 the army, now well provisioned, set out for Seringapatam. Arriving before the city on 5 February, Cornwallis quickly eliminated Tipu’s defensive positions outside the city, and then began siege operations. Tipu requested negotiations on 23 February, and peace was agreed in 18 March. Cornwallis and his allies demanded the cession of half of Mysorean territory, much of which went to the allies. As a guarantee of Tipu’s performance, two of his sons were delivered to Cornwallis as hostages. Cornwallis and other British commanders, in a move appreciated by their soldiers, donated prize money awarded them to be distributed among the rank and file.

For his success in conducting the war, Cornwallis was created Marquess Cornwallis in 1792, although he did not learn of it until the following year. He returned to England the following year, and was succeeded by Sir John Shore.

Upon his return to Britain in 1794, he found it militarily engaged in the French Revolutionary Wars. After he was sent on an ultimately fruitless diplomatic mission to stop the fighting, he was appointed master of the ordnance, a post he held until 1798. In this position he was responsible for much of the British Army’s military infrastructure, overseeing its storage depots and supply infrastructure, as well as commanding its artillery and engineering forces. He oversaw improvements to Britain’s coastal defences, and was able to expand Woolwich Academy’s artillery training program to address a significant shortage of qualified artillery officers. His attempts to significantly reform the military were hampered by the ongoing war.

In June 1798 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Commander-in-Chief, Ireland. His appointment, which had been discussed as early as 1797, was made in response to the outbreak in late May of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. His appointment was greeted unfavourably by the Irish elite, who preferred his predecessor Lord Camden, and suspected he had liberal sympathies with the predominantly Catholic rebels. However, he struck up a good working relationship with Lord Castlereagh, whom he had appointed as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

In his combined role as both Lord Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief Cornwallis oversaw the defeat of both the Irish rebels and a French invasion force led by General Jean Humbert that landed in Connacht in August 1798. Panicked by the landing and the subsequent British defeat at the Battle of Castlebar, Pitt despatched thousands of reinforcements to Ireland, swelling British forces there to 60,000. The French invaders were defeated and forced to surrender at the Battle of Ballinamuck, after which Cornwallis ordered the execution by lot of a number of Irish rebels. During the autumn Cornwallis secured government control over most of the island, and organised the suppression of the remaining supporters of the United Irish movement.

Cornwallis was also instrumental in securing passage in 1800 of the Act of Union by the Parliament of Ireland, a necessary step in the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The process, which essentially required the buying of Parliamentary votes through patronage and the granting of peerages, was one that Cornwallis found quite distasteful: he wrote “My occupation is now of the most unpleasant nature, negotiating and jobbing with the most corrupt people under heaven. I despise and hate myself every hour for engaging in such dirty work, and am supported only by the reflection that without an Union the British Empire must be dissolved.” Although Cornwallis recognised that the union with Ireland was unlikely to succeed without Catholic emancipation, he and William Pitt were unable to move King George on the subject. Pitt consequently resigned, and Cornwallis also resigned his offices, returning to London in May 1801.

Expecting an opportunity to relax at home, Cornwallis was instead despatched not long after his return to lead the defences of eastern Britain against a threatened French invasion. Cornwallis was then sent to France to finalise peace terms with Bonaparte. The peace negotiations were made possible in Britain by financial pressure brought on by the ongoing wars and by Bonaparte’s desire to consolidate his hold on the Continent. Pitt’s resignation brought Henry Addington to power, and he appointed Cornwallis as plenipotentiary minister to France. The negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Amiens, which Cornwallis signed on behalf the United Kingdom on 25 March 1802. The treaty ended the War of the Second Coalition, but the peace was short-lived. Actions by Bonaparte over the next year alarmed the other European powers, and the United Kingdom refused to withdraw forces from Malta as specified in the treaty. By May 1803 war was again declared. Cornwallis is often seen as being partially responsible for conceding too much in the negotiations, although much had already been granted to France in the preliminary negotiations.

In 1805 Cornwallis was reappointed Governor-General of India by Pitt (who had again become Prime Minister), this time to curb the expansionist activity of Lord Wellesley (older brother of Colonel Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington). He arrived in India in July 1805, and died on 5 October of a fever at Gauspur in Ghazipur, at that time in the Varanasi kingdom. Cornwallis was buried there, overlooking the Ganges River, where his memorial is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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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.

William Eden 1st Baron Auckland
3 April 1745 – 28 May 1814

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William Eden

William Eden 1st Baron Auckland was a member of the influential Eden family, Auckland was a younger son of Sir Robert Eden, 3rd Baronet, of Windlestone Hall, County Durham, and Mary, daughter of William Davison. His brothers included Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland, Governor of Maryland, and Morton Eden, 1st Baron Henley. He was educated at Durham School, Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the bar, Middle Temple, in 1768.

In 1771 Auckland published Principles of Penal Law, and soon became a recognized authority on commercial and economic questions. In 1772 he took up an appointment as Under-Secretary of State for the North, a post he held until 1778. He was Member of Parliament for Woodstock from 1774 to 1784 and served as a Lord of Trade from 1776 to 1782. In 1778 he carried an Act for the improvement of the treatment of prisoners, and accompanied the Earl of Carlisle as a commissioner to North America on an unsuccessful mission to bring an end to the American War of Independence. During the War, he was head of the British spies in Europe, his budget reaching £200,000 by 1778. He probably oversaw a small group of intelligence collectors for Lord Suffolk. On his return in 1779 he published his widely read Four Letters to the Earl of Carlisle. In 1780 Auckland became Chief Secretary for Ireland, which he remained until 1782, and was admitted to the Irish Privy Council in 1780. He represented Dungannon in the Irish House of Commons between 1781 and 1783 and was Joint Vice-Treasurer of Ireland between 1783 and 1784. While in Ireland he established the National Bank.

Between 1784 and 1793 Auckland was Member of Parliament for Heytesbury. He was sworn of the British Privy Council in 1784 and served as Envoy to France from 1785 to 1787 (on a mission dealing with commerce); he was Ambassador to Spain between 1787 and 1789 and Ambassador to the Netherlands between 1789 and 1793. In 1789 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Auckland and in 1793 he retired from public service, receiving a pension of £2300, and was further honoured when he was made Baron Auckland, of West Auckland in the County of Durham, in the Peerage of Great Britain.

During his retirement in the country at Beckenham, he continued his intimacy with William Pitt the Younger, his nearest neighbour at Holwood House, who at one time had thoughts of marrying his daughter (see below). With Pitt’s sanction he published his Remarks on the Apparent Circumstances of the War in 1795, to prepare public opinion for a peace.

He was later included in Pitt’s government as Joint Postmaster General in 1798. He severely criticized Pitt’s resignation in 1801, from which he had endeavoured to dissuade him, and retained office under Henry Addington. This terminated his friendship with Pitt, who excluded him from his administration in 1804 though he increased his pension, but he later and served under Lord Grenville as President of the Board of Trade in the Ministry of All the Talents between 1806 and 1807.

His Journal and Correspondence, published in 1861–1862, throws much light on the political history of the time.

Lord Auckland married Eleanor, daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot, 3rd Baronet, and sister of Gilbert Eliott, 1st Earl of Minto, in 1776. They had six sons and eight daughters. Their eldest son the Hon. William Eden was Member of Parliament for Woodstock but committed suicide in 1810. His daughter Elizabeth Eden married Francis Osborne, 1st Baron Godolphin. Emily Eden his seventh daughter was a successful poet and novelist. Eleanor Agnes, the eldest daughter, became the subject of intense public interest in 1797 when it was rumoured that she was about to marry William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minister; when the matter became public however Pitt denied absolutely that he had proposed to Eleanor, much to her father’s fury. In 1799 she married Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire. Lord Auckland died in May 1814 and was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, George, who was created Earl of Auckland in 1839. Lady Auckland died in May 1818.

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

John Pitt 2nd Earl of Chatham
10 September 1756 – 24 September 1835

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John Pitt

Born 10th September in Chatham Kent to William Pitt, Ist Earl of Chatham and one time Prime Minister, and Hester Grenville daughter of Richard Grenville and Countess Hester Temple.

General Pitt was a British Peer, and soldier. The oldest son of William and older brother to William Pitt the Younger, who when Prime Minister appointed John to the posts of First Lord of the Admiralty which many did not think him qualified for. He also served as Lord Privy Seal and Lord President of the Council.

In 1809 he led the Walcheren Campaign, failing and losing thousands of soldiers under his command. He later became Governor of Gibraltar from 1820 to 1835. Years of relative peace.

He died at his house in Charles Street, London, on 24 September 1835, aged 78.

Chatham married The Hon. Mary Elizabeth Townshend, daughter of the 1st Baron Sydney, on 10 July 1783. The couple had no children. Lady Chatham died on 21 May 1821. Following his death, the Earldom of Chatham became extinct.

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

Sir Robert Dallas
16 October 1756 – 25 December 1824

Sir Robert Dallas was an English judge, of a Scottish family.

Robert Charles Dallas was born at Kingston, Jamaica in 1756. Dallas and his brother George were educated first at James Elphinstone’s school in Kensington, and then in Geneva, by the pastor Chauvet. He entered Lincoln’s Inn on 4 November 1777. During this period, he honed his facility of oratory at the public debates in Coachmaker’s Hall, where he was known for his extensive general knowledge and his politeness.

Called to the bar on 6 November 1782, Dallas soon built a considerable practice, and specialized in parliamentary and privy council cases. In 1783, he was retained as junior counsel by the British East India Company to challenge the East India Bill.

Dallas’s most notable accomplishment, perhaps, was to come in 1787, when he served as junior counsel for the defence in the Impeachment of Warren Hastings. Hasting’s defence, led by Edward Law and seconded by Dallas and Thomas Plumer, formed a particularly able and harmonious legal team, and many of his contemporaries praised Dallas’s exertions during the seven-year case. Hastings was exonerated in 1795, and Dallas took silk on 2 March 1795 and was elected a bencher of Lincoln’s Inn on 23 April 1795.

Dallas continued to enjoy an active practice, receiving numerous briefs to assist parliamentary committees in investigating disputed elections. He briefly entered the House of Commons himself from 1802 until 1805 as Member of Parliament for the rotten borough of Mitchell, resigning in February 1805 to accept the office of Chief Justice of Chester. He re-entered Parliament in March, representing Dysart Burghs, but left that seat in 1806. While little active in the Commons, he was considered a useful supporter of Addington.

From 1806 until 1808, he led the defence of General Thomas Picton, and while he failed to obtain Picton’s acquittal in his first trial, he was able to compel a retrial and secure a special verdict for him. He was retained by the Jamaican merchants and planters in 1807 to challenge the Slave Trade Act 1807, but without success.

Dallas did not neglect his judicial duties in Chester, during this period. In that post, he was known for his clemency and humanity during sentencing, and his polite and gracious manner. From his remarks to Addington, it seems he much enjoyed the post, retaining it until 1813, when he resigned it to become Solicitor General on 6 May 1813, and was knighted on 19 May 1813. Towards the end of the year, he was made a serjeant-at-law and was made a puisne justice of the Court of Common Pleas on 18 November 1813, replacing Sir Vicary Gibbs, promoted to the Exchequer. In 1817, he was a member of the special commission which tried the leaders of the Pentrich Rising.

He was appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and was sworn of the Privy Council on 19 November 1818. He headed, with Lord Chief Justice Charles Abbott, the special commission that tried the Cato Street conspirators in 1820, and presided over the trial of James Ings. In that year, the two also headed the judges attending the consideration of the Pains and Penalties Bill 1820 to advise the House of Lords on points of law. He retired on grounds of ill health at the end of 1823, and died in London on 25 December 1824.

Dallas was celebrated as both a barrister and a judge, for his command of the law, his clarity of statement, and his gracious and pleasing manners in both offices. In private, he enjoyed a “puckish” sense of humor, and his widow published a collection of his “Poetical Trifles” after his death. These include his famous epigram on Edmund Burke, his opponent in the trial of Hastings:

Oft have I wonder’d why on Irish ground
No poisonous reptile ever yet was found;
Reveal’d the secret stands of Nature’s work,—
She saved her venom to create a Burke.

Dallas was married first, on 11 August 1788, to Charlotte Jardine, by whom he had one son and one daughter; she died on 17 October 1792. On 10 September 1802, he married Giustina Davidson, by whom he had five daughters and who survived him.

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

Thomas Manners-Sutton 1st Baron Manners
24 February 1756 – 31 May 1842

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Thomas Manners-Sutton

Thomas Manners-Sutton was the sixth son of Lord George Manners-Sutton, third son of John Manners, 3rd Duke of Rutland. His elder brother the Most Reverend Charles Manners-Sutton was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1805 to 1828 and the father of Charles Manners-Sutton, 1st Viscount Canterbury, Speaker of the House of Commons from 1817 to 1834. His father had assumed the additional surname of Sutton on succeeding to the estates of his maternal grandfather Robert Sutton, 2nd Baron Lexinton. Manners-Sutton was educated at Charterhouse and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and was called to the Bar, Lincoln’s Inn, in 1780.

Manners-Sutton was elected Member of Parliament for Newark in 1796, a seat he held until 1805, and served under Henry Addington as Solicitor-General from 1802 to 1805. From 1800 to 1802 he was Solicitor General to the Prince of Wales (later King George IV).

In 1805 he became a Baron of the Exchequer, which he remained until 1807. The latter year he was admitted to the Privy Council, raised to the peerage as Baron Manners, of Foston in the County of Lincoln, and appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in which position he served until 1827. A staunch protestant, Lord Manners was an opponent of Catholic emancipation and argued against the Catholic Relief Act 1829 in the House of Lords. His unfamiliarity with Irish conditions led him to rely heavily on the Attorney-General for Ireland, William Saurin, who thereby acquired unprecedented power and virtually controlled the Dublin administration until his dismissal in 1822. Although opposed to Emancipation, Manners as a judge showed no bias against Catholics: indeed he handed down a landmark ruling in Walsh’s case in 1823, that in Ireland as opposed to England a bequest for the saying of Mass for the testators’ soul was valid in law. The increasing number of Catholic barristers ( even Daniel O’Connell, who had a low opinion of most judges) also paid tribute to his lack of bias.

Lord Manners married firstly, Anne Copley, daughter of Sir Joseph Copley, 1st Baronet, of Sprotborough, in 1803. They had no children. After his wife’s death in 1814 he married secondly the Honourable Jane Butler, daughter of James Butler, 9th Baron Cahir. They had one son, John Manners-Sutton. Lord Manners died in May 1842, aged 86, and was succeeded in the barony by his only son, John. A family relation, Evelyn Levett Sutton, graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, acted as private chaplain to Lord Manners.

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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.

King Ernest Augustus 1 of Hanover Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale
5 June 1771 – 18 November 1851

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Ernest Augustus

King Ernest Augustus 1 of Hanover Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of George III, who reigned in both the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, initially Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but Salic Law, which barred women from the succession, applied in Hanover and none of his older brothers had legitimate male issue. Therefore, he became King of Hanover when his niece, Victoria, became Queen of the United Kingdom, ending the personal union between Britain and Hanover that had existed since 1714.

Ernest was born in England, but was sent to Hanover in his adolescence for his education and military training. While serving with Hanoverian forces in Wallonia against Revolutionary France, he received a disfiguring facial wound. In 1799, he was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Although his 1815 marriage to the twice-widowed Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz met with the disapproval of his mother, Queen Charlotte, it proved a happy relationship. By 1817, King George III had only one legitimate grandchild, Princess Charlotte of Wales, and when she died in childbirth, Ernest was the senior son to be both married and not estranged from his wife. This gave him some prospect of succeeding to the British throne. However, both of his unmarried older brothers quickly married, and King George’s fourth son, Edward, Duke of Kent, fathered the eventual British heir, Princess Victoria of Kent (later Queen Victoria).

Ernest was active in the House of Lords, where he maintained an extremely conservative record. There were persistent allegations (reportedly spread by his political foes) that he had murdered his valet and had fathered a son by his sister, Princess Sophia of the United Kingdom. Before Victoria succeeded to the British Throne, it was rumoured that Ernest intended to murder her and take the Throne himself. When King William IV died on 20 June 1837, Ernest ascended the Hanoverian Throne. Hanover’s first ruler to reside in the kingdom since George I, he had a generally successful fourteen-year reign, but excited controversy when he dismissed the Göttingen Seven (including the two Brothers Grimm) from their professorial positions for agitating against his policies.

Ernest Augustus, the fifth son of George III and Queen Charlotte, was born at Buckingham House, now part of Buckingham Palace, on 5 June 1771. After leaving the nursery, he lived with his two younger brothers, Prince Adolphus (later Duke of Cambridge) and Prince Augustus (later Duke of Sussex), and a tutor in a house on Kew Green, near his parents’ residence at Kew Palace. At the age of fifteen, he and his two younger brothers were sent to the University of Göttingen, located in his father’s domain of Hanover. Though the King never left the United Kingdom in his life, he sent his younger sons to Germany in their adolescence. This was done to limit the influence Ernest’s eldest brother George, Prince of Wales, who was leading an extravagant lifestyle, would have over his younger brothers. Prince Ernest proved an apt student, and after being tutored privately for a year, while learning German, attended lectures at the University. Though King George ordered that the princes’ household be run along military lines, and that they follow university rules, the town merchants proved willing to extend credit to the princes, and all three fell into debt.

In 1790, Ernest asked his father for permission to train with Prussian forces. Instead, in January 1791, he and Prince Adolphus were sent to Hanover to receive military training under the supervision of Field Marshal Wilhelm von Freytag. Before leaving Göttingen, Ernest penned a formal letter of thanks to the university, and wrote to his father, “I should be one of the most ungrateful of men if ever I was forgetful of all I owe to Göttingen & its professors.”

Ernest learned cavalry drill and tactics under Captain von Linsingen of the Queen’s Light Dragoons, and proved to be an excellent horseman as well as a good shot. After only two months of training, von Freytag was so impressed by the Prince’s progress that he gave him a place in the cavalry as captain. Ernest was supposed to receive infantry training, but the King, also impressed by his son’s prowess, allowed him to remain with the cavalry.

In March 1792, the King commissioned Prince Ernest Augustus as a colonel in the 9th Hanoverian Light Dragoons. The Prince served in the Low Countries in the War of the First Coalition, under his elder brother Frederick, Duke of York, then commander of the combined British, Hanoverian and Austrian forces. Seeing action near the Walloon town of Tournai in August 1793, he sustained a sabre wound to the head, which resulted in a disfiguring scar. During the Battle of Tourcoing in northern France on 18 May 1794 his left arm was injured by a cannonball which passed close by him. In the days after the battle, the sight in his left eye faded. In June, he was sent to Britain to convalesce, his first stay there since 1786.

Ernest resumed his duties in early November, by now promoted to major-general. He hoped his new rank would bring him a corps or brigade command, but none was forthcoming as Allied armies retreated slowly through the Netherlands towards Germany. By February 1795, they had reached Hanover. Ernest remained in Hanover over the next year, at several unimportant postings. He had requested a return home to seek treatment for his eye, but it was not until early 1796 that the King agreed and allowed Ernest to return to Britain. In Britain, Prince Ernest consulted the noted eye doctor, Wathen Waller, but Waller apparently found the condition inoperable, as no operation took place. Once in Britain, Ernest repeatedly sought to be allowed to join British forces on the Continent, even threatening to join the Yeomanry as a private, but both the King and the Duke of York refused. Ernest did not want to rejoin Hanoverian forces, as the Hanoverians were not then involved in the fighting. In addition, von Freytag was seriously ill, and Ernest was unwilling to serve under his likely successor, General von Wallmoden.

On 23 April 1799, George III created Prince Ernest Augustus Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh. Though he was made a lieutenant-general, both of British and Hanoverian forces, he remained in England, and, with a seat in the House of Lords, entered politics. Ernest had extreme Tory views, and soon became a leader of the right of the party. King George had feared that Ernest, like some of his older brothers, would display Whig tendencies. Reassured on that point, in 1801, the King had Ernest conduct the negotiations which led to the formation of the Addington Government. In February 1802, King George granted his son the colonelcy of the 27th Light Dragoons, a post which offered the option of transfer to the colonelcy of the 15th Light Dragoons when a vacancy developed. A vacancy promptly occurred and the Duke became the colonel of the 15th Light Dragoons in March 1802. Although the post could have been a sinecure, Ernest involved himself in the affairs of the regiment and led it on manoeuvres.

In early 1803, the Duke of York appointed Ernest as commander of the Severn District, in charge of the forces in and around the Severn Estuary. When war with France broke out again after the Peace of Amiens, the elder Duke appointed Ernest to the more important Southwest District, comprising Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Though Ernest would have preferred command of the King’s German Legion, composed mostly of expatriates from French-occupied Hanover, he accepted the post. The Duke of Cumberland increased the defences on the South Coast, especially around the town of Weymouth, where his father often spent time in the summer.

The 1800 Acts of Union had given Ireland representation in Parliament, but existing law prevented the Irish Catholics from serving there because of their religion. “Catholic emancipation” was a major political issue of the first years of the 19th century. The Duke of Cumberland was a strong opponent of giving political rights to Catholics, believing that emancipation would be a violation of the King’s Coronation Oath to uphold Anglicanism, and spoke out in the House of Lords against emancipation. Protestant Irish organisations supported the Duke; he was elected Chancellor of the University of Dublin in 1805 and Grand Master of the Orange Lodges two years later.

The Duke repeatedly sought a post with Allied forces fighting against France, but was sent to the Continent only as an observer. In 1807, he advocated sending British troops to join with the Prussians and Swedes and attack the French at Stralsund (today, in northeastern Germany). The Grenville government refused to send forces. Shortly afterwards, the government fell, and the new Prime Minister, the Duke of Portland, agreed to send Ernest with 20,000 troops. However, they were sent too late: the French defeated Prussia and Sweden at the Battle of Stralsund before Ernest and his forces could reach the town.

In the early hours of 31 May 1810, Ernest, by his written account, was struck in the head several times while asleep in bed, awakening him. He ran for the door, where he was wounded in the leg by a sabre. He called for help, and one of his valets, Cornelius Neale, responded and aided him. Neale raised the alarm, and the household soon realised that Ernest’s other valet, Joseph Sellis, was not among them, and that the door to Sellis’s room was locked. The lock was forced, and Sellis was discovered with his throat freshly cut, a wound apparently self-inflicted. Ernest received several serious wounds during the apparent attack, and required over a month to recover from his injuries. The social reformer and anti-monarchist Francis Place managed to get on the inquest jury and became its foreman. Place went to the office of a barrister friend to study inquest law, and aggressively questioned witnesses. Place also insisted the inquest be opened to the public and press, and so cowed the coroner that he basically ran the inquest himself. Nevertheless, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of suicide against Sellis.

Much of the public blamed Ernest for Sellis’s death. The more extreme Whig papers, anti-royal pamphleteers, and caricaturists all offered nefarious explanations for Sellis’s death, in which the Duke was to blame. Some stories had the Duke cuckolding Sellis, with the attack as retaliation, or Sellis killed for finding Ernest and Mrs. Sellis in bed together. Others suggested that the Duke was the lover of either Sellis or Neale, and that blackmail had played a part in the death. There was animus and fear towards the Duke to the fact that he did not conduct love affairs in public, as did his older brothers. According to them, the public feared what vices might be going on behind the locked doors of the Duke’s house, and assumed the worst.

In early 1813, Ernest was involved in political scandal during an election contest in Weymouth following the general election the previous year. The Duke was shown to be one of three trustees who were able to dictate who would represent Weymouth in Parliament. It being considered improper for a peer to interfere in a Commons election, there was considerable controversy, and the Government sent Ernest to Europe as an observer to accompany Hanoverian troops, which were again engaged in war against France. Though he saw no action, Ernest was present at the Battle of Leipzig, a major victory for the Allies.

Ernest met and fell in love in mid-1813 with his first cousin, Duchess Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels and widow of Prince Louis of Prussia. The two agreed to wed if Frederica became free to marry. Her marriage to Frederick William had not been a success; her husband, seeing the marriage was beyond hope, agreed to a divorce, but his sudden death in 1814 removed the necessity. Some considered the death too convenient, and suspected the princess of poisoning her husband. Queen Charlotte opposed the marriage: before the princess had married Frederick William, she had jilted Ernest’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, after the engagement was announced.

Following the marriage in Germany on 29 May 1815, Queen Charlotte refused to receive her new daughter-in-law, nor would the Queen attend the resolemnisation of the Cumberlands’ marriage at Kew, which Ernest’s four older brothers attended. The Prince of Wales (now Prince Regent) found the Cumberlands’ presence in Britain embarrassing, and offered him money and the Governorship of Hanover if they would leave for the Continent. Ernest refused, and the Cumberlands divided their time between Kew and St. James’s Palace for the next three years. The Queen remained obstinate in her refusal to receive Frederica. Despite these family troubles, the Cumberlands had a happy marriage. The Government of Lord Liverpool asked Parliament to increase the Duke’s allowance by ₤6,000 per year in 1815 (equal to about ₤388,000 today), so he could meet increased expenses due to his marriage. The Duke’s involvement in the Weymouth election became an issue, and the bill failed by one vote. Liverpool tried again in 1817; this time the bill failed by seven votes.

At the time of the Duke’s marriage in 1815, it seemed to have little dynastic significance to Britain. Princess Charlotte of Wales, only child of the Prince Regent, was the King’s only legitimate grandchild. The young Princess was expected to have children who would secure the British succession, especially after she married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1816. Both the Prince Regent and the Duke of York were married but estranged from their wives, while the next two brothers, the Dukes of Clarence and Kent, were unmarried. On 6 November 1817, Princess Charlotte died after delivering a stillborn son. King George was left with twelve surviving children, and no surviving legitimate grandchildren. Most of the unmarried royal dukes hurriedly sought out suitable brides and hastened to the altar, hoping to father the heir to the throne.

Seeing little prospect of the Queen giving in and receiving her daughter-in-law, the Cumberlands moved to Germany in 1818. They had difficulty living within their means in Britain, and the cost of living was much lower in Germany. Queen Charlotte died on 17 November 1818, but the Cumberlands remained in Germany, living principally in Berlin, where the Duchess had relatives. In 1817, the Duchess had a stillborn daughter; in 1819 she gave birth to a boy, Prince George of Cumberland. The Duke occasionally visited England, where he stayed with his eldest brother, who in 1820 succeeded to the British and Hanoverian Thrones as George IV. George III’s fourth son, Edward, Duke of Kent, died six days before his father, but left a daughter, Princess Victoria of Kent. With the death of George III, Ernest became fourth in line to the British Throne, following the Duke of York (who would die without legitimate issue in 1827), the Duke of Clarence, and Princess Victoria.

In 1826, Parliament finally voted to increase Ernest’s allowance. The Liverpool Government argued that the Duke needed an increased allowance to pay for Prince George’s education; even so, it was opposed by many Whigs. The bill, which passed the House of Commons 120–97, required Prince George to live in England if the Duke was to receive the money.

In 1828, Ernest was staying with the King at Windsor Castle when severe disturbances broke out in Ireland among Catholics. The Duke was an ardent supporter of the Protestant cause in Ireland, and returned to Berlin in August, believing that the Government, led by the Duke of Wellington, would deal firmly with the Irish. In January 1829, the Wellington Government announced that it would introduce a Catholic emancipation bill to conciliate the Irish. Disregarding a request from Wellington that he remain abroad, Ernest returned to London, and was one of the leaders against the Catholic Relief Act 1829, influencing King George against the bill. Within days of his arrival, the King instructed the officers of his Household to vote against the Bill. Hearing of this, Wellington told the King that he must resign as Prime Minister unless the King could assure him of complete support. The King initially accepted Wellington’s resignation, and Ernest attempted to put together a government united against Catholic emancipation. Though such a government would have considerable support in the House of Lords, it would have little support in the Commons, and Ernest abandoned his attempt. The King recalled Wellington. The bill passed the Lords and became law.

The Wellington Government hoped that Ernest would return to Germany, but he moved his wife and son to Britain in 1829. The Times reported that they would live at Windsor in the “Devil’s Tower”; instead, the Duke reopened his house at Kew. They settled there as rumours flew that Thomas Garth, thought to be the illegitimate son of Ernest’s sister Princess Sophia, had been fathered by Ernest. It was also said that Ernest had blackmailed the King by threatening to expose this secret, though Van der Kiste points out that Ernest would have been ill-advised to blackmail with a secret which, if exposed, would destroy him. These rumours were spread as Ernest journeyed to London to fight against Catholic emancipation. Whig politician and diarist Thomas Creevey wrote about the Garth rumour in mid-February, and there is some indication the rumours began with Princess Lieven, wife of the Russian ambassador.

Newspapers also reported, in July 1829, that the Duke had been thrown out of Lord Lyndhurst’s house for assaulting his wife Sarah, Lady Lyndhurst. In early 1830, a number of newspapers printed articles hinting that Ernest was having an affair with Lady Graves, a mother of fifteen now past fifty. In February 1830, Lord Graves wrote a note to his wife expressing his confidence in her innocence, then cut his own throat. Two days after Lord Graves’s death (and the day after the inquest), The Times printed an article connecting Lord Graves’s death with Sellis’s. After being shown the suicide note, The Times withdrew its implication there might be a connection between the two deaths. Nonetheless, many believed the Duke responsible for the suicide—or guilty of a second murder. The Duke later stated that he had been “accused of every crime in the decalogue”. Ernest’s biographer, Anthony Bird, states that while there is no proof, he has no doubt that the rumours against the Duke were spread by the Whigs for political ends. Another biographer, Geoffrey Willis, pointed out that no scandal had attached itself to the Duke during the period of over a decade when he resided in Germany; it was only when he announced his intent to return to Britain that “a campaign of unparalleled viciousness” began against him. According to Bird, Ernest was the most unpopular man in England.

The Duke’s influence at Court was ended by the death of George IV in June 1830 and the succession of the Duke of Clarence as William IV. Wellington wrote that “The effect of the King’s death will … be to put an end to the Duke of Cumberland’s political character and power in this country entirely”. King William lacked legitimate children (two girls having died in infancy) and Ernest was now heir-presumptive in Hanover, since the British heir-presumptive, Victoria, as a female could not inherit there. William realized that so long as the Duke maintained a power base at Windsor, he could wield unwanted influence. The Duke was Gold Stick as head of the Household Cavalry; William made the Duke’s post responsible to the Commander in Chief rather than to the King, and an insulted Ernest, outraged at the thought of having to report to an officer less senior than himself, resigned. King William again emerged triumphant when the new queen, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, wished to quarter her horses in the stables customarily used by the consort, but which were then occupied by Ernest’s horses. Ernest initially refused the King’s order to remove the horses, but gave in when told that William’s grooms would remove them if Ernest did not move them voluntarily. However, Ernest and William remained friendly throughout the latter’s seven-year reign. Ernest’s house at Kew was too small for his family; the King gave the Duke and Duchess lifetime residence in a nearby, larger house by the entrance to Kew Gardens. Ernest opposed the Reform Act 1832, and was one of the “diehard” peers who voted against the bill on its final reading when most Tories abstained under threat of seeing the House of Lords flooded with Whig peers.

Ernest was the subject of more allegations in 1832, when two young women accused him of trying to ride them down as they walked near Hammersmith. The Duke had not left his grounds at Kew on the day in question, and was able to ascertain that the rider was one of his equerries, who professed not to have seen the women. Nevertheless, newspapers continued to print references to the incident, suggesting that Ernest had done what the women stated, and was cravenly trying to push blame on another. The same year, the Duke sued for libel after a book appeared accusing him of having his valet Neale kill Sellis, and the jury found against the author. Also in 1832, the Cumberlands suffered tragedy, as young Prince George went blind. The Prince had been blind in one eye from infancy; an accident at age thirteen took the sight of the other. Ernest had hoped his son might marry Princess Victoria and keep the British and Hanoverian Thrones united, but the handicap made it unlikely George could win Princess Victoria’s hand, and raised questions about whether he should succeed in Hanover.

The Duke spent William’s reign in the House of Lords, where he was assiduous in his attendance. Wrote newspaper editor James Grant, “He is literally—the door-keeper of course excepted—the first man in the House, and the last out of it. And this not merely generally, but every night.” Grant, in his observations of the leading members of the House of Lords, indicated that the Duke was not noted for his oratory (he delivered no speech longer than five minutes) and had a voice that was difficult to understand, though, “his manner is most mild and conciliatory.” Grant denigrated the Duke’s intellect and influence, but stated that the Duke had indirect influence over several members, and that, “he is by no means so bad a tactician as his opponents suppose.”

Controversy arose in 1836 over the Orange Lodges. The lodges (which took anti-Catholic views) were said to be ready to rise and try to put the Duke of Cumberland on the Throne on the death of King William. According to Joseph Hume, speaking in the House of Commons, Princess Victoria was to be passed over on the grounds of her age, sex, and incapacity. The Commons passed a resolution calling for the dissolution of the lodges. When the matter reached the Lords, the Duke defended himself, saying of Princess Victoria, “I would shed the last drop of my blood for my niece.” The Duke indicated that the Orange Lodge members were loyal and were willing to dissolve the lodges in Great Britain. According to Bird, this incident was the source of the widespread rumours that the Duke intended to murder Princess Victoria and take the British Throne for himself.

On 20 June 1837, King William died, and Princess Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom. Ernest became the King of Hanover.

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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 Pelham 2nd Earl of Chichester
28 April 1756 – 4 July 1826

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Thomas Pelham

Thomas Pelham 2nd Earl of Chichester was the eldest son of Thomas Pelham, 1st Earl of Chichester, and his wife Anne, daughter of Frederick Meinhardt Frankland. The Right Reverend George Pelham was his younger brother. He was educated at Westminster and Clare College, Cambridge.

Chichester was surveyor-general of ordnance in Lord Rockingham’s 2nd ministry (1782), and Chief Secretary for Ireland in the coalition ministry of 1783 (when he was also appointed to the Privy Council of Ireland). He represented Carrick in the Irish House of Commons from 1783 to 1790 and Clogher from 1795 to 1797. In 1795 he was sworn of the Privy Council and became Irish chief secretary under Pitt’s government, retiring in 1798.

In the latter year he sat briefly for Naas before transferring to Armagh Borough, a seat he held only until the next year. He was Home Secretary from July 1801 to August 1803 under Addington, who made him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1803. Pelham went out of office in 1804, and in the next year succeeded to the earldom. He was joint-Postmaster-General from 1807 to 1823, and for the remaining three years of his life Postmaster-General.

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Mary Henrietta Juliana Pelham née Osborne

Lord Chichester married Lady Mary Henrietta Juliana, daughter of Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds, in 1801. They had three sons and three daughters. Their second son the Hon. Frederick Thomas Pelham was a naval commander while their third son the Right Reverend John Thomas Pelham was Bishop of Norwich. Lord Chichester died in July 1826, aged 70, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, Henry. His daughter Lady Amelia Rose married Major General Sir Joshua Jebb, the Surveyor General of Prisons and designer of Pentonville Prison, the ‘Model Prison’, on 5 September 1854. The Countess of Chichester died in October 1862, aged 86.

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