James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale

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James Lowther, 1st Earl Lonsdale (Richard Cosway)

James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale (5 August 1736 – 24 May 1802) was an English politician and landowner. He was a Member of Parliament for over twenty years before, in 1784, he was raised to the Peerage of Great Britain as Baron Lowther.

The son of Robert Lowther and Catherine Pennington, he was educated at the University of Cambridge. He exercised influence over a number of "rotten" or "pocket" boroughs, including Appleby, a classic example of this type of constituency. In 1761 he was credited with securing the return of eight MPs — two each for Cumberland, Westmorland, and Cockermouth, and one each for Appleby and Carlisle.[1]

He married Mary Crichton-Stuart, daughter of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute and Mary Wortley-Montagu, 1st Baroness Mount Stuart on 7 September 1761 and he had a string of mistresses. He fell in love with the daughter of one of his tenants and made her his mistress keeping her in luxury. When she died he could not endure to have her buried and the body remained lying in bed until the increasing putrefaction became unbearable. He then had her body placed in a glass topped coffin that was placed in a cupboard. Eventually her body was buried in Paddington cemetery.

On 9 June 1792 he fought a duel with a Captain Cuthbert of the Guards, when the latter refused to let the former's carriage pass through Mount Street in London where some rioting had been taking place. The Earl asked him if he knew who he was which this led to an unpleasant exchange of words. Following which the Earl felt obliged to challenge the Captain to a duel the next morning. A pistol ball passed through the flap of Cuthbert's coat but after the exchange of fire both men were unhurt. The matter was concluded with a handshake.

He was variously known as "Wicked Jimmy", the "Bad Earl", the "Gloomy Earl" and "Jimmy"[2][3] or "Jemmy Grasp-all, Earl of Toadstool"[4][5]

The Earl and the Wordsworth family[edit]

He accumulated debts to his solicitor, John Wordsworth, the father of William Wordsworth. Although Wordsworth worked for Lowther, Lowther never paid Wordsworth for his various expenses, which amounted to ₤4,000 from 1763 until Wordsworth's death in 1783. This debt was finally discharged by his heir, William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale of the second creation, in 1802.[6]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beckett, J. V.. “Lowther, James, earl of Lonsdale (1736–1802).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: OUP, Accessed 4 Nov. 2014 (subscription required)
  2. ^ Hilton, Boyd (2006). A mad, bad, and dangerous people?: England, 1783-1846. New Oxford history of England. Oxford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-19-822830-9. 
  3. ^ Kümin, Beat A. (2009). Political space in pre-industrial Europe. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 104. ISBN 0-7546-6072-9. 
  4. ^ Caufield, Catherine (1981). The emperor of the United States of America and other magnificent British eccentrics. Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 122. ISBN 0-7100-0957-7. 
  5. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard Peter Treadwell (1998). Gothic: four hundred years of excess, horror, evil, and ruin. Fourth Estate. p. 92. ISBN 1-85702-498-2. 
  6. ^ Moorman, Mary. William Wordsworth: A Biography, The Early Years 1770-1803. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968. p. 8
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir John Pennington, Bt
Sir William Fleming, Bt
Member of Parliament for Cumberland
with Sir John Pennington, Bt

1757–1761
Succeeded by
Sir John Pennington, Bt
Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bt
Preceded by
Sir George Dalston, Bt
Robert Lowther
Member of Parliament for Westmorland
with John Upton

1761–1763
Succeeded by
John Upton
Robert Lowther
Preceded by
Sir John Pennington, Bt
Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bt
Member of Parliament for Cumberland
with Sir John Pennington, Bt 1762–1768
Henry Curwen 1768

1762–1768
Succeeded by
Henry Curwen
Henry Fletcher
Preceded by
Sir George Macartney
George Johnstone
Member of Parliament for Cockermouth
with George Johnstone

1769–1774
Succeeded by
George Johnstone
Fletcher Norton
Preceded by
John Robinson
Thomas Fenwick
Member of Parliament for Westmorland
with Sir Michael le Fleming, Bt

1774–1775
Succeeded by
Sir Michael le Fleming, Bt
James Lowther
Preceded by
Henry Curwen
Henry Fletcher
Member of Parliament for Cumberland
with Henry Fletcher

1774–1784
Succeeded by
Henry Fletcher
William Lowther
Preceded by
Sir Merrick Burrell, Bt
Peter Burrell
Member of Parliament for Haslemere
with Edward Norton

1780
Succeeded by
Edward Norton
Walter Spencer Stanhope
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir John Pennington, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of Westmorland
1758–1802
Succeeded by
The Viscount Lowther
Preceded by
The Earl of Egremont
Lord Lieutenant of Cumberland
1759–1802
Vacant
Title last held by
The Earl of Egremont
Custos Rotulorum of Cumberland
1765–1802
Vice-Admiral of Cumberland
1765–1802
Vacant
Title next held by
The Earl of Lonsdale
Vacant
Title last held by
Sir James Lowther, Bt
Vice-Admiral of Westmorland
1765–1802
Vacant
Peerage of Great Britain
New title Viscount Lowther
1797–1802
Succeeded by
William Lowther
Earl of Lonsdale
1784–1802
Extinct
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Henry Lowther
Baronet
(of Lowther)
1751–1802
Extinct