Ambassador to the United States, Russia, and the
Hague; Governor-General of Canada
Charles Bagot was born at
Blithfield Hall, Rugely, Staffordshire, England,
on September 23, 1781, the second surviving son
of William Bagot, 1st Baron Bagot, and Elizabeth
Louisa St. John, eldest daughter of John St.
John, 2nd Viscount St. John. He was educated at
Rugby School and Christ Church College, Oxford,
and began law studies at Lincoln's Inn in 1801.
He gave up his law studies after less than year,
however, and ended up getting an M.A. from Oxford
On July 22, 1806, Bagot married
Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley-Pole, whose
father, William Wellesley-Pole, later succeeded
to the earldom of Mornington and whose uncle, Arthur Wellesley, became
Duke of Wellington. Bagot and his wife eventually
had three sons and five daughters.
In 1807, Bagot took a seat in Parliament as a
member for Castle Rising. In August of that year
he became Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
under George Canning, for which position he had
to exchange his parliamentary seat for the
stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds. He lost
both positions when Canning left office in 1809.
Bagot's diplomatic career began when he was
named Minister Plenipotentiary to France on July
11, 1814. That posting did not last long,
however, as he was replaced by Wellesley later
that same summer. He resumed that career on July
31, 1815, when he was appointed Minister
Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinairy to the
United States. It was in this capacity that he
gave his name to the Rush-Bagot Treaty, which
called for both the United States and Great
Britain to reduce their naval forces on the Great
Lakes and Lake Champlain. Negotiated in 1816 with
then U.S. Secretary of State James
Monroe, the treaty was formalized by an
exchange of diplomatic notes on April 28-29,
1817 between Bagot and the new Secretary of
State, Richard Rush. Bagot was also involved in
negotiations with the American government to
settle a number of other disputes concerning
fisheries and the border from Lake of the Woods
to the Pacific. Those issues were finally
resolved in London by the Convention of 1818.
Bagot returned to England in 1819, and was
named Ambassador to Russia the following year. In
this capacity, he took part in the negotiations
leading to the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825,
which fixed the boundaries of what is now Alaska
for the next 75 years.
In 1824, Bagot was sent as Ambassador to The
Hague, where he took part in the negotiations
which ultimately established the independence of
Belgium in 1831. He was offered the
Governor-Generalship of India in 1828 but
declined that post and, soon after, temporarily
retired from public service.
Bagot came out of retirement in 1841, when
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel asked him to
succeed Lord Sydenham as Governor-General of the
recently united Province of Canada.
He arrived in Kingston, Ontario, on January 10,
1842, and formally took office two days later. As
a new Governor, Bagot was wise enough to rely on
advisers who were familiar with the colony and to
appoint prominent Canadians to a number of
positions in the government and the judiciary,
making him the first British statesman to bring
Canadians into the government of their country.
Ill health forced Bagot to resign the
Governor-Generalship in January 1843. He died at the Governor's official residence,
Alwington House, in Kingston, Upper Canada, on
May 19, 1843.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Questions or comments about