CORBET, William (1702-48), of Stoke, Salop.
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Family and Education
Assistant, R. African Co. 1726, 1728-31; commr. of revenue [I] 1741-7; clerk of the pipe 1748-d.
Corbet married William Pitt’s eldest sister, Harriot, according to her nephew, the 1st Lord Camelford, ‘one of the most beautiful women of her time, but little produced in the great world, and died very young from anxiety of mind in consequence of a foolish engagement she entered into with Mr. Corbet ... to whom she was privately married’.1 After unsuccessfully contesting Newcastle-under-Lyme in November 1724, he joined interest with H. A. Herbert, afterwards Lord Powis, to whom he owed both his seats.
A man of some financial ability, Corbet was one of three M.P.s on the board of the Royal African Co. who piloted the company’s petition concerning their forts through the House against the opposition of the free traders to Africa in 1729-30.2 His only reported speech was against the repeal of the Test Act in 1739.3 Consistently voting with the Government he obtained a post in Ireland worth £1,000 p.a., which he gave up in 1747, when it became incompatible with a seat in Parliament under the Place Act of 1742. In 1748 he was appointed to the life sinecure of clerk of the pipe worth about £500 p.a., dying three months later on 15 Sept. ‘of a dropsy, much lamented ... by the Duke of Grafton, who has lost in him a right hand’.4