Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle KG PC (28 May 1748 – 4 September 1825) was a British peer, statesman, diplomat, and author.

The Earl of Carlisle

Lord Carlisle, by Joshua Reynolds (1769)
First Lord of Trade
In office
6 November 1779  9 December 1780
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterLord North
Preceded byLord George Sackville-Germain
Succeeded byThe Lord Grantham
Personal details
Died4 September 1825(1825-09-04) (aged 77)


He was the son of Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle and his second wife Isabella Byron. His mother was a daughter of William Byron, 4th Baron Byron and his wife Hon. Frances Berkeley, a descendant of John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton. She was also a sister of William Byron, 5th Baron Byron and a great-aunt of George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, the poet. In 1798, Carlisle was appointed guardian to Lord Byron who later lampooned him in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.[1]

During his youth Carlisle was mentored by George Selwyn and was chiefly known as a man of pleasure and fashion. He was created a Knight of the Thistle in 1767, and entered the House of Lords in 1770. After he had reached thirty years of age, his appointment on a Commission sent out by Frederick North, Lord North, to attempt a reconciliation with the Thirteen Colonies during the American War of Independence was received with sneers by the opposition. The failure of the embassy was not due to any incapacity on the part of the earl, but to the unpopularity of the government from which it received its authority. He was, indeed, considered to have displayed so much ability that he was entrusted with the viceroyalty of Ireland in 1780.[1][2]

The time was one of the greatest difficulty; for while the calm of the country was disturbed by the American War of Independence, it was drained of regular troops, and large bands of volunteers not under the control of the government had been formed. Nevertheless, the two years of Carlisle's rule passed in quietness and prosperity, and the institution of a national bank and other measures which he effected left permanently beneficial results upon the commerce of the island. In 1789, in the discussions as to the regency, Carlisle took a prominent part on the side of the prince of Wales.[1]

In 1791 he opposed William Pitt the Younger's policy of resistance to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire by the Russian Empire; but on the outbreak of the French Revolution he left the opposition and vigorously maintained the cause of war. He resigned from the Order of the Thistle and was created a Knight of the Garter in 1793. In 1815 he opposed the enactment of the Corn Laws; but from this time till his death, he took no important part in public life.[1][3]

In 1798 he was one of the syndicate who bought the Orleans Collection of paintings, which were housed in Castle Howard.


On 22 March 1770, Frederick married Margaret Caroline (died 27 Jan 1824), daughter of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford and his wife Louisa, who was in turn daughter of Scroop Egerton, 1st Duke of Bridgewater.[3]

They had ten children:

The 5th Earl was also reputedly the natural father of Howard Staunton (1810 – 1874), an English chess master regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, according to information "gleaned" by chess historian H. J. R. Murray from various sources, although record of Staunton's birth or baptism has never been found.


Carlisle was the author of some political tracts, a number of poems, and two tragedies:

  1. Poems, London, 1773
  2. The Father's Revenge (a tragedy in five acts), London, 1783
  3. To Sir J. Reynolds, (verses), London, 1790
  4. A Letter to Earl FitzWilliam, London, 1795
  5. The Crisis, London, 1798
  6. Unite or Fall, London, 1798
  7. The Stepmother, (a tragedy), London, 1800
  8. The Tragedies and Poems of Frederick, Earl of Carlisle, London, 1801
  9. Verses on the Death on Lord Nelson, London, 1806
  10. Thoughts on the present Condition of the Stage, London, 1808
  11. Miscellanies, London, 1820


  1. Chisholm 1911, p. 340.
  2. Barker 1891, p. 14.
  3. Barker 1891, p. 16.


  • Barker, George Fisher Russell (1891), "Howard, Frederick" , in Lee, Sidney (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography, 28, London: Smith, Elder & Co, pp. 14–17


Political offices
Preceded by
John Shelley
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
The Lord Onslow
Preceded by
Lord George Germain
First Lord of Trade
Succeeded by
The Lord Grantham
Preceded by
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Duke of Portland
Preceded by
The Earl Talbot
Lord Steward
Succeeded by
The Duke of Rutland
Preceded by
The Duke of Grafton
Lord Privy Seal
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marquess of Carmarthen
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Marquess of Carmarthen
Preceded by
The Duke of Leeds
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
The Lord Mulgrave
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Howard
Earl of Carlisle
Succeeded by
George Howard

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