William Charles Keppel

William Charles Keppel, Portrait gallery, 1831


THE noble EARL, whose Portrait, finely engraved after Lawrence, adorns this page, requires only the accompaniment of a short biographical notice, as he has not taken a very prominent part in the exalted political sphere with which his station connects him, in consequence of the party with whom he has acted having been excluded from power during the greater period of his mature life. On the late accession of Earl Grey's ministry to the government of the country, however, his Lordship was honored with the distinguished appointment of Master of the Horse ; an appointment which affords him the high gratification of enjoying much personal intercourse with the Sovereign, in whose pleasant service he is engaged.

The family of Keppel is of Dutch extraction ; the ancestor of the present Earl having accompanied William the Third to England in the memorable year 1688. It had long flourished as one of the most noble land powerful houses in Holland ; and Arnold-Joost Van Keppel, the Lord of Voorst, was the most eminent of the companions of the Prince of Orange, in that expedition which changed the British dynasty, and established the Protestant constitution. In the beginning of 1695-6, he was raised to the peerage, under the titles of Baron Ashford of Ashford in Kent, Viscount Bury in the County Palatine of Lancaster, and Earl of Albemarle, which is derived, like the titles of several of our elder nobility, from a Norman possession. His Lordship was also invested with the garter; married the daughter of the Lord of Saint Gravemoer ; and died in 1718, leaving an only son, a minor, to succeed.

William-Anne, the second Earl, married a daughter of the Ducal house of Richmond, by whom he had a numerous family. He espoused the army as a profession, and rose to the rank of General. He was, for a short period, ambassador to the court of France.

George, his successor, was likewise a General Officer, and a Knight of the Garter. In April, 1770, he married Anne, the youngest daughter of Sir John Miller, of Chichester; and died in little more than two years after, leaving an only son, the present Earl, born May 14, 1772.

His Lordship was only five months old when he lost his father ; and not quite twenty, when he married Elizabeth, the fourth daughter of Lord de Clifford. By this lady, who died in 1817, he had ten children, among whom are Lord Bury, his heir-apparent, and Major Keppel, who has recently distinguished himself by the publication of his very interesting travels in Turkey, and other countries. This gallant officer, whose intelligence, and addiction to literary pursuits, are so honorable to his character, is, we learn, about to be united to the beautiful daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter. Anne, the second daughter of Lord Albemarle, is the wife of Mr. Coke, of Norfolk.

In 1822, the Earl himself married his second Countess, Charlotte-Susanna, daughter of the late Sir H. Hunloke.

His Lordship, like his celebrated son-in-law, is a warm promoter of agricultural and internal improvements ; and his life, while others of the same rank have borne themselves more forward in the public arena of politics, has been not the less useful and beneficial to his country.