Hanger, George (DNB00)

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HANGER, GEORGE, fourth Baron Coleraine (1751?–1824), was the youngest son of Gabriel Hanger, created Baron Coleraine in the peerage of Ireland on 26 Feb. 1762, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Richard Bond of Cowbury, Herefordshire. He was educated at Eton and Göttingen, and on 31 Jan. 1771 was gazetted an ensign in the 1st regiment of foot guards, In disgust at a promotion being made over his head, Hanger left the guards in February 1776, and, being appointed by the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel captain in the Hessian Jager corps, sailed for America, where he served throughout the war. During the siege of Charlestown he acted as aide-de-camp to Sir Henry Clinton. He was wounded in an action at Charlottetown, North Carolina, in September 1780, and was appointed major in Tarleton's light dragoons on 25 Dec: 1782. This regiment was disbanded in the following year, and Hanger was placed on half-pay. Owing to the embarrassment of his affairs Hanger was an inmate of the King's Bench prison from 2 June 1798 to April 1799, and in 1800 set up as a coal merchant. In 1801 William Combe [q. v.] compiled from Hanger's papers and suggestions 'The Life, Adventures, and Opinions of Colonel George Hanger, written by himself,' &c. (London, 8vo, 2 vols.) On the second page of this unsavoury book is a portrait of Hanger, with cocked hat and sword, suspended on a gibbet. Hanger's curiously accurate prophecy that 'one of these days the northern and southern powers [of the States] will fight as vigorously against each other as they both have united to do against the British,' will be found in the second volume (pp. 425-9). On 7 July 1806 he was appointed captain commissary of the corps of royal artillery drivers, but retired in March 1808 on full pay. In June 1810 he appears to have formed one of the procession assembled to escort Sir Francis Burdett upon his release from the Tower (Gent. Mag. vol. lxxx. pt. i. p. 584). On the death of his brother William, the third lord, on 11 Dec. 1814, the barony of Coleraine descended to Hanger, but he refused to assume the title. Hanger was a well-known figure in fashionable society, where he was famous for his many eccentricities. For several years he was one of the boon companions of the prince regent, 'but as the prince advanced in life the eccentric manners of the colonel became somewhat too free and coarse for the royal taste' (ib. vol. xciv. pt. i. p. 458). Hanger died unmarried at his house near Regent's Park on 31 March 1824, aged 73 when the barony of Coleraine became extinct. There is a caricature portrait of Hanger in a large cartoon by George Cruikshank issued with 'The Scourge' for 2 Nov. 1812. There are also several caricatures of him by Gillray (Weight and Evans, Account of Gillray's Caricatures, 1851, Nos. 32, 42, 257, 262, 323, 423, 426, 437, 463, 523).

He was the author of the following works : 1. 'An Address to the Army, in reply to- strictures by Roderick McKenzie (late lieutenant in the 71st regiment) on Tarleton's History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781,' London, 1789, 8vo. 2. 'Anticipation of the Freedom of Brabant, with the Expulsion of the Austrian Troops from that Country,' London, 1792, 8vo. 3. 'Military Reflections on the Attack and Defence of the City of London,' &c., London, 1795, 8vo. 4. 'Reflections on the menaced Invasion, and the means of Protecting the Capital by preventing the enemy from landing in any part contiguous to it. A Letter to the Earl of Harrington on the proposed Fortifications round London,' &c., London, 1804, 8vo. 5. 'The Lives and Adventures and Sharping Tricks of Eminent Gamesters,' 1804, 12mo. 6. 'A Letter to the Right Hon. Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c., from Colonel George Hanger, proving how one hundred and fifty thousand Men, as well disciplined as any Regiment of the Line need be, may be acquired in the short space of two months,' &c., London, 1808, 8vo. 7. 'Colonel George Hanger to all Sportsmen, and particularly to Farmers and Gamekeepers. Above Thirty Years' Practice in Horses and Dogs; how to feed and take care of them, and also to cure them of all common disorders,' &c., London, 1814, 8vo; a new edition entitled 'General George Hanger to all Sportsmen,' &c., London [1816], 8vo, with an etching of General George Hanger on his return from shooting, after a portrait by R. R. Reinagle.

[The Life, Adventures, and Opinions of Colonel George Hanger, 1801; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883, p. 261; Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biog. iii. 75; Ann. Register, 1824, App. to Chron. p. 218; Gent. Mag. 1824, pt. i. 457-8; Parl. Papers. 1812, Reports from Commissioners, iv. 154-5, 221, 225; Army Lists; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. vi. 47, 95, 294, 433; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, 1816, p. 145; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.