Armstrong, George Carlyon Hughes (DNB12)
ARMSTRONG, Sir GEORGE CARLYON HUGHES, first baronet (1836–1907), journalist and newspaper proprietor, younger son of Colonel George Craven Armstrong, of the East India Company's army, and of Georgianna, daughter of Captain Philip Hughes, was born at Lucknow on 20 July 1836. He was privately educated and was nominated to a military cadetship in the company's service in the year 1855. During the Indian Mutiny he was attached to the 59th Bengal native infantry, and afterwards to Stokes's Pathan horse, a newly raised regiment of native irregulars. As second in command of the latter he was dangerously wounded in the course of the operations around Delhi. On the suppression of the mutiny he was appointed orderly officer at Addiscombe Military College, a post which he occupied till the closing of that institution in 1861, when he retired from the army with the rank of captain. In 1866 he took up the duties of secretary and registration agent to the Westminster Conservative Association, and his powers of work and organisation were largely responsible for the defeat of John Stuart Mill [q. v.] by W. H. Smith [q. v.] in November 1868. After acting for a short time as financial manager of Watney's brewery, he was offered in 1871 the editorship and management of the ' Globe' newspaper, then in the hands of a small conservative syndicate of which Mr. George Cubitt, afterwards Lord Ashcombe, was the leading member. The paper had been run for some years past at a heavy financial loss, but Captain Armstrong, though without any previous experience of journalism, was an excellent man of business with a keen political instinct. He rapidly raised the paper from the position of a mere derelict to that of a valuable property, and he made it one of the most thorough-going and influential supporters of Disraeli in the metropolitan press; down to his death it remained the typical organ of the militant conservative school. As an acknowledgment of his labours and success the sole property of the 'Globe' was made over to him by the owners in 1875, and in 1882 he acquired a large interest in the 'People,' a Sunday conservative paper with a large circulation among the working classes. Thanks to these joint ventures Armstrong acquired a handsome fortune, but he took no part in public or political affairs outside the columns of his paper. Perhaps the best remembered incident in connection with his editorship of the 'Globe' was the disclosure in its pages, on 30 May 1878, of the terms of the Salisbury-Schouvaloff Treaty. A summary of that document had been brought to the paper by an occasional contributor, Charles Marvin [q. v.], to whom the foreign office had given employment as an emergency 'writer.' The official denial of its correctness was followed by the publication in the same paper on 14 June of the full text, which completely vindicated Marvin's accuracy. Proceedings were instituted against the latter on the part of the government, but were speedily abandoned. In 1892 Armstrong received a baronetcy in recognition of his services to the unionist party; he had relinquished the editorship of the 'Globe' in 1889, and in 1899 the control of the paper passed to George Elliot, his second surviving son, who succeeded to the baronetcy. He died on 20 April 1907, after a long illness, and was buried at Woking. He married on 2 Feb. 1865 Alice Fitzroy, daughter of the Rev. Charles Joseph Furlong, who survived him. His eldest son, Arthur Reginald, lieutenant 19th Hussars, died at Secunderabad 1 Nov. 1898. A portrait in oils by Herkomer belongs to his widow. A cartoon portrait by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' in 1894.
[The Globe, 1 Jan. 1903 and 22 April 1907; personal knowledge.]