Posts Tagged ‘Lord Palmerston’

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

Elizabeth Fox Baroness Holland


Elizabeth Fox

Elizabeth Vassall was born in 1771 in London, the only child of Richard Vassall, a planter in Jamaica and Mary Clarke. She married Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet in 1786. He was more than 20 years older than she was. They had three children that survived infancy. As Lady Webster she spent much of the early 1790s travelling in Europe, visiting France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. She enjoyed the guidance and friendship of the Duchess of Devonshire and politician Thomas Pelham.

In 1794, Lady Webster met Whig politician Henry Fox, 3rd Baron Holland in Naples and they embarked on a love affair. In 1796 she gave birth to their son Charles Richard Fox, and the following year she was divorced by Webster on the grounds of adultery. She married Holland two days after her divorce, on 6 July 1797. They lived together in Holland House in Kensington, then just outside London, and for many years hosted the elite of Whig society. Visitors included Lord Grey, George Tierney, Samuel Rogers, Walter Scott, Ugo Foscolo, Sydney Smith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Lady Holland became known by her guests, and contemporary observers for her domineering nature, in contrast to her husband. In his journals, Sydney Smith, a friend of both Lord and Lady Holland, called her a “formidable woman”. Actress Fanny Kemble visited Holland house with her sister Adelaide Kemble described what she called the “domineering rudeness” of Lady Holland. Lady Holland’s rule extended not only to all of the guests at Holland House but to Lord Holland too. She dictated when he should go to bed, what he should wear and would have servants take him away from the table in his wheelchair when he was in the middle of telling a story.

Both Lord and Lady Holland were great admirers of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1815, Lady Holland commission a bronze bust of him from sculptor Antonio Canova, which was placed in the garden at Holland House. After Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815, Lady Holland sent him supplies of food and hundreds of books. Napoleon remembered Lady Holland in his will and following his death in 1821, his companions General Henri Gratien Bertrand and the Marquis de Montholon arrived at Holland House, delivering a snuffbox. The gold snuffbox, which had been a gift to Napoleon from Pope Pius VI, was bequeathed by Lady Holland to the British Museum.

Lord Holland died on 22 October 1840. After his death, Lady Holland lived at 33 South Street, a property she had inherited from her mother. She continued to entertain, and it was here that the historian John Allen died in 1843. In November of that year she moved to 9 Great Stanhope Street, a property she rented from Lord Palmerston.

Lady Holland died in 1845. By the end of her life, she had become estranged from her children. In his Memoirs, diarist Charles Greville called Lady Holland “a social light which illuminated and adorned England, and even Europe, for half a century”.

Lady Holland became known for permanently introducing the dahlia to the United Kingdom. An unsuccessful attempt had been made in 1789 by the Marchioness of Bute who brought the plant from Spain, but failed to propagate it. Whilst in Madrid in 1804, Lady Holland was given either dahlia seeds or roots by botanist Antonio José Cavanilles. She sent them back to England, to Lord Holland’s librarian Mr Buonaiuti at Holland House, who successfully raised the plants. In 1824, Lord Holland sent his wife a note containing the following verse:

“The dahlia you brought to our isle
Your praises for ever shall speak;
Mid gardens as sweet as your smile,
And in colour as bright as your cheek.”

Lady Holland had 11 children, seven of whom survived infancy.
With Sir Godfrey Webster:

Godfrey Vassall Webster (1789–1836)

  • a son who died young, born in 1790
  • Henry Vassall Webster (1793–1847)
  • Harriet Frances Webster (1794–1849), married Admiral Fleetwood Pellew, is buried with him in Florence’s ‘English’ Cemetery.
  • a son who died young, born in October 1795

With Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland:

  • Charles Richard Fox (6 November 1796 – 13 April 1873), army general and politician
  • Stephen Fox (1799–1800)
  • Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland (7 May 1802 – 18 December 1859), politician and ambassador
  • Mary Elizabeth Fox (1806–1891), married Thomas Powys, 3rd Baron Lilford
  • Georgiana Anne Fox (1809–1819)
  • a daughter, born and died on 24 June 1812

Read Full Post »

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

Emily Lamb Lady Cowper (Patroness of Almacks)


Emily Lamb

Emily Lamb Lady Cowper (Patroness of Almacks) Emily was born in 1787 to Peniston Lamb and his wife Elizabeth (née Milbanke). Due to her mother’s numerous love affairs, her true paternity was never verified, and has been described as ” shrouded in mystery”. The Lamb family had been politically prominent since the mid-18th century, reaching their zenith of influence in Emily’s generation. Her father was made Viscount Melbourne in 1781. Her eldest brother William Lamb twice held the premiership of England, while another brother, Frederick Lamb, was a noted diplomat, and a third, George Lamb, was a minor playwright and journalist of the era. The Lambs were closely linked with the Whig party, and were intimates of Queen Victoria. There was a lifelong bond between William and Emily, whom he fondly called “that little devil”; by contrast she detested his wife, Lady Caroline Lamb (whom she called “that little beast”).

At age eighteen, Emily married Peter Clavering-Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, a man nine years her senior. Lord Cowper had a reputation for dullness and slowness of speech which were in marked contrast to his wife’s social gifts; a more favourable portrait was that he was a quiet, pleasant man who was far less stupid than he appeared but avoided society and politics. Emily threw herself into the Regency social scene, becoming one of the leading ladies of the highly exclusive Almack’s club. She was noted for kindness and generosity: she would do anything for a person she liked, and would even help people she disliked: although she detested her sister-in-law Caroline, when Caroline was barred from Almack’s, a deep social disgrace, Emily eventually managed to get the ban lifted. Like many of the society ladies of the age, she had love affairs, including one with the Corsican diplomat Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, later Russian Ambassador to Great Britain.

Emily was noted not only for beauty but for her extraordinary charm: she was “grace put in action, whose softness was as seductive as her joyousness”.

At Almack’s, Lady Cowper was increasingly seen in the company of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who was known as “Cupid” at the time for his various romantic dalliances, including affairs with Emily’s fellow patronesses of Almack’s, Dorothea Lieven and Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey. Palmerston was a regular fixture of her parties and salons, and as Lord Cowper sank into a long period of ill health and general decline, Lady Cowper and Lord Palmerston entered into a romantic relationship. This brought Palmerston, originally a Tory, increasingly in contact with notable Whigs, particularly Emily’s brother. Of an 1826 proposal for Catholic Emancipation, Palmerston said, “the Whigs supported me most handsomely, and were indeed my chief and most active friends.” Soon after, Palmerston switched affiliations and ran as a Whig candidate. Emily’s mother on her deathbed in, urged her to remain constant to Palmerston, possibly looking forward to a future time when they would be free to marry.

In 1837, Lord Cowper died, two days into the reign of Queen Victoria. This left the way open for a marriage between Emily and Palmerston, though their age was a cause for concern, as, in the eyes of her family, was Palmerston’s reputation as a womaniser. The matter was referred to Queen Victoria, whose approval cleared the way for the marriage on 16 December 1839. Palmerston was 55 at the time, and Lady Cowper was 52.

They set up their home at Broadlands and the union was, by all accounts, a decidedly happy one. Of it, Lord Shaftesbury said, “His attentions to Lady Palmerston, when they both of them were well stricken in years, were those of a perpetual courtship. The sentiment was reciprocal; and I have frequently seen them go out on a morning to plant some trees, almost believing that they would live to eat the fruit, or sit together under the shade.”

During the marriage, Lady Palmerston continued an active social role as a salon hostess. As the events were eagerly attended by foreign diplomats, Lord Palmerston would encourage his wife to float his ideas before the assembled guests and report back on their reception as a means of unofficially testing the diplomatic waters before committing himself publicly to an opinion. She could not cure his notorious lack of punctuality, a fault she shared; Queen Victoria, staying with them at Brocket, complained that Emily had kept her waiting for an hour.

In 1865, Lord Palmerston died, and Lady Palmerston followed him four years later. She was survived by her three sons and two daughters, all born during her marriage to Lord Cowper, although one of the daughters, Emily, was believed to have been fathered by Palmerston, and her son William may have been fathered by Pozzo di Borgo. They were:

  • George Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper
  • William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple
  • Charles
  • Frances Jocelyn, Viscountess Jocelyn
  • Emily, who married Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.

Read Full Post »

It has not been many days at all and now we have reached the conclusion of 200 pages of The Fastest Love on Earth.

I am at chapter 10 in the writing, having just seen the government of the PastedGraphic-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Duke of Wellington fall. He did not heed the call for Reform and thus was doomed.

He was followed by PastedGraphic1-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Earl Grey, and he had in his cabinet PastedGraphic2-2011-03-4-13-33.jpg Lord Palmerston who would later also become Prime Minister. Palmerston, or Pam serves a purpose in my writing this tale for he lived in Romsey, the location where our Hero too has his home.

Since Monday writing has taken us 100 pages, and for the month of February, just the weekend remains, we are at 517 pages. 357,206 words for the year so far.

Here is the beginning of chapter 2.

2) The Worst Accident Imaginable

The step to the ground was a longer climb then when they were along side the landing at Crown Street Station. Lord Dorchester offer his hand but Claire knew the step would require more and with her eyes directed his to her waist. She did not want to say that his helping her to land firmly on the ground by his lifting her would be appreciated but she knew she was still svelte and that it would be little trouble for him to do so.

“Just as if we were at a dance,” she said lightly and he understood reaching up to grasp her about the waist and then he lifted her. She could not feel his hands but she felt through her corset the pressure that he applied and thought it had been years since she had felt so. Rockingham would have lifted her but he had little desire to act as her lover once they had married. The moment she was in the air, not even two seconds passing, she felt free of all conventions, just as the wind rushing at them on these new fast conveyances had made her begin to feel, Lord Dorchester completed the feeling.

She had married eight years before after knowing Rockingham for all of two months at her first season. She was now twenty four. Sitting with her parents at Almacks her very first week in London and Rockingham came up, asked for an introduction. When that night was over she had been compliment after compliment from the Marquess. Later she learned that they were all meaningless. He had been told to get a wife that morning from his mama and determined that she was the most handsome of the ladies at Almacks with a position in society that he could marry. He was not looking for a bride to bring money to the marriage bed, he had enough of his own.

She was bought and sold like a piece of cloth at the milliners. He looked over the wares that night and chose her for qualities other than whatever she possessed of thought and intellect. She had been so mistaken believing that was the reason that he had wooed her. She had been a fool and after Maxim was born, he took his attentions elsewhere. All he wanted then of her was to be pleasant at the dinners he hosted.

The allowance he gave her though Rockingham may have thought bought her silence. He was wrong. It brought her disappointment. He went to his mistresses and whores and suggested that should she want a lover she should take one. She however was by his side the last two months of his life as he died of consumption. She wanted love, something she knew she had not had, and was always amazed when men sought to speak so to her, men whom she did not encounter nearly enough as they spent most of the year at the Marquess’ estate at Gateacre here on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Now suspended in the arms of a man who had shown such kindness to the boys she remembered her old schoolgirl wishes for just such a man. Handsome, strong of character, kind to children, and assuredly rich. Nothing was ever wrong with marrying a rich man her father had told her. That was why the Baron Markham had been so easily swayed to allowed the marriage with Rockingham.

When her husband had died she found that he was indeed wealthy. Enough that they had ten thousand a year and three great estates and a house in London. But she had no desire to raise her boys spoilt as there father had been. She thus came north to the smallest of the estates. Society did not live in Liverpool and it had been three years since she had been to Town. Her parents urged her to return to them in the south and sometimes she thought to do so, but they had allowed her to marry the man who had kept her chained to a loveless and embarrassing marriage. She still had not forgiven her father.

“Thank you my lord.” She said to Dorchester as she landed on the ground.

“A pleasure and as you have said, just like a dance. Though I have not been to one these few years.”

“You do not dance?” She asked as they walked to the carriage in front. Others were doing so as well it seemed.

“I do, just not recently. I suppose I should do so again.”

She nodded and thought about it then asked something else instead. Dancing was too intimate a subject to speak of to the handsome man. “These leaflets that you distributed said we should not leave the carriage but look at the water tower from safety there.”

“Yes, we advised that for most will not know what is about here. We have five lines for we think we will connect to other rails as well, such as the Bolton and Leigh which is already in operation.”

“Then you are not the first railway? I can not keep track for this is something that Peter does.”

They were almost to where the Marquess of Stafford stood at the carriage door with the Duke of Wellington discussing the watering tower it seemed. “They carry freight alone as do a few others. I believe the distinction for our train is the longest, the fastest and the first for passengers. Now here, let us get your cousins attention for as the leaflet does discuss should other trains come by it may unnerve you. Here, Stafford, I say Stafford, come I have Lady Rockingham here who is keen to say her hellos.”

Stafford turned and so too did the Duke, “Why this lovely woman is lady Rockingham and you escort her Dorchester? To be young again and have such pleasures, eh Stafford. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance but did you not ask for Stafford? Dorchester I am the Prime Minister, do you not think I deserve preferment when presenting such a beauty?”

She knew the Prime Minister was teasing but in a nice friendly way. He was in a very good mood from all the crowds that had been cheering their progress along the line. Claire fussed with her bonnet, for there was a light drizzle just then. “Oh, will you allow me Lady Rockingham,” Lord Dorchester said, “Your Grace, make way there for I shall hand her ladyship up to the carriage that she may get out of the rain until we return to our own carriage.” He then did so and once more she felt the pressure of his hands squeeze her in her corset as she was lifted to this much more opulent carriage.

“Why you travel well here indeed. We are surely in steerage behind you,” She joked.

“We do. Much better than on campaign, eh Dorchester?” The Duke said.

“Certainly much better than I remember Spain to be, your grace,” Lord Dorchester replied. “Look at all these men who are about the tracks. I shall have to see that they remember we have not advised that it is safe unless they know what they are about. I shall return in a moment.” He turned and went off quickly to attend to all. The Duke then said something she was sure indicating he wished to sit for a moment and the Marquess of Stafford remained to speak to her.

“You have done will with Dorchester to guide you and your boys. He understand well what this all about. He and Mr. Sandars. They seem to have a vision for this.”

“Then why cousin did you invest so much money in the venture?” She asked. Peter had been ready to write their man of business to purchase shares as well but she had told her son that if it succeeds she would instruct him to do so. But not until then.

“I have a vision for the growth of capital my dear. I suspect Dorchester does also and it is why he takes a dislike to me, but then younger men often do to we who are older for little good reason. I well remember having done so. But tell me, you have made a conquest in this hour of travel. I would quip that it must be the fastest love affair ever, but I do not know that anything was set to subdue Dorchester. He has seemed rather solitaire about all such matters these many years.”

Claire was intrigued. “Do you know the man well?”

Read Full Post »