Hudson, James (DNB00)

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HUDSON, Sir JAMES (1810–1885), diplomatist, son of Harrington Hudson of Bessingby Hall, Bridlington, Yorkshire, by Anne, daughter of the first Marquis Townshend, was born in 1810, and educated at Rugby and Westminster, and in Paris and Rome. He was page to George III and William IV, and also assistant private secretary to the latter king, and gentleman usher to Queen Adelaide. He was the messenger who was sent to summon Peel home on the dismissal of Melbourne in 1834 (see Croker Papers, ii. 245; Torrens, Life of Lord Melbourne, ii. 49). From Disraeli's description, 'The hurried Hudson rushed into the chambers of the Vatican,' he was nicknamed 'Hurry Hudson.' He then entered the diplomatic service, and was successively secretary of legation at Washington in 1838, at the Hague in 1843, and at Rio Janeiro in 1845. He was promoted to be envoy at Rio Janeiro in 1850. In 1851 he was appointed envoy to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but before proceeding to Florence was promoted to the legation at Turin, where he remained until 1863. He strongly sympathised with the cause of Italian unity and independence, and lent it great assistance. He received the order of the Bath in 1855, when the Sardinian troops arrived in the Crimea, and the Grand Cross of the Bath in 1863. His sympathy with the Italian patriots almost passed the limits of diplomatic discretion. He was summoned home in April 1859, 'and came,' says Lord Malmesbury, in a state of great alarm, fearing he might not be allowed to return to Turin as minister, and took leave of Cavour, saying it was doubtful whether he would see him again. The fact is that he is more Italian than the Italians themselves, and he lives almost entirely with the ultras of that cause. I had reason to complain of his silence, and quite understand how disagreeable to him it must have been to aid, however indirectly, in preventing a war which he thought would bring about his favourite object, namely, the unification of Italy' (Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, ii. 169). The 'Times' said of him that he had disobeyed the instructions of two successive governments, and acted according to the wishes of the people of England. When the Italian kingdom was consolidated in 1860, Hudson found his expenses as minister fast increasing, and although Lord John Russell when at the foreign office raised his salary from 3,600l. to 4,000l., and in 1861 to 5,000l., he found it insufficient to cover his expenses. In 1863 Lord John offered him the embassy at Constantinople, but Hudson preferred to remain at Turin until he became entitled to his first-class pension later in the year. On his resignation Lord John Russell was unfairly charged with jobbery in removing him to make way for Henry Elliot, a relative of his own (cf. G. Elliot's pamphlet, Sir James Hudson and Earl Russell, London, 1886: Walpole, Lord John Russell, ii. 438). From 1863 until 1885 Sir James lived in retirement principally in Italy. He died at Strasburg on 20 Sept. 1885.

[Times, 23 Sept. 1885. For the controversy upon his retirement see Times, 15, 18, and 25 Aug. and 12 Sept. 1863.]

J. A. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.162
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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149 i 12f.e. Hudson, Sir James: for George III read George IV