PAGET, Henry, earl of Uxbridge (1797-1869).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1820 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 6 July 1797, 1st. s. of Henry William Paget†, 1st mq. of Anglesey, and 1st w. Lady Caroline Elizabeth Villiers, da. of George Bussy Villiers†, 4th earl of Jersey; bro. of Lord William Paget* and half-bro. of Lord Alfred Henry Paget†, Lord Clarence Edward Paget† and Lord George Augustus Frederick Paget†. educ. Westminster 1807-12. m. (1) 5 Aug. 1819, Eleanora (d. 3 July 1828), da. of John Campbell† of Shawfield, Argyll, 1s. 2da.; (2) 27 Aug. 1833, Henrietta Maria (d. 22 Mar. 1844), da. of Sir Charles Bagot† of Hanover Square, Mdx., 2s.; (3) 8 Mar. 1860, Ellen Jane, da. of George Burnand of Trewin Water, Welwyn, Herts., div. w. of W.J. Bell, s.p. styled earl of Uxbridge 1815-33; cr. Bar. Paget 15 Jan. 1833; suc. fa. as 2nd mq. of Anglesey 29 Apr. 1854. d. 7 Feb. 1869.

Offices Held

Cornet 7 Drag. 14 July 1814, lt. 21 July 1814, capt. 1817; capt. 1 Life Gds. 1820, maj. 17 June 1823; brevet lt.-col. 5 Aug. 1823; half-pay unattached 1827; brevet col. 1838.

State steward to ld. lt. [I] 1828-9; ld. in waiting 1837-9; PC 22 May 1839; ld. chamberlain of household May 1839-Sept. 1841.

Ld. lt. Anglesey 1854-d.


Paget was the heir to extensive family estates and political influence in Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Dorset, Somerset, Staffordshire, Wiltshire and Ireland. Like others of his family, he attended Westminster School, where his particular friends were Lord Lichfield and Sir Francis Grant. While there he gained a reputation as an excellent athlete, cricketer, horseman and ‘crack shot’, and lost a few front teeth in a holiday riding accident.1 His soldier father’s affair with Henry Wellesley’s† wife Charlotte, for whom he left his wife in 1809, caused a great scandal, and after they divorced the following year his father married Mrs. Wellesley and his mother married the 6th duke of Argyll.2 Paget joined his father’s regiment in 1814, tended him in Brussels after he lost a leg at Waterloo, and took the courtesy title of Lord Uxbridge when he was created marquess of Anglesey for his gallantry, 4 July 1815.3 Ignoring parental disapproval, at Altyre in Scotland in August 1819, and again at St. George’s, Hanover Square, 8 Feb. 1820, he married the beautiful Eleanora Campbell, daughter of the writer Lady Charlotte Bury (lady in waiting to Queen Caroline) and his mother’s niece by her second marriage.4 He had been too young to contest Anglesey on the family interest when he accompanied his uncle Berkeley Paget* to his election in 1818, but was returned there in 1820, when his wife’s presence ‘added much to the interest of the scene’.5 Nothing came of a rumour that he would stand for Staffordshire.6

Uxbridge remained a serving army officer and, as a radical publication of 1825 noted, he ‘attended very seldom and voted with ministers’ in his first Parliament.7 He divided with the Liverpool government on the Queen Caroline affair, 6 Feb. 1821, but the issue must have caused him unease, for his mother-in-law had been a witness for the queen, and his father had been threatened by a mob after supporting the bill of pains and penalties in the Lords.8 He divided with ministers against the malt duty repeal bill, 3 Apr. 1821. On 13 Feb. 1822, making his maiden speech on Sir Robert Wilson’s* dismissal from the army for forcing a way through the City at the queen’s funeral, he demonstrated the weakness of the inquest evidence used against Wilson, for a ‘number of men were ready to go up in a body before the coroner and swear that he, Uxbridge, was the man who shot one of the persons who fell, when it was notorious that he was more than 200 miles from the spot at the time’. He voted against abolishing one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822, and repealing taxes on houses rated below £5, 10 Mar. 1823. He wrote to the home secretary Peel, 8 Feb. 1824, supporting the application of his wife’s brother-in-law, Sir William Gordon Cumming*, for the lord lieutenancy of Nairnshire, but to no avail.9 His votes to outlaw the Catholic Association, 25 Feb., and against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr 1825, were welcomed in North Wales, but his general neglect of local interests and absence from the county races he should have stewarded in August 1825 encouraged plots to oust him at the next election.10 It was a time of marital crisis, and he and his wife planned to separate. One observer reported: ‘She is to live with her brother Mr. Campbell. Their respective tempers is the reason assigned to the public. I fancy she has been very common lately. Henry Vyner I hear is the favourite’.11 His father already faced problems managing his interests in Caernarvonshire and its Boroughs, and to ease matters he informed his North Wales friends:

Uxbridge will start for Anglesey where he deserves to be kicked out. My friends there are really most kind in tolerating him, for he has sadly neglected them. I hope, however, they will continue to tolerate him in the hope of reformation. ... He really did mean to pass this autumn there, and will still go, but I believe he did not like to appear in public whilst the business of the separation of himself and his wife was in the height of buz and therefore he has rather delayed his journey there.12

Uxbridge indeed attended the Beaumaris Hunt week in November with his brother William and uncle Berkeley, and he was the chief mourner at his brother Arthur’s funeral in January 1826.13 The strategy succeeded. He presented Anglesey’s petition in favour of the usury laws repeal bill, 15 Apr. 1826, and came in unopposed, at a cost of £388 10s., at the general election in June. Afterwards he joined his regiment at Loughborough, where they had been ‘halted on account of the riots at Leicester’.14

He and his brother William, who had come in for Caernarvon Boroughs, voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He was excused attendance later that month on account of his wife’s illness - an excuse which, though genuine, provoked much laughter.15 His father declined joining in the party forming against Canning, but Uxbridge voted against the corn bill, which they disliked, 2 Apr. Sir Richard Hussey Vivian*, in an endeavour to influence Anglesey, now suggested offering Uxbridge, who lived beyond his means, a position in the royal household; but nothing materialized.16 He went to Beaumaris as comptroller of the hunt in November 1827, presented his constituents’ petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 25 Feb. 1828, and divided with the Wellington ministry against the measure the following day.17 Anglesey, whom they appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland that month, made Uxbridge his steward. He was unopposed at the ensuing by-election.18 It was erroneously reported that it was Uxbridge, not his pro-Catholic brother-Catholic William, who attended a Catholic Association meeting, 19 Apr. 1828.19 Their differing views on the issue were confirmed when Uxbridge divided against and William for relief, 12 May.20 Retrospectively, Anglesey wrote to Uxbridge, 9 Aug. 1831:

So far from wishing to control your and your brother’s opinion upon the great question of emancipation, a subject upon which I was peculiarly interested, I allowed you both to quit me, without ever ascertaining what course you meant to pursue.21

He paid more attention to politics after his wife died in July 1828, and spent more time at his mother’s cottage at Halnaker, which was conveniently close to his brother-in-law the 5th duke of Richmond’s seat at Goodwood, where he kept his best racing horses.22 Ministers anticipated his opposition to the principle of the Catholic emancipation bill, and this proved popular in Anglesey, whose hostile petitions he presented, 16 Feb., 18 Mar. 1829.23 He referred on the former occasion to his ‘serious regret’ at Wellington’s conversion, alleging that he had ‘deceived both Catholics and Protestants’, and complained at the underhand measures used to procure Anglesey’s dismissal from Ireland, especially the use made of his correspondence with Dr. Curtis. Opposing the relief bill, 6 Mar., and backed by Sir Richard Vyvyan, he criticized Peel for deserting the principles he had professed when refusing to serve under Canning; but Peel retaliated by pointing to William and Anglesey’s ‘conversion’. Uxbridge again defended his father and criticized Members who had broken election pledges on emancipation, 9 Mar. He presented anti-Catholic petitions from several places in Ireland, 3, 13 Mar., opposed adjourning the debate on securities, 24 Mar., and explained when the Irish freeholders’ qualification was considered, 26 Mar.:

I opposed this bill because I considered it altogether unnecessary. We have been told that this forty shilling franchise has been used to promote the success of an ulterior object - emancipation. But now as that object is about being attained, the inducement for such an abuse of the franchise will no longer exist; and I therefore conceive that this bill is quite needless and that there is not the least necessity for interfering with the existing state of the elective franchise in Ireland.

He opposed the measure to the last, 27, 30 Mar., and voted against permitting Daniel O’Connell to sit without taking the oath of supremacy, 18 May 1829. Expressing Anglesey’s opinion, he said that the master-general of the ordnance should not be expected to combine his duties with those of the lieutenant-general, and voted against the opposition amendment to abolish the latter post, 29 Mar. However, aware that in doing so he differed from his political friends, he stated that he still had

no hesitation in expressing my decided hostility to His Majesty’s government, from a conviction of its inefficiency, and a general disapproval of its policy, both internally and in regard to our foreign relations; and I am determined to give my feeble aid in forcing upon them every measure of economy and of retrenchment which may be consistent with the well-being of the state; but on the present occasion I must (although very reluctantly I own) give them my support.

He was omitted from Vyvyan’s October 1829 list predicting Members attitudes towards a Tory realignment, but was nevertheless among the hard core of Ultras in the Commons who now chose to abstain or vote with the Whig opposition. He divided for Knatchbull’s amendment criticizing the failure of the address to notice distress, 4 Feb. 1830, and steadily with the revived opposition until 14 May. He presented his constituents’ petitions against the government’s proposals to abolish the Welsh courts of great sessions and judicature, 4, 14 May 1830.24 His father, who almost died in June following a particularly severe bout of the tic douloureux to which he was prone, prepared a long letter advising him on family, estate and constituency matters, but it was not needed.25 Uxbridge’s return for Anglesey at the general election was a formality.26

Ministers listed him as one of the ‘violent Ultras’, but he did not divide on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830, although he had been in the House earlier that evening to present a petition from Holyhead’s Baptists against colonial slavery. He presented further anti-slavery petitions, 8 Dec. 1830, 13 Apr. 1831, and others from the vicarage of Clare, requesting equal trading rights for Galway’s Catholics and Protestants, 11 Feb., and from Rahoon, Galway, seeking additional parliamentary representation, 13 Apr. In February he intervened to free his brother William from custody in Portsmouth, where, after being honourably acquitted at a navy court martial, he was immediately imprisoned for debt.27 He voted for the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. Richmond had informed Anglesey, 22 Mar., that Uxbridge and their brother-in-law George Byng ‘attend most constantly and are very eager, and if O’Connell attacks you, Uxbridge will give it to him’.28 He certainly rushed to defend Richmond, when the Tory Sir Henry Hardinge criticized Lord Grey for briefly considering him, ‘a mere army captain’, for the post of master-general of the ordnance, 13 Apr. 1831.29 His was the only house in Grosvenor Street whose windows were not smashed by the mob when the reform bill was lost, and at the ensuing general election he worked to maintain his absent father’s political influence, corresponded regularly with him, and canvassed Caernarvon Boroughs, where, after a difficult contest, his uncle Sir Charles Paget, who arrived late, defeated the anti-reformer William Ormsby Gore*.30 Uxbridge’s return for Anglesey was assured despite rumblings of discontent from anti-reformers. However, plans to raise him to the peerage to strengthen the ministry in the Lords heralded a series of delicate negotiations with Sir Richard Bulkeley Williams Bulkeley* of Baron Hill on the county’s future representation.31

In the meantime, Uxbridge remained in the Commons, where he presented Llangefni’s petition to become a contributory borough of Beaumaris, 25 June 1831. He voted for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, and to disfranchise Appleby, 19 July, but chose not to vote on the schedule B disfranchisements. He voted to enfranchise Greenwich, 3 Aug., and to give Gateshead separate representation, 5 Aug., and paired for the enfranchisement of Chatham, Rochester and Strood, 9 Aug. On the Dublin election controversy, 8 Aug., he denied Hunt’s allegations that Anglesey was implicated in corruption and called for an inquiry ‘to convince the world’ that his father was ‘guiltless of the very gross charge thus made against him’. Gratified, Anglesey responded, 9 Aug., with suggestions for his next speech:

I see you have been fighting manfully in my cause, and have cleverly exposed your adversary. I only regret you had not one more worthy of you than Citizen Hunt ... I will endeavour to sketch what you might say, only saying it in your own way ... That so decided an advocate was I ever for freedom of opinion and action, that very early in life, when the late earl of Uxbridge, your grandfather, as a king’s friend, asked me if I would have any objection to join him in the support of a government which had replaced Mr. Pitt, I immediately declined, and begged to go out of Parliament, as I could not abandon the person I had supported, and would not oppose my father’s wishes, and that I therefore went out. ... That it is well known I placed the learned Member now sitting for Drogheda [John Henry North] in a borough (which you might say, by the by, I without the slightest reluctance abandoned to its fate upon principle) for the express purpose of supporting the late Mr. Canning’s administration. That subsequent events produced an entirely different course of politics between that ... Member and myself; but that it had never occurred to me to make even the slightest attempt to influence ... [his] vote ... That I have not an agent upon any property who will not vouch that in the various applications made for my interest, my invariable answer has been, ‘Let these tenants know to whom I give the preference, but let every one vote as he pleases’.32

Uxbridge spoke as directed on Gordon’s censure motion, 23 Aug., and before dividing with ministers to defeat it, he added his own defence of Anglesey’s private secretary Tuyll, whom the opposition sought to summon to testify at the bar of the House. Lord Holland, who knew of the activities of the ‘active and guilty Baron’, informed Anglesey, ‘I heard much of the debate but not Uxbridge’s speech, which handsomely and successfully sustained the only weak point, viz., Baron Tuyll’s indiscretion’.33 In September Uxbridge went to Doncaster races with Byng and they were conspicuously absent from the division on the reform bill’s passage, 22 Sept.34 He voted for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct, and as ‘a Tory turned reformer’ was pressed by Lord Hatherton to speak at the Staffordshire county meeting, which considered the bill’s Lords’ defeat and carried an address to the king expressing confidence in the ministry. Moving the address of thanks to the sheriff, Uxbridge admitted that he was ‘a comparative stranger’ despite his close connections with the county and welcomed the unanimous support for the bill, offering reassurance that it was only temporarily lost.35 Disappointed not to be made a peer, he remained in Staffordshire, where the hunting was good, instead of attending the coronation.36 He divided for the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, steadily for its details, except the schedule B disfranchisements, and for its third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted for the address requesting the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the bill unimpaired, 10 May. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 16 July, and paired, 12 July 1832.

Uxbridge, who was too short of money to go to Newmarket, attended to his absent father’s election business in the autumn of 1832.37 Uncertainty concerning his elevation to the Lords and Anglesey’s unwillingness to spend made negotiations for Caernarvon Boroughs and Anglesey particularly difficult, for Sir Charles Paget was ever the reluctant candidate, and there could be no suspicion of a pact.38 Furthermore, to his annoyance, Anglesey objected to his becoming a peer if this meant forfeiting the county. Arrangements to bring in Frederick Paget for Beaumaris and Bulkeley for Anglesey were, however, proceeded with; and it was agreed that Uxbridge would be called up as Baron Paget of Beaudesert, the titles Baron Burton and Baron Cannock having been rejected. His hopes of becoming a groom of the bedchamber were now quickly dashed.39 He took his seat in the Lords in January 1833. Uxbridge and his daughters Constance and Eleanora held court appointments under the Liberal administrations early in Victoria’s reign, but the queen was said to consider him intemperate and it was rumoured that he kept a mistress.40 He had been forced to admit to his father before he remarried in August 1833 that he owed £110,000;41 and in September 1842, with debts of £60,000 and a shortfall of some £3,500 in estate income, he was convicted for failing to keep up payments on seven annuities he had issued. Anglesey was called as a witness.42 Most of the Pagets’ Irish and West Country property had been sold to cover debts before he succeeded as 2nd marquess in 1854. He died intestate at Beaudesert in February 1869 and was buried with his first two wives in Lichfield Cathedral. Probate was granted as 4th marquess to his son Henry William George Paget (1821-80), Liberal Member for North Staffordshire, 1854-7.43

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. Staffs. Advertiser, 20 Feb. 1869; Paget Brothers ed. Lord Hylton, 86.
  • 2. Mq. of Anglesey, One Leg, 89-104, 109-14; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 709-10.
  • 3. W. Suss. RO, Goodwood mss 599, f. 6.
  • 4. Anglesey, 161-2; Lady in Waiting, i. 346.
  • 5. NLW, Aston Hall mss 5727, 5728; UCNW, Plas Newydd mss i. 8-22; N. Wales Gazette, 16, 23 Mar. 1820.
  • 6. Hatherton diary, 15 May 1820.
  • 7. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 488.
  • 8. Anglesey, 163-4.
  • 9. Add. 40361, f. 56.
  • 10. Plas Newydd mss i. 212, 213, 218, 223-6, 245, 250, 251, 264, 288, 289; N. Wales Gazette, 14 July, 1 Sept. 1825.
  • 11. Add. 52017, J.R. Townshend to H.E. Fox, 6, 30 Aug. 1825.
  • 12. Plas Newydd mss i. 215
  • 13. Ibid. i. 221, 229, 230, 262, 289, 296, 298, 301; N. Wales Gazette, 12 Jan. 1826.
  • 14. Plas Newydd mss i. 25, 343; N. Wales Gazette, 8, 15, 23 June 1826.
  • 15. The Times, 30 Mar. 1827.
  • 16. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1315.
  • 17. N. Wales Chron. 8, 29 Nov. 1827.
  • 18. Ibid. 28 Feb., 27 Mar., 3, 10 Apr. 1828; Plas Newydd mss vii. 265-7.
  • 19. Wellington mss WP1/926/6, 13.
  • 20. Dublin Evening Mail, 14 May 1828.
  • 21. PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32G, p. 127.
  • 22. Gent. Mag. (1828), ii. 92; Staffs. Advertiser, 13 July 1828; Plas Newydd mss i. 744.
  • 23. N. Wales Chron. 26 Feb., 12 Mar., 16 Apr. 1829.
  • 24. Plas Newydd mss i. 739, 759.
  • 25. Anglesey, 234.
  • 26. Plas Newydd mss i. 31, 32; vii. 267-80.
  • 27. Lord William Paget mss (privately held at Plas Newydd) 7M/644G/2/76, 78 (1); 3/127, 128, 137-9; Anglesey, 294.
  • 28. Goodwood mss.
  • 29. Anglesey mss 28C, p. 1.
  • 30. Ibid. 27B/14, 15, 18; 28/A/53; Plas Newydd mss i. 558, 566, 578-81, 591, 595, 597, 604; vii. 290, 291; Ll. Jones, ‘Edition of Corresp. of 1st mq. of Anglesey relating to General Elections of 1830, 1831 and 1832 in Caern. and Anglesey’ (Univ. of Liverpool M.A. thesis, 1956), 508, 512. Caernarvon Herald, 20 Apr., 7, 14 May 1831.
  • 31. Caernarvon Herald, 30 Apr., 14 May; Anglesey mss 27A/114-16, 121; Add. 51568, Anglesey to Lord Holland, 23 May 1831, Plas Newydd mss i. 44, 45, 49, 50, 53, 57, 60-64, 69, 71, 73, 588-92; iii. 3561, 1590, 3603, 3675; vii. 287, 305, 355.
  • 32. Anglesey mss 32G, p. 127.
  • 33. Ibid. 27A/131; 27B/33.
  • 34. Ibid. Smith Stanley to Anglesey, 22 Sept. 1831.
  • 35. Staffs. Advertiser, 15, 22, 29 Oct.; Hatherton diary, 18, 21 Oct. 1831.
  • 36. Goodwood mss 1455, f. 493; 1499, f. 190.
  • 37. Ibid. 1436, f. 315.
  • 38. Plas Newydd mss i. 78, 80, 637; iii. 3592, 3599; Ll. Jones, ‘Sir Charles Paget and Caern. Boroughs, 1830-1832’, Trans. Caern. Hist. Soc. xxi (1960), 95, 98-102.
  • 39. Plas Newydd mss i. 74; iii. 3591, 3593; Goodwood mss 1436, ff. 306, 315, 327, 328, 340, 342, 347, 348, 402.
  • 40. Greville Diary ed. P.W. Wilson, ii. 206; Anglesey, 309-10.
  • 41. Holland House Diaries, 239; Three Diaries, 356.
  • 42. Ann. Reg. (1842), Chron. p. 337; Anglesey, 310.
  • 43. PROB 11/2194/508; Illustrated London News, 20 Feb.; Staffs. Advertiser, 20 Feb. 1869.