HOGHTON, Sir Henry, 6th Bt. (1728-95), of Hoghton Tower, nr. Blackburn, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 22 Oct. 1728, 1st s. of Philip Hoghton by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Slater of Denham, Lancs; gd.-s. of Sir Charles Hoghton, 4th Bt. educ. Northampton acad.1 m. (1) 23 June 1760, Elizabeth (d. 19 May 1761), da. and h. of William Ashurst of Hedingham Castle, Essex, 1 da.; (2) 8 July 1766, Fanny, da. and coh. of Daniel Booth, director of the Bank of England, of Hutton Hall, Essex, 2s. suc. uncle as 6th Bt. 23 Feb. 1768.
Hoghton ‘was educated a Dissenter ... and continued invariably in communion with that body’.2 His family, one of the oldest in Lancashire, first represented the county in 1322; and for 53 years between 1710 and 1802 held one seat at Preston. In 1768 Hoghton stood on a joint interest with Lord Derby’s candidate, John Burgoyne; and after one of the most violent contests of the century, was seated on petition.
Wraxall described him as ‘a rigid Presbyterian, of ample fortune, adorned with the mildest manners’, and ‘without stain of any kind’.3 An independent inclined to support Administration, he nevertheless between 1768 and 1774 voted four times against them: on the Middlesex election, 15 Apr. 1769; the royal marriage bill, 11 Mar. 1772; the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773; and Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774. He always appears in their lists as a friend. He was a frequent speaker especially on matters concerning Lancashire, and tried several times (1772, 1779, 1787, 1789, 1790) to obtain relief for Protestant Dissenters.
He supported the American war; acted as a teller for the court on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779—which was unusual in an independent Member—and voted with North to the end. Even in May 1781 ‘he was persuaded ... that a majority of the inhabitants of North America were willing ... to return to obedience to the British Government’.4 He is known to have given only one vote against North—on the motion for an account of pensions, 21 Feb. 1780.
Hoghton voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; and in January 1784 was classed by Robinson as ‘very hopeful’. He was a member of the St. Alban’s Tavern group which tried to unite Pitt and Fox, and when this broke down, supported Pitt. Although he sat for the constituency with the widest franchise in Great Britain, he did not vote for parliamentary reform in either 1783 or 1785. He died 9 Mar. 1795.