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Major General Anthony Bacon (1796–2 July 1864) was a notable cavalry officer and commander in the Napoleonic wars.

Family background[edit | edit source]

Bacon was born at Llandaff in Glamorgan, the son of Anthony Bushby Bacon (1772–1827) of Elcot Park at Kintbury and Benham Park at Marsh Benham in Speen near Newbury in Berkshire, one of the richest commoners in England. The younger Bacon was educated at Eton College

Bacon's grandparents were Anthony Bacon (1718–1786), the industrialist, and his mistress Mary Bushby, of Gloucestershire.[1] This Bacon was a notable ironmaster and colliery owner in Wales who made Merthyr Tydfil the iron-smelting centre of Great Britain, was one of the richest men of his time. However, the sons showed little or no interest in their father's businesses and rapidly sold or leased them to men such as Richard Crawshay, who was one of the witnesses to the father's will. This included the mineral rights at Cyfarthfa.

General Bacon's sister Emily married 1835 a wealthy landowner Lt. Col. Thomas Peers Williams (1795–1875), MP for UK Parliament constituency 1820-1868 and Father of the House of Commons December 1867 – 1868; several of their daughters, and therefore Bacon's nieces, married into the Peerage.

Reputation[edit | edit source]

Despite his father's great fortune, Bacon had the habit of high living. This was attributed by Dodge (reviewing a book) to the father's habit of refusing to give the son a regular allowance and paying his debts. Unfortunately, in 1823, he married an expensive wife in Lady Charlotte Harley. Either this couple or the father dissipated the elder Anthony Bacon's fortune; in 1827, when the father died, his estate was discovered to be heavily encumbered. Bacon was ruined, and in November 1829 actually imprisoned for debt.

Early military career[edit | edit source]

Anthony Bacon formerly of the 10th Hussars was a Waterloo hero who won the Waterloo Medal.

In 1826, after Lord Lucan's purchase of the colonelcy of the 17th Lancers, he sold out in despair. Initially, he sent in his papers to the Duke of Wellington, but these were returned. He then sold his commission.[2]

Colonial promoter[edit | edit source]

After Bacon was imprisoned for debt November 1829 – 1831, the family emigrated to Australia where they did not prosper, thanks to Bacon's habit of borrowing heavily to spend on large projects without paying the workmen. Bacon had hoped to found a new colony in South Australia, but his plans were rejected by the authorities.

Later military career[edit | edit source]

Bacon returned to Europe, and espoused the cause of Pedro I of Brazil during the Liberal Wars but lost his command for looting and selling horses after the emperor's death. He spent the rest of his life trying to obtain arrears in pay and reimbursement of his own money spent in Portugal. He also carried on a running battle with Lord Lucan over the Battle of Balaclava.

Wife and children[edit | edit source]

General Bacon died at his home in Crondall in Hampshire in 1864, and his three surviving children settled in Australia, where they were soon joined by widow, Lady Charlotte Harley (1801 [1] - 1880).

Bacon had married Lady Charlotte in 1823. She was legally the second [2] or third daughter of Edward Harley, the Earl of Oxford by his wife, Jane Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. James Scott, M.A., Vicar of Itchen Stoke in Hampshire. However, Jane was a notable mistress of Lord Byron, and Charlotte was almost certainly fathered by one of her mother's many lovers. Charlotte was a muse for Lord Byron's Ianthe[3]. Her brother Alfred Harley, 6th Earl of Oxford and Mortimer died 19 January 1853 without issue, but with four sisters as co-heiresses [4], including Lady Jane Harley, wife of Henry Bickersteth, Lord Langdale. By 1877, after long litigation over her brother's estate, Lady Charlotte returned to England as his heiress and died in 1880.

The couple's children included the early Australian settlers, Harley Ereville Bacon and Nora Creina, the wife of Charles Burney Young [5][6] and mother of the Australian MP, H.D. Young of Kanmantoo. Their youngest son, Anthony Harley Bacon, was the father of Gladys Luz Bacon (d. 28 January 1932), whose own son [7] became the 14th Earl of Kinnoul, and Harley Bacon, who, in 1900, became engaged to Countess Melanie von Seckendorff, one of Germany's richest heiresses[3]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Welsh Biography Online
  2. Australian Dictionary of Biography accessed 24 February 2008
  3. Anon. "What's Doing in Society" The New York Times, 20 October 1900 p. 7 (Abstract). (Full article text).

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