Wellesley, Garrett (DNB00)


WELLESLEY or WESLEY, GARRETT, first Viscount Wellesley of Dangan and first Earl Of Mornington (1735–1781), father of the Duke of Wellington and the Marquis Wellesley, born on 19 July 1735, was the son of Richard Colley Wellesley, first baron Mornington [q. v.], by Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Sale, registrar of the diocese of Dublin. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and graduated B.A. in 1754 and M.A. in 1757. In the latter year he was elected to the Irish House of Commons as M.P. for the family borough of Trim, co. Meath, but his father's death in 1758 called him to the House of Lords. On 2 Oct. 1760 he was advanced in the peerage, being granted the titles of Viscount Wellesley of Dangan Castle and Earl of Mornington. He was chiefly remarkable for his musical talents, which recommended him to the favour of George III. At nine years old he had learned to play catches on the violin, and was soon afterwards able to take the second part in difficult sonatas. At fourteen he played both the harpsichord and the organ, and when still young began to extemporise fugues. He composed the glees 'Here in cool grot' and 'Come, fairest nymph.' In 1764 the degree of doctor of music was conferred upon him by Trinity College, Dublin.

Mornington died on 22 May 1781 at Kensington, and was buried in Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street. He married, on 6 Feb. 1759, Anne, daughter of Arthur Hill (afterwards Hill-Trevor), first viscount Dungannon. She is described as a somewhat cold and severe woman. She died in her ninetieth year on 10 Sept. 1831, surviving to see the glory of her sons, Richard Colley, marquis Wellesley [q. v.]; William Wellesley-Pole, baron Maryborough [q. v.]; Arthur, duke of Wellington [q.v.]; Gerald Valerian (1770-1848), prebendary of Durham; and Henry, first baron Cowley [q. v.l Their sister Anne (1768-1844) married first the Hon. Henry Fitzroy, and secondly Charles Culling Smith. Lord Mornington's portrait is in possession of the Duke of Wellington.

[Gent. Mag. 1781, i. 243; Gilbert's Hist. of City of Dublin, iii. 198; Webb's Compend. of Irish Biography.]

G. Le G. N.