THE STEWARTS OF MOUNT-STEWART.
rpuE Stewarts of Mount-Stewart, now represented by the Marquis of Londonderry, and his half-brother, Earl Vane, lay claim to a descent from that great House, one branch of which ascended the Throne of Scotland, and subsequently that of Eng- land also. This may be the case, but at present the pedigree wants an important link, and until this is supplied these Irish Stewarts must be content with a more modern and humbler ancestry. We will briefly indicate the break in the pedigree. Alexander, sixth Lord High Steward of Scotland, had from King Alexander Ill., in 1263, a grant of the lands of Garlies. His -eldest son, James, was the seventh Lord High Steward, and grand- father of King Robert II. of Scotland. Alexander, the Steward,
had also a younger son, Sir John Steward, or Stewart, who had
the Garlies estate, and married the heiress of Bonkill. His third son, Sir Walter Stewart of Garlies and Dalswinton, had a son, Sir John Stewart of Dalswinton, who again had a son, Sir Walter Stewart of Dalswinton and Garlies, who left an only child, Marion. This heiress, Marion Stewart, became the wife of a Sir John Stewart, son of Sir William Stewart of Jedworth, who is said to have come of the Darnley and Lennox branch of the Stewarts (also descendants of Sir John Stewart of Garlies and the heiress
Bonkill). The son of this marriage, Sir William Stewart of
Dalswinton and Garlies, obtained the estate of Minto in 1429. His -eldest son, Sir Alexander Stewart of Garlies, is the ancestor of the Earl of Galloway. A younger son, Sir Thomas Stewart, had the Minto estate, and is the ancestor of Lord Blantyre. In the reign of James I. (of England) We find a JOHN STEWART settled in Ireland, he having received a grant of land from that King in 'county Donegal, and residing at Balylawn Castle. It is said that this John Stewart of Balylaw.n was one of the Minto or Blan- tyre branch of the Stewarts of Garlies. But unfortunately there is an absolute break in the pedigree between Sir Thomas Stewart of Minto and him, which the Blantyre pedigree does not enable us to fill up. The much coveted honour therefore of being an offshoot of the subsequently Royal House of Stewart must remain -a doubtful question. If the pedigree were made oat, the Stewarts of Mount Stewart would have in Sir John Stewart, the head of the cadet branch of Garlies, an ancestor who took a very prominent part in the confused state of things which attended the competition of Bruce and Balled for the Scottish Crown, and -died fighting on Wallace's side at the fatal battle of Falkirk. His son, Sir Walter Stewart, was an adherent of Robert Bruce, who gave him the barony of Dalswinton ; and his son, Sir John Stewart, was taken prisoner, fighting by the side of King David Bruce, at the battle near Durham, and was afterwards one of the hostages for that King. The first Lord Blantyre was a great favourite of James VI. of Scotland, but we do not know whether Lord Londonderry can claim him as an ancestor, or as a collateral relative.
To resume, then, the more certain pedigree in Ireland. John
Stewart of Balylawn was succeeded by his son, Charles Stewart, whose great grandson, Alexander Stewart, of MOUNT-STEWART, -county Down, born in 1699, was M.P. for Londonderry City in 1730. He married, in 1737, Mary, only surviving daughter of Alexander John Cowan, of Londonderry (and, by her mother's side, his first cousin), sister and heiress of Sir Robert Cowan, Governor of Bombay. Their eldest son, Robert Stewart, of Baiylawn Castle, county Donegal, and of Mount-Stewart, county Down, was M.P. for the latter county, and was elevated to the Peerage on the 18th of November, 1789, by the title of Baron Stewart, and on the 6th of October, 1795, raised to the title of Viscount Castlereagh. On the 10th of August, 1796, he was created Earl of Londonderry, and on the 22nd of January, 1816, Marquis of Londonderry—all in- the Irish Peerage. "All these successive steps had been conferred by Tory Administrations, so that from political connections, not less than personal and tra- ditional principle, they belonged to the Conservative party in the State." The honours thus heaped on Robert Stewart were chiefly owing to the eminence which had been attained by his eldest son. The Marquis was twice married, first, to Sarah Frances, daughter of Francis, Marquis of Hertford, and secondly, to Frances, eldest daughter of Charles, first Earl Camden. By his first marriage he had a son, Robert, born June 18, 1769 (the year of the birth of Wellington and Napoleon, and the month and the day of the month when these two great men encountered at Waterloo), and by his second marriage a son, Charles William, born on the 18th of May, 1778. These sons attained some eminence in politics and arms, but it is the elder whose name is indelibly inscribed on the page of English history as Viscount Castlereagh. Their father, the first Marquis of Londonderry, was a sensible, but not a brilliant man. By his prudent management he added largelY to the family estate, and yet showed himself ready to make great pecuniary and social sacrifices for the maintenance of the family position. He was an excellent landlord. During the severe scarcity of 1799 and 1800 large quantities of provisions were imported by him from different places, and retailed at a nominal price in his own town of New- ton-Ards. In gifts to the Presbyterian meeting-house in his neighbourhood he expended 250/. a year. He even trespassed against the laws of political economy by employing an unneces- sary number of hands in his grounds both summer and winter. In the stricter relations between him and his tenants he was equally generous. On one occasion he voluntarily reduced the rental on one small part only of his estate in the Ards 900/. a year, on a representation that it was too high. The two sons were very different in character, though warmly united throughout life. The elder, Robert, was of a patient, persevering, and naturally gentle disposition. The younger, Charles, was fiery, rash, and chivalrous, even to an extravagant degree. The former was wanting in the breadth as well as in the glow of genius, the other in the steady ballast of judgment. Both were rather efficient than thoroughly able ;—men of action, but within somewhat narrow compass. Anecdotes are told of the efforts of each in his boyhood to save young companions from drowning. Lord Castlereagh succeeded in saving a young lad, who was ignorant of swimming, by keep- ing him, as well as himself, above water for more than an hour. When taken out he had lost, in most respects, the use of his limbs, and was nearly blind, but his arm still clutched firmly the sense- less boy. Young Charles Stewart sank twice, and nearly lost his life in an unsuccessful attempt to save a schoolfellow. The younger son entered the Army, the elder, after a short stay at Cambridge, was taken prematurely from that University tocontest the county of Down, in July, 1790, with the nominees of the Marquis of Down- shire. Thepoll lasted forty-two days, and at its close young Stewart was returned, along with one of the Downshire nominees, but at a coat to his father of 60,000/. The expense indeed was so great as to stop the building of a large family mansion which his father at the time projected. The elder Stewart, to pay the expenses of the election, even sold off a collection of old family portraits, and "lived for the remainder of his life in a rambling house made up of an old barn with a few rooms added." At this election young Robert Stewart appeared as the advocate for Parliamentary Reform (a cause which he continued to advocate till after the admission of Roman Catholics to the suffrage by Mr. Pitt's Act in 1793), and during the earlier part of his career in the Irish House of Commons he generally voted with the Opposition, and he always remained a. supporter of Catholic Emancipation.
On the 17th of March, 1794, Robert Stewart married Lady Emily Anne Hobart, youngest daughter and co-heiress of the second Earl of Buckinghamshire, a lady whose stately beauty and brilliant social qualities aided not a little his subsequent success in life. In 1797 he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, "and rendered essential service to the Government of Mr. Pitt and to his country by the part which he took in promoting the Union with England. As representative for the county of Down he became a member of the Imperial Parliament in 1801, and in July, 1802, was appointed President of the Board of Control in Adding- ton's Administration. This office he retained when Mr. Pitt returned to the helm in 1804, and in the following year he was promoted to the department of War and Colonies. He continued to discharge the duties of this office, retaining also provisionally the Board of Control, until Mr. Pitt's death, when he resigned (January, 1806) with his othercolleagues, and entered the ranks of the Opposition." He had taken a particularly active part in urging Mr. Pitt to pro- pose his Catholic Emancipation measures of 1801, in spite of the King's reluctance, and although heheld leading positions in Cabinets which were divided on that subject, and consented to waive the point in deference to Royal wishes, his sentiments were known to remain unchanged. After the death of Fox and the collapse of Lord Grenville's Administration in March, 1807, Lord Castlereagh had the War Department assigned to him in the new Ministry formed under the headship of the Duke of Portland. The Conven- tion of Cintra in the Portuguese campaign exposed the War Minister in particular to great popular odium, and the Ministers themselves towards the close of 1808 were notoriously at variance, only agreeing, as Mr. Grenville wrote, "in falling foul of Lord Castlereagh." Mr. Canning, in particular, declared that Lord Castlereagh was unequal to the post of War -Minister, and in April, 1809, communicated this opinion to the Duke of Portland, and tendered his resignation of his office, unless some new arrange- ment was made by which Lord Wellesley might be substituted for Castlereagh ; and after some negotiation a promise to that effect was obtained from the Duke, and sanctioned by the King. Lord Camden, connected by marriage with the Londonderry family, was commissioned by the King to communicate to Lord Castlereagh proposals for a new arrangement of offices, but Lord Camden on various pretexts delayed the performance of this unpleasant duty, and Lord Castlereagh continued in ignorance of the movement against him in the Cabinet until after the failure of the Walcheren expedition of July, 1809. Mr. Canning, on that event, called on the Duke of Portland to fulfil his promise, and was informed that no communication had yet been made to Castlereagh on the subject, and that the Duke himself was about to retire from office. Canning thereupon claimed the succession to the Premier- ship for himself, but Mr. Perceval being preferred, he at once resigned. On this Lord Camden was driven to disclose to Lord Castlereagh all that had previously passed respecting his office, and Lord Castlereagh on this also indignantly resigned. "Ten days afterwards he wrote to Mr. Canning to demand satis- faction, which demand was promptly complied with. On the 21st of September they met on Putney Heath, attended by Lord Yarmouth and Mr. C. Ellis as their respective seconds. Two shots were exchanged, and at the second fire Mr. Canning received his adversary's ball in his thigh, and a button was shot off the right breast of Lord Castlereagh's coat. The parties then separated." Such is the summary of this quarrel which Sir Come- wall Lewis gives in an essay in the Edinburgh Review as the result of a comparision of the various accounts. "The ground," he remarks, "on which Lord Castlereagh demanded this satisfaction, was that Mr. Canning had concealed from him the promise which he had obtained for his removal, and had continued to act with him in the Cabinet, to the extent of allowing him to send out an im- portant expedition, without communicating to him the step which he had taken. Mr. Canning's defence was that the concealment had not been owing to him, and that he had repeatedly urged that the matter should be communicated to Lord Castlereagh. Without going into the merits of this dispute, we may be permitted to express our concurrence with the view of Sir S. Romilly, that ac- cording to the strictest code of honour Lord Castlereagh was not justified in sending a challenge, or Mr. Canning in accepting it, and that the case was not one that was fitted for the arbitrement of the pistol. Mr. Wilberforce is doubtless right in attributing Lord Castlereagh's conduct on this occasion to his Irish education and habits. At the same time we are bound to admit that the prevailing opinion of that period, more favourable to duelling than the opinion of the present day, justified Lord Castlereagh's conduct, and considered the provocation as adequate."
Lord Castlereagh was not included in the new Administration formed by Mr. Perceval, but in the summer of 1810 an offer was made to hitn (at Lord Wellesley's suggestion) to re-enter the Cabinet along with Mr. Canning. Although he considered his personal quarrel to have been settled by what had passed, Lord Cas- tlereagh considered it would be detrimental to his own character to serve in the same Cabinet with Canning, and therefore declined the offer. In the autumn of that year, on the renewal of the King's illness, Mr. Perceval repeated his offer, but the same difficulty again frus- trated the negotiation. InJanuary,1812, Lord Wellesleyrefused any longer to serve under Mr. Perceval, and on his resignation the Seals of the Foreign Office were offered to Lord Castlereagh, but "peremptorily declined by him, on the ground that the offer was merely temporary and provisional," the restrictions on the powers of the Regent expiring in February, and a change of Ministry being looked upon as imminent. The negotiations with the Whig leaders, however, coming to nothing, Mr. Perceval was confirmed in office by the Regent, and the Foreign Seals being again offered to
Lord Castlereagh, were now accepted by him, and retained by him till his death, ten years subsequently. The assassination of Mr. Perceval on the 11th of May opened to him the leadership of the House of Commons, under Lord Liverpool's Premiership, and henceforward he is necessarily identified with the general policy of the Government—their foreign successes ending with the battle of Waterloo—their subsequent domestic misgoverntnent, and their questionable foreign policy. "Those," observes Sir Cornewall Lewis, "who now preferred Lord Castlereagh to his rival, Mr. Canning, as leader, were influenced partly by the recol- lection of their quarrel in 1809, as to which the general sympathy was with Lord Castlereagh," who thus obtained "the merit which accrued to the Ministry for the great events of 1814 and 1815, and he was raised to a pinnacle of fame and influence, from which he looked down upon the comparatively obscure and powerless con- dition of his unsuccessful rival. Having through a fortunate combination of circumstances reached this elevation, his intre- pidity, his directness, his firmness of purpose, his immovable calm- ness, the dignity of his personal demeanour, and his other moral qualifications for the post of leader, enabled him to retain in the House of Commons an ascendancy which his abilities, knowledge, and eloquence never would have given him." His confused and poor oratory indeed has had a great effect in lowering him unduly in the estimation of posterity ; on the other hand, Lord Dudley considers his career, as compared with that of Canning, as affording an illustration of Voltaire's saying that "a man's success in life- depends less on his talents than on the force of his character.'7 "LordCastlereagh," observes Sir Comewall Lewis, "did not indeed• possess those advantages which aristocratic birth and education- have conferred on many of our statesmen. His knowledge, whether constitutional, historical, or classical, was of the most limited sort ; he belonged to the illiterate school of politicians, and would no doubt have sympathized heartily with the modem dictum that more instruction is to be derived from one number of the Times than from the history of Thucydides. His political life- had, however, begun at an early age ; he had been the Irish Ministerial leader in the time of the Rebellion and the Union ; his Parliamentary and official experience had been extensive, and his mode of transacting the business of the English House of Commons was such as to satisfy that somewhat fastidious assembly, even at a time when its intellectual standard was high. He navigated the ship of the State through the years of the dis- tress and disaffection of 1817 and 1819; he withstood the shock of the Queen's trial, and when the short attack of insanity super- vened which brought his life to a premature close at the age of fifty-three, he seemed to have taken a new lease of power."" "Yet his death was a gain to the Liverpool Administration. He had, from his experience of the Irish Rebellion, con- tracted a fondness for strong coercive Government at a period' of disturbance, and his views of domestic policy, though suffi- ciently definite, were founded upon this narrow basis. His views of foreign policy, on the other hand, were not clear or independent. During the eventful period from 1812 to 1815 he had administered the Foreign Office, principally as a War Minis- ter. When peace returned, and the settlement of Europe was to- be made, his judgment was chiefly guided by a view of the evils from which the country had just escaped ; his main object there- fore was to obliterate the traces of the French influence over Europe, and to build up dykes against the perils of another French. inundation. Hence he adopted too implicitly the views of Metternich, and the other Ministers of the great despotic Courts, with which he had recently acted in the final struggle against Napoleon ; and he saw no danger to Europe, provided the affiance- of Russia, Austria, and Prussia maintained the combined action. and military resources of those Governments. One of the most prominent feelings of the English statesmen who lived during the war with Napoleon, was a conviction of the advantages of peace and a desire to preserve it unbroken. In this laudable feeling Lord Castlereagh strongly participated, but in seeking to multiply the securities for peace he overlooked the incidental evils which these securities engendered. The league of the three despotic Powers, which had been instituted for the purpose of keeping France within bounds, and of maintaining the peace of Europe; began to be used for the purpose of suppressing popular move- ments in other States, on the plea that revolutionary excesses might tend to war, and that Jacobinism might light up a conflagration is Europe. Hence the Holy Alliance (the principles of which Lord Castlereagh had tacitly favoured) became a military league, not so much for the preservation of European peace., as for the suppression of European freedoni and the con- firmation of European despotism. In this armed conspivaoy
of despots against the liberties of Europe Lord Castlereagh was believed to be an accomplice, and it is certain that if he did not actively promote its operations, he did not actively remonstrate against its policy, or throw the influence of England openly into the opposite scale. It may be added that at the Congress of Vienna he disregarded the assurances which had been given by the German Governments in appealing to the spirit of national independence against Napoleon. He even allowed the pledges of English officers in Italy to be violated by the annexation of Genoa to Piedmont. Owing to this policy and to these opinions, Lord Castlereagh became, in the last years of his life, a highly unpopular Minister; he continued, however, to enjoy the favour of George IV., and to receive the support of the large and still unbroken Tory party, as well as of the unreformed House of Commons, in which the direct popular element was weak."
He succeeded his father as second Marquis of Londonderry on the 8th of April, 1821, and in a fit of insanity committed suicide on the 12th of August, 1822.
His brother, Charles William, who succeeded him as third Marquis, had already been raised to the Peerage, July 11, 1814, as Baron Stewart. He served with the Duke of Wellington through the Peninsular campaigns, and was distinguished for his gallantry. In_ 1814 he was appointed Ambassador at Vienna, and attended the Congress. He continued in this post at Vienna till his brother's death in 1822, acting of course under the instructions of his brother. He supported in general the Administrations of Lord Liverpool and the Duke of Wellington ; opposed earnestly Mr. Canning's more liberal foreign policy ; was always, like his brother, a decided supporter of Catholic Emancipation, but was strongly opposed to Parliamentary Reform. On this account, at the Reform crisis of 1830, he was attacked by the mob in the streets, dragged off his horse, and seriously injured. The Tory Government as a compensation made him, on the 26th of June, a Privy Councillor. In 1828 he had published a narrative of the events in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular war. On the accession of Sir Robert Peel to power, in December, 1834, he was nominated and officially announced as Ambassador to St. Peters- burg, though the appoin,tment had not been formally made out when the Liberals made a motion in the House of Commons against it; on the ground of words used by Lord Londonderry respecting Poland in 1831 and his well known absolutist leanings, Sir Robert Peel made a feeble defence of the appointment, which Lord Stanley (the present Earl of Derby) called on the Ministers to cancel. The Ministers were relieved from their dilemma by the voluntary resignation of Lord Londonderry. He continued to be for the rest of his life a firm supporter of the Conservative party, travelling much abroad, and occupying much of his spare time in editing the Castlereagh correspondence, and otherwise defending his brother's character and conduct. His hasty temper and high sense of personal honour led him into two duels which excited much public attention, one with a young cornet of his own regiment in 1823, and the other with Mr. Grattan in 1839. He first married a daughter of the third Earl of Darnley, by whom he had a son, Frederick William Robert, the present Marquis. His second match was on the 3rd of April, 1819, with a great heiress, Frances Anne, only child of Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, whose descent from a son of Sir Henry Vane the elder, of the
reign of Charles I., we have already had occasion to mention in detail. With her he obtained the great Durham estates, the collieries on which constitute the wealth of this branch of the Londonderry family. In consequence of this marriage, on the 8th of July, 1823, he was created Earl Vane, with remainder to the male issue of his second marriage. His zealous exertions on behalf of Abdel-Kader are well known, and are the most pro- minent public incident in his later years. He died on the 6th of March, 1854, and was succeeded as fourth Marquis of Londonderry by his eldest son, Frederick, and as Earl Vane by his second son, George Henry Robert Charles, Viscount Se,aham.
The present Marquis made some figure in the House of Commons, where his politics were of a more Liberal cast than those of his father, though he has never abandoned the Conservative connec- tion. The Vase branch is also Conservative, though not in the exaggerated type of the late Marquis.