Ouseley, William Gore (DNB00)

OUSELEY, Sir WILLIAM GORE (1797–1866), diplomatist, born in London on 26 July 1797, was the eldest son of Sir William Ouseley [q. v.] Sir Gore Ouseley, bart. [q. v.], the orientalist, was his uncle. He entered the diplomatic service when very young, and in November 1817 was attached to the British embassy at Stockholm. After serving at other European courts he became, in November 1825, paid attaché at Washington. He remained there for seven years, and in 1832 published ‘Remarks on the Statistics and Political Institutions of the United States, with some Observations on the Ecclesiastical System of America, her Sources of Revenue, &c.’ The book, an edition of which was issued at Philadelphia during the same year under the auspices of Washington Irving, gave a highly favourable picture of American institutions. It was somewhat severely criticised in the ‘Quarterly Review’ for December 1832, but was quoted with approval in Lord Brougham's ‘Political Philosophy’ (1849, pt. iii. p. 340).

In June 1832 Ouseley went to Rio de Janeiro as secretary of legation, and on 20 April 1838 was appointed chargé d'affaires in Brazil. On 13 Dec. 1844 he was sent to Buenos Ayres as minister to the Argentine Confederation, whence he was despatched, in January 1847, on a special mission to Monte Video, the capital of Uruguay. In conjunction with M. Deffaudis, the representative of France, he secured the evacuation of Uruguay by the Argentine troops and the withdrawal of their fleet from the capital, which was occupied by English and French troops.

Some time after his return to England, in 1850, Ouseley published a pamphlet entitled ‘Notes on the Slave Trade, with Remarks on the Measures adopted for its Suppression.’ It was directed against the proposals recently made in parliament by Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Hutt for withdrawing the squadron employed on the West Coast of Africa in checking the slave trade.

On 29 June 1852 Ouseley was created K.C.B., and was made D.C.L. by Oxford University on 20 June 1855. On 30 Oct. 1857 he was despatched on a special mission to Central America. He afterwards travelled in the United States, and returned to England in 1860. He retired on a pension of 1,000l., but continued to take much interest in South American affairs, being chairman of the Falkland Islands' and other companies at his death. He died, after a tedious illness, at 31 Albemarle Street, on 6 March 1866.

Ouseley, besides being well versed in several modern languages, was a good classical scholar. In addition to the works mentioned, and some contributions to periodicals, he published ‘A Description of Views in South America, from Original Drawings made in Brazil, the River Plate, the Parana, &c.,’ 1852, 8vo. The drawings were selected for publication by Queen Victoria.

Ouseley married, in 1829, Maria, daughter of M. Van Ness, governor of Vermont, U.S.A. She died on 18 Jan. 1881, having had issue two sons and a daughter. The elder son, William Charles, was attached to Sir Charles Hotham's mission to the River Plate in 1852, and died in Paraguay in 1858. The other son, a lieutenant in the navy, died during the Baltic operations in the same year. The daughter, Frances, married the Hon. J. T. Fitzmaurice, R.N., fifth son of the Earl of Orkney.

[Gent. Mag. 1866, i. 588–9; Men of the Time, 1865; Illustrated London News, 17 March 1866; Foster's Baronetage and Knightage, 1882, and Alumni Oxon.; Haydn's Book of Dignities. A hostile account of Ouseley's mission to Rio de la Plata was republished in 1846 from La Gaceta Mercantil, the organ of Rosas.]

G. Le G. N.