ACHESON, Hon. Archibald (1776-1849), of Market Hill, co. Armagh.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1801 - 14 Jan. 1807

Family and Education

b. 1 Aug. 1776, 1st s. of Arthur, 1st Earl of Gosford [I], by Millicent, da. of Lt.-Gen. Edward Pole. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1796. m. 20 July 1805, Mary, da. and h. of Robert Sparrow of Worlingham Hall, Suff., 1s. 4da. Styled Visct. Acheson 1806-7; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Gosford [I] 14 Jan. 1807; cr. Baron Worlingham 13 June 1835; GCB 19 July 1838.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1797-1800; rep. peer [I] 1811-d.

Ld. in waiting 1831-4; capt. Yeomen of the Guard July-Nov. 1834, Apr-June 1835; PC 3 Sept. 1834; gov. Canada 1835-8.

Trustee, linen board [I] 1809.

Custos rot. co. Armagh 1800, gov. 1805, ld. lt. 1831-d.

Maj. Armagh militia 1798, col. 1801.

Biography

Acheson was returned for county Armagh in the last Irish parliament and voted against the Union, 22 Jan. 1800, unlike his father, who declined an earldom both then and in 1803.1 At Westminster he made no mark, though on 4 Mar. 1803 he was alleged to have been one of the Irish Members who joined the minority on the question of the Prince of Wales’s debts. This was contradicted by the Morning Chronicle (9 Mar.), which said he voted ‘with the minister’. He had recently returned from France. His sister Mary’s marriage in 1803 to Lord William Bentinck connected him with the Duke of Portland, with whom he was expected to act. In April 1804 he applied to become a trustee of the linen board and at the end of that month the lord lieutenant hoped he would go over to England to rally to the tottering government.2 He was expected to support Pitt’s second ministry, though at first classed ‘doubtful’, especially if prompted by ‘two lines from the Duke of Portland to Lord Gosford’.3 On 14 May 1805 he voted against Catholic claims.

Acheson’s father accepted an earldom from the Grenville ministry in February 1806 and their comment on Acheson was: ‘will support, and to be supported’. In January 1807 he succeeded to the peerage. He expected great things of the Portland ministry, which certainly toyed with the notion of placing his brother Edward at the Irish treasury board:4 but he had to wait until 1809 for his nomination to the linen board and until 1811 to realize his ambition of becoming a representative peer, when he defeated the Prince Regent’s friend Lord Leitrim. Described in 1815 as ‘a good natured and venerable little fellow ... without political or personal pretensions’,5 he nevertheless went over to the Whigs after 1820. He died 27 Mar. 1849.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Arthur Aspinall

Notes

  • 1. Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 542.
  • 2. Add. 35705, f. 302; 35764, f. 104.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/329, f. 9.
  • 4. NLI, Richmond mss 70/1322.
  • 5. Add. 40209, f. 99.

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