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The Most Honourable

The Marquess of Hastings

Lord Moira.jpg
The Marquess of Hastings as Governor-General of India by Joshua Reynolds
Governor-General of India
In office
4 October 1813 – 9 January 1823
Monarch George III
George IV
Preceded by The Lord Minto
Succeeded by John Adam
As Acting Governor-General
Governor of Malta
In office
22 March 1824 – 28 November 1826
Monarch George IV
Preceded by Hon. Thomas Maitland
Succeeded by Alexander George Woodford
As Acting Governor
Personal details
Born (1754-12-09)9 December 1754
County Down, Kingdom of Ireland
Died 28 November 1826(1826-11-28) (aged 71)
At sea off Naples
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Flora Campbell,
6th Countess of Loudoun
Military service
Allegiance  Great Britain
Branch/service British Army
Rank General
Commands Commander-in-Chief of India
Battles/wars American War of Independence
War of the First Coalition
Anglo-Nepalese War
Third Anglo-Maratha War

Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, KG, PC (9 December 1754 – 28 November 1826), styled The Honourable Francis Rawdon from birth until 1762, Lord Rawdon between 1762 and 1783, The Lord Rawdon from 1783 to 1793 and The Earl of Moira between 1793 and 1816, was an Anglo-Irish politician and military officer who served as Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1823. He had also served with British forces for years during the American Revolutionary War and in 1794 during the War of the First Coalition. He took the additional surname "Hastings" in 1790 in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon.

Military Service

See also: American Revolutionary War

He joined the British Army, August 7, 1771 as an ensign in the 15th Foot, (the going rate was 200). He enrolled at University College, Oxford, but dropped out. He became friends there with Banastre Tarleton. With his uncle Lord Hunnington, he went on the Grand Tour On October 20, 1773, he was promoted to lieutenant in the 5th Foot. He returned to England, to join his regiment, and sailed for America, May 7, 1774.

Battle of Bunker Hill

Rawdon was posted at Boston, during the Battle of Lexington and Concord, but he got into action at the battle of Bunker Hill. Serving with the grenadiers, he participated in the second assault against Breed's hill (which failed), and the third assault against the redoubt. As his superior, Captain Harris was wounded beside him, he took command of his company, for the successful assault. John Burgoyne noted in dispatches: "Lord Rawdon has this day stamped his fame for life." He was promoted Captain, and given a company in the 63rd Foot.

Winter Quarters 1774-5

During the Boston winter quarters, Rawdon made his stage debut, delivering a prologue for Aaron Hill's tragedy, Zara, which had been written by John Burgoyne. He was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Sir Henry Clinton, and sailed with him on the expedition to Brunswick Town, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River, and then to the repulse at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. He returned with him to New York. On August 4, he dined with General Clinton, Admiral Lord Howe, Lord Cornwallis, General Vaughan, and others. During the Battle of Long Island, he was at headquarters, with Clinton.

Landing at Kip's Bay

On September 15, he led his men at Kip's Bay, an amphibious landing on Manhattan island. The next day, he led his troops in support of the Light Infantry, that attacked Harlem Heights, until the Americans withdrew.

White Plains

Again he participated at the landings at Pell's Point. The British pressed the Americans to White Plains, where on November 1, the Americans withdrew from their entrenchments.

Rhode Island, England, and New York

On December 8th he landed with Clinton at Rhode Island securing the ports for the British Navy. On January 13, 1777, with Clinton, he departed for London, arriving March 1. During a ball at Lord George Germain's he met Lafayette, (who was assigned to London).

Returning to America, in July, while Howe went to his Philadelphia campaign , Rawdon went with Clinton to the New York headquarters, where he participated in the battles of the New York Highlands, where on October 7, Fort Constitution, (opposite West Point), was captured. However, this was too late to link up with General Burgoyne at Albany.

Rawdon was sent to Philadelphia with dispatches, and returned to New York for the winter, where he raised a regiment, called the Volunteers of Ireland, recruited from deserters and Irish loyalists. Promoted colonel, in command of this regiment, Rawdon went with Clinton to Philadelphia. Starting out on June 18, 1778, he went with Clinton during the withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York, and saw action at the battle of Monmouth Court House. He was appointed adjutant general. Rawdon was sent to learn news of the battle of Rhode Island.

At New York, on September 3, 1779, he quarreled with Clinton, and resigned his position as adjutant general. He served with the Volunteers of Ireland, during the raid on Staten Island, by Lord Stirling, January 15, 1780.

Sorthern Campaign

He went south to the Siege of Charleston with reinforcements, then Lord Cornwallis posted him at Camden as the British sought to occupy South Carolina. Rawdon commanded the British left wing at the battle of Camden. When Cornwallis went into Virginia, he left Rawdon in command in the south.

Perhaps his most noted achievement was the victory of Hobkirk's Hill, at which, in command of only a small force, he defeated by superior military skill and determination a much larger body of Americans. Thinking, (in error) that Greene had moved his artillery away, Rawdon attacked Greene's left wing, forcing the Americans to retire.

However, Rawdon was forced to begin a gradual retreat to Charleston, relieving the siege of Ninety-Six, but then evacuating to Charleston. In July 1781, in poor health, he gave up his command. He was captured at sea, by De Grasse, but was exchanged.

Campaigns of 1794

See also: French Revolutionary Wars: Campaigns of 1794

Following the declaration of war, of France upon Great Britian, he was appointed major general, on October 12, 1793. Sent by the Pitt ministry, Hastings launched an expedition into Ostend, France, in 1794. He marched to join with the army of the Duke of York, at Alost. The French general Pichegru with superior numbers forced the British back toward their base at Antwerp. He left the expedition, the new general out, feeling Pitt had broken promises.

Political Life

In 1783 became the Baron of Rawdon, located in Hastings County, Ontario and in 1817 also the Marquess of Hastings County, fifteen years after the county and three of its early townships were named after him.

In 1787, he became friends with the Prince of Wales, and loaned him many thousands of pounds. In 1788 he became embroiled in the Regency Crisis. In 1789, he took the surname Hastings in accordance with his uncle's will.

He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Moira in 1793, and served in the House of Lords for three decades.

Becoming a Whig in politics, he entered government as part of the Ministry of all The Talents in 1806 as Master-General of the Ordnance, but resigned upon the fall of the ministry the next year. Being a close associate of the Prince-Regent, Moira was asked by him to try to form a Whig government after the assassination of Spencer Perceval in 1812 ended that ministry. Both of Moira's attempts to create a governing coalition failed, and the Tories returned to power under the Earl of Liverpool.

He also became the patron of Thomas Moore the poet.

India administration

Through the influence of the Prince-Regent, Moira was appointed Governor-General of India in November 11, 1812. His tenure as Governor-General was a memorable one, overseeing the victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816); the final conquest of the Marathas in 1818; and the purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.

After delays clearing affairs, he reached Madras on September 11, 1813. In October, he settled in at Calcutta. British India then consisted of Madras, Bengal, and Bombay. He commanded an army of 15,000 British regulars, a Bengal army of 27 regiments of native infantry, and 8 regiments of cavalry; a Madras army, led by General John Abercrombie of 24 regiments of native infantry, annd 8 regiments of native cavalry.

Gurka War

In May 1813, the Gurkas declared war. Hastings sent 4 divisions in separate attacks: General Bennet Marley with 8,000 men against Katmandu, General John Sullivan Wood with 4,000 men against Butwal, General Sir David Ochterlony with 10,000 men against Amar Singh Thapa, and General Robert Rollo Gillespie, with 3,500 men against Nahan, Srinagar, and Garhwal. Only Ochterlony had some success; Gillespie was killed. After inconclusive negotiations, Hastings reinforced Ochterlony to 20,000 men, who then won the battle of Makwanpur on February 28. The Gurhkas then sued for peace, under the Sugauli Treaty.

Third Anglo-Marantha War

After raids by Pindaris, in January 1817, Hastings led a force at Hindustan in the North; in the South, the Army of the Deccan, under the command of General Sir Thomas Hislop. The Peshwa was defeated by William Fullarton Elphinstone on the Poona. Appa Sahib, was defeated at the battle of Nagpur. Hislop defeated Holkar at the Battle of Mahidpur.


He was active diplomatically, protecting weaker Indian states. His domestic policy in India was also largely successful, seeing the repair of the Mughul canal system in Delhi in 1820, as well as educational and administrative reforms. He was raised to the rank of Marquess of Hastings in 1817.

He confirmed the purchase of Singapore, from the Sultan of Jahore, by Sir Stamford Raffles, in January 1819.

He because increasingly estranged from the East India Company's Board of Control. (see also Company rule in India). Hastings' tenure in India ended due to a financial scandal in 1823, and he returned to England, being appointed Governor-General of Malta in 1824. He died at sea off Naples two years later.


On July 12 1804, he married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun, daughter of Major-General James Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun and Lady Flora Macleod. They had six children:

The marquess also had another son George Hunn Nobbs by Jemima French.

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