|"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.