SEYMOUR CONWAY, Francis, Visct. Beauchamp (1743-1822).
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Family and Education
b. 12 Feb. 1743, 1st s. of Francis, 1st Earl of Hertford, by Lady Isabella Fitzroy, da. of Charles, 2nd Duke of Grafton; bro. of Hon. George, Henry, Hugh, Robert and William Seymour Conway. educ. Eton 1754-9; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1760; Grand Tour. m. (1) 4 Feb. 1768, Hon. Alice Elizabeth Windsor (d. 11 Feb. 1772), da. and coh. of Herbert, 2nd Visct. Windsor [I], 1da.; (2) 20 May 1776, Hon. Isabella Anne Ingram, da. and coh. of Charles, 9th Visct. Irwin [S] 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Mq. of Hertford 14 June 1794; K.G. 18 July 1807.
M.P. [I] 1761-76.
Sec. to ld. lt. [I] July 1765-Aug. 1766; P.C. [I] 18 Oct. 1765; constable of Dublin castle Sept. 1766- d.; ld. of Treasury 1774-80; P.C. [G.B.] 2 Feb. 1780; cofferer of Household 1780-Mar. 1782; master of the horse 1804-6; ld. chamberlain 1821-21; ld. lt. Warws. 1816- d.
Lord Hertford, Lord Beauchamp’s father, was the brother of General Henry Seymour Conway and a cousin of Horace Walpole. Of his seven sons, six entered the House of Commons and the seventh took orders and became a canon of Christ Church. Walpole described Hertford as ‘a perfect courtier’;1 and his principal aims in politics were to provide for his children and obtain a marquessate. Walpole wrote of his ‘great propensity to heap emoluments upon his children’;2 and Lord Bristol described him in 1767 as ‘an excellent solicitor’, who ‘has a constant appetite for all preferments for himself and family, with the quickest digestion and the shortest memory of past favours of any of the present noblemen of this moderate and reasonable age’.3 His sons generally followed their father’s political line, but his brother, General Conway, took his own.
While Lord Beauchamp was in Ireland with his father, he was returned for Lostwithiel on Lord Edgcumbe’s interest, at the request of his uncle General Conway.4 During the Chatham Administration Beauchamp adhered closely to Conway: voted against Townshend’s American resolutions, 13 May 1767;5and against the East India dividend bill, 26 May;6 and even as late as 5 Mar. 1770 voted with Conway for the repeal of the tea duty.7 Walpole describes him in 1769 as ‘ambitious of establishing a great power in his family, both by income and parliamentary interest’.8 In 1768 he was returned for Orford, hitherto a Treasury borough, which had been ceded to Hertford after repeated importunings. During the American war Beauchamp was a regular supporter of North’s Administration; in 1774 became a lord of the Treasury; in November 1778 was a candidate for secretary at war (a place he coveted); and eventually, ‘to keep the Hertford family well inclined’, was appointed cofferer of the Household.9
Beauchamp spoke frequently in Parliament, but only occasionally on the American war. Ireland was his special interest, and on this he held views in advance of Administration: he supported the repeal of the penal laws, proposed the removal of commercial restrictions, and defended Irish loyalty during the crisis of 1779. Wraxall wrote that he spoke ‘if not with eloquence at least with knowledge of the subject’.10 He remained attached to North after 1782, voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783, and opposed Pitt.
He died 17 June 1822.