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Posts Tagged ‘William Lamb 2nd Viscount Melbourne’

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.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
28 April 1801 – 1 October 1885

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Anthony Ashley-Cooper

Anthony Ashley-Cooper 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Ashley, as he was styled until his father’s death in 1851, was educated at Manor House school in Chiswick (1812–1813), Harrow School (1813–1816) and Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained first class honours in classics in 1822, took his MA in 1832 and was appointed DCL in 1841.

Ashley’s early family life was loveless, a circumstance common among the British upper classes, and resembled in that respect the fictional childhood of Esther Summerson vividly narrated in the early chapters of Charles Dickens’s novel Bleak House. G.F.A Best in his biography Shaftesbury writes that: “Ashley grew up without any experience of parental love. He saw little of his parents, and when duty or necessity compelled them to take notice of him they were formal and frightening.”

This difficult childhood was softened by the affection he received from his housekeeper Maria Millis, and his sisters. Millis provided for Ashley a model of Christian love that would form the basis for much of his later social activism and philanthropic work, as Best explains: “What did touch him was the reality, and the homely practicality, of the love which her Christianity made her feel towards the unhappy child. She told him bible stories, she taught him a prayer.” Despite this powerful reprieve, school became another source of misery for the young Ashley, whose education at Manor House from 1808 to 1813 introduced a “more disgusting range of horrors”. Shaftesbury himself shuddered to recall those years, “The place was bad, wicked, filthy; and the treatment was starvation and cruelty.”

Ashley was elected as the Tory Member of Parliament for Woodstock (a pocket borough controlled by the Duke of Marlborough) in June 1826 and was a strong supporter of the Duke of Wellington. After George Canning replaced Lord Liverpool as Prime Minister, he offered Ashley a place in the new government, despite Ashley having been in the Commons for only five months. Ashley politely declined, writing in his diary that he believed that serving under Canning would be a betrayal of his allegiance to the Duke of Wellington and that he was not qualified for office. Before he had completed one year in the Commons, he had been appointed to three parliamentary committees and he received his fourth such appointment in June 1827, when he was appointed to the Select Committee On Pauper Lunatics in the County of Middlesex and on Lunatic Asylums.

In Lord Shaftesbury’s lifetime 1827, when Ashley was appointed to the Select Committee On Pauper Lunatics in the County of Middlesex and on Lunatic Asylums, the majority of lunatics in London were kept in madhouses owned by Dr Warburton. The Committee examined many witnesses concerning one of his madhouses in Bethnal Green, called the White House. Ashley visited this on the Committee’s behalf. The patients were chained up, slept naked on straw, and went to toilet in their beds. They were left chained from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning when they were cleared of the accumulated excrement. They were then washed down in freezing cold water and one towel was allotted to 160 people, with no soap. It was overcrowded and the meat provided was “that nasty thick hard muscle a dog could not eat”. The White House had been described as “a mere place for dying” rather than curing the insane and when the Committee asked Dr MacMichael whether he believed that “in the lunatic asylums in the neighbourhood of London any curative process is going on with regard to pauper patients”, he replied: “None at all”.

The Committee recommended that “legislative measures of a remedial character should be introduced at the earliest period at the next session”, and the establishment of a Board of Commissioners appointed by the Home Secretary possessing extensive powers of licensing, inspection and control. When in February 1828 Robert Gordon, Liberal MP for Cricklade, introduced a bill to put these recommendations into law, Ashley seconded this and delivered his maiden speech in support of the Bill. He wrote in his diary: “So, by God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advance of human happiness. May I improve hourly! Fright almost deprived me of recollection but again thank Heaven, I did not sit down quite a presumptuous idiot”. Ashley was also involved in framing the County Lunatic Asylums (England) Act 1828 and the Madhouses Act 1828. Through these Acts fifteen commissioners were appointed for the London area and given extensive powers of licensing and inspection, one of the commissioners being Ashley.

In July 1845 Ashley sponsored two Lunacy Acts, ‘For the Regulation of lunatic Asylums’ and ‘For the better Care and Treatment of Lunatics in England and Wales’. They originated in the Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy which he had commended to Parliament the year before. These Acts consolidated and amended previous lunacy laws, providing better record keeping and more strict certification regulations to ensure patients against unwarranted detention. They also ordered, instead of merely permitting, the construction of country lunatic asylums with and establishing an ongoing Lunacy Commission with Ashley as its chairman. In support of these measures, Ashley gave a speech in which he claimed that although since 1828 there had been an improvement, more still needed to be done. He cited the case of a Welsh lunatic girl, Mary Jones, who had for more than a decade been locked in a tiny loft with one boarded-up window with little air and no light. The room was extremely filthy and was filled with an intolerable smell. She could only squat in a bent position in the room and this had caused her to become deformed.

In early 1858 a Select Committee was appointed over concerns that sane persons were detained in lunatic asylums. Lord Shaftesbury (as Ashley had become upon his father’s death in 1851) was the chief witness and opposed the suggestion that the certification of insanity be made more difficult and that early treatment of insanity was essential if there was to be any prospect of a cure. He claimed that only one or two people in his time dealing with lunacy had been detained in an asylum without sufficient grounds and that commissioners should be granted more not fewer powers. The Committee’s Report endorsed all of Shaftesbury’s recommendations except for one: that a magistrate’s signature on a certificate of lunacy be made compulsory. This was not put into law chiefly due to Shaftesbury’s opposition to it. The Report also agreed with Shaftesbury that unwarranted detentions were “extremely rare”.

In July 1877 Shaftesbury gave evidence before the Select Committee on the Lunacy Laws, which had been appointed in February over concerns that it was too easy for sane persons to be detained in asylums. Shaftesbury feared that because of his advanced age he would be taken over by forgetfulness whilst given evidence and was greatly stressed in the months leading up to his giving evidence: “Shall fifty years of toil, anxiety and prayer, crowned by marvellous and unlooked-for success, bring me in the end only sorrow and disgrace?” When “the hour of trial” arrived Shaftesbury defended the Lunacy Commission and claimed he was now the only person alive who could speak with personal knowledge of the state of care of lunatics before the Lunacy Commission was established in 1828. It had been “a state of things such as would pass all belief”. In the Committee’s Report, the members of the Committee agreed with Shaftesbury’s evidence on all points.

In 1884 the husband of Mrs Georgina Weldon tried to have her detained in a lunatic asylum because she believed that her pug dog had a soul and that the spirit of her dead mother had entered into her pet rabbit. She commenced legal action against Shaftesbury and other lunacy commissioners although they failed. In May Shaftesbury spoke in the Lords against a motion declaring the lunacy laws unsatisfactory but the motion passed Parliament. The Lord Chancellor Selborne supported a Lunacy Law Amendment Bill and Shaftesbury wanted to resign from the Lunacy Commission as he believed he was honour bound not to oppose a Bill supported by the Lord Chancellor. However Selborne implored him not to resign so Shaftesbury refrained. However, when the Bill was introduced and it contained the provision which made it compulsory for a certificate of lunacy to be signed by a magistrate or a judge, he resigned. The government fell, however, and the Bill was withdrawn and Shaftesbury resumed his chairmanship of the Lunacy Commission.

Shaftesbury’s work in improving the care of the insane remains one of his most important, though less well known, of his achievements. He wrote: “Beyond the circle of my own Commissioners and the lunatics that I visit, not a soul, in great or small life, not even my associates in my works of philanthropy, has any notion of the years of toil and care that, under God, I have bestowed on this melancholy and awful question”.

In March 1833 Ashley introduced the Ten Hours Act 1833 into the Commons, which provided that children working in the cotton and woollen industries must be aged nine or above; no person under the age of eighteen was to work more than ten hours a day or eight hours on a Saturday; and no one under twenty-five was to work nights. However the Whig government, by a majority of 145, amended this to substitute “thirteen” in place of “eighteen” and the Act as it passed ensured that no child under thirteen worked more than nine hours, insisted they should go to school, and appointed inspectors to enforce the law.

In June 1836 another Ten Hours act was introduced into the Commons and although Ashley considered this Bill ill-timed, he supported it. In July one member of the Lancashire committees set up to support the Bill wrote that: “If there was one man in England more devoted to the interests of the factory people than another, it was Lord Ashley. They might always rely on him as a ready, steadfast and willing friend”. In July 1837 he accused the government of ignoring the breaches of the 1833 Act and moved the resolution that the House regretted the regulation of the working hours of children had. been found to be unsatisfactory. It was lost by fifteen votes.

The text of A Narrative of the Experience and Sufferings of William Dodd a Factory Cripple was sent to Lord Astley and with his support was published in 1840. Astley employed William Dodd at 45 shillings a week and he wrote “The Factory System: Illustrated” to describe the conditions of working children in textile manufacture. This was published in 1842. These books were attacked by John Bright in parliament who said that he had evidence that the books described Dodd’s mistreatment but were in fact driven by Dodd’s ingratitude as a disgruntled employee. Ashley sacked Dodd who emigrated to America.

In 1842 Ashley wrote twice to the Prime Minister, Robert Peel, to urge the government to support a new Factory Act. Peel wrote in reply that he would not support one and Ashley wrote to the Short Time Committees of Chesire, Lancashire and Yorkshire who desired a Ten Hours Act:
Though painfully disappointed, I am not disheartened, nor am I at a loss either what course to take, or what advice to give. I shall persevere unto my last hour, and so must you; we must exhaust every legitimate means that the Constitution afford, in petitions to Parliament, in public meetings, and in friendly conferences with your employers; but you must infringe no law, and offend no proprieties; we must all work together as sensible men, who will one day give an account of their motives and actions; if this course is approved, no consideration shall detach me from your cause; if not, you must elect another advocate. I know that, in resolving on this step, I exclude myself altogether from the tenure of office; I rejoice in the sacrifice, happy to devote the remainder of my days, be they many or be they few, as God in His wisdom shall determine, to an effort, however laborious, to ameliorate your moral and social condition.

In March 1844 Ashley moved an amendment to a Factory Bill limiting the working hours of adolescents to ten hours after Sir James Graham had introduced a Bill aiming to limit their working hours to twelve hours. Ashley’s amendment was passed by eight votes, the first time the Commons had approved of the Ten Hour principle. However, in a later vote his amendment was defeated by seven votes and the Bill was withdrawn. Later that month Graham introduced another Bill which again would limit the employment of adolescents to twelve hours. Ashley supported this Bill except that he wanted ten hours not twelve as the limit. In May he moved an amendment to limit the hours worked to ten hours but this was lost by 138 votes.

In 1846, whilst he was out of Parliament, Ashley strongly supported John Fielden’s Ten Hours Bill, which was lost by ten votes. In January 1847 Fielden reintroduced his Bill and it finally passed through Parliament to become the Ten Hours Act.

Ashley introduced the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 in Parliament to outlaw the employment of women and children underground in coal mines. He made a speech in support of the Act and the Prince Consort wrote to him afterwards, sending him the “best wishes for your total success”. At the end of his speech, his opponent on the Ten Hours issue, Cobden, walked over to Ashley and said: “You know how opposed I have been to your views; but I don’t think I have ever been put into such a frame of mind in the whole course of my life as I have been by your speech”.

Ashley was a strong supporter of prohibiting the employment of boys as chimney sweeps. Many climbing boys were illegitimate who had been sold by their parents. They suffered from scorched and lacerated skin, their eyes and throats filled with soot, with the danger of suffocation and their occupational disease—cancer of the scrotum. In 1840 a Bill was introduced into the Commons outlawing the employment of boys as chimney sweeps, and strongly supported by Ashley. Despite being enforced in London, elsewhere the Act did not stop the employment of child chimney sweeps and this led to the foundation of the Climbing-Boys’ Society with Ashley as its chairman. In 1851, 1853 and 1855 Shaftesbury introduced Bills into Parliament to deal with the ongoing use of boy chimney sweeps but these were all defeated. He succeeded in passing the Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act 1864 but like its predecessors it remained ineffectual. Shaftesbury finally persuaded Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweepers Act 1875 which ensured the annual licensing of chimney sweeps and the enforcement of the law by the police. This finally eradicated the employment of boys as chimney sweeps.

After Shaftesbury discovered that a boy chimney sweep was living behind his house in Brock Street, London, he rescued the child and sent him to “the Union School at Norwood Hill, where, under God’s blessing and special merciful grace, he will be trained in the knowledge and love and faith of our common Saviour”.

In 1844 Ashley became president of the Ragged School Union that promoted ragged schools. These schools were for poor children and sprang up from volunteers. Ashley wrote that “If the Ragged School system were to fail I should not die in the course of nature, I should die of a broken heart”.

Shaftesbury was a leading figure within 19th-century evangelical Anglicanism. Shaftesbury was President of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) from 1851 until his death in 1885. He wrote, of the Bible Society, “Of all Societies this is nearest to my heart… Bible Society has always been a watchword in our house.” He was also president of the Evangelical Alliance for some time.

Shaftesbury was also a student of Edward Bickersteth and together they became prominent advocates of Christian Zionism in Britain. Shaftesbury was an early proponent of the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land, providing the first proposal by a major politician to resettle Jews in Palestine. The conquest of Greater Syria in 1831 by Muhammad Ali of Egypt changed the conditions under which European power politics operated in the Near East. As a consequence of that shift, Shaftesbury was able to help persuade Foreign Minister Palmerston to send a British consul to Jerusalem in 1838. A committed Christian and a loyal Englishman, Shaftesbury argued for a Jewish return because of what he saw as the political and economic advantages to England and because he believed that it was God’s will. In January 1839, Shaftesbury published an article in the Quarterly Review, which although initially commenting on the 1838 Letters on Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land (1838) by Lord Lindsay, provided the first proposal by a major politician to resettle Jews in Palestine:

The soil and climate of Palestine are singularly adapted to the growth of produce required for the exigencies of Great Britain; the finest cotton may be obtained in almost unlimited abundance; silk and madder are the staple of the country, and olive oil is now, as it ever was, the very fatness of the land. Capital and skill are alone required: the presence of a British officer, and the increased security of property which his presence will confer, may invite them from these islands to the cultivation of Palestine; and the Jews’, who will betake themselves to agriculture in no other land, having found, in the English consul, a mediator between their people and the Pacha, will probably return in yet greater numbers, and become once more the husbandmen of Judaea and Galilee.

The lead-up to the Crimean War (1854), like the military expansionism of Muhammad Ali two decades earlier, signalled an opening for realignments in the Near East. In July 1853, Shaftesbury wrote to Prime Minister Aberdeen that Greater Syria was “a country without a nation” in need of “a nation without a country… Is there such a thing? To be sure there is, the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!” In his diary that year he wrote “these vast and fertile regions will soon be without a ruler, without a known and acknowledged power to claim dominion. The territory must be assigned to some one or other… There is a country without a nation; and God now in his wisdom and mercy, directs us to a nation without a country.” This is commonly cited as an early use of the phrase, “A land without a people for a people without a land” by which Shaftesbury was echoing another British proponent of the restoration of the Jews to Israel, (Dr Alexander Keith.)

Shaftesbury served as the first president of the Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade – a lobbying group opposed to the Anglo-Asian opium trade. The Society was formed by Quaker businessmen in 1874, and Shaftesbury was president from 1880 until his death. The Society’s efforts eventually led to the creation of the investigative Royal Commission on Opium.

The Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus, London, erected in 1893, was designed to commemorate his philanthropic works. The Memorial is crowned by Alfred Gilbert’s aluminium statue of Anteros as a nude, butterfly-winged archer. This is officially titled The Angel of Christian Charity, but has become popularly, if mistakenly, known as Eros. It appears on the masthead of the Evening Standard.

Lord Shaftesbury is honoured together with William Wilberforce on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on 30 July. Lord Shaftesbury was a member of the Canterbury Association, as were two of Wilberforce’s sons, Samuel and Robert. Lord Ashley joined on 27 March 1848.

Lord Shaftesbury, then Lord Ashley, married Lady Emily Caroline Catherine Frances Cowper (died 15 October 1872), daughter of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper and Emily Lamb, Countess Cowper; Emily is likely in fact to have been the natural daughter of Lord Palmerston (later her official stepfather), on 10 June 1830. This marriage, which proved a happy and fruitful one, produced ten children, as cited in “The Seventh Earl” by Grace Irwin. It also provided invaluable political connections for Ashley; his wife’s maternal uncle was Lord Melbourne and her stepfather (and supposed biological father) Lord Palmerston, both Prime Ministers.

The children, who mostly suffered various degrees of ill-health, were:

  1. Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury (27 June 1831 – 13 April 1886), ancestor of all subsequent earls. He proved to be a disappointing heir apparent, constantly running up debts with his extravagant wife Harriet, born Lady Harriet Chichester.
  2. Hon. (Anthony) Francis Henry Ashley-Cooper, second son (b. 13 March 1833 – 13 May 1849
  3. Hon. (Anthony) Maurice William Ashley-Cooper, third son (22 July 1835 – 19 August 1855), died aged 20, after several years of illness.
  4. Rt. Hon. Evelyn Melbourne Ashley (24 July 1836 – 15 November 1907), married 1stly 28 July 1866 Sybella Charlotte Farquhar (ca. 1846 – 31 August 1886), daughter of Sir Walter Rockcliffe Farquhar, 3rd Bt. by his wife Lady Mary Octavia Somerset, a daughter of the Duke of Beaufort and had one son Wilfred William Ashley, and one daughter. His granddaughter was Hon. Edwina Ashley, later Lady Mountbatten (1901–1960), whose two daughters Patricia, Countess Mountbatten of Burma (b. 1924) and Lady Pamela Hicks (b. 1929) are still living as of 2013. Evelyn Ashley left several other descendants via his daughter and Edwina’s younger sister. Evelyn Ashley married 2ndly 30 June 1891 Lady Alice Elizabeth Cole (4 February 1853 – 25 August 1931), daughter of William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen by his 1st wife Jane Casamajor, no issue. The Rt Hon Evelyn Melbourne Ashley died 15 November 1907.
  5. Lady Victoria Elizabeth Ashley, later Lady Templemore (23 September 1837 – 15 February 1927), married 8 January 1873 (aged 35) St George’s, Hanover Square, London Harry Chichester, 2nd Baron Templemore (4 June 1821 – 10 June 1906), son of Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Templemore and Lady Augusta Paget, and had issue.
  6. Hon (Anthony) Lionel George Ashley-Cooper (b. 7 September 1838 – 1914). He md 12 December 1868 Frances Elizabeth Leigh “Fanny (d. 12 August 1875), daughter of Capel Hanbury Leigh; apparently had no issue.
  7. Lady Mary Charlotte Ashley-Cooper, second daughter (25 July 1842 – 3 September 1861.
  8. Lady Constance Emily Ashley-Cooper, third daughter, or “Conty” (29 November 1845 – 16 December 1872 or 1871 of lung disease)
  9. Lady Edith Florence Ashley-Cooper, fourth daughter (1 February 1847 – 25 November 1913)
  10. Hon. (Anthony) Cecil Ashley-Cooper, sixth son and tenth and youngest child (8 August 1849 – 23 September 1932); apparently died unmarried.

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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.

Frederick Ponsonby 3rd Earl of Bessborough
24 January 1758 – 3 February 1844

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Frederick Ponsonby

Frederick Ponsonby 3rd Earl of Bessborough was the eldest son of Viscount Duncannon (who succeeded as The 2nd Earl of Bessborough in July 1758) and Lady Caroline Cavendish, daughter of The 3rd Duke of Devonshire. He succeeded to his father’s titles in 1793. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and obtained the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Civil Law.

He sat in the House of Commons as member for Knaresborough from 1780 until his succession to the peerage and was a Lord of the Admiralty in 1782–83

Bessborough usually made a favourable first impression: quiet, but with “the most mild and amiable manner”. On the other hand, he was a notoriously bad husband, alternating between neglecting Henrietta and insulting her in public. While there were faults on both sides- she was addicted to gambling and had numerous affairs- society in general judged him to be the greater offender.

On 27 November 1780, he had married Lady Henrietta Spencer, second daughter of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer. The marriage was notoriously unhappy and Bessborough began divorce proceedings in 1790 but under intense pressure from his relatives dropped them. They had four children:

  • John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough(1781–1847).
  • Major General Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby (1783–1837).
  • Lady Caroline Lamb(1785–1828). Her husband was the 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the Prime Minister, however, she was never the Viscountess Melbourne because she died before he succeeded to the peerage; hence, she is known to history as Lady Caroline Lamb.
  • William Francis Spencer, 1st Baron de Mauley (1787–1855).

Lady Bessborough died in 1821 of a chill caught while travelling abroad. Her husband outlived her by more than 20 years, dying at Canford House, Dorset in 1844.

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Regency Personalities Series

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

George Howard 7th Earl of Carlisle
18 April 1802 – 5 December 1864

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George Howard

George Howard 7th Earl of Carlisle was born in Westminster, London, the eldest son of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle by his wife Lady Georgiana Cavendish, eldest daughter of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire. Lord Lanerton and Charles Howard were his younger brothers. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned a reputation as a scholar and writer of graceful verse, obtaining in 1821 both the chancellor’s and the Newdigate prizes for a Latin poem, Paestum, and an English one. He maintained his interest in poetry throughout his life, exchanging sonnets with William Wordsworth. In 1826 he accompanied his maternal grandfather, the Duke of Devonshire, to the Russian Empire, to attend the coronation of Tsar Nicholas I, and became a great favourite in society at St Petersburg.

At the general election in 1826 Carlisle was returned to parliament as member for the family borough of Morpeth (in Northumberland), a seat he held until 1830, and then represented Yorkshire until 1832 and the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1832 to 1841 and from 1846 to 1848. The latter year he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords.

Carlisle served under Lord Melbourne as Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1835 and 1841, under Lord John Russell as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests from 1846 to 1850 and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 1850 to 1852 and under Lord Palmerston as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1855 to 1858 and again from 1859 to 1864. In 1835 he was appointed to the Privy Councils of the United Kingdom and Ireland. On 2 April 1853, he was given the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh, and in 1855, he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Lord Carlisle died unmarried at Castle Howard in December 1864, aged 62, and was buried in the family mausoleum. He was succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother, Reverend William George Howard.

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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.

Alan Legge Gardner 3rd Baron Gardner
29 January 1810 – 2 November 1883

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Alan Legge Gardner

Alan Legge Gardner 3rd Baron Gardner r was the son of Admiral Alan Gardner, 2nd Baron Gardner. A viscountcy was to be conferred on his father in 1815, but he died before the patent had passed the Great Seal and the title was never given to his son. He did, however, manage to get his father’s barony passed down to him instead of his father’s other son, Mr Fenton Gardner, by establishing that Fenton was illegitimate.

In his youth, Gardner was a member of the literary salon established by the Countess of Blessington and the Count D’Orsay. He was also a celebrated sportsman. He sat on the Whig benches in the House of Lords and served in the Whig administration of Lord Melbourne as a Lord-in-Waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) from 1837 to 1841.

Lord Gardner married firstly Frances Margaret Hughes (12 October 1814 – 3 December 1847) in 1835. The marriage was childless. After her death he married secondly the actress Julia Sarah Hayfield Fortescue (1817 – 3 November 1899 Brighton), daughter of Edward E. T. Fortescue, in December 1848 at St George’s, Hanover Square, London. They had several children born before and after their marriage; as his former mistress, she was unacceptable in Victorian high society.

His son Herbert Gardner, born two years before his parents’ wedding, became a Liberal politician and was created Baron Burghclere in 1895. One of Lord Gardner’s legitimate daughters, the Hon. Florence (7 Feb 1853 -3 Aug 1934), was the wife of William Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow, sometime Governor-General of New Zealand; a granddaughter Lady Dorothy Onslow married Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax and became Vicereine of India. Gardner died in November 1883, aged 73, when his titles became dormant. Lady Gardner died in 1899.

  • a son (b 1842), possibly Col. Alan Coulston Gardner (d 1907); he married and had issue 2 sons, but was illegitimate so could not inherit the 1798 barony.
  • a son (b 1843)
  • Herbert Gardner (1846-1921), who married Lady Winifred Byng, née Herbert, daughter of the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, and had issue 4 daughters. One daughter Evelyn was the first wife of Evelyn Waugh and was thus known as “She-Evelyn”. Another daughter married Geoffrey Hope-Morley, 2nd Baron Hollenden.
  • Hon. Florence Coulston Gardner (7 Feb 1853 -3 Aug 1934), married William Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow, sometime Governor-General of New Zealand, and had issue.
  • Hon. Evelyn Coulston Gardner (1856–1902), married 1881 William Fuller Maitland and had issue

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Regency Personalities Series

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

Robert Grosvenor 1st Baron Ebury
24 April 1801 – 18 November 1893

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Robert Grosvenor

Robert Grosvenor 1st Baron Ebury was the third son of Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster and his wife Eleanora, daughter of Thomas Egerton, 1st Earl of Wilton. He was the younger brother of Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster and Thomas Grosvenor Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton, who had succeeded their maternal grandfather in the earldom of Wilton 1814, while Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster and Richard Grosvenor, 1st Baron Stalbridge were his nephews. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1821 Grosvenor was returned to Parliament for Shaftesbury, a seat he held until 1826, and then sat for Chester until 1847. When the Whigs came to power in November 1830 under Lord Grey, Grosvenor was appointed Comptroller of the Household and admitted to the Privy Council. He retained this office also when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July 1834. The Whig government fell in November the same year. Grosvenor did not serve in Melbourne’s second administration which lasted from 1835 to 1841. However, when the Whigs returned to office in 1846 under Lord John Russell he was made Treasurer of the Household, which he remained until his resignation in July 1847. The latter year Grosvenor was returned to Parliament for Middlesex, a seat he held until 1857. However, he never returned to office. In September 1857 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Ebury, of Ebury Manor in the County of Middlesex.

Apart from his political career Lord Ebury was an active campaigner for Protestantism in the Church of England, and was the founder and President of the society for the “revision of the prayer-book”. He was also involved in the movement led by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury for the improvement of factory working hours. In later life he came to oppose William Ewart Gladstone on the issue of Irish Home Rule. In September 1893, at the age of 92, Lord Ebury voted against the Second Home Rule Bill, by far the oldest peer to vote in the matter.

Lord Ebury was also a fervent supporter of Homeopathy, the medical doctrine introduced by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. He was a patron of both Dr Curie’s short-lived Homoeopathic Hospital in Bloomsbury Square and Dr Quin’s London Homoeopathic Hospital. Lord Ebury served as Chairman and President of the London Homoeopathic Hospital from its foundation in 1849 and during that time even defended the practice and the institution against its opponents in Parliament.

In 1860 Lord Ebury led a business venture with the Great Western Railway to build a 13-kilometre (8.1 mi) railway from Watford, near his mansion at Moor Park, to Uxbridge in Buckinghamshire. The scheme failed and the line, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway, only reached as far as Rickmansworth, 7.2 kilometres (4.5 mi) south of Watford. The railway never operated at a profit and eventually closed in 1952, but has since been converted into a cycle path which bears his name, the Ebury Way.

Lord Ebury married the Honourable Charlotte Arbuthnot Wellesley, eldest daughter of Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, in 1831. They had five sons and two daughters. One of the sons, the Honourable Norman Grosvenor, represented Chester in Parliament. Lord Ebury died in November 1893, aged 92, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Robert.

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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.

Fox Maule-Ramsay 11th Earl of Dalhousie
22 April 1801 – 6 July 1874

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Fox Maule-Ramsay

Fox Maule-Ramsay 11th Earl of Dalhousie was the eldest son of William Maule, 1st Baron Panmure, and a grandson of George Ramsay, 8th Earl of Dalhousie. Christened Fox as a compliment to Charles James Fox, the great Whig, he served for a term in the Army.

In 1835 he entered the House of Commons as member for Perthshire. In the ministry of Lord Melbourne (1835–1841), Maule was Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, and under Lord John Russell, he was Secretary at War from July 1846 to January 1852, when for two or three weeks he was President of the Board of Control.

In April 1852, he succeeded his father as 2nd Baron Panmure. In early 1855, he joined Lord Palmerston’s cabinet, filling the new office of Secretary of State for War. Lord Panmure held this office until February 1858. He was at the War Office during the concluding period of the Crimean War, and met a good deal of criticism. He was Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 1853 until his death.

Always interested in church matters, Dalhousie was a prominent supporter of the Free Church of Scotland after it split from the Church of Scotland in the disruption of 1843. In December 1860, he succeeded his kinsman, the 1st Marquess of Dalhousie, as 11th Earl of Dalhousie. He shortly afterwards changed his surname to “Maule-Ramsay” (his father had changed his surname to “Maule” from the family’s patronymic “Ramsay” before being created Baron Panmure).

Lord Dalhousie married the Hon. Montague, daughter of George Abercromby, 2nd Baron Abercromby, in 1831. They had no children. She died in November 1853, aged 46. Lord Dalhousie died July 1874, aged 73. On his death, the barony of Panmure became extinct, but the earldom of Dalhousie (and its subsidiary titles) passed to his cousin, George Ramsay.

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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 William Ponsonby 4th Earl of Bessborough
531 August 1781 – 16 May 1847

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John William Ponsonby

John Ponsonby 4th Earl of Bessborough was the eldest son of Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough, and Lady Henrietta Frances, daughter of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer. Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby and William Ponsonby, 1st Baron de Mauley, were his younger brothers, while Lady Caroline Lamb was his younger sister. Ponsonby’s mother was Lord Granville’s lover prior to his marriage to Lady Harriet Cavendish, the Countess of Bessborough’s niece. Lord Granville fathered two illegitimate children through her: Harriette Stewart and George Stewart. Lord Bessborough was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford.

He was First Commissioner of Woods and Forests under Lord Grey (1831–1834) and served under Lord Melbourne in that office (1835-1841), briefly as Home Secretary (1834), and as Lord Privy Seal (1835–1839). Later, he served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under Lord John Russell from 1846 until his death on 16 May 1847. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1831 and in 1834, ten years before he succeeded his father, he was created Baron Duncannon, of Bessborough in the County of Kilkenny. He was Lord Lieutenant of Kilkenny from November 1838 until his death.

His political career was hampered by a noted stammer, which made him a very reluctant public speaker: as Lord Duncannon he was unkindly nicknamed “Dumbcannon”. In private on the other hand he was a valued colleague, due largely to his ability to keep his head in a crisis. He was one of the so-called Committee of Four who drafted the Reform Act 1832.

John Ponsonby married Lady Maria Fane, daughter of John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland, and Sarah Anne Child, on 16 November 1805 at Berkeley Square, London. They had eight sons and three daughters. The youngest daughter, Emily Charlotte Mary, remained unmarried but she wrote a number of novels which were published without attribution. The Countess of Bessborough died in March 1834, aged 46. Lord Bessborough survived her by thirteen years and died in May 1847, aged 65. He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son, John, and subsequently by his younger sons Frederick and Walter. Bessborough Gardens in London is named after Lord Bessborough.

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