Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lennox, Charles (1672-1723)

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LENNOX, CHARLES, first Duke of Richmond (1672–1723), the natural son of Charles II by Louise de Keroualle [q. v.], Duchess of Portsmouth, was born 29 July 1672. On 9 Aug. 1675 he was created Baron of Settrington, Yorkshire, Earl of March, and Duke of Richmond, Yorkshire, in the peerage of England, and on 9 Sept. 1675 Baron Methuen of Tarbolton, Earl of Darnley, and Duke of Lennox, in the peerage of Scotland. The two dukedoms had reverted to Charles II as nearest heir male of Charles Stuart (1640–1672), Duke of Richmond and Lennox, who had died without issue. Louis XIV also gave him the dignity of Duke of Aubigny in remainder to his mother. On 18 April 1681 he was installed K.G., and on 12 July 1681 he was named governor of Dumbarton Castle. On 22 Jan. 1681–2 he was appointed master of the horse, on the removal of the Duke of Monmouth, the duties of the office being exercised during his minority by three commissioners. He and his mother paid a visit to France in March 1681–2. About April 1683 he became high steward of the city of York. Charles, according to Barillon, was fond of Richmond, whom Evelyn described in 1684 as a very pretty boy; Macky states that he much resembled his father, but when young he was extremely handsome. His mother was uneasy about his prospects, and she procured letters patent naturalising him in France, which were registered 22 Jan. 1685. But Charles was sufficiently generous, and in addition to an annuity of 2,000l., charged on the lands of Lord Grey, he gave him a royalty on the coal dues, which his descendant in 1799 exchanged for an annuity of 19,000l. from the consolidated fund. When Charles was dying he recommended Richmond to his brother, but James hated the Duchess of Portsmouth, and removed the duke from the mastership of the horse on 6 Feb. 1685, on the alleged ground that the office could not be exercised by deputy. James was more concerned, however, for the youth's spiritual prospects, and made his mother promise to rear him as a Roman catholic. Mother and son passed over to France about August 1685, and remained there for a year. Richmond was duly presented to Louis, and was well received. He formally entered the Roman catholic faith in the chapel at Fontainebleau after mass on Sunday, 21 Oct. 1685. His mother's pension was now raised to twenty thousand livres, and she wished it to be settled on her son. At the revolution Richmond again came to Paris; but his character was now better understood, and on 1 Jan. 1689 he found it necessary to protest his loyalty to James to the French king, who politely replied that he knew him too well to suspect anything. He wished to go on the Irish expedition, but was told that he was too young and too little. He served, however, in August 1689 as a volunteer at the attack on Valcours in the army of the Marshal d'Humières, and the next year, while making the campaign as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Orleans, was laid up at Neustadt with what was thought to be an attack of small-pox. In September 1690 Louis gave him a company in the royal regiment of horse. He was not, however, satisfied with his position, and in February 1691–2 he secretly left the court and proceeded, by way of Switzerland and Germany, to England. In writing from Bâle to De Barbezieux he said that he was going where he would have higher rank and a more plentiful revenue. Luttrell mentions a report that he had stolen his mother's jewels. The family pension from Louis was reduced on his departure to twelve thousand livres, and continued to his mother, who thought her son out of his senses.

In England Richmond found it convenient to change both his politics and his religion, and on Whitsunday, 15 May 1692, was received again into the church of England. He made his peace with William; on 14 Nov. 1693 he took his seat in the House of Lords, and he served as aide-de-camp in the Flanders wars throughout the reign. In 1696 he was suspected of some complicity in the Jacobite schemes. He naturally took a leading part in the opposition to the Resumption Bill in April 1700. In 1702, by the death of the Dowager Duchess of Richmond, he came into possession of the Lennox estates, which he sold to a purchaser who resold them to the Duke of Montrose. At the coronation of Anne he bore the sceptre and the dove, but he ceased to be a whig before the close of the reign. He visited Paris in May 1713, and while there again in July 1714 was mysteriously wounded near the Pont Neuf. He probably became a whig once more at the Hanoverian accession, as he was made lord of the bedchamber to George I, 16 Oct. 1714, and privy councillor of Ireland 5 Aug. 1715. He died at Goodwood, Sussex, 27 May 1723, and was buried in Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster; his body was afterwards removed to Chichester Cathedral. A portrait by Kneller is at Goodwood.

Richmond had the easy, pleasant manners of his father, but he was an unprincipled adventurer through life, and in his later years was addicted to drunkenness and other vices. He married before 10 Jan. 1692–3 Anne, widow of Henry, son of John, lord Bellasis, and daughter of Francis, lord Brudenell, son of Robert Brudenell, second earl of Cardigan (Collins, Peerage). By her Richmond had a son Charles, who became second duke, and two daughters: Louise (1694–1717), married to James, third earl of Berkeley, and Anne (1703–1722), married to William Anne Keppel, second earl of Albemarle [q. v.] Dangeau says that neither the king nor the queen approved of the match.

[Forneron's Louise de Kéroualle; Hamilton's Memoirs of Grammont, Vizetelly's ed. ii. 236–7; St.-Simon's Écrits inédits, ed. Faugère, iv. 487; Reresby's Memoirs (Camd. Soc.), pp. 225–7, 277; Doebner's Memoirs of Mary Queen of England, together with her Letters, p. 97; Savile Corresp. (Camd. Soc.), pp. 40, 268 n.; Macky's Memoirs, p. 36; Evelyn's Diary, ii. 162, 195, 199; Luttrell's Brief Hist. Relation; Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, ed. Wood, ii. 104; Doyle's Official Baronage; Macaulay's Hist. of Engl. ii. 758; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 51. For the French part of his life, see Journal du Marquis de Dangeau, ed. Soulié, Dussieux, &c. (1854, &c.), vols. i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. xiv. xv.; with it may be compared the Mémoires du Marquis de Souches.]

W. A. J. A.