The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Carrington, Right Hon. Charles Robert, Baron

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1365382The Dictionary of Australasian Biography — Carrington, Right Hon. Charles Robert, BaronPhilip Mennell

Carrington, Right Hon. Charles Robert, Baron, G.C.M.G., F.R.S., sometime Governor of New South Wales, is the eldest son of the second Lord Carrington, by his second wife, Augusta Annabella, younger daughter of Peter Robert, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, joint Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England. Lord Carrington was born on May 16th, 1843, and entering the army, ultimately became Captain in the Royal Horse Guards. He was member for Wycombe in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1868, when he succeeded his father in the peerage. From 1881 to 1885 he was Captain of the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, and in right of his mother is joint Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England. It was in 1885 that Lord Carrington, who had previously mainly had a reputation as a man of society and pleasure, first came forward in a prominent capacity as a serious publicist. The Australian Colonies had long been dissatisfied with the official, or "effete aristocratic," type of Governors, and had been demanding that future viceroys should be men of a class not deemed unworthy of the higher prizes of English political life. There were difficulties in the way of a literal compliance with the wish thus expressed; but as a sort of compromise, it was decided to go outside the official class, and to appoint for the future as colonial viceroys men of superior wealth and social status, the position being, in fact, as the Imperial authorities wisely recognised, mainly a social one. Lord Carrington was the Governor selected to inaugurate the new régime, and rendered it a striking success, his term of office as Governor of New South Wales from 1885 to 1890 giving high satisfaction to the Colonists, and constituting him, to quote Lord Onslow, the late Governor of New Zealand, probably "the most popular Governor who ever went to Australia." Even in the political arena Lord Carrington was able to exercise much quiet influence, and in his social duties, which he performed with unfailing tact, he was greatly aided by his wife, the daughter of the fifth Lord Suffield, to whom he was married in July 1878. The departure of Lord and Lady Carrington from New South Wales was marked by expressions of regret and esteem, quite without previous parallel in Australian history. Since his return to England Lord Carrington has taken an active part in English politics as a supporter of Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule policy, and has embraced numerous opportunities of placing his views on Colonial and Imperial topics before the public. He does not look with hope to a formal federation, but believes that the ties of kinship which now bind the Mother country and the Colonies might be indefinitely strengthened by sympathetic action on the part of the former. To the Liberal party he looks as the best exemplars of the imperialism of the future, and the speeches in which he has attacked what in some quarters is regarded as the vested monopoly of the Tory party in an enlightened colonial policy, have excited considerable attention both in England and the Colonies. At the elections in 1892 Lord Carrington was returned to the London County Council as a member of the "progressive" party.