William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan
William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, KT, PC (c.1671 – 17 July 1726) was a noted Irish military officer in the army of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough during the War of the Spanish Succession. As well as his military duties he was also a diplomat and politician.
A strong supporter of the Hanoverian Succession, he took part in the suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. Following Marlborough's death in 1722 he succeeded him as Master-General of the Ordnance and Britain's senior army commander.
He was born in Ireland around 1671, the son of barrister Henry Cadogan and his wife Bridget Waller, daughter of Sir Hardress Waller. His family were Irish Protestants of Welsh descent. William's grandfather William Cadogan served as an officer in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army.
He was one of five children, including two brothers Ambrose and Charles and two sisters Frances and Penelope. The family owned an estate at Liscartin in County Meath. His father served as High Sheriff of the county and also acquired property in County Limerick.
At the age of ten he was sent to England to be educated at Westminster School, then run by Richard Busby. William's father intended him to take up a law career like himself and in March 1687 he was accepted as a student Trinity College in Dublin. By this time he had developed into a tall, well-built young man.
War in Ireland
Midway through his studies, however, the Glorious Revolution took place in England in which the Protestant William of Orange seized the throne from the Catholic James II. In Ireland the largely Catholic Irish Army remained loyal to James, while Protestants declared their support for William. The Protestants of Ulster formed an Army of the North, in which William Cadogan enlisted as a Cornet of Dragoons.
During 1689 he took part in the Defence of Enniskillen which was one of only two place, along with Derry, which held out against the Jacobite Irish Army. Following the relief of Derry and Enniskillen by a large expeditionary force under Percy Kirke, Cadogan served with the Williamite troops for the remainder of the Irish War.
He was present at Dundalk Camp during the autumn of 1689, when the Army suffered large casualties from sickness. The following year he served at the Battle of the Boyne a major victory in which William III personally led his forces to victory over the Jacobites, leading to the capture of Dublin.
Later in the same year he took part in the Siege of Cork where he first served with Marlborough, then an Earl. It appears that it was during this action that Cadogan, although only a junior officer, attracted the attention of his future commander by his conduct. Following the climatic victory at the Siege of Limerick in 1691 he continued to serve in Ireland for three years having decided to become a professional soldier rather than return to his law studies. In 1694, he purchased a Captaincy in Erle's Regiment which was then fighting in Flanders. He commanded a company of infantry for the remainder of the campaign against the Armies of Louis XIV of France.
In 1695 he took part in the Siege of Namur, an important Grand Alliance victory. Following the Peace of Ryswick he returned to Ireland, where in 1698 he became a Major of the Inniskilling Dragoons.
War of the Spanish Succession
In June 1701, Cadogan was selected as Qartermaster General to Marlborough on the latter's appointment to command the British contingent in the Low Countries. Marlborough had been impressed by Cadogan's administrative skills and his courage and Siege of Cork a decade before. He had Cadogan promoted to Colonel, over the heads of more experienced officers. In July 1701 he accompanied both Marlborough and King William to Holland.
Britain had not yet officially entered the war, although military preparations were underway. He learnt to speak Dutch at this time, having already mastered French. During his time in Amsterdam, he fell in love with a Dutch heiress named Margaretta Munter. He married her two years later.
War broke out in 1702, following the accession of Queen Anne to the throne. Cadogan was made Marlborough's Chief of Staff, soon becoming a trusted figure alongside other intimates including the General's brother Charles Churchill, military secretary Adam de Cardonnel and the artillery commander Colonel Holcroft Blood. He also worked with the Dutch political representative Anthonie Heinsius. Cadogan soon demonstrated a flair for logistics and administration. He also came to head the extensive intelligence-gathering operations.
In early 1704 while travelling back to England, carrying important documents, his ship was attacked by a French Privateer. Fearing the seizure of his secret papers, he threw them over the side into the sea. However his ship managed to get away and safely into harbour. While in London he had an audience with Queen Anne.
During the campaign of 1704, he was one of the few entrusted with the truth of Marlborough's march from the Spanish Netherlands to the Danube and played a major role in the organisation of the March to the Danube. He wrote "This march has hardly left me time to eat or sleep".
He commanded the army's scouting part which located the French army on the morning of Ramillies, and acted as a senior messenger for Marlborough during the battle, recalling Orkney's British infantry from their diversionary attack on the French right flank to assault the French centre around Ramillies itself.
In August 1706 Cadogan was captured while scouting enemy positions and taken as a prisoner to Tournai. Marlborough was distressed when he heard that he was missing, claiming "I shall not be quiet till I know his fate". Within two days an exchange had been agreed, with Cadogan being swapped with a French General captured at Ramillies.
At Oudenarde he commanded the allied advance guard, which established crossings over the River Scheldt. In 1706 he was promoted to Major General and commanded the forces which broke through the French left towards the end of the battle.
In 1709 he was promoted to Lieutenant General. He fought at Malplaquet, and was wounded in the neck at the siege of Mons, but quickly recovered. At the end of 1709 Cadogan was appointed as a Lieutenant of the Tower of London. During the breaking of the lines of Ne Plus Ultra, he again commanded the allied advance guard, and established a bridgehead across the lines prior to Marlborough's arrival with the main army.
After Marlborough's dismissal from his posts at the end of 1711 Cadogan remained with the army, but refused to return with it when Britain withdrew from war in 1712, going into voluntary exile with the Duke. In doing so he lost his rank, positions and emoluments under the crown. He was strongly opposed to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, agreed by the Tory Government, siding with the opposition Whigs who called for "No Peace Without Spain".
During Marlborough's voluntary exile during the last years of Queen Anne's reign, Cadogan accompanied him, and often acted as a go-between to maintain Marlborough's links with Britain. When the Hanoverian King George I succeeded in 1714, he reinstated Cadogan to his military offices. Marlborough was reappointed commander-in-chief, although as his deputy Cadogan to increasingly take on much of the Duke's workload.
Cadogan was rewarded with the post of Ambassador to the Dutch Republic. He was tasked with restoring the relationship with Britain's recent ally which had been damaged by the country's sudden withdrawal from the war. Cadogan oversaw negotiations for a fresh treaty which was concluded the following year.
In 1715 he replaced the Duke of Argyll in command of the army putting down a Jacobite Rebellion. A major rising had broken out in Autumn 1715 in the Highlands of Scotland. Argyll as the senior Scottish commander led the initial attempts to contain the Jacobites from his position at Stirling Castle. In November Argyll fought an intense but indecisive battle against the Jacobites at the Battle of Sherrifmuir, after which it was decided in London that he was insufficiently committed to the Hanoverian cause.
Cadogan was then sent north by Marlborough to provide effective leadership. He brought with him many of the 6,000 Dutch troops supplied as part of a treaty commitment, whose shipping to Britain he had overseen. During his absence from The Hague, the diplomat Horatio Walpole fulfilled his duties there.
Cadogan found that Argyll remained reluctant to move against the Jacobites due to the wintery conditions. This continued even after James Stuart, who proclaimed himself to be King, arrived near Aberdeen in December.
Argyll and Cadogan worked together for a while, although the Duke no longer enjoyed the confidence of the government in London. Cadogan established better supply lines for the Army, personally took part in scouting operations, and organised the advance on the rebel capital at Perth. Rather than face a siege of the city, the Jacobites withdrew to Dundee. In February 1716, James abandoned the attempt to personally lead the rebellion in Scotland and sailed for the Continent.
Soon afterwards, Argyll resigned and went to London, turning over total command to Cadogan. He was shortly afterwards dismissed from all his military and political roles, amidst allegations that he had Jacobite sympathies. Cadogan's task was to oversee continued military operations across northern Scotland, forcing the leading Clan chiefs to submit.
In April Cadogan declared the rebellion to be over, and returned to London the following month. Marlborough was instrumental in securing him a peerage as a reward for his efforts during the campaign.
On 21 June 1716, he was made Baron Cadogan of Reading, having recently purchased Caversham Park, Oxfordshire (now Berkshire) near that town. He was also made a Knight of the Thistle and, the following year, a member of the Privy Council.
(He was a Whig MP for Woodstock from 1705 to 1716.) On 8 May 1718 George I made him 1st Baron Cadogan, of Oakley, co. Buckingham, Viscount Caversham, of Caversham, co. Oxford and Earl Cadogan. In later years he also served as Master of the Robes (1714–1726) and Governor of the Isle of Wight (1715–1726).
When the Duke of Marlborough died in 1722, Cadogan walked at the head of the procession at his funeral. He succeeded his former commander as Master-General of the Ordnance (1722–1725). However, the Opposition's staunch hostility towards him meant that he had lost any political influence several years before his death on 17 July 1726.
He married Margaret Cecilia Munter in April 1704 at The Hague. They had two daughters: Sarah (born 18 September 1705), who married Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and Margaret (born 21 February 1707), who married the Hon. Charles John Bentinck, fourth son of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland.
His younger brother Charles married Elizabeth Sloane, the daughter of the noted Irish-born physician and landowner Sir Hans Sloane. Charles inherited the title of Lord Cadogan in 1726, passing it down through his son.
- Watson p.2
- Watson p.3
- Watson p.4-7
- Watson p.7
- Watson p.8
- Churchill, Marlborough:His Life and Time; Book 1, p 465
- Chandler, Marlborough as Military Commander; p 70
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- Spencer, Blenheim:Battle for Europe; p 131
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- Falkner, Great and Glorious Days, p 140
- Churchill Marlborough:His Life and Times; Book 2, p 375
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- Churchill, Life and Times, Book 2, p 983
- Falkner, Great and Glorious Days; p 200, n 36
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- Szechi p.164-67
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- Szechi, Daniel. 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion. Yale University Press, 2006.
- Watson, J.N.P. Marlborough's Shadow: The Life of the First Earl Cadogan. Leo Cooper, 2003.
- Webb, Stephen Saunders. Marlborough's America. Yale University Press, 2013.
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