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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/197

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Lowe
Lowe
191

Stewart (afterwards third Marquis of Londonderry) at the headquarters of Bernadotte, by whom he was sent to the headquarters of the Prussian army of Silesia under Blücher, with which he was present at Möckern, at the great battles around Leipzig, and the pursuit of the French to the Rhine. He resumed his inspections in North Germany, and at the end of the year was ordered to Holland, to organise the new Dutch levies there. His destination was changed, apparently at his own request, and on 24 Jan. 1814 he rejoined Blücher at Vaucouleurs, and was present with the Prussians in thirteen general engagements. As the only English officer of rank with Blücher's army, Lowe was privy to many important deliberations, especially during the conferences at Châtillon, where he strongly advocated the advance on Paris (ib. i. 419–21). He was the first officer to bring to England the news of Napoleon's abdication (London Gazette Extraordinary, 9 April 1814). He arrived in London on 9 April 1814, having ridden from Paris to Calais attended only by a single Cossack, a service regarded by Lord Cathcart as fraught with danger (unpublished letter from Lord Cathcart). Lowe was knighted on 26 April, and made a major-general 4 June 1814. He also received the Russian cross of St. George and the Prussian order of military merit. On the allies withdrawing from France, he was made quartermaster-general of the army in the Low Countries under the command of the Prince of Orange. Upon the news of Napoleon's return from Elba reaching Brussels early in March 1815, Lowe, with permission of the Prince of Orange, despatched a British staff-officer to the Prussian commanders between the Rhine and Meuse, urging a concentration on the Meuse, to co-operate in the defence of Belgium. After the Prussians were in motion the Prince of Orange asked to have the movement stayed; but Lowe refused to be the medium of counter-orders for a purpose which, if political, was beyond his competence. Lowe, in a letter to Bathurst, dated from St. Helena 18 March 1821, asserted that Napoleon had made distinct proposals to the king of Holland to give up his claims on Belgium, offering to procure for him indemnities in the North of Germany. Wellington assumed command in the Netherlands early in April 1815, and Lowe remained for a few weeks under him as his quartermaster-general, but having been nominated to command the troops at Genoa designed to cooperate with the Austro-Sardinian armies, he was replaced in May by Sir William Howe de Lancey [see De Lancey, Sir William Howe]. Lowe took over the command at Genoa the day after the battle of Waterloo. In July, in conjunction with the naval squadron under Lord Exmouth, he occupied Marseilles, and then marched against Toulon, where, in concert with the royalists, he drove out General Brune and compelled the fortress to hoist the Bourbon flag. At Marseilles, on 1 Aug. 1815, Lowe received intimation that he would have the custody of Napoleon, who had taken refuge on board the Bellerophon, in Aix roads, a fortnight previously. On Lowe's departure from Marseilles the inhabitants presented him with a silver urn, bearing an inscription alluding to his having saved the city from pillage. St. Helena was at the time a possession of the East India Company, and on 23 Aug. the court of directors notified to Lowe that they had appointed him governor at a salary of 12,000l. a year. This amount was specially fixed, and no stipulation was made as to pension, which explains the fact, upon which his enemies remarked, that he was not afterwards considered eligible for pension. On 12 Sept. Lowe received from Henry, third earl Bathurst [q. v.], then secretary of state for war and the colonies, ‘instructions’ directing him to permit every indulgence to Napoleon in his confinement compatible with the entire security of his person (Forsyth, i. 120). Lowe received the local rank of lieutenant-general and vague ministerial promises in plenty, and on 4 Jan. 1816 was made K.C.B. After some months' detention Lowe started from Portsmouth in the middle of January, accompanied by his newly married wife and stepdaughters and a numerous staff, and reached St. Helena on 14 April 1816. On 11 April 1816 the ‘Act for more effectually detaining Napoléon Buonaparté’ (56 Geo. III, cap. 22) received the royal assent. A warrant was issued the day after, addressed to Lowe as ‘lieutenant-general of his Majesty's army in St. Helena and governor of that island,’ requiring him to detain and keep Napoleon as a prisoner of war, under such directions as should be issued from time to time by one of the principal secretaries of state. These instructions are in Lord Bathurst's despatches among the ‘Lowe Papers’ (cf. FORSYTH, ii. 324–6, 412–416, 443–4, iii. 488, &c.).

Lowe, who is described by all who knew him well as a humane, kindly disposed man, went out to St. Helena full of good intentions (ib. iii. 348). One of his first acts upon his arrival was upon his own responsibility to raise the amount allowed by the government for the establishment at Longwood from 8,000l. to 12,000l. per annum (ib. i. 283). But his manner was abrupt and reserved, and he appears to have curiously