Great Regency Fortunes

Lansdowne, Holland, Devonshire and the others–great London residences that were also Whig powerhouses of Regency London. We leave them now, along with their satellites Kenwood and No. 10 St. James. Time to visit the London palaces built with Tory fortunes.

Richard Rush, by Thomas Sully
Yes, but can the American tie his neckcloth properly?

In 1817, the United States sent a most unlikely ambassador to Regency Britain. Richard Rush was the son of Benjamin Rush, prominent physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Upon entering service with the federal government, Rush became one of President Madison’s closest advisors. He was a strong advocate for waging the War of 1812 with Britain. When John Quincy Adams returned from Europe, Rush was no doubt was surprised as everyone else when he was appointed to take Adams’ place as the new Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain.

He remained in England for eight years and became very popular there, successfully negotiating a number of important treaties with Britain and laying down the foundation of a “special” relationship between the U.S. and the “mother ship” — the foundation of the world’s most strategic alliance.

His “Residence at the Court of London,” a journal of the time he spent as ambassador shows remarkable insight into the latter years of Regency England.

He made the following observation:

At dinner, I sat between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Lynedoch. Speak-
ing of the property-tax, the former mentioned that the four largest incomes in the kingdom,
as returned under it while in operation, were those of the Duke of Northumberland, Earl
Grosvenor, the Marquis of Stafford, and the Earl of Bridgewater ; these, he said, were the
richest Peers in England, and there were no Commoners whose incomes were returned as

It was estimated each of these noblemen enjoyed an income of over 100,000 pounds sterling a year–an enormous sum at the time.

Their London homes were among the finest. Well-worth a visit.

Will you join me?