Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Townshend, Charles (1674-1738)
TOWNSHEND, CHARLES, second Viscount Townshend (1674–1738), statesman, eldest son of Horatio, first viscount Townshend [q. v.], of Rainham, Norfolk, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Joseph Ashe, bart., of Twickenham, born in 1674. Both Charles II and the Duke of York were his godfathers, and he was bred in the strictest tory principles. He succeeded to the peerage in December 1687. With Sir Robert Walpole, his junior by two years, he was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge.
Though he took no degree, he left the university with a reputation for learning, which he improved by a foreign tour with Dr. William Sherard [q. v.] (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. iii. 652 n.) He took his seat in the House of Lords on 3 Dec. 1697 (Lords' Journals, xvi. 174). He early seceded to the whigs, and on the impeachment of the ministers implicated in the negotiation of the partition treaty he signed the protest deprecating their premature censure by the king, which was entered on the journal of the House of Lords on 16 April 1701 [see Somers, John, Lord Somers].
In the early years of the reign of Queen Anne Townshend was one of the junto who maintained the cause of religious liberty in the struggle against the occasional conformity bill, the rights of the electorate in the conflict between the two Houses of Parliament on the Aylesbury election case, defeated (1706) the factious proposal of the Jacobites to invite the Princess Sophia to England, and carried the Regency Act. He took an active part in arranging the terms of alliance between the junto and Godolphin in 1705, was one of the negotiators of the treaty of union with Scotland in 1706, and was sworn of the privy council on 20 Nov. 1707. He was a member of the committee chosen on 9 Feb. 1707–8 to investigate the charges against William Gregg (Howell, State Trials, xiv. 1374). On 18 Aug. following he was sworn of the privy council on its reconstitution under the Act of Union, and on 14 Nov. the same year he was appointed captain of the yeomen of the guard. Accredited ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the States-General on 2 May 1709, he arrived at The Hague with Marlborough on 18 May (N.S.) (London Gazette; Tatler, No. 18). He was one of the signatories of the preliminaries to the abortive treaty with France, on the negotiation of which the greater part of the summer was spent. On the rejection of its mercilessly hard terms by Louis XIV, Townshend concluded with the States-General (29 Oct. N.S.) a separate treaty by which the Hanoverian succession was guaranteed (Egerton MS. 892). Marlborough, however, declined to sign it, because its terms, aggrandising Holland at the expense of Austria, were calculated to sow division among the allies, and it was only after considerable delay that it was ratified.
Leaving the conferences at Gertruydenberg to the management of the Dutch and French plenipotentiaries, Townshend occupied himself during the spring and summer of 1710 in the negotiation of the conventions of 31 March (N.S.) and 4 Aug. (N.S.), by which, to avert the peril occasioned by the retreat of the Swedish army under Crassau from Poland into Pomerania, the allies guaranteed the peace not only of the empire but of Poland and the duchies of Schleswig and Jutland (Egerton MSS. 893–894). On the change of administration he was recalled (27 Feb. 1710–11) (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. iv. 79), and dismissed from the place of captain of the yeomen of the guard (13 June 1711). On 14 Feb. 1711–12 he was charged in the House of Commons with having exceeded his instructions in the negotiation of the barrier treaty. With characteristic frankness he admitted the substantial justice of the accusation (see the instructions in Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. i. 36), and, the treaty being condemned as prejudicial to British commerce, he was voted an enemy to his country. At Utrecht (1713) the treaty was revised in a sense much less advantageous to Holland [see Wentworth, Thomas, Earl of Strafford, (1672–1739)]. In opposition Townshend did not scruple to countenance the movement for the repeal of the union with Scotland elicited by the introduction of the malt tax into that country (24 May 1713). He also sought to harass the government by raising a debate (8 April 1714) on the practice of pensioning the highland clans, which, though designed only to keep them quiet, it was then convenient to represent as a covert fostering of Jacobitism. He signed the protests against the restraining order under which Ormonde had suspended operations in Flanders, opposed the schism bill, and, in concert with the other leading whig lords, lent his aid in committee to the remodelling of Bolingbroke's bill declaring enlisting and recruiting for the pretender to be high treason (28 May, 4 and 24 June 1714). Through John Robethon [q. v.], whose acquaintance he had made at The Hague, he was in touch with Hanoverian politics, and was thus able to act as intermediary between the electoral court and the whig junto. He was one of the regents nominated by the elector, and took an important though not a prominent part in concerting the arrangements preliminary to his accession. On that event he was appointed secretary of state for the northern department (17 Sept. 1714), and sworn of the privy council (1 Oct.) (Addit. MS. 22207, f. 325). At the coronation he was offered but declined an earldom. The support of the Hanoverians Bernstorff and Bothmer gave him the start of Halifax and Marlborough in the race for power; and in Sir Robert Walpole, for whom he procured the place of paymaster-general, he had a staunch ally in the House of Commons. Though, with a wisdom which the event justified, he advised the abandonment of the charge of high treason for that of misdemeanour in the case of Oxford, he concurred in the main in the proceedings against the negotiators of the peace of Utrecht, and was responsible for the attachment (11 Jan. 1714–15) of Strafford's papers, a violation of ambassadorial privilege which he justified on 1 Sept. by the plea of necessity. On the outbreak of the Jacobite rebellion his vigilance suggested the arrest (21 Sept.) of Sir William Wyndham [q. v.] To his firmness was due the subsequent dismissal of the Duke of Somerset [see Seymour, Charles, sixth Duke of Somerset]. His energy was unflagging (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. iv. 155–87); and the ruthless proscription which followed the suppression of the insurrection was prompted by the same relentless spirit which he had previously manifested (1 June) in the decisive rejection of a petition for the discharge of the unfortunate persons, whom he described as ‘execrable wretches,’ still detained in prison on suspicion of complicity in the plot of 1696 for the assassination of William III [see Bernardi, John].
Of the Septennial Act he heartily approved, both as ‘the greatest support possible to the liberty of the country,’ and as a means of enabling the government ‘to speak in a more peremptory manner to France’ (Coxe, Walpole, i. 76–7, ii. 62).
In the duchies of Bremen and Verden, part of the dismembered Swedish empire purchased from Denmark by George I in his electoral capacity in 1715, Townshend hoped to find an accession of strength not only to Hanover, but to Holland and even England. The subsequent intervention of England in the naval war between Denmark and Sweden he therefore deplored and restricted, and was reconciled to it only by the discovery of the Jacobite intrigues of the Swedish ambassador, Gyllenborg (October 1716) [see Norris, Sir John, (1660?–1749)]. Recognising the establishment of Austrian ascendency in the catholic Netherlands as a political necessity, he co-operated with Stanhope in the difficult negotiations which resulted in the definitive barrier treaty (1715) [see Stanhope, James, first Earl Stanhope]. So wedded indeed was he at this time to the traditional whig foreign policy as to ignore the fact that the possibility of a schism between the two branches of the house of Bourbon in Louis XV's minority, rendered politic an understanding with the regent Orleans. Hence, while he pressed forward the negotiations for the defensive alliance with the emperor, he was somewhat slow to approve, though eventually he did approve, the pending negotiations with the regent, the supervision of which fell to Stanhope (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 50). The States-General, whose junction with England and Austria was a natural sequel of the barrier treaty, were willing to accede to both treaties at the same time, but not to either severally. The alliance with the emperor was signed without their accession at Westminster on 25 May 1716. The treaty with the regent—a reciprocal dynastic guarantee with engagements for the permanent exclusion of the pretender from France and the partial demolition of Mardyck harbour—was signed at The Hague, also without the accession of the States-General, on 28 Nov. (N.S.) It was not until 4 Jan. 1717 (N.S.) that the treaty, then re-signed at The Hague, received the accession of the States-General. The delay in signing the separate treaty with France was caused partly by the insistence of George I on the immediate banishment of the pretender beyond the Alps, partly by the cautious deliberation of the French plenipotentiary Dubois, partly by the scruples of his English confrère, Horatio (afterwards Lord) Walpole [q. v.], who promised the Dutch not to sign without them, and left the completion of the business to Cadogan [see Cadogan, William, first Earl of Cadogan] (Wiesener, Le Régent, l'Abbé Dubois et les Anglais, i. 219–387). Townshend had not shared Walpole's scruples. He had furnished him with ample powers for signing either a joint or a separate treaty; he had enjoined him to sign the separate treaty; he had refused him the leave of absence which he sought as a means of evading the responsibility. Nevertheless, by his close connection with Walpole, Townshend was exposed to the suspicion of secretly inspiring his conduct, and of this Sunderland [see Spencer, Charles, third Earl of Sunderland] made abundant and unscrupulous use in order to damage his credit with the king, who attached immense importance to the French alliance, and was proportionately vexed by the delay in its completion. This charge Townshend rebutted only to find himself the object of graver imputations. He had committed the tactical error of remaining in England when the king, with Stanhope, went to Hanover (7 July 1716), and courting the Prince of Wales, whose confidence he speedily gained. With the prince he opposed the wild project entertained by Bernstorff and the king (but rejected as impracticable by Stanhope who was at Hanover) of kidnapping the czar by way of security for the evacuation by Russian troops of Mecklenburg or Holstein where they took up winter quarters during the war with Denmark. He had failed—apparently had as yet not even attempted—to conciliate the Maypole, who thought her Irish title, Duchess of Munster, below her dignity [See Schulenberg, Countess Ehrengard Melusina von der, Duchess of Kendal], and was accordingly ripe for any intrigue which might turn out the principal minister. His strict integrity had arrayed against him the smaller fry of greedy Hanoverian courtiers with whom Cadogan and Sunderland made common cause (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 58–64, 75–8, 84–92, 103–13). Hence the charge of obstructing the completion of the French alliance was soon followed by an insinuation of complicity in the supposed intrigues of Argyll to place the prince upon the throne. For this there was no more colour than an incautious suggestion in one of Townshend's letters that, in the event of the king wintering abroad, it would be politic to amplify the discretionary powers of the regent; but the king believed, or affected to believe, in his guilt, and on 15 Dec. 1716 deprived him of the seals. To allay the consternation caused by his dismissal and to prevent his going into opposition, he was offered the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland, a post which did not then involve residence in that country, and was at length persuaded to accept it as a step to higher office (13 Feb. 1716–17). The compromise failed. He proved but a languid supporter of the government, which in consequence carried the vote on account of the measures proposed against Sweden only by the narrow majority of four. Townshend was thereupon dismissed (9 April), and his dismissal was the signal for the resignation of Walpole and the reconstruction of the cabinet under Stanhope (ib. ii. 150–70).
Townshend signed the somewhat factious protests against the Mutiny Act of 1718, in which exception was taken to the delegation of the power of capital punishment to courts-martial and the exemption of the military from the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate (20 Feb.). On the whole, however, he abstained from overt political action during Stanhope's administration, but attached himself to the Prince of Wales, whose reconciliation with the king in April 1720 he, in concert with Walpole, materially contributed to effect. He was then permitted to kiss the king's hand, and on 11 June following was appointed president of the council. He was also then, and thenceforth throughout the reign, on the eve of the king's departure for Hanover, named one of the lords justices or council of regency. On Stanhope's death he was reappointed secretary of state for the northern department (10 Feb. 1720–1).
Townshend's integrity was unstained by the South Sea disclosures. His discernment in commercial matters is evinced by his opposition to the bill for prohibiting shipbuilding for the foreign market (11 Jan. 1721–2). His patience and acumen were conspicuous in the investigation of the plots of Christopher Layer [q. v.] and Bishop Atterbury. His humanity prompted such lenity as was shown to the bishop in the Tower. To his generous exertions Bolingbroke was principally beholden for his pardon and partial restitution (ib. ii. 312, 317) [see Saint John, Henry, Viscount Bolingbroke]. Traces of his original toryism clung to him throughout life. During the agitation against Wood's patent for halfpence he wrote to the Duke of Grafton, then lord-lieutenant of Ireland, a letter so strongly worded in support of the prerogative that Walpole in his cooler judgment destroyed it (Froude, English in Ireland, i. 525). In the blind frenzy which followed the detection of Atterbury's conspiracy he broke decisively with the whig tradition. He not only sanctioned the suspension for more than a year of the Habeas Corpus Act (12 Oct. 1722; Addit. MS. 15867, f. 167), but argued for a standing army in a tone which savoured rather of the Stuart than of the Hanoverian régime (16 March 1723–4). The support which in the same session he gave to the equally cruel and impolitic proscription of catholics by a special tax was only too easily reconcilable with whig principles and practice.
By dint of always attending the king on the continent, and paying assiduous court to the Duchess of Kendal and the Countess of Walsingham, Townshend succeeded in thwarting the designs of his astute and brilliant rival Carteret [see Carteret, John, Earl Granville]. In the summer of 1723 Carteret, at the suggestion of Baron Sparre, Swedish minister at Hanover, proposed an immediate supply of 10,000l. and the reinforcement of the Danish fleet by a small British squadron for the purpose of defeating the supposed design of Peter the Great to seat the Duke of Holstein upon the throne of Sweden. Struck by the glaring inadequacy of means to end, Townshend suspected that the ships were only asked for as a blind, and the money was really required for the purpose of corrupting the diet. He therefore opposed both the pecuniary grant and the intervention by sea, and, though he had to contend with Bernstorff as well as Carteret, his arguments prevailed with the king. At the same time he favoured a substantial aid to Sweden, and persuaded Walpole to consent to a supply of 150,000l. for that purpose. The supposed Russian designs, however, proved to be entirely imaginary. In the autumn of the same year Townshend attended the king on his visit to Berlin, where (12 Oct. N.S.) he contributed to give definite shape to the ill-fated double marriage project (Stowe MS. 251, ff. 5–24; State Papers, For., Germany, 220, Record Office; Carlyle, Frederick the Great, ii. 91). As Townshend found his mainstay in the Duchess of Kendal, so Carteret relied on the good offices of Lady Darlington (Sophie Charlotte, born countess of Platen-Hallermund, widow of Johann Adolf, baron Kielmansegg, master of the horse to George I). The rivalry of the mistresses gave occasion for the decisive struggle between the secretaries. Lady Darlington's niece, Amelia, daughter of Countess Platen, was to be married to Count St.-Florentin, son of the Marquis de la Vrillière; and Lady Darlington would not consent to the match without a dukedom for the marquis. Carteret accordingly instructed Sir Luke Schaub [q. v.] to make representations on the subject at Paris. The Duchess of Kendal and Townshend were equally interested in frustrating the negotiations, the one to spite Lady Darlington, the other to discredit Carteret. They therefore obtained the king's consent to the employment of Horatio Walpole at Paris, ostensibly to receive the accession of Portugal to the quadruple alliance, but really to watch and thwart Schaub. The result was Schaub's discredit and recall and the dismissal of Carteret. Townshend was rewarded with the Garter (9 April; installed 28 July 1724) (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 253–96). Newcastle, who had succeeded Carteret (2 April), at first worked in harmony with Townshend. On the other hand, Townshend gradually became involved in differences with Walpole. He was not satisfied with the quadruple alliance (2 Aug. 1718, N.S.). He thought the exchange of Sardinia (ceded to Savoy) for Sicily, with the suzerainty of the duchies of Tuscany, Parma, and Piacenza, unduly advantageous to the house of Habsburg. His dissatisfaction was increased by the chicane of the court of Vienna. To redress the balance of power came therefore to be the capital object of his policy; and commercial interests also contributed to incline him in favour of a Spanish alliance (ib. ii. 504). To secure this end he was even willing to surrender Gibraltar, and the personal assurance on that head given by George I to Philip V (1 June 1721) was approved if not prompted by him. So also were the secret articles of the defensive alliance of Madrid (13 June 1721, N.S.), by which England and France engaged to secure, if possible, that the article of the quadruple alliance which provided for the occupation, until the accession of Don Carlos, of the towns of Livorno, Porto Ferraio, Parma, and Piacenza by Swiss troops should remain, as it then was, a dead letter, and also to offer no opposition to the occupation of the towns by Spanish troops, and make common cause with Spain at the approaching congress of Cambray (State Papers, For., Spain, 167, Record Office). His jealousy of Austria was increased by the establishment by imperial letters patent (19 Dec. 1722, N.S.) of the Ostend East India Company, in which he saw not only a breach of the treaty of Münster, but a serious menace to English and Dutch commercial interests (Addit. MS. 15867, ff. 145, 156, 190, 206). As it became apparent that the congress of Cambray would accomplish nothing, he laboured to form an anti-Austrian confederation of the northern powers. Russia rejected his overtures, but Prussia was conciliated by a pledge of the recognition of her doubtful claims on the duchies of Jülich and Berg, and a defensive alliance between that power, England, and France was already in draft in December 1724 (ib. 32738 ff. 203 et seq., 32741 ff. 337, 405). The negotiation languished, however, until fresh life was infused into it by the new turn given to affairs by the treaties of Vienna (30 April–1 May 1725, N.S.). Of these, two were published and one was kept secret. By the published treaties Spain, in return for the concession of investiture to Don Carlos, guaranteed the pragmatic sanction, and placed the empire on the same footing with England in matters commercial. The secret treaty contained nothing offensive to England, unless an engagement by the emperor to use his good offices—and, if necessary, mediation—to secure the retrocession of Gibraltar and Minorca might be so deemed; but rumours were current of an Austro-Spanish coalition against England of a most formidable character. Ripperda undoubtedly dreamed not only of the recovery of Gibraltar and Minorca by force of arms, but also of the establishment, by means of the Ostend company, of Austro-Spanish preponderance in the East Indies (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. iv. 196–7). The Duke of Wharton undertook to push the cause of the pretender at Vienna; but there is no evidence that an invasion of England in his interest was seriously contemplated either there or at Madrid (State Papers, For., Germany, 231, Record Office, S. Saphorin to Townshend, 19, 26, 30 May 1725, N.S.; Addit. MS. 32744, ff. 17–23, 41). These rumours facilitated the completion of the negotiation for the northern confederacy, which took definitive shape in the defensive alliance between England and France and Prussia, concluded at Hanover on 3 Sept. 1725, N.S., and several subsidiary treaties by which the accession of Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Hesse-Cassel was by degrees secured. The treaty of Hanover was extremely distasteful to George I by reason of the breach of fealty to the emperor and consequent risk to Hanover which it involved, and to Walpole hardly less so for financial reasons (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 471 et seq.). Ripperda's reply to it was the negotiation of an Austro-Spanish matrimonial compact and defensive and offensive alliance (signed at Vienna, 5 Nov. 1725, N.S.). In character it was exceedingly hostile to France and to England. The treaty was kept secret (see the text printed for the first time in Syveton, Une Cour et un Aventurier au XVIIIe Siècle, App. i., and cf. Armstrong, Elisabeth Farnese, p. 186), but a summary of its contents, with three spurious separate articles, providing for the succession of Don Philip to the throne of France in the event of the death of Louis XIV without issue, for the extirpation of the protestant religion, and for the restoration of the pretender, was transmitted to Townshend from Madrid with rumours of a design on Gibraltar, in time to determine the bellicose tone of the king's speech on 20 Jan. 1726–7 (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 606; State Papers, For., Germany, 232, 234, Record Office). Meanwhile the accession of the czarina to the earlier treaty of Vienna (6 Aug. 1726, N.S.) had been followed by that of the faithless king of Prussia, who had been detached from the Hanoverian league by a pledge of the imperial good offices for the perfecting of his still doubtful title to Jülich and Berg. Neither power, however, could be relied on for any offensive purpose; and when the Spaniards laid siege to Gibraltar the emperor, so far from cooperating, protested his pacific intentions through his chancellor, Count Sinzendorf (20 Feb.), his ambassador at London, Count Palm (2 March), who was forthwith dismissed, and once more in a manifesto to the diet (17 March, N.S.) (Addit. MS. 15867, ff. 231–5). He ended by capitulating (not without the secret concurrence of Spain) to the Hanoverian league (Preliminaries of Paris, 31 May 1727, N.S.). The terms were peace for seven years, and meanwhile a total suspension of the business of the Ostend company, the abandonment of the treaties of Vienna of 30 April–1 May 1725 (N.S.) so far as repugnant to the prior treaty rights of England and France; the submission of all matters at issue between the powers to the adjudication of a congress to be convened within four months of the signature of the preliminaries. A dispute about the British South Sea ship Prince Frederick, seized by the Spaniards and claimed as lawful prize, served as a pretext to delay the ratification of the preliminaries at Madrid; and the siege of Gibraltar was still unraised at the accession of George II (12 June 1727).
To the new king Townshend was but ‘a choleric blockhead,’ but to Walpole he was still indispensable, and he was accordingly continued in office. Misled by a spurious version of the Austro-Spanish secret treaty of 5 Nov. 1725 (N.S.), in which the emperor was represented as pledged to aid a Spanish attack on Gibraltar by an invasion of Hanover (see this curious forgery and the relevant correspondence in Addit. MS. 32752 ff. 38 et seq., and cf. Walpole, Horation, Lord Walpole), Townshend negotiated at Westminster (25 Nov. 1727) a subsidiary treaty with the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, for the common defence of the duchy and the electorate against a danger which was wholly imaginary. The emperor did not so much as offer his mediation between the belligerents; and Spain, finding Gibraltar impregnable, accepted the preliminaries of Paris with some slight modifications by the convention of the Pardo (6 March 1727–8, N.S.). She entered the congress of Soissons (14 June 1728, N.S.) bent on extorting from the emperor the promised archduchess for Don Carlos, and, as security for his succession to the Italian duchies, the immediate occupation of the cautionary towns by Spanish troops. Townshend was willing that Don Carlos should have his bride, provided security were taken against the union of the imperial and Spanish crowns. In regard to the duchies he was prepared to support the Spanish claim, which England and France were already pledged not to oppose, as a means of embarrassing the emperor. He accordingly ranged the Hanoverian League on the side of Spain, and, in concert with Fleury, attempted to detach the four Rhenish electors—Mainz, Köln, Baiern, and Pfalz—from the imperial cause. The result of his policy was that by June 1729 the emperor, who was equally averse from the Spanish match and the Spanish occupation of the duchies, had become completely estranged from Spain, and England had the option of an alliance with either power. The majority of the cabinet inclined to an imperial alliance; and it was only after a sharp contest that Townshend's Spanish policy gained the day (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 641 et seq.). The proceedings at Soissons had long fallen into abeyance, and Paris now became the centre of a negotiation which terminated in the treaty of Seville (9 Nov. 1729, N.S.), concerted at Versailles by Horatio Walpole [q. v.] and Fleury on the basis of a draft by William Stanhope (afterwards Lord Harrington) [q. v.] (Addit. MSS. 32755 ff. 247–301, 32756 f. 228, 32757 f. 28, 32758 f. 102, 32761 ff. 208 et seq.). By this curious piece of statecraft, in return for a mere confirmation of treaties prior to those of Vienna of 1725, and a guarantee of their possessions (a tacit waiver of the Spanish claim to Gibraltar), Spain obtained from England and France a guarantee of the succession of Don Carlos to the Italian duchies, with the mesne right of garrisoning the cautionary towns with her own troops. The accession of Holland to the treaty was secured (21 Nov., N.S.) by a pledge of renewed efforts on the part of England and France to procure the abolition of the Ostend company, and a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of East Friesland. The treaty served to flatter Spanish and humble imperial pride, to bring France and Spain into closer accord and so to prepare the way for the family compact of 1733, besides jeopardising the peace not only of Italy but of Europe, while the so-called concessions to England were merely a restitutio in integrum. Even the retrocession of Gibraltar was prevented only by the loudly expressed will of the English people. No provision was made against the dreaded contingency of the union of the Spanish and imperial crowns by means of a matrimonial alliance. In England the treaty was justly denounced by tories and malcontent whigs as a flagrant infringement of the quadruple alliance, and twenty-four peers recorded their protest against it in the journal of their house (27 Jan. 1729–30). Townshend's zeal for its enforcement when the emperor mustered his forces in Italy to oppose the landing of the Spanish troops knew no bounds, and had for its ulterior object the partition of the Austrian dominions. Spain, recoiling from a single-handed contest with the emperor, called on her allies for aid, and discovered that they were by no means at one. The English cabinet was determined to enforce the treaty, but was not prepared to precipitate a war. Fleury was minded to keep out of the imbroglio altogether. The emperor's solicitude for the pragmatic sanction afforded prospect of a compromise, and on that basis negotiations began. The emperor was willing to let the Spaniard into his fiefs in return for a joint guarantee of the pragmatic sanction by the allies. Fleury and Townshend were both indisposed to enter upon the question of the guarantee at all, and certainly not until the Spaniard had been let into possession and the grievances of the allies redressed (Addit. MS. 32764, ff. 242, 309, 434). They therefore did their utmost to push forward the negotiation with the four electors. This had hitherto made but little way; and Townshend had been equally baffled in the persistent efforts which during the spring and summer of 1729 he had made through Lord Chesterfield to animate the Dutch (King, Life of Locke, ii. notes, pp. 67 et seq.; Coxe, Walpole, ii. 524 et seq., 659 et seq.). Meanwhile the king of Prussia's relations with George II, strained by his practice of recruiting on Hanoverian soil and disputes arising out of his recent intrusion, as it was generally deemed, into the conservatorship of Mecklenburg (May 1728) under imperial letters patent, had been brought to the verge of rupture by a frontier fracas at Clamei (near Magdeburg) on 28 June 1729. Townshend had succeeded in averting war—the dispute was referred to arbitration (September; Carlyle, Frederick the Great, ii. 266 et seq.)—but in the following spring his Prussian majesty declared unequivocally for the emperor. Townshend then became urgent for immediate mobilisation for a campaign in the empire, as well as in Italy, upon a large and well-concerted plan. Fleury, however, remained obstinately pacific, and Walpole, whose lead Newcastle followed, was determined that the resources of diplomacy should be exhausted before the adoption of a bellicose attitude. Townshend, already offended with Newcastle on other grounds (Coxe, Walpole, ii. 623), now exerted all his influence with the king to procure his dismissal, designing, if possible, to replace him by Lord Chesterfield, who shared his views, or Sir Paul Methuen, whom he hoped to find pliant. This scheme, however, was frustrated by Walpole and the queen, and the defeat was followed by Townshend's resignation (15 May 1730) (ib. pp. 693 et seq.) Retiring to his Norfolk estate, Townshend devoted himself to the improvement of agriculture (Kent, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Norfolk, 1794, p. 17). At Rainham he carried on that series of agricultural experiments and improvements which gained him the nickname of ‘Turnip’ Townshend. He had long been interested in agriculture; in 1728 we find him, according to the journal of a contemporary agricultural peer, Lord Cathcart, listening with much attention to an account of the Scottish ‘improvers.’ Pope refers to Townshend's turnips (Imitations of Horace, bk. ii. ep. ii. 273), and in a footnote he informs us that ‘that kind of rural improvement which arises from turnips’ was ‘the favourite subject of Townshend's conversation.’ Of all Townshend's improvements, this introduction of turnip culture on a large scale (turnips had long been known in England as a garden vegetable) is most important, as without it the subsequent developments in the breeding of stock by Bakewell of Dishley, Curwen of Workington, and others would have been impossible. Yet the introduction of turnips, though the most important, was apparently not the only innovation of Townshend's. He is said to have introduced the practice of marling, to have advocated enclosures, and to have demonstrated the value of clover as well as of turnips as one of the pivots of agricultural progress.
Townshend died at Rainham on 21 June 1738 (Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1738, p. 24). He was custos rotulorum and lord-lieutenant of Norfolk 1701–13 and 1714–30, and a governor of the Charterhouse (appointed 31 Oct. 1723).
Townshend was a handsome burly man, of brusque manners and hot temper, but a loyal friend, and with his friends a genial companion. In parliament he always spoke to the point, but without eloquence (Chesterfield, Letters, ed. Mahon, i. 368), and his haughty disposition rendered him inapt in the delicate art of managing men. An attempt which he made towards the close of his career to establish a party of his own entirely failed, and his differences with Walpole were aggravated by frequent ebullitions of ill-humour. A tradition of a fracas between the two statesmen arising out of a dispute on some point of policy is vague and ill authenticated, but may have some basis of fact (Coxe, Walpole, i. 335). Well versed in European politics, not without address as a diplomatist, a competent French scholar, and master of a style admirably adapted by its precision and perspicuity for correspondence on affairs of state, he was unfitted for their consummate conduct by a singular union of discordant qualities. With only moderate abilities, he had boundless confidence in his own capacity to play a principal part in the continental drama, and revelled in complicated combinations and what he supposed to be adroit strokes of policy. He was slow in making up his mind, but, once it was made up, he gave ready credence to whatever agreed with it, brooked neither contradiction nor demur, and was as precipitate in action as he had been cunctative in deliberation. These characteristics are apparent in the audacity which outran his instructions in the negotiation of the barrier treaty, in the credulity which accepted almost without inquiry the spurious secret treaty of Vienna, in the levity which formed an elaborate combination against the emperor without first soberly estimating his offensive strength, and in the perversity which sought in a dispute about the occupation of four Italian towns a pretext for plunging Europe into war in order to shatter the only continental power which could then hold its own against a united house of Bourbon. Lord Hervey (Memoirs, ed. Croker, i. 108) charges him with faithlessness. As a statesman, however, he had no more of that quality than was then deemed part of the indispensable equipment of a foreign minister. ‘Never minister had cleaner hands than he had’ (Chesterfield, Letters, ed. Mahon, ii. 442), nor is there reason to suppose that in private life his integrity was less exemplary. His only passion was business (cf. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's estimate of him in the ‘Account of the Court of George I’ prefixed to her ‘Letters and Works,’ ed. Wharncliffe). A portrait by Kneller was engraved by J. Simon and J. Smith.
Townshend married twice: first, Elizabeth (m. 3 July 1698; d 11 May 1711), second daughter of Thomas Pelham, first baron Pelham [q. v.]; secondly, Dorothy (m. shortly before 25 July 1713; d 29 March 1726), sixth daughter of Robert Walpole of Houghton Hall, Norfolk, and sister of Sir Robert Walpole. By his first wife Townshend had issue four sons and a daughter Elizabeth, who married, on 28 Nov. 1722, Charles, fifth baron (afterwards Earl) Cornwallis of Eye, and died in February 1729 [see Cornwallis, Sir William].
Townshend's heir, Charles Townshend, third Viscount Townshend (1700–1764), was returned to parliament on 22 March 1721–2 for Great Yarmouth, which seat he vacated on 24 May 1723, on taking his seat in the House of Lords among the barons, pursuant to writ of 22 May, in which he is described as ‘de Lynn Regis.’ In the lords' journals (xxii. 213) he is called Lord Lynn. His proper title would seem to have been Baron Townshend de Lynn Regis. He was appointed at the same time lord of the bedchamber, and held that office during the rest of the reign of George I. He was appointed on 15 June 1730 custos rotulorum and lord-lieutenant of Norfolk, and master of the jewel office, but resigned these offices on succeeding his father as third Viscount Townshend. He died on 12 March 1764. By his wife Etheldreda or Audrey (m. 29 May 1723; d. 9 March 1788), daughter of Edward Harrison of Balls Park, Hertfordshire, governor of Madras (1711–20), he left issue two sons—George, first marquis Townshend [q. v.], and Charles Townshend (1725–1767) [q. v.], chancellor of the exchequer in Lord Chatham's administration—and a daughter, Etheldreda (m. the Rev. Robert Orme; d in February 1781).
Townshend's second son, by his first wife, Thomas Townshend (1701–1780), born on 2 June 1701, was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, of which he was M.A. (1727). He was M.P. for Winchelsea 1722–7, and for Cambridge University 1727–1774. He acted for some years as his father's private secretary, and was a man of scholarly accomplishments and great social charm. He was teller of the exchequer from 12 Aug. 1727 until his death in May 1780 (Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1727, p. 31; Ann. Reg. 1780, p. 250). By his wife Albinia (m. 2 May 1730; d. 7 Sept. 1739), daughter of John Selwyn of Matson, Gloucestershire, and Chislehurst, Kent, he had, with other issue, a son Thomas (first Viscount Sydney) [q. v.], who is separately noticed.
William Townshend (1702?–1738), Charles Townshend's third son, born about 1702, was returned to parliament for Great Yarmouth on 11 June 1723, and retained the seat until his death on 29 Jan. 1737–8 (Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1738, p. 7). By his wife Henrietta (m. 29 May 1725; d. in January 1755), only daughter of Lord William Paulet or Powlett, he had, with other issue [see Cornwallis, Frederick], a son Charles Townshend, baron Bayning [q. v.] (Lords' Journals, xli. 451).
Roger Townshend (1708–1760), the youngest son by the first marriage, born on 15 June 1708, cavalry officer, M.P. for Great Yarmouth 1737–8–1747, and for Eye, Suffolk, 1747–8, present as aide-de-camp to George II at the battle of Dettingen on 27 June 1743 (N.S.), was governor of North Yarmouth garrison from 5 Jan. 1744–5, and receiver of customs from 28 Feb. 1747–8 until his death (unmarried) on 7 Aug. 1760 (Gent. Mag. 1760, p. 394; Court and City Reg. 1759, p. 173).
By his second wife Townshend had four sons and two daughters: (1) George Townshend (1715–1769) [q. v.]; (2) Augustus Townshend (baptised on 24 Oct. 1716; d. captain of an East Indiaman at Batavia in 1746); (3) Horatio Townshend, commissioner of the victualling office (d. unmarried at Lisbon in February 1764); (4) Edward Townshend. The last-named was of Trinity College, Cambridge (M.A. 1742, D.D. 1761) took holy orders, was collated to the rectory of Pulham, Norfolk, on the death, 16 Nov. 1745, of William Broome [q. v.], appointed on 27 Nov. and installed on 9 Dec. 1749 prebendary of Westminster, and preferred to the deanery of Norwich in August 1760 (when he resigned the Westminster stall; he died on 27 Jan. 1765, leaving issue by his wife Mary (m. 4 May 1747), daughter of Brigadier-general Price. The statesman's daughters by his second wife were (1) Dorothy, who married in 1743 Spencer Cowper [q. v.], dean of Durham, and died without issue on 19 May 1779 (Gent. Mag. 1779, p. 271); and (2) Mary, who married on 17 March 1753 Colonel (afterwards Lieutenant-general) Edward Cornwallis, governor of Nova Scotia, 1749–1752, and of Gibraltar, 1762–76, and died without issue on 29 Dec. 1776 (St. George's, Hanover Square, Marriage Reg. Harl. Soc. p. 49; Ann. Reg. 1776, pp. 222, 230).[Information kindly supplied by Sir Ernest Clarke, F.S.A.; Macpherson's Orig. Papers, ii. 270, 475, 489, 596; Burnet's Own Time; Prior's Own Time; Boyer's Annals of Queen Anne, 1707 pp. 305, 373, 1709 pp. 4 et seq., 1710 pp. 39, 40, 1711 pp. 7–8, 348; Wentworth Papers, 1705–39, ed. Cartwright; Defoe's Hist. of the Union, p. 110; Miscellaneous State Papers, 1501–1726, ii. 556; Coxe's Horatio, Lord Walpole; Coxe's Memoirs of Marlborough, ed. Wade; Marlborough's Letters and Despatches, ed. Murray; Private Corresp. of the Duchess of Marlborough, 1838; Mémoires de Torcy, Petitot, 2me série, lxvii–lxviii; Mémoires de Villars et De Vogüé, 1892; Lord Cowper's Private Diary (Roxburghe Club); Lady Cowper's Diary; Letters of Humphrey Prideaux to John Ellis (Camden Soc.); Memoirs of Thomas, Earl of Ailesbury (Roxburghe Club); Marchmont Papers, ed. Rose; Baillon's Lord Walpole à la Cour de France; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs; Report from the Committee appointed by order of the House of Commons to examine Christopher Layer and others, 1722; Parl. Hist. vi. et seq.; Rogers's Protests of the House of Lords; Atterbury's Memoirs, ed. Williams, i. 437 et seq.; Stair Annals and Corresp. ed. Graham, i. 242; Elliott's Life of Godolphin; Ballantyne's Life of Lord Carteret; Ernst's Life of Lord Chesterfield; Suffolk Corresp. i. 346; Sundon Memoirs, i. 255; Macky's Memoirs (Roxburghe Club); Noble's Continuation of Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England, iii. 15; Addit. MS. 28153, ff. 144, 195, 247, 297, 301; Stowe MSS. 224 f. 103, 226 ff. 413, 416, 242 ff. 212–13, 246 ff. 69–71, 248 f. 24, 256 ff. 18–67; Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. pp. 64, 79, 188, 3rd Rep. App. pp. 218, 222, 248, 368, 382–3, 4th Rep. App. p. 513, 8th Rep. App. i. 16–21, 39–40, 10th Rep. App. i. 239–43, ii. 427–33, 11th Rep. App. iv. 48 et seq.; Der Congress von Soissons, ed. Höfler, Oesterreich. Gesch.-Quell. Abth. ii. Bde. xxxi. xxxviii.; De Garden, Hist. des Traités de Paix, ii–iii.; Dumont, Corps Dipl. viii., and Suppl. ii. pt. ii. pp. 169–82; Stanhope's Hist. of England; Lecky's Hist. of England in the Eighteenth Century; Ranke, Engl. Gesch.; Klopp, Fall des Hauses Stuart; Michael, Engl. Gesch. im achtzehnten Jahrhundert, 1896; Brosch, Engl. Gesch. im achtzehnten Jahrhundert, 1897; C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Doyle's Official Baronage; Collins's Peerage, ii. 464, vi. 319, viii. 551; Misc. Gen. et Herald. 2nd ser. ed. Howard, i. 373; Genealogist, ed. Murray, vi. 210; Gent. Mag. 1745 p. 52, 1760 p. 394, 1781 p. 94; Chamberlayne's Mag. Brit. Not. 1748, pt. ii. bk. iii., General List, p. 259; Members of Parl. (official lists); Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby; Grad. Cant.; Clutterbuck's Hertfordshire, ii. 316; Blomefield's Norfolk, v. 392, vii. 136; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ii. 477, iii. 366.]
Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.267
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line
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