Robert Stuart (British Army officer)
Major Robert Stuart (c.1812 – 17 June 1901) was an officer of the British Army and veteran of the Crimean War. After the war, he was appointed Vice-Consul at Volos and later Consul at Janina and Consul-General in various locations. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Robert Stuart was born in Ireland in about 1812 to Thomas Stuart (of Whitehall, County Clare, and Lifford, County Limerick, the alleged illegitimate son of Thomas Smyth and brother of Major-General Charles Stuart). On 2 June 1842 he married Elizabeth Sarah Cathcart, youngest daughter of the Honorable and Reverend Archibald Hamilton Cathcart and Frances Henrietta Fremantle); they had no children. One of Robert's eight brothers was the surgeon and artist James Stuart, and his nephew Robert Stuart King was a clergyman and football player.
Crimean War and after
Stuart purchased an Ensigncy in the 44th Foot in 1834. Later promoted Lieutenant, he exchanged into the 7th Foot in 1838 and purchased a Captaincy in 1842. He exchanged into the 41st Foot in 1851 and retired in 1852. However, he served in the Crimean War, rising to the rank of Major, and remained in the region after the war. In 1858 he was appointed Vice-Consul at Volos, and in 1860 was sent to investigate the condition of Christians in Thessaly and Epirus. In 1861 he became Consul at Janina. In 1873 he was made Consul-General for the Russian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azof, and was based at Odessa - at this time his private secretary was his nephew, William Horwood Stuart. In 1874 he became Consul-General in Haiti and Chargé d'Affaires of the Dominican Republic.
In 1856, Stuart led an expedition to the summit of Mount Ararat, along with Major Fraser, Rev. Walter Thursby, Mr. Theobald and Mr. Evans.
Later life, death, and legacy
Stuart retired in 1883 and settled in Leamington Spa, where he died on 17 June 1901. Two of his nephews, William Horwood Stuart and Charles Leader Justice Stuart, the sons of his brother the Reverend William Stuart (Vicar of Mundon, Essex and Rector of Hazeleigh, Essex), also entered the diplomatic service and served around the Black Sea, although both also had their careers cut short: Charles drowned in the Danube at Brăila in Romania in 1885 and William was murdered at Batum in Georgia in 1906.
- Spurrell, J.C. In Search of Thomas Smyth, Mayor of Limerick, Irish Family History, Vol. 25 (2009)