Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stanhope, Leicester Fitzgerald Charles

STANHOPE, LEICESTER FITZGERALD CHARLES fifth Earl of Harrington (1784–1862), born at Dublin on 2 Sept. 1784, was the third son of Charles Stanhope, third earl of Harrington [q. v.], and brother of Charles, fourth earl. He entered the army in September 1799 as a cornet in the 1st life-guards. In March 1803 he exchanged into the 9th foot. On 31 March of the same year he returned to the cavalry branch as captain in the 6th light dragoons, and exchanged into the 6th dragoon guards in November. In 1807 he served in South America, and was present at the attack on Buenos Ayres. In July 1816 he attained the rank of major in the 47th foot, and on 24 April 1817 was appointed deputy quartermaster-general in India. During the Mahratta war of 1817-18 he took part in the action at Maheidpore and the storming of Talnier. For his services during the campaign he was created C.B. on 14 Oct. 1818. In June 1823 he was placed on half-pay with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He became full colonel in January 1837.

Stanhope had other interests than those of his profession. He held advanced views in politics, and accepted Bentham as his master. While in India he took a prominent part in support of the Marquis of Hastings's administration, and on his return to England warmly defended him before the court of proprietors at the India House. In 1823 he justified Lord Hastings's removal of the censorship of the press in British India in 'A Sketch of the History and Influence of the Press in British India,' dedicated to Earl Grey.

In September 1823 Stanhope's offer to go to Greece as agent of the English committee in aid of the Greek cause was accepted by their secretary, John (afterwards Sir John) Bowring. On his way he succeeded in dissuading the Greek committees in Germany and Switzerland from withdrawing their help, and in Italy interviewed many persons acquainted with the condition of Greece. In November he met Byron in Cefalonia. On 12 Dec. he had a conference with Mavrocordato at Missolonghi, representing to him the fatal effects of disunion among the Greeks. At Missolonghi Stanhope set on foot a Greek newspaper, and, by means of the funds that he at once raised, prevented the Greek fleet from dispersing, formed an artillery corps, and purchased a house and grounds for a laboratory. On 5 Jan. Byron joined him, but they did not work well together. Unlike Byron, Stanhope was in favour of the establishment of a Greek republic, and, although he professed neutrality, showed more sympathy with Odysseus, the leader of the western Greeks, than with Byron's friend Mavrocordato and the eastern Greeks. To bring the two parties into closer union, Stanhope arranged a conference at Salona. It opened on the 21st, but neither Byron nor Mavrocordato attended. During Stanhope's stay at Salona Byron died, and Stanhope himself was ordered home by the English war office, owing to complaints of his conduct on the part of the Turkish government. After organising a postal service between Greece and England, he sailed in the Florida from Zante in June 1824. Byron's body and papers were placed in the same ship under Stanhope's charge, and he furnished Moore with information about Byron's career in Greece. He had been nominated a commissioner of the loan raised in England for the Greek cause, but agreed with his colleagues that, owing to the defective organisation of the Greek government, it was unadvisable to issue more money. Stanhope's services to Greece are variously estimated (cf. Trelawny, Records of Byron; Finlay, Hist, of Greece, vols. vi. and vii.) Count Olerino Palma (Greece Vindicated, 1826) accused him of creating a third faction there, and of hindering the progress of the revolt. Personal animosities among those with whom he had to work rendered his position difficult and any conspicuous success impossible. But he was thanked by the English committee, and in April 1838 received the Greek order of the Redeemer.

Stanhope published in 1824, with a preface by Richard Ryan, his correspondence with the Greek committee in England in his 'Greece in 1823 and 1824.' Annexed to it was a 'Report on the State of Greece,' and a short life of Mustapha Ali (with coloured portrait), a young Turk he had brought over. An American edition appeared in 1825. Stanhope also contributed to the Paris edition of W. Parry's 'Last Days of Lord Byron' many letters to him from Finlay, and particulars of Byron's life and opinions, drawn from his conversations.

His elder brothers having died without children, Stanhope in March 1851 succeeded to the earldom of Harrington. He was much interested in the cause of temperance reform, and, though not himself a teetotaller, was a strong advocate of the Maine prohibition law. Harrington also advocated chancery reform and Polish independence.

He died at Harrington House, Kensington Palace Gardens, on 7 Sept. 1862. He married, in 1831, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of William Green, esq., of Trelawney, Jamaica. The issue of the marriage was, with two daughters, a son Sidney Seymour Hide Stanhope, sixth earl of Harrington (1845-1866), on whose death the earldom passed to his cousin Charles Wyndham Stanhope, seventh earl (1809-1881), father of the present earl. A portrait of Harrington as a child beating a drum, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and called 'Sprightliness,' is at Harrington House. It was engraved by Bartolozzi. Another painting by Reynolds, representing him in military uniform on horseback, is at Elvaston. There are portraits of the countess by Macpherson and F. Stone engraved by Rolls, and by A. E. Chalon engraved by H. Robinson.

[Gent. Mag. 1862, ii. 491; Doyle's Official ironage; G. E. C.'s and Foster's Peerages; Moore's Life of Byron, pp. 601, 607, 620, 629, 632, 639, and Diary, 12 and 14 July 1824; Stanhope's "Works, and a Collection of his Speeches, 1858; Trelawney's Records of Shelley, Byron, and himself, 1887, pp. 230-1; Finlay's Hist, of Greece, ed. Tozer, vi. 327-8, vii. 8-9; Waagen's Treasures of Art in Great Britain (Suppl. pp. 236, 495-6); Boase's Mod. Engl. Biogr.]

G. Le G. N.