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THOMAS WEST

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 952 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS WEST, 3rd or 12th Baron De La Warr (1577—1618), British soldier and colonial governor in America, was born on the 9th of July 1577, probably at Wherwell, Hampshire, where he was baptiied. He was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, where he did not complete his course, but subsequently (1605) received the degree of M.A. In 1597 he was elected member of parliament for Lymington, and subsequently fought in Holland and in Ireland under the earl of Essex, being knighted for bravery in battle in 1599. He was imprisoned for complicity in Essex's revolt (160o—1601), but was soon released and exonerated. In 1602 he succeeded to his father's title and estates and became a privy councillor. Becoming interested in schemes for the colonization of America, he was chosen a member of the council of the Virginia Company in 1609, and in the same year was appointed governor and captain-gener4l of Virginia for life. Sailing in March 16ro with three ships, 150 settlers and supplies, he himself bearing the greater part of the expense of the expedition, he arrived at Jamestown on the loth of June, in time to inter ept the colonists who had embarked for England and were abandoning the enterprise. Lord De La Warr's rule was strict but just; he constructed two forts near the mouth of the James river, rebuilt Jamestown, and in general brought order out of chaos. In March 1611 he returned to London, where he published at the request of the company's council, his Relation of the condition of affairs in Virginia (reprinted 1859 and 1868). He remained in England until 1618, when the news of the tyrannical rule of the deputy, Samuel Argall, led him to start again for Virginia. He embarked in April, but died en route on the 7th of June 1618, and was buried at sea. The Delaware river and the state of Delaware were named in his honour. A younger brother, Francis (1586—c. 1634), was prominent in the affairs of Virginia, and in 1627—1628 was president of the council, and acting-governor of the colony. In 1761 the 3rd or 12th baron's descendant, John, 7th or 16th Baron De La Warr (1693—1766), was created Viscount Can telupe and 1st Earl De La Warr. He was a prominent figure in the House of Lords, at first as a supporter of Sir Robert Walpole. He also served in the British army and fought at Dettingen, and was made governor, of Guernsey in 1752. George John West, 5th earl (1791—1869), married Elizabeth, sister and heiress of George John Frederick Sackville, 4th duke of Dorset, who was created Baroness Buckhurst in 1864; consequently in 1843 he and his sons took the name of Sackville-West. The earl was twice lord chamberlain to Queen Victoria, and he is celebrated as " Fair Euryalus " in the Childish Recollections of his schoolfellow, Lord Byron. His son Charles Richard (1815—1873), 6th earl, served in the first Sikh war and in the Crimea; and being unmarried was succeeded by his brother Reginald (1817—1896) as 7th Earl De La Warr. Having inherited his mother's barony of Buckhurst on her death in 1870, he retained this title along with the barony and earldom of De La Warr, although the patent had contained a proviso that it should be kept separate from these dignities. In 1896 the 7th earl's son, Gilbert George Reginald Sackville-West (b. 1869), became 8th earl De La Warr. See G. E. C(okayne), Complete Peerage (1887—1898).
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