FANE, Hon. Charles (aft.1708-66), of Basildon, nr. Reading, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1708, 1st s. of Charles Fane, M.P. [I], 1st Visct. Fane [I], by Mary, da. of Alexander Stanhope, sis. of James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope. m. 7 June 1749, Susanna, da. of John Marriott of Sturton Hall, Suff., wid. of Sir William Juxon, 2nd Bt., of Little Compton, Glos., s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Visct. 7 July 1744.
Minister plenipotentiary, Florence, Feb. 1734-40.
Soon after being appointed to Florence, Fane was brought into Parliament by the 4th Duke of Bedford, whose follower he remained for the rest of his political life. In 1737 Walpole sent out Horace Mann as assistant to Fane, who had proved extremely unsatisfactory, once staying
in bed six weeks because the Duke of Newcastle, in one of his letters, forgot to sign himself ‘your very humble servant’ as usual, and only put ‘your humble servant’.1
Superseded by Mann, he returned to England in 1740, voting against the Government on the place bill. He strengthened his connexions with Bedford by the marriage of his sister in 1741 to the 4th Earl of Sandwich, Bedford’s boon companion and political ally. During the last days of Walpole’s Administration Horace Walpole wrote to Mann, 17 Dec. 1741:
Your friend Mr. Fane would not come for us last night, nor will vote till after the Westminster election; he is brought into Parliament by the Duke of Bedford, and is unwilling to disoblige him in this.
After Walpole’s fall Fane continued with Bedford in opposition, voting against the Hanoverian troops in 1742 and 1744, till Bedford joined the Government at the end of 1744, after which he voted for the Hanoverians in 1746 and was classed by the ministry as New Ally. Shortly before the general election of 1747, at which he did not stand, he told Bedford that ‘my mind is now turned towards retreat’,2 but soon after it he applied unsuccessfully to Newcastle for the Lisbon embassy, having previously declined an offer of the Constantinople embassy because the terms were unsatisfactory.3 A proposal that he should accompany Sandwich as minister plenipotentiary to Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 also fell through.4 On 19 Nov. 1750 Horace Walpole told Mann:
Your friend Lord Fane some time ago had a mind to go to Spain: the Duke of Bedford, who I really believe is an honest man, said very bluntly, ‘Oh! my Lord, nobody can do there but Keene’.
When Bedford and Sandwich broke with the Pelhams in 1751, Fane followed them into opposition, comforting Sandwich, according to Horace Walpole, ‘with an annuity of a thousand a year — scarcely for his handsome behaviour to his sister’, Sandwich’s wife.5 In the meantime he cultivated his interest at Reading for which he was returned after a contest in 1754. He died 24 Jan. 1766.