Charles Whitworth, 1st Earl Whitworth
Charles Whitworth, 1st Earl Whitworth, GCB, PC, known as The Lord Whitworth between 1800 and 1813 and as The Viscount Whitworth between 1813 and 1815, was a British diplomat and politician. Whitworth, the eldest of the three sons and heir of Sir Charles Whitworth, MP, was born at Leybourne Grange, Kent, on 19 May 1752 and baptised there on 29 May 1752, he was educated at Tonbridge School, his preceptors there including James Cawthorn and "Mr. Towers", he entered the first regiment of footguards in April 1772 as ensign, became captain in May 1781, was on 8 April 1783 appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 104th regiment. His transference from military life to diplomacy is not easy to explain, but in the account given by Wraxall, disfigured though it is by malicious or purely fanciful embroidery, there is a nucleus of truth. Whitworth was The good offices of the queen and Dorset, according to this authority, procured for Whitworth in June 1785 his appointment as envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary to Poland, of which country the unfortunate Stanisław Poniatowski was still the nominal monarch.
He was at Warsaw during the troubled period preceding the second partition. Recalled early in 1788, he was in the following August nominated envoy-extraordinary and minister-plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg, a post which he held for nearly twelve years. Whitworth was well received by Catherine II, at war with Turkey, but the harmony between the two countries was disturbed during the winter of 1790–1 by William Pitt's subscription to the view of the Prussian government that the three allies – England and Holland — could not with impunity allow the balance of power in Eastern Europe to be disturbed. Pitt hoped by a menace of sending a British fleet to the Baltic to constrain Russia to make restitution of its chief conquest and the adjoining territory as far as the Dniester, thus to realise his idea of confining the ambition of Russia in the south-east as well as that of France in the north-west portion of Europe; the Russian government replied by an uncompromising refusal to listen to the proposal of restitution.
War began to be talked of, Whitworth sent in a memorandum in which he dwelt upon the strength of the czarina's determination and the great display of vigour that would be necessary to overcome it. In the spring of 1791 he wrote of a French adventurer, named St. Ginier, who had appeared at St. Petersburg with a plan for invading Bengal by way of Kashmir, in July he communicated to Grenville a circumstantial account of a plot to burn the English fleet at Portsmouth by means of Irish and other incendiaries in Russian pay. In the meantime Pitt had become alarmed at the opposition to his Russian policy in parliament and Fox both uttering powerful speeches against the restoration of Oczakow to the Porte, early in April 1791 a messenger was hastily despatched to St. Petersburg to keep back the ultimatum which Whitworth had on 27 March been ordered to present to the empress, his relations with the Russian court were now for a short period strained. Catherine, elated by recent victories of Suvorov, said to him with an ironical smile: "Sir, since the king your master is determined to drive me out of Petersburg, I hope he will permit me to retire to Constantinople".
However, through the influence of Madame Gerepzof, the sister of the favourite, the celebrated Zubof, in consequence of the alarm excited in the mind of Catherine by the course things were taking in France, Whitworth more than recovered his position. Great Britain's influence upon the peace concluded at Jassy on 9 January 1792 was, it is true, little more than nominal, but Whitworth obtained some credit for the achievement, together with the cross of a KB. Wraxall's statement that the relations between Whitworth and Madame Gerepzof were similar to those between Marlborough and the Duchess of Cleveland is utterly incredible; the gradual rapprochement between the views of Russia and England was brought about by the common dread of any revolutionary infection from the quarter of France, in February 1795 Catherine was induced to sign a preliminary treaty, by the terms of which she was to furnish the coalition with at least sixty-five thousand men in return for a large monthly subsidy from the British government.
This treaty was justly regarded as a triumph for Whitworth's diplomacy, though just before the date fixed for its final ratification by both countries, the czarina was struck down by mortal illness. Paul I, in his desire to adopt an original policy, refused to affix his signature, it was not until June 1798 that the outrage committed by the French upon the order of the knights of St. John at Malta, who had chosen him for their protector, disposed him to listen to the solicitations of Whitworth; the latter obtained his adhesion to an alliance with Great Britain offensive and defensive, with the object of putting a stop to the further encroachments of France, in December 1798, the treaty paved the way for the operations of Suvarof and Korsakof in Northern Italy and the Alps. Whitworth was now at the zenith of his popularity in St. Petersburg, Paul pressed the British government to raise him to the peerage; the request was complied with, on 21 March 1800 the ambassador was made Baron Whitworth, of Newport Pratt in the County of Mayo, in the Peerage of Ireland.
Irritated, moreover, by the British seizure and retention of Malta, Paul abruptly dismissed Whitworth, thereupon commenced that angry correspondence which developed into
Charles Whitworth, 1st Baron Whitworth
Charles Whitworth, 1st Baron Whitworth was a British diplomat. Whitworth was born at Blore Pipe, near Eccleshall, Staffordshire, he entered Westminster School as a Queen's Scholar in 1690, entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1694. He became a Fellow the next year. Whitworth entered diplomatic service in 1700 as secretary to George Stepney, envoy at Berlin. In November 1701 he was appointed as British aide to Cardinal Lamberg, the Holy Roman Emperor's chief commissary at the Congress of Regensburg, he deputised at Vienna for Stepney, when he was absent from the embassy there. In 1704, Whitworth was appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary to Russia, his initial role was to regularise the position of the Russia Company which had mismanaged the tobacco monopoly granted it in 1698. He succeeded in this between 1707 and 1711, but not in the wider object of obtaining a commercial treaty, he had to handle Russian sensibilities over the arrest for debt in 1708 of the emperor's envoy Andrey Matveyev, sent to London to seek British mediation in the Great Northern War.
He remained accredited in Russia until 1712, but was absent on diplomatic business elsewhere in eastern Europe. He was charged by Queen Anne to evaluate high-level Russian strategies, he observed public events and noted the changing the power status of key leaders. He cultivated influential and knowledgeable persons at the royal court, befriended foreigners in Russia's service, in turn they provided insights into high-level Russian planning and personalities, which he summarized and sent in code to London, he wrote an Account of Russia as it was in the Year 1710, which influenced British views of Russia for much of the century. In December 1713, he was appointed as one of the commissaries to treat with the French concerning the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce concluded at Utrecht. In April 1714 he was sent to Augsburg to observe negotiations between the emperor and France, taking place at Baden that summer; this was followed by his appointment as British minister to the Eternal Imperial Diet at Regensburg.
In August 1716, when he was appointed envoy at Berlin, but was seconded to The Hague, to try to persuade the Netherlands to conform to the British embargo on Sweden. Whitworth returned to Berlin in 1719, where the following year, he married the comtesse de Vaulgremont, the daughter of a government official in French-speaking Flanders, he was raised to the Irish peerage as Baron Whitworth, of Galway, in 1721. In 1722, he became Member of Parliament for Isle of Wight, he died childless upon which his barony became extinct. Whitworth was buried at Westminster Abbey, his grave is in the South choir aisle