PAGET, Hon. Charles (1778-1839), of Fair Oak, Rogate, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. 7 Oct. 1778, 5th s. of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, and bro. of Hons. Arthur Paget*, Berkeley Thomas Paget*, Edward Paget*, Henry William, Lord Paget*, and William Paget*. educ. ?Portsmouth naval acad. to 1790. m. 7 Mar. 1805, Elizabeth Araminta, da. and coh. of Henry Monck of Foure, co. Westmeath, 4s. 6da. KCH 19 Oct. 1819; kntd. 3 Dec. 1822; GCH 3 Mar. 1832.
Entered RN 1790, midshipman 1793, lt. 1797, cdr. 1797, capt. 1797, r.-adm. 1823, v.-adm. 1837; capt. royal yacht 1819-21; c.-in-c. Cork 1828-31, N. America 1837-d.
Groom of bedchamber 1822-37.
Charles Paget was captaining his fifth ship in the navy1 when he succeeded his eldest brother Lord Paget to the family seat vacated by the latter after a disagreement with their father. Soon afterwards he captured four Spanish treasure ships and thought his fortune made. He estimated his ‘whack’ at £50,000, Lord Boringdon at £60,000, Lady Bessborough at £150,000. He got £26,000 prize money and lent £14,000 of it to his hard-pressed father.2 The rest he devoted to a country seat and a wife, whose father and friends in the Devonshire House set cut her for marrying him. Soon afterwards he became ill; Lady Bessborough wrote:
I have just learnt [the cause] ... He is very odd temper’d and was teaz’d, first by his own family, and then by his little wife and hers, and in a fit of vexation swallowed a whole phial of laudanum, which luckily made him sick, but enough of which remain’d to cause a severe illness. He must be a strange man, for he certainly seem’d extremely in love with his wife, but when [his physician] expressed his astonishment at what he had done, he answer’d (but seriously and angrily), ‘Can you wonder when you know that I have been d— d fool enough to marry, and have endured it almost a fortnight?’3
Paget supported Pitt’s second administration: when he went to sea again in command of ‘the finest frigate in our service’, his mother wrote to his brother Arthur, 4 Jan. 1806:
I could have wished that on account of his health he had remained on shore till the bad weather was over, and I think Mr Pitt would wish it for another reason, as I understand the opposition are straining every nerve ... at such a time the loss of three Members will be felt, and I am afraid neither yourself or Charles will be in England.4
When Lord Paget resumed his seat at Milborne Port in 1806, Charles was returned instead for the other family borough of Caernarvon and retained the seat until he was succeeded by his nephew in 1826, giving a general support to administration, sometimes at their request (June-July 1807),5 when he was not on active service: thus on 29 Dec. 1808 he applied to Admiral Gambier for leave of absence to attend to his parliamentary duties. Though the Whigs were ‘hopeful’ of him in 1810, probably after his abstention on the division of 5 Mar., he was soon at sea again. On 22 May 1811 he made his only known speech, in commendation of Mallison’s lifebelt, justified by ‘experiments made by himself’. Only one minority vote of interest is recorded, 24 Apr. 1812, for Grattan’s motion for a committee on Catholic disabilities.
Paget, now on half-pay, did not support Catholic relief in the ensuing Parliament. He caused some surprise by another minority vote, on 17 Feb. 1817, against the wartime salary of the Admiralty secretary.6 He was first and foremost a sailor and a courtier and, as such, his services were recognized. He died of yellow fever at sea in the West Indies, 27 Jan. 1839.7
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. His naval passing certificate of 1790 gives as his date of birth 3 Sept. 1775. For his naval career, see Rev. E. C. Paget, Mem. of the Hon. Sir C. Paget (1913) and Paget Brothers ed. Ld. Hilton.
- 2. Paget, 59; Paget Pprs. 161, 181; Leveson Gower, ii. 24; Paget Brothers, 29; Mq. of Anglesey, One-Leg, 114; PRO 30/29/9/1, f. 191.
- 3. Leveson Gower, ii. 44; Paget Brothers, 35, 38, 40.
- 4. Paget Brothers, 44; Paget, 62.
- 5. Paget Brothers, 64, 65.
- 6. Add. 51644, Lady Holland to Horner [Feb. 1817].
- 7. Gent. Mag. (1839), i. 657.