MANN, Sir Horatio (1744-1814), of Linton, nr. Maidstone, Kent
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Family and Education
b. 2 Feb. 1744, o. surv. s. of Galfridus Mann, army clothier, of Boughton Malherbe, Kent by Sarah, da. of John Gregory of London; nephew and h. of Sir Horatio Mann, 1st Bt., British diplomatic representative in Tuscany 1738-86 and friend and correspondent of Horace Walpole. educ. Charterhouse; Peterhouse, Camb. 1760. m. 13 Apr. 1765, Lady Lucy Noel, da. of Baptist, 4th Earl of Gainsborough, 3da. suc. fa. 21 Dec. 1756; kntd. 10 June 1772, to act as proxy for his uncle at the installation of the Bath; suc. uncle as 2nd Bt. 6 Nov. 1786.
Mann inherited above £100,000 from his father,1 while the Linton estate gave the family considerable interest at Maidstone. When Parliament was dissolved in 1774 he was about to go abroad for his wife’s health: he turned back to contest Maidstone, and was elected head of the poll. In 1775 the elder Sir Horace, on succeeding his brother, made over the family estate, in return for an annuity, to his nephew and heir.
Mann returned to England in November 1778, after having visited France, Tuscany, and Austria. On 12 Feb. 1779 he voted for the contractors bill, but was marked by Robinson as a friend to Administration; and on 3 Mar. voted with them on the motion about Keppel. His first speech, 8 Mar., in the debate on the censure motion against the Admiralty, was highly critical of Administration, and he voted against them. This upset Horace Walpole, who, although opposed to the American war, feared Mann’s conduct might be held to the account of his uncle; to whom he wrote on 9 Mar. 1779:
Your nephew did speak yesterday, and very well; but not for the Administration. It surprises me much; for the last time I saw him, not a fortnight ago, his language was very different ... and I told you how much I encouraged him in those sentiments on your account ... I shall entreat him not to frequent the House, and to return to you, rather than act a part that would be so unpleasing to you.
And on 22 Mar.:
I hear he has, since his parenthesis, voted again with the court; therefore he has probably not taken a new part, but only made a Pindaric transition on a particular question. I have seen him but twice since his arrival, and ... I had no reason to expect he would act differently from what you wished.
In the summer of 1779 he again visited Florence—‘It was uncommon merit to take so long a journey for a moment’, wrote Walpole2—as he did almost every succeeding year till his uncle’s death. In 1780 he became much more critical of Administration—he voted against them in each of the five divisions March to April—but was firm in his dislike of the Opposition and in his support for the American war. On 6 Apr. he told the House3 ‘that at no preceding period in this [century] was public economy more necessary’ and that ‘no man ... was more firmly convinced that the influence of the Crown had increased and ought to be diminished’; yet maintained that the county associations
threatened anarchy and public confusion; that they might be productive of the worst, but could be productive of no good consequences ... and went to establish a control over that House repugnant to the scheme and spirit of the English constitution.
And on 6 Nov. he said that prosecuting the American war with vigour was ‘now more than ever ... a necessary and a wise measure’.4 Robinson, in his electoral survey of 1780, wrote:
Sir Horace Mann is canvassed against because on the popular questions he has gone against, but he is often for, and inclines to support Government and the present constitution.
At the general election he was again returned head of the poll.
Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown convinced him the war was lost, and on 12 Dec. 1781 he voted against continuing it. In each of the five divisions February-March 1782 he voted against Administration. He had supported the war, he said on 27 Feb., because he believed it to be just and practicable; but now ‘it would be madness to pursue it any longer’. And on 8 Mar. he told the ministers they had lost the confidence of the House, and that ‘the present distracted and trembling system could not go on’.5
He criticized parliamentary reform as ‘rather premature’: ‘there undoubtedly was room for a reform’, he said on 7 May 1782, ‘but now was not the proper time’. He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, which he described as ‘a heap of everything that was disgraceful and degrading to this country’; and, with reference to the struggle between Shelburne and the Coalition, claimed to have ‘no political connections’ and to be ‘affected to neither party nor party views’.6 He did not vote on Fox’s East India bill; belonged to the St. Alban’s Tavern group of country gentlemen who tried to bring about a union between Fox and Pitt; and opposed Pitt’s remaining in office. He did not stand in 1784.
He was in Florence when his uncle died on 6 Nov. 1786, and for a few months acted as chargé d’affaires. He died 2 Apr. 1814.