John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower

John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower, PC (10 August 1694  25 December 1754),[1][2] known as The Baron Gower from 1709 to 1746, was a British Tory politician from the Leveson-Gower family, one of the first Tories to enter government after the Hanoverian Succession.


The Earl Gower

Lord Privy Seal
In office
1742–1743
MonarchGeorge II
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Wilmington
Preceded byThe Lord Hervey
Succeeded byThe Earl of Cholmondeley
In office
1744–1754
MonarchGeorge II
Prime MinisterHon. Henry Pelham
Preceded byThe Earl of Cholmondeley
Succeeded byThe Duke of Marlborough
Personal details
Born(1694-08-10)10 August 1694
Died25 December 1754(1754-12-25) (aged 60)
NationalityBritish
Political partyTory
Spouse(s)(1) Lady Evelyn Pierrepont
(1691–1729)
(2) Penelope Stonhouse
(d. 1734)
(3) Lady Mary Tufton
(1701–1785)
Children14, including Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford
ParentsJohn Leveson-Gower, 1st Baron Gower
Lady Catherine Manners

Background

Gower was a son of John Leveson-Gower, 1st Baron Gower (7 January 1675 – 31 August 1709), and his wife Lady Catherine Manners (19 May 1675 – 7 March 1722).[2] His maternal grandparents were John Manners, 1st Duke of Rutland and Catherine Wriothesley Noel, daughter of Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount Campden.[2] He was educated at Adams' Grammar School and Westminster School before entering Christ Church, Oxford, in 1710.[2] Around 1730, Gower erected the first Trentham Hall based on the designs of Buckingham House (Buckingham Palace). He was awarded degree as D.C.L. from the latter university in 1732.

Political career

Gower firstly became a founding Governor of London's Foundling Hospital in 1739. He then served as Lord Privy Seal between 1742 and 1743 and 1744 and 1754. He was a prominent Tory politician, being the first major Tory to enter government after the accession of King George I, when he joined the administration of John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, in 1742. He was also appointed to the Privy Council in 1742, and he was created Viscount Trentham, of Trentham in the County of Stafford, and Earl Gower on 8 July 1746.

Family

Gower married firstly, 13 March 1711 or 1712, Lady Evelyn Pierrepont (6 September 1691 – 26 June 1729), daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull, and his first wife Lady Mary Feilding. Mary was a daughter of William Feilding, 3rd Earl of Denbigh and his wife Mary King. By his first wife, the earl had eleven children:[2]

Gower married secondly, on 31 October 1733, Penelope Stonhouse (d. 19 August 1734), daughter of Sir John Stonhouse, 3rd Baronet, and had issue:[2]

  • Hon. Penelope Leveson-Gower (circa June 1734–26 February 1742).

Gower married thirdly, on 16 May 1736, Lady Mary Tufton, Dowager Countess of Harold, daughter of Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet, and widow of Anthony Grey, Earl of Harold, and had issue:[3]

  • Hon. Thomas Leveson-Gower (23 August 1738 but known to have died young).
  • Admiral Hon. John Leveson-Gower (11 July 1740 – 28 August 1792), married Frances Boscawen, daughter of Admiral Edward Boscawen.

Ancestry

Intelligence during French Revolution


Earl Gower was appointed ambassador in Paris in June 1790 at the age of 32. Due to Louis XVI being under house arrest in the Tuileries Palace, Earl Gower was unable to become 'an ornament at Versailles', or in other worlds, was unable to work closely with the royal family. Gower was scarcely better equipped to handle the complexity of the French Revolution than his predecessor, Frederick Sackville. He had no previous experience of diplomacy. Gower's main priority in Paris was to provide news from the French court back to Britain, however trivial. Though Gower also reported some popular 'disturbances', he had little comprehension of the broader political climate. On August 10th, 1792, an insurrection by the newly established Paris Revolutionary Commune drove the royal family from the Tuileries. Three days later Louis was arrested and imprisoned in the Temple, a former medieval fortress. Britain broke off diplomatic relations in protest. The closure of the British embassy meant that the intelligence operations could no longer be run from it. This resulted in Britain replacing the ambassador with Captain George Monro, removing Gower from diplomacy in France.[4]

References

  1. Record for John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower at www.thepeerage.com
  2. George Edward Cokayne, editor. The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume III, pages 39–40
  3. Charles Mosley, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1065
  4. ANDREW, CHRISTOPHER. Secret World: A History of Intelligence. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2018
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Hervey
Lord Privy Seal
1742–1743
Succeeded by
The Earl of Cholmondeley
Preceded by
The Earl of Cholmondeley
Lord Privy Seal
1744–1754
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl Ferrers
Lord Lieutenant and
Custos Rotulorum of Staffordshire

1742–1754
Succeeded by
The Earl Gower
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Earl Gower
1746–1754
Succeeded by
Granville Leveson-Gower
Peerage of England
Preceded by
John Leveson-Gower
Baron Gower
1709–1754
Succeeded by
Granville Leveson-Gower
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