LUTTRELL, Hon. Henry Lawes (?1737-1821), of Painshill, Surr.

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

Constituency

Dates

1768 - Apr. 1769
15 Apr. 1769 - 1774
1774 - 1784
1790 - Feb. 1794
28 June 1817 - 25 Apr. 1821

Family and Education

b. ?1737, 1st s. of Simon Luttrell, and bro. of James, John, and Temple Simon Luttrell.  educ. Westminster 1751; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 13 Jan. 1755, aged 17.  m. 25 June 1776, Jane, da. of George Boyd of Dublin., s.p.  Styled Lord Luttrell 23 June 1785-14 Jan. 1787 when he suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Carhampton [I].

Offices Held

M.P. [I] 1783-7.

Ensign 48 Ft. 1757; lt. 34 Ft. 1759; capt. 16 Lt. Drag. 1759, maj. 1762; dep. adjutant-gen. in Portugal and local lt.-col. 1762; lt.-col. 1 Horse 1765; adjutant-gen. [I] 1770-83; col. 1777; maj.-gen. 1782; lt.-gen. of Ordnance [I] 1787-97; col. 6 Drag. Gds. 1788- d.; lt.-gen. 1793; c.in-c. [I] 1796-7; master-gen. of Ordnance [I] 1797-1800; gen. 1798.

Biography

In 1768 Luttrell was returned for Bossiney by Lord Edgcumbe, the seat being bought for him by the Duke of Portland as compensation for the surrender of the Luttrell interest at Wigan. In Parliament he soon became prominent by his hostility to Wilkes. According to Walpole, he had ‘a personal enmity to Wilkes’,1 and although the two seem never to have come into contact it is difficult otherwise to account for the rancour and pertinacity with which Luttrell pursued Wilkes. On 16 May 1768, in his maiden speech, Luttrell raised the question of Wilkes; on 18 May embarrassed Administration by asking why the law had not been put into force against him; and on 23 Jan. 1769 charged him with ‘infamous crimes’ and ‘infernal practices’, and demanded his expulsion and punishment.2

On 16 Mar. 1769, Wilkes was re-elected a third time for Middlesex, although he had been twice expelled and declared incapable of sitting in that Parliament; and the next day the election was declared void. It was obvious that he would again offer himself and that no other candidate stood a chance; and there appeared no end to the process of election, expulsion, and re-election. Now Luttrell, who had no property in Middlesex, offered to stand for the county if the court would support him and ensure his return on petition; and on 27 Mar. he declared himself a candidate. It was a rash and presumptuous act: for over a year Middlesex had been in a turbulent state, and few men of property in the county were willing to incur the unpopularity of supporting Luttrell. The election was on 13 Apr., and Luttrell was beaten by 1,143 votes to 296; on the 14th the election was again declared void; and on the 15th a motion declaring Luttrell duly elected was carried in the House by 197 to 143.

Luttrell, wrote Walpole,3‘for some months did not dare to appear in the streets or scarce quit his lodgings.’ He was the most unpopular man in the House of Commons; newspapers were full of abuse of him; scores of pamphlets appeared, vilifying his character and private life; and the most scandalous stories were circulated about him and his family. Not until the winter of 1770, when war with Spain threatened, did the uproar about the Middlesex election die down in the House of Commons.

As a reward, the post of adjutant-general in Ireland was vacated for him. But he was dissatisfied, and towards the end of 1771 threatened to resign his seat for Middlesex.4 According to Gibbon:5

The Colonel’s expenses in his bold enterprise were yet unpaid by Government. The hero threatened, assumed the patriot, received a sop, and again sunk into the courtier.

In March 1772 he voted with his father against the royal marriage bill, probably in deference to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Cumberland. He does not appear in any other division list for this Parliament, and seems to have spent most of his time on military duty in Ireland.

In 1774 he was again returned for Bossiney on Lord Edgcumbe’s interest, but this time as a nominee of Administration. He quarrelled with his father, and refused to follow his family into Opposition. On 27 Jan. 1778 he ‘expressed his abhorrence of principles which led gentlemen to support rebellion’, and caused an uproar in the House by describing the Opposition as ‘abettors of treason and rebellion, combined purposely for the ruin of their country’.6 Only five speeches of his are reported between 1774 and the fall of North’s Administration, and he appears in no division list during this period—again, he probably spent most of the time in Ireland.

He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and was classed by Robinson as