LITTLETON, Sir Edward, 4th Bt. (?1727-1812), of Teddesley Park, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. ?1727, 1st s. of Fisher Littleton by Frances, da. and coh. of James Whitehall of Pipe Ridware. educ. Brewood sch.; Emmanuel, Camb. 1744. m. 10 May 1752, Frances, da. of Christopher Horton of Catton, Derbys., s.p. suc. fa. 1740; uncle as 4th Bt. 2 Jan. 1742.
Capt. Ld. Gower’s regt. 1745-6.
Sheriff, Staffs. 1762-3.
Littleton’s tenure of the county seat for 28 years surprised nobody more than himself. Urged by Lord Uxbridge to offer in 1784, when the peer’s ulterior motive was that he should keep the seat warm for his young heir Lord Paget, he was unopposed then and thereafter. While it was supposed that his age would provide Paget with an early opportunity, his longevity prevented it. He did not give up fox hunting until he was nearly 80.1 He was nevertheless one of the least active of county Members. Only one speech of his in the House—and that in 1784—is known. In 1791 he was listed among opponents of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. He continued to be regarded as a supporter of Pitt’s administration, though he voted with the minority on the Prince of Wales’s debts, 1 June 1795. On 8 Mar. he had given a dinner to his friends in town. Canning reported:
Poor Sir Ed, who is a quiz of the first magnitude, and who I believe had not given a dinner for twenty years before, was all bustle and anxiety during the whole of the entertainment. He informed us at the outset that he had been able to get but two bottles of champagne, and he seemed to take it much to heart when anybody showed a disposition to drink other wine in a much larger proportion.2
Littleton’s next known political gesture was doubtless influenced by his colleague’s father, the 1st Marquess of Stafford. He joined the minority against Pitt’s additional force bill on 11 June 1804 (his last known vote).3 In September following he was therefore listed a doubtful Addingtonian, but in July 1805 ‘doubtful Pitt’. In 1806 he was listed ‘friendly’ to the abolition of the slave trade: he had voted for it on 18 Apr. 1791. He was a defaulter in March and April 1807 and took leaves of absence for illness on 24 Mar. 1808 and 21 Dec. 1810. The Whigs were doubtful of him in 1810. He died 18 May 1812 ‘in his 86th year’. His great-nephew and heir succeeded him as county Member.4