PAGET, Hon. Edward (1775-1849), of Cowes Castle, I.o.W.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

5 Dec. 1810 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 3 Nov. 1775, 4th s. of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, and bro. of Hons. Arthur Paget*, Berkeley Thomas Paget*, Charles Paget*, Henry William, Lord Paget*, and William Paget*. educ. Westminster until 1791; Dresden 1792. m. (1) 22 May 1805, Hon. Frances Bagot (d. 30 May 1806), da. of William, 1st Baron Bagot, 1s.; (2) 22 Feb. 1815, Lady Harriet Legge, da. of George, 3rd Earl of Dartmouth, sis. of William Legge*, Visct. Lewisham, 3s. 5da. KB 12 June 1812; GCB 2 Jan. 1815.

Offices Held

Cornet and sub.-lt. 1 Life Gds. 1792; capt. 54 Ft. 1792; maj. 54 Ft. 1793; lt.-col. 28 Ft. 1794; col. and a.d.c. to the King 1798; brig.-gen. [I] 1803, maj.-gen. 1805; col. 80 Ft. 1808, lt.-gen. 1811; col. 28 Ft. 1815; gen. 1825; c.-in-c. India 1822-25.

Groom of bedchamber 1816-22; gov. Cowes Castle 1818-26; gov. Ceylon 1820-2; gov. R.Mil. Coll. 1826-37; gov. Chelsea Hosp. 1837-d.

Biography

When Paget was a schoolboy at Westminster, a friend of the family thought that, with his ‘solemn mind and serious face’, he would make a good bishop: but he showed more martial qualities: ‘he received such a thrashing from one of the bigger boys that it was for some time doubtful whether he would recover from the injuries inflicted upon him, but he never would reveal the name of his assailant’.1 As lieutenant-colonel of the 28th, nicknamed the ‘Slashers’, he saw action before his eldest brother Henry, in Flanders in 1794.2 In 1796 he was returned for the family boroughs of Caernarvon and supported administration. No speech by him is known. In 1801 he ‘highly distinguished himself’ at the battle of Alexandria, being slightly wounded. His chief ambition was to succeed to the colonelcy of the ‘Slashers’, with whom he was connected for more than half a century, but, despite the King’s goodwill,3 he had to wait for the death of Colonel Prescott.

Under Addington’s administration his only minority vote was for Calcraft’s motion for an inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s debts, 4 Mar. 1803, and he supported Pitt’s second administration when present. He voted against the Grenville ministry, 3 Mar. and 30 Apr. 1806. He described his politics, 24 Jan. 1806, as: ‘maintain our navy at its highest establishment and contrive some means of creating a real army of 200,000 men at home and never make peace as long as Europe remains in so complete a state of subjection’. From 1806 he was out of Parliament, fought in Sicily and Sweden and distinguished himself in command of the reserve at Corunna. For this he received the thanks of the House, 25 Jan. 1809. At the battle of Oporto, May 1809, he lost his right arm. In February 1810 his family were dissatisfied at his role in the passage of the Douro not being publicly recognized.4 In August 1812 he was sent back to Spain as second in command, but taken prisoner and not released until the advent of peace, April 1814. He had been returned to Parliament on a vacancy in the other family borough of Milborne Port in December 1810; one minority vote is recorded before his return to Spain, for Grattan’s motion for a committee on Catholic disabilities, 24 Apr. 1812. He voted against Stuart Wortley’s motion for a stronger administration, 21 May 1812. Subsequently, when present, he gave a general support to administration, though he may again have supported Catholic relief on 9 May 1817. In 1820, on his appointment as governor of Ceylon, he retired from Parliament. He died 13 May 1849, at Cowes.