CARLISLE, EARLS OF. This English title has been held by two families, being created for James Hay in 1622, and being extinct in that line on the death of his son in 1660, and then being given in 1661 to Charles Howard, and descending to the present day in the Howard family.
James Hay, 1st earl of Carlisle (d. 1636), was the son of Sir James Hay of Kingask (a member of a younger branch of the Erroll family), and of Margaret Murray, cousin of George Hay, afterwards 1st earl of Kinnoull. He was knighted and taken into favour by James VI. of Scotland, brought into England in 1603, treated as a “prime favourite” and made a gentleman of the bedchamber. In 1604 he was sent on a mission to France and pleaded for the Huguenots, which annoyed Henry IV. and caused a substantial reduction of the present made to the English envoy. On the 21st of June 1606 he was created by patent a baron for life, with precedence next to the barons, but without a place or voice in parliament, no doubt to render his advancement less unpalatable to the English lords. The king bestowed on him numerous grants, paid his debts, and secured for him a rich bride in the person of Honora, only daughter and heir of Edward, Lord Denny, afterwards earl of Norwich. In 1610 he was made a knight of the Bath, and in 1613 master of the wardrobe, while in 1615 he was created Lord Hay of Sawley, and took his seat in the House of Lords. He was sent to France next year to negotiate the marriage of Princess Christina with Prince Charles, and on his return, being now a widower, married in 1617 Lady Lucy Percy (1599–1660), daughter of the 9th earl of Northumberland, and was made a privy councillor. In 1618 he resigned the mastership of the wardrobe for a large sum in compensation. He was created Viscount Doncaster, and in February 1619 was despatched on a mission to Germany, where he identified himself with the cause of the elector palatine and urged James to make war in his support. In 1621 and 1622 he was sent to France to obtain peace for the Huguenots from Louis XIII., in which he was unsuccessful, and in September 1622 was created earl of Carlisle. Next year he went to Paris on the occasion of Prince Charles’s journey to Madrid, and again in 1624 to join Henry Rich, afterwards Lord Holland, in negotiating the prince’s marriage with Henrietta Maria, when he advised James without success to resist Richelieu’s demands on the subject of religious toleration. On the 2nd of July 1627 Lord Carlisle obtained from the king a grant of all the Caribbean Islands, including Barbados, this being a confirmation of a former concession given by James I. He was also a patentee and councillor of the plantation of New England, and showed great zeal and interest in the colonies. He became gentleman of the bedchamber to King Charles I. after his accession. In 1628, after the failure of the expedition to Rhé, he was sent to make a diversion against Richelieu in Lorraine and Piedmont; he counselled peace with Spain and the vigorous prosecution of the war with France, but on his return home found his advice neglected. He took no further part in public life, and died in March 1636. Carlisle was a man of good sense and of accommodating temper, with some diplomatic ability. His extravagance and lavish expenditure, his “double suppers” and costly entertainments, were the theme of satirists and wonder of society, and his debts were said at his death to amount to more than £80,000. “He left behind him,” says Clarendon, “a reputation of a very fine gentleman and a most accomplished courtier, and after having spent, in a very jovial life, above £400,000, which upon a strict computation he received from the crown, he left not a house or acre of land to be remembered by.”
The charms and wit of his second wife, Lucy, countess of Carlisle, which were celebrated in verse by all the poets of the day, including Carew, Cartwright, Herrick and Suckling, and by Sir Toby Matthew in prose, made her a conspicuous figure at the court of Charles I. There appears no foundation for the scandal which made her the mistress successively of Strafford and of Pym. Strafford valued highly her sincerity and services, but after his death, possibly in consequence of a revulsion of feeling at his abandonment by the court, she devoted herself to Pym and to the interests of the parliamentary leaders, to whom she communicated the king’s most secret plans and counsels. Her greatest achievement was the timely disclosure to Lord Essex of the king’s intended arrest of the five members, which enabled them to escape. But she appears to have served both parties simultaneously, betraying communications on both sides, and doing considerable mischief in inflaming political animosities. In 1647 she attached herself to the interests of the moderate Presbyterian party, which assembled at her house, and in the second Civil War showed great zeal and activity in the royal cause, pawned her pearl necklace for £1500 to raise money for Lord Holland’s troops, established communications with Prince Charles during his blockade of the Thames, and made herself the intermediary between the scattered bands of royalists and the queen. In consequence her arrest was ordered on the 21st of March 1649, and she was imprisoned in the Tower, whence she maintained a correspondence in cipher with the king through her brother, Lord Percy, till Charles went to Scotland. According to a royalist newsletter, while in the Tower she was threatened with the rack to extort information. She was released on bail on the 25th of September 1650, but appears never to have regained her former influence in the royalist counsels, and died soon after the Restoration, on the 5th of November 1660.
The first earl was succeeded by James, his only surviving son by his first wife, at whose death in 1660 without issue, the peerage became extinct in the Hay family.
Charles Howard, 1st earl of Carlisle in the Howard line (1629–1685), was the son and heir of Sir William Howard, of Naworth in Cumberland, by Mary, daughter of William, Lord Eure, and great-grandson of Lord William Howard, “Belted Will” (1563–1640), and was born in 1629. In 1645 he became a Protestant and supported the government of the commonwealth, being appointed high sheriff of Cumberland in 1650. He bought Carlisle Castle and became governor of the town. He distinguished himself at the battle of Worcester on Cromwell’s side, was made a member of the council of state in 1653, chosen captain of the protector’s body-guard and selected to carry out various public duties. In 1655 he was given a regiment, was appointed a commissioner to try the northern rebels, and a deputy major-general of Cumberland, Westmorland and Northumberland. In the parliament of 1653 he sat for Westmorland, in those of 1654 and 1656 for Cumberland. In 1657 he was included in Cromwell’s House of Lords and voted for the protector’s assumption of the royal title the same year. In 1659 he urged Richard Cromwell to defend his government by force against the army leaders, but his advice being refused he used his influence in favour of a restoration of the monarchy, and after Richard’s fall he was imprisoned. In April 1660 he sat again in parliament for Cumberland, and at the Restoration was made custos rotulorum of Essex and lord-lieutenant of Cumberland and Westmorland. On the 20th of April 1661 he was created Baron Dacre of Gillesland, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, and earl of Carlisle; the same year he was made vice-admiral of Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham, and in 1662 joint commissioner for the office of earl marshal. In 1663 he was appointed ambassador to Russia, Sweden and Denmark, and in 1668 he carried the Garter to Charles XI. of Sweden. In 1667 he was made lieutenant-general of the forces and joint commander-in-chief of the four northernmost counties. In 1672 he became lord-lieutenant of Durham, and in 1673 deputy earl marshal. In 1678 he was appointed governor of Jamaica, and reappointed governor of Carlisle. He died on the 24th of February 1685, and was buried in York Minster. He married Anne (d. 1696), daughter of Edward, 1st Lord Howard of Escrick; his eldest son Edward (c. 1646–1692) succeeded him as 2nd earl of Carlisle, the title descending to his son Charles (1674–1738) and grandson Henry (1694–1758).
Frederick Howard, 5th earl (1748–1825), son of the 4th earl, was born in 1748. During his youth he was chiefly known as a man of pleasure and fashion; and after he had reached thirty years of age, his appointment on a commission sent out by Lord North to attempt a reconciliation with the American colonies was received with sneers by the opposition. The failure of the embassy was not due to any incapacity on the part of the earl, but to the unpopularity of the government from which it received its authority. He was, indeed, considered to have displayed so much ability that he was entrusted with the vice-royalty of Ireland in 1780. The time was one of the greatest difficulty; for while the calm of the country was disturbed by the American rebellion, it was drained of regular troops, and large bands of volunteers not under the control of the government had been formed. Nevertheless, the two years of Carlisle’s rule passed in quietness and prosperity, and the institution of a national bank and other measures which he effected left permanently beneficial results upon the commerce of the island. In 1789, in the discussions as to the regency, Carlisle took a prominent part on the side of the prince of Wales. In 1791 he opposed Pitt’s policy of resistance to the dismemberment of Turkey by Russia; but on the outbreak of the French Revolution he left the opposition and vigorously maintained the cause of war. In 1815 he opposed the enactment of the Corn Laws; but from this time till his death, in 1825, he took no important part in public life. Carlisle was the author of some political tracts, a number of poems, and two tragedies, The Father’s Revenge and The Stepmother, which received high praise from his contemporaries. His mother was a daughter of the 4th Lord Byron, and in 1798 he was appointed guardian to Lord Byron, the poet, who lampooned him in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.
George Howard, 6th earl (1773–1848), eldest son of the 5th earl, entered parliament as Lord Morpeth in 1795 as a Whig. He was appointed to the Indian board in 1806, when the “Ministry of all the Talents” took office, but resigned in 1807, though he remained prominent in the House of Commons. After his elevation to the House of Lords (1825), he held various cabinet offices under Canning and Grey. He made some minor contributions to literature and left the reputation of an amiable scholar.
George William Frederick Howard, 7th earl (1802–1864), was born in London on the 18th of April 1802. He was the eldest son of the 6th earl by his wife Lady Georgiana Cavendish, eldest daughter of the duke of Devonshire. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where (as Lord Morpeth) he earned a reputation as a scholar and writer of graceful verse, obtaining in 1821 both the chancellor’s and the Newdigate prizes for a Latin and an English poem. In 1826 he accompanied his uncle, the duke of Devonshire, to Russia, to attend the coronation of the tsar Nicholas, and became a great favourite in society at St Petersburg. At the general election of the same year he was returned to parliament as member for the family borough of Morpeth. In one of his earliest speeches he undertook, at the risk of forfeiting the good opinion of the Liberal party, the defence of the Russian emperor against severe attacks made on him in reference to the suppression of the Polish insurrection of 1830. In the agitation for parliamentary reform he took the side of Earl Grey; and after the dissolution of parliament, which took place about that time, he was elected member for Yorkshire. This seat he held till after the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832. He was then returned for the West Riding; and in 1835 he was appointed by Lord Melbourne chief secretary for Ireland, a position at that time of great difficulty, O’Connell being then at the height of his reputation. This post he held for about six years (being included in the cabinet in 1839), winning great popularity by his amiable manners and kindly disposition. Losing his seat at the election of 1841, he visited the United States, but in 1846 he was again returned for the West Riding, and was made chief commissioner of woods and forests in Lord John Russell’s cabinet. Succeeding to the peerage in 1848, he became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster in 1850. The great event of his life, however, was his appointment by Lord Palmerston to the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland in 1855. This office he continued to hold till February 1858, and again from June 1859 till within a few months of his death. His literary tastes and culture were displayed in various popular lectures and in several published works. Among these may be mentioned a lecture on The Life and Writings of Pope (1851); The Last of the Greeks, a tragedy (1828); a Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters (1854), the fruit of travels in the East in 1853 and 1854; and a volume of Poems, published after his death. In 1866 appeared his Viceregal Speeches, collected and edited by J. Gaskin. He took warm interest in the reformation of juvenile criminals, and established on his own estate one of the best conducted reformatories in the country. Lord Carlisle died at Castle Howard on the 5th of December 1864. He was never married, and was succeeded in the peerage by his brother, the Rev. William George Howard (d. 1889), as 8th earl.
George James Howard, 9th earl, born in 1843, was the son of Charles, fourth son of the 6th earl. He was educated at Eton and Trinity, Cambridge, and, then being only Mr Howard, married in 1864 Rosalind, daughter of the 2nd Lord Stanley of Alderley. He sat in parliament as a Liberal in 1879–1880, and again from 1881 to 1885; and succeeded his uncle in the peerage in 1889. His wife, a more active Liberal politician than himself, took a prominent part in the temperance movement and other advanced causes; and Lord Carlisle became best known as an art patron and an artist of considerable ability, whose landscape painting had considerable affinity to the work of Giovanni Costa. His position as a connoisseur was recognized by his being made one of the trustees of the National Gallery. His son, Viscount Morpeth (b. 1867), had a distinguished career at Oxford, and after various defeats in other constituencies was returned to parliament for South Birmingham as a Unionist supporter of Mr Chamberlain in 1904.