Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow

Last updated

An 1803 portrait of Lord Thurlow by Thomas Lawrence. Edward Thurlow, Baron Thurlow by Sir Thomas Lawrence.jpg
An 1803 portrait of Lord Thurlow by Thomas Lawrence.

Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow, PC, KC (9 December 1731 12 September 1806) was a British lawyer and Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1765 to 1778 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Thurlow. He served as Lord Chancellor of Great Britain for fourteen years and under four Prime Ministers.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

Tory A conservative political philosophy

A Tory is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved throughout history. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase "God, King, and Country". Tories generally advocate monarchism, and were historically of a high church Anglican religious heritage, opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction.

The House of Commons is the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada and historically was the name of the lower houses of the Kingdom of England, Kingdom of Great Britain, Kingdom of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Southern Ireland. Roughly equivalent bodies in other countries which were once part of the British Empire include the United States House of Representatives, the Australian House of Representatives, the New Zealand House of Representatives, and India's Lok Sabha.

Contents

Early life

Born at Bracon Ash, Norfolk, Thurlow was the eldest son of Reverend Thomas Thurlow. Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham, was his brother. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury and at Caius College, Cambridge. [1] However, he was forced to leave Cambridge in 1751 without a degree after coming into conflict with the authorities of the university. He was for some time articled to a solicitor in Lincoln's Inn, but in 1754 he was called to the Bar, Inner Temple. After a slow start, Thurlow eventually established a successful legal practice. He was made a King's Counsel in 1761 was elected a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1762. [2]

Norfolk County of England

Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and, to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).

Thomas Thurlow (1737–1791) was an English bishop.

Bishop of Durham Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Durham is the Anglican bishop responsible for the Diocese of Durham in the Province of York. The diocese is one of the oldest in England and its bishop is a member of the House of Lords. Paul Butler has been the Bishop of Durham since his election was confirmed at York Minster on 20 January 2014. The previous bishop was Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. The bishop is one of two who escort the sovereign at the coronation.

Political career

Lord Chancellor Thurlow Edward Thurlow.jpg
Lord Chancellor Thurlow
In Sin, Death, and the Devil (1792), James Gillray caricatured the political battle between Pitt (Death) and Thurlow (Satan), with Queen Charlotte (Sin) in the middle, protecting Pitt. Sin-Death-and-the-Devil-Gillray.jpeg
In Sin, Death, and the Devil (1792), James Gillray caricatured the political battle between Pitt (Death) and Thurlow (Satan), with Queen Charlotte (Sin) in the middle, protecting Pitt.

Thurlow then turned to politics, and in 1768 he was elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth as a Tory. Two years later, as a recognition of his defence in the previous January of the expulsion of John Wilkes he was appointed Solicitor-General in the government of Lord North. [2] He held this post until 1772, when he was promoted to Attorney General. He was to remain in this office for six years, during which period he became known as an ardent opponent of the American colonists' strive for independence. He is noted for his defeat in the case of Woodfall, who was publisher of the Letters of Junius, upon which a verdict of mistrial was entered by Lord Mansfield.

Tamworth (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Tamworth is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Christopher Pincher, a Conservative.

John Wilkes 18th-century English radical, journalist, and politician

John Wilkes was a British radical, journalist, and politician.

Solicitor General for England and Wales one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General

Her Majesty's Solicitor General for England and Wales, known informally as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law. He or she can exercise the powers of the Attorney General in the Attorney General's absence.

In 1778 Thurlow was admitted to the Privy Council, raised to the peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Ashfield in the County of Suffolk, [3] and appointed Lord Chancellor by Lord North. In this post he notably opposed the economical and constitutional reforms proposed by Edmund Burke and John Dunning. The Tory administration of Lord North fell in March 1782, after twelve years in office. The Whigs under Lord Rockingham came to power, but Thurlow nevertheless managed to cling on as Lord Chancellor. Rockingham died in July 1782, but Thurlow remained Lord Chancellor also when Lord Shelburne became Prime Minister. The latter government fell in April 1783, when a coalition government under Charles James Fox and Lord North was formed (with the Duke of Portland as titular Prime Minister). Thurlow was not invited to resume the role of Lord Chancellor, and instead the Great Seal was put into commission. He went into opposition and contributed to the downfall of the coalition in December 1783. William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister and reinstated Thurlow as Lord Chancellor. The relationship between Pitt and Thurlow was always fragile, and Thurlow often relied on his friendship with King George III to be able to remain in office. He opposed a bill for the restoration to the heirs of estates forfeited in the Jacobite rising of 1745. Partly to please the king, he consistently and strongly supported Warren Hastings, and negotiated with the Whigs to ensure his continued power in the event of a change of government. In 1792, when he attacked Pitt's bill to establish a fund to redeem the national debt, he was finally dismissed. [2]

Lord Chancellor senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom

The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest ranking among those Great Officers of State which are appointed regularly in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking even the Prime Minister. The Lord Chancellor is outranked only by the Lord High Steward, another Great Officer of State, who is appointed only for the day of coronations. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Prior to the Union there were separate Lord Chancellors for England and Wales, for Scotland and for Ireland.

Edmund Burke 18th-century Anglo-Irish statesman and political theorist

Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, who after moving to London in 1750 served as a member of parliament (MP) between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons with the Whig Party.

John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton British politician

John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton of Spitchwick the parish of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, was an English lawyer and politician, born in Ashburton in Devon, who served as Solicitor-General from 1768. He was first noticed in English politics when he wrote a notice in 1762 defending the British East India Company merchants against their Dutch rivals. He was a member of parliament from 1768 onward. His career in the House of Commons is best known for his motion in 1780 that "the influence of the crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished". He was created Baron Ashburton in 1782.

Later life

As a way of compensation, Thurlow was given a second peerage as Baron Thurlow, of Thurlow in the County of Suffolk, with remainder to his three nephews and their heirs male. [4] He was never to hold office again and retired into private life. However, in 1797 he intrigued for the formation of a government from which Pitt and Fox should be excluded, and in which the Earl of Moira should be Prime Minister and himself Lord Chancellor. [2] Despite the tacit support of the Prince of Wales the enterprise failed. His last recorded appearance in the House of Lords was in 1802. [2]

A peerage is a legal system historically comprising hereditary titles in various countries, comprising various noble ranks.

Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings Governor-General of India

Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, KG, PC, styled The Honourable Francis Rawdon from birth until 1762, as The Lord Rawdon between 1762 and 1783, and known as The Earl of Moira between 1793 and 1816, was an Anglo-Irish British politician and military officer who served as Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1823. He had also served with British forces for years during the American Revolutionary War and in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars. He took the additional surname 'Hastings' in 1790 in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon.

George IV of the United Kingdom King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover

George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.

Maria and Catherine, daughters of Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow (George Romney, 1783) Maria and Catherine, daughters of Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow, by George Romney.jpg
Maria and Catherine, daughters of Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow (George Romney, 1783)

Lord Thurlow never married, but left three natural daughters. He died at Brighton on 12 September 1806, aged 76, and was buried in the Temple Church. [2] The barony of 1778 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the barony of 1792 according to the special remainder by his nephew Edward, who was the eldest son of the first baron's brother, Right Reverend Thomas Thurlow, Bishop of Durham.

Brighton Town on south coast of England

Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the City of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.

Edward Hovell-Thurlow, 2nd Baron Thurlow (1781–1829) was the 2nd Baron Thurlow, known also as a poet. In 1814 he assumed by Royal licence the additional surname of Hovell, in commemoration of his ancestor Sir Richard Hovell.

Thurlow appears as a character in Alan Bennett's play The Madness of George III and the subsequent film adaptation, in which he was played by John Wood.

Notes

  1. "Thurlow, Edward (THRW748E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Renton 1911.
  3. "No. 11880". The London Gazette . 2 June 1778. p. 1.
  4. "No. 13424". The London Gazette . 9 June 1792. p. 396.

Related Research Articles

William Pitt the Younger 18th/19th-century British statesman

William Pitt the Younger was a prominent British Tory statesman of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest UK Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24. He left office in 1801, but served as Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of his time as Prime Minister. He is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, called William Pitt the Elder or simply "Chatham", who had previously served as Prime Minister.

George Grenville Prime Minister of Great Britain

George Grenville was a British Whig statesman who rose to the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain. Grenville was born into an influential political family and first entered Parliament in 1741 as an MP for Buckingham. He emerged as one of Cobham's Cubs, a group of young members of Parliament associated with Lord Cobham.

Frederick North, Lord North Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782

Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford,, better known by his courtesy title Lord North, which he used from 1752 to 1790 was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782. He led Great Britain through most of the American War of Independence. He also held a number of other cabinet posts, including Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville British politician, died 1834

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, was a British Pittite Tory and politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1806 to 1807, though he was a supporter of the British Whig Party for the duration of the Napoleonic Wars.

Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton British noble

Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton,, styled Earl of Euston between 1747 and 1757, was a British Whig statesman of the Georgian era. He is one of a handful of dukes who have served as Prime Minister.

Marquess of Rockingham

Marquess of Rockingham, in the County of Northampton, was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1746 for Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Earl of Malton. The Watson family descended from Lewis Watson, Member of Parliament for Lincoln. He was created a Baronet, of Rockingham Castle in the County of Northampton, in the Baronetage of England in 1621. In 1645 he was further honoured when he was raised to the Peerage of England as Baron Rockingham. The third Baron served as Lord-Lieutenant of Kent. In 1714 he was created Baron Throwley, Viscount Sondes and Earl of Rockingham in the Peerage of Great Britain. His eldest son Edward Watson, Viscount Sondes, predeceased him and he was succeeded by his grandson, the second Earl. The second Earl was Lord-Lieutenant of Kent before his early death in 1745. He was childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, Thomas. He had previously represented Canterbury in Parliament. He died in 1746, whereupon the barony of Throwley, viscountcy and earldom became extinct.

Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn British judge and politician

Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn, PC, KC was a Scottish lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1761 and 1780 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Loughborough. He served as Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1793 to 1801.

Charles Yorke British politician and Lord Chancellor

Charles Yorke PC was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst British lawyer and politician; Lord Chancellor of Great Britain

Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst, known as The Lord Apsley from 1771 to 1775, was a British lawyer and politician. He was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1771 to 1778.

Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave 18th/19th-century British Army general

General Henry Phipps, 1st Earl of Mulgrave GCB, PC, styled The Honourable Henry Phipps until 1792 and known as The Lord Mulgrave from 1792 to 1812, was a British soldier and politician. He notably served as Foreign Secretary under William Pitt the Younger from 1805 to 1806.

Baron Thurlow

Baron Thurlow, of Thurlow in the County of Suffolk, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1792 for the lawyer and politician Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow, with remainder to his younger brothers and the heirs male of their bodies.

Earl of Chatham

Earl of Chatham, in the County of Kent, was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1766 for William Pitt the Elder on his appointment as Lord Privy Seal, along with the subsidiary title Viscount Pitt, of Burton Pynsent in the County of Somerset, also in the Peerage of Great Britain.

Buckinghamshire is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885.

House of Cavendish British noble family

The House of Cavendish is a British noble house. The Cavendish family has been one of the richest and most influential aristocratic families in England since the 16th century, and has been rivalled in political influence perhaps only by the Marquesses of Salisbury and the Earls of Derby. They are descended from Sir John Cavendish of Cavendish in the county of Suffolk, and their numerous peerages included the Dukedom of Devonshire, the Dukedom of Newcastle, the Barony of Waterpark. and the Barony of Chesham. The head of the family is Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire, whose seat is Chatsworth House, one of the grandest private homes in the world.

Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, KB, PC (I) of Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire was a British Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1715 until 1728 when he was raised to the Peerage as Baron Malton.

Sir John Wrottesley, 8th Baronet British general, politician and Baronet

Sir John Wrottesley, 8th Baronet, of Wrottesley Hall in Staffordshire, was a British army officer and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1768 to 1787.

Thurlow is a surname and a given name, and may refer to:

Chatham ministry Government of Great Britain

The Chatham ministry was a British government led by William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham that ruled between 1766 and 1768. Because of Pitt's former prominence before his title, it is sometimes referred to as the Pitt ministry. Unusually for a politician considered to be Prime Minister, Pitt was not First Lord of the Treasury during the administration, but instead held the post of Lord Privy Seal.

Lewis Watson, 1st Baron Sondes, called Hon. Lewis Monson before 1746 and Hon. Lewis Watson from 1746 to 1760, was a British Whig politician and peer.

References

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hon. Thomas Villiers
Viscount Villiers
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
1765–1778
With: Hon. Thomas Villiers to March 1768
William de Grey March–November 1768
Charles Vernon 1768–74
Thomas de Grey from 1774
Succeeded by
Thomas de Grey
Anthony Chamier
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Dunning
Solicitor General for England and Wales
1770–1771
Succeeded by
Alexander Wedderburn
Preceded by
William de Grey
Attorney General for England and Wales
1771–1778
Succeeded by
Alexander Wedderburn
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl Bathurst
Lord Chancellor
1778–1783
Succeeded by
In Commission
Preceded by
In Commission
Lord Chancellor
1783–1792
Succeeded by
In Commission
Preceded by
The Earl of Northington
Teller of the Exchequer
1786–1806
Succeeded by
Hon. William Eden
Preceded by
Lord High Steward
1788–1792
Succeeded by
The Lord Loughborough
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Baron Thurlow (of Thurlow)
1792–1806
Succeeded by
Edward Hovell-Thurlow
Baron Thurlow (of Ashfield)
1778–1806
Extinct