Edward Hume Townsend (626)

Date of Birth: 3 Sep 1803
Date of Death: 23 Jan 1880
Generation: 6th
Residence: Cuilnaconartha, Clonakilty, Cork
Father: Reverend Richard Townsend [612]
Mother: Hume, Henrietta Murray
  1. Townsend, Susan [5D09]
  1. Richard Hume [633]
  2. Rev Canon Horace Webb [634]
  3. Reverend Doctor John Hume [635]
  4. Chambre Corker [636]
  5. Edward Hume Steele [637]
  6. Katherine Jane [638]
  7. Henrietta Murray [639]
  8. Caroline [640]
  9. Susannah Elizabeth [641]
See Also: Table VI ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Edward Hume Townsend JP

These notes should be read in conjunction with the page ‘Recollections’.

Married 12 March 1831. Susan Townsend (1) was the sixth daughter of Rev Horatio Townsend. There is a fine picture of Susan in her 'Scrapbook'- it is a copy of a miniature painted shortly after she was married.

Edward was born in Cork in the house of Dr Atterbury near the South Terrace. His father died when he was five and he spent his childhood with his mother and his maternal grandparents at their home at Glenalla near Lough Nacally in Donegal, thirteen miles from Londonderry.

In the autumn of 1812, aged 9, Edward started his education at Clonakilty School where his maternal uncle, Dr Stewart, was the headmaster. There were some 40 boarders at the school, principally from Co Cork, Co Kerry and Co Limerick. It was during the winter holiday of 1812 that Edward, accompanied by his mother, visited the Derry Townsends and there met for the first time Susan Townsend, who later became his wife. Edward left Clonakilty School in 1816 and was sent to Westminster School where he remained until ill health, brought on by the foetid London air, forced him to leave. He returned to Clonakilty School in 1817 for a short time before attending Foyle College, Londonderry. Nominated for a writership with the East India Company in 1819 Edward completed his education at the East india College near Hertford that subsequently became Haileybury where he gained several distinctions.

Edward set sail from Gravesend for India in March 1822 on board the East India ship the Castle Huntley under the command of Captain HA Drummond. He arrived in Bombay on 10 June after an uneventful voyage of 90 days. Following three months in the city, during which time he studied Hindustani, he was posted to Poona for a short time before moving to Bankote in S. Konkan and thence to Ratnagiri in the same district. Appointed third (or junior) assistant to the Collector, Edward remained here for three years before being transferred to Northern Konkan in 1825, where he was appointed second assistant to the Collector - JB Simson Esq - who became a close friend.

Whilst in Northern Konkan Edward's health failed and he was sent to the Nilgiri Hills in late 1827 and found lodgings at Kalea, halfway between Kotagiri and Ootacamund. During this time he took the opportunity to visit his friend John Walker in Madras and stayed with him for a month. In early 1828 he set off to return to Northern Konkan but fell seriously ill with ‘jungle fever’ in Bangalore, where he thought he was going to die.

Edward’s journal ends with his arrival back in Bombay in 1828 and it is not known why he never completed it. Correspondence with his wife-to-be shows that in August 1828 he was visiting his childhood home at Glenalla, so he must have left Bombay soon after his arrival there following his illness. Between August 1828 and February 1831 the correspondence also shows Edward stayed with several relatives and friends in both England and Ireland, including seven months with his mother who was then living at Mount Terrace in Taunton, Somerset.

Edward returned to India sometime after his marriage in March 1831 and spent the next 21 years of his life there, working for the East India Company as a Resident and Political Agent.(1a) His marked ability brought rapid promotion from Lord Clare who was Governor of Bombay 1830 to 1834. Later Edward was appointed Secretary to the Bombay Government and then Revenue Commissioner to The Presidency of Bombay.

In 1841 Edward and his family took long leave in South Africa; they were joined there on 21 September 1841 by his sisters-in-law Henrietta Townsend and Katherine Corker Townsend and brother-in-law Richard William Townsend who had set sail on the ‘Childe Harold’ from Portsmouth on 23 July 1841. They were also joined by Edward’s mother, Henrietta wife of Rev Richard Townsend who, aged 60, set out from Ireland in 1839 to join Edward in South Africa. During the course of her journey she rode across the isthmus of Suez on a donkey and was lost in the desert for a time, having ridden ahead of her party.

Edward with his family and Henrietta left South Africa on 1 Mar 1842 on board the ‘Dartmouth’ bound for Bombay. Richard and Edward’s mother (Mrs RT) returned to Ireland taking with them Edward’s three eldest children - Richard Hume Townsend, Katherine Jane Townsend and Susannah Elizabeth Townsend.

The 'Dartmouth' arrived in Bombay on 13 May 1842 and was met by Edward’s friend Mr Webb whom he first met when he landed in Bombay on 12 Jun 1822. From Bombay they sailed to Vengurla and from there moved overland to Belgaum, Edward’s, principal station, arriving there on 31 May 1842.

During the course of the following 22 months Edward with his family and Henrietta, visited several principal towns and sites of historical or natural interest in Maharashtra and Karnataka ; all the while with Edward conducting his business as Collector and Political Agent. Extracts of Henrietta's journal recording their travels provides a fascinating detailed account of Edward's work and can be seen in Experiences in India 1842 - 1845.

This short extract from Henrietta's journal gives a flavour of their experiences.

Saturday, we thought Edward would probably visit the Rajah but the toujou came so late to say that His “Great Kingship” and Dewar Sahib (the Regent Mother) expected him, but Ed would not go. He said he must give the ladies a drive and we heard later that the court was thrown into the greatest consternation at this, and wondered what the cause of delaying to visit them was. The fact is these little great people must be required to treat the English agent with all respect.......Today a large procession arrived at an early hour to conduct Edward to the palace. Two elephants with howdas, on one of which he was requested to go, but preferring not to be shaken to pieces, he chose to go in the toujou. Some of the Karbarries (guardian of a Rajah) came, old Dinker Rao looking very handsome, with a scarlet and gold shawl and as usual, a tasty little white turban. A gold stick-in-waiting, stood behind his chair and little Lord of Bowra Fort, a boy of 12 who has been going about the country with Ed at his desire came into the tent at the same time, and threw himself into his chair with the air of a very great man. He is a pretty boy; Ed is anxious to improve him, and show him a little of the world. He has not been well treated at the Court here, so Ed has brought him under his wing, and is taking him today to meet the Rajah and his brother.

The last entry in Henrietta’s journal is dated 6 March 1844 at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra; My book is nearly done… I want to keep a little room for Poona, whither I hear we go next. Edward's first cousin, Major Edward Townsend and married Henrietta’s sister, Isabella Townsend was stationed at Poona at this time. On several occasions whilst there he met his cousin Edward and in a letter from Poona to his mother dated 5 February 1850 Major Edward wrote "he (Edward Hume) looks very well; that is two thirds of him, the other third being invisible in a long beard and green spectacles”.

A map showing the places that Edward and Henrietta visited in the Bombay Presidency is shown in his 'Scrapbook'.

In 1845, when Edward was Secretary to the Bombay Government, Sir William Napier, brother of Major General Sir Charles Napier who commanded the Indian Army in the Bombay Presidency, wrote a book "The Conquest of Scinde". In the book Sir William published letters from Sir Charles in which he accused Edward of acting with 'folly and ingratitude' between the years 1843 and 1845 - this was the period during which he toured Maharastra with his sister-in-law Henrietta Townsend. In May 1859, Edward published a seven page rebuttal to the allegations in the book – they are convoluted and difficult to follow - and a copy of it is included in his scrapbook. He was clearly deeply hurt by the accusations and they are at total odds with his nature and philanthropic work.

Whilst in India Edward did not amass a fortune because he spent a considerable part of his large income on philanthropic and religious works for the natives. In addition, during the years of the famine in Ireland he collected thousands of pounds which he sent back for the relief of the poor. He was a brilliant linguist and spoke four native Indian languages fluently.

On return from India in 1852 Edward spent a short time staying with his cousin [ Aubrey de Vere Townsend who was Curate at St Michael's, Bath. He then moved to Dublin and set about buying property near Clonakilty. In a letter (3) dated 23 May 1853, to his aunt Elizabeth Trelawney Townsend, Edward wrote "I must not allow another letterpost to leave, without a letter from me giving a full detail of my performance on Friday last, when I purchased for £6950 - - three lots of the Kilmeen farm, containing altogether 644 statute acres, & likely to produce a profit rent of £272 per annum: so Horace Poole thinks, & he has examined the whole carefully." His letter continues at some length explaining how he intended to pay for the property.

The next year whilst visiting his cousin Joanna Townsend at Mayfield in June 1854 Edward went to see the property at Cuilnaconartha, some 12 miles from Clonakilty, which he had bought in May. He recounted the purchase to his Aunt Elizabeth in a letter dated 9 June 1854 "The next day, Horace Poole drove me to Kilmeen both to see it, and my new purchase of Cuilnaconartha, which was sold on 23rd. May. The history of that purchase is as follows: Horace P. wrote to me that a farm adjoining to Kilmeen was for sale & that I would do well to buy it if possible - for that it contained very good land, & was well situated, but that it would not be sold under £3000, and that it would cost perhaps £200 or £300 over that sum. I replied that I had barely £2000 - (the remainder of my Indian Money) and that I must try and procure something smaller. H. replied that nothing smaller was for sale, and that so nice a farm as Cuilnaconartha would not easily be found again, and that he would obtain for me about £1000 Irish - if I chose to borrow it. When I looked at the account of the farm & the estimates sent by Horace P. - it struck me that it was worth £3500 - and that nothing less would purchase it." Edward spent the last 18 years of his life there.

In December 1869, aged 66, Edward set out to write a journal about the principal events of his life but never completed it, to our great loss. What we have is a frank, personal account covering the first 25 years of his life, written in a very legible hand covering 33 pages in a parchment-bound book measuring 7 inches by 9 inches. This account is reproduced in full in the page 'Recollections'.

Page 147 of Francis Guy’s County & City of Cork Directory 1875-76 records that Edward was a Justice of the Peace – “Townsend Hume Edward, Coolnaconarthy house, Clonakilty”. Pages 459 and 460 record that he was an ex officio member of the Board of Guardians and Rural Sanitary Authority in Clonakilty and Dunmanway along with his kinsmen John Hancock Townsend [523] and Horace Payne-Townsend [5D12].

According to local tradition, sometime not long after he was appointed a JP, Edward suffered the indignity of having empty porter barrels rolled downhill after him in his coach by over-enthusiastic boys from Rossmore. His immediate response was to withdraw the license from the inn in Rossmore which, as a JP, he was empowered to do. Rossmore remained 'dry' until 1974, when a new inn was opened - 'The Winning Post'

The 'Register of Landowners in County Cork 1876' records "Townsend, Edw. Hume Cuilnaconartha. 1,075 acres. £594 5s." (2005 equivalent - £36,828). Hussey be Burgh's 'Landowners of Ireland 1878' records similar detail "TOWNSEND, EDWARD HUME, J.P. Cuilnaconartha, Clonakilty, co. Cork. 1075 acres. £594."

Edward was the principal executor to the will of his aunt, Elizabeth wife of Rev Philip Townsend [613. See page 500 of the Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland. It records that the will of "Elizabeth Townsend late of Mallow Co Cork widow deceased who died on 27 October 1868", was proved at Cork on 20 November 1868, by "the oaths of Edward Hume Townsend of Cuilnaconathra (Clonakilty) and Carlton Reeves Palmer of Mallow both in the County of Cork Esquires the Executors". Effects under £600.

Edward's death was recorded by Agnes Townsend [334] in her diary - 'January 23 Mr Ed Hume Townsend died'. Page 712 of the Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that the will of "Edward Hume Townsend late of Cuilnaconarthra", who died on 23 January 1880, was proved at Cork on 17 February 1880 by the oath of "Reverend Horace Webb Townsend of the same place Clerk one of the Executors". Effects under £1,500.

(1) Susan was born on 31 January 1805 and died on 10 December 1882 at Cuilnaconartha.

(1a) A resident or political agent was an official of the East India Company (and after 1813, the British Government), who was based in a princely state and who served as part-diplomat, part-adviser to the native ruler, and part monitor of activities in the princely state.

(2) These travels are recorded great detail in Henrietta's 120 page journal which can be found on the Recollections page after Edward’s account of his early life.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch XII p.270 -72 refers.