Manners, Charles (DNB00)

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MANNERS, CHARLES, fourth Duke of Rutland (1754–1787), the elder son of John Manners, marquis of Granby [q. v.], by his wife Lady Frances Seymour, daughter of Charles, sixth duke of Somerset, and grandson of John, third duke of Rutland, was born on 15 March 1754. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where be was created M.A, in 1774. At the general election in October 1774 he was returned to the House of Commons for the Universitv of Cambridge. He warmly opposed the third reading of the bill for restraining the trade of the southern colonies of America In April 1775, and protested against the taxation of that country, which he declared 'commenced in iniquity, is pursued with resentment, and, can terminate in nothing but blood' (Parl. Hist. xviii. 601–3; see also Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 1840, iv. 405–6). On 18 Nov. 1777 his amendment to the address praying that the king might be pleaaed 'to cause the most speedy and effectual measures to be taken for restoring peace in America' was seconded by Lord John Cavendish [q. v.], and supported by Burke and Fox, but was defeated by 243 to 86 (Parl. Hist. xix. 414–15, 442). Upon the death of his grandfather John, third duke of Rutland, on 29 May 1779, he succeeded to the title (cf. Journals of the House of Lords, xxxv, 800). He was sworn lord-lieutenant of Leicestershire on 9 July 1779 (London Gazette, No. 11994), and invested a knight of the Garter on 3 Oct. 1782. On 14 Feb. 1783 he was appointed lord steward of the household with a seat in the Earl of Skelburne's cabinet, and on the same day was admitted a member of the privy council. He resigned office upon the formation of the coalition ministry in April 1783, but was appointed lord privy seal in Pitt's administration on 23 Dec. following (ib. No. 12503). He was induced by Pitt to accept the post of lord-lieutenant of Ireland in the place of the Earl of Northington on 11 Feb. 1784, and was sworn in at Dublin on the 24th of the same month(ib. No. 13623). Though Pitt at first seems to have been sincerely anxious to reform the Irish parliament, Rutland pronounced the question of reform to be 'difficult and dangerous to the last degree,' and while the demand for retrenchment at its height insisted on the creation of places in order to strengthen the parliamentary influence of the government. Ho appears to have quickly made up his mind in favour of a legislative union, and in a letter to Pitt, dated 16 June 1784, says: 'Were I to indulge a distant speculation, I should say that without an union Ireland will not be connected with Great Britain in twenty years longer' (Correspondence, 1890, pp. 18-19). In a speech delivered in the House of Lords on 11 April 1799 Richard Watson, bishop of Llandaff, who had been the duke's tutor at Cambridge, mentioned that he had pressed the importance of a legislative union upon Rutland, who replied that 'he wholly approved of the measure, but added the man who should attempt to carry the measure into execution would be tarred and feathered' (Parl. Hist., xxxiv. 736). After a long correspondence between the English and Irish governments, Pitt's commercial propositions were laid before the Irish House of Commons on 7 Feb. 1785 in the form of ten resolutions. They passed through the Irish parliament after a concession had been made by Rutland to Grattan's views. Owing to the determined opposition of the English manufacturers, the resolutions were so materially altered in the English parliament that when Orde, the chief secretary, moved for leave to bring in the bill embodying them (12 Aug. 1785), it was denounced by Grattan in a magnificent speech, and Rutland had to abandon the idea of carrying it through the Irish parliament.

Rutland was an amiable and extravagant peer, without any particular talent, except for conviviality. The utmost magnificence signalised the entertainments of the vice-regal court, and the duke and the duchess 'were reckoned the handsomest couple in Ireland' (Sir J. Barrington, Historic Memoirs, ii. 225). In the summer of 1787 Rutland went for a tour through the country, and was entertained at the seats of many noblemen. 'During the course of this tour,' says Wraxall, 'he invariably began the day by eating at breakfast six or seven turkey's eggs as an accompaniment to tea and coffee. He then rode forty and sometimes fifty miles, dined at six or seven o'clock, after which he drank very freely, and concluded by sitting up to a late hour, always supping before he retired to rest' (Memoirs, v. 34). Upon his return to Dublin he was seized with a violent fever, and died at Phœnix Lodge on 24 Oct. 1787, aged 33. His body, after living in state in the great committee room of the House of Lords, was removed to England with great pomp (London Gazettes, 1787, pp. 545-7), and was buried at Bottesford, Leicestershire, on 25 Nov. 1787. George Crabbe the poet, who had been the duke's domestic chaplain at Belvoir, wrote 'A Discourse read in the Chapel at Belvoir Castle after the Funeral of His Grace the Duke of Rutland,' &c. (London, 1788, 4to); while Bishop Watson pronounced an extravagant panegyric on the late duke during the debate on the address on 27 Nov. 1787 (Parl. Hist. xxvi. 1233-4).

Rutland was an intimate friend of William Pitt, who owed his first seat in the House of Commons to the duke's influence with Sir James Lowther (Wraxall, ii. 81-2). Part of the 'Correspondence between the Right. Hon. William Pitt and Charles, Duke of Rutland, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland 1781-1787,' was privately printed by Lord Mahon (afterwards Earl Stanhope) in 1842 (London, 8vo). This volume was reprinted and published by the present Duke of Rutland in 1890 (London, 8vo). The correspondence of the Irish government with Thomas Townshend (afterwards Viscount Sydney) during Rutland's viceroyalty is preserved at the Record Office. The 'Parliamentary History' records no speeches delivered by Rutland in the House of Lords. His speeches in the Irish parliament will be found in the 'Journals of the Irish House of Lords' (v. 533-4, 635-6, 658, 660, 754-5, vi. 2-3, 124-5).

He married, on 26 Dec. 1775, Lady Mary Isabella Somerset, the youngest daughter of Charles, fourth duke of Beaufort, by whom he had four sons—viz. (1) John Henry, who, born on 4 Jan. 1778, succeeded as the fifth duke, and died on 20 Jan. 1857; (2) Charles Henry Somerset, who, born on 24 Oct. 1780, became a general in the army, and died on 25 May 1855; (3) Robert William, who, born on 14 Dec. 1781, became a major-general in the army, and died on 15 Nov. 1835; and (4) William Robert Albanac, who, born on 1 May 1783, died on 22 April 1793—and two daughters: (1) Elizabeth Isabella, who married Richard Norman of Leatherhead, Surrey, on 21 Aug. 1798, and died on 5 Oct. 1853, and (2) Katherine Mary, who married Cecil Weld Forester (afterwards first Baron Forester) on 17 June 1800, and died on 10 March 1829. The duchess survived her husband many years, and died in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, on 2 Sept. 1831, aged 75. She was a strikingly handsome woman, and Wraxall gives a glowing description of her charms (Memoirs, v. 36-7). Sir Joshua Reynolds, to whom the duke gave a large number of commissions, painted her four times. The first portrait, taken in March 1780, and engraved by Valentine Green in the same year, was destroyed in the disastrous fire at Belvoir in October 1816. A half-length portrait of the duke, painted in 1776 by Reynolds, belongs to the Marquis of Lothian. There are engravings by Dickinson (1794) and Hodges of a whole-length portrait by Reynolds. Portraits of the duke and the duchess painted by Richard Cosway were engraved by William Lane [q. v.]

[Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Peter Cunningham, vols, vi. vii. viii. ix.; Sir Jonah Barrington's Historic Memoirs of Ireland, 1833, ii. 216-226; Hardy's Memoirs of the Earl of Charlemont, 1812, ii. 143-61; Life and Times of Henry Grattan, 1841, iii. 198-312; Earl Stanhope's Life of William Pitt, 1861, i. 46, 165, 183-4, 260-76, 349; Life and Poems of the Rev. George Crabbe, 1834, i. 111-27, 131, 136-7, ii. 14, 67-9, 97; Lecky's History of England in the Eighteenth Century, iv. 269, 296, vi 317, 351-413, 414; Nichols's Hist. and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, 1795, ii. pt. i. pp.66, 68, 100; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. of the Eighteenth Century, 1814-15, viii. 122, 142, ix. 9; Nichols's Illustrations, 1812-15, vii. 702-3, viii. 12; Leslie and Taylor's Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1865; Gent. Mag. 1787, pt.ii. pp. 938, 1016, 1021, 1043, 1123, 1180; Ann. Reg.1787, pp. 226-227, 238, 276-7; Doyle's Official Baronage, 1886, ii. 202; Burke's Peerage, 1891, p. 1197; Return of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. p. 149; Grad. Cantabr. 1823, p. 197, App.p. 16.]

G. F. R. B.