Lord Edward Thynne

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Lord Edward Thynne (23 January 1807 – 4 February 1884) [1] was an English nobleman. After a short career as an army officer, he sat in the House of Commons for two periods, separated by 26 years, and opposed parliamentary reform on both occasions.

House of Commons of the United Kingdom Lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

Contents

A duellist and philanderer who outlived his two wives, Thynne gambled away his own wealth and that of his first wife. In 1881, the aged Thynne was described by Vanity Fair magazine as a "hoary old reprobate". [2]

Duel arranged engagement in combat between two individuals

A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules. Duels in this form were chiefly practiced in early modern Europe with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among military officers.

Early life

Thynne was the 8th child of Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath and Isabella Byng, daughter of the 4th Viscount Torrington. He was educated at Charterhouse and then matriculated in 1825 to Oriel College, Oxford. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in March 1828, [3] he was commissioned in April 1828 as a second lieutenant in the Duke of York's rifle corps. [4]

Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath British politician

Thomas Thynne, 2nd Marquess of Bath KG, styled Viscount Weymouth from 1789 until 1796, was a British peer.

George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington British Viscount

George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington was an English peer.

Charterhouse School English collegiate independent boarding school

Charterhouse is a boarding school in Godalming, Surrey. Originally founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield, London, it educates over 800 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years, and is one of the original Great Nine English public schools. Today pupils are still referred to as Carthusians, and ex-pupils as Old Carthusians.

He retired from the British Army in June 1830 [5] when he married Elizabeth Mellish, the heir to William Mellish a wealthy naval contractor. [1] The novelist Emily Eden described him in a letter at that time as "totally unlike all the Thynnes I ever saw—full of fun and dashes out everything that comes into his head". [6]

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

William Mellish was an English business man who was involved in supplying the British Navy particularly during the American War of Independence. He also owned or part-owned a number of whaling ships. For much of his career he was in business with his brother Peter Mellish. Their father Peter Mellish sr had been a butcher in Shadwell, and they bid to supply the Navy with Beef under a competitive tenrdering procedure. Thus, for example, in 1794 they won the contract to supply 3,000 head of oxen for sea stores.

Emily Eden British writer and artist

Emily Eden was an English poet and novelist who gave witty accounts of English life in the early 19th century.

Career

At the 1831 general election his father bought him a seat as Member of Parliament (MP) for the rotten borough of Weobley, alongside his brother Lord Henry Frederick Thynne. [1] The borough was disenfranchised under the Reform Act 1832, which he and his brother had repeatedly voted against. [1]

1831 United Kingdom general election

The 1831 United Kingdom general election saw a landslide win by supporters of electoral reform, which was the major election issue. As a result, it was the last unreformed election, as the Parliament which resulted ensured the passage of the Reform Act 1832. Polling was held from 28 April to 1 June 1831. The Whigs won a majority of 136 over the Tories, which was as near to a landslide as the unreformed electoral system could deliver. As the Government obtained a dissolution of Parliament once the new electoral system had been enacted, the resulting Parliament was a short one and there was another election the following year. The election was the first since 1715 to see a victory by a party previously in minority.

Weobley was a parliamentary borough in Herefordshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons in 1295 and from 1628 until 1832, when the borough was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

Henry Thynne, 3rd Marquess of Bath British naval commander and politician

Henry Frederick Thynne, 3rd Marquess of Bath, styled Lord Henry Thynne until January 1837 and Viscount Weymouth between January and March 1837, was a British naval commander and politician.

Despite having been given £20,000 by his father when he married in 1830 [7] (equivalent to £1,935,000in 2018 [8] ), by 1832 Thynne's marriage and finances were in deep trouble. His wife was estranged from him, and he was repeatedly sued by his creditor Thomas Slingsby Duncombe; [1] in response he canvassed against Dubscombe at the Finsbury by-election in 1834, and at the following year's general election. [1]

Thomas Slingsby Duncombe British politician

Thomas Slingsby Duncombe was a Radical politician, who was a member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Hertford from 1826 to 1832 and for Finsbury from 1834 until his death. Duncombe was a tireless champion of radical causes in the 27 years he served the North East London borough of Finsbury. But he was equally well known for his style; he was, it was often said, "the handsomest and best-dressed man in the house," and his love for theatre, gaming and women were well publicized. Duncombe was elected and then returned to his seat seven times by the shopkeepers, artisans and laborers, the Nonconformists, Catholics, and Jews of Finsbury, making him the longest-sitting representative of a metropolitan borough in his day. His constituents called him "Honest Tom Duncombe" with great affection; to his detractors he was known as the "Dandy Demagogue" or the "Radical Dandy". His name was celebrated in working men’s newspapers and frequently mentioned in the gossip sheets of high society. Duncombe was, as The Times put it delicately upon his death, a "character".

1835 United Kingdom general election

The 1835 United Kingdom general election was called when Parliament was dissolved on 29 December 1834. Polling took place between 6 January and 6 February 1835, and the results saw Robert Peel's Conservatives make large gains from their low of the 1832 election, but the Whigs maintained a large majority.

In 1837, he fought a duel on Battersea Fields with a Mr. Passmore, over "a young lady". Each fired three shots without effect. [9]

In 1835 his father gave him a further £60,000 to clear his debts (equivalent to £5,804,000in 2018 [8] ). However, after his father's death in 1837, his family cut him off, and by August of that year he was imprisoned for debt in the Queen's Bench Prison in Southwark. [10] Thynne and Dunscombe resolved their quarrel in November, triggering Thynne's release from prison and allowing him to avoid bankruptcy. [11] When Thynne was discharged from insolvency at the end of that month, the court was told that his debts were £221,059 (equivalent to £20.9 million in 2019 [8] ), which The Spectator described as an "enormous sum". [12]

After the death of Elizabeth's father, when his estate was reported at nearly £3 million [13] (equivalent to £283 million in 2019 [8] ), she unsuccessfully sued her family for more of her father's wealth (having been given £100,000 on her marriage, equivalent to £9,673,000in 2018). [7] Her estate was worth only £3,000 when she died in 1849. [1]

Thynne married again in 1853, to Cecilia Gore, daughter of the novelist Catherine Gore. [1] As a girl, Cecilia had been famous for her wasp waist. [14] The historian Macaulay described the union in his memoirs as "the noosing of a young – or rather a defiant young flirt to an old roué". [15]

Thynne was a skilled marksman who in 1851 shot a golden eagle with a rifle at a hundred yards range, while deer stalking in Scotland as a guest of the Earl of Malmesbury. The killing of the 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg) bird was reported to be the only instance of a flying eagle being killed with a single ball. [16] He resumed his military career in 1855, when he was appointed as a cornet in the Wiltshire Yeomanry Cavalry. [17] In 1863, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 18th Somerset Volunteer Rifle Corps [18]

Return to Parliament

In July 1856, the Liberal MP Viscount Dungarvan succeeded to the peerage, triggering a by-election in July for his Commons seat in the borough of Frome in Somerset. [19] Thynne was one of three candidates nominated, and a poll was demanded, but Thynne later withdrew. The seat was won by the Liberal William George Boyle, a relative of Dungarvan's. [20] [21] [22]

The following year, at the 1857 general election, Thynne was nominated again, and this time did not withdraw. However, he polled poorly, coming third behind two Liberal candidates. Boyle lost the seat to fellow Liberal Donald Nicoll.

At the 1859 general election Thynne was returned to the House of Commons after a 26-year absence. [19] [23] Standing as an "anti-ballot conservative", he had defeated the sitting Nicoll by 194 votes to 147. [24] A petition was lodged against the result, [25] but subsequently withdrawn amidst a dispute about allegations that Nicoll had made improper use of Disraeli's name, a charge which Nicoll strenuously denied. [26] Thynne did not contest the 1865 election, [27] when Sir Henry Rawlinson regained the seat for the Liberals. [19]

Some time in 1872, Thynne called at the London home of the 5th Marquess Townshend, and eloped to France with his wife Clementina (née Duff). Clementina, who was 16 years Townshend's junior and 40 years younger than Thynne, [2] had been neglected by her philanthropist husband, and was described as "more than willing" to escape. Her husband had to wait 9 years for his revenge. [2]

At the Salisbury Petty Sessions in May 1881, Thynne described how he had been accosted by Lord Townshend and two accomplices on the road between Laverstock and Salisbury. A Colonel Nepean held the pony's head while Townshend struck him several times with the handle of a horse whip. Thynne acknowledged having eloped with Lady Townshend in 1872, but noted that the Marquis had never sued for divorce, and alleged that Lord Macduff had attacked him over the same matter while he was abroad. [28]

Townshend was convicted of the assault, and sentenced to a fine of £500 or three months in prison. After some hours in jail, he reluctantly paid the fine, equivalent to £49,500 in 2019 [8] . Townshend denounced the court, while Vanity Fair reported unnamed others as saying "the only regret is that he [Thynne] was not thrashed earlier and worse". [2]

In January 1884, Thynne fell ill with rheumatic gout. He died on 4 February 1884, at his home Laverstock, near Salisbury. [17] Mary had died in 1879, and they were both survived by one daughter. [17]

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References

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Henry Thynne
Lord William Thynne
Member of Parliament for Weobley
18311832
With: Lord Henry Thynne
borough disenfranchised
Preceded by
Donald Nicoll
Member of Parliament for Frome
18591865
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Rawlinson, Bt