BICKERTON, Sir Richard, 2nd Bt. (1759-1832), of Upwood, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Oct. 1759, o. surv. s. of Sir Richard Bickerton, 1st Bt.* m. 25 Sept. 1788, at Antigua, Anne, da. of Dr James Athill of Antigua, s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 25 Feb. 1792; cr. Knight of the Crescent 8 Oct. 1801; KCB 2 Jan. 1815; took his mother’s name of Hussey before Bickerton 16 May 1823.
Midshipman RN 1771, lt. 1777, cdr. 1779, capt. 1781, r.-adm. 1799; asst. port adm. Portsmouth 1799-1800; c.-in-c. Mediterranean 1802-3; second in command to Nelson 1804-5; c.-in-c. May 1805; v.-adm. 1805, adm. 1810; port adm. Portsmouth 1812-14; maj.-gen. marines 1810, lt.-gen. 1818, gen. 1830-d.
Ld. of Admiralty Apr. 1807-Mar. 1812.
Dir. Greenwich Hosp. 1810.
Bickerton entered the navy in his father’s ship and saw service in the Mediterranean in both the American and Napoleonic wars, with a command in the Channel Fleet in the interval.1 He distinguished himself in the blockades of Cadiz and Egypt (1800) and was knighted by the Sultan when the French evacuated Egypt. He received the thanks of the House on 18 May 1801 and 12 Nov. 1802. After alternating with Nelson in the chief command of Mediterranean operations, he came home ill in September 1805. He was given, in April 1807, a place on the Admiralty Board, though it was not at first to his liking.2 After tying for second place in the Poole election of 1807, where he stood on the Admiralty interest, he was successful in the fresh election.
In Parliament he invariably supported administration. He was staunch during the Scheldt debates, January-March 1810, though his name was withdrawn from the committee of inquiry on the understanding that he would not be able to attend it. In April it was claimed that he would resign with his chief Lord Mulgrave unless Lord Chatham was displaced.3 He voted against the reform of criminal law, of sinecures and of Parliament in May 1810. He was in the govenment minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. On 7 Feb. 1812 he voted against the bill to abolish reversions and on 21 and 24 Feb. against the abolition of McMahon’s paymastership. He seldom spoke and only on naval matters, 3 Apr. 1810, 18 July 1811, 25 Feb. and 17 Mar. 1812: on the second of these occasions he said that in 37 years in the navy, 22 of them on active service, he had never seen gagging practised; and on the last he defended the Plymouth breakwater plan.
Bickerton gave up his place on the retirement of Charles Philip Yorke* from the Admiralty in March 1812, when he was appointed port admiral at Portsmouth.4 He did not seek re-election at the dissolution and henceforward devoted himself to his professional duties. He died 9 Feb. 1832.