STEVENS, Richard, of Winscott, Devon
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Family and Education
m., 1da. who m. 1782 John Clevland jun.
Stevens, who seems to have had property of his own in Devon, was the chief agent in charge of Lady Orford’s estates in Devon and Cornwall. He was returned at Callington on her interest. In Bute’s list he was originally marked ‘Lord Orford’, to which Bute added in his own handwriting: ‘Government’. He does not appear in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, December 1762, but was classed by Jenkinson in the autumn of 1763 as a Government supporter. Yet he appears on 19 Dec. 1763 in Newcastle’s list of Members ‘who have voted with us on some questions’;1 voted with Opposition on general warrants, 15, 18 Feb. 1764; was listed by Newcastle, 10 May 1764, as a ‘sure friend’, and was counted as a supporter by Rockingham in his lists of July 1765 and November 1766. He appears in two out of three lists as having voted with Opposition on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, but in Newcastle’s list of 2 Mar. as ‘Administration’. Stevens’s health was failing during his last two years in Parliament, and early in 1767 he ‘desired to be excused from standing at the general election’. When in April 1768 an opposition seemed likely at Callington, Lady Orford wrote to Thomas Worsley that it might have been occasioned by ‘poor Mr. Stevens’s ill state of health’, adding: ‘Few have the good sense, and still fewer Mr. Stevens’s integrity.’2