Charles de Salis

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Letter from Charles to his father, 1771
Salis crest, Bellona
Das Altes Gebau in Chur. The house his grandfather built c. 1728

Charles de Salis unsuccessful Parliamentary candidate for Reading, 1761.

He was born on July 25th, 1736 in the Parish of St. James, Westminster and died without children at Hieres, Provence, July 1781, aged 45.

He was the eldest son of Anglo-Grison diplomat Jerome, Count de Salis-Soglio, who had been Naturalized a British Subject in 1731, by his wife Mary, eldest daughter of Charles Fane, 1st Viscount Fane.

After some schooling with his younger brothers (Peter, Rev Dr. Henry, and William) in his father's ancestral homeland (the Grisons Republic), he studied at Eton from 1747-1753,[1] where he was one of the 250 pupils there at the time. He traveled abroad from 1757 to 1760; the tour covered Lausanne (university), Northern Italy, Rome, Naples, Coire, Paris, Turin, and Holland.[2]

In 1761, De Salis stood in his namesake and uncle's place as one of the two MPs for Reading, but having been admitted to a Freeman/Burgess of the Corporation of Reading on the 4th of March, 1761 he was well beaten at the poll on the 25th of March, 1761. De Salis only obtained 258 votes, whereas the elected candidates polled 396 (John Dodd) and 355 (Sir Francis Knollys).[3]

After returning to Provence having executed his uncle Charles Fane (c1707-1766)'s will in 1766,[4] he continued to live at Arles, Salon, Nîmes and Hieres (also spelled: Hyères), where he died and was buried at the Couvent (Convent) des Cordeliers (now the Église Saint-Louis d'Hyères) in 1781.

On 6th April, 1764, Charles' contemporary, Edward Gibbon, wrote in his diary whilst in Lausanne: De Salis d'une indifférence qui vient plus d'un défaut de sensibilité que d'un excès de raison (this translates as: De Salis [has] an indifference that comes more from a lack of sensitivity due to excess [of grape].). [5]

He seems to have shared with his mother, maternal-grandmother (Mary Stanhope), and to a greater degree, his maternal aunt Dorothy Montagu, Countess of Sandwich a predilection for the vapours. De Salis and his mother both received treatment in Provence to cure their own low-spirits from the renowned vapour theorist, Monsieur Pierre Pomme.[6][7][no citations needed here]


  1. Eton College Register, 1753-1790, R. A. Austen-Leigh, 1921, page 157.
  2. Fane de Salis MSS
  3. History of Parliament, 1754-1790, 1964.
  4. After defeat De Salis in 1761 retired to southern France but returned to England on his uncle's death in 1766. He wrote to his mother about his uncle on 16 April 1766: I am afraid ... all the personal and real estates [in counties Armagh; Limerick; Devon; and Berkshire] subject to the payment of Lord Fane’s debts do not amount to much more than the lists of debts we have got in. (The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790). This was significant in that Basildon Park estate was sold to Sir Francis Sykes, 1st Baronet.
  5. Quoted from The Life of Edward Gibbon, by Rev. H. H. Milman, Paris, 1840, page 125. It is possible that Gibbon is referring to Charles' brother Peter, though as according to Horace Walpole (Walpole to John Chute, Paris, August 30 1769 re a Pomme treatment on (the 17th) Lord Dacre, who was 'prescribed wine') Pomme recommended wine as a cure for the vapours it is most likely that this was Charles.
  6. See Monsieur Pomme's Traité des affections vaporeuses des deux sexes, ou maladies nerveuses, vulgairement appelées maux de nerfs, Lyons, 1764, etc. Not a valid source but the German Wikipedia has a respectable article on Dr. Pierre Pomme.
  7. Jean Monteil, 'Un manuscrit inachevé de Grasset' : Pierre Pomme et les maladies nerveuses au XVIIIe siècle. 'Manuscrit signalé dans la Revue Histoire des sciences médicales', 11, 2, 1977, pp. 60-62.
  • R. de Salis, Quadrennial di Fano Saliceorum, volume one, London, 2003
  • printed sources: History of Parliament, GEC, VCH
  • manuscript & family knowledge (Fane de Salis MSS)