OGLETHORPE, Lewis (1681-1704), of Westbrook Place, Godalming, Surr.
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Family and Education
bap. 22 Feb. 1681, 1st s. of Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe*; bro. of Theophilus* and James Edward†. educ. M. Temple 1698; Corpus Christi, Oxf. 1699. unm. suc. fa. 1702.1
Equerry to Queen Anne July 1702–d.; a.d.c. to Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) Apr. 1704–d.
Described by the diarist John Evelyn as a ‘pretty young gentleman’, Oglethorpe achieved swift advancement at court, and to a deputy-lieutenancy for his county, despite his family’s well-publicized Jacobite connexions. However, having barely attained his majority, he found much controversy in the wake of his candidacy at the Haslemere election of July 1702. A rival candidate, James Tichborne, cast sufficient doubts over Oglethorpe’s age at the poll for the Haslemere bailiff to issue a double return, thereby prohibiting Oglethorpe from taking his seat at the opening of Parliament. Oglethorpe petitioned the House on 24 Oct. and only four days later his formidable mother visited Sir Humphrey Mackworth* to enlist support for her son’s cause. On 10 Nov., after four witnesses had testified that Lewis had been born in February 1681, the elections committee concluded in favour of Oglethorpe and George Vernon II*, a verdict in which the House concurred without a division. Though by no means an active Member, Oglethorpe served as teller when the House divided on a procedural question on 14 Dec. A few weeks later, however, on 9 Jan. 1703, an angry exchange between himself and the pre-eminent Surrey Whig, Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt.*, resulted in a duel between them in Hyde Park in which Oglethorpe was slightly wounded and disarmed.2
Having made no significant impact during the second session of the 1702 Parliament, Oglethorpe accompanied the Duke of Marlborough to Holland as an aide-de-camp in April 1704, no doubt keen to emulate his father’s military exploits. Although described as ‘of a martial genius and spurred on with the desire for glory’, Oglethorpe met with misfortune almost immediately, receiving a wound in the thigh during the battle of Schellenberg in late June. By early September his mother was already ‘prepared for the worst’ while anxiously awaiting news of his progress, and a few weeks later Marlborough himself was pessimistic of Oglethorpe’s chances of survival. A contemporary explained his deteriorating condition: ‘either by the unskilfulness of his surgeon or his own perverseness in resisting his methods, or tampering with too many pretenders for a cure, his wound festered and threw him into a fever and killed him’. After Oglethorpe’s death at The Hague on 30 Oct. 1704, his body was sent back to England via Rotterdam, and was laid to rest next to his father’s at St. James’s, Westminster. Thomas Pitt I* comforted a grieving Lady Oglethorpe with the observation that Lewis, ‘in all probability, would have been a great comfort and an honour to your family’, a promise that was much more effectively fulfilled in both political and military spheres by his youngest brother, James Edward Oglethorpe†.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Perry Gauci
- 1. IGI, London; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 614; Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii. 300.
- 2. Evelyn Diary, v. 527; CSP Dom. 1702–3, p. 393; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 256, 410; NLW, MS 14362E, Mackworth Diary, 28 Oct. 1702; Add. 70075, Dyer’s newsletter 9 Jan. 1703.
- 3. Add. 22844, ff. 11–12; 27440, f. 145; 28892, f. 282; 17677 ZZ, f. 470; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 374; Manning and Bray, 610.