WEBB, Edward (1779-1839), of Stoke Bishop, nr. Bristol, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1 Oct. 1816 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 30 Jan. 1779, 2nd s. of John Webb* by Arabella, da. of Thomas Bushell of Sevinbroke, Oxon. educ. by William Shaw, Fortyhill, Enfield until 1794. m. 22 July 1807,1 Jane Mary Catherine, da. of Sir John Guise, 1st Bt., of Highnam Court, Glos., 1da.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1795; asst. to office of Persian translator to board of revenue 1795; asst. to registrar of sadar diwani and nizamat adalat 1796; asst. to collector of Dinajpur 1796; res. 1801.

Capt. N. Glos. militia 1803; lt.-col. 1 R. East Glos. militia 1809.

Biography

Webb’s elder brother John went to Bengal as a writer in the East India Company’s service in 1790 and returned home on the death of their father, Member for Gloucester, in 1795. By his father’s will Edward was left £4,000 to be invested at 4 per cent until he came of age, plus a sum of £1,000 to be paid to him on the death of his mother. Both bequests were additional to his entitlement under his parents’ marriage settlement.2 Soon afterwards he obtained the East India Company writership for which he had applied in 1794, and he arrived in India in September 1795. John Webb died of an illness contracted in the East on 21 Mar. 1797, having bequeathed Edward £2,000 to be invested in stocks until he attained his majority, and made over to him his own right, under the provisions of their father’s will, to any surplus from the proceeds of the sale of property in Gloucestershire and London beyond what had been allocated to provide for their mother.3 Edward Webb was still in Bengal when his mother made her will, 24 Feb. 1801, directing that her property at Dauntley should be sold to provide £5,000 for her daughter Frances, with any balance going to Edward. She died 11 June 1801 and Webb came home to settle in Gloucestershire, where he became active in the militia.4

By 1811 he had acquired Gloucestershire estates at Stoke Bishop and Norton Court, plus land in Monmouthshire containing lead mines and leasehold property in Worcestershire and Berkshire.5 In 1807 he married the sister of Sir Berkeley William Guise, a reforming Whig, who in 1811 successfully contested the county as the candidate of the independent gentlemen. When a vacancy occurred for Gloucester in the summer of 1816, Webb came forward on the interest of the Whig corporation, backed by Guise, Colonel William Fitzhardinge Berkeley* and their fellow members of the county Whig Club. Claiming to be ‘unconnected with party, and independent in principle’, he declared his support for economy, retrenchment and ‘temperate’ parliamentary reform.6 He defeated a ministerialist in an expensive contest and at the general election of 1818 topped the poll after another.

Webb was elected to Brooks’s, 11 June 1817, signed the requisition to Tierney in 1818 and voted regularly with the opposition, though his attendance evidently lapsed between Easter 1818 and the dissolution. He opposed the seditious meetings bill, 24 Feb.; the suspension of habeas corpus, 26 Feb. and 23 June; the appointment of the secret committee of inquiry into combinations, 5 June 1817, and the domestic espionage system and indemnity bill in February and March 1818. He voted for reception of the Lymington reform petition, 11 Feb.; for Burdett’s parliamentary reform motion, 20 May 1817 (but not for that of 1 July 1819), and for inquiry into Scottish burgh reform, 6 May 1819. In the emergency session of 1819 he voted for the amendment to the address, 24 Nov., and for inquiry into the state of the nation, 30 Nov., and went on to oppose the seditious meetings bill root and branch and to vote against the night searches provisions of the seizure of arms bill, 14 and 18 Dec. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820.

Webb died at New York, 18 Sept. 1839, having been taken ill during a visit to Niagara with his daughter.7