PEYTON, Sir Henry, 1st Bt. (1736-89), of Doddington, Cambs.
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Family and Education
b. 13 Apr. 1736, 1st s. of George Dashwood (1st cos. of Sir James Dashwood, 2nd Bt.), by Margaret, da. of Sir Sewster Peyton, 2nd Bt., of Doddington. m. 2 Dec. 1771, Frances, da. of Sir John Rous, 5th Bt., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1762; uncle 29 June 1771, and took name of Peyton; cr. Bt. 18 Sept. 1776.
In 1782 Peyton stood for Cambridgeshire with the support of the Duke of Rutland and Lord Hardwicke. Hardwicke wrote about him to Philip Yorke, the other county Member, on 23 May 1782:
Sir Henry Peyton dislikes many of the things we do, short Parliaments, new modes of election, etc ... is no violent American, and shook his head about losing our authority in Ireland ... I rather take Sir Henry to be a moderate Tory.
And Philip Yorke to Hardwicke: ‘Sir Henry is a mere country gentleman, without much knowledge of the world, and no more polish than his wife has given him.’1
At the nomination meeting on 29 May Peyton said ‘that at present he thought the designs of ministers just and beneficial, and that as long as he thought so he would support them’.2 Pressed by the Dissenters to pledge his support for parliamentary reform and shorter Parliaments, he declared ‘he would not go into Parliament with his hands tied’; ‘losing his temper, [he] turned away in a pet, and replied he did not want to represent them upon any such terms’.3
For a few days it seemed that there might be an opposition. But at the county meeting of 8 June to consider an address to the King, Peyton ‘with very visible embarrassment’, moved resolutions on parliamentary reform and shorter Parliaments.
Mr. Hollick junior [a leading Cambridgeshire Dissenter] acquainted the freeholders that since their last meeting he with some others had conferred with Sir Henry on the subject of their former differences, that now he with his friends were perfectly satisfied with Sir Henry’s political principles, and therefore ... would decline any further opposition.