Fane, John (1759–1841), 10th earl of Westmorland , lord lieutenant of Ireland, was born 1 June 1759, the eldest son of two sons and four daughters of John Fane, 9th earl of Westmorland, and his first wife, Augusta Fane (née Bertie). He succeeded to the title on the death of his father on 26 April 1774. Educated at Westminster, Charterhouse, and then Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he graduated MA in 1778. While at Cambridge he met the young William Pitt, whose friendship was the key factor in his political advancement.
In 1789 Pitt appointed him to the office of joint paymaster general, and on 14 October he was sworn into the privy council. On 24 October he was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, and he was sworn in on 5 January 1790, with Robert Hobart (qv) as his chief secretary. He received a doctorate from TCD in his first year in Ireland. His tenure was characterised by his heavy reliance upon a regular group of advisers from among the main political officeholders: John FitzGibbon (qv), John Beresford (qv), John Foster (qv), Sir John Parnell (qv), and Charles Agar (qv), who encouraged him to resist concessions to catholics. As a result, he often acted more as the representative of this Irish cabinet than of the British government. Pitt discussed the idea of a union with him in 1792, and Fane used the opportunity to raise his fears of further reforms. His opposition to catholic relief almost scuttled the 1793 relief act; however he lost his nerve and decided against taking a stand, even when the Irish cabinet refused to go to London in December 1792. He feared the loss of Pitt's patronage, and regularly sought reassurances about his future career in England upon his return. For his services, he was made a knight of the Garter on 12 June 1793.
In many ways Westmorland was a caretaker viceroy: he was young and inexperienced and aware that from 1793 Pitt was offering the position to the Portland whigs as part of any future coalition arrangement. He was too weak and immature to avoid falling under the spell of FitzGibbon, who dominated him completely. FitzGibbon's prejudices became Westmorland's firm convictions, as the administration took an increasingly hard line with reformers and radicals, prosecuting many of them, particularly after the outbreak of war with France in February 1793. In December 1794 he was recalled to make way for Earl Fitzwilliam (qv), a more sympathetic figure on the catholic question; he was made master of the horse upon his return. He continued to advise on Irish affairs and, with Hobart and William Eden (qv), was part of a group that privately advised George III. In 1798 he was appointed lord privy seal, a cabinet office which he held for thirty years, except for a brief interval in 1806–7 during the ‘ministry of all the talents’ led by Lord Grenville (qv). He resigned in 1827 upon the accession as prime minister of George Canning, whose catholic sympathies were anathema to him, and who, in any case, despised him. He retired from politics, and in the final years of his life lost his sight completely.
He married twice, first on 20 May 1782, when he eloped to Scotland with Sarah Anne Child, only daughter and heir of Robert Child, of Middlesex, a wealthy banker. They had one son, John, who succeeded his father as 11th earl, and three daughters, the eldest of whom succeeded to her maternal grandfather's vast estate. Sarah died in 1793, and Westmorland married on 24 March 1800 Jane, daughter and co-heir of R. H. Saunders, MD; they had three sons and two daughters. Westmorland died on 15 December 1841.