Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, GCB, GCMG, GCH, PC

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John Colborne

Birthdate:
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Colborne and Cordelia Anne Garstin
Husband of Elizabeth Yonge
Father of James Colborne, 2nd Baron Seaton; General Sir Francis Colborne KCB and Jane Colborne
Brother of Cordelia Anne Colborne
Half brother of Alethia Henrietta Bargus

Managed by: Alisdair James Smyth
Last Updated:

About Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, GCB, GCMG, GCH, PC

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, GCB, GCMG, GCH, PC (16 February 1778 – 17 April 1863) was a British Field marshal and Colonial Governor.

Colborne was born at Lyndhurst, Hampshire and educated at Christ's Hospital, London from 1785 to 1789 and at Winchester College from 1789 to 1794.[1] He entered the 20th (East Devonshire Regiment) in 1794 as an Ensign, winning thereafter every step in his regimental promotion without purchase.

He first saw service in the Helder expedition of 1799. He was promoted to captain in January 1800 and took part in Sir Ralph Abercromby's expedition to Egypt in 1801. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Maida, and soon afterwards was brought under the notice of Sir John Moore, who obtained a majority for him in January 1808 and made him his military secretary. In this capacity he served through the Battle of Corunna campaign, and Sir John Moore's dying request that he should be given a lieutenant-colonelcy was at once complied with. In the summer of 1809 Lieut-Colonel Colborne was again in the Peninsula, and before taking command of the 2nd battalion of the 66th Foot Regiment, he witnessed the defeat of the Spaniards at the Battle of Ocaña.

With the 66th he was present at Busaco and shared in the defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras, and in July 1811, after temporarily commanding a brigade with distinction at the Battle of Albuera, (his brigade was slaughtered by Polish Vistula Uhlans) he was appointed to command the famous 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot[1] with which corps he is most closely identified. He led it and was severely wounded at Ciudad Rodrigo (1812). During his recuperation he married Elizabeth Yonge of Puslinch, Devon. Colborne was appointed to the order of the Tower and the Sword of Portugal in March 1813.

In late 1813, Colborne was placed in temporary charge of the 2nd brigade of the Light Division which he commanded in the battles of the Nivelle in November 1813 and the Nive the following month. He returned to the 52nd and commanded the regiment at the battle of Orthez in February 1814 and later at the siege of Toulouse. For his services, he was awarded the Army Gold Cross with three clasps.

At the peace he was made colonel, aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent and appointed K.C.B. in January 1815. Following Napoleon's escape from Elba Colborne resumed command of the 52nd. On 18 June 1815, Colborne and the 52nd at Waterloo took part in the repulse of the Middle Guard. On the evening of 18 June, between approximately 19.00hrs and 20.00hrs, Colborne on his own initiative took the 52nd forward and wheeled it to the left so that it was at right angles to the French Army. The 52nd then fired repeated volleys into the right flank of the French Imperial Guard and drove it back in disorder. The ensuing charge of the 52nd and the rest of Adam's Brigade, led to the rout of the Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard which broke up and fled. Colborne was with the 52nd in Paris, as part of the army of occupation, until January 1816. Colborne was made a knight of the Habsburg order of Maria Theresa and the Russian order of St George in August 1815.

Colborne was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey in July 1821. He was promoted to Major-General in May 1825. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836. He was appointed GCH in October 1836.

As Lieutenant Governor, Colborne more than doubled the population of the province by initiating an organised system of immigration to bring in settlers from Britain. He also aided settlement by expanding the communication and transportation infrastructure through a campaign to build roads and bridges. He brought changes to the structure of the legislative council, increased fiscal autonomy and encouraged greater independence in the judiciary. In 1829, Colborne founded Upper Canada College as a school based on the elite English public school model to educate boys in preparation for becoming leaders of the colonies.

Being a member of the Family Compact, Colborne was a strong supporter of the Church of England and British traditions. Colborne considered that the province was unready for responsible government. The conflict between the assembly and the executive over fiscal matters combined with the difficult economic situation contributed to the Rebellions of 1837 during which he was made commander-in-chief of the armed forces and acting Governor General of British North America.

Colborne raised a local militia to join the same contingent of British regulars to suppress a rebel force in December 1837. He personally led the offensive at St-Eustache in Lower Canada. In Canada the actions of some of his irregular forces were to result in him being nicknamed le vieux brûlot.

Colborne was promoted to Lieutenant-General in June 1838. He was appointed GCB in October 1839. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Seaton of Seaton in Devonshire in December 1839. He was appointed GCMG in July 1843. He was high commissioner of the Ionian Islands from 1843 to 1849. He was promoted to full general in June 1854 and from 1855 to 1860 he was Commander-in-Chief, Ireland. Colborne was promoted to Field Marshal in April 1860. He had purchased the house and grounds of Beechwood, by Sparkwell, Devon in 1856 and lived there in retirement. Colborne was appointed honorary colonel of the 2nd Life Guards and bearer of the gold stick in March 1854. He was appointed honorary colonel of the Rifle Brigade (95th) in February 1862, in succession to Prince Albert, at the express wish of Queen Victoria. He died at Valletta House, Torquay, Devon on 17 April 1863. He is buried in the churchyard of Newton Ferrers, Devon. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son, James Colborne.

A cairn was built in 1844 by the Glengarry Highlanders on an island in Lake St Francis, Ontario, in honour of Colborne. In November 1866, a bronze statue, by George Adams, raised by public donations was placed at Mount Wise, Devonport, Devon. There is also a statue of Colborne at Peninsula Barracks, Winchester, Hampshire.

Port Colborne, at the south end of the Welland Canal, is named after him. He was the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada at the time of the opening of the First Welland Canal, which runs through the city. The town of Colborne, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, also carries his name, as does Colborne Street, one of the main streets in the city of Brantford. Toronto has Colborne Street named after him, within the original townsite of York, Upper Canada. Lakeshore Road, in Oakville was formerly named Colborne Street in his honour."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 March 2013, 00:34 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Colborne,_1st_Baron_Seaton&oldid=543115872> [accessed 24 March 2013]

Other References

-------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Colborne,_1st_Baron_Seaton

Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, GCB, GCMG, GCH, PC (16 February 1778 – 17 April 1863) was a British Army officer and Colonial Governor. After taking part as a junior officer in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland, Sir Ralph Abercromby's expedition to Egypt and then the War of the Third Coalition, he served as military secretary to Sir John Moore at the Battle of Corunna. He then commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 66th Regiment of Foot and, later, the 52nd Regiment of Foot at many of the battles of the Peninsular War. At the Battle of Waterloo, Colborne on his own initiative brought the 52nd Regiment of Foot forward, took up a flanking position in relation to the French Imperial Guard and then, after firing repeated volleys into their flank, charged at the Guard so driving them back in disorder. He went on to become commander-in-chief of all the armed forces in British North America, personally leading the offensive at the Battle of Saint-Eustache in Lower Canada and defeating the rebel force in December 1837. After that he was high commissioner of the Ionian Islands and then Commander-in-Chief, Ireland.

Early career and the Peninsular War

Born the only son of Samuel Colborne and Cordelia Anne Colborne (née Garstin), Colborne was educated at Christ's Hospital in London and at Winchester College. He was commissioned as an ensign in the 20th Regiment of Foot on 10 July 1794 securing all subsequent steps in his regimental promotion without purchase. Promoted to lieutenant on 4 September 1795 and to captain lieutenant on 11 August 1799, he saw action at the Battle of Alkmaar in October 1799, where he was wounded, during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. Promoted to brevet captain on 12 January 1800, he took part in Sir Ralph Abercromby's expedition to Egypt in August 1801 and was wounded again.

Colborne was deployed with his regiment to Italy where he distinguished himself at the Battle of Maida in July 1806 during the War of the Third Coalition. He became military secretary to General Henry Fox in 1806 and then became military secretary to Sir John Moore with the rank of major on 21 January 1808. In this capacity he accompanied Moore to Sweden in May 1808 and to Portugal in 1808 and served with him at the Battle of Benavente in December 1808 and Battle of Corunna in January 1809. It was Moore's dying request that Colborne should be given a lieutenant colonelcy and this was complied with on 2 February 1809. He transferred to the 66th Regiment of Foot on 2 November 1809, and after returning to Spain with Sir Arthur Wellesley's Army, he witnessed the defeat of the Spaniards at the Battle of Ocaña later that month. He commanded a brigade at the Battle of Bussaco in September 1810 and then commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 66th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Albuera in May 1811 where his brigade was virtually anihillated by Polish 1st Vistulan Lancers Regiment of French Army. After transferring to the command of the 52nd Regiment of Foot he took part in the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in January 1812 where he was badly injured and had to be invalided back to England.

After recovering in England, Colborne returned to Spain and commanded the 52nd Regiment of Foot at the Siege of San Sebastián in August 1813 before taking temporary charge of the 2nd brigade of the Light Division in late 1813 and commanding it at the Battle of the Bidassoa in October 1813, at the Battle of Nivelle in November 1813 and at the Battle of the Nive in December 1813.[4] He returned to the 52nd Regiment of Foot and commanded it at the Battle of Orthez in February 1814 and at the Battle of Toulouse in April 1814 and at the Battle of Bayonne also in April 1814. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 4 January 1815.

Colborne became aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent with the rank of colonel on 4 June 1814, and, following Napoleon's escape from Elba, he managed to dissuade the Prince from attacking the French Army until the Duke of Wellington arrived. At the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 during the Hundred Days, Colborne on his own initiative brought the 52nd Regiment of Foot forward, took up a flanking position in relation to the French Imperial Guard and then, after firing repeated volleys into their flank, charged at the Guard so driving them back in disorder. He was appointed a Knight of the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa on 2 August 1815. After the War he remained with his regiment as part of the Army of Occupation.

Canada

Colborne became Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey in July 1821[9] and, having been promoted to major-general on 27 May 1825, became Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada in August 1828. As Lieutenant Governor, Colborne increased the population of the province by 70% by initiating an organised system of immigration to bring in settlers from Britain. He also aided settlement by expanding the communication and transportation infrastructure through a campaign to build roads and bridges. He brought changes to the structure of the legislative council, increased fiscal autonomy and encouraged greater independence in the judiciary. In 1829 he founded Upper Canada College as a school based on the Elizabeth College, Guernsey model to educate boys in preparation for becoming leaders of the colonies.

In January 1836 Colborne became commander-in-chief of all the armed forces in British North America. He was promoted to the local rank of lieutenant general on 8 July 1836. During Colborne's period of office as commander-in-chief, the Family Compact promoted resistance to the political principle of responsible government. At the end of its lifespan, the Compact would be condemned by Lord Durham as "a petty corrupt insolent Tory clique". This resistance, together with conflicts between the assembly and the executive over fiscal matters as well as a difficult economic situation, led to the Rebellions of 1837. Colborne personally led the offensive at the Battle of Saint-Eustache in December 1837 defeating the rebel force which had become holed up in a church.

Colborne was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 29 January 1838 and, following Lord Gosford's resignation in February 1838, he received additional powers as acting Governor General of British North America. Promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-general on 28 June 1838, he put down a second revolt in October 1838 and was confirmed as Governor General of British North America on 14 December 1838. He left Canada in October 1839 and, after arriving back in England, was raised to the peerage as Baron Seaton of Seaton in Devonshire on 5 December 1839.

Later life

Colborne became high commissioner of the Ionian Islands in February 1843, and having been promoted to full general on 20 June 1854, he became Commander-in-Chief, Ireland in 1855. After standing down from active service in Spring 1860, he was promoted to field marshal on 1 April 1860 and retired to his home at Beechwood House in Sparkwell.

Colborne also served as honorary colonel of the 94th Regiment of Foot, as honorary colonel of the 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot and then as honorary colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards. He was also colonel-in-chief of the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). He died at Valletta House in Torquay on 17 April 1863 and was buried in the churchyard of Holy Cross Church at Newton Ferrers.

In November 1866 a bronze statue of Colborne sculpted by George Adams and financed by public donations was erected at Mount Wise at Devonport: it was moved to Seaton Barracks in Crownhill in the early 1960s and then to Peninsula Barracks in Winchester in the 1990s. A second statue of Colborne also sculpted by George Adams was erected at Upper Canada College.

Family

In 1813 Colborne married Elizabeth Yonge; they had three daughters and five sons.

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Field Marshal John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, GCB, GCMG, GCH, PC's Timeline

1778
February 16, 1778
May 31, 1778
1813
June 21, 1813
Age 35
1815
September 8, 1815
Age 37
1817
April 23, 1817
Age 39
1826
1826
Age 47
1863
April 17, 1863
Age 85