Rose, first wife of William Snell Brown Chauncy and mother of Philip and his sisters Martha and Therese, died in 1818.
William (as William Brown) remarried in 1819, to Anne Curtis (1791–1868). William and Anne had five children. William Snell Chauncy né Brown, born on 11 August 1820 in Addlestone, Surrey, was the oldest. On 16 August 1820, William junior was baptised with the name William Brown at St Peter’s, in Chertsey, Surrey.
About 1834 William junior’s half-sister Martha painted his portrait. This small work on ivory, is in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The portrait seems a good likeness. He is rendered very much like a later portrait of him.
In 1840 William Chauncy junior, while working as an architect and surveyor on a grandstand for Ascot racecourse, met Anna Cox, whom he married at St Michael & All Angels, Sunninghill, Berkshire, on 7 July 1840.
MR. J. M. NIALL.
Unveiling of Portrait.
Friends of Mr J M Niall chairman of the board of directors of Goldsbrough Mort and Co Ltd attended the unveiling of his portrait painted by Mr W. B. McInnes, by the Lord Major (Sir Stephen Morell) at the offices of the company yesterday. Sir Frank Clarke, who is a director of the company, was in the chair.
Sir Frank Clarke remarked that the occasion almost coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of Mr Niall's association with the company. When Mr. Niall first joined the company its finances, in common with those of many other business institutions, were in a rather precarious condition; now the shares were worth on the market two and a half times their face value. It was chiefly due to the ability and efforts of Mr. Niall that the company had been built up in the way it had been.
Sir James Elder expressed the opinion that Mr Niall was the greatest asset the company had. He was a high-minded and honourable gentleman as well as a shrewd and capable business man (Applause).
After the Lord Mayor had unveiled the portrait Mr W Forster Woods (chairman of the Stock Exchange) proposed the health of Mr. Niall. Mr. W. A. Gibson (general manager of Goldsbrough Mort and Company) supported the toast, which was honoured with enthusiasm.
In reply Mr. Niall admitted that he had worked hard in the early days of the company, but one man could not have been responsible for its success; he had had the co-operation of a good staff and the confidence and help of the members of the board. It was a great pleasure to him that the board had unanimously appointed his son Mr. K. M. Niall, to take his place as chairman of the board during his projected holiday trip to England.
Mr Niall was presented with a copy of the portrait, also painted by Mr. McInnes.
In 1962 Elder Smith & Co. took over Goldsborough Mort & Co. In 1981 Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort & Co. Ltd merged with Henry Jones IXL to form Elders IXL. McInnes’s portrait of James Niall as Chairman of Goldsbrough Mort is now in the collection of the National Library of Australia, donated, presumably, by one of the companies involved in these mergers and acquisitions.
The copy of the portrait presented to J M Niall in 1928 is still in the family.
K is for Kenneth – In J M Niall’s reminiscences he records: when in 1878 Mr Kenneth Budge (who was manager of Gooyea Station in Queensland) died suddenly from heart disease getting out of bed, and my first cousin, J F Cudmore, on whose Station I was working, hurried me off to Queensland, without notice, to go up and take control.
Trove tuesday : Daniel Budge – the death of his brother in law Daniel Budge; J.M. Niall was a partner of Daniel Budge for a time in the 1880s
The album of prints came into the Royal Collection from the collection of Prince Alfred, quite likely presented to him as a memento of the event to which he and his wife had given their patronage.
Scene from The Merchant of Venice: “What find I here, fair Portia’s counterfeit.”
A group of four performers recreating a scene from The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, scene 2. They are Alice Mainwaring as Portia, Sarah Fanny Sant as Nerissa, Arthur Ram as Bassanio and Alfred J. de Sterne as Gratiano. The tableau depicts the moment when Bassanio successfully passes the casket test by locating Portia’s miniature. Bassanio is on one knee, studying the miniature; Portia stands behind him with her hands clasped, perhaps in prayer, while Gratiano and Nerissa observe. Like the other tableaux in this set, this scene includes some elaborate early modern costumes, but this scene uses a backdrop and furniture resembling a Victorian interior, and Portia’s costume combines a mixture of Victorian and Renaissance fashions.
Scene from The Merchant of Venice: “This house, these servants and this same myself are yours, my lord”
A group of four performers recreating a scene from The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, scene 2. They are Alice Mainwaring as Portia, Sarah Fanny Sant as Nerissa, Arthur Ram as Bassanio and Alfred J. de Sterne as Gratiano. The caption directs primary attention to Bassanio and Portia on the right hand side: Bassanio is on one knee, holding Portia’s hands and evidently proposing marriage. To the left, Gratiano and Nerissa are apparently engaged in a different kind of negotiation: Gratiano leans in eagerly, one hand rested on Nerissa’s shoulder, while she recoils and fends him off with both hands.
Scene from The Merchant of Venice: “How far that little candle throws its beam…”
Sarah Fanny Sant and Alice Mainwaring posing as Nerissa and Portia from The Merchant of Venice Act 5, scene 1. Both figures are elaborately costumed; Portia wears a voluminous travelling cloak and Nerissa is clutching a book. Portia gestures towards the left of the frame. Behind the figures, a trompe-l’oeil backdrop portrays the exterior of a large house.
These three tableaux were ‘arranged’ by the Royal Academician James Sant, who was well known for his portraits of women and children.
The Daily Telegraph of 21 April 1874 reported: “In Mr. Sant’s scenes from “The Merchant of Venice” the colouring is once more most effective, and there will be praise in store for the Portia of Miss Alice Mainwaring of Whitmore, and the most effective Jessica of Miss Tennant.”
Scene from Romeo and Juliet: “Do thou but close our hands with holy words”
G.V. Boyle, Julia Mainwaring and Colonel Henry Armytage posing as Romeo, Juliet and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet Act 2, scene 6—the wedding scene. The young lovers kneel facing one another and holding hands, while the friar stands over them with his hands over them in blessing. All three figures wear sixteenth-century costume. Behind them, a trompe-l’oeil backdrop suggests the interior of a stone building, with sunlight beaming through a window.
Scene from Romeo and Juliet: “Take thou this phial”
Julia Mainwaring and Colonel Henry Armytage posing as Juliet and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet Act 4, scene 1. Juliet sits on a bench, one hand clutched to her chest in alarm, as the friar, standing, passes her the potion that will allow her to appear dead.
The Daily Telegraph commented “An innovation has been suggested by Mr. E. M. Ward, R.A., by clothing his Juliet in startling colours of green and orange, instead of the conventional white satin: but the scenes from the well-known play were heartily applauded and appreciated.”
These two tableaux were ‘arranged’ by the Royal Academician Edward Matthew Ward, an artist specialising in historical and genre painting. He had painted two pictures of scenes from Romeo and Juliet and the tableaux reproduced these paintings.
I am pleased to have more information about these tableaux and the photographs to add to my posts of August last year.
Shakespearean Tableaux enacted at Cromwell House, 1874, in the presence of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh; photographed by Alexander Bassano: album in the Royal Collection Trust
“Shakespearian Tableaux at Cromwell House.” Daily Telegraph, 21 Apr. 1874, p. 5. The Telegraph Historical Archive
“SHAKSPERIAN TABLEAUX AT CROMWELL HOUSE.” Morning Post, 22 Apr. 1874, p. 6. British Library Newspapers
“Shakespearian Tableaux.” Times, 23 Apr. 1874, p. 7. The Times Digital Archive
“TABLEAUX VIVANTS AT SOUTH KENSINGTON.” Era, 26 Apr. 1874. British Library Newspapers
This was Hugh Mainwaring Millett (1903–1968), my first cousin twice removed. He was born in Gibralter in 1903, the son of Helen Millett née Cavenagh (1877–1918) and Thompson Horatio Millett (1870–1920), a Royal Navy paymaster. Hugh had one brother, Guy (1907-1978).
The 1921 census records Hugh Mainwaring Millett as a naval cadet at Rosyth near Edinburgh on HMS Thunderer, a decommissioned Orion class Dreadnought used a training ship.
Hugh Millett was responsible for the expedition’s engines, an important and technically challenging task. A fellow member of the expedition described him as “a man of great mechanical ingenuity”, in the circumstances no doubt highly valued.
THE British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37, under the leadership of Mr. John Rymill, an Australian, was the first full-scale British Expedition to winter in the Antarctic since Shackleton’s men returned in 1916. It was mainly financed from funds at the disposal of the Colonial Office. In addition, it received substantial monetary help from the Royal Geographical Society and many private benefactors, chief amongst whom was Lord Wakefield.
The Expedition sailed in the three-masted topsail schooner, R.Y. Penola, of 150 tons nett, which was manned entirely by the members of the Expedition, who were all volunteers. The following in brief is the story of their travels. On 10 September, 1934, the Penola sailed from the Thames; a fortnight later she touched at Madeira and reached the Falkland Islands at the beginning of December.
Port Stanley was left at the new year and the Argentine Islands on the west coast of Graham Land were finally reached on 14 February, 1935, after considerable trouble with the ship’s engines, troubles which had far-reaching effects on the Penola’s subsequent capabilities. At the Argentine Islands a base was established and there too the ship wintered.
Owing to poor winter ice conditions work during that first year was limited, apart from flights by a small Fox Moth aeroplane, to the islands and mainland coast within a hundred miles of the base. Then, in January 1936 the Penola, with the ship’s party on board, visited Deception Island. Her next task was to transport the whole Expedition in mid-February to the Debenham Islands in Marguerite Bay where a new base was erected. Here the shore party was left while the ship sailed north to the Falklands and South Georgia for a refit.
The main geographical work of the Expedition was carried out from this southern base between March 1936, and February 1937. The chief result of this part of the work was the proof of the peninsularity of Graham Land and the discovery of King George VI Sound.
The Penola returned to Marguerite Bay in February 1937, and the whole Expedition sailed for home.
A general narrative of the Expedition has been provided by its leader in his Southern Lights, published by Chatto & Windus in 1938.
When I was a girl, in a gloomy corridor of my grandmother’s house in Adelaide there was a lithograph of Tel-el-Kebir, the 1882 battle that won the Anglo-Egyptian War for the British. It probably came from my step-grandfather, George Symes, whose regiment, the Yorks and Lancs, had a part in the victory.
In 1882 Alliston Toker (see L is for Languages) was D.A.A.G. [Deputy Assistant Adjutant General] to the Indian contingent at Tel-el-Kebir and subsequent pursuit to Zagazig; he was mentioned in despatches, receiving the brevet of Lieut.-Colonel and the 4th class of the Order of Osmanieh
From 1879 Colonel Ahmed ʻUrabi (or Orabi or Arabi) sought to depose the Khedive Tewfik Pasha and end British and French influence over the country. Egypt had been bankrupted by interest payments on loans incurred to fund an over-ambitious programme of infrastructure projects. The country’s finances were controlled by representatives of France and Britain.
The British were afraid they might lose control of Egypt, forfeiting loans and interest repayments. They were also concerned about the security of the Suez Canal which, since its opening in 1869, had become a vital part of the global communications of the British Empire.
Garnet Wolseley‘s 24,000 British and 7,000 Indian troops was the largest Imperial overseas force since the Crimean War in the 1850s. On his arrival Wolseley took control of the Suez Canal, secured his communications, created a strong base, built up stores, and concentrated his forces.
To defend Cairo the Egyptian forces dug in at Tel El Kebir, north of the railway and the Sweetwater Canal, both of which linked Cairo to Ismailia on the canal. The defences, though hastily prepared, included trenches and redoubts.
Wolseley planned to approach the position by night and attack frontally at dawn, hoping to achieve surprise, and a final, decisive victory.
Night marches are risky but the approach march of the main forces was made easier because the desert was almost flat and unobstructed.
Orders to prepare for battle were issued at 3pm on the afternoon of 12 September. One hundred rounds and two days’ rations were issued to every man. The orders instructed “Commanding officers are to be very particular about the fitness of water-carts, which will be filled and follow in rear of the battalions, and to make sure, by the personal inspection of company officers at 5 p.m. to-day, that every man has his water-bottle filled, if possible, with cold tea.”
The troops were told to maintain strict silence on the march; orders were to be given in whispers and rifles would be unloaded to avoid chance shots. No lights were to be shown; smoking was banned. Tents were left standing until dusk, campfires burning thereafter, so as not to alert the enemy to the fact that the British were on the move.
“The weird night march, long to be retained in the annals of the regiment and the country, can never be forgotten by those who took part in it ; the monotonous tramp, the sombre lines, the dimly discerned sea of desert faintly lighted by the stars, were at once ghostly and impressive. The pace was necessarily slow ; one halt was made, and shortly afterwards the directing star having become concealed another one was chosen, and the direction slightly changed to the right. The 42nd, 74th, and 75th, did not at once conform, and the consequence was that a halt had to be made as these regiments found themselves almost facing each other.
This line was quickly and silently re-formed, and the advance continued.
Just as dawn was breaking two shots were fired from the left front, and Private James Pollock of the regiment fell dead. It was now evident that the regiment was close upon the enemy. Bayonets were at once fixed.”
At 5.45 a.m. Wolseley’s troops were six hundred yards from the entrenchments and dawn was just breaking, when Egyptian sentries saw them and fired. The first shots were followed by multiple volleys from the entrenchments and by the artillery. British troops charged with the bayonet. The Highlanders charged “to the shrill music of the pipes, and cheering as they ran”.
“A ringing cheer is inseparable from charging. I do not believe it possible to get a line in action to charge in silence ; and were it possible, the general who would deprive himself of the moral assistance it gives the assailants, must be an idiot. It encourages, lends nerve and confidence to an assailant : its very clamour makes men feel their strength as they realise the numbers that are charging with them. Nothing serves more to strike terror into a force that is charged than a loud ringing cheer, bespeaking confidence.”
The British advance was shielded from view by the smoke from the Egyptian artillery and rifles. Arriving in the trenches at the same time, all along the line, the resulting battle was over within an hour. The Egyptians fought strongly, Sir Archibald Alison, a Highland commander, reported in ”The Highland Brigade” by James Cromb, recalled:
‘Retiring up a line of works which we had taken in flank, they rallied at every re-entering angle, at every battery, at every redoubt, and renewed the fight. Four or five times we had to close upon them with bayonet, and I saw these men fighting hard when their officers were flying.’
It was a crushing defeat for the Egyptians. Official British figures gave a total of 57 British troops killed. Approximately two thousand Egyptians died. The British army had more casualties due to heatstroke than enemy action.
British cavalry pursued the broken enemy towards Cairo, which was undefended.
“At 4.30 p.m. the same day the regiment, with the 74th and 75th, marched about five miles towards Zagazig and bivouacked for the night. The following day it moved on to Zagazig, 13 miles distant.
On entering Zagazig, about 6 p.m., the 72nd Highlanders were seen encamped on the other side of the canal, and raised many a cheer as the regiment passed. They formed part of the Indian contingent, and had pushed on in front of the Highland brigade.”
Zagazig, is situated in the eastern part of the Nile delta. It is just under 60 km west of Tel el Kebir and 70 km north of Cairo. Many fugitives from the battle fled there.
Organised Egyptian resistance collapsed after Tel el-Kebir and the puppet regime of the Khedive was restored by the British. ʻUrabi was captured and eventually exiled to the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Egypt became a British colony in all but name.
Also serving in the battle was Tyrrell Other William Champion de Crespigny (1859 – 1946), brother of the 4th baronet and a distant cousin. I wrote about him in ‘U for Unregistered in 2021‘.
Not all gentlemen were rich; indeed, many had little money of their own and had to pursue a career. The eldest son would normally inherit the family estate, while the daughters and younger sons would receive no more than a start in life. The girls would be introduced into society where they might find a husband, and they would receive some money either as part of their marriage settlement or as capital on which they might contrive to live as a spinster. The younger sons would be helped in the first steps of their career, educated for the Church or the law, or found a place in the army or the navy, and they too would be given or inherit a little capital. Their father, and when he died their eldest brother, would continue to use whatever influence he possessed to help them along, but their success would largely depend on their own endeavours and their good fortune.
Muir argues that younger sons had few choices:
The Church. This was safe for the unambitious, but life for most clergymen was humdrum and often poorly rewarded financially.
The law offered better rewards but competition was fierce and it was often a struggle in the early years.
The navy was a cheaper choice. Boys joined at the age 14 or so without the expense of school or university.
The army was more expensive as commissions for each rank were purchased, though this was sometimes waived in times of war.
Manufacturing and trade were socially acceptable.
Medicine in the early nineteenth century had a lower status than the law.
There were desirable positions in Government service, but for these there was fierce competion.
India and the colonies were unlikely to produce great personal wealth although there were exceptions
My Georgian and Victorian male relatives, at least most of those I have written about, made their careers as officers in the army and navy or in the colonies as settlers and administrators. The younger sons, prevented by the custom of primogeniture from inheriting any large part of their father’s estate, gave their talents and energies to building the Empire.
There were risks in this, and many died young, but more than a few managed to make a good living abroad, with large families and substantial incomes otherwise unachievable.
My Mainwaring ancestors provide a good example. Rowland Mainwaring (1782-1862), my 4th great grandfather, was the younger son of a younger son. His father was an army officer. Rowland joined the navy at the age of 12 as a ‘young gentleman’ midshipman. His three brothers all joined the East India Company. Four of Rowland Mainwaring’s sons joined the navy, two became clergymen, two joined the East India Company or the India Civil Service, three joined the army, six emigrated to New Zealand, South Australia or India. None chose the occupations of law, trade, manufacturing, or medicine.
As for Mainwaring’s daughters, two died young, one married an army officer and the other a clergyman, so allying themselves, unsurprisingly, with the class occupied by their brothers.
Rowland Mainwaring married three times and fathered 17 children:
Rowland Mainwaring (1811-1826) entered the Royal Navy aged 13. (He died in Sydney of dysentery at the age of 15.)
Sophia Henrietta Mainwaring (1815–1871) married an army (militia) officer.
Edward Pellew Mainwaring (1815–1858) joined the navy at the age of 15 (he left when he was 20). He was the heir apparent to the family estate ‘Whitmore’.
Gordon Mainwaring (1817–1872) was first a cadet at Addiscombe Military Seminary, military school of the British East India Company. He then joined the the 53rd Bengal Native Infantry Company, but soon resigned and emigrated to South Australia. In 1858, his elder brother died with no sons and Gordon became the heir to the family estate ‘Whitmore’, which he inherited in 1862.
Paulina Mary Mainwaring (1818–1825) died young.
Charles Henry Mainwaring (1819–1878) clergyman became rector of Whitmore.
William Arthur Mainwaring (1822–1854) joined the army, becoming a Captain of the 79th Highlanders.
George Mainwaring (1824–1850) joined the army, became a Lieutenant of the 85th Light Infantry, then emigrated to South Australia.
Mary Anne Mainwaring (1828–1865) married a clergyman.
Karl Heinrich August Mainwaring (1837–1906) joined the navy, rising to the rank of Captain. He became harbour master in Jamaica. He retired to the island of Jersey.
Randolph Mainwaring (1839–1902) was educated at University College, Oxford. In 1865 he emigrated to New Zealand, where he worked with several of his brothers for a few years on Manipouri Station, South-West Otago. He became a journalist.
Eugene George Henri Mainwaring (1841–1911) was articled to a Civil Engineer. He farmed with his brothers in New Zealand and then worked as a civil engineer in New Zealand.
Laura Chevillard Mainwaring (1843–1843) died young.
Frederic Mainwaring (1844–1922) went with his brothers to New Zealand. He became a Council clerk there.
Guy Mainwaring (1847–1909) joined the navy, where he rose to the rank of Rear Admiral.
Horatio Mainwaring (1848–1913) entered the Indian Civil Service in its Woods’ and Forests’ Department.
Algernon Mainwaring (1852–1926), educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, became a Clerk in Holy Orders.
As Muir suggests, some of the sons of Rowland Mainwaring were indeed helped in the first steps of their career, some were educated for the Church, and some found a place in the army or the navy. They inherited very little capital from their father. Their success did depend on their own endeavours and good fortune.
Xiānggǎng, with an X, is the modern, pīnyīn, transcription of 香港 ‘fragrant harbour’ pronounced in Mandarin.
The name first came to Western notice in the so-called ‘First Opium War’, a series of skirmishes fought between Britain and imperial China from September 1839 to August 1842 over British insistence on their ‘right’ to trade opium in defiance of a Chinese ban.
The 1842 Treaty of Nanking ended the war in favour of the British. The Chinese were forced to make concessions; one was the ceding of Hong Kong island and, later, following the Second Opium War of 1856 to 1860, Kowloon Peninsular. On 26 January 1841 Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer raised the Union Jack and claimed Hong Kong as a colony. Construction of a naval base began. In 1898 Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories.
‘China Station‘, which referred both to the Royal Navy naval base and the admiral in command, was created in 1865. It had as its area of responsibility the coast of China and its navigable rivers, and beyond this to the western part of the Pacific Ocean and the waters around the Dutch East Indies.
In 1866 my fourth great uncle Karl Heinrich August Mainwaring (1837–1906) was stationed in Hong Kong as a naval lieutenant in the China Squadron, on HMS Princess Charlotte.
HMS Princess Charlotte was a receiving ship, a harbour-bound hulk used for stores and accommodation in lieu of a permanent shore base at Hong Kong in 1858.
Karl Mainwaring was promoted to commander in 1867. In 1868 he transferred to Jamaica where he served on HMS Aboukir, a receiving ship used for stores and accommodation in lieu of a permanent shore base. (See (J is for Jamaica)
In 1869 Karl Mainwaring’s brother Guy (1847–1909) passed through Hong Kong as a lieutenant on HMS Galatea, a steam-powered wooden frigate, under the command of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria.
It is easy to criticise the decisions made by a soldier in the heat of battle, and it can be a difficult task to establish just why he took this or that action. Consider the case of Lieutenant Colonel John Montagu Mainwaring (1761–1842), my first cousin seven times removed, who during a battle in the Peninsular War burned the regimental colours.
John Montagu Mainwaring was the second son of Benjamin Mainwaring (1719–1782), an attorney.
In 1784, at the age of 23, he joined the 67th Regiment, where he was promoted to lieutenant in 1789, captain in 1794, and major in 1800. In 1804 Mainwaring transferred to the 90th regiment as lieutenant-colonel, then, in 1808, to the 51st regiment. (John’s older brother also served in the army and his younger brother was a naval officer.)
In the Walcheren Campaign in the Netherlands Mainwaring commanded the advance at Flushing. With two companies of the 51st Regiment and two of the 82nd, he repulsed a French sortie, taking 600 prisoners and capturing two nine-pounder guns.
During the fighting, standing on defence behind Poço Velho, Lieutenant Colonel Mainwaring, believing—falsely, as it turned out—that his men were soon to be defeated and over-run, deliberately burned the Regimental Colours. This was a grave matter. The flags and banners unique to a regiment, symbol of its identity and history, were always defended, at any cost. His supporters explained that these precious objects had been destroyed to prevent them falling into enemy hands. Wellington, the commander of the British army, greatly displeased, had Mainwaring court-martialled, and when Mainwaring was wounded in a later engagement had him returned to England.
John Colburne, Field-Marshal and a colonial governor, who during the Peninsular War commanded the 52nd Foot, gave his account of what happened:
Colonel Mainwaring, of the 51st, was placed in a position [Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro] in which he thought he was sure to be surrounded by the French. So he called his officers and said, ‘we are sure of being taken or killed; therefore we'll burn the colours.’ Accordingly, they brought the colours and burnt them with all funeral pomp, and buried the ashes, or kept them, I believe. It so happened that the French never came near them. Lord Wellington was exceedingly angry when he heard of it, as he knew well enough where he had placed the regiment. So he ordered Mainwaring under arrest and tried him by court-martial. An old colonel, who undertook his defence, said, ‘I believe it was something to do with religious principles.’ ‘Oh,’ said Lord Wellington, ‘if it was a matter of religious principles, I have nothing more to do with it. You may take him out of arrest; but send him to Lisbon.’ So he went to Lisbon, and was never allowed to command his regiment again; he was sent home.
Day broke at last; and I well remember , in the early grey of a summer’s morn, as the men stood to their arms, how my eyes stretched to see the French; but they were hidden generally from view by the woods, and I could only just discern two or three dark heavy columns, as quiet and apparently as motionless as ourselves. Soon, however, the musketry began with the attack upon the village, then the deep heavy roar of cannon, and we saw troops in our front, the 3rd Light Division, smartly engaged. We were kept in reserve all this day, remaining under arms, but doing nothing. During the night we were moved to the right on account of some movement of the enemy; but with the dawn of day we were back in our places, and deploying into line, were formed with our left thrown back; a Portuguese brigade was immediately behind us, lining a long broken stone wall, and they began a heavy straggling fire, which would have done us considerable harm, had it not been for the presence of mind and gallantry of our Colonel, (my uncle,) who rushed up, and at the imminent risk of his own life, knocked up their muskets with his sword, and succeeded in stopping (to us) this most dangerous fire. We had not as yet seen the foe; soon, however, a round shot whizzed over our heads, and went bounding away far behind us. I made a most polite bow as it passed: it was the first I had ever heard. I was but a boy, and breathing a short prayer to Heaven, for I was then young and innocent, and such prayers we are told never ascend in vain, I murmured to myself, whilst my heart beat most violently, “Now, I am in earnest in battle;” not that it was fear, --it was a mingled emotion of awe and pleasure, and I know not what, I have never felt it since, and cannot now describe it. I looked towards my uncle, heard I him steadily and coolly giving his orders; then came the heavy gallop and rush of cavalry, an immense column of horse advancing at full speed; again the deep manly voice of the Colonel, “Steady, soldiers; ready--present--fire! In a second all this passed; the regiment, all young soldiers, stood in line like a solid rock, poured in a deadly volley; and when the smoke cleared away, horses were to be seen galloping wildly about without riders, and the enemy’s column were moving, much thinned, round our left flank, to attack the regiments posted there; from them they met the same warm reception, and were repulsed with great loss.
We now retired from the right by companies through a small wood, and reformed again in line on some rising ground, exposed to a heavy cannonade. The officer who commanded out brigade, was not to be found; and upon our commanding officer asking the General of the Division what was to be done, his reply was, “Do whatever you please, Colonel M----g.” This officer then taking the command, retired over a plain, in the presence of a large cavalry force, in the most judicious manner, showing, through the whole operations of the day, the greatest possible skill, judgment, and bravery, and yet his honourable breast has been denied the medal he so nobly earned on that field, as an action two days afterwards, in which this officer took the greatest responsibility upon himself, and which ought to have reflected credit upon him rather than annoyance, was misrepresented to the Great Duke, who, with all his bright qualities, is said (if report does not greatly belie him,) never to alter an opinion or a resolution once formed, and thus a brave and distinguished old General is deprived of an honour he so justly deserved…
The Regimental Colours acted as a rallying point in the heat and smoke of battle, so that soldiers could easily find their unit by its Colours. Losing the Colours to the enemy was a great disgrace for a Regiment. The loss betokened complete defeat.
Now, as a matter of fact, Sir John Colborne was wrong in saying that "the French never came near them," for it is perfectly certain that the 7th Division was posted in a most perilous position, and was very seriously attacked, although certainly the 51st was not so desperately engaged as were some of the other regiments. The division, numbering some four thousand infantry (of whom the 51st and 85th were the only British regiments), and supported by fourteen hundred cavalry, was detached two miles from the main position, on practically open ground, and every one in the division knew that since Wellington's left flank was impregnable, Massena would, of necessity, direct his attack on the right flank. Wellington himself was well aware of this, but either he did not anticipate so vast a turning movement as his adversary eventually launched, or he had intended that the 7th Division should only hold the outlying position assigned to it long enough to induce Massena to develop his attack against it. Be that as it may, the fact remains that, at one time, the 7th Division was threatened by twenty thousand of Massena's infantry and nearly the whole of his masses of cavalry, and for a while was in imminent danger of being cut off and annihilated. Wellington, of course, set matters right as soon as he realised that the situation was becoming critical, but there were some who imagined that he was intensely annoyed at having made faulty dispositions in the first instance, and that he endeavoured to justify himself in the eyes of the 7th Division by venting his wrath on the colonel of the 51st. At the same time the burning of the colours was an extraordinary procedure on the part of the colonel, and it is not easy to understand how it was that the other senior officers of the regiment acquiesced in it, if, indeed, they did so. When the circumstances became known to Wellington, he was bound to take notice of what had occurred; but apparently the officers of the 51st considered that he was unduly severe in treating their colonel's action as anything more than an error of judgment, for which a reprimand might have been sufficient. As it was, they always maintained that the commander-in-chief had been harsh and unjust, because it had been represented to him that Colonel Mainwaring had doubted the wisdom of his dispositions.
Years afterwards his nephew, Frederick Mainwaring, who, when only fourteen years of age, fought as an ensign of the 51st at Fuentes d'Onor and elsewhere, wrote very strongly on the subject, and referred to the incident of the burning of the colours, though without actually mentioning what had occurred, in the following words:—
"An action, in which this officer took the greatest responsibility upon himself, and which ought to have reflected credit upon him rather than annoyance, was misrepresented to the great Duke, who, with all his bright qualities, is said (if report does not greatly belie him) never to alter an opinion or a resolution once formed."
Colonel Mainwaring was not the only commanding officer in the Peninsula who was troubled by the presence of his regimental colours in the field, for there were occasions upon which the colours hampered the movements of a regiment very considerably. In action they could never be neglected, since they were held to contain, as it were, the soul of the regiment. Originally used as the rallying-point, they had gradually come to be regarded as what nowadays would be termed the mascot of the regiment, so that their loss in battle was thought likely to lead to the most dire consequences. The officers who carried them knew that they were in honour bound to defend them to the last, and when a whole regiment was ordered to skirmish to the front, it was often necessary to leave a company behind to guard the colours. As the war in the Peninsula went on, light infantry regiments realised that their colours were an encumbrance, and observing that rifle regiments were not provided with colours, some of them got permission to place theirs in store. But this was exceptional, and most regiments continued to carry their colours into action. At Waterloo they were everywhere conspicuous, and even in modern times their defence in the field has led to fierce fighting and the performance of signal acts of gallantry. Now, however, the extended battlefield has made their presence an impossibility, and they are no longer taken on active service. Perhaps, in this way, the sentiment attached to the "flag that bore the battle and the breeze" has been rudely crushed; yet the colours of to-day, emblazoned with numerous battle honours, are useful in reminding the young soldiers of a regiment of the victories won by their ancestors.
On his return to England John Mainwaring was appointed Commandant of the Depôt at Hilsea near Portsmouth. Afterwards he was appointed Commandant of the Isle of Wight. He was promoted to Major-General in 1819 and was placed on Staff in the West Indies, where he commanded the Army forces for several years. He was appointed Governor of Saint Lucia in 1825.
He retired to the Isle of Wight and died at Cowes in January 1842.
The Royal Military Calendar, or Army Service and Commission Book. Containing the Services and Progress of Promotion of the Generals, Lieutenant-generals, Major-generals, Colonels, Lieutenant-colonels, and Majors of the Army, According to Seniority: with Details of the Principal Military Events of the Last Century. by John Philippart, published 1820, Major-General John Montagu Mainwaring pages 12-13
Many of my Mainwaring cousins served in the British Army. One of note was my second cousin six times removed, Frederick Jemmet Mainwaring (1796–1858).
Frederick Jemmet Mainwaring
Frederick Jemmet Mainwaring was the fourth of the six sons of Edward Mainwaring (1744–1803) and Elizabeth Judith Reeves (1769–1837). During the American War of Independence Edward served as an officer with the King’s Rangers, a British provincial military unit raised in Nova Scotia in 1777. All six of Edward and Elizabeth’s sons were in the army or the navy.
On 5 April 1810, Frederick, aged 13, joined the 45th Regiment of Foot as an ensign without purchase. Later that year, still an ensign, he transferred to the 51st Regiment of Foot, where his uncle John Montague Mainwaring (1761–1842) was Lieutenant-Colonel. Frederick was promoted to Lieutenant in 1813 and Captain in 1828. He became a Major by purchase in 1838 and finally a Lieutenant Colonel without purchase, unattached, in 1849.
Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815. The 51st embarked for Ostend the following month, and were at the Battle of Waterloo in June. Among its achievements the regiment prevented 100 French cuirassiers from escaping.
Frederick, a lucky soldier, took part in all these many battles without ever suffering a wound.
In 1844 he published his memoirs of service, anonymously, in the ‘United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine’ as ‘Four years of a soldier’s life, by a field officer’. Although written many years after the events he describes, the memoir is a convincing portrait of a young subaltern’s adventures in the Peninsular War.
Escorting convicts to Van Diemen’s Land
In 1837 detachments of the 51st Foot were given the task of escorting convicts on their voyage to Australia.
Early in the following year, on 18 January 1838, Captain Mainwaring arrived in Hobart on HMS Neptune with his wife, two children and a servant. In command of an escort of an ensign, two sergeants, and 27 soldiers of the 51st regiment, he had overseen the transportation to Tasmania of 358 male convicts.
Not long after arriving in Van Diemen’s Land Mainwaring was appointed a Justice of the Peace and a Coroner; it was usual for officers of regiments posted to the colony to be assigned these roles.
In October 1838 Captain Mainwaring was promoted to major by purchase. The following year, with this rank, he was appointed Commandant at Launceston.
From the Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas.), Saturday 20 June 1840, page 2:
Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.— On Thursday last, being the 18th of June, our Commandant, Major Mainwaring, held a field day of the Troops stationed here, in commemoration of that day, in which the British army covered their arms with laurels, and on which occasion, our Commandant and Captain Austin were present, being the only Officers stationed here who wear the Waterloo Medal. The detachment on service in Launceston, was divided into two sections, for the purpose of an engagement, which, with all the necessary evolutions, attacking, firing, retreating, forming squares, &c, finished with a hurrah for old England, to the great amusements of a number of spectators.
A few weeks later Mainwaring was replaced as Commandant. He returned to headquarters in Hobart.
From 1833 to 1848 the Coal Mines at Plunkett Point, 20 miles (30km) north of Port Arthur, were a convict probation station and the site of Tasmania’s first coal mine. The mines served as a place of punishment for the ‘worst class’ of convicts from Port Arthur. In 1839 there were 150 prisoners and a detachment of 29 officers stationed at the mines. Large stone barracks, which housed up to 170 prisoners, as well as the chapel, bakehouse and store had been erected. On the hillside above were comfortable quarters for the commanding officer, surgeon and other officials. By 1847 the main shaft was down over 300 feet with an extensive system of subterranean tunnels and caverns. The work of extracting the coal was carried out by convicts in two eight hour shifts. The men had to extract 25 tons in each shift to reach the day’s quota.
In 1846 Mainwaring left Van Diemen’s Land, travelling with the 51st Regiment to India. Sadly his wife Catherine died in Madras in January 1847, only 41 years old. They had 4 surviving children.
On 4 September 1849 Frederick became a Lieutenant Colonel without purchase, unattached. He later left the 51st Regiment and joined the 59th.
At the time of the 1851 census Frederick Mainwaring, occupation Lieutenant Colonel unattached, was living in Guernsey with his three younger children. His oldest daughter had married in 1848.
About 1852 Frederick married again. He and his second wife had one son. In 1858 he died on Jersey at the age of 62.
My 1st cousin four times removed Henry Arthur Mainwaring (1852–1877) was the fourth of the ten children of the Reverend Charles Henry Mainwaring (1819–1878), rector of Whitmore, and his wife Jane née Delves-Broughton (1824–1873), daughter of a Staffordshire baronet.
At the time of the 1871 census Henry was recorded as 19 years old, with no occupation, living at Whitmore rectory with his parents and siblings.
Unwilling to follow his father into the Church and, perhaps responding to an urge for adventure, Henry decided to try his luck abroad. He left Whitmore and England (I am not sure exactly when) and took up farming in a remote corner of South America.
Perhaps Henry had heard a lecture on opportunities overseas like the talk on “South America as a Field for Emigration” given by Richard Seymour, who had spent four years in Argentina. Like Henry, Richard was the son of a cleric, the Reverend R. Seymour of Kinwarton, a Warwickshire village. (The lecture was reported in the Alcester Chronicle of 8 January 1870.)
After giving an introduction to the history and geography of Argentina, Seymour mentioned that the expense of travelling to Buenos Aires— £15 to £50— was very reasonable for a distance of 7,000 miles. Seymour and his partner had bought 36 square miles (nearly 25,000 acres) of beautiful grassland for 6 pence an acre. The land was beside the River Saladillo; a drought would not be a complete disaster.
Seymour argued that what Argentina needed was settlers, who would provide a measure of mutual protection. A number of families would not suffer from the monotony felt by solitary settlers. Seymour told his audience that living was cheap and that meat in particular was plentiful. He spoke of the fertile soil which did not need manure for crops to flourish. He ended his lecture by stating that “if he could help in any way any persons who wished to try their fortunes in the Argentine Republic, he should be only too glad to do so.”
Argentina’s agricultural colonies
In 1864 a farming colony had established on the western Pampas at Fraile Muerto ‘Dead Friar’ in Córdoba province, Argentina. The area was 300 miles (500 km) north-west of Buenos Aires. In founding this, Anthony Maitland Bell (1834–1876) and Robert Anderson Bell (1835–1881), from Dunbar in Scotland, were following the experience of Scots and Irish immigrants who had, a generation earlier, established large, unfenced sheep runs in the Province of Buenos Aires. The original intention had been to raise cattle and sheep, but crops paid better and the early settlers moved to to arable farming.
From the late 1860s, with the area connected by rail to Buenos Aires 300 miles to the south-east, more English, Scottish, and Irish immigrants began to arrive, attracted by the quality of the land and its low cost.
The enterprise was generally well regarded, and it had the support of the Argentine President, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. This second colony, however, was doomed to failure. The person with whom Henly had contracted to buy land (some 27,000 acres) near Fraile Muerto turned out to be a con-man. There was no land. Henley’s colony folded and the colonists dispersed.