Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vaughan, Richard (1600?-1686)
VAUGHAN, RICHARD, second Earl of Carbery (1600?–1686), was the eldest son of John Vaughan, first earl, of Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire, by his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Gelly Meyrick [q. v.] The family claimed descent from Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, prince of Powys (cf. Robert Vaughan, Brit. Antiq. Revived, 1662, pp. 40–3, correcting Enderbie's Cambria Triumphans, iii. 2). The first to settle at Golden Grove and to build the house there was John Vaughan, whose son Walter (d. 1598) greatly strengthened the position of the family by marrying for his first wife Katherine, second daughter of Griffith Rhys of Dynevor, who was the son of Rhys ap Griffith (ap Sir Rhys ap Thomas) [q. v.], by Katherine, daughter of Thomas, duke of Norfolk. His second wife was Letitia, daughter of Sir John Perrot [q. v.], and afterwards wife of Arthur, lord Chichester [q. v.] He left, besides other issue, Sir Henry Vaughan (1587?–1659?) [q. v.] and William Vaughan (1577–1641) [q. v.] He was succeeded by his eldest son John Vaughan (1572?–1634), afterwards first Earl of Carbery, who, along with his brother William, matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford, 4 Feb. 1591–2, served under the Earl of Essex in his Irish campaign in 1599, and on 30 July was knighted by Essex; but the honour was subsequently disallowed by Elizabeth. He entered at the Middle Temple November 1596, was M.P. for Carmarthenshire in 1601 and 1620–2, and was comptroller of the household to Charles I while Prince of Wales, in which capacity he accompanied him to Spain in 1623 (Sir R. Wynn's ‘Account of the Journey’ in Hearne's Vita Ricardi II; Epistolæ Hoelianæ, ed. Jacobs, p. 171). After the death of his first wife he married Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Palmer [q. v.], the ‘Travailer,’ of Wingham, Kent, by whom he had no issue. He was created Baron Vaughan of Mullingar on 29 July 1621, and Earl of Carbery (both in the peerage of Ireland) on 5 Aug. 1628. James Howel styles him, presumably by mistake, as ‘my lord of Carlingford’ in a letter addressed to him on 1 March 1625 (op. cit. p. 225). He died 6 May 1634, and was buried at Llandeilo Fawr.
Richard Vaughan, his eldest and only surviving son, who succeeded him as second Earl of Carbery, must have been born about 1600. He seems to have travelled abroad, for James Howel says that he and young Vaughan were ‘comrades and bedfellows’ in Madrid ‘many months together,’ presumably in 1622 (op. cit. p. 171). He was knighted at the coronation of Charles I in February 1625–6, was M.P. for Carmarthenshire 1624–9, was admitted a member of Gray's Inn 15 Feb. 1637–8 (Foster, Register, p. 216), and was nominated by the commons in February 1641–2 to be lord lieutenant in command of the proposed militia in the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan (Phillips, Civil War in Wales and the Marches, i. 96). On 25 Oct. 1643 he was created at Oxford an English peer as Baron Vaughan of Emlyn in Carmarthenshire, and was one of the royalist peers who at this time addressed a letter from Oxford to the council of Scotland dissuading that country from lending their support to the parliamentary party (Clarendon, Hist. ed. Macray, vii. 288).
On the outbreak of the civil war Carbery was appointed (before the end of 1642) lieutenant-general of the royal army in the counties of Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke (for his instructions, dated 25 March 1642–3, see Harl. MS. 6852; cf. Carte, Ormonde, v. 503), to which was added on 17 Nov. 1643 the governorship of Milford (Cal. State Papers, Dom. s. a. p. 499, cf. pp. 478, 488, 498). Being popular in Pembrokeshire as a grandson of Sir Gelly Meyrick, he easily secured the adherence of the whole of his district, excepting the town of Pembroke (Phillips, i. 173–6, ii. 82–5), but in March 1643–4 he was defeated and driven out of Pembrokeshire by Major-general Rowland Laugharne [q. v.] Being blamed for his defeat, which some attributed to ‘a suspected natural cowardize, others to a designe to be overcome’ (manuscript circa 1660, printed in Cambrian Register, i. 164), though, according to another account, it was his uncle, Sir Henry Vaughan [q. v.], who was guilty of cowardice, Carbery resigned his command, was replaced by Gerard, and ceased to take any active part on the royalist side (Phillips, ii. 157; cf. Webb, Civil War in Herefordshire, ii. 30–1).
Meanwhile the House of Commons had, on 19 April 1643, resolved on his impeachment. On 27 April 1644 he was ordered to pay 160l. to the committee for compounding (Cal. of Proceedings), and on 17 Nov. 1645 he was assessed as a delinquent at 4,500l. Laugharne had, however, given him a promise of pardon, and on 18 Nov. wrote on his behalf to the speaker. The parliamentary committee for Pembrokeshire, on the other hand, sent from Carmarthen on 29 Nov. to the committee for compounding a series of charges against Carbery, describing him as ‘a merciless oppressor of the commons’ in his district, and alleging that he had packed and intimidated the grand jury at Carmarthen so as to get 2,600l. of the country's money sequestered to himself, and had ‘cherished the troubles to make commoditie thereof’ (the letter and articles are printed in an abusive pamphlet called The Earle of Carberyes Pedegree, 1646). Carbery himself appears to have proceeded to London with the view of ‘making all the friends he could to get him off’ (ib.), and eventually the House of Commons agreed, on 16 Feb. 1645–6, to remit his delinquency, the formal ordinance to that effect being passed 26 Jan. 1646–7, and the discharge of his assessment being finally ordered on 9 April 1647. It is said that he alone of all the king's party in the western counties of South Wales escaped sequestration, and this exceptional treatment is explained by a contemporary (Cambrian Register, loc. cit.) as due to ‘the correspondence he kept with the then Earl of Essex, and manie great services done by him to the parliament during his generalship, which was then evidenced to the parliament by Sir John Meyrick,’ who was a cousin of Carbery's mother, ‘and by certificate from several of the parliament's generalls in his behalfe’ (cf. also Cal. of Proc. of Comm. for Advance of Money, p. 637, and Commons' Journals, and Phillips, i. 385–6).
In the spring of 1648, when Poyer refused to disband his troops in South Wales, Carbery not only declined to support him, but loyally cast his influence on the side of parliament (Phillips, i. 398, ii. 353). There is, however, a local tradition (first given in Carlisle's Topogr. Dict. 1811, s.v. ‘Llanfihangel Aberbythych;’ cf. Rees, Beauties of S. Wales, 1815, p. 326; and Arch. Cambr. 5th ser. x. 170) that in May of that year Cromwell, on his way to besiege Pembroke Castle, ‘came suddenly across the country with a troop of horse to Golden Grove,’ with the view of seizing Carbery, who just succeeded in escaping before his arrival. Lady Carbery (whose great piety has been recorded by Jeremy Taylor) is then said to have influenced Cromwell so strongly as to produce in him a warm regard for her family, evidenced by his sending to the earl a few years later ‘several stagges to furnish his park at Golden Grove’ (Cambrian Register, loc. cit.).
Carbery is, however, less celebrated as a man of action than as the patron who for many years gave hospitable shelter to Jeremy Taylor at Golden Grove. Here Taylor wrote, among other works, ‘The Great Exemplar,’ the third part of which was, in the first edition (1649), dedicated to Frances, lady Carbery (on whose death in 1650 he preached a ‘Funeral Sermon’), while in the third edition another dedication was added to her successor, Carbery's third wife. To Carbery himself he dedicated a course of fifty-two sermons delivered at Golden Grove, his ‘Holy Living’ and ‘Holy Dying’ (1650–1), and the ‘Manual of Devotions,’ to which, by way of further compliment to his patron, he gave the title of ‘Golden Grove’ (1655).
When the court of the marches was re-established at Ludlow at the Restoration, Carbery became its lord president, and in virtue of that office was lord lieutenant of all the counties in Wales. He appointed Samuel Butler (1612–1680) [q. v.] as his secretary, and made him also steward of Ludlow Castle, where Butler appears to have written the first part of ‘Hudibras.’ The court never regained its former administrative importance, though Carbery seems to have paid close attention to its business (see Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660 et seq.; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 88), and successfully asserted its jurisdiction in some matters over even the four English shires of the marches (ib. 5th Rep. App. p. 338; cf. Dineley, Beaufort Progress, ed. 1888, introd. p. xviii). He continued lord president till 1672, when he was removed from office, partly owing to his maltreatment of his servants and tenants at Dryslwyn, near Golden Grove, some of whom had ‘theyr eares cut of, and one his tongue cut out, and all dispossessd’ (Hatton Correspondence, i. 76; cf. Spurrell, Carmarthen, p. 118). A contemporary described him, probably with much justice, as ‘a fit person for the highest publique employment, if integrity and courage were not suspected to be often faylinge him’ (Cambr. Register, loc. cit.). He died on 3 Dec. 1686 (Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 379, puts his death somewhat earlier in the year).
Carbery was thrice married. His first wife was Bridget, daughter and heiress of Thomas Lloyd of Llanllyr, Cardiganshire (Meyrick, Cardiganshire, p. 243). His second wife, whose piety has been eulogised by Jeremy Taylor, was Frances, daughter and coheir of Sir John Altham [see Altham, Sir James] of Oxhey, Hertfordshire. She died on 9 Oct. 1650, and in July 1652 Carbery married, for his third wife, Lady Alice Egerton, daughter of John, first earl of Bridgwater. She was a pupil of Henry Lawes [q. v.], Milton's friend, who in 1653 dedicated his ‘Ayres and Dialogues’ to her and her sister Mary, the wife of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It has been popularly supposed that Milton's ‘Comus’ was founded upon an incident which once befell her; but the tradition probably arose from her having represented the Lady in the mask when it was performed at Ludlow (Masson, Milton, ii. 227–33; cf. Johnson, Life of Milton).
All Carbery's surviving issue was by his second wife. Francis, the eldest son, who was M.P. for Carmarthenshire from 1661 till his death, married in 1653 Rachel Wriothesley, afterwards wife of Lord William Russell [q. v.], but died in 1667 without issue, before his father, who was therefore succeeded by his second son,
John Vaughan, third and last Earl of Carbery (1640–1713). He was probably educated at home under Jeremy Taylor and William Wyatt [q. v.], and subsequently at Oxford, where he matriculated from Christ Church on 23 July 1656, proceeding thence to the Inner Temple, where he was admitted in 1658. He was knighted in April 1661, sat as M.P. for the borough of Carmarthen 1661–1679, and for the county 1679–81 and 1685–7. He was appointed governor of Jamaica, and sailed out thither early in December 1674, in company with Henry Morgan [q. v.] the buccaneer, who had also received a commission to be lieutenant-general of the island. Vaughan is said to have ‘made haste to grow as rich as his government would let him,’ and was charged with selling even his own servants. He was superseded by the Earl of Carlisle in March 1678 (Oldmixon, British Empire in America, 1708, ii. 278–81; cf. Bridges, Annals of Jamaica, i. 273–81. Papers relating to his administration are among the Marquis of Bath's manuscripts: see Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. p. 190, 4th Rep. p. 237). He succeeded his brother in the courtesy title of Lord Vaughan in 1667, and his father as third Earl of Carbery in 1686.
Like several other members of the family, he had a taste for literature. Besides being president of the Royal Society (1686–9), he was one of Dryden's earliest patrons, from as early as 1664, and wrote some commendatory verses which are prefixed to his ‘Conquest of Granada’ (1670–2). In August 1678 the poet in turn dedicated to Vaughan, who had then just returned from Jamaica, one of his coarsest poems, ‘Limberham’ (Scott, Dryden, vi. 6). Pepys describes him as ‘one of the lewdest fellows of the age, worse than Sir Charles Sedley’ [q. v.] (Diary, ed. 1848, iv. 265). He was also one of Charles II's most servile courtiers, and pressed savagely for Clarendon's impeachment in 1667 (ib. p. 357; Ranke, Hist. of England, iii. 451). In 1679 he took part in the debate on securing the protestant religion (ib. iv. 82). He lived chiefly at a house (since called Gough House) which he had built at Chelsea (Lysons, Environs of London, ii. 90). He was a member of the Kit-Cat Club, and a ‘very fine’ portrait of him by Sir Godfrey Kneller, which used to be hung up in the club, was engraved by Cooper (for ‘Memoirs of the Kit-Cat Club,’ p. 124), and is now in the possession of W. R. Baker, esq., of Bayfordbury, Hertfordshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 69).
He was thrice married, but died on 12 Jan. 1712–13 without male heir, when the barony of Vaughan and the Irish honours became extinct. By his second wife, Anne, daughter of George Savile, first marquis of Halifax [q. v.], who died in childbirth in 1689 (Luttrell, i. 212, 560), he had an only daughter and heiress, Anne, who married, in 1713, Charles Paulet or Powlett, third duke of Bolton [q. v.], but died without issue on 20 Sept. 1751, leaving the Vaughan estates, by this time the largest in West Wales, to her kinsman, John Vaughan of Torcoed (d. 1765), whose grandson in 1804 bequeathed them, out of personal affection, to his friend John Campbell, first baron Cawdor, in whose descendants they are still vested.
There are numerous portraits of this family preserved at Derwydd, Carmarthenshire, in the possession of Alan Stepney-Gulston, esq., who is descended from a younger brother of the first Earl of Carbery. They include a portrait of the third earl, painted by Guest in 1703; a mezzotint engraving by Faber (1733), after Kneller; and a painting, after the school of Mignard, of the last Lady Carbery. There are at Golden Grove over twenty other portraits of various members of the Vaughan family, including three of the second earl, while some other heirlooms are in the possession of the representatives of the Duke of Bolton.
The present barony of Carbery is a new and independent creation, dating from 1715, and conferred on a family named Evans, originally sprung from Carmarthenshire (Jones, Brecknockshire, ii. 669, and Corrigenda), and said to be ‘not very distantly related to the Vaughans’ (Kit-Cat Memoirs, loc. cit.).[In addition to the authorities cited see, as to the pedigree of the family, Burke's Extinct Peerage (s.v. ‘Vaughan’), p. 546, and Landed Gentry, ed. 1868 (sub nom. ‘Watkins, Penoyre’), p. 1620, Golden Grove Book of Manuscript Pedigrees, deposited by Earl Cawdor at the Record Office; Yorke's Royal Tribes of Wales, ed. 1887, pp. 106–7; Nicholas's County Families of Wales, 2nd edit. pp. 217, 259, 264, 936; Sir Thomas Phillipps's Carmarthenshire Pedigrees, p. 1; and cf. Archæologia Cambrensis, 4th ser. xii. 201, 220–38, and 273–88, and 5th ser. x. 168. Most of the contemporary papers relating to the part taken by Carbery in the civil war are printed in Phillips's Civil War in Wales and the Marches, vol. ii., and Fenton's Pembrokeshire, App. p. 7 (cf. pp. 194, 443), and are summarised in Laws's Little England beyond Wales, pp. 320–32, cf. 337. See also Commons' Journals, iii. 52, iv. 365, 444, v. 64, 104; Lords' Journals, viii. 184, 198–9, 706–7; Cambrian Journal (for 1861), viii. 17 et seq.; Webb's Civil War in Herefordshire, i. 377–9, ii. 30; Clive's History of Ludlow, pp. 184, 290; Some Notices of the Stepney Family by Robert Harrison (privately printed, 1870), pp. 9–13, 28, 30; Williams's Parliamentary Hist. of Wales, pp. 44–6; information kindly supplied by Alan Stepney-Gulston, esq., Derwydd, and Alcuin C. Evans, esq., Carmarthen.]