Stanhope, Charles (1753-1829) (DNB00)

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STANHOPE, CHARLES, third Earl of Harrington (1753–1829), soldier, born on 20 March 1753, was the eldest son of William Stanhope, second earl of Harrington, and grandson of William Stanhope, first earl of Harrington [q. v.] He entered the army as an ensign in the Coldstream guards in November 1769, and in August 1773 obtained a captaincy in the 29th foot. From 1774 to 1776 he was M.P. for Thetford, and in the succeeding parliament sat for Westminster till his father's death in 1779. Meanwhile, he had exchanged his light company in the 29th for the grenadier company,his promotion being obtained, says Walpole, through the partiality of the war secretary, William Wildman Barrington, second viscount Barrington (Journal of Reign of George III, ii. 16). In February 1776 he embarked with the regiment for Quebec, and landed in face of an American cannonade. He was present at the subsequent successful action in the plains of Abraham. During the remainder of the year he was engaged in operations on the St. Lawrence, under Sir Guy Carleton, afterwards first lord Dorchester [q. v.] In the following year he accompanied General John Burgoyne [q. v.] as aide-de-camp on the disastrous campaign which ended with Saratoga. He was recommended by his commander to Lord George Germain [q. v.], secretary at war, as deserving of promotion on account of his excellent qualities and services during the campaign. On 24 Dec. 1777 he reached England with despatches announcing the surrender at Saratoga, the news of which had already arrived. In the following month, owing to Burgoyne's recommendation, he 'was suffered to buy' a higher commission, and obtained a captaincy in the 3rd foot-guards (ib. 17 Jan. 1778). In April 1779 he succeeded to the peerage. On 1 June of that year Harrington was examined before the select committee appointed to inquire into the management of Burgoyne's last campaign. He testified to that general's efforts to restrain the excesses of his Indian allies, and gave his opinion that a retreat after the action at Saratoga was impracticable. Walpole thought that Harrington 'did himself and Burgoyne honour' (to Conway, 5 June 1779). Having raised an infantry regiment (the 85th) at his own expense, he in 1780 embarked for Jamaica at the head of it, with the rank of brigadier. He assisted the governor (John Balling) to put the island into an efficient state of defence in view of an expected attack by the French, but within about a year had to return home with his wife on account of bad health. The 85th suffered so much from the climate that the remnant left by the ravages of disease had to be embarked on some of Rodney's prizes and sent home.

On 26 Nov. 1782 Harrington was gazetted colonel and aide-de-camp to the king, and in the following March received the colonelcy of the 65th foot. With that regiment he first tried the new tactics introduced by Sir David Dundas (1735-1820) [q. v.] On 29 Jan. 1788 he received the command of his old regiment, the 29th. For the next three years he was in garrison with it at Windsor, and was brought much into contact with the royal family. In March 1788 he was offered the post of British resident at the court of Russia, but declined, apparently because, owing to the inferior rank of the tsarina's minister at St. James's, he could not bear the full title of ambassador (see Corresp. with Lord Carmarthen, Add. MS. 28063).

On 5 Dec. 1792 Harrington was appointed colonel of the 1st life-guards and gold stick in waiting. The latter appointment precluded him from serving (as he desired) with the Duke of York in Holland. He attained the rank of major-general in October 1793, lieutenant-general in January 1798, and general on 25 Sept.1802; and was sworn of the privy council on 24 Oct. 1798. From July 1803 to October 1805 he acted as second in command on the staff" of the London district, and on 31 Oct. of the latter year was appointed commander-in-chief in Ireland. The latter appointment he held till January 1812. Meanwhile he had been appointed to undertake special diplomatic missions to Vienna in November 1805, and to Berlin in. the following January.

On his return from Ireland he received the retiring appointment of constable and governor of Windsor Castle (14 March 1812), and in 1816 the grand cross of the Hanoverian order. At the coronation of George IV he was bearer of the great standard of England. Harrington was personally popular with both that king and his father; and his wife was a lady of the bedchamber and prime favourite of Queen Charlotte. Harrington died at Brighton on 15 Sept. 1829. Although he saw little service except in his earlier years, his military knowledge was accounted equal to that of any of his contemporaries. The new sword adopted by the army in 1792 was introduced by him.

Harrington married, in May 1779, Jane Seymour, daughter and coheiress of Sir John Fleming, bart., of Brompton Park, Middlesex. She was buried in Westminster Abbey on 12 Feb. 1824. Six sons and two daughters were issue of the marriage. The eldest son, Charles (see below), and the third son, Leicester Fitzgerald Charles Stanhope [q.v.], each succeeded to the earldom of Harrington. The second son, Major-general Lincoln Edwin Robert Stanhope, C.B., died in 1840. The fourth son, Fitzroy Henry Richard (1787-1864), was originally in the army, but afterwards took holv orders, and was father of Charles Wyndtiam (1809-1881), seventh earl of Harrington. Of the daughters, Anna Maria married the Marquis of Tavistock (afterwards Duke of Bedford); and Charlotte Augusta the Duke of Leinster.

A portrait of Harrington was painted by Fayram and engraved by Faber; another was engraved by Rawle. A portrait of the countess with her children was engraved by Bartolozzi from a painting by Sir J. Reynolds. Another portrait of her was painted by Reynolds and engraved by Val. Green; and one was also engraved by Cooper.

Charles Stanhope, fourth Earl of Harrington (1780-1851), eldest son of the third earl, was born at Harrington House, St. James's, on 8 April 1780. He obtained an ensigncy in the Coldstream guards in December 1795, and in November 1799 became captain in the Prince of Wales's light dragoons. In February 1803 he was gazetted major in the queen's rangers, and on 25 June 1807 lieutenant-colonel of the 3rd West India regiment. He was placed on half-pay in August 1812, and on 4 June 1814 attained the rank of colonel in the army. In March 1812 he was named a lord of the bedchamber and again held that appointment from January 1820 till November 1829. As Lord Petersham he was one of the best known figures in society during the regency and reign of George IV, and figures frequently in contemporary prints. His habits and tastes were eccentric. He never went out till 6 P.M., and his whole equipage was invariably of a certain brownish hue. He designed the Petersham overcoat and the Petersham snuff-mixture, and mixed his own blacking. In common with his family, he was a great connoisseur in tea, and his room was described by Captain Gronow as like a shop, full of tea-canisters and boxes of snuff labelled in gilt. He had a large and valuable collection of snuff-boxes. His hats were also peculiar (Meltost, Hints on Hats, p. 39). In person he was tall and handsome, and dressed like Henri Quatre, whom he was supposed to resemble. In spite of his affectations he was personally popular. Moore met him at dinner at Horace Twiss's chambers in Chancery Lane in June 1819 (Diary and Corresp. ii. 320).

Petersham was a great patron of the stage, and, after his accession to the peerage as Lord Harrington in 1829, married Maria Foote [q. v.], the actress, who survived him. Their only child, a daughter, married George, second marquis Conyngham. Harrington died on 3 March 1851. He was succeeded in the title by his brother, Leicester Fitzgerald Charles Stanhope.

[Doyle's Official Baronage; Peerages of G. E. C. and Burke ; State of the Expedition from Canada, 1780, 2nd edit. pp. 64-81, and App.; Gent. Mag. 1829, ii. 365-8; Public Characters, 1828, ii. 306; Stanhope's Hist, of England, vi. 260 n., 286, 313. Evans's Cat. Engr. Portraits; Moore's Diary and Corresp. i. 110, 113, 186, ii. 32, iv. 80, viii. 62,63. For the fourth Lord Harrington , see also Captain Gronow's Reminiscences, 1892, i. 284-6, where he figures in several of the coloured plates. In Ashton's Social England under the Regency (vol. ii.) are reproduced a portrait published in January 1812 by H. Humphrey, and a caricature of Petersham in the Cossack trousers in vogue in 1815. A drawing of Petersham as 'a noble aide-de-camp,' given in Timbs's English Eccentrics, probably represents his father.]

G. Le G. N.