Keppel, George (1724-1772) (DNB00)

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KEPPEL, GEORGE, third Earl of Albemarle (1724–1772), general, colonel 3rd dragoons (now hussars), was the eldest son of William Anne, second earl [q. v.], and his wife, the Lady Anne Lennox. He was born 8 April 1724, and on 1 Feb. 1738 was appointed ensign in the Coldstream guards. He was promoted to captain-lieutenant in the 1st royal dragoons 25 April 1741, was transferred to the Coldstream guards 14 April 1743, and became captain and lieutenant-colonel therein 27 May 1745. Albemarle, then Lord Bury, was the favourite aide-de-camp of William, duke of Cumberland, with whom he was present at Fontenoy and at Culloden. On the morning of Culloden he had a narrow escape from death at the hands of a highlander, who had found his way into the camp, and, snatching a musket from a soldier, fired at Bury point-blank, believing him from his showy dress to be the duke. Bury brought the Culloden despatches to London (by sea from Inverness), receiving from the king a gift of 1,000l. He was also made aide-de-camp to the king, and a lord of the bedchamber to the Duke of Cumberland. He was returned as member for Chichester, which city he represented until his removal to the upper house. On 1 Nov. 1749 he was appointed colonel of the 20th foot. Wolfe, then lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, calls him ‘one of those showy men who are seen in palaces and in the courts of men. … He desires never to see his regiment, and wishes that no officer would ever leave it’ (Wright, chap. ix.) Bury, however, afterwards joined his regiment at Inverness, and signalised himself by very high-handed dealing with the magistrates, who invited him to an entertainment on the Duke of Cumberland's birthday. He insisted, under pain of reprisals from the soldiers, that the banquet should be deferred till the anniversary of Culloden (ib.) He succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father in 1754, and the same year was transferred to the colonelcy of the 3rd dragoons. He became a major-general in 1756, and lieutenant-general in 1759, and a privy councillor and governor of Jersey in 1761. He was a member of the court-martial of Lord George Sackville (afterwards Germain) [q. v.], and was said to have shown much animus against the prisoner in the cross-examination of the witnesses. On 5 March 1762 he was sent with a force of ten thousand troops on board Admiral Pocock's fleet to attack the Havana. The conquest was achieved by the capture of Moro Castle, in the face of difficulties supposed to be insurmountable, on 30 July 1762. Albemarle's share as commander-in-chief was 122,000l. His conduct as a conqueror was alleged to be harsh and exacting. He banished the Bishop of Havana to Florida for appointing clergy without his approval, and he exacted contributions from the merchants which the government at home denied his right to levy. He was consequently obliged to refund the money. He returned home in February 1763. He was made a K.B. in December 1764, and a K.G. in July 1771. In politics his views were very liberal. He distinguished himself by his opposition to the Royal Marriage Act and the rescinding of the East India dividends, and in 1770 by pledging himself, with forty-seven other peers, to oppose any future infringement of popular rights at elections.

Albemarle married, in 1771, Anne (d. 1824), daughter of Sir John Miller, bart., of Chichester, by whom he had an only son, William Charles, who succeeded him. Horace Walpole, who was Albemarle's intimate friend, speaks of his marriage as disappointing ‘his brothers and my niece.’ Albemarle died 13 Oct. 1772, aged 48, and was buried at Quiddenham, Norfolk. His official correspondence, 1746–1768, is in the Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 32708–33072.

[Collins's Peerage, 1812 ed. vol. iii.; Doyle's Official Baronage; Foster's Peerage, under ‘Albemarle;’ Georgian Era, ii. 72; Wright's Life of Wolfe, London, 1864, chap. ix.; Campbell-Maclachlan's Order Book of William, duke of Cumberland, London, 1875; Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs, London, 1794, vols. ii. and iii.; George Thomas, sixth earl of Albemarle's Lord Rockingham and his Contemporaries, London, 1852, vol. i.; Horace Walpole's Letters, vols. i–vii.]

H. M. C.