James Caulfeild, Earl of Charlemont

Life
1728-1799 [James Caulfeild; 1st Earl of Charlemont; occas. err. Caulfield]; b. 18 Aug., Charlemont Hse., the second of the name, Jervis St., Dublin; descended of Toby Caulfeild, who governed Charlemont Fort for Mountjoy [bur. Christ Church Cath.]; succeeded to peerage 1734 [aetat. 6]; remarriage of his mother, 1740; at 6; ed. Rev. Philip Skelton and Rev. Edmund Murphy, priv. tutors, travelling with the later on the Grand Tour, 1746-54, to avoid corruption by ‘young profligates’ in Dublin; met David Hume in Turin, where he attended the Academy; accompanied by Irish friends, Francis Burton of Co. Clare, Richard Dalton, of the RDS; and Murphy; visited Rome, Greece, and Constantinople; produced an unpublished manuscript devoted to his scholarly experiences on his travels, entitled “A Travellers Essays Containing an Account of Manners rather than of Things ... Written for my Own Amusement And for that of my Friends Only”; Caulfeild was included among the group of dilettanti depicted in Reynolds “School of Athens” (Rome 1752); friendly with Piranesi, with whom he quarrelled afterwards; met Montesquieu in Paris; house in London, 1764-73; lived at Marino, N. Dublin, and built the Marino Casino, to plans by Sir William Chambers, 1762; m. Mary Hickman, of Co. Clare, 1768; became MP for Charlemont on death at sea of his brother Francis, the incumbent; built new Charlemont House (Municipal Art Gallery) and held demesne at Marina; leader of educated society; created earl for defence of Belfast against French; and commanded Antrim Volunteers; commander-in-chief of Irish Volunteers, July 1780; persuaded Volunteers at the Rotunda Convention of 10 Nov. 1783 to adjourn when their proposals were defeated in the House of Commons; required Grattan, his MP, to vote against Catholic Relief in 1792 and 1793; opposed Union; founding member and first president of the Royal iriah Academy (RIA), the first session of which convened in his home on 18 April 1785, followed by another at Colonel Conyngham’s (the former Col. Burton), for submission of a list of members, 25 April, to be voted on 16 May; d. 4 Aug.; buried Armagh cathedral; Francis Hardy's Life of Charlemount (1810), for long the standard biography, was replaced by Maurice Craig, The Volunteer Earl (1948). RR ODNB OCIL FDA

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Works
W. B. Stanford & E. J. Finopoulis, A Traveller’s Essays, Containing an Account of Manners rather than Things [ ...] Written for My Own Amusement and for that My Friends Only (1984) [journal]. Also, Marquis of Londonderry, ed., Charlemont MSS: The Manuscripts and Correspondence of James, first Earl of Charlemont, 2 vols. (London: Historical MSS Commission 1891-94).

Letters from the Earl of Charlemont to William Hogarth expressing inability to pay the artist are reprinted in Fintan Cullen, Ed., Sources in Irish Art: A Reader (Cork UP 2000).

Criticism

  • Francis Hardy, Life of Charlemount (London 1810), and Do. [2nd edn.], as Memoirs of the Political and Private Life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, Knight of St. Patrick [… &c.] (London: Cadell 1812) (1) xix, 412pp. (2) iv, 475pp.;
  • Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. I, p.392 [also William Caulfield, 2nd Viscount, Ibid., p.391];
  • Maurice Craig, The Volunteer Earl: Being the Life and Times of James Caulfeild, First Earl of Charlemont (London: Cresset Press 1948);
  • Desmond Guinness, ‘The Volunteer Earl’, in Talamh an Eisc: Canadian and Irish Essays, ed., Cyril J. Byrne & Margaret Harry [Irish Studies St. Mary’s Coll.] (Halifax Canada: Nimbus Publ. Co. 1986), pp.140-47 [acknowledging Craig’s Volunteer Earl as the sole source];
  • Michael McCarthy, Lord Charlemont and His Circle (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001), 208pp.

See also Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish and Fíor Ghael (1986), p.387 [Cork UP rep. 1996]; James Kelly. ‘In Retrospect: Lord Charlemont and Learning’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy [Section C], 106C, 1 (Jan. 2006), pp.395-407. Also sundry remarks under Commentary, infra.

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Commentary
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), Royal Irish Academy founded in 1785, largely through efforts of James Caulfeild, 1st earl of Charlemont; Charlemont himself read at a meeting of 1789 a paper entitled An account of a Singular Custom at Metelin with some Conjectures on the Antiquity of its Origin, having been in Lesbos during his Greek touring, and there observed the apparent matriarchy of the island, where the women seemed ‘to have arrogated to themselves the deportment and privileges of men’. [70] Further, [James Caulfeild], Earl of Charlemont, visited Greece in 1749, headed committee looking after publication of Chandler’s and Revett’s Ionian Antiquities in 1756; encouraged Piranesi in his Antichità Romana; financed artist Richard Dalton who accompanied him to the Levant, producing drawings of Greek and Roman buildings before Wood’s draughtsman Borra, and ‘Athenian’ Stuart. [115] Further, Simon Vierpyl commissioned by Lord Charlemont and his tutor Edmund Murphy to reproduce antique statuary in 1750. Besides copying 22 statues, he modelled 78 heads for Murphy, mostly Roman emperors, in the Capitoline Museum. They decorated Charlemont House till presented to the RIA in 1868. London-born Vierpyl settled in Ireland in 1756. [121] Bibl., MJ Craig, The Volunteer Earl (London 1948); G. B. Tubbs, ‘Piranesi and Lord Charlemont’, in Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, xxxvii (1926), pp.54-6. Further, Charlemont, educated by Philip Skelton and Edmund Murphy, and called the best ‘general scholar’ in the Irish House of Lords (Public Characters of Dublin 1798 (Dublin 1798). Travelled to Italy with Murphy, Francis Burton, and Richard Dalton, arch. draughtsman trained in Dublin, London, and Rome. [136] Further, Charlemont delivered his paper on Lesbos to the RIA. Further, Charlemont found the modern Greeks unfavourable, ‘low cunning and knavery’; the countrymen of Aristides are now perhaps the keenest and most accomplish’d Rogues upon the Face of the Earth.’ [222] Goldsmith’s Grecian History (1774) expressed an antipathetic view of modern Greeks as degenerate Grecians, in a chapter added after his death [222] Bibl., A Traveller’s Essays, Containing an Account of Manners rather than Things ... Written for My Own Amusement and for that my Friends Only [a diary], ed. W. B. Stanford and E. J. Finopoulis (1984); Hardy, Life of Charlemont.

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Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th Century, ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989), gives Charlemont’s hostile account of the liberal motivation behind the passage of the Catholic Relief measure of 1782 as recounted by Lecky citing Charlemont MSS [see under Grattan, Rx.].

Robert O’Byrne, review of Michael McCarthy, Lord Charlemont and His Circle (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001), 208pp., in The Irish Times (q.d. [2001]), notes previous biographies by Maurice Craig and later Cynthia O’Connor on his grand tour; the present collection of papers presented at National Gallery of Ireland. Contribs. incl. Christine Casey, Kerry Bristol, Teresa Watts, John Loughman, Joseph McDonnell, Helen Byrne, Judy Egerton, et al. [see port., as infra.]

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Eileen Battersby, ‘Of Intellectual Daring’, in The Irish Times (15 Sept. 2001) [Weekend], gives an account: Charlemont Fort erected by Mountjoy on Tyrone/Armagh border overlooking the Blackwater in 1602; burnt in 1920; inherited aged six, on death of his father, the 3rd Earl [qry]; Charlemont’s mother remarried when he was twelve; inspired by classical teaching of his tutor Edward Murphy; mother died in 1743; developed gambling habits; sent by step-father on grand tour with Murphy; met Vierpyl and William Chambers (who never visited Ireland) in this period; romances; departed from Rome, 1745, and took his seat in the House of Lords, Dublin; skilful mediator; m. at 40; 4 children survived infancy; a second son d. at 17; marched to Carrickfergus in 1760 to protect the region against a supposed French invasion; his Catholic Relief bill of 1770 was defeated but later opposed Relief acts of 1792 and 1793; successfully defended the right of the wives of Irish peers to attend the coronation of George III; there is a watercolour of the Marino Casino by James Malton.

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References
ODNB (Dictionary of National Biography) lists James Caulfeild, 4th Viscount & 1st Earl; b. Dublin, succeeded viscountcy, 1734; travelled in Italy and Levant, 1746-54; served against French at Carrickfergus, 1760; created Earl, 1763; lived in London, frequenting literary coteries, 1764-73; returned to Dublin, 1773; associated with Grattan and Flood; ‘intrigued for Irish independence’: ODNB], 1780-82; opposed emancipation and the union; wrote verses. And NOTE family of, ODNB infra, Toby or Tobias Caulfeild, 1st Baron Charlemont, 1565-1627, of Oxford family; served under Frobisher, Cadiz; commanded horse at Newry, 1598; served at Kinsale, 1601; officer at Fort Charlemont on the Blackwater; knighted, c. 1604; receiver of Tyrone’s rents, 1607-10; received grants of forfeited lands; MP Armagh, 1613; master of ordnance, 1615; created Baron Charlemont, 1621. ALSO, Toby or Tobias Caulfeild, 3rd Baron, d. 1642; MP Tyrone, 1639; governor of Fort Charlemont, 1641; surprised by Sir Phelim O’Neill; killed [ODNB, ‘murdered’]. ALSO, William Caulfeild, 5th Baron and 1st Viscount Charlemont, d. 1671, succeeded barony and estates, 1642; secured the execution of Sir Phelim O’Neill; created viscount, 1665. ALSO, William Caulfeild, 2nd Viscount, d.1726; attainted by James II; restored by William III; served in West Indies, 1702; under Peterborough in Spain, 1705; major-gen. 1708.

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Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), p.232, Succeeded as Viscount Charlemont, 1734; created Earl, 1763; served gallantly against the French at Carrickfergus, 1760; Commander in Chief of the Irish Volunteers, 1780; founded Whig Club, 1790; opposed Catholic Emancipation and the Union. And NOTE, supplied manuscripts for Leland’s History of Ireland (1771)

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. [1], refs. at pp.321, 576, 606, 607, 622n.

Library of Herbert Bell (Belfast) holds Charlemont MSS, The manuscripts and correspondence of James, first earl of Charlemont, 2 vols., Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1891-94; Francis Hardy, Memoirs of the Political & Private Life of James Caulfield ([1810]; ?rep. London 1966).

De Burca Books (Cat. 44, 1997) lists Hardy, Memoirs of the Political and Private Life of James Caulfield, Earl of Charlemont, Knight of St. Patrick, etc. London, Cadell, 1812. Second. Pages (1) xix, 412 (2) iv, 475. [175].

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Quotations
Amor patria: ‘Love and service of our country is perhaps the widest circle in which we can hope to display an active benevolence ... if every man were to devote his powers to the service of his country, mankind would be universally served’. [Quoted in Hubert Butler, Wolfe Tone and the Common Name of Irishmen [Lilliput Pamphlet 15] (Mullingar 1985), p.28].

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Living in Ireland: ‘Being thoroughly sensible that it was my indispensable duty to live in Ireland, I determined by some means or other to attach myself to my native country’; ‘We ask but our rights, our uncontrovertible rights [...]. Bind us to you by the only chains that can connect us, the only chains we will ever consent to wear, the dear ties of mutual love and mutual freedom. So shall you gain a kingdom in the place of those provinces which your predecessors have lost [a reference to N. America]’ (Letter to Prime Minister Lord Rockingham; both the above cited in Guinness, op. cit., p.143).

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Notes
Portrait: There is an oil port. of Charlemont by Pompeo Batoni in the Yale Centre for British Art; another by William Hogarth, c.1759, at Smith College of Art, Northampton, Mass. (USA). His figure is included in the left-hand foreground of the engraving of House of Commons of 1790, now preserved in Bank of Ireland (College Green), with Grattan and Flood in the right, being No. 164 in the key. See also caricature of Charlemont with others by, in painting based on Raphael’s School of Athens, incl. the tutor Murphy [NLI].

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Anti-Catholic: According to Lord Tyrawley in conversation with Lord Kenmare in 1779, Grattan voted against the Catholics in 1778 at the behest of his borough patron Lord Charlemont, adding ‘In future you will have him with you; and he will be a powerful champion in your cause.’ (See An interesting note in Life of O’Leary, pp.138-39; and further, under Arthur O’Leary, q.v.)

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Muldoon/Heaney: Muldoon was commissioned to write a poem on the occasion of the bestowal of the Cunningham Medal on Seamus Heaney. The Irish Times reports: ‘[...] Muldoon, who has long lived in the US where he is chair of the Peter B Lewis centre for the arts at Princeton University , said when we phoned him that he'd been delighted to write this special poem. “Anything for Mr Heaney. I When asking Muldoon at the end of last year to mark the RIA occasion wjth a few lines of verse, Slevin said he might like to do so because, as a man from The Moy/Charlemont area, he had a resonance, even if an oblique one, with the academy through its founding president, Lord Charlemont, who had a summer residencejust outside Charlemont - in Collegelands - where Muldoon was brought up. Hence the reference to the first Earl of Charlemont in the poem. Born in 1728, he died in 1799 and having become commander-in-chief of the Irish Volunteers in 1780 he was known as the Volunteer Earl. As an 18-year-old he was sent, as was common for someone of his class, on the Grand Tour of Europe. It lasted nine years and included a visit to Greece where, in Athens, he became fascinated by Parthenon ...’ (2 Feb. 2008, Weekend; for poem, see under Muldoon, infra.)

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