Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Samuel Squire: Man of the Cloth and Man of the Whigs

"Samuel Squire," artist unknown
Samuel Squire was born and baptized at Warminster, Wiltshire in 1714. He was the son of the town druggist or apothecary, Thomas, and his wife, Susan. On 23 June 1730, he was admitted to St. John’s College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, and became a Somerset scholar. Since Squire was admitted pensioner, which meant he was paying his own tuition and fees, he started tutoring his fellow students as a way to help alleviate the cost and kept extensive account books to track his spending and income. During his school years, Squire studied an eclectic array of languages, including Greek, Latin, Old English, Hebrew, Icelandic, and Gothic. He quickly graduated BA in 1734 and then MA in 1737. He was also a recipient of the Craven Scholarship and was elected a fellow at St. John’s in 1735. He finally received his Doctor of Divinity in 1749.
                  Although Squire was set up for a successful career at the church, he first chose to go on a year-long tour before shouldering his ecclesiastical responsibilities. Although most young men at the time embarked on a continental tour, Squire chose to remain in Great Britain. It appears during this exploration he acquired a personal prejudice toward things Scottish, which can be seen in his later writings. In 1747, he refers to Scotland as “’the land of mountains, bareness and rebellion’” (Browning).
                  After gallivanting around Europe for a year, Squire was ordained Deacon in London on 17 June 1739 and so began his clerical career. Squire became an ordained priest in Norwich on 31 May 1741 and became vicar of Minting in Lincolnshire. For a period he served as the domestic chaplain for Dr. John Wynne in 1742. From 1743 to 1761 he served as the archdeacon of Bath and prebendary of Wells Cathedral in Wells. The duke of Newcastle appointed Squire his chaplain in 1743. He was rector of Toppesfield, Essex in 1749 but left in 1750 to be rector of St. Anne’s in Soho, London from 1750 to 1766. Not long after this appointment, Squire became vicar of Greenwich in London in 1751, which he held until his death in 1766. Once he had secured this living in Greenwich, he married a woman named Charlotte, who was the daughter of Thomas Ardesoif. The couple would have four children, the youngest of which, Samuel, published a biography of his father in 1817. In 1757, he became part of the royal court when he was appointed clerk of the closet to George, prince of Wales. In 1760, he was appointed Dean of Bristol and reached the height of his clerical career on 24 May 1761 when he was appointed bishop of St. David’s in Pembrokeshire (this promotion was likely due to the influence of James Stuart, earl of Bute and advisor to the prince of Wales).
                  Squire’s career is an example of the Whig system of patronage for they were infamous for their use of patronage to further their political interest and intelligence. Reed Browning states, “The political realities of the Hanoverian age specified that a cleric ambitious for a successful ecclesiastical career should provide useful support to the Whig cause.” By attaching himself early on to prominent Whigs, such as the Duke of Newcastle, Squire put himself on a path toward clerical prominence. His position as a fellow at Cambridge allowed him to provide the duke of Newcastle intel on the political conspiracies plotted at the university throughout the 1740s. Yet, Squire’s position also required him to make public Whig statements, which he accomplished in several essays published periodically (also during the 1740s).
The first essay, Letter to a Young Gentleman of Distinction (1740), he advocated for a standing army, as opposed to a militia, as the best form of protection against Spain and France. The Important Questions Discussed (1746) he wrote in defense of the placement of Britain’s troops on the continent. In a show of support for the Pelham ministry and its Whig principles, he wrote A Letter to a Tory Friend (1746).  In 1748, he also published two essays in response to Jacobite historian, Thomas Carte. Carte’s published works were in support of the Stuart house and Squire attempted use natural law theory in his essay, Remarks upon Mr. Carte’s Specimen, to tear down the Jacobite’s argument. A Letter to John-Trot Plaid was a satirical piece that mocked Carte’s tendency to describe the past in terms of the present.
Due to his expansive language studies while at St. John’s, when not publishing political pieces Squire wrote essays on language and history. His study of Greek led him to write Inquiry into the Origin of the Greek Language (1741), in which he presented Greek as a descendant of Hebrew. He also wrote an unpublished work on the Saxon language. Squire held an enthusiasm for ancient civilizations and wrote Ancient History of the Hebrews Vindicated in 1741 commending Pentateuch’s works and published A new edition of Plutarch’s Discourse on Iris and Osiris with his own commentary.
Some of his greatest works were essays he wrote on the English constitution, An Enquiry into the Foundation of the English Constitution (1745) and its sequel Historical Essay on the Balance of Civil Power in England (1748). An Enquiry examined the Anglo- Saxon constitution and concluded that it possessed many similarities to the current English constitution, both of which “existed to defend liberty, property, and justice” (Browning). According to Reed Browning, “An Enquiry had a political message: since the Court Whigs had the truest understanding of the constitution, they deserved the kingdom’s trust as guardians of English liberties” (Browning, 14). The Historical Essay was published to further this point, however, by the 1750s Squire had begun to revert from these earlier views. As research on Medieval England expanded and accumulated, Squire began to see inconsistencies with his earlier arguments and ceased to publish historical writings after 1748.
While clerk of the closet for the Prince of Wales, he wrote two Christian apologetics: Indifference of Religion Inexcusable (1758) and The Principles of Religion Made Easy to Young Persons (1763). He had written a memoir of Thomas Herring, archbishop of Canterbury, which was published as an appendix in a book of Herring’s sermons. The Royal Society recognized his work with language and history and inducted Squire as a fellow in May 1746, stating he was “A Gentleman well known to the Learned World by Several valuable Treatises.” He was also elected a fellow on the Society of Antiquaries in 1748. 
The fact that a clergyman spent part of his career as a pamphleteer on behalf of the Whigs was not unusual. The pamphleteering culture in the mid-eighteenth century could be brutal on both sides and the Court Whigs relied on the talents of the educated churchmen who understood how to organize textual and historical evidence. In exchange for their service, the clergymen were usually rewarded with positions that advanced them on the ecclesiastical hierarchy. In light of this, Squire could easily be seen as an unrelenting “climber” but perhaps his actions were in accordance with the time. The mid-eighteenth century was an “era of patronage,” where men who advanced positions usually did so through the favor of an influential individual. Although his cotemporaries had harsh words for his pathway of advancement, Squire was still considered a generous man who acted in a way a clergyman was expected.
“Squire, Samuel.” A Cambridge Alumni Database. Accessed July 13, 2015. http://venn.lib.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search.pl?sur=&suro=c&fir=&firo=c&cit=&cito=c&c=all&tex=%22SKR730S%22&sye=&eye=&col=all&maxcount=50.
“The Library Archives and Catalogue.” Royal Society. Accessed July 13, 2015. https://collections.royalsociety.org/DServe.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Persons&dsqPos=4&dsqSearch=%28%28text%29%3D%27Squire%27%29/
Browning, Reed. “Samuel Squire: Pamphleteering Churchman.” Eighteenth Century Life, vol. 5 no. 1, 1978. https://illiad.luc.edu/illiad/IAL/illiad.dll?Action=10&Form=75&Value=403999.
Browning, Reed. “Squire, Samuel (bap. 1714, d. 1766).” Reed Browning In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: OUP, 2004. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26192 (accessed July 14, 2015).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Simon Harcourt, Earl of Harcourt: "Pompous" but Genuine Court Man

Simon Harcourt, the son of barrister Hon. Simon Harcourt and his wife, Elizabeth, was born in 1714. Harcourt the younger received his early education from the Westminster School but like most young men from well-to-do families, embarked on a continental tour accompanied by a tutor in 1730. Prior to this journey, Harcourt’s grandfather, Viscount Harcourt passed away in 1727, allowing Harcourt to take on the family title and estates. After four years abroad, Harcourt returned to England and a year later married Rebecca, heir of Charles Sambourne Le Bas of Pipewell Abbey, Northamptonshire, on 16 October 1735. Rebecca was the only daughter of Charles Sambourne Le Bas, which provided her with a hefty dowry of £60,000. The couple would have four children.
            Harcourt began his career in the royal court and the military when he was appointed lord of the bedchamber to George II on 9 May 1935. Harcourt was by the king’s side during the battle of Dettingen on 27 June 1943 and commanded a regiment during the 1945 Jacobite uprising. Afterwards, Harcourt was promoted to colonel and would eventually be promoted to general in 1772. His loyalty to the monarch was rewarded on 1 December 1749 when he was bestowed the titles Viscount Nuneham of Nuneham Courtenay and Earl Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt.
            After the death of Frederick Prince of Wales in 1951, Prince George became the heir apparent. Due to the tenuous relationship George II had with Frederick, the monarch was disinclined to allow the new, young Prince of Wales to be educated by anyone but those who had “the full confidence of the government” (Brooke, 28). Therefore, Lord Harcourt, who was considered an orthodox Whig, replaced Lord North as governor of the Prince of Wales and Thomas Hayter, Bishop of Norwich, was appointed preceptor. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear Harcourt was not well fitted for the appointment. According to Horace Walpole, Harcourt was “minute and strict in trifles” and Harcourt’s lack of strong personality made him incapable of teaching the shy prince “other arts than what he knew himself—hunting and drinking” (Walpole, 86). Although Harcourt and Hayter were technically the heads of the prince’s household, most of the responsibility fell to their immediate subordinates, such as Andrew Stone and George Lewis Scott. Lord Harcourt is the same Harcourt who collaborated with Bishop Hayter to accuse Stone and Scott of teaching Prince George Jacobite doctrines. Harcourt claimed that Stone, Scott, and Cresset had “arrogated to themselves the entire management of the two boys and that ‘the tenor of it was such as led to the favouring of persons and principles’ for which Harcourt had ‘a just abhorrence’” (Brooke, 35). Harcourt and Hayter lacked any substantial evidence for such a treasonous claim besides the character and possible connections of the accused (Stone was allegedly in contact with Jacobites, Scott’s relationship with Viscount Bolingbroke put him under suspicion, and Cresset wouldn’t maintain such close relations with Stone and Scott unless he were a Jacobite as well). Lack of evidence and a denunciation of the accusations by George II led to the end of the scandal and the resignation of both Harcourt and Bishop Hayter. Fortunately for Harcourt, the scandal did not irreparably damage his reputation. After George III ascended the throne, Harcourt was appointed ambassador Mecklenburg to extend the new king’s offer of marriage to princess Charlotte. On 10 September 1761, Harcourt was appointed Charlotte’s master of the horse and in 1773, he was appointed lord chamberlain of the Queen’s household.
            During the Stamp Act crisis, Harcourt sided with Bute and Grenville and attempted to persuade the king against repealing the act that had caused uproar in the British colonies. The act was eventually repealed. Harcourt served as ambassador to Paris from 1768 to 1772, but did so halfheartedly. His time spent away from his post accumulated to over a year. Although Harcourt had been actively involved in politics for most of his life, he did not show real political ability until 1772 when he replaced Lord Townshend as Irish viceroy.  Harcourt made an effort to create a working relationship between the Irish parliament and the British government and managed to pacify Ireland by “making judicious concessions” (Powell). In the 1775 session of Irish parliament, Harcourt and his administration were “able to secure [parliament’s] support for the government’s American policy” (McDowell, 216). He was also able to secure permission from the Irish parliament to spare 4,000 troops in a show of support of the American War of Independence. Throughout his time in Ireland, Harcourt “reunited the revenue boards, reduced the corn bounty, and gained trade concessions… but at the same time he mortgaged a sizeable portion of Irish patronage through the distribution of peerages, offices, and pensions” (Powell). After Harcourt left this position in 1777 due to difficulties with the commander-in-chief, he retired to Nuneham.
            Walpole had described Harcourt as “civil and sheepish” (Walpole, 86). Although Harcourt had a tendency to be a “trifle pompous,” his years in Ireland prove that Harcourt did have political potential. Harcourt died tragically on 16 September 1777 after falling into a well and drowning in an attempt to rescue his dog. He was buried a week later on 24 September at Stanton Harcourt.
Brooke, John. King George III. New York: McGraw Hill, 1972.
Moody, T.W. and W.E. Vaughan, ed. A New History of Ireland, 4: Eighteenth Century Ireland, 1691-1800. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.
Powell, Martyn J.. “Harcourt, Simon, first Earl Harcourt (1714–1777).” Martyn J. Powell In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman, May 2006. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12245 (accessed July 6, 2015).
Walpole, Horace. Memoirs of the Reign of King George II, vol. 1. London: Colburn, 1846. https://books.google.com/books?id=tAM-AAAAcAAJ&q=Stone#v=onepage&q=cold%20mysterious&f=false.

Monday, July 6, 2015

John Blair: Chronologist and Clergyman

Information on John Blair lacks details about his birthday, family life, and early years but he is known to be a descendent of the Blairs of Balthayock, Perthshire and was born in Edinburgh. Blair would remain in Edinburgh where he was educated in theology so that he may join the Church of Scotland. During this time, he encountered notable peers whose ideas would later play a role in the Scottish Enlightenment, such as Hugh Blair, John Home, William Carlyle, and William Robertson. Although Blair received his license to preach in Scotland, he left Scotland for London with a decent patrimony and took up a position in the Church of England. He supposedly replaced Andrew Henderson, a Scottish writer notable for his work, The History of the Rebellion, 1745 and 1746, as usher at a school on Hedge Lane. Blair would remain in London for the rest of his life.
            Blair’s first, and arguably greatest, publication was The Chronology and History of the World from the Creation to the Year of Christ 1753, illustrated in fifty-six tables published in 1754. The original work was dedicated to Lord Chancellor Hardwicke but other editions would be dedicated to other figures, such as Augusta, the Dowager Princess of Wales. The table system used in the book was originally the “invention of a student (Dr. Hugh Blair) for his private convenience” but was “adopted, improved, and published” by John Blair, a distance relation of Hugh Blair (Hill, 201). The work was sold by subscription and its subscribers included George, Prince of Wales; the Princess Dowager of Wales; William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland; and Prince Edward. Blair’s preface ensures to personally acknowledge his “Great Obligations to the Right Honourable William Earl of Bath” with whom it appears Blair had been working closely with for many years. Blair’s book, unprecedented it its form, became the standard for work of this kind. Due to its popularity, the work was reprinted in 1756, 1768, and 1814. The 1768 edition included an additional fourteen maps along with “A dissertation of the rise and progress of geography.” Willoughby Rosse published another edition entitled Blair’s Chronological Tables, Revised and Enlarged in 1856 but believed Blair’s general outline was all that survived of the original work. The book was translated into French 1797 and American editions began appearing in the 1820s. 

Cover of Blair's The Chronology and History of the World

            Blair’s Chronology earned him a place in the Royal Society of London in 1755. That same year, Blair published, “Agitation of the waters near Reading” in the Royal Society’s Transactions. He became chaplain to the Princess Dowager of Wales in 1757 and was appointed the math tutor of Prince Edward. Blair’s relationship with Edward must have been a positive one for Blair escorted the young Prince on his continental tour in 1763-1764 and afterwards served as his secretary. Blair was selected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1761, the same year he was appointed prebendary of Westminster (a position earned in part due to Edward’s influence). Shortly after, the dean and the chapter of Westminster presented Blair with the vicarage of Hinckley. His position would transferred twice, first to the vicarage of St. Bride’s in London in 1771 and then to the rectory of St. John the Evangelist in Westminster in 1776. Blair also held a post in Buckinghamshire as rector of Horton.
A fellow Edinburgh classmate, Alexander Carlyle, writes in his autobiography that Blair was “a lively agreeable fellow, and one of the most friendly men in the world… a man of superior understanding, and of a most gentlemanly address”” (Carlyle, 189). The author notes how Blair took care of his friends, whether that be by purchasing a pair of stockings to “providing them with a settlement for life” (Carlyle, 338).
            Blair passed away on 24 June 1782 in Dean’s Yard, Westminster reportedly from influenza. His final publication, Lectures on the canon of scriptures, comprehending a dissertation on the Septuagint, was published three years after his death in 1785 and was dedicated to George III.

Blair, John. The Chronology and History of the World from the Creation to the Year of Christ 1753, illustrated in fifty-six tables. London: 1754. http://find.galegroup.com/ecco/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=Author&tabID=T001&prodId=ECCO&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchId=R1&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=1&qrySerId=Locale%28en%2C%2C%29%3AFQE%3D%28A0%2CNone%2C11%29John+Blair.%3AAnd%3ALQE%3D%28BA%2CNone%2C124%292NEF+Or+0LRH+Or+2NEK+Or+0LRL+Or+2NEI+Or+0LRI+Or+2NEJ+Or+0LRK+Or+2NEG+Or+0LRF+Or+2NEH+Or+0LRJ+Or+2NEM+Or+0LRN+Or+2NEL+Or+0LRM%24&retrieveFormat=MULTIPAGE_DOCUMENT&userGroupName=loyolau&inPS=true&contentSet=ECCOArticles&&docId=CW3302639099&retrieveFormat=MULTIPAGE_DOCUMENT&docLevel=FASCIMILE&workId=CW3302639099&relevancePageBatch=CW102639099&showLOI=Yes&contentSet=&callistoContentSet=ECLL&docPage=article&hilite=y.
Carlyle, Alexander and John Hill Burton, ed. Autobiography of the Rev. Alexander Carlyle, Minister of Inveresk. Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1860. https://archive.org/stream/autobiographyre00burtgoog#page/n345/mode/2up/search/licence.
Hill, John. An Account of the Life and Writings of Hugh Blair. Philadelphia: Humphreys, 1808. https://archive.org/stream/accountoflifewri1808hill#page/222/mode/2up.
Sher, Richard B.. “Blair, John (d. 1782).” Richard B. Sher In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: OUP, 2004. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2567 (accessed July 6, 2015).
The Popular Scottish Biography: Being Lives of Eminent Scotsmen. Edinburgh: The Edinburgh Printing and Publishing Company, 1841. https://books.google.com/books?id=lLBVAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA218&dq=the+popular+scottish+biography&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LAubVePDG8PwsAWjnJmgBg&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Blair&f=false.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Andrew Stone: Accused Jacobite "Behind the Scenes of the Political Stage"

"Andrew Stone" by C. Bestland, (after wax model by I. Gosset)
 Andrew Stone was born in February 1703 to Andrew Stone, a founder of Martin’s bank, and his wife, Anne Holbrooke. He was born in London and baptized at St. Mary Woolnoth. Stone’s brother, George Stone, was the archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. His education began on the foundation of the Westminster School, where he was taught from 1715 to 1722. During his early schoolboy years, he befriended fellow pupil, William Murray, with whom he would forge a lifelong friendship. Upon leaving the Westminster School, Stone enrolled in Christ Church in 1722, from which he would graduate BA in 1726 and MA in 1728. Throughout his school years Stone had proven to be a man of high intelligence and full of scholastic potential. After graduating from Christ Church, Stone remained in Oxford where he was introduced to the Duke of Newcastle by his brother-in-law, William Barnard. This meeting proved fortuitous for Stone’s political career for Newcastle took an instant liking to the young man. In a letter to his wife Newcastle wrote, “I have had the charmingest man with me at Claremont I ever saw… He has more learning, more parts, and as agreeable as any man I ever saw in my life” (“Stone, Andrew”). Within three weeks, the Duke had hired Stone as his personal secretary for £200 per annum.
            Stone’s friendship with the Duke would last almost three decades. During two of which Stone served as the Duke’s most trusted advisor, whose duties included writing speeches and dispatches, acting as mediator or negotiator in the Duke’s place, and to carry out and diplomatic or political assignments that Newcastle required. By virtue of Stone’s status, he joined Parliament in 1741 even though he appeared to lack much political ambition. Stone spent almost every weekend with the Duke in Claremont and acted as a prudent and trustworthy assistant. In a letter to Stone the Duke commented, “You know also my way of life, and my inclinations, make it necessary for me to have with me one in whom I can confide and with whom I can spend my leisure hours with pleasure at this place. Such a one I have ever found in you” (“Stone, Andrew”). When Stone married Hannah, daughter of Stephen Mauvillain and Hannah Gregory, on 7 July 1743, the Duke was concerned that Stone’s time at Claremont would be severely reduced. Stone, however, reassured Newcastle that he his ability to serve the Duke would be unaffected. Stone’s relationship with the Duke also served to put him in contact with the George II. The king thought highly of Stone and chose Stone to accompany him to Hanover in 1748 as the king’s private secretary. Stone’s loyalty reaped rewards: he was appointed under-secretary of state in August 1734 and took in an annual of £4,000 due to the many sinecures assigned to him by the Duke. From 1741 to 1761 Stone served as the MP for the Treasury borough of Hastings.
            Despite Stone’s many years of service to the Duke, he eventually left his post as assistant when he was named sub-governor of the future George III, who became Prince of Wales after his father’s death in 1751. By this time, Stone had become quite politically influential, which created bitter resentments amongst other members of the royal court. Even Horace Walpole had several choice words about Stone and thought him “a cold, mysterious man, of little plausibility, [and] had always confined his arts, his application, and probably his views to one or two great objects” (Walpole, 284). Walpole goes on the accuse Stone of having ingratiated himself with Princess Augusta in order to forward his career. The built-up jealousy resulted in a large scandal within the young prince’s household in 1752 when the prince’s governor, Lord Harcourt, in collaboration with the prince’s preceptor, Thomas Hayter, bishop of Norwich, attempted to accuse Stone, George Lewis Scott, sub-preceptor, and James Cresset, secretary to Princess Augusta of “teaching their charge Jacobite doctrines” (Langford, 221). Lord Waldegrave, who would replace Harcourt at the end of 1752, stated the full accusations included, “Jacobite connexions, instilling Tory principles, and Scott was moreover pronounced an atheist on the presumptive evidence of being a philosopher and a mathematician” (“Stone, Andrew”). The king believed the charges groundless and Harcourt and Hayter were replaced by Waldegrave and John Thomas, Bishop of Peterborough, respectively. This scandal, however, would not be Stone’s last. A year later, Lord Ravenswood went public with a story that Stone, William Murray, and James Johnson had supposedly “toasted to the health of the Pretender (James Stuart)” while they were studying at Oxford (Pollard). There was enough “evidence” for the Cabinet Council to conduct a full investigation but the “evidence”, merely a statement by Christopher Fawcett, the Recorder of Newcastle, proved to be insufficient and the three men were vindicated. Lord Waldegrave surmised that although these men “were men of sense, men of learning, and worthy good men, they had but little weight and influence” (“Stone, Andrew”).
            This tumultuous period ended and Stone was left to go about his duties in peace. Scandals aside, Stone continued to serve as sub-governor to the prince and then as secretary from 1756 to 1760. In 1760, George III ascended the throne and married Charlotte of Mecklenburg- Strelitz shortly thereafter. Stone was appointed treasurer to the new queen in 1761 and vacated his seat in Parliament that same year. After thirty years of friendship and correspondence, Stone’s relationship with the Duke of Newcastle ended on a bitter note. Forced out of Parliament in 1762, Newcastle expected his friend to join him in opposition but Stone refused. Newcastle never forgave Stone for this desertion and refused to communicate with the man again. Yet, Newcastle felt the loss vividly. In a letter to Lord Lincoln in 1764 Newcastle laments, “the desertion and defection of Mr. Stone affects me extremely. I have nobody to resort to, not even to tell my own tale to; nobody who I can flatter myself will advise me for my own sake; and, what is still worse, none or few of my most private and intimate friends who like to pass much time with me” (“Stone, Andrew”). After his break with Newcastle, Stone joined up with Lord Bute but his peak days of political influence were over.
            Andrew Stone passed away on 17 December 1773 in his home in the Privy Gardens, Whitehall, London. He was survived by his wife, Hannah, but no children (their only son, Thomas, died at the age of eleven). Stone is buried in Westminster Abbey.

C. Bestland, stipple (after wax model by I. Gosset), British Museum.
Langford, Paul. A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727- 1783. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. https://books.google.com/books?id=cy3hX944bLMC&q=stone#v=snippet&q=stone&f=false.
Pollard, A. F. “Stone, Andrew (1703–1773).” Rev. M. J. Mercer. In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman, May 2011. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26565 (accessed July 5, 2015).
“Stone, Andrew (1703-1773).” History of Parliament. Accessed July 5, 2015. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1715-1754/member/stone-andrew-1703-73#footnote1_j4m12bd.
“Stone, Andrew (1703-1773).” History of Parliament. Accessed July 5, 2015. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/stone-andrew-1703-73.
Walpole, Horace. Memoirs of the Reign of King George II, vol. 1. London: Colburn, 1846. https://books.google.com/books?id=tAM-AAAAcAAJ&q=Stone#v=onepage&q=cold%20mysterious&f=false.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sir Everard Fawkener: Merchant, Gentleman, Friend of Voltaire

"Sir Everard Fawkener" by Jean Etienne Liotard

Everard Fawkener was born a member of the country gentry on 23 February 1694 to a successful merchant, William, and his wife, Mary, as the eighth of ten children. Although his family had a country seat at Uppingham Manor in Rutland, Fawkener was most likely born in the city due to the fact he was baptized on the day of his birth at St. Michael Bassishaw, which is located in the city of London. The Fawkener family was a family of merchants who had been a part of the trade business since the seventeenth century. They were highly involved in Levant trade and Fawkener’s father was a head member of the Levant Company (the Levant Trading Company was a joint-trading company established in 1581). Fawkener was a man who enjoyed the classics, such as Horace and Virgil, which were probably part of his early education (according to Voltaire, Fawkener knew nothing “outside silk, cloth, ancient coins, Homer, and Virgil” (Perry, 11)). Following his family’s footsteps and expectations, he became a merchant in 1716 when he was sent to Aleppo, a prosperous trading city in the Levant region that also served as the headquarters for the Levant Company. The family firm he worked for, named Snelling and Fawkeners, hit a prosperous stride in the 1730s allowing Fawkener to build up his personal wealth. Nevertheless, Fawkener and his partner William Snelling were both accused of “unduly favoring their own interests” (Perry, 56), which demonstrates a darker side of mercantilism. After nine years in Aleppo, Fawkener returned to England. He became close friends with Voltaire, whom his met in Paris in 1725, possibly on this return trip. Fawkener solidified their friendship when the Frenchman came to him in an hour of need having turned up desolate in England in 1726. Voltaire stayed with Fawkener at his estate in Wandsworth, just outside of London.
            Fawkener’s experience and family connections put him in a respectable position for advancement. In 1735, Fawkener left the merchant business after being appointed ambassador to the Sublime Port in Constantinople. While Voltaire thought his friend’s advancement was a sign of English freedom and mobility—which Voltaire found severely lacking in France—Fawkener’s wealth, familial connections, experience with the East, and amiable character made him an obvious candidate for the position. Fawkener’s merchant status makes it easy for one to forget that the man was, in fact, a gentleman. The possession of these advantages was not available to all, which calls to questions whether Fawkener’s exceptional advancement was truly as exceptional as Voltaire chose to believe. Shortly after his appointment as ambassador, Fawkener became Sir Everard Fawkener on 3 October 1735. He would serve as ambassador until 1742 when he left Turkey for a brief leave of absence but would not return to Constantinople.
            Three years later, in 1745, Fawkener began running in royal circles and was appointed secretary to the Duke of Cumberland. Since the Duke was commander of the British land forces, Fawkener’s position required him to be in constant attendance of the Duke throughout his military campaigns. He was responsible for “settling on suitable accommodations, organising the moves, and seeing to [the Duke’s] entertainment” (Perry, 93). Should someone come to the Duke with a request, Fawkener met with them first before deciding whether to schedule a personal interview with the Duke. Oftentimes, Fawkener took care of the business on his own. Fawkener was present during several major battles, such as the battle of Fontenoy during the Flanders campaign of the War of Austrian Succession in 1745 and the Battle of Culloden during the Jacobite Uprising in 1745/1746. The Battle of Culloden was a major success for the Duke and the victory allowed Fawkener to return to England in July where he took part in the trial of Lord Lovat, who was accused to supporting the Jacobite cause. Fawkener was tasked with finding evidence that convicted the presumed accomplices of Lord Lovat but ultimately the search was fruitless. This failure could have resulted in the retraction of his nomination for envoy to Frederick of Prussia.
            Fawkener spent most of his life a single man. Yet, on 19 February 1747, he married a woman named Harriot to which he was thirty years her senior. The age gap proved not to be a substantial issue and the couple would have two sons and a daughter.  Fawkener’s wealth allowed him to establish a home in best areas of town, such as St. James Square and Berkeley Square. He also had a home in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which he inherited from his brother, William. Even though Fawkener had found himself in an advantageous position for most of life, he passed away on 16 November 1758 without a will or enough money to pay his debts. The wealthy merchant died impoverished. A life of extravagant spending and “fondness for the gaming-table” (Perry, 56) demonstrates how far even the mighty can fall (these habits are speculated to have been influenced by the Duke, who can be considered a gambling spendthrift himself (Perry, 133)). A memorial tablet was erected for Fawkener in Bath Abbey, where he is buried.
            Fawkener’s friendship with Voltaire endured throughout his lifetime in part due to the great admiration and respect Voltaire possessed for Fawkener’s position and character. In the eyes of a Frenchman, Fawkener “was the quiddity of mercantilism…, and if he rose to the dizzy heights of being a diplomat, it must be because England, that pearl among nations, knew how to appreciate the true merchant who was the source of the country’s prosperity.” (Perry, 148). Voltaire seems to have lacked a complete understanding of the English class system and failed to attribute any part of Fawkener’s rise to his gentle background and sociability. Thomas Carlyle refers to Fawkener as “highly unmemorable now, were it not for the young Frenchman he was hospitable to” (Carlyle, 48). Voltaire’s vision and understanding of Englishness seems to have been highly influence by his friendship with Fawkener, even if Fawkener seemed unaware that he was corresponding with one of the greatest minds of the age. His importance to Voltaire makes Fawkener memorable indeed but it can be argued the Fawkener’s place in history is also that of a representative of a certain class of gentleman who supported and attributed to the Walpolian system.

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