HOTHAM, Beaumont (1737-1814).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1768 - May 1775

Family and Education

b. 5 Aug. 1737, 4th s. of Sir Beaumont Hotham, 7th Bt., by Frances, da. and coh. of Rev. Stephen Thompson of Welton, Yorks.; bro. of Charles Hotham.  educ. Westminster 1745; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1753; M. Temple 1753, called 1758.  m. 6 June 1767, Susanna, da. of Sir Thomas Hankey, alderman of London, gd.-da. of Sir John Barnard, wid. of James Norman of East Molesey, Surr., 3s. 3da.  Kntd. 17 May 1775.  suc. bro. William as and Baron Hotham [I] and 12th Bt. 1 or 2 May 1813.

Offices Held

Baron of the Exchequer 1775-1805; commr. of the great seal Apr.-Dec. 1783.


Hotham, a school fellow and close friend of William Henry, 3rd Duke of Portland, was legal adviser and auditor of the Duke’s estates (also, after 1775, of those of the Duke of Devonshire). He was returned on Portland’s interest for Wigan, where he had also old family connexions. Before the general election of 1774 he offered to stand down in favour of Lord Edward Bentinck; and when Portland refused, wrote on 24 Oct.:1

I beg to repeat, that nothwithstanding what you have said, I shall consider myself as holding it in trust for Lord Edward (if he comes in nowhere else) to be resigned to him, whenever you or he shall entertain the most distant wish that it should be so ... I owe you this, and a great deal more, more than I shall ever be able I am sure to repay you or your family.

In the debates 1768-75, 24 speeches or interventions of his are recorded (in March 1772 he spoke five times against the royal marriage bill, a subject about which the court was very touchy). His name appears in ten division lists, and every time on the Opposition side. Yet when in May 1775 the place of baron of the Exchequer was about to fall vacant, Hotham was given the appointment as part of a deal between Portland and the Administration, and in return the seat vacated by Hotham at Wigan was given to John Morton, an Administration supporter. Hotham was appointed on the 10th, and on the 15th the King wrote to North: ‘I thoroughly approve of the arrangement in consequence of the declining state of Baron Perrott; Mr. Hotham’s character qualifies for this promotion; and Mr. Morton will prove a more agreeable attender in his room.’2

In April 1777, when Portland’s financial difficulties were acute, Hotham wrote to him waiving further payments for his services

for I am sure that every little must now be material to you, and I owe so much to your unexampled friendship and generosity towards me that I cannot feel happy without doing everything in my power to relieve your distress.3

He continued to act for the Duke without pay.

Hotham died 4 Mar. 1814.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Portland mss.
  • 2. Fortescue, iii. 209.
  • 3. A. S. Turberville, Hist. Welbeck Abbey, ii. 155.