STONE, Andrew (1703-73).
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Family and Education
b. 4 Feb. 1703, 1st s. of Andrew Stone of Lombard St., London, goldsmith, by his w. Anne Holbrooke. educ. Westminster 1715-22; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1722-6. m. 7 July 1743, Hannah, da. of Stephen Mauvillain of Tooting, Surr., 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1711.
Private sec. to Duke of Newcastle 1732-4; under-sec. of state 1734-51; jt. transmitter of state papers 1739-41; keeper of the state paper office 1742-d.; sec. of Barbados 1742-d; ld. of Trade 1749-61; sub-governor to Prince of Wales 1751-6; registrar of Chancery, Jamaica 1753- d. ; sec. to Prince of Wales 1756-60; treasurer to Queen Charlotte 1761-d.
The son of one of the founders of Martin’s bank, Stone was educated on the foundation of Westminster and Christ Church, like William Murray, with whom he became closely connected. After taking his degree he remained at Oxford till 1732, when his brother-in-law, William Barnard, then chaplain at Claremont, introduced him to the Duke of Newcastle. ‘I have had the charmingest man with me at Claremont I ever saw’, Newcastle wrote of Stone to the Duchess. ‘He has more learning, more parts, and as agreeable as any man I ever saw in my life ... He has wrote very pretty things upon the Queen’s hermitage and four or five lines in Latin upon Claremont, most exceedingly so’. Three weeks later Newcastle announced: ‘I have made my bargain with my friend Stone. He is to be with us and to have £200 p.a.’1
In Stone Newcastle acquired an excellent secretary, able, industrious, cautious, and self-effacing. Soon promoted under-secretary of state, he was ex officio brought into Parliament, though quite without political ambitions. He became not only Newcastle’s ‘first commis’, who wrote his despatches for him,2 but his constant companion, spending every week-end at Claremont. When Stone married, Newcastle inquired whether ‘the necessary attendance on the business of your office will not be as much time as you can conveniently spare from your family without spending any part of it in this place’.
You know [he wrote] the confidence I have now for many years had in you, and you cannot be ignorant of the satisfaction I have had in your conversation which I have found always agreeable and in many respects useful to me.
You know also my way of life, and my inclinations, make it necessary for me to have with me one in whom I can confide and with whom I can spend my leisure hours with pleasure at this place. Such a one I have ever found in you.
It would be a great abatement, Stone replied, to the happiness he expected from his marriage, if he thought it would
in any material degree prevent me from paying that attendance which I have now for several years had the honour and happiness to do ... After this summer I shall be able to obey your Grace’s commands and to follow my own inclinations by attending your Grace as usual at Claremont, which I am sure may be made easy for me in every respect by some small relaxation of office attendance in town when not called by particular business.3
In return Newcastle, who believed ‘that men so intrusted, as our commis must be, ought to be well rewarded’,4 loaded Stone with sinecures, bringing in over £4,000 a year.
After nearly twenty years of drudgery under Newcastle, Stone, of whom George II had a high opinion, was appointed sub-governor of the future George III when, at the age of twelve, he became heir apparent on the death of his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1751. The Prince’s governor was Lord Harcourt, who at the end of 1752 was replaced by Lord Waldegrave, in circumstances described by Waldegrave himself:
The King, soon after his return from Hanover in November 1752, found great confusion in the Prince of Wales’s family. Earl Harcourt and the bishop of Norwich, the one governor, the other preceptor to H.R.H., were both much displeased. The persons they chiefly accused were Mr. Stone the sub-governor; Mr. Cresset, treasurer to the Prince, also secretary and first minister to the Princess of Wales; and Scott, the sub-preceptor.
The crimes objected against them were: Jacobite connexions, instilling Tory principles, and Scott was moreover pronounced an atheist on the presumptive evidence of being a philosopher and a mathematician.
The real fact was this: The bishop of Norwich, who, from having been the first chaplain to an archbishop, and afterwards chaplain at court, thought himself equally qualified to govern both church and state, persuaded Harcourt, an honest, worthy man, but whose heart was better than his head, that they as governor and preceptor must be the sole directors of the young Prince, and that not even the Princess herself ought to have the least influence over him.
Harcourt having approved the proposal, they formed their plan of operations, and began to carry it into execution. But the plot was soon discovered; the Princess took the alarm, Stone and Cresset were consulted, and Harcourt and the bishop were soon defeated without the least difficulty.
This passed while the King was in Germany. On his Majesty’s arrival they made their last effort, that Stone, Cresset and Scott might be turned out for the reasons already mentioned. They also endeavoured to raise jealousies against the Princess, as secretly favouring the Opposition formed by her late husband. But again failing in their attempt, they both resigned their employment.
Waldegrave goes on to say that ‘though Harcourt and the bishop succeeded so ill at court’, their charges were artfully used to raise a clamour against the Pelhams on the ground that
we were governed by Jacobites, that Stone and Murray, the Duke of Newcastle’s two cabinet counsellors, were known Jacobites at Oxford, and that if they had changed their old principles they still adhered to their old connexions.
While this clamour was at its height, Henry Liddell, Lord Ravensworth, informed the Pelhams that he had evidence that Stone and Murray as young men had frequented circles where disaffected healths were habitually drunk. His charges were investigated by the Cabinet, who reported to the King that they were completely groundless and ought not in any way to prejudice the characters of the accused persons. The attack was then transferred to the House of Lords, where it petered out after a series of tributes had been paid to Stone and Murray by members of the Cabinet, who had been released from their privy counsellor’s oaths so that they could give an account of the inquiry.5
Thenceforth Stone was left in peace to perform his duties as sub-governor, which, according to the Princess, amounted to very little. In August 1755 she told Bubb Dodington that
as to Mr. Stone, if she was to live forty years in the house with him, she should never be better acquainted with him than she was. She once desired him to inform the Prince about the constitution; but he declined it, to avoid giving jealousy to the bishop of Norwich; and that she had mentioned it again, but he still declined it, as not being his province. Pray, madam, said I, what is his province? She said she did not know, unless it was to go before the Prince upstairs, to walk with him sometimes, seldomer to ride with him, and, now and then, to dine with him—but when they did walk together the Prince generally took that time, to think of his own affairs and to say nothing.6
Lord Waldegrave’s verdict on his colleagues, including Stone, was that though they ‘were men of sense, men of learning, and worthy good men, they had but little weight and influence’.7
Stone remained in the Prince’s service till the end of George II’s reign, after which he was made treasurer to Queen Charlotte. He died 17 Dec. 1773.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. 8, 19, 29 Aug. 1732, Add. 33073, ff. 66, 69, 73.
- 2. Hervey, Mems. 581.
- 3. Newcastle to Stone, 13 June 1743, Stone to Newcastle, 22 June 1743, Add. 32700, ff. 211, 232.
- 4. Newcastle to Sir Robt. Walpole, 19 Nov. 1738, Add. 32691, f. 476.
- 5. Sedgwick, Letters from Geo. III to Bute, xxii et seq.
- 6. Dodington Diary, 357.
- 7. Waldegrave, Mems. 10.