LEVESON GOWER, Hon. Richard (1726-53).
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Family and Education
b. 30 Apr. 1726, 4th s. of John Leveson Gower, 1st Earl Gower; bro. of Granville Leveson Gower, Lord Trentham. educ. Westminster 1735-43; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1744. unm.
Under-sec. of state 1749-51.
The Duke of Bedford wrote, 13 July 1746, that his father-in-law, Lord Gower, finding his son Richard
very averse to the profession of the law, has, upon consideration and our entreaties, given up the design of forcing him into a profession he dislikes, and in which, consequently, he must have miscarried; and I wish my opinion could have prevailed so far with my Lord, as to have induced him to have given him leave to have taken a captain’s commission in my regiment when it was first raised, a profession to which he was naturally inclined, and in which consequently (knowing the good parts he has), I think he would have succeeded. But Lord Gower’s old dislike to an army life got the better of all these reasonings, and there is now (considering his age) no other system of life for him to pursue, but an idle one, or le métier d’un ministre aux cours étrangères, which, though I look upon it as a kind of banishment, is yet much preferable to the former.
Shortly afterwards Richard Leveson Gower went to The Hague as secretary to Lord Sandwich, who assured Bedford that
no care or pains shall be wanting that can in any shape contribute to the giving my friend Dick a proper insight into business and at the same time an advantageous introduction into the world.
In the summer of 1747 he was returned for Tavistock by the Duke of Bedford, but made his election for Lichfield, for which he had also been returned after a contest. In the autumn Lord Sandwich asked Bedford to
prevail on my Lord Gower to send Leveson back to me before I go to Aix-la-Chapelle. I believe it is his inclination, and I assure your Grace it is mine, because I have all the reason in the world to be satisfied with his behaviour, both public and private, and have a most sincere satisfaction in the hopes of being serviceable in the education of a person so nearly allied to your Grace.
The Duchess and I are both infinitely obliged to you for your goodness to Mr. Leveson. We think him very much improved, and are very happy to find you are satisfied with him. I hope he will make a good figure in life. If he does, it will be wholly owing to your Lordship, for in the way he was before he went abroad with you, he must inevitably have been spoiled. I wish you would talk to him about economy for he has drawn another note on Lord Gower for £50, which makes him very uneasy.
In reply Sandwich suggested that Leveson Gower should go to the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle as joint secretary to the plenipotentiaries at a salary of £300 a year,
which would be an addition to Leveson’s income that would render the drafts upon my Lord Gower ... less frequent; though, without my friend has some addition of this sort, I cannot possibly take his Lordship’s part in the discussion about the two great frequency of the demands from hence ... I may possibly be persuaded to tell my friend he does wrong if he draws on my Lord for more than a thousand pounds a year; but otherwise, I must stick by my companion, and rather desire your Grace to represent to my Lord the great expense of a congress, and the impossibility for a man of spirit to make a proper figure without unlimited credit at home.
He went in this capacity to Aix-la-Chapelle, carrying back to England news of ‘the signature of the definitive treaty of peace’, for which he was granted £1,000 by the lords justices. Appointed under-secretary of state in the Duke of Bedford’s department at a salary of £1,000 p.a., he became the boon companion of Richard Rigby, won cricket matches for Bedford at Woburn, and spent much of his time at White’s, which he joined in 1747. In June 1751 he resigned with the Duke of Bedford, who obtained for him from the King the reversion to a post in the secretary of state’s office.1 In 1752 he followed the same political course as his brother, Lord Trentham. He was to have been put up at Brackley on the Duke of Bridgwater’s interest at Bedford’s recommendation in 1754,2 but died before the general election, 19 Oct. 1753.