Stanhope, James First Earl

, was descended from an ancient and honourable family of that name, which flourished for many ages in the county of Nottingham, and was son of Alexander Stanhope, esq. by Catharine his wife, daughter of Arnold Bnrghill, of Thinge-hill Parva, Herefordshire, esq. He was born in 1673. His father, who was very instrumental in the revolution in 1688, being in the beginning of king William’s reign sent envoy extraordinary to the court of Spain, Mr. Stanhope accompanied

* The dean, however, thought it upon Pope’s Works, " that so orthodox

necessary to obviate the tendency of a divine as Stanhope should translate

Charron’s tenets on instinct and reason, two books that are supposed to favour

by a long appendix to the 34th chapter libertinism and scepticism the Wisof the first book. " It appears a little <Jom of Charron, and the Maxims of

strange,“says Dr. Warton in his notes Rocbefoucault.| him thither; which gave him an opportunity of gaining an accurate knowledge of the laws and customs of that country. He continued there some years, and thence made a tour to France, Italy, and other parts, where he made it his study to become acquainted with the laws and the constitutions, as well as the languages, of those places. He afterwards went into the confederate army in Flanders, where he served as a volunteer; and at the famous siege of Namur in 1695 distinguished himself to such advantage, that king William gave him a company of foot, and soon after a colonel’s commission. Though he was but young, being then about two and twenty years old, he had free access to that king, for whom he had always the highest reverence. In the first parliament of queen Anne he was chosen representative for the borough of Cockermouth in Cumberland, as he was likewise in the succeeding parliament, summoned to meet at Westminster June the 14th, 1705; in the beginning of which year he was promoted to the rank of brigadier- general, and gained great reputation in Spain under the earl of Peterborough at the siege of Barcelona, which surrendered to the allies October the 9tb, 1705. Immediately after the reduction of that place, the earl dispatched captain Norris express to England, on board the Canterbury man of war; in which ship brigadier Stanhope and the lord Shannon embarked likewise, and on the 22d of November 1705 arrived at St. Helen’s. Soon after brigadier Stanhope waited on her majesty, and delivered to her several letters, particularly one from the king of Spain, now emperor of Germany, which has this passage “I owe the same justice to your brigadier-general Stanhope upon account of his great zeal, attention, and most prudent conduct, of which he has given me proofs on all manner of occasions.” Towards the close of the first session of the new parliament he returned to Spain, and his presence was extremely acceptable to his catholic majesty. In the beginning of 1708, when a French invasion in favour of the Pretender was expected, brigadier Stanhope moved to bring in a bill to dissolve the clans in Scotland, and was seconded by sir David Dalrymple, and the bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly; but the enemy not landing at that time, the bill was laid aside. About this time he, with brigadier Cadogan and others, was advanced to the rank of major-general, and soon after appointed by her majesty envoy extraordinary and | plenipotentiary to king Charles III. of Spain, and commander in chief of the British forces in that kingdom. He arrived at Barcelona May the 29th, 1708, and the same year reduced Port Mahon and the whole island of Minorca. In the first British parliament which met after the union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, he was re-chosen member for Cockermouth. He was also advanced to the rank of lieutenant-general; and in 1710 was one of the managers of the House of Commons at the trial of Dr. Sacheverell, against whose doctrines he made an able speech. In the latter end of May that year he went to Spain, and on July 27, obtained a signal victory over the enemy near Almenara, as he did likewise on Aug. 20 near Saragossa; but Dec. 9 following he was taken prisoner at Brihuega.

Upon the change of administration, a new parliament being called, he was proposed candidate for the City of Westminster, together with sir Henry Dutton-Colt, but being unsuccessful, was chosen again for Cockermouth. He continued prisoner in Spain till 1712, when his imperial majesty made an exchange for the duke of Escalone, formerly viceroy of Naples; and in July the general set out on his return home by the way of France, and on the 16th of August arrived in England. In parliament he now opposed vigorously the measures of the court, and particularly the Bill of Commerce between Great Britain and France. Upon the calling a new parliament in 1713, he lost his election at Cockermouth by a small majority, but was soon after chosen unanimously for Wendover in Bucks; and opposed the Schism-bill with great spirit. Upon the arrival of king George I. in England, he was received by his majesty with particular marks of favour; and on the 27th of September 1714, appointed one of the principal secretaries of state, and October the 1st sworn one of the privy- council. On the 20th of the same month, the day of his majesty’s coronation, he, with the lord Cobham, set out with a private commission to the emperor’s court; where having succeeded in his negotiations, he returned to England in the latter end of December. A new parliament being summoned to meet at Westminster on the 17th of March 1714-15, he was unanimously chosen for Cockermouth, as he was likewise for Aldborough in Yorkshire. In July 1716 he attended his majesty to Germany, and was principally concerned in the alliance concluded at that time with France and the States-general, by which the | Pretender was removed beyond the Alps, and Dunkirk and Mardyke demolished. He returned with his majesty in 1716, and the following year was appointed first lord of the treasury, and chancellor of the exchequer. He was afterwards created a peer of Great Britain, by the title of baron Stanhope of Elvaston, in the county of Derby, and viscount Stanhope of Mahon in the island of Minorca. In March 1718, he was appointed principal secretary of state, in the room of the earl of Sunderland, who succeeded lord Stanhope in the Treasury: and soon after was created earl Stanhope. The Spanish power growing more formidable, an alliance was set on foot between his Britannic majesty, the emperor, and the king of France, for which purpose earl Stanhope set out in June for Paris, and thence to Madrid, but finding nothing could be done with that court, he returned to England in September. In December following, he introduced a bill into the House of Lords “for strengthening the protestant interest in these kingdoms,” in which he proposed a repeal of the occasional-conformity bill, and the schism bill, and it passed by a majority of eighteen.

In May 1719 he was appointed one of the lords justices, during the king’s absence, and attended his majesty to Hanover; and upon his return to England April the 1st, 1720, he had the honour of composing some domestic differences in the royal family. On the llth of June the same year, he was again appointed one of the lords justices during the absence of his majesty to Hanover, and returned to England on the llth of November following. On the 4th of February 1720-1 his lordship was suddenly seized in the House of Lords with a complaint in the head, of which he died on the following day *. The news of his death being brought to his majesty in the evening, he was so sensibly touched with it, that he left the supper-room, and retired for two hours into his closet to lament the death of a person, in whom he reposed so high a confidence. His lordship’s body was interred on the 17th of February at his seat of Chevening in Kent; and a monument was afterwards erected to his memory in Westminster-abbey. He married Lucy, daughter of Thomas Pitt, esq. some

* This was occasioned by a sudden Stanhope’s was by an abusive speech

resentment, such as a military man of the profligate duke of Whartou, He

maybe expected to feel when his honour answered it with so much warmth as to

is attacked; as in thjs instance lord break a blood-vessel. | time governor of Fort St. George in the East-Indies, by whom he had several children. The present earl is his grandson.

James, earl Stanhope, was, as a politician, possessed of great abilities, integrity, and disinterestedness; as a military man, he was thought to possess the duke of Mariborough’s talents, without his weaknesses. In private life he was very amiable. He is said to have been learned, and a curious inquirer into ancient history. About 1718 or 1719, he sent a set of queries to the abbe Vertot, respecting the constitution of the Roman senate, which the abbe answered, and both the letter and the answer were published in 1721, and long after animadverted upon by Mr. Hooke in the collection of treatises he published on that subject in 1758. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Collins’s Peerage, by Sir E. Brydges. Coxe’s Life of Walpole. Rapin’s History.