Paget, Augustus Berkeley (DNB01)

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PAGET, Sir AUGUSTUS BERKELEY (1823–1896), diplomatist, the fourth son of Sir Arthur Paget [q. v.], who was second son of the first earl of Uxbridge, and a brother of Henry William Paget, first marquis of Anglesey [q. v.] and of Sir Edward Paget [q. v.], was born on 16 April 1823. He was privately educated, and in 1840 he entered the service of the crown as clerk in the secretary's department of the general post office. He was soon transferred to the audit office, and again on 21 Aug. 1841 to the foreign office.

Paget then decided to enter the diplomatic service, and on 2 Dec. 1843 obtained an appointment as temporary attache at Madrid, where he remained till 1846. On 6 Feb. 1846 he was appointed precis writer to the foreign secretary, Lord Aberdeen, but on 26 June became second paid attache to the British embassy at Paris. Here he witnessed the coup d'etat of 1848, and the establishment of the second empire; on 18 Dec. 1851 he became first paid attached On 12 Feb. 1852 he was promoted to be secretary of legation at Athens at a time when diplomatic relations with Greece were more or less in abeyance, so that his position was peculiar and required much tact. On 8 Dec. 1852 he went on to Egypt and acted as consul-general till 19 Feb. 1853, returned to England on leave of absence on 27 May 1853, and was transferred to the Hague as secretary of legation on 14 Jan. 1854. Here he acted as chargé d'affaires from 7 May to 21 Oct. 1855, and again from 3 July to 24 Aug. 1856. He was transferred to Lisbon on 18 Feb. 1857, and acted as chargé d'affaires from 9 July 1857 to 14 Jan. 1858. On 1 April 1858 he was sent to Berlin and acted as chargé d'affaires from 17 June to 20 Nov. 1858. On 13 Dec. 1858 he was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the king of Saxony. On 6 June 1859 he was gazetted to the post of minister at the court of Sweden and Norway, but on 6 July this appointment was cancelled in favour of that to Denmark.

As minister at Copenhagen Paget saw the accession of Christian IX at the close of 1863, and had to play a leading part in regard to the Schleswig-Holstein difficulty in 1864; nor was his position much less difficult when in 1866 Prussia meditated war against Austria. On 9 June 1866 he was sent to Portugal as envoy extraordinary. Appointed on 6 July 1867 to Italy as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Victor Emmanuel, he represented Great Britain in Italy during one of the most critical periods of Italian history; he saw the entry of the Italian troops into Rome and the beginning of a new era of national life. It is admitted that in this trying period his tact was conspicuous. He remained in Italy for a long time, becoming ambassador extraordinary on 24 March 1876. On 12 Sept. 1883 he relinquished this post and, after a short period of leave, became ambassador at Vienna on 1 Jan. 1884. From that post he retired on 1 July 1893. He devoted much of the leisure which now came to him to the preparation of his father's memoirs. These he published in 1895 under the title of 'The Paget Papers.')

He died at Hatfield suddenly, at the close of a short visit to the Marquis of Salisbury, on 11 July 1896. He is buried at Tardebigg, Bromsgrove, near the seat of his son-in-law, Lord Windsor.

Paget's upright and manly character was much valued by the sovereigns with whom he had to deal; his influence was rather that of the English gentleman than of the astute diplomatist. He was created C.B. on 10 Feb. and K.C.B. on 16 March 1863, a privy councillor in 1876, and G.C.B. in 1883.

Paget married, on 20 Oct. 1860, the Countess Walpurga Ehrengarde Helena de Hohenthal, maid of honour to the princess royal of Prussia, and left three children one son in the army, another in the diplomatic service; his daughter married the present Lord Windsor.

[Foreign Office List, 1895; Annual Register, 1896; Times, 13 July and 17 July 1896.]

C. A. H.