Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere
|The Right Honourable
The Earl of Ellesmere
Portrait of the Earl of Ellesmere
by Edwin Longsden Long
|Chief Secretary for Ireland|
21 June 1828 – 30 July 1830
|Prime Minister||The Duke of Wellington|
|Preceded by||Hon. William Lamb|
|Succeeded by||Sir Henry Hardinge|
|Secretary at War|
30 July 1830 – 15 November 1830
|Prime Minister||The Duke of Wellington|
|Preceded by||Sir Henry Hardinge|
|Succeeded by||Charles Watkin Williams Wynn|
|Born||1 January 1800|
|Died||18 February 1857|
|Spouse(s)||Harriet Greville (d. 1866)|
|Alma mater||Christ Church, Oxford|
Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere KG, PC (1 January 1800 – 18 February 1857), known as Lord Francis Leveson-Gower until 1833, was a British politician, writer, traveller and patron of the arts. Ellesmere Island, a major island (10th in size among global islands) in Nunavut, the Canadian Arctic, was named after him.
Background and education
Ellesmere was the second son of George Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland and his wife, Elizabeth Gordon suo jure 19th Countess of Sutherland. He was born at 21 Arlington Street, Piccadilly, London, on 1 January 1800, and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.
Ellesmere entered Parliament in 1822 as member for the pocket borough of Bletchingley in Surrey, a seat he held until 1826. He afterwards sat for Sutherland between 1826 and 1831, and for South Lancashire between 1835 and 1846. In politics he was a moderate Conservative of independent views, as was shown by his supporting the proposal for establishing the University of London, by his making and carrying a motion for the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, and by his advocating free trade long before Sir Robert Peel yielded on the question. Appointed a Lord of the Treasury in 1827, he held the post of Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1828 till July 1830, when he became Secretary at War for a short time.
In 1833 he assumed, by Royal Licence, the surname of Egerton, having succeeded on the death of his father to the estates which the latter inherited from the Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. In 1846 he was raised to the peerage as Earl of Ellesmere, of Ellesmere in the County of Salop, with the subsidiary title Viscount Brackley, of Brackley in the County of Northampton.
Ellesmere was a member of the Canterbury Association from 27 March 1848. In 1849, the chief surveyor of the Canterbury Association, Joseph Thomas, named Lake Ellesmere in New Zealand after him.
Writings, travels and art patronage
Ellesmere's claims to remembrance are founded chiefly on his services to literature and the fine arts. Before he was twenty he printed for private circulation a volume of poems, which he followed up after a short interval by the publication of a translation of Goethe's Faust, one of the earliest that appeared in England, with some translations of German lyrics and a few original poems. In 1839 he visited the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. His impressions of travel were recorded in Mediterranean Sketches (1843) and in the notes to a poem entitled The Pilgrimage. He published several other works in prose and verse. His literary reputation secured for him the position of rector of the University of Aberdeen in 1841.
A singular exception to the artistic and literary character of Ellesmere's writing efforts lay in the field of military theory. Ellesmere, as a protegé of the Duke of Wellington, became very interested in the historical writings of the Prussian military theorist General Carl von Clausewitz (1789-1931). He was involved in the discussion that ultimately compelled Wellington to write an essay in response to Clausewitz's study of the Waterloo campaign of 1815. Ellesmere himself anonymously published a translation of Clausewitz's The Campaign of 1812 in Russia (London: J. Murray, 1843), a subject in which Wellington was also deeply interested.
Lord Ellesmere was a munificent and yet discriminating patron of artists. To the collection of pictures which he inherited from his great-uncle, the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, he made numerous additions, and he built a gallery to which the public were allowed free access. Lord Ellesmere served as president of the Royal Geographical Society and as president of the Royal Asiatic Society (1849–1852), and he was a trustee of the National Gallery. He also initiated the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, by donating the Chandos portrait of Shakespeare.
- George Egerton, 2nd Earl of Ellesmere (15 June 1823 - 19 September 1862);
- Hon. Francis Egerton (15 September 1824 - 15 December 1895), who became an admiral, and was a Member of Parliament for two constituencies; he married in 1865 (Lady) Louisa Caroline née Cavendish, daughter of the 7th Duke of Devonshire (by marriage); they had issue;
- Hon. Algernon Fulke Egerton (31 December 1825 - 14 July 1891), who was a Member of Parliament for three constituencies, and married in 1863 Hon. Alice Louisa Cavendish, a niece of the 7th Duke of Devonshire; they had issue;
- Hon. Arthur Frederick Egerton (6 February 1829 - 25 February 1866), who became Lieutenant-Colonel, and married in 1858 Helen Smith, daughter of Martin Tucker Smith and his wife, Louisa Ridley; they had issue;
- Lady Alice Harriot Frederica Egerton (10 October 1830 - 22 December 1928), who married George Byng, 3rd Earl of Strafford in 1854; they had no issue;
- Lady Blanche Egerton (22 February 1832 - 20 March 1894), who married John Montagu, 7th Earl of Sandwich in 1865 as his second wife; they had no issue;
- Hon. Granville Egerton (c. 1834-1851), who was killed at sea; unmarried, seemingly no issue.
The family lived at Hatchford Park, Cobham, Surrey, where Lady Ellesmere laid out the gardens. Her mother, Lady Charlotte Greville (née Cavendish-Bentinck) died at Hatchford Park on 28 July 1862, aged 86.
Francis died on 18 February 1857 at his London home, Bridgwater House, St. James' Park; and was succeeded by his first son, George. On the extinction of the senior line of the Dukedom of Sutherland in 1963, his great-great-grandson, the fifth Earl, succeeded as 6th Duke of Sutherland.
- "Egerton, Francis (1800-1857)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ellesmere, Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- The London Gazette: . 27 August 1833.
- The London Gazette: . 30 June 1848.
- Blain, Rev. Michael (2007). The Canterbury Association (1848-1852): A Study of Its Members’ Connections (PDF). Christchurch: Project Canterbury. pp. 29–30. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Reed, A. W. (2010). Peter Dowling, ed. Place Names of New Zealand. Rosedale, North Shore: Raupo. p. 114. ISBN 9780143204107.
- Hight, James; C. R. Straubel (1957). A History of Canterbury. Volume I : to 1854. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. p. 120.
- Wellesley, Arthur. "Memorandum on the Battle of Waterloo." Supplementary Despatches, Correspondence, and Memoranda of Field Marshal Arthur Duke of Wellington, vol. 10. London: John Murray, 1863. 513-531; also in Section VI of Carl von Clausewitz and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815, ed./trans. Christopher Bassford, Daniel Moran, and Gregory W. Pedlow (Clausewitz.com, 2010), pp.257-287.
- Bassford, Christopher (1994). Clausewitz In English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945. New York, London: Oxford University Press. pp. 37–49. ISBN 0195083830.
- "Francis Egerton".
- "Hatchford Park". Doctor Who locations.
- "Harriet Catherine Greville".
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl of Ellesmere
- Archival material relating to Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere listed at the UK National Archives
- "Ellesmere, Francis Egerton, first Earl of". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.