Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave

General The Right Honourable
The Earl of Mulgrave
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
11 January 1805  7 February 1806
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Preceded by The Lord Harrowby
Succeeded by Rt. Hon. Charles James Fox
Personal details
Born (1755-02-14)14 February 1755
Died 7 April 1831(1831-04-07) (aged 76)
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Martha Sophia Maling
(d. 1849)

General Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave GCB, PC (14 February 1755 - 7 April 1831), styled The Honourable Henry Phipps until 1792 and known as The Lord Mulgrave from 1792 to 1812, was a British soldier and politician. He notably served as Foreign Secretary under William Pitt the Younger from 1805 to 1806.

Background and education

Lord Mulgrave was a younger son of Constantine Phipps, 1st Baron Mulgrave (also Baron Mulgrave, of New Ross), by his wife the Hon. Lepell, daughter of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, and was educated at Eton and the Middle Temple.

Military career

Lord Mulgrave entered the army in 1775, and eventually rose to the rank of General. He saw service in the Caribbean during the American Revolutionary War. In 1793 he was made Colonel of the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot. Also in 1793, because he was on a mission to the King of Sardinia in Turin, he was near at hand when British forces captured the French port of Toulon, and he briefly took command of the British land forces there, before withdrawing upon the arrival of more senior officers. In 1799 he was sent out on another special military mission, this time to the headquarters of the Austrian commander, Archduke Charles, to attempt to persuade him to retain his troops in Switzerland rather than removing them to the Middle Rhine, but he was unsuccessful.

Political career

In 1784 Lord Mulgrave was elected to the House of Commons for Totnes. He supported the government of Pitt, to whom he eventually became close. In 1790, he was elected for Scarborough in Yorkshire. He succeeded his brother Constantine Phipps, 2nd Baron Mulgrave as Baron Mulgrave in the Peerage of Ireland in 1792, but did not succeed to his brother's British title. In 1794 he was granted a British peerage as Baron Mulgrave, entering the House of Lords, and in 1796 he was made Governor of Scarborough Castle.[1] Mulgrave supported Pitt when he resigned in 1801, and in return for his loyalty was rewarded with the office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1804–1805) in Pitt's second government. Following an accident suffered by Lord Harrowby, Mulgrave took his place as Foreign Secretary, in which position he helped Pitt to form the Third Coalition against Napoleon.

The post of Foreign Secretary was generally thought to be beyond his powers. Thomas Grenville, writing to the Marquis of Buckingham, expressed an opinion that he was only "put in ad interim until Lord Wellesley's arrival, who is expected in June". Mulgrave, however, showed himself fairly capable in debate. On 11 February 1805 he had to announce the breach with Spain, and to defend the seizure of the treasure ships at Ferrol before the declaration of war, and on 20 June to defend the coalition of 1805. He composed an ode on the victory of Trafalgar, and it was set to music by Thomas Arne. On 23 January 1806 Pitt died. On 28 January 1806 Mulgrave laid before the House of Lords copies of the treaties recently concluded with Russia and Sweden, to which Prussia and Austria had acceded, and on 4 February he explained their object. Three days later, on 7 February, he resigned, with the bulk of those who had been Pitt's friends.

With the death of Pitt and the formation of the Ministry of All the Talents in 1806, Mulgrave, along with the other Pittites, went into opposition, but when the Pittites returned to power in 1807, Mulgrave served in various major offices, first as First Lord of the Admiralty (1807–1810), then as Master-General of the Ordnance (1810–1819), and finally as Minister without Portfolio (1819–1820). As First Lord he was heavily involved in planning both the successful expedition against Copenhagen in 1807, and the disastrous one to Walcheren in 1809. After moving to the ordnance board, Mulgrave became less active politically. He was created Viscount Normanby and Earl of Mulgrave in 1812.


The Earl of Mulgrave's grandfather William Phipps had married Lady Catherine Annesley, who was the daughter and heiress of James Annesley, 3rd Earl of Anglesey and his wife Lady Catherine Darnley (an illegitimate daughter of King James II by his mistress Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester). Lady Catherine Darnley had later married John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, and hence Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave was the step-great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.

Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave married Martha Sophia, daughter of Christopher Thomson Maling, in 1795. He died in April 1831, aged 76, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Constantine, who was later created Marquess of Normanby. His second son was the Hon. Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps. The couple's fourth son, the Hon. Augustus Frederick (b. 1809) became honorary canon of Ely while of their five daughters only one survived childhood.

The Countess of Mulgrave died on 17 October 1849.

See also



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Phipps, Henry". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Philip Jennings-Clerke, Bt
Launcelot Brown
Member of Parliament for Totnes
with Sir Philip Jennings-Clerke, Bt 1784–1788
Viscount Barnard 1788–1790

Succeeded by
William Powlett Powlett
Francis Buller-Yarde
Preceded by
The Earl of Tyrconnel
George Osbaldeston
Member of Parliament for Scarborough
with The Earl of Tyrconnel

Succeeded by
The Earl of Tyrconnel
Edmund Phipps
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Pelham
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
The Earl of Buckinghamshire
Preceded by
The Lord Harrowby
Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
Charles James Fox
Preceded by
Thomas Grenville
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Charles Philip Yorke
Preceded by
The Earl of Chatham
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
The Duke of Wellington
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Viscount Morpeth
Title last held by
The Duke of Leeds
Vice-Admiral of Yorkshire
Title next held by
The Lord Londesborough
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Mulgrave
Succeeded by
Constantine Henry Phipps
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Baron Mulgrave
Succeeded by
Constantine Henry Phipps
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Constantine John Phipps
Baron Mulgrave
Succeeded by
Constantine Henry Phipps
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