LE MESURIER, Paul (1755-1805), of Upper Homerton, Mdx.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 23 Feb. 1755, 3rd s. of John Le Mesurier, hered. gov. Alderney, by Martha, da. and coh. of Peter Dobrée of Guernsey. m. 10 Oct. 1776, Mary, da. of Isaac Roberdeau of Spitalfields, Mdx., 1s. 3da.
Dir. E.I. Co. 1784-d.; alderman, London 1784, sheriff 1786-7, ld. mayor 1793-4; col. (formerly vice-pres.) Hon. Artillery Co. 1794; gov. Irish Soc. 1798-1805.
Returned unopposed in 1790, Alderman Le Mesurier, a Walbrook merchant, remained steadily attached to Pitt’s administration. He refused to believe that the malt tax was ‘very oppressive’ and quoted the views of ‘a brewer of reputation’ on the subject, 21 Dec. 1790. He further refused to accept the opposition view of the Bank of England as trustee for the public creditor and supported the unclaimed dividends appropriation bill, 15 Mar. 1791. A supporter of the dissenters’ campaign in 1789, he turned coat by 1791. As a director of the East India Company, he was occasionally their spokesman. He welcomed the Exchequer bills commission as a popular measure in the City, 30 Apr. 1793. Opposed to ‘the mad philosophy which prevails in a neighbouring country’,1 he was accused by Sheridan of defaming him in one of his mayoral speeches, but passed it off as a joke in the House, 30 May 1794.
On 2 Feb. 1795 Le Mesurier described to the House the ‘disorderly’ proceedings in common council on 20 Jan., when he had opposed the agitation for a ‘speedy peace’ and been shouted down: ‘Did they mean to lay this country at the feet of the National Convention of France?’ He likewise complained of the summary reception met with by supporters of the bills against sedition in the London livery meeting of November 1795, which did not, he claimed, speak the sense of the livery. He vouched for the respectability of the Aldersgate ward petition in favour of the bills, 3 Dec. He opposed the Wapping docks bill because it encroached on Southwark privileges, 8 Feb. 1796. He was in command of the artillery company and on 5 Jan. 1795 had supported the City militia bill. On 2 Mar. 1796 he wrote to Pitt to explain why the bill was inadequate, and next day in the House approved its amendment.2
In his farewell address, 19 May 1796, Le Mesurier claimed that he had given ‘a fair and honourable support to government’. Of his retirement he said:
I am led to this, not so much from dread of the intended opposition, as from the experience I have had, that the duties of a Member of Parliament require more time, and a closer attendance, than a consideration of my own health, and the interests of my family, will allow me to spare.3,
Le Mesurier was credited with ‘almost as much wit as Alderman Curtis, but none of his conviviality’, though his reception for Cornwallis in 1794 was long remembered. He died highly respected, 9 Dec. 1805: Sir Gilbert Elliot’s description of him, ‘a smuggler from Jersey’, was persiflage.4