DAWNAY, Henry Pleydell, 3rd Visct. Downe [I] (1727-60), of Cowick Hall, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 8 Apr. 1727, 1st s. of Hon. John Dawnay. educ. Eton 1742; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1745. unm. suc. fa. 12 Aug. 1740; gd.-fa. as 3rd Visct. Downe [I] May 1741.
Ld. of the bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1751-d.; brevet lt.-col. in the army 1758.
When Sir Miles Stapylton decided to vacate his seat by accepting an employment, he mentioned Downe to Pelham as a possible successor. Pelham replied that as Downe
was of a Tory family, it might be disagreeable to some of the Whigs, and though I myself was very well satisfied of Lord Downe’s zeal for the King and his family, and his good disposition in other respects, it was not certain how the nobility and first gentlemen of Yorkshire might taste it.
He accordingly submitted the proposal to Lord Rockingham, formerly Sir Thomas Wentworth, the head of the Yorkshire Whigs, observing that
if by this means a young man of considerable fortune can be introduced to the county by your Lordship and those with whom you have acted,
it would be a great acquisition to the Whig cause in Yorkshire.1 Rockingham, while agreeing that Downe would be a great acquisition, considered that the approval of the Yorkshire Whigs should be obtained by calling a general meeting at York, by which Downe would be chosen ‘with greater credit and reputation to him than by a private nomination in London’.2 Lord Irwin, whom Pelham also consulted, likewise agreed that it would be
a pity to lose the acquisition of a young man of quality and of a good character and a large fortune, now proposing himself a Whig, only out of fear that he may change again.3
He was duly adopted at a general meeting and returned without opposition. He died 26 Dec. 1760 of wounds incurred on active service in Germany.