CRAUFURD, Charles Gregan (1763-1821), of Clumber Park, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 12 Feb. 1763, 2nd s. of Sir Alexander Craufurd, 1st Bt., of Newark, Ayr by Jane, da. of James Crokatt of Luxborough, Essex; bro. of Robert Craufurd*. educ. Harrow 1776. m. 7 Feb. 1800, Lady Anna Maria Stanhope, da. of William Stanhope†, 2nd Earl of Harrington, wid. of Thomas Pelham Clinton*, 3rd Duke of Newcastle, s.p. GCB 27 May 1820.
Cornet 1 Drag. Gds. 1778, lt. 1781; capt. 2 Drag. Gds. 1783; equerry to Duke of York 1787-1813; a.d.c. to Duke of York in the Netherlands and representative of the English c.-in-c. at the Austrian h.q. 1793; maj. 1793; lt.-col. and dep. adj.-gen. to British army 1794; envoy to the Prince de Condé 1795; spec. mission to Austrian h.q. and British commissary with the Swiss troops May-Aug. 1795; dep. q.m.g. at Horse Guards 1795-9; brevet col. 1797; lt.-gov. Tynemouth and Cliff Fort 1799-d.; col. Rutland fencibles 1799, maj.-gen. 1803; col. 2 Drag. Gds. 1807, lt.-gen. 1810; groom of bedchamber to Duke of York 1813-16.
Craufurd joined the Duke of York’s household as equerry when it was established in 1787. The duke refused to release him to serve at Gibraltar with Prince Edward and in 1793 he was the duke’s aide-de-camp in Flanders. He kept the frustrated Prince of Wales informed of the campaign, served as messenger to the King, ‘distinguished himself very much’ and was sent to Vienna for consultations. Promoted and made deputy adjutant-general, he was next appointed envoy to the Prince de Condé’s émigré army in May 1795 and bombarded the War Office with his strategic notions. In December he became deputy quartermaster general, at his own wish. He was severely wounded at Amberg in September 1796 and returned home in 1798. The duke secured him the command of the Rutland fencibles, as he did not ‘expect to be fit for very active’ service, and in 1801 he applied for and obtained a pension, granted by patent so as not to incapacitate him from Parliament.1
A handsome invalid, he won the hand of the widowed Duchess of Newcastle and, within a month of their marriage, wrote to Henry Dundas claiming that he would be at the expense of returning his stepson’s seven Members at the next election as ministerialists and asking as reward that his elder brother Sir James should succeed Mornington as viceroy of India. Dundas warned him that ‘political weight’ should not be used to bargain for the office. Craufurd thought it necessary ‘to prevent the imputation of unwarrantable presumption’, but apologized ten months later. In March 1801 the duchess encouraged him to canvass the borough of Retford on her interest. But he fell ill and his brother Robert was substituted for him at the election of 1802. The devoted duchess took him with her to France in September 1802.2 In 1806 he was fit enough to come in for Retford, though prepared to cede the seat to Windham if necessary. He supported the Grenville ministry, sending memoranda on continental affairs to Grenville through William Wickham and Windham, until they clashed with the King over the Catholic question; though in February 1807, confined with rheumatism, he paired with Lord Newark until the end of the month and on 2 Mar. took a month’s sick leave.3
On 9 Apr. 1807, in his maiden speech, he led the opposition to Brand’s motion ‘in a very useful and able manner’. So the King was informed by Perceval, who added that Craufurd ‘was forward to express his sentiments that he might mark not only his own opinion, but that also of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, whose earnest and anxious support of your Majesty’s government upon the loyal principles on which he affords it, does him great honour’. Newcastle had disclaimed any reward for his support.4 Craufurd returned to the charge on the address, 26 June: ‘He had supported the late ministers from a high opinion of their talents; he however condemned them for attempting to force themselves on the crown by compelling the crown to dismiss them. Oh! sublime patriotism, ending in political suicide, and confessed self-murder of their body politic!’
After these raptures Craufurd was silent until 1 Feb. 1810, when he concurred in the vote of thanks to Wellington, ‘a most consummate general’. On 16 Feb. he justified this compliment and approved Wellington’s pension. Perceval proposed him for the Scheldt committee, 5 Feb., and on 5 Mar. he began the debate against Whitbread’s motion on Lord Chatham’s conduct. On 27 Mar. he made a three-hour speech as a preface to an amendment to the opposition censure on the conduct of the expedition. He was supposed to be prompted by Perceval, but Nicholas Vansittart* ridiculed the ‘extravagant absurdity’ of his exertions. On 30 Mar. he carried the amendment of the opposition resolutions, by omission and insertion, in four divisions, the voting being 275 to 227, 272 to 232, 275 to 224 and 253 to 232.5 Exhausted, he paired on this occasion and no further votes of his survive until the dissolution. The Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ from their point of view. On 18 Apr., 10 May and 7 June he opposed Captain Foskett’s petition against his colonel, the Duke of Cumberland. On 31 Dec. 1810 he took a month’s sick leave.
His ill health apart, Craufurd had reason to be disgruntled. On 21 Mar. 1811 he informed the Prince Regent of his ‘great object’ of ‘many years’ to become governor of the Royal Military College, now vacant by Earl Harcourt’s retirement. His ambition was no secret, having been long known to the Duke of York and expressed by him and his stepson before. (Newcastle had indeed applied to the King for him on 28 Aug. 1809.) He was disappointed and asked instead for the quartermaster generalship. He was too late and asked for the government of Plymouth, 28 Mar., backed up by his stepson. The Regent demurred, 29 Mar., referring to his having a regiment, the government of Tynemouth and ‘a large and liberal’ pension. The Whig press complimented the Regent on his refusal, which they supposed to be a snub to Perceval. Craufurd applied in vain to Perceval and in June 1812 to Lord Liverpool for a British peerage.6
Craufurd retired at the dissolution of 1812, leaving the Newcastle interest at Retford in disarray. His reason was the ‘breaking out’ of his wounds. In 1817 he published Reflections upon the circulating medium and the state of the country since the peace. In 1820 he secured the renewal of his pension and was decorated.7 He died 26 Mar. 1821.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Authors: P. A. Symonds / R. G. Thorne
- 1. DNB; Geo. III Corresp. i. 384; ii. 884, 913, 965, 992, 1343, 1440, 1668, 2008; Prince of Wales Corresp. ii. 500, 736, 750, 754, 769, 775; PRO, FO29/5, Grenville to Condé, 12 May, to Craufurd, 27 July, Craufurd to Grenville, 4 Aug. 1795; Fortescue mss, Craufurd to Grenville, 31 Jan., reply 19 Feb. 1801; Add. 37875, ff. 91, 97; 38287, f. 2.
- 2. NLS mss 15, ff. 81, 84, 85; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss NeC 6054; Leveson Gower, i. 356, 359, 401.
- 3. Wickham mss 5/62, Craufurd to Wickham, 25 Dec. 1806, 16, 24, 28 Feb., 1 Mar. 1807; Add. 37885, f. 45; 37886, ff. 117, 121; CJ, lxii. 191.
- 4. Geo. III Corresp. iv. 3435; Add. 37886, f. 243.
- 5. Sidmouth mss, Vansittart to Sidmouth, 4 Apr. 1810; Colchester, ii. 242; Geo. III Corresp. v. 4122, 4124.
- 6. Geo. III Corresp. v. 3945; Prince of Wales Corresp. vii. 2938, 2947, 2965, 2967; Day, 5 Apr. 1811; Add. 38328, f. 19.
- 7. Add. 38287, f. 2.