Arthur Paget (diplomat)

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Sir Arthur Paget GCB, PC (15 January 1771 – 26 July 1840) was a British diplomat and politician.

Family and early life[edit]

Arthur Paget was the third son of Henry Paget, 1st Earl of Uxbridge and his wife Jane Champagné daughter of Arthur Champagné, Dean of Clonmacnoise in Ireland. He was a younger brother of Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey.[1] He was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, but did not take a degree.

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1791, he entered the British diplomatic service. In 1794, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Anglesey. He nominally represented this for 13 years, though usually abroad. In 1794, he was sent as Envoy-extraordinary to Berlin to remind King Frederick William II of his obligations, a service in which Lord Malmesbury the ambassador commended him for his tact.

His next appointment was as Envoy Extraordinary to the Elector Palatine and the Perpetual Diet at Regensburg in 1798, followed by Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary first at Naples in 1800 and then at Vienna the following year. He remained at Vienna until 1806, being nicknamed "The Emperor" on account of his extravagance.

A dispatch in 1802, following Napoleon's creation of the Confederation of the Rhine predicted the hegemony of Prussia within Germany. He was materially responsible for the creation of the Third Coalition, and reported its collapse following the Battle of Austerlitz (December 2, 1805), a dispatch that is said to have hastened the death of William Pitt the Younger (23 January 1806).

After his recall from Austria, he was sent to the Ottoman Porte in 1807, where he told the Sultan of a secret clause in the Treaty of Tilsit adverse to his interests. However, he was unable to detach the Ottoman Empire from its French Alliance. He was recalled in 1809 and awarded a pension of £2000.

Retirement[edit]

Paget had been made a Privy Councillor and Knight of the Bath, both in 1804, and was given a GCB in 1815. In 1808, be eloped with Lady Augusta Fane, then the wife of Lord Boringdon, and married her the following year, as soon as her divorce took place. They had several children, including Sir Augustus Berkeley Paget, who followed his father as a diplomat. He occupied time in his retirement as an agriculturalist and yachtsman.

References[edit]

  • J. M. Rigg, ‘Paget, Sir Arthur (1771–1840)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008) [1], accessed 30 Nov 2008.
  1. ^ Burke's Peerage (1930 edition), s.v. Anglesey, Marquis.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hon. William Paget
Member of Parliament for Anglesey
1794 – 1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Anglesey
18011807
Succeeded by
Hon. Berkeley Paget
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Elliot
British minister to Bavaria
1798–1799
Succeeded by
Francis Drake (diplomat)
Preceded by
Sir William Hamilton
British Minister to the Kingdom of Naples
1800–1801
Succeeded by
William Drummond
Preceded by
Gilbert, Lord Minto
British Minister to Austria
1801–1806
Succeeded by
Robert Adair
Preceded by
Charles Arbuthnot
British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
1807–1809
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Adair