|Who was Sir Francis Rawdon? (1754-1826)||© 2000 Glenn F. Cartwright|
Born in the county of Down, Northern Ireland, the second of six children of John Rawdon (March 17, 1720 – June 20, 1793, Earl of Moira) and his third wife, Elizabeth Hastings (1730-1808, Baroness Hastings), Francis Rawdon became the second earl of Moira, and afterward the first Marquess of Hastings. He is therefore referred to variously in the literature as Francis Rawdon, Francis Rawdon-Hastings, the Earl of Moira, Baron Rawdon of Rawdon, Lord Rawdon, the Marquess of Hastings, and Lord Hastings. Educated at Harrow and University College, Oxford, he joined the military in 1771 and as a young man he had a distinguished military career in the United States from 1775-1781 during the War of American Independence (on the British side). His assistance in repatriating the Loyalists to the Halifax area accounts for the name Rawdon Hills in Hants County (near Halifax), Nova Scotia. After his return to Great Britain he was created Baron Rawdon of Rawdon in 1783; he fought in Flanders in 1794, was appointed commander-in-chief in Scotland in 1803, and master-general of the ordnance in 1806.
He married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun on July 12, 1804, and together they had six children:
Click here for information on the portrait above .
Active in politics during his middle age, he later went to India as Governor-General of Bengal (in effect the ruler or Viceroy of British India) and Commander-in-Chief from 1813 to 1823, accompanied by his wife and their young children.
Instrumental in the Gurkha war from 1814-1816, Lord Hastings pursued a vigorous expansionist policy during his period of rule and as a strong, talented, and imaginative administrator considerably consolidated British rule and extended the frontiers of British India.
During his time in India, the Marquess and his wife Lady Flora were at the center of Calcutta society and patronized British artists such as George Chinnery, and the amateur artist Sir Charles D'Oyly, but their extensive patronage of Indian artists has not previously been known. Many of his travels in India were captured in water colors by the Indian artist Sita Ram.
In 1823 he was appointed Governor of Malta. He died on the H.M.S. Revenge anchored at Naples on November 28, 1826 (sometimes erroneously reported as 1827). His body was returned to Malta and rests in a marble sarcophagus in Hastings Garden ( named after him), the largest park area in Valletta, the capital city of Malta.
Rawdon's Tomb in Hasting's Garden, Valetta, Malta