Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dalrymple, Hew Whitefoord

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DALRYMPLE, Sir HEW WHITEFOORD (1750–1830), general, was the only son of Captain John Dalrymple of the 6th dragoons, who was grandson of the first Viscount Stair [q. v.], and the third son of the Hon. Sir Hew Dalrymple [q. v.], by Mary, daughter of Alexander Ross of Balkail, Wigtownshire. He was born on 3 Dec. 1750, and on his father's death in 1753 his mother re-married Sir James Adolphus Oughton [q. v.], the ambassador, who superintended his education. He entered the army as an ensign in the 31st regiment on 3 April 1763, was promoted lieutenant in 1766, captain into the 1st royals on 14 July 1768, and major into the 77th in 1777, and was knighted through the influence of his stepfather on 5 May 1779. He was made lieutenant-colonel of the 68th on 21 Sept. 1781, and promoted colonel on 18 Nov. 1790, when he exchanged into the 1st or Grenadier guards. He first saw service under the Duke of York in Flanders in 1793, when he was present with the guards at the battle of Famars, the siege of Valenciennes, and the battles before Dunkirk, and quitted the army in the summer of 1794. He was promoted major-general on 3 Oct. following, and in April 1795 was placed on the staff of the northern district. In March 1796 he was made lieutenant-governor of Guernsey, and remained in that island until he was promoted lieutenant-general on 1 Jan. 1801. In 1802 he was placed upon the staff of the northern district again, and in May 1806 he was ordered to Gibraltar as second in command to Lieutenant-general the Hon. Henry Fox. In November 1806 General Fox proceeded to Sicily, and Dalrymple succeeded him in the command of the garrison of Gibraltar. Here he remained, doing valuable service by encouraging the Spanish rebellion in Andalusia, and by keeping up communications with the Spanish generals. The government had decided largely to reinforce the army in Portugal, and considered it of too great importance to remain under the command of so junior a general as Sir Arthur Wellesley. Dalrymple was therefore ordered to take the command on 7 Aug. 1808, and he arrived on 22 Aug. He at once superseded Sir Harry Burrard [q. v.], who had on the previous day taken the command from Sir Arthur Wellesley, and checked the pursuit which Wellesley was about to make after his victory of Vimeiro. For this check to the victorious English army Dalrymple was, of course, not responsible, but on the following day General Kellerman came in with an offer of terms from Junot. It was then too late to pursue the French, and as the French general offered all that could be expected from a successful campaign, namely, the evacuation of Portugal and the surrender not only of Lisbon but of Elvas, Dalrymple entered into negotiations with Junot, and eventually signed what is wrongly known as the convention of Cintra. The news of this convention raised a storm of reprobation in England. The three generals, Dalrymple, Burrard, and Wellesley, were all recalled, and a court of inquiry of six general officers, with Sir David Dundas as president, was ordered to sit at Chelsea Hospital. This court approved of the armistice signed with Kellerman by six votes to one, and of the convention by four votes to three, and their judgment has been confirmed by posterity. It may have been wrong for Burrard to check the pursuit after Wellesley's successful battle, but it could not have been wrong for Dalrymple to secure the whole object of the English expedition by a peaceful arrangement instead of by continued fighting. Dalrymple was censured for not continuing Wellesley's career of victory, and the stigma of the convention of Cintra prevented his again obtaining a command. He was, however, made colonel of the 57th regiment on 27 April 1811, promoted general on 1 Jan. 1812, created a baronet on 6 May 1815, and appointed governor of Blackness Castle in 1818. (He had been colonel of 81st foot 1797–8, of 37th foot 1798–1810, and of 19th foot 1810–11.) A ‘Memoir,’ written by Dalrymple in 1818, of his relations with Spain, was published posthumously. He died at his house in Upper Wimpole Street on 9 April 1830. Dalrymple married Frances, youngest daughter of General Francis Leighton, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. His younger son was lieutenant-colonel of the 15th hussars and died unmarried, and the elder, Sir Adolphus John Dalrymple, succeeded his father as second baronet, and was M.P. for Weymouth 1817–18, Appleby 1819–26, Haddington burghs 1826–30, 1831–2, and Brighton 1837–41. Sir Adolphus had no children by his wife, a sister of Sir James Graham [q. v.], and on his death in 1866 the baronetcy became extinct.

[Royal Military Calendar; Napier's Peninsular War, book ii.; Memorial written by Sir Hew Dalrymple, bart., as connected with the affairs of Spain … published by his son Sir Adolphus John Dalrymple, 1830; and The Whole Proceedings of the Court of Enquiry upon the conduct of Sir Hew Dalrymple relative to the Convention of Cintra, 1808.]

H. M. S.