HOWE, Emanuel Scrope (c.1663-1709), of Great Lodge Forest, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1663, 4th surv. s. of John Grobham Howe† of Langar, Notts. by Lady Annabella, illegit. da. and coh. of Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland; bro. of John Grobham Howe* and Sir Scrope Howe*. m. Nov. 1695, Ruperta (d. 1740), illegit. da. of Prince Rupert of the Palatinate, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.).1
Groom of bedchamber 1689–1702; commr. of prizes 1702–5; envoy extraordinary to Hanover 1705–d.2
Capt. 1 Ft. Gds. 1689–95, capt. and lt.-col. 1693; col. 15 Ft. Nov. 1695–d.; brig.-gen. 1704, maj.-gen. 1707, lt.-gen. 1709.
Keeper of Alice Holt and Woolmer forest, Hants 1699–d.; freeman, Wigan 1701.3
Howe, like his elder brothers Sir Scrope and John (Jack), supported William of Orange in 1688. In 1689 he was rewarded with the Household office of groom of the bedchamber at £500 p.a. and with a commission in the 1st foot guards. He served in Flanders during the war and was wounded at the siege of Namur. In November 1695 he married Ruperta, the illegitimate daughter of Prince Rupert by the actress Margaret Hughes, and in the same month purchased a colonelcy of foot. In January 1701 he stood for Wigan through the auspices of Sir Roger Bradshaigh, 3rd Bt.*, holder of the main interest in the borough, whose wife was Howe’s niece. Having failed here, however, his parliamentary aspirations were taken up by Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*), who had lately become one of Howe’s colleagues in attendance on the King, and who brought him in as a Whig for Morpeth in the December election, though it was Lord Halifax (Charles Montagu*) who paid his expenses. On 7 Feb. 1702 he made his only recorded speech, when he moved for an investigation into allegations that some Members had met with the French agent Poussin after orders had been issued forbidding him to remain in England. On the few occasions his name occurs in the Journals he is styled by his army rank, thus easily distinguishing him from his brother Jack and his cousin Richard Grobham Howe*.4
In June 1702, following Queen Anne’s accession, Howe was moved from the Household and made a commissioner of prizes, while at the ensuing election he retained his seat for Morpeth. He voted on 13 Feb. 1703 for agreeing to the Lords’ amendment to the bill for extending the time in which the oath of abjuration could be taken. During the summer of 1704 the onset of a painful kidney disorder prevented him from joining the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) in the field, ‘the first campaign I ever missed’. News of the Blenheim victory in August increased his sense of regret and he congratulated the Duke on ‘such a campaign which you have made so glorious to yourself and so advantageous to all Europe’. Attending the new session of Parliament, he was listed in October as a probable opponent of the Tack, and either voted against it or was absent on 28 Nov. In April 1705 Howe was named as envoy extraordinary to Hanover. It was a highly calculated appointment. He was on cordial terms with the Elector’s surviving uncle, Georg Wilhelm, Duke of Celle, and told the Duke’s diplomatic secretary Jean de Robethon, ‘I believe you may remember ’twas the thing in the world I most desired’. Moreover, Howe’s wife, despite her illegitimacy, could claim a niece-like affinity with the Dowager Electress Sophia, her father having been one of the Electress’s brothers. But as events were to show, his wife’s inexpert attempts to exploit this status made the connexion more of a liability than a help to Anglo-Hanoverian relations. In May, after obtaining from Marlborough a regimental company for his son, Howe asked the Duke for promotion to the rank of major-general on the grounds that it would ‘be a great continuance to me in the court where I am going’. For the time being, however, his request was not granted.5
In the 1705 election Howe transferred to Wigan where on the strength of the Bradshaigh interest he was this time elected unopposed. His return for the borough was deemed by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a gain for the Whigs. In another post-electoral list he was classed as a ‘Churchman’. Having remained in England over the summer, chiefly to settle his affairs and recuperate from further illness, he finally arrived in Hanover on 24 Oct. From this point on, his permanent residence in the Electorate prevented his attendance on Parliament. Early in 1706 his position at the Electoral court was seriously undermined by the machinations of James Craggs II*, who appears to have aimed at supplanting him. In a despatch home, Howe complained that the young man ‘was got in with Mrs [Frances] Bard’, a former mistress of the late Prince Rupert and a close friend of the Electress, and that the pair had ‘done their endeavours continually to cross my transactions here for the Queen’s service’. Craggs claimed superiority over Howe by letting it be known that he was in Hanover as the personal representative of the Duke of Marlborough, and in early February the ‘difference’ between them was reported to be making ‘a great noise’ in London and was made to reflect badly upon Howe. One observer noted that ‘everybody here put Mr Howe very much in the wrong’. Only after Marlborough himself intervened with the Elector was the matter smoothed over. Howe’s wife caused further high-level annoyance during the summer when she intimated to the Duchess of Marlborough that the Elector expected to be given the Duke’s command in the Netherlands whenever the Duke should become generalissimo in Italy. Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) was less than happy with the Howeses’ presence in Hanover, and in July proposed sending them to Berlin to replace Lord Raby. Marlborough, although thinking that Howe lacked the ‘dexterity’ to deal with the King of Prussia’s court, advised Godolphin to send him ‘for he certainly can never be easy nor do her Majesty any service where he is’. Howe nevertheless remained in Hanover, his diplomacy smoothing the often nettled relationship between the English and Hanoverian courts, even though Godolphin felt he was too apt to ‘take prejudices’ towards the latter. In October he renewed his application to Marlborough to be promoted to major-general, but it was a sign of the Duke’s low esteem for him that he was kept waiting until March the following year. Although worsening gout made him anxious to return home, he was unwilling to accept an income below £1,000 p.a. and refused the comptrollership of the army accounts that Godolphin offered him in September 1707.