Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lennox, Charles (1701-1750)
LENNOX, CHARLES, second Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Aubigny (1701–1750), only son of Charles Lennox, first duke [q. v.], and grandson of Charles II, was born in London on 18 May 1701 (Wood, ii. 105). He entered the army and was made captain in the royal regiment of horseguards 5 Sept. 1722. In 1722, during the lifetime of his father, when his style was Earl of March, he was elected M.P. for both Chichester and Newport (1722–3), but sat for the former place (Returns of Members of Parliament, ii. 55, 56). He succeeded to the title 27 May 1723, was created K.B. 27 May 1725, and K.G. (in company with Sir R. Walpole) on 16 June 1726 (Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary, 1726, p. 25). His position as aide-de-camp to George I was confirmed by George II on his accession, and at the coronation of the latter king on 11 Oct. 1727, Lennox was lord high constable of England for the day. He was made a lord of the bedchamber in the following week (London Gazette, s.a.), and was created an LL.D. of Cambridge 25 April 1728. On the death of his grandmother, the Duchess of Portsmouth (Louise de Keroualle) [q. v.], he succeeded to the dukedom of Aubigny in France. About the same time, on the resignation of the Earl of Scarborough, he became candidate for the important post of master of the horse (Suffolk Correspondence, ii. 87). He was the first claimant in the field, but the appointment was delayed by the king, who appropriated the salary attached to the post during the vacancy. The delay induced the Earl of Pembroke, who was strongly supported by the Earl of Chesterfield, to become a candidate, but Pembroke was appeased by the gift of another place, and Richmond's appointment was announced on 8 Jan. 1735 (Hervey, i. 294, ii. 122). Richmond was sworn of the privy council on the following day, and became a strong supporter of Walpole's government. He was utilised as an intermediary in the king's quarrel with his eldest son during 1737–8, and inclined to the side of moderation and to the discreet cooking of acrimonious messages (ib.). In 1741 Horace Walpole mentions his presence at a ball given by Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby [q. v.], where ‘the two beauties were his daughters,’ Lady Caroline and Lady Emily Lennox; ‘the duke sat by his wife all night kissing her hand.’ In February 1742, the same writer made the erroneous statement, which he afterwards withdrew, that on Sir Robert Walpole's resignation, Richmond at once resigned his mastership as a compliment to the fallen minister, ‘which was the more esteemed as no personal friendship existed.’ The duke, in fact, retained his post until his death, having established excellent relations with the Pelhams, upon Granville's fall in 1744. Horace Walpole further accords to him the distinction of having been the only man in the world who ever loved the Duke of Newcastle.
In 1742 Richmond was made major-general, and in 1743 he attended George II to the scene of the war. He was present at the battle of Dettingen; on 6 June 1745 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and in the same year he was declared one of the lords justices of the kingdom during the king's absence (a post which was again conferred on him in 1748 and 1750). He attended the Duke of Cumberland on his expedition against the Jacobite rebels in 1745, and assisted at the reduction of Carlisle (Walpole, Letters, ed. Cunningham, ii. 50).
In May 1749 he gave, at his mansion in the Privy Garden, Whitehall, ‘a firework, as a codicil to the peace,’ at which the Duke and Duchess of Modena, as well as ‘the king, the two black princes, and everybody of fashion’ were present (Walpole, Letters to Sir H. Mann, ii. 298). He was admitted to the degree of doctor of physic at Cambridge, 3 July 1749, visited his estates in France in the following month, was created a colonel of his majesty's horseguard on 17 Feb. following, and died 8 Aug. 1750. He was buried in Chichester Cathedral, whither his father's remains had been removed. Many letters of condolence from the Duke of Newcastle and others to the duchess and to one another are preserved in the British Museum (Add. MS. 32722; cf. Walpole, Letters to Sir H. Mann, ii. 382).
Lennox had a defective education, and perhaps a somewhat sluggish intellect, but he had a wide fund of information, and certainly does not merit the sharp epithets of ‘half-witted’ and ‘mulish’ which Queen Caroline applied to him. Hervey, in fact, calls him ‘very entertaining,’ and adds he was ‘a friendly and generous man, noble in his way of acting, talking, thinking.’ This high estimate is confirmed by Henry Fielding (On Robbers, p. 107). Martin Folkes [q. v.] the antiquary, in a letter written to Da Costa in 1747, and dated from the duke's seat at Goodwood, after eulogising his host's love for ‘all sorts of natural knowledge,’ describes him as the ‘most humane and best man living’ (Nichols, Lit. Anec. iv. 636). He was very highly esteemed by all his political friends among the predominant whig party. Besides the offices enumerated above, Lennox, who had been a fellow of the Royal Society since 1724, was in the year of his death elected president of the Society of Antiquaries. He was also for a short period a member of the Kit-Cat Club.
He married at the Hague 4 Dec. 1719, Sarah (d. 1751), eldest daughter and coheir of William Cadogan, first earl of Cadogan [q. v.] The story of the marriage is a romantic one. Their union was a bargain to cancel a gambling debt between their parents. Immediately after the ceremony the young Lord March was carried off by his tutor to the continent. Returning to England after three years he had such a disagreeable recollection of his wife that he repaired on the night of his arrival to the theatre. There he saw a lady of so fine an appearance that he asked who she was. ‘The reigning toast, the beautiful Lady March.’ His subsequent affection for his wife was so great that, according to her grandson, she died of grief for his loss (see Sanford and Townsend, Governing Families of England, ii. 290–2). By her the duke had twelve children; the two eldest sons died in childhood. Charles, the seventh child and third son, and George Henry, fourth son, are separately noticed. Lady Sarah Lennox (1745–1826), the eleventh child, born in London 14 Feb. 1744–5, married, on 2 June 1762, Thomas Charles (afterwards Sir Thomas Charles) Bunbury (d. 1821), elder brother of Henry William Bunbury [q. v.], from whom she was divorced by Act of Parliament 14 May 1776 (Black, Jockey Club and its Founders, pp. 72–3). On 27 Aug. 1782 she married George Napier [q. v.], sixth son of Francis, fifth lord Napier, and dying 20 Aug. 1826, left five sons and three daughters. The eldest son was General Sir Charles James Napier, the conqueror of Scinde, and the third son, General Sir William Napier, historian of the Peninsular war. She inherited the family beauty, and was painted as one of a Holland House group by Reynolds. Leigh Hunt, very improbably, suggests that she was the original ‘Lass of Richmond Hill,’ and that George III wrote the ballad. It seems more probable that Miss Crofts of Richmond occasioned the poem, which is usually ascribed to William Upton, although it may refer to Richmond in Yorkshire, and have been written by MacNally (cf. Gent. Mag. 1826, pt. ii. p. 188; Leigh Hunt, Old Court Suburb, pp. 163 sq.; Crisp, Richmond and its Inhabitants, p. 300). For a pleasing, if somewhat highly coloured, account of the love passages between George III and Lady Sarah, who—‘notwithstanding she is said to have been in love at the time (1761) with Lord Newbottle—had no objection to become a queen’; see Jesse's ‘Memoirs of George III’ (cf. Wraxall, Memoirs, ii. 37; Grenville Papers, iv. 209–10; art. George III).
Two portraits of the duke by Kneller and Van Loo respectively have been engraved in mezzotint by J. Faber (Bromley, Cat. p. 262).
[Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, i. 184 sqq.; Douglas's Peerage, ed. Wood, ii. 105, 106; Doyle's Official Baronage, iii. 109; Gent. Mag. 1750, p. 380; Memoirs of Kit-Cat Club, pp. 16, 17; Read's Weekly Journal, 11 Aug. 1750; Coxe's Pelham Administration, i. 197, ii. 373; Hervey's Memoirs; Walpole's Letters; and Newcastle Correspondence, passim.]