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saw his lordship fall from his horse mortally wounded, and when he next saw him he was dead, pierced by several balls, and with many pike wounds also.
Lord Mountjoy enjoyed several sinecures of considerable emolument. The two principal ones were hereditary. The caricaturists of his day devoted their sarcastic talents to the illustration of his supposed sinecurist propensities. *
The Right Honourable Charles John Gardiner, second Viscount and Baron Mountjoy, in the County of Tyrone, at the time of his father's death, in 1798, was in his seventeenth year. He was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he obtained the honorary degree of Master of Arts.f In 1803 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Tyrone Militia ; and in 1807 a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Tyrone ; in 1809, he was elected a representative peer for Ireland, and advanced to the Earldom of Blessington June 22nd, 1816.
The origin of this latter title dates from 1673. Michael, Archbishop of Armagh (of the family of Boyle, Earl of Cork and Orrery), in 1665 was constituted Lord High Chancellor of Ireland, and in 1671 was sworn one of the Lords Justices. In 1689 his house at Blessington was plundered by the Irish.
* In one of these productions inquiry is made, “Why a Gardener is the most extraordinary man in the world ?" and the following reasons are assigned in reply to the query :
“ Because no man has more business upon earth, and he always chooses good grounds for what he does. He turns his thyme to the best account. He is master of the mint, and fingers penny royal; he raises his celery every year, and it is a bad year indeed that does not bring him in a plum; he has more boughs than a minister of state, does not want London pride, rakes a little under the rose, but would be more sage to keep the For from his enclosures, to destroy the rotten Burroghs, and to avoid the blasts from the North, and not to Foster corruption, lest a Flood should follow.”
Among Lord Blessington's cotemporaries at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1798, were the late Lord Dudley, Lord Ebrington, Bishop Heber, &c.
He died in 1702, and was buried in St. Patrick's church. His eldest son, Murrough, by his second marriage with a daughter of Dermod, Earl of Inchiquin, was created Lord Viscount Blessington, in the County of Wicklow, by patent, in 1673. He died in 1718, and was succeeded by his son Charles. One of the daughters of the preceding Viscount, Anne, in 1696, married Sir William Stewart, third Viscount Mountjoy, born in 1709. Charles, the second Viscount Blessington, was Member of Parliament for Blessington in the reigns of Queen Anne and George the First. The title became extinct by his Lordship’s death near Paris, without issue, in 1733.
The Sir William Stewart, third Viscount Mountjoy above mentioned, who married a daughter of Murrough, Viscount Blessington, had been advanced to the dignity of an earl by the title of Earl of Blessington, in 1745.*
Few young noblemen ever entered life with greater advantages than the young Viscount Mountjoy ; he was possessed of a fine fortune at the time of his coming of age; he had received an excellent education, was possessed of some talents, and a great deal of shrewdness of observation, and quickness of perception in the discernment of talents, and ability of any intellectual kind. He had a refined taste for literature and arts. In politics, he was a faithful representative of his father's principles. From the commencement of his career to the close of it, he supported the cause of the Roman Catholics.
The first time that Viscount Mountjoy spoke in the House of Lords, after having been elected a representative peer for Ireland in 1809, was in favour of a motion for the thanks of the House to Lord Viscount Wellington, and the army under his command, for the victory of Talavera ; when Lord Mountjoy, in reply to the Earl of Grosvenor's opposition to the motion, said that "no General was better skilled in war, none more enlightened than Lord Viscount Wellington. The choice of a position at Talavera reflected lustre on his talents ; the victory was as brilliant and glorious as any on record. It was entitled to the unanimous approbation of their lordships, and the eternal gratitude of Spain and of this country.”
* Archdall's Peerage, vol. vi. p. 256.
His Lordship seldom attended his Parliamentary duties, and
very seldom spoke. On the Queen's trial, in 1820, in opposing the bill of pains and penalties, Lord Blessington spoke in vindication of the character of Mr. Powell, (who had been engaged in the Milan commission, and was assistant solicitor for the bill), “and expressed much regret that that person had anything to do with the Milan commission."
John Allan Powell, Esq., was an intimate acquaintance of the Blessingtons.
The young lord's manners and deportment were all in keeping with the qualities of his mind, and the amiability of his disposition. That calamity was his, than which few greater misfortunes can befall a young man of large expectations—prided, courted, flattered and beset by evil influences, the loss of a father's care, his counsel and control at the very age when these advantages are most needful to youth and inexperience.
The taste of all others which the young nobleman on coming into his ample fortune gave himself up to, was for the drama.
He patronized it liberally, and was allured into all the pleasures of its society. The green-room and its affairs—the interests, and rivalries, and intrigues of favourite actors and actresses, the business of private theatricals, the providing of costly dresses for them, the study of leading parts for their performance (for his Lordship was led to believe his talents were of the first order for the stage), engaged the attention of the young nobleman too much, and gave a turn in the direction of self-indulgence, to talents originally good, and tastes naturally inclined to elegance and refinement.
In 1822, Byron thus spoke of Lord Blessington as he remembered him in early life :—“Mountjoy (for the Gardiners are the lineal race of the famous Irish Viceroy* of that Ilk) seems very good-natured, but is much tamed since I recollect him in all the glory of gems and snuff-boxes, and uniforms and theatricals, sitting to Stroelling, the painter, to be depicted as one of the heroes of Agincourt."
His father's great fondness for him had contributed in some manner to the taste he had acquired in very early life for gorgeous ornaments, gaudy dresses, theatrical costumes and military uniforms. At the period of the volunteering movement in Ireland, about 1788 or 1789, when the boy was not above six or seven years of age, his father had him equipped in a complete suit of volunteer uniform, and presented him thus to a great concourse of people with a diminutive sword in the
poor child's hand, on the occasion of a grand review at Newtownstewart, at the head of the corps that was commanded by his Lordship. Lord Blessington's passion for theatricals was an hereditary
His father had his private theatricals in the Phænix Park, when he filled the office of Ranger. “ The Right Honourable Luke Gardiner, Member for the County of Dublin, and Keeper of the Phænix Park, had a great love for the stage, and had erected a most elegant theatre in the Park. Captain Jephson's tragedy of Macbeth, and the farce of * The Citizen,' were thrice performed there, to a most brilliant audience, in January, 1778, and the character of Macbeth was brilliantly supported by Captain Jephson.” The Captain died in 1803; he was the author of “The Count of Narbonne,” “Braganza,” “The Campaign,” an opera ; " Love and War,” “The Conspiracy,” “ The Servant with Two Masters,” “Two Strings to your Bow.”
* The famous Lord Deputy to whom Byron alludes, was a fierce marauder and conquistador, in the good old times of raid and of rapine of Queen Bess. Morrison, an English writer on Irish affairs (fol. 43), says, “ Lord Mountjoy (the Deputy) never received any to mercy but such as had drawn blood upon their fellow rebels. Thus McMahon and McArt both offered to submit, but neither would be received with. out the other's head."
Lord Blessington had been unfortunately allowed to think, almost from his boyhood, that no obstacle stood between him and the gratification of his desires that could not be removed; and the result was what might be expected.
This evil tendency to self-indulgence impeded the growth of all powers of self-control, and nourished a disposition to unrestrained profusion and extravagance, whenever the gratification of the senses, or allurements of pleasure were in question
His Lordship, in the latter part of 1808, or the beginning of 1809, made the acquaintance of a lady of the name of Browne (née Campbell), remarkable for her attractions, and indebted to them chiefly, if not solely, for her distinction. The young lord found some difficulties in the
the way of the resolution he had formed of marrying this lady, but the obstacles were removed; and while means were being taken for their removal, and the marriage that was to follow it, Warwick House, in Worthing, was taken by his Lordship for her abode, and there she resided for several months.
Mrs. Browne belonged to a Scotch family of respectability, of the name of Campbell, and, as I am informed, a brother of hers represented in parliament the borough in which his native place was situated, and was connected with a baronet of the same name.
While the residence was kept up at Worthing, another place of abode was occasionally occupied in Portman Square ;