George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend

George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend

George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend PC (28 February, 1724–14 September, 1807), known as the Viscount Townshend from 1764 to 1787, was a British soldier who reached the rank of field marshal.

Townshend was the son of Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and Audrey Ethelreda Harrison. Charles Townshend was his younger brother and Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney, his first cousin.

He served as a brigadier in Quebec, under General James Wolfe; when the latter died, and his second-in-command (Robert Monckton) was wounded, Townshend took command of the British forces during the siege of Quebec. He received Quebec City's surrender on September 18, 1759. However, he held General Wolfe in much contempt (drawing Wolfe in caricature he created Canada's first cartoon), and was harshly criticized upon his return to Great Britain for that reason (Wolfe was a popular hero throughout the country). Nonetheless, he was promoted major general on March 6, 1761 and fought at the Battle of Villinghausen.
In 1762 he took command of a division of the Anglo-Portuguese army with the local rank of lieutenant-general, against the Spanish invasion of Portugal. No important operations took place here before the conclusion of peace.

He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1767–1772. In 1779, Fort Townshend, was begun by Governor Richard Edwards, naming it after Townshend, who was then Master-General of the Ordnance (1772–1782 and 1783–1784) and responsible for the construction of fortifications. The Fort includes the Government House of Newfoundland and Labrador. (See Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, vol. 2, p. 327.) On 2 February 1773 he fought a duel with Charles Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont, badly wounding the Earl with a bullet in the groin.

Townshend was promoted to general in 1782, and elevated to the marquessate in 1787. He became a field marshal on July 30, 1796. A peculiar family tragedy befell him in May of that year: his son, Lord Charles, had just been elected MP for Great Yarmouth, and he took a carriage to London with his brother, Rev. Lord Frederick, the Rector of Stiffkey. During the journey, Lord Frederick inexplicably killed his brother with a pistol shot to the head, and was ultimately adjuged insane.

On 19 December 1751, Townshend had married Charlotte Compton, 15th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley (d. 1770), daughter of James Compton, 5th Earl of Northampton. They had eight children:
* George Townshend, 2nd Marquess Townshend (1755 – 1811)
* Lord John Townshend (January 19 1757 – February 25 1833), married Georgiana Poyntz and had issue
* Lady Elizabeth Townshend (d. March 21, 1811)
* Rev. Lord Frederick Patrick Townshend (December 30, 1767 – January 18, 1836)
* Lord Charles Townshend (1769-1796) (1768 – May 27, 1796)
* Ladies Charlotte, Caroline and Frances Townshend died young

He married Anne Montgomery, the daughter of Sir William Montgomery, 1st Baronet on May 19, 1773. They had six children:
* Lord William Townshend (1778–1794)
* Capt. Lord James Nugent Boyle Bernardo Townshend (September 11, 1785 – June 28, 1842), married Elizabeth Wallis and had issue
* Lady Anne Townshend (d. November 29 1826), married Harrington Hudson
* Lady Charlotte Townshend (March 16, 1776 – July 30, 1856), married the Duke of Leeds and had three children.
* Lady Honoria Townshend (1777–1826)
* Lady Henrietta Townshend (d. November 9 1848)

External links

* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=2692 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://home.worldonline.co.za/~townshend/1stmarquess.htm Biography]
* [http://www.heritage.nf.ca/govhouse/govhouse/default.html Government House in Fort Townshend in Newfoundland]

References

* [http://www.thepeerage.com/ www.thepeerage.com]

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