BOUVERIE, Hon. Edward I (1738-1810), of Delapré Abbey, nr. Northampton.
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Family and Education
b. 5 Sept. 1738, and s. of Sir Jacob Bouverie†, 1st Visct. Folkestone, by 1st w. Mary, da. of h. of Bartholomew Clarke of Delapré Abbey and Hardingstone, Northants. educ. Eton 1753-6; Christ Church, Oxf. 1757. m. 30 June 1764, Harriet, da. of Sir Everard Fawkener, ambassador to the Porte, 3s. 6da.
Bouverie was out of Parliament from 1771, when he vacated his seat on the family interest for his nephew’s convenience, until 1790. In 1774, 1782 and 1784 he was a potential candidate at Northampton, where his residence on his mother’s property gave him an interest. The independent party that made overtures to him in 1784 renewed the invitation in 1790 and he was returned after a contest. An habitué of Brooks’s Club, he regarded himself as a personal friend of Charles James Fox and aped his politics.1 A bid to topple him from his seat in 1796 on the grounds that he had given dissatisfaction to his constituents was unsuccessful and he was henceforward unopposed for life.
Bouverie voted with the Foxite Whigs through thick and thin. In 1791 he was listed a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. He sometimes spoke in debate, though it is not always clear which of the speeches attributed to ‘Mr Bouverie’ between 1792 and 1798 were his, as he had three Bouverie nephews in the House, one his namesake. Most of the speeches have been attributed, rightly or wrongly, to William Henry Bouverie*. He was a supporter of parliamentary reform in 1793 and 1797. He did not secede altogether in the session of 1798, and either he or his namesake nephew was a spokesman for the militia, 21 Dec. 1798; but no vote of his is known in the following year. In 1800 he resumed acting with opposition. Perhaps it was he who opposed the adultery punishment bill, 26 May 1800, being himself a mari complaisant who overlooked his wife’s liaison with Lord Robert Spencer*: they formed a mènage á trois for many years. Mrs Bouverie, a beauty and a démocrate, figured as a hostess in Foxite circles.2
Bouverie was silent in the House after 1802, except for his moving a new writ, 1 Feb. 1805. He was in steady opposition to Addington, though he was not one of the Whigs who supported Pitt’s naval motion of 15 Mar. 1804. He was equally adverse to Pitt’s second ministry. Fox’s death diminished his interest in politics, but he mustered against the successors of his friends in office, 9 Apr. 1807. Subsequently his attendance was infrequent until March 1808, when he became ‘a poor old twaddler’. His last known political gesture was to pair against ministers on the Scheldt question, 23 Feb., 5 and 30 Mar. 1810. He died 3 Sept. 1810, leaving his affairs in surprising disorder: his debts were ‘for the most part unknown to his family’.3