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ment, that it was then optionary with the Count to select either of the daughters of his Lordship.


“GENOA, June 2nd, 1823. “Having had the misfortune to lose my beloved son, Luke

, Wellington, and having entered into engagements with Alfred, Comte D'Orsay, that an alliance should take place between him and my daughter, which engagement has been sanctioned by Albert, Comte D'Orsay, General, &c. in the service of France, this is to declare and publish my desire to leave to the said Alfred D'Orsay my estates in the city and county of Dublin, (subject, however, to the annuity of three thousand per annum, which sum is to include the settlement of one thousand per annum to my wife, Margaret, Countess of Blessington, subject also to that portion of debt, whether by annuity or mortgage, to which my executor and trustee, Luke Norman, shall consider them to be subjected), for his and her use, whether it be Mary (baptized Emily), Rosalie Hamilton, or Harriet Ann Jane Frances, and to their heirs, male, the said Alfred and said Mary, or Harriet, for ever in default of issue, male, to follow the provisions of the will and testament.

“I make also the said Alfred D'Orsay sole guardian of my son Charles John, and my sister, Harriet Gardiner, guardian of my daughters, until they, the daughters, arrive at the age of sixteen, at which age I consider that they will be marriageable.

“I also bequeath to Luke Norman my estates in the county of Tyrone, &c., in trust for my son, Charles John, who I desire to take the name of Stewart Gardiner, until he shall arrive at the age of twenty-five, allowing for his education such sums as Alfred D’Orsay may think necessary, and one thousand per annum from twenty-one to twenty-five.

“Done at Genoa, life being uncertain, at eight o'clock, on the morning of Monday, June the second, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three.


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I find in the papers of Lady Blessington, a letter of a noble Lord, a great legal functionary, dated September 20th, 1836, enclosing a copy of the codicil above-mentioned, sent to him for an opinion, and the following reference to it: “Enclosed is the opinion. I regret that it is not, and cannot be more favourable :"

“I have read the statement, will, and codicil, and am of opinion that the legatee is liable for the rent and taxes, and subject to all the covenants of the lease.”

At the date of this letter Lord Blessington had been dead about six years.

On the 31st of August, 18:23, Lord Blessington executed his last will and testament, formally carrying out the intentions, in respect to the marriage of one of his daughters, briefly expressed in the preceding codicil. This will was executed only two months later than the document above referred to; and it merits attention, that the provision made for the Countess of Blessington, in the former codicil, of an annuity of £3000, inclusive of a preceding marriage settlement of £1000 a year, is reduced in the will of the 31st of August, to £2000 a year, including the marriage settlement of £1000 per annum ; so that in after-years, when it was generally believed that Lady Blessington had an income of £3000 a year, she in reality had only £2000.*



“ This is the last will and testament of me, Charles Jolin, Earl of Blessington, of that part of the united kingdom called Ireland. I give Luke Norman, Esquire, for and during the

* Landor in his Letter, published in “ The Athenæum,” of the 17th of February, 1855, says : " Lord Blessington told me that he offered her an addition of a thousand pounds to her jointure of three, and could not prevail on her to accept the addition,”

time he shall continue agent of my estates, in the county and city of Dublin, and in the county of Tyrone, twelve hundred pounds per annum, in lieu of receivers' fees. I appoint Alfred D'Orsay, Count of [ ], in France, Luke Norman, Esquire, and Alexander Worthington, Esquire, my executors; and I give unto each of them one thousand pounds. I give to Isabella Birnly, Michael McDonough, and John Bullock, one hundred pounds each. I give and devise my real and personal estate to said Alfred D'Orsay, Luke Norman, and Alexander Worthington, for the following purposes. First for the payment of two thousand pounds, British, per annum, (inclusive of one thousand pounds settled on her at the time of my marriage), to my wife, Margarette, or Margaret, Countess of Blessington; and I give to her all her own jewels, requesting that she may divide my late wife's jewels between my two daughters at the time of her decease. I give to Robert Power and Mary Anne Power one thousand pounds each. I give to my daughter, Harriet Anne Jane Frances, commonly called Lady Harriet, born at my house at Seymour Place, London, on or about the 3rd day of August, 1812, all my estates in the county and city of Dublin, subject to the following charge. Provided she in

. termarry with my friend, and intended son-in-law, Alfred D'Orsay, I bequeath her the sum of ten thousand pounds only. I give to my daughter, Emily Rosalie Hamilton, generally called Lady Mary Gardiner, born in Manchester Square, on the 24th June, 1811, whom I now acknowledge and adopt as my daughter, the sum of twenty thousand pounds.

“In case the said Alfred D'Orsay intermarries with the said Emily, otherwise Mary Gardiner, I bequeath to her my estates in the county and city of Dublin. The annuity of two thousand pounds per annum, Britisk, to be paid to my beloved wife, out of the said estates. I give to my son, Charles John, who I desire may take the name of Stuart Gardiner, born in Portman Square on the 3rd day of February, 1810, all my estates in the county of Tyrone, subject to the following charges ; also the reversion of my Dublin estates in case of male issue of said daughters. In case of male issue, lawfully begotten, I leave these estates to the second son of Alfred D’Orsay and my

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daughter; or if only one son, to him in case of failure to male issue, to go to the male issue of my other daughter. My estates are to be subject, in the first instance, to the payment of my debts. I give to my wife the lease of my house in London, at the expiration of which the furniture, books, &c. &c., are to be removed to the intended residence at Mountjoy Forest ; and I direct that the said house be built according to the plan now laid down, and do empower my said executors to borrow money for the said purpose. I give to my wife all my carriages, para: phernalia, and plate. I give to my son, Charles John, my plate, wardrobe, swords, &c., &c., &c. I appoint Alfred D'Orsay guardian of my son, Charles John, until he arrives at the age of twenty-five years, the settlement of twelve thousand pounds to be null and void on his obtaining the Tyrone estates. I appoint my beloved wife guardian of my daughter, Harriet Anne ; and I appoint my sister Harriet, guardian of my daughter, commonly called Lady Mary. I give to Isabella McDougal, of Perth, one hundred pounds per annum for her life, it being bequeathed her by my first wife, Mary Campbell, Viscountess Mountjoy. I give to the National Gallery, intended to be formed in London, under royal protection, my picture of the • Three Graces,' by Sir Joshua Reynolds, with a desire that *the gift of Charles John, Earl of Blessington,' may be affixed to the said picture, as an encouragement to others to contribute to the said collection. I give to my sister, Harriet Gardiner, five hundred pounds per annum for her natural life. I revoke all other wills, by me made, and declare this to be my last will and testament; In witness whereof, I have to this my last will, contained in five sheets of paper, set to the first four my hand, and to this, the fifth and last, my hand and seal, this 31st day of August, 1823. Blessington seal.”

The marriage, then, of Count D'Orsay with a daughter of Lord Blessington, we find determined on at Genoa, so early as the 2nd of June, 1823, and it was not till the 1st of December, 1897, four years and a half subsequently to that determination, that the long-contemplated event took place.

In December, 1827, the Blessingtons returned to Rome from Florence, after a sojourn there of upwards of four months.

They engaged the two principal floors of the Palazzo Negroni, for six months certain, at the rent of 100 guineas a month (at the rate of 1200 guineas a year).* This abode, though nominally furnished, had to be further provided with hired" meubles,” the cost of which was about twenty pounds a month. The seeds of the Encumbered Estates Court were being sown in Italy, as well as in other Continental countries, pretty extensively some thirty years ago, by our Irish landed proprietors.

In the month of March, 1828, on my return from the East, I visited the Blessingtons at the Palazzo Negroni, and there, for the first time, I beheld the recently married daughter of the Earl of Blessington.

Had I been a member of their family, I could not have been received with greater kindness and warmth of feeling.

During my stay in Rome, I dined with them most days, and passed every evening at their conversationes.

Their salons, as at Naples, were regularly filled every evening with the elite of the distinguished foreigners and natives, artists and literati of the Eternal City.

The Count D'Orsay had been married the 1st of December, 1927, to Lady Harriet Frances Gardiner, who was then fifteen years age and four months.

It was an unhappy marriage, and nothing to any useful purpose can be said of it except that Lord Blessington sacrificed his child's happiness, by causing her to marry, without consulting her inclinations or her interests.

Taken from school without any knowledge of the world,


* While this enormous expenditure for house accommodation was going on in Italy, the noble mansion in St. James's Square, in London, was still kept up by his Lordship.

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