CHAMPION, Anthony (1725-1801), of Croydon, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 5 Feb. 1725, s. of Peter and Catherine Champion of Croydon, Surr. educ. Cheam; Eton 1739-43; St. Mary Hall, Oxf. 1743; M. Temple 1739, called 1749; bencher 1779; reader 1785. unm. suc. fa. 27 May 1758.
Champion’s father, a rich Leghorn merchant, was of Cornish origin. Anthony, a contemporary of Edward Eliot at St. Mary Hall, Oxford, was returned by him for St. Germans—a friend, wrote Eliot to Newcastle, 18 Mar. 1754, ‘whose attachment to his Majesty’s person and family and Government I can be answerable for’.1 When in the autumn of 1755 Eliot went to France for his health, Champion accompanied him, but returned home at Newcastle’s request to Eliot, to attend Parliament. In 1761 he was returned by Eliot for Liskeard. In the divisions on the peace preliminaries, 1, 9, and 10 Dec. 1762, Champion voted with Opposition, while Eliot stayed away. In three divisions on Wilkes and general warrants (15 Nov. 1763, and 15 and 18 Feb. 1764) Champion again voted with Opposition, as did Eliot in the two February divisions; but on 6 Feb., when almost all the lawyers voted with the Government, Champion and Eliot did likewise. In the summer of 1765 both were listed ‘pro’ by Rockingham; and in 1766-7 were classed as supporters of the Chatham Administration—Champion voted with them even on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767. There is no record of his having spoken in the House; and W. H. Lyttelton who, after Champion’s death published a volume by him of Miscellanies in Verse and Prose, wrote in the preface that Champion sat in Parliament ‘a mute observer of the scene’—
the same great modesty and reserve restrained him from displaying the powers of his very discerning and enlightened mind in that illustrious assembly, which prevented him also from communicating to the world those effusions of his rich and luxuriant vein of poetry that are now submitted to the judgment of the public.
Champion died 22 Feb. 1801.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: Sir Lewis Namier
- 1. Add. 32734, f. 275; 32735, f. 599.