ALLAN, George (1767-1828), of Blackwell Grange, co. Dur.
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Family and Education
b. 8 July 1767, o. surv. s. of George Allan, attorney, of Blackwell Grange by Anne, da. of James Colling Nicholson of Scruton, Yorks. educ. by Dr John Carr, Hertford; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1784; m. Temple 1785, called 1790. m. Sept. 1796, Prudence, da. of William Williams, s.p. suc. fa. 1800.
Allan practised for a while on the northern circuit, but went abroad for three or four years after quarrelling with his father, an eminent antiquary and collector. They were reconciled before Allan senior’s death in 1800, when George, who shared his literary tastes, inherited estates near Darlington worth about £5,000 a year.1
When the Whig Ralph Lambton vacated his seat for Durham in 1813 Allan, backed by the other sitting Member, the ministerialist Richard Wharton, stood for the city as an avowed opponent of the ‘dangerous and unconstitutional’ Catholic claims and of parliamentary reform, and as a supporter of the war. His only serious rival declined to go to a poll, but he was challenged at the last minute by a reforming Whig, whom he defeated after an expensive nine-day contest. He pledged himself to act on Pittite principles, except on the Catholic question.2
Ministers added his name to a list of their supporters and he voted with them in 17 of the 23 divisions of the 1812 Parliament for which full lists of ministerial voters have been found, including those on the renewed suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817, and the use of domestic spies, 5 Mar. 1818. His only recorded wayward votes were against the expulsion of Lord Cochrane, 5 July 1814, the East India ships registry bill, 6 June, the additional newspaper duty, 8 June 1815, the leather tax, 9 May 1816, and the salt duties, 25 Apr. 1817. He voted against Catholic relief, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817. In his only known speech, 2 Mar. 1818, he moved a successful killing amendment against Williams Wynn’s Election Laws amendment bill, which he decried as
neither more nor less than a design to do away with the most valuable part of our mixed state of popular representation, to impose on independent candidates an enormous expense, by assembling freemen before the election is fixed, or at once to deprive for ever the outlying voters from any possibility of exercising their just right.
He offered again for Durham in 1818 but was opposed by a Lambton-backed Whig and, admitting his inability to afford another contest, he withdrew two days before the election.3
Allan subsequently removed to France, where he lived ‘with limited means’ until his death at St. Omer, 21 July 1828.4