LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
Appendix vol II

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
‣ Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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Robert Ward was born in Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, on the 19th of March, 1765, on one of the occasional visits of his parents to this country—his father being a Spanish merchant, residing at Gibraltar, his mother a native Spanish lady of Jewish extraction. This lady died when her son Robert was only three years of age, and the child was taken under the special protection of the Hon. Mrs. Cornwallis, granddaughter of Charles, second Lord Townshend, and wife of the then Governor of Gibraltar, General Cornwallis, who was brother of Lord Cornwallis. The boy showed early signs of talent, and was, at the age of eight years, sent to England for education, under a sound but eccentric scholar, who kept a school at Walthamstow.

At the age of eighteen (in January, 1783), Robert was sent to Christ Church, Oxford, where he remained till 1787, and contracted several distinguished friendships, which lasted during the lives of the parties respectively, and some of which considerably influenced his future career. Among these latter were those of the famous Dr. Cyril Jackson, Master of Christ Church,
Hon. Sturges Bourne, and Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, each of whom is repeatedly and affectionately alluded to in Mr. Ward’s subsequent writings.

Shortly after quitting Oxford, young Ward was entered at the Inner Temple; but before being called to the bar his health induced a visit to the baths of Bareges; and the fascinations of French society detained him in France till the breaking out of the Revolution, when it appears, from a statement of his own, quoted by Mr. Phipps, that he “was arrested for having the same name and wearing the same coloured coat and waistcoat as another Ward, guilty of treason; was ordered without trial to Paris, to be guillotined; and only escaped by their catching the real traitor. I was, however, banished the Republic for my name’s sake.”

On the 18th of June, 1790, Mr. Ward was called to the bar by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, and commenced in earnest those studies which would undoubtedly have led him to future eminence in his profession, had he not been turned aside from the pursuit by circumstances which directed his attention to political life. An accidental rencontre and discussion with one of the têtes exaltés of the period led to an inquiry before the Privy Council, in which young Ward’s intellectual energy and sagacity attracted the attention of Pitt and Eldon (the latter then Solicitor-General): and his publication, shortly afterwards, of a work entitled “An Inquiry into the Foundation and History of the Law of Nations, &c.,” secured to him the future support and favour of those two distinguished menthe former of whom, not long afterwards, offered him
(in 1802) a seat in Parliament. In the meantime, Mr. Ward had married
Miss Maling, a sister of the Countess Mulgrave, and had made such considerable advances in his profession, as to induce him virtually to refuse an offer made him by Lord Eldon, of the choice of two colonial judgeships, one of the Admiralty Court in Nova Scotia, the other in the West Indies. Before his entrance into Parliament (as member for Cockermouth), Mr. Ward had also written another political work which attracted considerable notice. It was entitled “A Treatise on the Relative Rights and Duties of Belligerent and Neutral Powers in Maritime Affairs.”

From the period of his entrance into Parliament, Mr. Ward devoted himself almost exclusively to politics—led thereto, no doubt, by the favourable position given to him by his family connexion with Lord Mulgrave, and by the steady friendship and affection evinced towards him by that distinguished nobleman during the whole of his life.

Mr. Ward’s first speech in Parliament was a very successful one. It was on the abuses in naval affairs; and its marked opposition to Canning and those with whom he then acted, showed the tendency of the speaker’s views towards that great Tory party with which he was ever afterwards allied. At this period, the head and soul of that party, Pitt, was not in power; but he succeeded to it shortly afterwards, in the spring of 1804. Up to this moment, Mr. Ward had not formally abandoned his profession, and there can be little doubt that the great law offices of the Crown were open to him, had he chosen to make them the express object
of his pursuit. But he evidently preferred the more brilliant career of politics; and the accession of Mr. Pitt to office brought about the turning point of his life. At the latter end of 1804, Mr. Pitt offered the Foreign Secretaryship to Lord Mulgrave, who immediately proposed to name Mr. Ward Under-Secretary, an offer which was eagerly accepted, and Mr. Ward thenceforth became one of the most earnest and active politicians of the day.

Few and brief as were, the opportunities of official and other intercourse between Pitt and his protegé, Robert Ward, the great statesman had evidently conceived not merely a high opinion of his capacity, but a strong regard for his character; and perhaps the thing in the world which Mr. Ward most prized was a paper, traced (for it cannot be said to be written—no single word of its three or four sides being legible except the imperfect signature) on his death-bed. It appears that on giving up his profession on his acceptance of office (and resigning a Welsh judgeship for that purpose), a spontaneous promise had been made to Mr. Ward, that the great pecuniary risks he ran, by changing what was now the certainty of success in his profession for the precariousness of political office, should be compensated to him by an adequate pension on his quitting office; but the necessary arrangements had not been completed at the time when Mr. Pitt felt the hand of death to be upon him; and even in that supreme moment he more than once alluded to the unfulfilled promise, and at last, when, at the very point of death, and he could not articulate, he made signs for
paper and ink, and traced the precious paper alluded to—its signature being the only legible portion of it.

The immediate advent to power of Pitt’s great rival, Charles Fox, displaced Mr. Ward from office; but Fox’s death, only a few months afterwards, opened the way for the Portland Administration, in which Lord Mulgrave accepted the office of First Lord of the Admiralty, and appointed Mr. Ward to a seat at the board. This was in the spring of 1807; and from this period till his final retirement from political life, in 1820, Mr. Ward continued to form part of the successive ministries of the Duke of Portland, Mr. Percival, and Lord Liverpool.

In May, 1810, Lord Mulgrave transferred his services from the Admiralty to the Ordnance, of which he accepted the superintendence as Master-General; and a year afterwards Mr. Ward joined his friend as a member of that board. In this office—Clerk of the Ordnance—Mr. Ward remained till his final retirement from political life in 1823—the last five years of his official career being passed under the great duke himself, who succeeded Lord Mulgrave as Master-General of the Ordnance in. November, 1818. The death of his beloved wife seems to have been the immediate cause of Mr. Ward’s retirement from Parliament and from political life, which step took place immediately after the close of the session of 1823. He shortly afterwards received the appointment of Auditor of the Civil List, in token of the public services he had rendered, and the pecuniary sacrifices he had made in so doing. This appointment, at the time of its being conferred upon
Mr. Ward, was clearly understood by himself and his friends to be a patent one, that could not be revoked during the life of the holder; but it was afterwards (in 1831) abolished by the Whig Government.

Having now (in 1S23) retired to his residence, Hyde House, in Buckinghamshire, Mr. Ward commenced his novel of “Tremaine; or, the Man of Refinement,” which was completed and in the hands of its publisher, Mr. Colburn, in the summer of 1824, and was published anonymously early in the spring of 1825.

Before the conclusion of the same spring, Mr. Ward announced to the two or three private friends who were alone in his secret, that he had advanced far in another work of similar general character with “Tremaine.” This was published (also anonymously) in March, 1827, under the title of “De Vere; or, the Man of Independence.”

In the summer of 1828,* Mr. Ward married Mrs. Plumer Lewin, of Gilston Park, Herts. This lady was granddaughter to the seventh Earl of Abercorn. She had previously married Mr. Plumer, who was for forty years member for the county, and after his death (in 1822) Commander Lewin, of the Royal Navy, who died in 1827. On marrying Mrs. Plumer Lewin, Mr. Ward received the royal permission to take and use the name of Plumer, as a prefix to that of Ward. It was shortly after this marriage that the Whig Government

* I take this date from Mr. Phipps’sMemoir” (ii. 172), but it seems scarcely consistent with subsequent pages of the same vol. (177 to 180), where Mr. Ward addresses and is addressed as R. Plumer Ward, under the dates of March and April, 1828.

abolished Mr. Plumer Ward’s office of Auditor of the Civil List; and he then ceased to have any connexion with political life.

During the years 1829-30, Mr. Ward was visited by a grievous series of domestic afflictions: he lost his two eldest daughters within two or three days of each other, and his wife within a few months afterwards; and in 1831 the same insidious disease, consumption, which had carried off his other daughters, attacked his youngest and only remaining one.

It was during the prostration of mind which followed these afflictions that Mr. Ward met the lady who afterwards became his third wife, Mrs. Okeover, the widowed daughter of the late gallant General Sir George Anson—a connexion which restored and secured to his declining years that happy buoyancy of spirit which had marked the whole of his previous life, with the exception of the two fatal years above alluded to, and the trying period immediately following the loss of his only remaining daughter in 1834. This last blow again drove Mr. Ward from England, and in all probability was the exciting cause to his again taking up his pen—his favourite succedaneum for all mortal ills.

In the course of the years 1836, 7, and 8, Mr. Ward wrote and published successively “Illustrations of Human Life” (three vols.), “Pictures of the World” (three vols.), and an “Essay on the Revolution of 1688,” (two vols.)

In the latter year (1838) the young son of Mrs. Plumer Ward succeeded, by the will of his uncle, to the fine estate of Okeover Hall, Staffordshire, and his mother
being appointed his guardian during the six or seven years’ minority of the heir,
Mr. Ward and his wife returned from abroad, and the family took up their residence at Okeover Hall. Here Mr. Ward passed what he himself regarded, notwithstanding his advanced age, as the very happiest years of his life; and here it was that, in 1840, he commenced and completed for the press what must be regarded, under the circumstances of its production, as the most remarkable of his works—since, with all the vigour, freshness, and originality of the best of his other works, it was conceived and composed between the seventy-fifth and seventy-sixth years of his age. It is entitled “De Clifford; or, the Constant. Man,” and belongs to the same class of works as “Tremaine” and “De Vere.”

In the spring, of 1846, Mrs. Plumer Ward’s father, Lieutenant-General Sir George Anson, G.C.B., received the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Chelsea Hospital; and the official residence being a very capacious one, Mr. and Mrs. Ward were induced to leave Okeover, and reside there with her father; and here, on the 13th of August, 1846, Mr. Ward calmly closed his earthly career, at the age of eighty-one years, his faculties remaining unimpaired to the last.

Savill and Edwards, Printers, Chandos Street.