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Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh

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Robert Stewart, (June 18, 1769 - August 12, 1822) (or Lord Castlereagh or 2nd Marquess of Londonderry) was an Irish-born British politician who represented the United Kingdom at the Congress of Vienna. He was also intimately involved in securing the passage of the Irish Act of Union. He was the son of Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry, a landowner who was created an earl and subsequently a marquess by King George III of the United Kingdom.

Robert Stewart the younger took the courtesy title of Viscount Castlereagh in 1796 when his father was promoted to the rank of earl. Thus, is generally known to history as Lord Castlereagh. The title of viscount was not officially inherited, but he became briefly the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry in the peerage of Ireland on the death of his father in 1821.

After serving in various junior positions in the Pitt and Addington governments, Castlereagh became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in the Duke of Portland's administration in 1807. In that role he became involved in disputes with Foreign Secretary George Canning over the failure of the Walcheren Expedition, and the two fought a duel late in 1809. This forced both of their resignations from the government.

Three years later, in 1812, Castlereagh returned to the government, this time as Foreign Secretary, a role in which he served for the next ten years. In this role he was instrumental in negotiating the allied alliance at Chaumont[?] in March 1814, in the negotiation of the Treaty of Paris that brought peace with France, and at the Congress of Vienna. In the following years, he continued to competently manage Britain's foreign policy, generally pursuing a policy of continental engagement uncharacteristic of British foreign policy in the nineteenth century.

Despite his many achievements, Castlereagh was extremely unpopular within the country due to his supposed reactionism abroad, and his support at home for the repressive measures of Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth. In the year before his death, Castlereagh began suffering from a form of paranoia, and eventually committed suicide by cutting his throat.

See List of Irish Peers


  • LONDONDERRY, ROBERT STEWART, 2ND MARQUESS OF (17691822), 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica; [1] (http://22.1911encyclopedia.org/L/LO/LONDONDERRY_ROBERT_STEWART_2ND_MARQUESS_OF.htm)

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