Charles Arbuthnot

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The Right Honourable
Charles Arbuthnot
Rt Hon Charles Arbuthnot
First Commissioner of Woods
and Forests
In office
1823 – 9 April 1827
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister The Earl of Liverpool
Preceded by William Huskisson
Succeeded by The Earl of Carlisle
In office
11 February 1828 – 2 June 1828
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by William Sturges Bourne
Succeeded by Viscount Lowther
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
2 June 1828 – 15 November 1830
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by The Earl of Aberdeen
Succeeded by The Lord Holland
Personal details
Born 14 March 1767 (1767-03-14)
Rockfleet, County Mayo
Died 18 August 1850 (1850-08-19)
Apsley House, Piccadilly, London
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) (1) Marcia Clapcott-Lisle
(2) Harriet Fane

Charles Arbuthnot (14 March 1767 – 18 August 1850) was a British diplomat and Tory politician. He was Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1804 and 1807 and held a number of political offices. He was a good friend of the Duke of Wellington. His second wife, Harriet, became a hostess at Wellington's society dinners, and wrote an important diary cataloguing contemporary political intrigues.


Arbuthnot was son of John Arbuthnot, FRS of Rockfleet and brother of bishop Alexander Arbuthnot, General Sir Thomas Arbuthnot and General Sir Robert Arbuthnot. He was born in Rockfleet, County Mayo, Ireland, but much of his upbringing was with his mother's relations, the Stone family.

Political and diplomatic career

Arbuthnot sat as Member of Parliament for East Looe between 1795 and 1796,[1] for Eye between 1809 and 1812,[2] for Orford between 1812 and 1818,[3] for St Germans between 1818 and 1827,[4] for St Ives between 1828 and 1830[4] and for Ashburton between 1830 and 1831.[5] He served under Henry Addington as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between November 1803 – June 1804, under Spencer Perceval and the Earl of Liverpool as Joint Secretary to the Treasury between 1809 and 1823, under Liverpool as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests between 1823 and 1827 and under the Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington as First Commissioner of Woods and Forests in 1828 and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1828 and 1830.

Arbuthnot also held a number of diplomatic postings, notably as consul general in Portugal between 1800 and 1801, as Minister to Sweden. He was appointed on 6 June 1804 as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and left Constantinople on 29 January 1807. In 1804 he was sworn of the Privy Council.[6]

Personal life

File:Harriet Arbuthnot.jpg
Harriet Fane (1793–1834), second wife of Charles Arbuthnot; by John Hoppner; now in the Foundation Lazzaro Galdiano, Madrid.

Arbuthnot was first married on 28 February 1799 to Marcia Mary Anne Clapcott Lisle, at Cholmondeley House, Piccadilly. His first wife was born on 9 July 1774, and had been Lady-in-Waiting since 1795 to Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales. Marcia's portrait was painted by John Hoppner and an engraving of the portrait was made by Joshua Reynolds. The couple's four children included General Charles George James Arbuthnot and Marcia Arbuthnot, who later married William Cholmondeley, 3rd Marquess of Cholmondeley. She died in Constantinople on 24 May 1806.

After being widowed, Arbuthnot married a second time on 31 January 1814 at Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, to Harriet Fane (1793–1834), a daughter of the Hon. Henry Fane. Harriet was fascinated by politics. During her marriage to Arbuthnot, she became a hostess at society dinners given by Arbuthnot's good friend, the Duke of Wellington. During the latter years of Arbuthnot's life, after the death of Harriet, he lived in Apsley House, the Duke's London residence, as his confidential friend. Their story is told in Wellington and the Arbuthnots by E. A. Smith.[7] which refutes the suggestion that Harriet was Wellington's mistress.

Harriet's portrait was also painted by John Hoppner and it is now in Foundation Lazzaro Galdiano, Madrid. Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of her is at Woodford, Northamptonshire. Her diaries were published as The Journal of Mrs Arbuthnot in 1950.[8]

Arbuthnot died at Apsley House in August 1850, aged 83. S. Gambardello's portrait of him is at Apsley House.[9]

His children (all by his first wife,Marcia) were:


File:Marcia Arbuthnot.jpg
Marcia Clapcott-Lisle (1774–1806), first wife of Charles Arbuthnot; by John Hoppner.
  1. House of Commons: Ealing to Elgin
  2. House of Commons: Elginshire to Eye
  3. House of Commons: Ochil to Oxford University
  4. 4.0 4.1 House of Commons: Saffron Walden to Salford West
  5. House of Commons: Arundel to Ayrshire South
  6. The London Gazette: no. 15714. p. 789. 26 June 1804.
  7. Arbuthnot, Harriet (author) and Bamford, F., and the Duke of Wellington (editors) The journal of Mrs. Arbuthnot, 1820–1832 (London, MacMillan, 1950)
  8. Smith, E.A. Wellington and the Arbuthnots: a triangular friendship (UK, Alan Sutton Publishing, 1994) ISBN 0-7509-0629-4.
  9.  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1885). [ "Arbuthnot, Charles" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 2. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hon. William Wellesley-Pole
Robert Wood
Member of Parliament for East Looe
With: Robert Wood
Succeeded by
John Buller
William Graves
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hon. Henry Wellesley
Mark Singleton
Member of Parliament for Eye
1809 – 1812
With: Mark Singleton
Succeeded by
Mark Singleton
Sir William Garrow
Preceded by
William Sloane
Lord Henry Seymour Moore
Member of Parliament for Orford
With: Edmond MacNaghten
Succeeded by
Edmund Alexander Macnaghten
John Douglas
Preceded by
William Henry Pringle
Henry Goulburn
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Seymour Thomas Bathurst 1818–1826
Charles Ross 1826–1827
Succeeded by
Charles Ross
James Loch
Preceded by
Sir Christopher Hawkins, Bt
James Halse
Member of Parliament for St Ives
1828 – 1830
With: James Halse
Succeeded by
William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley
James Morrison
Preceded by
Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
William Sturges Bourne
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
With: Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
William Stephen Poyntz
Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Bristol
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hon. William Eliot
Preceded by
William Huskisson
Hon. Henry Wellesley
Joint Secretary to the Treasury
With: Richard Wharton 1809–1814
Stephen Rumbold Lushington 1814–1823
Succeeded by
Stephen Rumbold Lushington
John Charles Herries
Preceded by
William Huskisson
First Commissioner of Woods and Forests
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Preceded by
William Sturges Bourne
First Commissioner of Woods and Forests
Succeeded by
Viscount Lowther
Preceded by
The Earl of Aberdeen
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Lord Holland
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Daniel Hailes
Ambassador to Sweden
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Manvers Pierrepont
Preceded by
William Drummond
Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
Succeeded by
Hon. Sir Arthur Paget