BERESFORD, Lord George Thomas (1781-1839), of Bovah, co. Londonderry.
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Family and Education
b. 12 Feb. 1781, 3rd s. of George Le Poer Beresford, 1st Mq. of Waterford [I], by Elizabeth, da. and h. of George Henry Monck of Charleville, co. Cork. educ. Eton 1791-3. m. 22 Nov. 1808, Harriet, da. of John Bacon Schutz of Gillingham Hall, Beccles, Suff., 4da. GCH 1827.
Comptroller of Household July 1812-30; PC 13 Aug. 1812.
Gov. and custos rot. co. Waterford 1826, col. co. militia 1826-d.
Cornet 13 Drag. 1794; lt. 107 Ft. 1794; capt. 124 Ft. 1795, 88 Ft. 1796; maj. 6 Drag. Gds. 1800; lt.-col. Dillon’s regt. 1803, 71 Ft. 1804, 2 Drag Gds. 1807, brevet col. 1812; maj.-gen. 1814; col. 3 Drag. 1829; lt.-gen. 1830.
Beresford was returned for county Londonderry, as soon as he came of age, by his brother the 2nd Marquess of Waterford, who had represented it in the last ten years of the Irish parliament. As a member of the Beresford squad, he was an indifferent supporter of Addington’s administration, voting against it on Pitt’s defence motion, 25 Apr. 1804, and subsequently rallying to Pitt’s second ministry.1 He was in the government minority on the censure against Melville, 8 Apr. 1805, and, like his uncle John, voted, it was not recorded which way but probably against, Catholic claims, 14 May 1805.2
Beresford voted against the repeal of the Additional Force Act by the Grenville ministry, 30 Apr. 1806, the only Member of his connexion to attend, but subsequently abstained; ministers were keen not to alienate his family and came to terms with his brother, which secured his support and theirs for him.3 He came second on the poll at the election of 1806, defeating William Ponsonby, an avowed Whig. He did not lend his vote to the ‘Talents’ subsequently and the Portland ministry were anxious for his return in 1807, after his family had promised them support and he had voted with them against Brand’s motion, 9 Apr.4 They could count on his vote,5 though his only recorded speech to date had been on the Derry election petition, 21 Jan. 1807. He was in their divisions on the Scheldt inquiry January-March 1810 (despite reservations about Lord Chatham’s conduct), against the release of Gale Jones, 16 Apr. 1810, on the Regency 1 Jan. 1811, against sinecure reform 4 May 1812, and against Stuart Wortley’s motion, 21 May.
In March 1811 he was given first refusal of the constableship of Dublin Castle, but he did not wish to vacate his seat for it.6 When appointed comptroller of the Household in July 1812, he gave up the county seat rather than face a contest and came in for his brother’s close borough of Coleraine until, by a family rearrangement, he was returned for county Waterford in 1814. As a member of the Regent’s household, Beresford was expected to attend and give his vote to government, which he did on most critical divisions.7 On 26 Mar. 1813 he delivered the Regent’s thanks for a loyal address. In 1818 he was a candidate for the linen board.8 He was markedly anti-Catholic, as his votes of 1 June 1811, 2 Mar., 11 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816, 9 May 1817 and 3 May 1819 attested: his defeat in the county election of 1826 was regarded as a great boost for Catholic relief, as well as representing the eclipse of the prestige of the Beresfords in Ireland. He died 26 Oct. 1839.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: Arthur Aspinall
- 1. Kent AO, Stanhope mss 763/2; Corresp. Rt. Hon. J. Beresford, ii. 288.
- 2. Walker’s Hibernian Mag. (1805), 441.
- 3. HMC Fortescue, viii. 136, 145, 174-5, 206, 211, 229, 237, 249, 281-2, 290; NLS mss 12910, p. 170.
- 4. NLS mss 12920, Walpole to Elliot, 13 Feb.; Lonsdale mss, Long to Lowther, 4 Apr.; Morning Chron. 13 Apr. 1807.
- 5. Add. 40221, f. 33.
- 6. NLI, Richmond mss 63/608, 65/745, 749, 760.
- 7. Add. 40292, f. 94.
- 8. Add. 40297 (Beresford).