FOWNES LUTTRELL, John I (1752-1816), of Dunster Castle, Som.
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Family and Education
bap. 24 June 1752, 1st s. of Henry Fownes Luttrell† of Dunster Castle by 1st w. Margaret, da. and h. of Alexander Luttrell†; bro. of Thomas Fownes Luttrell*. educ. Eton 1765-70; Queen’s Oxf. 1770 m. 2 Aug. 1782, Mary, da. of Francis Drewe of The Grange, Devon, 5s. 4da. suc. fa. 1780.
Capt. Minehead and Dunster vols. 1798; lt.-col. W. Som. militia 1811.
Luttrell continued to represent the family borough, giving an indifferent and silent support to administration. He showed no more interest in politics after 1790 than before, seeking only to maintain his hold on Minehead (where he lost one seat in 1796, but regained it in 1802) and expecting only the assurance of local patronage and preferment for members of his family.1 His brother Francis Fownes Luttrell† received a lucrative place on the customs board and his brother Thomas military promotion. He desired (in vain) a title for himself, applying to Pitt, 17 Apr. 1790: ‘Flattering myself that you may have considered of the application I made to you when last in town and of my pretensions to the honour which I then solicited, may I now be allowed to request your sentiments thereon?’ He desired no ‘hasty and unreasonable recommendation’ to the King, but ‘the insertion of my name in the first list that you may think proper to present for that purpose’. His application was negatived in June 1790.2
Pitt could count on his support, but not on his attendance. He paired with ministers on the Oczakov question, 12 Apr. 1791. That month he was reckoned hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. He took leaves of absence of a month on 9 Dec. 1795 and 15 Dec. 1796, and again, 10 Mar. 1803, for health reasons. His diaries showed that he was in the House in April 1805, but he left no mark upon its records. He was again being listed a supporter of Pitt. On 29 Mar. 1808 he obtained leave for illness. The Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ in 1810 when he rallied to ministers on the address, 23 Jan., and on the Scheldt expedition, 26 Jan. and 5 Mar. He was in the government minority against a more efficient administration, 21 May 1812. He was listed as a government supporter by the Treasury in 1812, but wrote to Lord Liverpool, 10 Apr. 1813, to complain that his brother Francis had not been appointed chairman of the board of customs.3 It was most probably his son of the same name who opposed Catholic relief throughout in 1813. His diaries showed that, even then, he preferred country sports to Parliament.4 He died 16 Feb. 1816, having represented Minehead for over 40 years—not continuously, because he withdrew temporarily in 1806 when a treating offence rendered him liable to a petition against his return.5