Willem van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle

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Lieutenant-General Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle
William Anne Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, by Charles Philips.jpg
The 2nd Earl of Albemarle KG KB PC
Born(1702-06-05)5 June 1702
Whitehall Palace
Died22 December 1754(1754-12-22) (aged 52)
Paris
Buried
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1717-1748
RankLieutenant-general
UnitColonel, 29th Foot[a] 1731-1733
Coldstream Guards 1744-1754
Commands heldGovernor of Virginia 1737-1754
Commander, Scotland 1746-1747
Battles/warsWar of the Austrian Succession
Dettingen Fontenoy Lauffeld
Jacobite rising of 1745
Culloden
AwardsLord of the Bedchamber 1722-1751
Knight of the Bath 1725
Knight of the Garter 1750
Groom of the Stole 1751–1754
RelationsAdmiral Augustus Keppel, 1725-1786 (son)

Lieutenant-General Willem (or William) Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle KG KB PC (5 June 1702 – 22 December 1754) was a British soldier, diplomat and courtier.

He held various roles in the household of George II (1683-1760), who was a personal friend, participated in negotiations to end the 1718 to 720 War of the Quadruple Alliance and was British Ambassador to France from 1748 to 1754.

During the 1740 to 1748 War of the Austrian Succession, he commanded troops in Flanders and was transferred to Scotland following the outbreak of the Jacobite rising of 1745. After Culloden, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Scotland before returning to Flanders in 1747.

Despite his many offices and inheriting a large fortune, he was known as the 'Spendthrift Earl' and died in 1754 leaving his family nothing but debts.

Life[edit]

Anne van Keppel (1703 – 1789) in old age

William (or Willem) Anne van Keppel was born 5 June 1702 at Whitehall Palace in London, only son of Arnold, 1st Earl of Albemarle (1670-1718) and Geertruid van der Duyn (died 1741). His father was popular with both William III and Queen Anne, who was his godmother.[1]

In 1722, he married Anne Lennox (1703 – 1789), daughter of the Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of Charles II. She was Lady of the Bedchamber to Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737); she was reputedly a great favourite of George II, who paid her a pension of £1,500 per annum when Albemarle died in 1754.[2]

They had over fifteen children, of whom six survived to adulthood; George, 3rd Earl of Albemarle (1724-1772), Augustus (1725-1786), William (1727-1782), Frederick (1728–1777), Caroline (1734–?) and Elizabeth (1739-1768).

Career[edit]

Albemarle was educated in the Dutch province of Gelderland, where the family originated. After returning to England in 1717, he was commissioned in the Coldstream Foot Guards and succeeded his father as Earl of Albemarle in 1718. Over the next few years, he and a colleague John Huske accompanied the Earl of Cadogan in meetings with the Dutch over the War of the Quadruple Alliance; financially exhausted by the War of the Spanish Succession, they were anxious to avoid another.[3] The Treaty of The Hague was agreed in 1720, although negotiations continued with Austria.[4]

The Earl of Cadogan; Albemarle acted as his deputy in diplomatic negotiations with the Dutch Republic and Austria

Like his father, Albemarle appears to have had a talent for making powerful friends; his marriage in 1722 was held at Cadogan's house near Caversham, outside Reading. He was also made Lord of the Bedchamber to the future George II, then Prince of Wales, a position he retained until 1751. The role provided proximity to the monarch; its holder was a trusted confidant and often extremely powerful.[5]

In 1737, he was appointed Governor of Virginia, which he retained until his death, despite never setting foot in it. As was common, the administrative work was done by his deputy Sir William Gooch, although the two frequently clashed over appointments.[6] Albemarle County, Virginia was named after him; it is better known as the location of Monticello, the estate built by Thomas Jefferson.[7]

Between 1713 to 1739, Britain was mostly at peace; Albemarle was Colonel of the 29th Regiment of Foot from 1731 to 1733 before transferring to the Royal Horse Guards. As personal escort to the king, they rarely left London but Albemarle commanded them at Dettingen in 1743, when George II became the last British monarch to command troops in battle. He became Colonel of the Coldstream Guards in 1744 and fought under the Duke of Cumberland at Fontenoy in April 1745.

Lauffeld in July 1747; Albemarle commanded the British infantry, whose discipline mitigated an Allied defeat

With the outbreak of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, Albemarle was sent to Newcastle as deputy to the elderly George Wade.[8] He commanded the government front line at Culloden in April 1746 and subsequently appointed Commander-in-Chief, Scotland, despite referring to it as "this cursed country". He told the Duke of Newcastle, then Secretary of State for the Southern Department that "my predecessors have split against a sharp rock". The appointment of a senior and trusted subordinate reflected a widespread perception among both government officials and Jacobite rebels that another landing was imminent.[9]

The immediate focus was capturing the fugitive Charles Stuart but despite a reward of £30,000, he evaded Albemarle's patrols and escaped to France in September.[10] In 2018, previously unknown records from 1746 and 1747 were discovered in Ipswich; these include intelligence reports on the search and details showing that after Culloden, Albemarle received a thousand guineas and the Prince's silver-gilt travelling canteen.[11][b]

With his headquarters in Edinburgh, Albemarle divided Scotland into four military districts and carried out measures intended to bring the Highlands under control.[12] They included extending the military road network begun in 1715 and placing permanent garrisons at key points, whose role was to enforce the 1746 Disarming and Dress Acts.[13] In February 1747, he was relieved as commander in Scotland and rejoined the army in Flanders, commanding the British infantry at Lauffeld in July. Although this was a decisive French victory that effectively ended the War of the Austrian Succession, his troops' disciplined fire helped the Pragmatic army make an orderly retreat.[14]

Grosvenor Chapel on South Audley Street, where Albemarle was buried in February 1755

After the war ended with the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, he was sent to Paris as Ambassador, where he was a great success, entertaining on a lavish scale and sharing a mistress with Giacomo Casanova.[15] He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1750, then a Privy Counsellor the following year.

Albemarle died aged 52 in Paris on 22 December 1754, returning home from a pre-Christmas supper; he was buried on 21 February 1755 in Grosvenor Chapel on South Audley Street in London. When his long-term colleague and friend John Huske died in 1761, he instructed his coffin be placed next to that of Albemarle.[16]

Notoriously extravagant, he died leaving nothing but debts, although his sons had successful careers; in 1740, Augustus Keppel participated in Anson's capture of the Manila galleon, which made the officers wealthy men in their own right.[17]

In her biography of Madame de Pompadour, the writer Nancy Mitford remarks given his love of all things French, it was a blessing Albemarle died before the Seven Years' War broke out. She records that the French admired his love of life and wit; when a rapacious mistress admired the beauty of the stars, he replied that unfortunately he was unable to buy them for her.[18]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Until 1751, most regiments were named after their current Colonel but the post-1751 numbers are used for convenience
  2. ^ This was sold in 1963, and is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spain, Jonathan (2004). Keppel, William Anne, second earl of Albemarle (Online ed.). Oxford DNB.
  2. ^ Spain, Jonathan (2004). Keppel, William Anne, second earl of Albemarle (Online ed.). Oxford DNB.
  3. ^ Harley, Janet M (2002). Charles Whitworth: Diplomat in the Age of Peter the Great. Routledge. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-0754604808.
  4. ^ Tucker (editor), Spencer C (2012). Almanac of American Military History; Volume I. ABC-CLIO. p. 122. ISBN 978-1598845303.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Lords of the Bedchamber". Glued Ideas. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  6. ^ Spain, Jonathan (2004). Keppel, William Anne, second earl of Albemarle (Online ed.). Oxford DNB.
  7. ^ SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012. Online. http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-CH48. Accessed 2019-03-16.
  8. ^ Royle, Trevor (2016). Culloden; Scotland's Last Battle and the Forging of the British Empire. Little, Brown. p. 33. ISBN 978-1408704011.
  9. ^ Anderson (editor), BJ (1902). The Albemarle papers; being the correspondence of William Anne, second earl of Albemarle, commander-in-chief in Scotland, 1746-1747. Aberdeen University. p. 332.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Riding, Jacqueline (2016). Jacobites: A New History of the 45 Rebellion. Bloomsbury. p. 493. ISBN 978-1408819128.
  11. ^ "Keppel, William Anne Van (1702-1754) 2nd Earl of Albemarle". National Archives. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  12. ^ Royle, p. 119
  13. ^ Allardyce, James (1895). Historical papers relating to the Jacobite period, 1699-1750. 2. Aberdeen: Printed for the New Spalding Club. pp. 524–525.
  14. ^ Royle, p. 136
  15. ^ Casanova, Giacomo (author), Trask, Willard (translator) (1960). History of My Life, Volume 3 (2006 ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-1857152906.
  16. ^ The General Evening Post: 8 January 1761. 8 January 1761.
  17. ^ Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734–1995. Pen & Sword. p. 12. ISBN 0-85052-835-6.
  18. ^ Mitford, Nancy Madame de Pompadour Hamish Hamilton 1954

Sources[edit]

  • Allardyce, James (1895). Historical papers relating to the Jacobite period, 1699-1750. 2. Aberdeen: Printed for the New Spalding Club.
  • Anderson (editor), BJ (1902). The Albemarle papers; being the correspondence of William Anne, second earl of Albemarle, commander-in-chief in Scotland, 1746-1747. Aberdeen University.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Casanova, Giacomo (author), Trask, Willard (translator) (1960). History of My Life, Volume 3. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1857152906.
  • Heathcote, Tony (2002). The British Admirals of the Fleet 1734–1995. Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-835-6.
  • Mitford, Nancy; Madame de Pompadour Hamish Hamilton, 1954
  • Riding, Jacqueline (2016). Jacobites: A New History of the 45 Rebellion. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1408819128.
  • Royle, Trevor (2016). Culloden; Scotland's Last Battle and the Forging of the British Empire. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1408704011.
  • Spain, Jonathan (2004). Keppel, William Anne, second earl of Albemarle. Oxford DNB.
  • Tucker (editor), Spencer C (2012). Almanac of American Military History; Volume I. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1598845303.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Orkney
Crown Governor of Virginia
1737–1754
Succeeded by
The Earl of Loudoun
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Anthony Thompson 1740-1744
Vacant 1744-1748
British Ambassador to France
1748–1754
Succeeded by
Duke of Bedford 1762-1763
Vacant 1754 to 1762
Military offices
Preceded by
Henry Hawley
Commander-in-Chief, Scotland
July 1746 to February 1747
Succeeded by
Humphrey Bland
Preceded by
Henry Disney
Colonel, 29th Foot
1731–1733
Succeeded by
George Reade
Preceded by
Earl of Cholmondeley
Captain and Colonel, 3rd Troop of Horse Guards
1733–1744
Succeeded by
Lord Tyrawley
Preceded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Colonel of the Coldstream Regiment
1744–1754
Succeeded by
Lord Tyrawley
Court offices
Preceded by
Earl of Pembroke
Groom of the Stole
1751–1754
Succeeded by
Earl of Rochford
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Arnold Joost van Keppel
Earl of Albemarle
1718–1754
Succeeded by
George Keppel