Page images
[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][subsumed]
[blocks in formation]

MONTHLY MAGAZINES have opened a way to every kind of inquiry and information. The intelli-
gence and discussion contained in them are very extensive and various, and they have been the means of
diffusing a general habit of reading through the nation, which in a certain degree hath enlarged the public
understanding. HERE, too, are preserved a multitude of useful hints, observations, and facts, which
otherwise might have never appeared.-Dr. Kippis.

Every Art is improved by the emulation of Competitors.-Dr. Johnson,




[Price 15s. Boards; or 16s. 6d. Half-bound.]

No. 78.]




JULY 1, 1820.


Nobilitatis, virtus, non stemmu, character.

IN this brief Memoir we have the satisfaction of presenting our Readers with some account of a British Nobleman, no less distinguished by his amiable, virtuous, and liberal character, than by his princely possessions and illustrious descent.

The noble family, of which he is the head, is descended in the male line from a long train of famous ancestors, who flourished in Normandy with great dignity and grandeur, from the time of its first erection into a sovereign Dukedom, A. D. 912, to the conquest of England in 1066. They possessed the honourable and powerful office of Groveneur;* and from that place of high trust they took their surname. The family is traced to an uncle of Rollo, the ancestor of William duke of Normandy, under whose standard Gilbert Le Grosvenor served in his victorious expedition into England. The earldom and county of Chester being granted to the Norman Earl Hugh of Avranches, nephew to King William and uncle to Gilbert Le Grosvenor, the latter obtained the moiety of the lordship of Lostock, called Over Lostock, in that county. The pedigree of this ancient family has been preserved with peculiar clearness, from the circumstance of a celebrated he raldic suit, which was contested before the High Constable and High Marshal of England and other commissioners in the 12th year of Richard II., between Sir. Robert Le Grosvenor and Sir Richard Le Scrope, on the subject of a coat of arms, viz. Azure, one Bend, Or; the result of which was a decree that the Grosvenors should in future bear, instead of the Bend, a Garb, Or; which arms have ever since been borne by this family.

Richard Grosvenor of Eaton was created the first Baronet of this family on

• Le Groveneur was the Grand Huntsman, an office of great dignity in the forest system of those times.


the 23rd day of February, 1621-2. His son, Sir Richard Grosvenor, the second Baronet, was a faithful adherent of King Charles I., and suffered the sequestration of his estate for his fidelity to the royal cause. On Eccleston-hill, near Eaton, a seat was lately remaining, on which, according to tradition, he used to indulge in the melancholy pleasure of gazing on the fair possessions of which he had been unjustly deprived. The fourth Baronet, Sir Richard Grosvenor, officiated as Grand Cup-bearer of England at the Coronation of George II.; as did Sir Richard, the seventh Baronet, at that of George III., as lords of the manor of Great Wymondley in Herts. The last-named Sir Richard was created Lord Grosvenor, Baron Grosvenor of Eaton, by letters patent dated April 8, 1761. He married Henrietta, daughter of Henry Vernon of Hilton in the county of Stafford, esq. by whom he had issue the present Earl, and three other children. On the 5th day of July, 1784, he was advanced to the dignities of Viscount Belgrave and Earl Grosvenor.

The late Earl Grosvenor, although calumniated by some scurrilous writers whose venal pens he disdained to bribe, was one of the most honourable, benevolent, and accomplished, gentlemen of his time. But his passion for the sports of the turf was indulged to excess, and was rendered, perhaps, the more injurious to his fortune, by the unblemished honour and integrity which he preserved in the transactions to which it gave rise. His public conduct was no less irreproachable. In early life he was attached to the politics of Lord North; but when that Statesman proved obstinate in his determination of continuing the American War, with little reasonable prospect of success, Lord Grosvenor ceased to support his measures. He did not, however, join the opposite party, but retired wholly from public affairs. Toward the end of his life, the immense resources which VOL. XIV.

[ocr errors]


he possessed were rapidly effecting the restoration of his finances, which had suffered from the enormous expense of his racing-establishments. Upon his Lordship's death on August 5, 1802, his only son, the present Earl, then Viscount Belgrave, succeeded to his title.

This nobleman was born on the 22d day of March, 1767. Though early deprived of the advantages of a mother's care, he was reared with an affection not inferior to maternal by the virtuous and venerable Lady Jane Grosvenor, his paternal grandmother, and her daughter. To them he is indebted for the early infusion of serious and religious principles which have been through life the unerring guides of his conduct; and their memory is cherished by his Lordship among his dearest attachinents.


He commenced his public education at Harrow School, and completed it at Trinity College, Cambridge, where, under the instructions of the learned Professor Hailstone, he became proficient in the numerous attainments requisite for a brilliant career in the elevated region in which he was destined to move. On his leaving college, it became the anxious wish of his father that he should add to the knowledge derived from literary sources, a familiar acquaintance with foreign manners and institutions. He was well aware of the dangers and temptations to which the morals of youth must necessarily be exposed in making the tour of Europe, whether entirely free from restraint, or under the nominal controul of a hireling, whose principal care is usually to gratify every wish of his charge. His Lordship knew the inefficacy of such arrangements, and preferred entrusting the conduct of his son to his own discretion, aided by the legitimate influence of an elder friend of eminent talents, experience, and independent principles. Mr. Gifford, who had long enjoyed the Earl's friendship and confidence, was selected for this delicate charge, which his regard for the father, and his knowledge of the amiable and unsophisticated character of the son, induced him to accept with pleasure.

Accordingly Lord Belgrave and Mr. Gifford visited together every part of Europe, during a peregrination of seve


years; in which his Lordship was every where caressed and admired; while the regularity and propriety of his conduct, amidst all the temptations of Continental dissipation, exempted his elder companion from every solicitude with

respect to the influence which paternal anxiety expected him to possess.

Lord Belgrave entered early into public life, under the auspices of Mr. Pitt, who was well acquainted with his talents, and desirous to avail himself of his parliamentary support. He sat first as member for East Looe, and afterwards for the city of Chester. When he first spoke in the House of Commons, an ineffectual and unfair attempt was made to disconcert him, by ridiculing a Greek quotation which he introduced with great propriety. But his Lordship was not then aware that, in that grave assembly, an English jest or sarcasm is always an overmatch for a Greek sentiment.

In 1789 his Lordship became one of the Lords of the Admiralty, which office he held till June 1791. Two years afterwards he was made one of the Commissioners for India affairs. The only public situation which he now holds is that of Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire.

When the French revolutionary go. vernment, intoxicated with Continental victories, threatened the invasion of this country, Lord Belgrave was one of the foremost of those patriots who displayed so gallantly the formidable power with which an invading enemy would have had to contend. A strong and well-disciplined regiment was raised, chiefly by his active exertions, in the united parishes of St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, in which his Lordship then resided. This corps he commanded for several years, during which its discipline, attention, an strength were conspicuous; but from ill health he at length determined to abstain from active exertion, and the bustle of public life. He therefore resigned the command of this corps, to the great regret of the members; and for several years indulged in domestic retirement.

His Lordship's political sentiments induced him originally to support the measures of Mr. Pitt; and although he has at a subsequent period been found among those who oppose the policy founded on that great statesman's principles, the manner and spirit of opposition is in him concili ting and becom ing-it bears the character of disinterestedness and sincerity. Although we cannot ascribe to his political views the comprehensiveness which the circumstances of this country have required, and still demand, we admire his steady and consistent regard for public econo

« PreviousContinue »