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Posts Tagged ‘William Petty Marquess of Lansdowne’

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.

John Jeffreys Pratt 1st Marquess Camden
11 February 1759 – 8 October 1840

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John Jeffreys Pratt

John Jeffreys Pratt 1st Marquess Camden was born at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, the only son of Lord Chancellor Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, and Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Jeffreys, of The Priory, Brecknockshire. He was baptised on the day Halley’s Comet appeared. He was educated at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College).

In 1780 Camden was elected Member of Parliament for Bath and obtained the position of Teller of the Exchequer the same year, a lucrative office which he kept until his death, although after 1812 he refused to receive the large income arising from it. He served under the Earl of Shelburne as Lord of the Admiralty between 1782 and 1783 and in the same post under William Pitt the Younger between 1783 and 1789, as well as a Lord of the Treasury between 1789 and 1792.

In 1793 he was sworn of the Privy Council. In 1794 he succeeded his father in the earldom, and the following year he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by Pitt.

Disliked in Ireland as an opponent of Roman Catholic emancipation and as the exponent of an unpopular policy, Camden’s term of office was one of turbulence, culminating in the rebellion of 1798; his refusal to reprieve the United Irishman William Orr, convicted of treason on the word of one witness of dubious credit, aroused great public indignation.

Immediately after the suppression of the rising Camden resigned. In 1804 he became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies under Pitt, and in 1805 Lord President of the Council, an office he retained until 1806. He was again Lord President from 1807 to 1812, after which date he remained for some time in the cabinet without office. In 1812 he was created Earl of Brecknock and Marquess Camden.

Camden was also Lord Lieutenant of Kent between 1808 and 1840 and Chancellor of Cambridge University between 1834 and 1840. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1799 and elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1802.

Lord Camden married Frances, daughter of William Molesworth, in 1785. She died at Bayham Abbey, Sussex, in July 1829. Lord Camden survived her by eleven years and died at Seale, Surrey, on 8 October 1840, aged 81. He was succeeded by his only son, George.

The family owned and lived in a house located at 22 Arlington Street in St. James’s, a district of the City of Westminster in central London, which is adjoining the Ritz Hotel. In the year of his death, he sold the house to Major Henry Somerset, 7th Duke of Beaufort.

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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.

Boodles
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Boodles Gentlemen’s Club

Founded in 1762 by the Earl of Shelburne, William Petty-FitzMaurice who later became the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne and the Prime Minister of England during the last days of the Revolutionary War.

The club came to be known after the name of its head waiter, Edward Boodle.

Boodle’s is regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in London, and counts many British aristocrats and notable politicians among its members. It is the second oldest club in the world, with only White’s being older. Boodle’s Orange Fool is a traditional club dish.

Early members were opponents of William Pitt the Elder’s foreign policies relating to the Seven Years’ War, and political allies of Lord Shelburne. The club is generally regarded as being aligned with the Conservative Party, with many of its current and former members holding important positions within the party, although the club is not formally tied to any political party. During the Regency era, Boodle’s became known as the club of the English gentry, while White’s became the club of the more senior members of the nobility.

It is reputed that Beau Brummell’s last bet took place at the Club before he fled the country to France. Today, membership is strictly by nomination and election only.

In 1782 Boodle’s took over the “Savoir Vivre” club house at 28 St. James’s Street, London, and has been located there ever since. The building had been designed by John Crunden in 1775. The ground floor was refurbished by John Buonarotti Papworth between 1821 and 1834.

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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.

Edward Thurlow 1st Baron Thurlow
9 December 1731 – 12 September 1806

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Edward Thurlow

Edward Thurlow 1st Baron Thurlow was born at Bracon Ash, Norfolk, Thurlow was the eldest son of Reverend Thomas Thurlow. Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham, was his brother. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and at Caius College, Cambridge. However, he was forced to leave Cambridge in 1751 without a degree after coming into conflict with the authorities of the university. He was for some time articled to a solicitor in Lincoln’s Inn, but in 1754 he was called to the Bar, Inner Temple. After a slow start, Thurlow eventually established a successful legal practice. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1761 was elected a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1762.

Thurlow then turned to politics, and in 1768 he was elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth as a Tory. Two years later, as a recognition of his defence in the previous January of the expulsion of John Wilkes he was appointed Solicitor-General in the government of Lord North. He held this post until 1772, when he was promoted to Attorney General. He was to remain in this office for six years, during which period he became known as an ardent opponent of the American colonists’ strive for independence. He is noted for his defeat in the case of Woodfall, who was publisher of the Letters of Junius, upon which a verdict of mistrial was entered by Lord Mansfield.

In 1778 Thurlow was admitted to the Privy Council, raised to the peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Ashfield in the County of Suffolk, and appointed Lord Chancellor by Lord North. In this post he notably opposed the economical and constitutional reforms proposed by Edmund Burke and John Dunning. The Tory administration of Lord North fell in March 1782, after twelve years in office. The Whigs under Lord Rockingham came to power, but Thurlow nevertheless managed to cling on as Lord Chancellor. Rockingham died in July 1782, but Thurlow remained Lord Chancellor also when Lord Shelburne became Prime Minister. The latter government fell in April 1783, when a coalition government under Charles James Fox and Lord North was formed (with the Duke of Portland as titular Prime Minister). Thurlow was not invited to resume the role of Lord Chancellor, and instead the Great Seal was put into commission. He went into opposition and contributed to the downfall of the coalition in December 1783. William Pitt the Younger then became Prime Minister and reinstated Thurlow as Lord Chancellor. The relationship between Pitt and Thurlow was always fragile, and Thurlow often relied on his friendship with King George III to be able to remain in office. He opposed a bill for the restoration to the heirs of estates forfeited in the Jacobite rising of 1745. Partly to please the king, he consistently and strongly supported Warren Hastings, and negotiated with the Whigs to ensure his continued power in the event of a change of government. In 1792, when he attacked Pitt’s bill to establish a fund to redeem the national debt, he was finally dismissed.

As a way of compensation, Thurlow was given a second peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Thurlow in the County of Suffolk, with remainder to his younger brothers and their heirs male. He was never to hold office again and retired into private life. However, in 1797 he intrigued for the formation of a government from which Pitt and Fox should be excluded, and in which the Earl of Moira should be Prime Minister and himself Lord Chancellor. Despite the tacit support of the Prince of Wales the enterprise failed. His last recorded appearance in the House of Lords was in 1802.

Lord Thurlow never married, but left three natural daughters. He died at Brighton on 12 September 1806, aged 76, and was buried in the Temple Church. The barony of 1778 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the barony of 1792 according to the special remainder by his nephew Edward. He was the eldest son of the Right Reverend Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham.

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

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

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Charles Cornwallis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Stanhope 3rd Earl Stanhope
3 August 1753 – 15 December 1816

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Charles Stanhope

Charles Stanhope 3rd Earl Stanhope was son of the 2nd Earl Stanhope, he was educated at Eton and the University of Geneva. While in Geneva, he devoted himself to the study of mathematics under Georges-Louis Le Sage, and acquired from Switzerland an intense love of liberty.

In politics he was a democrat. As Lord Mahon he contested the Westminster without success in 1774, when only just of age; but from the general election of 1780 until his accession to the peerage on 7 March 1786 he represented through the influence of Lord Shelburne the Buckinghamshire borough of High Wycombe. During the sessions of 1783 and 1784 he supported William Pitt the Younger, whose sister, Lady Hester Pitt, he married on 19 December 1774. He was close enough to be singled out for ridicule in the Rolliad:

——This Quixote of the Nation
Beats his own Windmills in gesticulation;
To strike, not please, his utmost force he bends,
And all his sense is at his fingers’ ends, &c. &c.

When Pitt strayed from the Liberal principles of his early days, his brother-in-law severed their political connection and opposed the arbitrary measures which the ministry favoured. Lord Stanhope’s character was generous, and his conduct consistent; but his speeches were not influential.

He was the chairman of the “Revolution Society,” founded in honour of the Glorious Revolution of 1688; the members of the society in 1790 expressed their sympathy with the aims of the French Revolution. In 1794 Stanhope supported Thomas Muir, one of the Edinburgh politicians who were transported to Botany Bay; and in 1795 he introduced into the Lords a motion deprecating any interference with the internal affairs of France. In all these points he was hopelessly beaten, and in the last of them he was in a “minority of one”—a sobriquet which stuck to him throughout life—whereupon he seceded from parliamentary life for five years.

Stanhope was an accomplished scientist. This started at the University of Geneva where he studied mathematics under Georges-Louis Le Sage. Electricity was another of the subjects which he studied, and the volume of Principles of Electricity which he issued in 1779 contained the rudiments of his theory on the “return stroke” resulting from the contact with the earth of the electric current of lightning, which were afterwards amplified in a contribution to the Philosophical Transactions for 1787. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society so early as November 1772, and devoted a large part of his income to experiments in science and philosophy. He invented a method of securing buildings from fire (which, however, proved impracticable), the first iron printing press and the lens which bear his name, and a monochord for tuning musical instruments, suggested improvements in canal locks, made experiments in steam navigation in 1795–1797 and contrived two calculating machines.

When he acquired extensive property in Devon, Stanhope projected a canal through that county from the Bristol to the English Channel and took the levels himself.

His principal labours in literature consisted of a reply to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) and an Essay on the rights of juries (1792), and he long meditated the compilation of a digest of the statutes.

He married twice:

Firstly on 19 December 1774 to Lady Hester Pitt (19 October 1755 – 20 July 1780), daughter of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (“Pitt the Elder”), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, by whom he had progeny three daughters:

    • Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope (1776–1839) a traveller and Arabist who died unmarried at the age of 63 in Syria.
    • Lady Griselda Stanhope (1778–1851), wife of John Tickell.
    • Lady Lucy Rachel Stanhope (1780–1814) who eloped with Thomas Taylor of Sevenoaks, the family apothecary, following which her father refused to be reconciled to her; but Pitt made her husband Controller-General of Customs and his son was one of the Earl of Chatham’s executors.

Secondly in 1781 he married Louisa Grenville (1758–1829), daughter and sole heiress of the Hon. Henry Grenville, Governor of Barbados in 1746 and ambassador to the Ottoman Porte in 1762), a younger brother of Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos and of George Grenville. She survived him and died in March 1829. By his second wife he had progeny three sons:

    • Philip Henry Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope (1781–1855), eldest son and heir.
    • Charles Banks Stanhope (1785–1809), aide-de-camp to John Moore. He was killed at the Battle of Corunna
    • James Hamilton Stanhope (1788–1825) captain and lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Foot Guards.

Lord Stanhope died at the family seat of Chevening, Kent and was succeeded by his eldest who shared much of his father’s scientific interest but is known also for his association with Kaspar Hauser.

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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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