MOORE, Charles, 6th Earl of Drogheda [I] (1730-1822).
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Family and Education
b. 29 June 1730, 1st surv. s. of Edward, 5th Earl of Drogheda, by his 1st w. Sarah, da. of Brabazon, 1st Earl of Bessborough [I]. m. 15 Feb. 1766, Lady Anne Seymour Conway, da. of Francis, 1st Earl of Hertford, 2s. 7da. suc. fa. 28 Oct. 1758; K.P. 5 Feb. 1783 (one of the original knights); cr. Mq. of Drogheda [I] 5 July 1791; Baron Moore [UK] 17 Jan. 1801.
M.P. [I] 1756-8.
Cornet 12 Drag. 1744, capt. 1750, maj. 1752; lt.-col. 1 Horse 1755; lt.-col. 19 Lt. Drag. 1755; col. army 1762; col. 18 Lt. Drag. 1762- d.; maj.-gen. 1770; lt.-gen. 1777; gen. 1793; f.m. 1821.
Sec. to Lord Northumberland as ld. lt. [I] 1764-5; P.C. [I] 29 Aug. 1760; master of the Ordnance [I] 1770-97; joint postmaster gen. [I] 1797-1806; muster master gen. [I] May-Nov. 1807.
Some time after the outbreak of war with France, Drogheda, then a lieutenant-colonel, undertook, at considerable expense to himself, to raise a regiment of light dragoons. When this did not lead to immediate promotion, various influential friends pressed Pitt to make him a colonel. George Stone, the archbishop of Armagh, praised him for ‘persevering application in business, sound good sense, and excellent temper, and the firmest personal intrepidity’, and added: ‘alliances and friendships connect him very closely with those who are at present both willing and able to support the service of the Government, and the effects of his being disgusted would not be unperceived.’ But Drogheda had seen no active service (and in fact never did), and Pitt refused to promote him over the heads of veteran officers.1
In 1764 he was appointed chief secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland—a surprising appointment for an Irish peer, since a principal duty of the chief secretary was to lead the Government party in the Irish House of Commons. ‘My friend Hamilton’, writes Lord Charlemont, ‘was, through the intrigues of the primate, removed from that office, and strangely replaced by my cousin Lord Drogheda.’2
Drogheda was a heavy gambler. In 1763 he was reported to have broken the bank at Spa;3 but George Selwyn was told by his friend Gilly Williams, 4 Dec. 1764, ‘Drogheda plays immensely deep, and with as little skill as you do.’4 His ambition was to become an Irish marquess, and his father-in-law, Lord Hertford, vigorously pressed for his advance.5 At length, in March 1776, Drogheda seems to have been assured by the lord lieutenant, Lord Harcourt, that a marquessate would shortly be granted. But on 29 Mar. the King wrote to North of his ‘astonishment at Lord Harcourt’s presumption in assuming no difficulty would be made about making Lord Drogheda marquess’;6 and Drogheda had to wait another fifteen years.
In October 1776 he was returned at Horsham, where Lord Irwin had placed both seats at the disposal of Government. No votes of his are reported 1776-9, and he seems to have been abroad most of that time. He wrote to the lord lieutenant, Lord Buckinghamshire, 3 Nov. 1778, that two winters abroad had not been enough to re-establish his health, and he now wished for a further extension of leave from his post in the Irish Ordnance.7 Robinson listed him on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, as ‘pro, abroad’, but he was back in England in 1780; voted with the Administration on economical reform, 8 Mar., and the abolition of the Board of Trade, 13 Mar.; and was classed by Robinson as ‘pro’. Before the general election Robinson doubted in his electoral survey whether Drogheda could come in again; and he did not stand.
Horace Walpole wrote to Lady Upper Ossory, 12 Nov. 1784, that Drogheda was ‘ruining his health through drink and play’; and according to Thomas Raikes’s diary (1858 ed. ii. 10) he was during the latter years of his life ‘subjected to great pecuniary embarrassments’. He died 22 Dec. 1822.