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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Erskine 1st Baron Erskine
10 January 1750 – 17 November 1823

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Thomas Erskine

Thomas Erskine 1st Baron Erskine was the third and youngest surviving son of Henry Erskine, 10th Earl of Buchan, and was born in a tenement at the head of South Grays Close on the High Street in Edinburgh. His older brothers were David (Lord Cardross and later the 11th Earl of Buchan) and Henry (later Lord Advocate of Scotland). His mother, Agnes Steuart, was the daughter of a solicitor general for Scotland and undertook much of her children’s education as the family, though noble, were not rich. The family moved to St Andrews, where they could live more cheaply, and Erskine attended the grammar school there. The family’s money having been spent on the education of his older brothers, Erskine, aged fourteen, reluctantly abandoned his formal education for the time being and went to sea as a midshipman. His family meanwhile moved to Bath to become members of the Methodist community headed by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. One of Erskine’s sisters, Anne Agnes, was to become treasurer of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon’s charities.

Erskine went to sea as a midshipman in the Tartar, under captain Sir David Lindsay, who was a nephew of Lord Mansfield and a friend of the Erskine family. The Tartar set sail for the Caribbean, where Erskine was to spend the next four years, rising to the rank of acting lieutenant. When Erskine was eighteen he resigned from the Navy. His ship had been paid off, there were no commissions available, and he didn’t want to return to sea as a midshipman after having been an acting lieutenant. The 10th Earl of Buchan had recently died, and Erskine now had just enough money to buy a commission in the army, becoming an ensign in the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Foot. He was stationed first at Berwick and then on Jersey. On 29 March 1770 Erskine married Frances Moore at Gretna Green, against the wishes of her father, Daniel Moore who was member of parliament for Great Marlowe. Frances was the granddaughter of John Moore, who had been attorney general of Pennsylvania. Erskine’s regiment was then posted to Minorca, and Frances went with him. Before meeting Frances, Erskine had written about the qualities he was looking for in a bride: “Let then my ornament be far from the tinsel glare, let it be fair yet modest, let it rather delight than dazzle, rather shine like the mild beams of the morning than the blaze of the noon. I seek in my fair one a winning female softness both in person and mind”. Erskine appears to have found these qualities in Frances: she is described on her memorial in Hampstead Church as “the most faithful and affectionate of women”. The couple had four sons and four daughters.

While he was stationed in Jersey and Minorca, Erskine had on occasion preached sermons to his men, prompting one biographer to say that “a taste for oratory that ultimately would lead on to his true career originated in those soldier sermons”.

He also demonstrated his future skills as an advocate in a pamphlet entitled “Observations on the Prevailing Abuses in the British Army Arising from the Corruption of Civil Government with a Proposal toward Obtaining an Addition to Their Pay“.

Whilst on leave in London in 1772, the charming and well-connected young officer was able to mix in literary circles and met Dr Johnson. James Boswell, in his Life of Johnson, recalled meeting “a young officer in the regimentals of the Scots royal, who talked with a vivacity, fluency and precision so uncommon, that he attracted particular attention. He proved to be the Honorable Thomas Erskine, youngest brother to the Earl of Buchan, who has since risen into such brilliant reputation at the Bar in Westminster-hall”. Although Erskine was appointed a lieutenant in April 1773, he decided to leave the army and, with the encouragement of his family and Lord Mansfield, study for the Bar.

Erskine was admitted as a student of Lincoln’s Inn on 26 April 1775. He discovered that the period of study required before being called to the Bar could be reduced from five years to three for holders of a degree from Oxford or Cambridge universities. He therefore on 13 January 1776 entered himself as a gentleman commoner on the books of Trinity College, Cambridge where, as the son of an earl, he was entitled to gain a degree without sitting any examinations. He did however win the English declamation prize for an oration on the “glorious revolution” of 1688. At the same time, he was a pupil in the chambers of first Francis Buller and then George Wood. These were years of poverty for Erskine and his growing family: he installed Frances and the children in cheap lodgings in Kentish Town and survived on a gift of £300 from a relative, and the sale of his army commission. Jeremy Bentham, who knew Erskine at this time, described him as “so shabbily dressed as to be quite remarkable”.

In the summer of 1778 Erskine was awarded a degree and was called to the Bar on 3 July. While many newly qualified barristers, especially those without contacts to put briefs their way, took years to establish themselves, Erskine’s success was immediate and brilliant. His first case, that of Thomas Baillie, came to him by chance. The case involved the Greenwich Hospital for Seamen, of which Captain Baillie was lieutenant-governor. Baillie had uncovered abuses in the management of the hospital and, having failed to interest the directors and governors of the hospital or the lords of the Admiralty, he published a pamphlet and was then sued by the agents of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich who was first lord of the Admiralty and had been placing his agents in positions of authority in the hospital. Hearing of a newly qualified barrister who had himself been a seaman and was sympathetic to his cause, Baillie appointed Erskine to his team although he already had four counsel. Erskine was the most junior, but it was his brilliant speech that won the case and exonerated Baillie. Despite a warning from the judge, Erskine attacked Lord Sandwich calling him “the dark mover behind the scene of iniquity”. After his success in the Baillie case, Erskine had no shortage of work and a few months later was retained by Admiral Augustus Keppel in his court martial at Portsmouth. Keppel was acquitted and gave Erskine £1,000 in gratitude. For the first time in his life Erskine was financially secure.

In 1781 Erskine had his first opportunity to address a jury when he defended Lord George Gordon who had been charged with high treason for instigating the anti-Catholic riots of 1780. Erskine’s defence not only achieved Gordon’s acquittal but also dealt a blow to the English legal doctrine of constructive treason. The case established Erskine as the country’s most successful barrister. By 1783, when he received a patent of precedence, he had earnt enough to pay off all his debts and accumulate £8–9,000. He could afford a country house, Evergreen Villa, in Hampstead as well as a house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

In 1783, when the Fox-North Coalition came into power, Erskine entered parliament as Whig member for Portsmouth. Erskine’s friend Charles James Fox had been eager to have such a brilliant lawyer join the ranks of Whig members, but Erskine’s speeches failed to make the impact in parliament that they did in court. Erskine lost his seat the following year in the general election, becoming one of “Fox’s martyrs” when Pitt’s party made large gains, although he would regain the seat in 1790.

The loss of his parliamentary seat enabled Erskine to concentrate on his legal practice. In 1786, when he was thirty-six years old and had been practising at the Bar for only eight years, he was able to write: “I continue highly successful in my profession, being now, I may say, as high as I can go at the Bar. The rest depends on politics, which at present are adverse.” Amongst his notable cases in 1780s was his successful defence of William Davies Shipley, dean of St Asaph (and son of Jonathan Shipley) who was tried in 1784 at Shrewsbury for seditious libel for publishing Principles of Government, in a Dialogue between a Gentleman and a Farmer, a tract by his brother-in-law Sir William Jones advancing radical views on the relationship between subjects and the state. Erskine’s defence anticipated the Libel Act 1792, which laid down the principle that it is for the jury (who previously had only decided the question of publication) and not the judge to decide whether or not a publication is a libel.

In 1789 he was counsel for John Stockdale, a bookseller, who was charged with seditious libel in publishing John Logan’s pamphlet in support of Warren Hastings, whose impeachment was then proceeding. Erskine’s speech, which resulted in the Stockdale’s acquittal, argued that a defendant should not be convicted if his composition, taken as a whole, did not go beyond a free and fair discussion, even if selected passages might be libellous. Henry Brougham considered this to be one of Erskine’s finest speeches: “It is justly regarded, by all English lawyers, as a consummate specimen of the art of addressing a jury”.

Three years later he would, against the advice of his friends, take on the defence of Thomas Paine who had been charged with seditious libel after the publication of the second part of his Rights of Man. Paine was tried in his absence; he was in France. Erskine argued for the right of a people to criticise, reform and change its government; he made the point that a free press produces security in the government. But in this case his arguments failed to convince the special jury, who returned a verdict of guilty without even retiring.

Erskine’s speech is also remembered for a passage on the duty of barristers to take on even unpopular cases:

“I will for ever, at all hazards, assert the dignity, independence, and integrity of the English Bar, without which impartial justice, the most valuable part of the English constitution, can have no existence. From the moment that any advocate can be permitted to say that he will or will not stand between the Crown and the subject arraigned in the court where he daily sits to practise, from that moment the liberties of England are at an end.”

Erskine’s decision to defend Paine cost him his position as attorney-general (legal advisor) to the Prince of Wales, to which he had been appointed in 1786.

In 1794 William Pitt’s government, fearful of a revolution, decided to take action against people who were campaigning for parliamentary reform. Habeas corpus was suspended and twelve members of radical societies were imprisoned and charged with a variety of offences amounting to high treason. Erskine and Vicary Gibbs were assigned as counsel to seven of them. They were not paid for their services, as it was considered unprofessional to take fees for defending people charged with high treason. The treason trials began on 28 October before Lord Chief Justice Eyre at the Old Bailey with the trial of Thomas Hardy, a shoemaker and secretary of the London Corresponding Society. After eight days of evidence and speeches, including Erskine’s seven-hour speech on the final day, and several hours deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Erskine was hailed as a hero by the crowds outside who unharnessed his horses (which he never saw again ) and pulled his carriage through the streets. Although it was usual in cases where several people were jointly charged with high treason to discharge the rest if the first was acquitted, the government persisted with the trials of John Horne Tooke and John Thelwall. They too, defended by Erskine and Vicary Gibbs, were acquitted and it was only then that the prosecution was halted. A disappointed government had to scrap a further 800 warrants of arrest.

Notable amongst the later cases of Erskine’s career was that of James Hadfield, a former soldier who had fired a shot at the king in Drury Lane Theatre. The shot missed and Hadfield was charged with treason. Erskine called a large number of witnesses who testified to Hadfield’s sometimes bizarre behaviour, a surgeon who testified to the nature of the head injuries that Hadfield had sustained in battle, and a doctor, Alexander Crichton, who gave evidence that Hadfield was insane. Erskine argued that, although Hadfield could appear rational, he was in the grip of a delusion and could not control his actions. He summed up: “I must convince you, not only that the unhappy prisoner was a lunatic, within my own definition of lunacy, but that the act in question was the immediate unqualified offspring of the disease”. The judge, Lord Kenyon, was convinced by Erskine’s evidence and argument and stopped the trial, acquitted Hadfield and ordered him to be detained. The trial led to two acts of parliament: the Criminal Lunatics Act 1800 which provided for the detention of people who were acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity, and the Treason Act 1800.

In 1806 Erskine was offered the Lord Chancellorship in the Ministry of All the Talents formed by Lord Grenville and Charles Fox on the death of William Pitt. Fox’s original plan had been to offer Erskine the chief judgeship of the Common Pleas or the King’s Bench when one of the holders was elevated to Lord Chancellor. But both Lord Ellenborough, chief justice of the King’s Bench and Sir James Mansfield, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, declined the chancellorship. Erskine was therefore appointed although he had no experience in Chancery. He was created a peer to become Lord Chancellor. The Prince of Wales, who had inherited the Duchy of Cornwall, chose Erskine’s title, Baron Erskine of Restormel Castle, while the motto, “trial by jury” was Erskine’s own. Frances Erskine did not live to enjoy the title of Lady Erskine; she died a few weeks before her husband took the seals of office.

Although Erskine lacked experience in equity, only one of the judgements he made during his brief tenure as Lord Chancellor was appealed against and that, concerning Peter Thellusson’s will, was upheld. His handling of the impeachment of Lord Melville was generally admired. Along with Lords Grenville, Spencer and Ellenborough, Erskine was commissioned by the king to enquire into the morals of his daughter-in-law Caroline of Brunswick in what became known as the “delicate investigation”.

Erskine was Lord Chancellor for only fourteen months, having to give up the seals of office when the ministry of all the talents resigned over a disagreement with the king concerning the question of Catholic Emancipation. The king gave Erskine a week to finish pending cases, and Erskine took advantage of this to appoint one of his sons-in-law, Edward Morris, as master of Chancery.

As ex-chancellor, Erskine was not permitted to return to the Bar. He was awarded a pension of £4000 a year and remained a member of the House of Lords. He was only 57 when the ministry of all the talents fell, and hoped that he might return to office when the Prince of Wales became regent. In the event, however, the regent retained the ministry of Spencer Perceval and the Whigs would not be in power again until 1830, seven years after Erskine’s death. Erskine largely retired from public life, rarely speaking in the House of Lords. In 1818 he married for the second time. His bride was a former apprentice bonnet-maker, Sarah Buck, with whom he had already had two children. The couple travelled to Gretna Green for the marriage, with an angry adult son in hot pursuit. It was a tempestuous relationship, and the marriage ended in separation a few years later. In spite of his generous pension and the enormous sums he had earnt at the Bar, Erskine experienced financial difficulties in his later years, having to sell his villa in Hampstead and move to a house in Pimlico. He also bought an estate in Sussex, but his agricultural efforts were not a great success. He wrote a political romance, Armata, which ran to several editions.

Causes which Erskine took up in his retirement were animal rights, Greek independence, and the defence of Queen Caroline. He had always been an animal lover; amongst his favourite animals were a Newfoundland dog called Toss who used to accompany him to chambers, a macaw, a goose and two leeches. He introduced a bill in the House of Lords for the prevention of cruelty to animals, arguing that humanity’s dominion over them was given by God as a moral trust. It was the first time he had proposed a change in the law. The bill was accepted in the Lords but opposed in the Commons; William Windham arguing that a law against cruelty to animals was incompatible with fox-hunting and horse racing. Eventually the bill was introduced in the Commons and passed as statute 3 Geo 4 c71. When Caroline was being prosecuted for divorce Erskine spoke against the Bill of Pains and Penalties and, when the government dropped the bill, expressed his approval: “My Lords, I am an old man, and my life, whether it has been for good or evil, has been passed under the sacred rule of Law. In this moment I feel my strength renovated by that rule being restored”. He was invited to a public dinner in Edinburgh in February 1820, and made his first trip to Scotland since he had left it on the Tartar over fifty years before.

In 1823 Erskine set out by sea on another visit to Scotland with one of his sons, hoping to see his brother the Earl of Buchan. But he became ill with a chest infection on the journey and was put ashore at Scarborough. He managed to travel to the home of his brother Henry’s widow in Almondell in West Lothian, where they were joined by the earl. He died at Almondell on 17 November 1823 and was buried in the family burial-place at Uphall in Linlithgowshire. His widow survived him by over thirty years. She, as reports in the Times revealed, was reduced to poverty and had to rely on a small charitable allowance to survive. Even these meagre payments were withheld by Erskine’s executors when she tried to prevent them sending her son Hampden away to school, and she had to appeal to the lord mayor of London. She died in 1856.

Erskine’s first marriage produced four sons and four daughters:

  • David Montagu Erskine (1776–1855) was a member of parliament and diplomat;
  • Henry David (1786–1859) was Dean of Ripon;
  • Thomas (1788–1864) became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas;
  • Esmé Steuart (1789–1817) fought at the Battle of Waterloo where he lost an arm (his widow Eliza married Admiral James Norton, who also lost an arm in action).
  • Frances (d. 1859) married Samuel Holland, Precentor of Chichester and Rector of Poynings, Sussex (a grandson of Frances and Samuel was Thomas Erskine Holland the jurist);
  • Elizabeth (d, 1800) married her cousin Captain (later Sir) David Erskine, the illegitimate son of the 11th Earl of Buchan;
  • Mary (d. 1804) married lawyer Edward Morris.

With his second wife Erskine had one legitimate son, Hampden (b. 1821) and two children, Agnes and Erskine, born before the marriage.

Erskine’s eldest brother the 11th Earl of Buchan had no legitimate sons and was succeeded by a nephew, the son of Erskine’s brother Henry. When all Henry’s descendants in the direct male line died out in 1960 the seventh Baron Erskine (Donald Cardross Flower Erskine, Erskine’s great-great-greatgrandson) became the sixteenth Earl of Buchan.

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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.

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.

Charles Manners-Sutton 1st Viscount Canterbury
9 January 1780 – 21 July 1845

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Charles Manners-Sutton

Charles Manners-Sutton 1st Viscount Canterbury was born at Screveton, Nottinghamshire, the son of the Most Reverend Charles Manners-Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury, fourth son of Lord George Manners-Sutton, third son of John Manners, 3rd Duke of Rutland. His mother was Mary, daughter of Thomas Thoroton, of Screveton, Nottinghamshire, while Thomas Manners-Sutton, 1st Baron Manners, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was his uncle. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was called to the Bar, Lincoln’s Inn, in 1805.

In 1806 Manners-Sutton was elected Tory Member of Parliament for Scarborough, a seat he would hold until 1832, and then sat for Cambridge University from 1832 to 1835. He served as Judge Advocate General under Spencer Perceval and Lord Liverpool from 1809 to 1817 and was admitted to the Privy Council in 1809.

In 1817 Manners-Sutton was elected Speaker of the House of Commons, a post he would hold for the next eighteen years. During the political crisis surrounding the Reform Act of 1832 he allowed his name to be put forward as a possible candidate for Prime Minister in an anti-Reform ministry. As a result, the victorious Whigs voted him out of the Speakership in 1835. In 1835 Manners-Sutton was appointed High Commissioner for Canada, but did not take up the post. He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1833 and in 1835 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Bottesford, of Bottesford in the County of Leicester, and Viscount Canterbury, of the City of Canterbury.

Lord Canterbury was twice married. He married as his first wife Lucy Maria Charlotte, daughter of John Denison, in 1811. After her early death at Ossington, Nottinghamshire, in December 1815, he married as his second wife Ellen, daughter of Edmund Power and widow of John Home Purves, in 1828. There were children from both marriages. Lord Canterbury died at Southwick Crescent, Paddington, London, in July 1845, aged 65, from apoplexy, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles. His second wife only survived him by a few months and died at Clifton, Gloucestershire, in November 1845.

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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 Cecil Cope Jenkinson 3rd Earl of Liverpool
29 May 1784 – 3 October 1851

 

Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson 3rd Earl of Liverpool was the son of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool by his second wife Catherine, daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th Baronet, and the younger half-brother of Prime Minister Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Christ Church, Oxford During the Napoleonic Wars he notably served as a volunteer in the Austrian Army at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

Liverpool was elected Member of Parliament for Sandwich in 1807, a seat he held until 1812, and then sat for Bridgnorth from 1812 to 1818 and for East Grinstead from 1818 to 1828. He held office under the Duke of Portland as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1807 to 1809 and under Spencer Perceval as Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies from 1809 to 1810, but did not serve in his brother’s 1812 to 1827 Tory administration. Liverpool succeeded in the earldom of Liverpool in 1828 on the death of his elder brother and took his seat in the House of Lords. In 1841 he was invested a member of the Privy Council and appointed Lord Steward of the Household in the government of Sir Robert Peel, a post he held until 1846.

On 19 July 1810, Lord Liverpool married Julia Evelyn Medley Shuckburgh-Evelyn, daughter of Sir George Shuckburgh-Evelyn, 6th Baronet and Julia Annabella Evelyn. The couple had had three daughters:

  • Lady Catherine Julia Jenkinson (23 July 1811 – 5 December 1877).
  • Lady Selina Charlotte Jenkinson (3 July 1812 – 24 September 1883); married, firstly, on 15 August 1833, William Wentworth-FitzWilliam, Viscount Milton, with whom she had one child: Hon. Mary Selina Charlotte FitzWilliam (9 January 1836 – 4 January 1899), who later married Henry Portman, 2nd Viscount Portman. Lady Selina married, secondly, on 28 August 1845, as his second wife, George Savile Foljambe (4 June 1800 – 18 December 1869), with whom she had four children:
    • Caroline Frederica Foljambe (died 20 October 1895).
    • Elizabeth Anne Foljambe (died 2 January 1930).
    • Frances Mary Foljambe (died 25 January 1921).
    • Cecil George Savile Foljambe (7 November 1846 – 23 March 1907); later the 1st Earl of Liverpool.
  • Lady Louisa Harriet Jenkinson (28 March 1814 – 5 February 1887).

Julia died in April 1814, shortly after the birth of her youngest child. Liverpool remained a widower until his death in October 1851, aged 67. On his death the Barony of Hawkesbury and Earldom of Liverpool became extinct. However, the baronetcy of Hawkesbury (created in 1661) also held by the late Earl, survived, and was passed on to a cousin (see Jenkinson Baronets). In 1905, the earldom was revived in favour of Liverpool’s grandson, the Liberal politician Cecil Foljambe, the son of Liverpool’s second daughter, Lady Selina Charlotte, and her husband George Savile Foljambe.

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Regency Personalities Series

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

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

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Elizabeth Rawdon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William Henry Lyttelton 3rd Baron Lyttelton
3 April 1782 – 30 April 1837

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William Henry Lyttelton

William Henry Lyttelton 3rd Baron Lyttelton was the son of William Henry Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton, by his second marriage to Caroline, daughter of John Bristow of Quiddenham, Norfolk. He was educated at Rugby School, then matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 24 October 1798 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) on 17 June 1802 and a Master of Arts (M.A.) on 13 December 1805. A student from December 1800 until 1812 a brilliant scholar of Greek, on 5 July 1810 he was created a Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) on the occasion of Lord Grenville’s installation as Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Lyttelton unsuccessfully contested Worcestershire in March 1806, but was returned in the following year, and represented the county until 1820 for the Whig party. His maiden speech was made on 27 February 1807 in favour of the rejection of the Westminster petition; and on 16 March he brought forward a motion (rejected by 46 votes) expressing regret at the substitution of the Duke of Portland’s administration for Lord Grenville’s. He attacked the new ministers, especially Spencer Perceval, for bigotry. He supported the naval expedition to Copenhagen in opposition to the bulk of his party, but voted with them on the motion of Samuel Whitbread for the production of papers relative to it.

Lyttelton felt the Whig jealousy of the influence of the court. In supporting John Christian Curwen’s bill for the prevention of the sale of seats, he suggested that the Duke of York and Albany, the late Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, had to some extent corrupted members of parliament; and in speaking on the budget resolutions of 1808 he declared his belief that the influence of the prerogative had increased. Again, on 4 May 1812, in a debate on the Royal Sinecure Offices Bill, he said that the Prince Regentwas surrounded by favourites. Nevertheless, Lyttelton in 1819 thought that the “revolutionary faction of the radicals” ought to be opposed. In the same session he thought an inquiry was needed into the Peterloo massacre.

Lyttelton advocated abolishing the system of having climbing boys sweep chimneys, and was a strong opponent of the property tax. He supported Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s motion of 6 February 1810 against the standing order for the exclusion of strangers from the house. In the same session, on 16 February, he opposed the voting of an annuity to the Duke of Wellington. He spoke strongly against the Alien Bill in 1816 and 1818.

On the death of his half-brother George Lyttelton, 2nd Baron Lyttelton, on 12 November 1828, Lyttelton succeeded to the title. He did not take much part in the debates of the House of Lords, but on 6 December 1831 he made an speech in favour of the Reform Bill in the debate on the address. He was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire on 29 May 1833.

Lyttelton died at the house of John Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer, his brother-in-law, in Green Park, London, on 30 April 1837, aged 55.

Sydney Smith’s Letters of Peter Plymley were for a time ascribed to Lyttelton before their authorship was known. In August 1815, through his friendship with the captain, he obtained a passage on board the HMS Northumberland (1798) from Portsmouth to Plymouth to witness Napoleon’s departure into exile, and privately printed 52 copies of An Account of Napoleon Buonaparte’s Coming on Board H.M.S. Northumberland, 7 Aug. 1815; with Notes of Two Conversations Held with Him. He also printed a Catalogue of Pictures at Hagley (date of publication unknown), and published Private Devotions for School Boys.

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Lady Sarah Spencer

Lyttelton married Lady Sarah Spencer, daughter of George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, on 4 March 1813; she was for a time governess to the children of Queen Victoria and a Lady of the Bedchamber, and died 13 April 1870. They had three sons:

  • George William, who succeeded to the title;
  • Spencer (1818–1882), who became marshal of the ceremonies to the royal household; and
  • William Henry Lyttelton, canon of Gloucester;

They also had two daughters, Caroline (1816–1902), who died unmarried; and Lavinia (1821–1850), wife of Henry Glynne, rector of Hawarden.

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

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

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Francis Rawdon-Hastings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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