CALVERT, Charles, 5th Baron Baltimore [I] (1699-1751), of Woodcott Green, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1734 - 1741
1741 - 24 Apr. 1751

Family and Education

b. 29 Sept. 1699, 1st. s. of Benedict Leonard Calvert, 4th Baron Baltimore [I], by Lady Charlotte Lee, da. of Edward Henry, 1st Earl of Lichfield. m. 20 July 1730, Mary da. of Sir Theodore Janssen, 1st Bt., of Wimbledon, Surr., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 16 Apr. 1715.

Offices Held

Proprietor of Maryland, and gov. 1732-3; gentleman of the bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1731-Apr. 1747; ld. of Admiralty Mar. 1742-Apr. 1745; e. bro. of Trinity House 1744-51; cofferer of the household to Prince of Wales Apr. 1747-Mar. 1751; surveyor gen. of duchy of Cornwall Apr. 1747-Mar. 1751.

Biography

After unsuccessfully contesting Surrey in 1722 and Guildford in 1728, Baltimore was brought in for St. Germans by Richard Eliot, like himself in the service of Frederick, Prince of Wales. In 1735 and 1736 he moved for grants in aid of the colony of Georgia, of which he was a trustee.1 In 1737, at Walpole’s request, he attempted to dissuade the Prince of Wales from applying to Parliament for an increase in his allowance. During the debate on the application he read a statement in reply to Walpole, explaining that he was speaking on the Prince’s instructions. ‘Lord Baltimore’, said George II, ‘wants to be well at both courts, and is well at neither, and entre nous is a little mad.’ He followed Frederick into opposition, voting against the Convention in 1739 and speaking against the Government, chiefly on naval matters, on which he was an acknowledged expert.2 He was one of the opposition Whigs who withdrew on the motion for the removal of Walpole in February 1741. On Walpole’s fall he obtained a seat on the Admiralty board, speaking for the Government on the Hanoverians on 6 Dec. 1743, and on the Address at the opening of Parliament in January 1744.3 He resigned his post in 1745 because Lord Vere Beauclerk had been given precedence over him on the board.4 When Frederick reverted to opposition in 1747 Baltimore took the lead of the Prince’s party in the Commons, jointly presiding over the meeting of 4 June with the Tories to concert terms for common action in the general election.5 ‘He is the best and honestest man in the world’, wrote Horace Walpole, ‘with a good deal of jumbled knowledge, but not capable of leading a party’.6 He was soon superseded as leader by the 2nd Lord Egmont, in whose lists he figures as first lord of the Admiralty when Frederick should come to the throne. He died shortly after Frederick’s death, 24 Apr. 1751. He was noted for his verbal near-misses, such as ‘patriarchs’ for ‘patriots’, ‘area’ for ‘era’, and ‘idioms’ for ‘ideas’.7

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick

Notes

  • 1. HMC Egmont Diary, ii. 162, 239, 250, 462.
  • 2. Hervey, Mems. 632, 666, 691, 817.
  • 3. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 139, 649.
  • 4. Walpole to Mann, 14 Jan. 1745.
  • 5. Owen, Pelhams, 312.
  • 6. Walpole to Mann, 27 Jan. 1747.