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Charles Stuart (British Army officer, born 1753)

  (Redirected from Charles Stuart (1753–1801))

Lieutenant-general Sir Charles Stuart, KB (January 1753 – 25 May 1801), was a British nobleman and soldier. The fourth son of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, and Mary Wortley Montagu, he was born in Kenwood House, London.[1] There is a famous painting in the Tate Gallery, London, of him aged 10 stealing eggs and chicks from a bird's nest.[2]

Charles Stuart
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Stuart.jpg
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Stuart by George Romney
BornJanuary 1753
Died25 May 1801
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
RankLieutenant-general
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary Wars
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Bath

He had several notable brothers and sisters, including John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute (1744–1814); The Most Rev. and Hon. William Stuart (1755–1822), a clergyman who became Archbishop of Armagh, and James Archibald Stuart (1747–1818), another soldier who raised the 92nd Foot in 1779. His sisters were Lady Louisa Stuart (1757–1851), a writer who died unmarried, Lady Mary Stuart (c. 1741 – 1824), who married James Lowther, later the 1st Earl of Lonsdale; Lady Anne Stuart (born c. 1745), who married Lord Warkworth, later the 2nd Duke of Northumberland; Lady Jane Stuart (c. 1748 – 1828), who married George Macartney, later the first Earl Macartney; and Lady Caroline Stuart (b. 1763 – 1813), who married The Hon. John Dawson, later first Earl of Portarlington.[3]

Military careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Stuart embarked upon a military career in 1768, when he enlisted as an ensign in the 37th Regiment of Foot. He purchased a lieutenancy in the 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) in 1770 and a captaincy in the 37th Foot in 1775. Late that year, he became a major commanding a battalion of the regiment, and saw service in the American War of Independence. In 1777, he was commissioned as a lieutenant-colonel of the 26th Regiment of Foot, which he commanded until 1779.[1]

On a visit home to England, he married Anne Louisa Bertie, daughter of Lord Vere Bertie, on 19 April 1778. He returned briefly to America, before coming back to London as a liaison to the ministry. A harsh critic of the Army's conduct, he was, however, highly favored by Sir Henry Clinton, with whom he corresponded regularly. His two sons were born after his return from America:

He was promoted to colonel in 1782, but his criticisms and the disfavor of George III towards his father prevented further military commands. He had been elected MP for Bossiney in 1776, succeeding his elder brother Lord Mount Stuart, who had been created Baron Cardiff. Stuart continued an MP for the remainder of his life, except the years 1794–1796, but showed little interest in politics.[1] In 1792, on the death of his father, he inherited the estate of Highcliffe House in Hampshire.

With the opening of hostilities against France by the First Coalition, he returned to active service. On 23 May 1794, he took command of the army in Corsica, and supervised the taking of Calvi (the action in which Horatio Nelson lost an eye). Col. John Moore was at the time his adjutant general.[1] Stuart was promoted to lieutenant-general for this action, and on 24 October 1794, was made colonel of the 68th Regiment of Foot.[6] However, his pride and violent temper led him to quarrel with Lord Hood, commanding the Mediterranean Fleet, and with the civilian viceroy of Corsica, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bt. His partiality for Pasquale Paoli against Elliot, and other conflicts, led Stuart to resign in February 1795.[1] On 25 March 1795, he left the colonelcy of the 68th for that of the 26th Regiment of Foot, which he held for the remainder of his life.[6]

Defence of PortugalEdit

He took command of a force sent to Portugal in January 1797 to defend Lisbon, and was notably successful in instilling discipline and spirit into the force, which was partly foreign in composition.[1]

Capture of MenorcaEdit

In 1798, he was sent to attack Menorca (historically called "Minorca" by the British) with 3,000 men, an appointment heartily approved by Lord St Vincent, who praised Stuart as an excellent general and inspiring leader of troops. Though unequipped with siege artillery, he successfully dissimulated and bluffed the Spaniards into surrendering the island without loss of life, an exploit for which he was made a Knight of the Bath. From 15 November 1798 until 1800, he served as the British governor of the island. In March 1799, he responded to an appeal by Admiral Nelson (who, like St Vincent, thought him an excellent leader), and brought the 30th and 89th Regiments under Col. Blayney to Palermo, from whence they were dispatched to secure Messina against French invasion.[1]

An able general and administrator, Stuart's quarrelsome disposition and tendency toward insubordination blighted an otherwise promising military career.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Gregory, Desmond, ed. (2004). "Stuart, Sir Charles (1753–1801)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Three Sons of John, 3rd Earl of Bute". Tate Gallery. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ Cokayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom Extant, Extinct, or Dormant.
  4. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Captain John James Stuart". ThePeerage.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "General Charles Stuart". ThePeerage.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Land Forces of the British Empire". Retrieved 17 September 2006.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Lord Mount Stuart
Henry Luttrell
Member of Parliament for Bossiney
1776–1790
With: Henry Luttrell 1776–1784
Bamber Gascoyne 1784–1786
Matthew Montagu 1786–1790
Succeeded by
James Archibald Stuart
Humphrey Minchin
Preceded by
William Morton Pitt
Michael Angelo Taylor
Member of Parliament for Poole
1790
With: Benjamin Lester
Succeeded by
Benjamin Lester
Michael Angelo Taylor
Preceded by
Alexander Edmondstone
Member of Parliament for Ayr Burghs
1790–1794
Succeeded by
John Campbell
Preceded by
Benjamin Lester
Michael Angelo Taylor
Member of Parliament for Poole
1796–1801
With: John Jeffrey
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Poole
1801
With: John Jeffrey
Succeeded by
John Jeffrey
George Garland
Political offices
New title Governor of Menorca
1798–1800
Succeeded by
Henry Edward Fox
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Alured Clarke
Colonel of the 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot
1794–1795
Succeeded by
Thomas Trigge
Preceded by
Sir William Erskine
Colonel of the 26th (The Cameronian) Regiment of Foot
1795–1801
Succeeded by
Andrew Gordon