NORTH, DUDLEY (formerly LONG) (afterwards LONG NORTH), (1748-1829), of Little Glemham Hall, Suff.
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Family and Education
bap. 14 Mar. 1748, 2nd s. of Charles Long of Hurts Hall by Mary, da. and coh. of Dudley North of Little Glemham. educ. Bury St. Edmunds g.s.; Emmanuel, Camb. 1766; L. Inn 1769. m. 6 Nov. 1802, Hon. Sophia Anderson Pelham, da. of Charles Anderson Pelham*, 1st Baron Yarborough, s.p. suc. aunt Anne, wid. of Hon. Nicholas Herbert at Little Glemham and took name of North, 2 May 1789; bro. Charles to Hurts Hall 1812 and resumed name of Long in addition to North.
North continued to sit for Grimsby on the interest of his future father-in-law Charles Anderson Pelham*. His income in 1789 being not above £3,000 p.a., he felt he could not afford to pay more than £2,000 for his seat at the next election. He survived a challenge to his election in 1790, though it was voided, after much procrastination, in 1793. An old member of Brooks’s and of the Whig Club since 17 Jan. 1785, he regarded himself as Fox’s intimate friend and zealous adherent. His dinner parties helped to keep the party together. He never spoke in the House because of a speech impediment, but Fox respected his views and he was celebrated for his wit. He voted assiduously with opposition in the Parliament of 1790, in which he remained a manager of Warren Hastings’s impeachment. He was listed a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. In 1792, influenced by his friendship with the Earl of Lauderdale, he joined the Friends of the People: but he soon regretted it and on 4 June was one of the five seceding Members. If this led to hopes that he would be weaned from Fox (he was on Windham’s provisional ‘third party’ list), they were dashed. He helped promote the subscription to pay Fox’s debts in 1793. He wished to see an end of the war with France ‘and with it this d—d administration’. Wilberforce reported of him, 17 June 1795, ‘Poor Dudley North says he never attempts to unsettle any man’s faith’. He supported the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796. Edmund Burke* had him to thank for his deathbed audience with his former friend Lord John Cavendish*.1
North’s patron, who had accepted a peerage, was warned not to attempt to return him for Grimsby in 1796. He came in ‘through poor F[ox’]s kindness I have no doubt’, for Banbury on the interest of his kinsman the 3rd Earl of Guilford: another possibility had been Thetford, where his Grimsby colleague, John Harrison, found a berth. He was one of the Foxites who deplored the decision to secede from Parliament in 1797, particularly on the question of reform: but, as in 1793, he voted for it. He returned to the House to oppose Pitt’s tax proposals, his Irish policy and the Act of Union and resumed regular attendance in 1800. In 1798 he was isolated at Brooks’s in advising against Earl Fitzwilliam’s accepting the lord lieutenancy of the West Riding following the dismissal of the Duke of Norfolk. On hearing that Addington was to succeed Pitt at the helm in 1801, he asked who was to be prompter. He opposed Addington on all questions, except the peace treaty and the war in Ceylon, which involved his patron’s brother Frederick North*. He opposed Pitt’s second ministry throughout. His defeat at Banbury in 1806 prevented him from continuing his support of his friends in office, but he thought they showed rash over-confidence after Fox’s death.2
In 1807, when he was involved in a tie at Banbury, North came in on his brother-in-law’s interest at Newtown until a fresh election for the former place was decided in his favour. He resumed steady opposition. In January 1811 Lord Grey thought of a ‘sinecure place’ for him if the Whigs returned to power, but he refused it, grateful though he was to be remembered as ‘an ancient Foxite’. He was a supporter of sinecure reform. In October 1811 Lord Guilford asked him if he would make way for his nephew at Banbury at the next election, though he could, if he so desired, ‘stay in two or three years after the dissolution’. North, who had spent £5,000 on his contests and assured Guilford that he would not marry again and would make his family his heirs, was clearly disappointed, but made no difficulties. He hoped he would be credited with having made Banbury a safe seat, and added
after a long parliamentary career, a great many civilities from the Regent, and an acknowledgement of long services last year from Lord Grey, I should not like to be out of Parliament when a change of administration takes place.
He thought a new seat on an annual rent might be the answer. Confiding his predicament to William Adam, 22 Nov. 1811, he feared that
Lord Y[arborough]’s hands are full, so probably are everybody else’s, and if they were not I am a bad asker ... You will wonder at my wish to continue but so it is, if I could contrive it without parting with my independence or too much of a commodity, which I formerly cared less about. A Foxite I have been, and mean to be, and he being gone, what can I do but call upon one of his truest friends.
He found that Maldon was out of the question, but that Wootton Bassett was a possibility. Then he applied to Earl Fitzwilliam through Lord Yarborough, only to be told that the vacancy at Peterborough was intended for George Ponsonby, the party leader. Meanwhile the Prince Regent’s desertion of the Whigs disappointed him: ‘the princes had better take care or the people may find they can do better without them’. In September 1812 he was still unprovided, unless Thomas Creevey* was elected at Liverpool and did not need his seat on the Petre interest at Thetford. Then Fitzwilliam surprised him with the offer of a seat for Richmond on the Dundas interest, ‘on the terms of vacating at any time for any of Lord Dundas’s family, or for any person to whom [Fitzwilliam] may wish to give the seat’. Accepting it, he was conscious of owing it to Fitzwilliam’s friendship for Yarborough. In December 1812 he inherited his brother’s Suffolk estate.3
North remained committed to the Whigs in opposition in the Parliament of 1812. As always, he supported Catholic relief. He was not in the minorities against agricultural protection. He twice voted against the resumption of hostilities with Buonaparte in 1815 and voted assiduously for retrenchment. In February 1817 he was ‘in a great fidget’ on finding that Fitzwilliam did not wish to oppose the suspension of habeas corpus. He ‘offered his seat to Lord Fitzwilliam who immediately said he might vote as he liked, but on parliamentary reform he had made up his mind so strongly, that he hoped his Members would vote against it’.4 North, who thought the suspension was ‘a trick to split us’, voted against it and for parliamentary reform: his last known vote in the ensuing Parliament was for Burdett’s motion of 1 July 1819. In that Parliament, however, he had exchanged his seat for Richmond with Lord Lauderdale’s son and been provided by Lauderdale with a Scottish burghs seat. He signed the requisition to Tierney to lead the Whigs in the Commons.
North did not attend the last session of Parliament, 1819-20. He was in a ‘shocking state’ of dejection from which his recovery was conditional on his not dwelling on the state of his affairs: ‘he considers them in a very different state from what they really are’.5 Nevertheless, he soon gave up his seat in the next Parliament on his brother-in-law’s interest. He died 21 Feb. 1829.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Authors: M. H. Port / R. G. Thorne
- 1. Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F115/10; Life and Works of George Crabbe (1854), 43; Minto, i. 188; ii. 21, 41; Blair Adam mss, North to Adam, 5 July 1793; Debrett (ser. 2), xxxii. 460; Lady Bessborough and her Family Circle, 90; Blair Adam mss, North to Adam, 27 Nov. 1793; Life of Wilberforce (1838), ii. 93; Burke Corresp. ix. 213-14.
- 2. Portland mss PwF7407, 7409; Blair Adam mss, North to Adam, 22 Nov. 1811; Prince of Wales Corresp. iii. 1264; Fitzwilliam mss, box 53, F. Laurence to Fitzwilliam [7 Feb. 1798]; Minto, iii. 200; Farington, iv. 162.
- 3. Grey mss, North to Grey, 28 Jan. 1811, Tierney to Grey, 17 Sept. 1812; Glenbervie Jnls. 151; Blair Adam mss, Guildford to North, 12 Oct., reply, North to Adam, 22, 24 Nov., Fri. night [Dec.], 31 Dec. 1811; Phipps, Plumer Ward Mems. i. 441-2; Creevey’s Life and Times, 59; Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F83/7.
- 4. Fitzwilliam mss, box 88, Anderson Pelham to Yarborough, 28 Feb. 1817.
- 5. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 5 Nov. 1819,
22 Jan. 1830; Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F48/161.