Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fane, John (1784-1859)

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FANE, JOHN, eleventh Earl of Westmorland (1784–1859), only son of John Fane, tenth earl of Westmorland [q. v.], was born at 4 Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London, 3 Feb. 1784, and known as Lord Burghersh from that time until 15 Dec. 1841, when he succeeded his father as Earl of Westmorland. He was educated at Harrow, and at Trinity College, Cambridge (M.A. in 1808). He was elected M.P. for Lyme Regis 18 March 1806, and sat until March 1816, when he retired. He again contested the constituency unsuccessfully in 1832 as a tory. On 30 June 1803 he became a lieutenant in the Northamptonshire regiment of militia, but soon joined the 11th foot as an ensign, serving subsequently in the 7th foot, the 23rd foot, the 3rd dragoons, the 91st foot, and the 63rd foot. In 1805 he was appointed aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-general George Don in the expedition to Hanover, served in Sicily as assistant adjutant-general in 1806–7, and afterwards in Egypt, under General Wauchope, took part in the first storming of Rosetta, and the second attack and siege of that place under Sir W. Stewart. In 1808 he joined the army in Portugal, and was present at the battles of Roliça and Vimeiro. He acted as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington in the following year, and took part in the battle of Talavera. He served with the 3rd dragoon guards in the campaign in Portugal in 1810, including the retreat to Torres Vedras, battle of Busaco, and advance to Santarem. In September 1813 he proceeded to the headquarters of the allied armies under Prince Schwarzenberg in Germany, accredited as military commissioner. He was present during the campaign of 1814 in France, from the taking of Langres until the capture of Paris. He was sent, 14 Aug. 1814, as envoy extraordinary to Florence, and after serving in the campaign against Naples in 1815, he signed, in conjunction with Field-marshal Bianchai, the convention of Caza Lanza, which restored the kingdom of Naples to the Bourbons. Burghersh was named a privy councillor 28 March 1822, becoming major-general in 1838. In 1825 he went to Naples to congratulate Francis I on his accession to the throne of the Two Sicilies. He was gazetted envoy extraordinary to Naples 11 Nov. 1830, but this appointment was revoked. While resident minister at Berlin 1841–51 he acted as mediator between Denmark and Prussia in the Schleswig-Holstein question, and was one of the parties who signed the treaty of peace 2 July 1850. On removing from Berlin to Vienna 27 Jan. 1851, he was unremittingly engaged in the negotiations connected with the Turkish difficulties, and in February 1855, in conjunction with Lord John Russell, took part in the congress of Vienna. In November of the same year he retired from the service on a diplomatic pension, but performed one last duty in the following July by conveying the queen's congratulations to the king of the Belgians on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his accession to the throne. Westmorland became colonel of the 56th regiment 17 Nov. 1842, received the silver war medal with four clasps in 1849, and was promoted to be a general in the army 20 June 1854. The university of Cambridge made him LL.D. in 1814, and the university of Oxford D.C.L. in 1834. He was gazetted G.C.B. 24 June 1846, and was a knight of many foreign orders. As a musician he was not less distinguished than he had been as a soldier and a diplomatist. At an early age he displayed an instinctive passion for music as an amateur performer on the violin, and as he grew older studied the violin and composition under Hague, Zeidler, Mayseder, Platoni, Portogallo, and Bianchi. Perceiving the disadvantages under which his countrymen laboured as compared with the natives of other countries, he proposed in 1822 the formation of an academy of music. This proposal ultimately led to the opening of the Royal Academy of Music 24 March 1823, an institution of which Westmorland was the undisputed founder, and in which he took an active interest throughout the remainder of his life. He was the writer of seven operas, ‘Bajazet,’ ‘Fedra,’ ‘Il Torneo,’ ‘L'Eroe di Lancastro,’ ‘Catarina, ossia L'Assedio di Belgrado,’ ‘Il Ratto de Proserpina,’ and ‘Lo Scompiglio Teatrale.’ Some of these were played at Florence, and ‘Catarina’ was publicly rehearsed by the pupils of the Royal Academy in October 1830. He also wrote three cantatas, masses, cathedral services, anthems, hymns, madrigals, canons, canzonets, and airs, which were printed, besides music which he left in manuscript. He died at Apthorpe House, Northamptonshire, 16 Oct. 1859.

So highly was he esteemed in Berlin that, on the news of his death reaching that capital, the principal military bands assembled in the presence of the prince regent and a distinguished company, and performed Beethoven's funeral march, a favourite of Westmorland's, many of whose musical compositions were well known in Berlin. His wife was Priscilla Anne Fane [q. v.]

He was the author of the following works:

  1. ‘Memoirs of the Early Campaigns of the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain. By an Officer employed in his army’ (i.e. John Fane), 1820.
  2. ‘Il Torneo, dramma posto in musica da Milord Burghersh,’ Milan, 1820.
  3. ‘Il Torneo. The Tournament, a serious Opera, the music composed by Lord Burghersh, Italian and English,’ 1838.
  4. ‘Memoir of the Operations of the Allied Armies under Prince Schwarzenberg and Marshal Blücher,’ 1822, 2nd ed. 1822.
  5. ‘Ragguaglio delle operazioni degli eserciti confederati agli ordini del Principe di Schwarzenberg e del Maresciallo Blücher,’ Turin, 1824, second edition, Florence, 1827.
  6. ‘A Letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons on the claims of the British Roman Catholics,’ 1827.
  7. ‘A Letter to Earl Fortescue on his Speech respecting a Monument to Field-marshal Lord Raglan,’ 1858.
[Gent. Mag. November 1859, pp. 533–4; Times, 18 Oct. 1859, p. 7, and 9 Nov. p. 8; Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 645, with portrait; Cazalet's Royal Academy of Music (1854), pp. 9–24, with portrait; James D. Brown's Dict. of Musicians (1886), p. 613.]

G. C. B.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.120
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
177 i 29 Fane, John, 11th Earl of Westmorland: after Bourbons. insert He was A.D.C. to George IV both as prince regent and king, 1814-25; became major-general in 1825 and lieutenant-general in 1838.