1001. Harriet Angelina FORTESCUE was born on 14 November 1824. She died in 1889. It was Harriet Fortescue who, after her marriage to Urquhart on 5 September 1854, became David's chief support and collaborator in all things. An independent-minded individual, and a believer in rational dress for women, she had earlier, with financial help from Ruskin, started a shirt factory for the unemployed of Ardee in Co. Louth. During the year before her marriage, she had been preparing an introduction to some of Urquhart’s papers which she was ‘going to republish in a volume without her name.’ And the day after her wedding, the Morning advertiser published 'The Words of Lord Palmerston' under her pseudonym ‘Caritas.’
Maria Catherine Bishop found it extremely difficult to distinguish between Urquhart’s writing and Harriet’s. ‘Half her articles in his paper, the Free press, and her many other writings were by him, and half of his by her.’ Bishop quotes a letter from their son David who wrote that, generally speaking, ‘the argumentative work, the collating of extracts from despatches, treaties, &c., was done by her first, and then my father dictated the introduction and conclusion.’
Historians do not seem to have given Harriet credit for the closeness of her collaboration with Urquhart, though it must be clear to all who go to the source documents. Their two temperaments complemented each other in exactly the manner needed to ensure that their work was most effectively undertaken. The retention of committee members’ loyalty to Urquhart was in no small measure due to her calm soothing rationality.
Her contribution was widely recognized by many of the FAC members themselves, Benjamin Morrell, for example, referring to her in a letter to her husband as ‘your valuable partner Mrs Urquhart.’ They appreciated the trouble she took in her explanations of difficult points, as when David Scott wrote asking John Johnson to ‘present my sincere and grateful thanks to Mrs Urquhart’ for helping him overcome his habit of ‘jumping to Conclusions without weighing evidence.’ And they responded to her personal interest in their lives, as when Thomas Dean, answering her query, wrote, ‘My wife’s name is Bridgett, but having lived in service where certain names are not liked, we have got the habit of calling her Ann...’
Harriet could not, even had she wished, avoid involvement in Urquhart’s campaign to re-introduce the Turkish bath. Whenever they moved house, one of David's first actions would be to build a new Turkish bath. Harriet’s biographer wrote:
My first impression of the hot air room contrived in his Geneva villa was of a dimly lighted catacomb. Mrs Urquhart, in white bathing costume, slight and picturesque in the light of the lamp she carried, stood at the foot of the stairs in friendly welcome. She taught us as we lay panting on our shelves in a heat of 170° Fahrenheit, all the merits of what is truly a sanitary institution, but one that with its attendant shampooing was not then as freely recognized as now.
Throughout his life Urquhart was hospitable to all who wished to try the Turkish bath whether they were friends or neighbours, his servants, local doctors with their patients, FACs wanting information, or their members who were unwell. The Turkish bath at the first home they built, at Riverside near Rickmansworth, was internationally renowned and considered ‘a great boon to the neighbourhood.’ Harriet agreed that its use should be offered to those who sought to discover its worth, and kept many sciatic and invalid guests over for breakfast.
If David Urquhart was used to receiving effusive letters from his acolytes, he was not alone. Harriet too, received highly complimentary letters written by those who realised the contribution which she made to their common endeavours. John Harlow writing from Small Heath, Birmingham, spoke for many when he wrote:
To yourself Madam, I would only say—Who that has seen you, has heard you speak, and has known your acts as I have, can have other feelings towards you than those of humble reverend admiration.
The members of the FACs had ‘an absolute conviction that they were right and an utter devotion to Urquhart and his cause.’ But Jenks, for one, finds it difficult to explain how this was inspired. It is clear that many factors were involved, but one of these must surely have been the feeling shared by committee members that within the movement there was a knowledgeable intercessor able to take the rough edges off any problems which might arise in their work.
Harriet Angelina FORTESCUE and David URQUHART of Cromarty, MP for Stafford were married on 5 September 1854. David URQUHART of Cromarty, MP for Stafford died on 16 May 1877. Born: 1805
Level of fame: Niche
British diplomat and publicist, born at Braelangwell, Cromarty. He came of a good Scottish family and was educated in France, Switzerland and Spain, and then at St. John's College, Oxford. In 1827 he went under Lord Cochrane (Dundonald) to fight for the Greeks in the War of Independence; he was present at the action of the 28th of September when Captain Hastings destroyed the Turkish squadron in the Bay of Salona, and as lieutenant of the frigate "Hellas" he was severely wounded in the attack on Scio. In November 1828 he left the Greek service. In 1830 he privately examined the new Greek frontier as determined by the protocol of March 22, 1829, and the value of his reports to the government led to his being named British commissioner to accompany Prince Leopold of Coburg to Greece, but the appointment fell to the ground with that prince's refusal of the Greek throne.
His knowledge of the local conditions, however, led to his being appointed in November 1831 attache to Sir Stratford Canning (Lord Stratford de Redcliffe), ambassador extraordinary to the sultan, for the purpose of finally deliminating the frontiers of Turkey and Greece. On his return to England he published in 1833 Turkey and its Resources, a violent denunciation of Russia. In 1833 he was sent on a secret mission to Turkey to inquire into possible openings for British trade, and at Constantinople he gained the complete confidence of the Turkish government. The situation, however, was a delicate one, and Urquhart's outspoken advocacy of British intervention on behalf of the sultan against Mehemet Ali, the policy of Stratford Canning, made him a danger to international peace; he was consequently recalled by Lord Palmerston.
At this time appeared his pamphlet England, France, Russia and Turkey, the violent anti-Russian character of which brought him into conflict with Richard Cobden. In 1835 he was appointed secretary of embassy at Constantinople, but an unfortunate attempt to counteract Russian aggressive designs in Circassia, which threatened to lead to an international crisis, again led to his recall in 1837. In 1835, before leaving for the East, he founded a periodical called the Portfolio, and in the first issue printed a series of Russian state papers, which made a profound impression. From 1847 to 1852 he sat in parliament as member for Stafford, and carried on a vigorous crusade against Lord Palmerston's foreign policy. The action of England in the Crimean War provoked indignant protests from Urquhart, who contended that Turkey was in a position to fight her own battles without the assistance of other Powers.
To attack the government, he organized "foreign affairs committees" which became known as "Urquhartite", throughout the country, and in 1855 founded the Free Press (in 1866 renamed the Diplomatic Review), which numbered among its contributors the socialist Karl Marx. In 1860 he published his book on The Lebanon. From 1864 until his death Urquhart's health compelled him to live on the continent, where he devoted his energies to promoting the study of international law. He died on the 16th of May 1877. His wife (Harriet Chichester Fortescue), by whom he had two sons and two daughters, and who died in 1889, wrote numerous articles in the Diplomatic Review over the signature of "Caritas."
To Urquhart is due the introduction into Great Britain of hot-air Turkish baths. He advocated their use in his book called Pillars of Hercules (1850), which attracted the attention of the Irish physician Dr. Richard Baxter (1802-1870), and the latter introduced them in his system of hydropathy at Blarney, Co. Cork. The Turkish baths in Jermyn Street, London, were built under Urquhart's direction.
Wife: Harriet Angelina Fortescue (three sons, two daughters)
Harriet Angelina FORTESCUE and David URQUHART of Cromarty, MP for Stafford had the following children: