Seymour, George Hamilton (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

SEYMOUR, GEORGE HAMILTON (1797–1880), diplomatist, eldest son of Lord George Seymour (seventh son of Francis Seymour Conway, first earl of Hertford [q. v.]) and Isabella, daughter of the Hon. and Rev. George Hamilton, was born at Harrow in 1797. He was educated at first for the navy, which he soon left, and went to Eton. Thence he proceeded to Merton College, Oxford, where he was a postmaster, and graduated B.A. in 1818 and M.A. in 1823. Previously, on 28 March 1813, he had been appointed gentleman usher in daily waiting at court, and in March 1817 attaché to the legation at The Hague. In December 1819 he returned to London as précis-writer to Lord Castlereagh at the foreign office, and on 29 Jan. 1822 became his private secretary. In October 1822 he was attached to the Duke of Wellington's special mission to Verona. On 18 Aug. 1823 he became secretary of legation at Frankfurt, and was transferred on 6 Sept. 1826 to Stuttgart, on 28 Dec. 1827 to Berlin, and on 30 July 1829 to Constantinople.

On 13 Nov. 1830 Seymour was appointed minister resident at Florence, and on 13 Nov. 1836 envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary to the Belgian court, where he took part in the negotiations by which the independence of Belgium was finally secured. On 10 Dec. 1846 he was removed to Lisbon in the same capacity, and represented the British government through the greater part of the period of insurrection when the British power supported the Portuguese crown. On 28 April 1851 he was appointed to St. Petersburg, where his diplomacy was put to a severe test in the strained relations which arose between Russia and the western powers on the eastern question. He was in frequent intercourse with the czar, and his attitude at this time received the approval of the government. In February 1854, on the outbreak of the Crimean war, he was recalled. On 11 Oct. 1854 he was pensioned; but on 23 Nov. 1855, having just been made privy councillor, he became envoy-extraordinary to Austria, and again took a prominent part in the conferences on the eastern question at Vienna. He finally retired on pension in April 1858. He had been made G.C.H. on 16 March 1836 and G.C.B. on 28 Jan. 1847. He died on 2 Feb. 1880 at his residence, 10 Grosvenor Crescent, and was buried at Kensal Green.

Seymour married, in 1831, Gertrude Brand, third daughter of Lord Dacre, by whom he had four sons and three daughters.

[Times, 4 Feb. 1880; Foreign Office List, 1880; Burke's Peerage, s.v. ‘Hertford;’ Hertslet's State Papers.]

C. A. H.