NEVILL, Richard (1743-1822), of Furness, co. Kildare.
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Family and Education
b. 1743, 1st s. of Arthur Jones Nevill, MP [I], of Furness by Elinor, da. of R.-Adm. Christopher Parker of Dublin. educ. Kilkenny sch. 17 Aug. 1751, aged 8; Trinity, Dublin 1759; ?L Inn 1762. m. settlement 6 Apr. 1772, Bridget, da. and h. of Henry Bowerman of Cooliney, co. Cork, 4da. suc. fa. 1771.
MP [I] 1771-1800.
Commr. of accounts [I] Sept. 1790-9; teller of exchequer [I] Feb. 1801-6, May 1807-d.
Sheriff, co. Kildare 1773-4; capt. Naas cav. by 1798.
Nevill’s grandfather and father were Members for Wexford in the Irish parliament from 1727 to 1771, when he followed in their footsteps. His politics were at first variously assessed, but in 1782 he was described as a man of ‘moderate principles’ and ‘good estate’, who was a partner in Finlay’s bank. In 1790 he became a placeholder worth £800 p.a. and subsequently supported government.1 At the Union, which he supported in 1800 after opposing it in 1799, he was rewarded with a lucrative sinecure. Having now become alternating patron of Wexford with the 1st Marquess of Ely, he brought himself into Parliament in 1802 and gave an inconspicuous support to Addington’s and Pitt’s administrations, voting with them for instance in crucial divisions of 4 Mar. 1803 against the inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s finances and 8 Apr. 1805 against the censure of Melville. He voted against Catholic claims, 14 May 1805. It seems he would only attend ‘should it be necessary’, as he put it to the chief secretary on 8 Feb. 1803, when his wife was very ill at Bath, and he added, offering a medical certificate to prove it:
With regard to the election committees, having for the last three parliaments in Ireland been excused attending on account of violent inflammations in my eyes, which warm rooms produce, the same indulgence will I expect be granted me here.2
He presented an election petition on 10 Dec. 1802, an Irish tanners’ petition on 10 May 1803, and was one of the select committee on Irish finance in 1804.
Nevill was deprived of his tellership by the Grenville ministry. When the Marquess of Ely died on 22 Mar. 1806, he announced the end of his pact with that family in Wexford and resolved to stand at the next election. He was not so bold and, after ‘family illness’ and ‘family misfortune’ (his wife had died), wrote to the Portland ministry’s chief secretary on 28 Mar. 1807, asking for his sinecure back and adding that, ‘having only an alternate return’, he could not come into Parliament until the dissolution. He did so and, restored to his place, attended in support of ministers. On 30 Mar. 1808 he gave evidence on the Wexford corn trade to a select committee. On 26 Jan. 1810 he was in the government minority on the Scheldt inquiry but, evidently finding parliamentary attendance too much for him, vacated a few days later, bringing in his kinsman Peter Parker*, ‘a firm supporter of government’, instead: ‘otherwise’, remarked the viceroy, ‘he can’t keep his place’.3
Nevill resumed his seat in July 1811 and was in a government minority on sinecures on 24 Feb. 1812. He was due to surrender the nomination to his seat to Lord Ely at the next general election. He at first wished to give up Parliament, but the chief secretary assured him that ‘his place was much too good for an idle man’. The Treasury offered him a seat for Plympton, but a better arrangement occurred to the chief secretary who induced Ely to return Nevill for Wexford as ‘a tried and trusty friend’. The plan worked, but he contracted ‘a violent fever taken in consequence of over election exertion’ and, finding the Castle ‘not hard hearted enough to insist upon the service of an invalid’, substituted John Fish* for himself in February 1813, while he recovered from what he described as his ‘third attack since April’. On 20 June 1813 he informed the Castle that, though ready to return to Parliament as his lungs were better, he thought it wiser to stay out until next Easter.4 It was not until the summer recess of 1814 that he resumed his seat.
Nevill, who requested permission to pair with ‘as regular an attendant’ as himself, 23 Dec. 1815, as he should be glad ‘to escape the fogs of London which my lungs are not adequate to encounter’, repeated the request on 28 Jan. 1816, but on a renewed summons reached London ‘through mountains of snow’, 10 Feb., only to be detained at Twickenham by ‘a severe cough’.5 He was in the government divisions of 6 May and 17 June on the civil list and public revenue questions, as also on 17 and 25 Feb. 1817 on the Admiralty salaries. On 9 May 1817 he voted against Catholic relief and on 15 Apr. 1818 voted with government on the Duke of Clarence’s marriage grant. On 29 May he informed the chief secretary: ‘within a few months of 75 years, susceptible of colds, and my lungs terribly affected by them, my family have urged me strongly to withdraw from parliamentary attendance’. Adding that he was seldom absent from his post, he asked leave to find a substitute for his seat and to be pensioned from his office or, failing this, leave of absence for a session to take his ailing youngest daughter to Italy.6 No arrangement was made then and he was re-elected, but vacated his seat when Parliament met, in favour of a friend of government connected with his family. He retained his sinecure until his death in 1822.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: P. J. Jupp
- 1. Procs. R. Irish Acad. xlviii. sec. C no. 4 (1942), 221; lvi., sec. C no. 3 (1954), 272; lix., sec. C no. 1 (1957), 44, 46.
- 2. Wickham mss 5/32.
- 3. NLS mss 12917, Newport to Elliot, 12 Apr. 1806; Wellington mss, Nevill to Wellesley, 28 Mar. 1807; PP (1908) iv. 137; NLI, Richmond mss 64/652, 654; 73/1714.
- 4. Add. 40221, f. 391; 40222, f. 1; 40223, f. 214; 40226, f. 181; 40228, f. 1; 40223, f. 214; 40280, ff. 33, 37, 45.
- 5. Add. 40250, f. 232; 40252, ff. 154, 319; 40290, ff. 48, 52.
- 6. Add. 40277, f. 298.