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The Marquess Wellesley
by [?]

‘Pugnabunt alii: tu, felix Austria, nube.’

So of the Wellesleys: Sir Wellerand took quite the wrong way: not cudgelling, but courting, was the correct way for succeeding in Kildare. Two great estates, by two separate marriages, the De Wellesleighs obtained in Kildare; and, by a third marriage in a third generation, they obtained in the county of Meath, Castle Dengan (otherwise Dangan) with lordships as plentiful as blackberries. Castle Dangan came to them in the year of our Lord, 1411, i.e. before Agincourt: and, in Castle Dangan did Field- marshal, the man of Waterloo, draw his first breath, shed his first tears, and perpetrate his earliest trespasses. That is what one might call a pretty long spell for one family: four hundred and thirty-five years has Castle Dangan furnished a nursery for the Wellesley piccaninnies. Amongst the lordships attached to Castle Dangan was Mornington, which more than three centuries afterwards supplied an earldom for the grandfather of Waterloo. Any further memorabilia of the Castle Dangan family are not recorded, except that in 1485 (which sure was the year of Bosworth field?) they began to omit the de and to write themselves Wellesley tout court. From indolence, I presume: for a certain lady Di. le Fl., whom once I knew, a Howard by birth, of the house of Suffolk, told me as her reason for omitting the Le, that it caused her too much additional trouble.

So far the evidence seems in favor of Wellesley and against Wesley. But, on the other hand, during the last three centuries the Wellesleys wrote the name Wesley. They, however, were only the maternal ancestors of the present Wellesleys. Garret Wellesley, the last male heir of the direct line, in the year 1745, left his whole estate to one of the Cowleys, a Staffordshire family who had emigrated to Ireland in Queen Elizabeth’s time, but who were, however, descended from the Wellesleys. This Cowley or Colley, taking, in 1745, the name of Wesley, received from George II. the title of Earl Mornington: and Colley’s grandson, the Marquess Wellesley of our age, was recorded in the Irish peerage as Wesley, Earl of Mornington; was uniformly so described up to the end of the eighteenth century; and even Arthur of Waterloo, whom most of us Europeans know pretty well, on going to India a little before his brother, was thus introduced by Lord Cornwallis to Sir John Shore (Lord Teignmouth, the Governor-general), ‘Dear sir, I beg leave to introduce to you Colonel Wesley, who is a lieutenant-colonel of my regiment. He is a sensible man, and a good officer.’ Posterity, for we are posterity in respect of Lord Cornwallis, have been very much of his opinion. Colonel Wesley really is a sensible man; and the sensible man, soon after his arrival in Bengal, under the instigation of his brother, resumed the old name of Wellesley. In reality, the name of Wesley was merely the abbreviation of indolence, as Chumley for Cholmondeley, Pomfret for Pontefract, Cicester for Cirencester; or, in Scotland, Marchbanks for Majoribanks, Chatorow for the Duke of Hamilton’s French title of Chatelherault. I remember myself, in childhood, to have met a niece of John Wesley the Proto-Methodist, who always spoke of the, second Lord Mornington (author of the well-known glees) as a cousin, and as intimately connected with her brother the great foudroyant performer on the organ. Southey, in his Life of John Wesley, tells us that Charles Wesley, the brother of John, and father of the great organist, had the offer from Garret Wellesley of those same estates which eventually were left to Richard Cowley. This argues a recognition of near consanguinity. Why the offer was declined, is not distinctly explained. But if it had been accepted, Southey thinks that then we should have had no storming of Seringapatam, no Waterloo, and no Arminian Methodists. All that is not quite clear. Tippoo was booked for a desperate British vengeance by his own desperate enmity to our name, though no Lord Wellesley had been Governor-General. Napoleon, by the same fury of hatred to us, was booked for the same fate, though the scene of it might not have been Waterloo. And, as to John Wesley, why should he not have made the same schism with the English Church, because his brother Charles had become unexpectedly rich?