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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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