WYATT, Charles (c.1759-1819), of Foley House, Portland Place, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

1812 - 1818

Family and Education

b. c.1759, s. of William Wyatt (d.1780), steward to Lord Uxbridge in Staffs., and nephew of James Wyatt the architect. m. 29 Oct. 1787 at Calcutta, Charlotte née Greentree, wid. of George Drake, Bombay marines.

Offices Held

Cadet, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1780, ensign 1780, lt. 1781; lt. (engineers) 1781, capt. 1800; commr. of police 1800; supt. public works 1803; furlough 1804; ret. 1806.

Biography

Wyatt went to India in 1781 with the rank of practitioner engineer. There is no evidence that he had any training as an architect, although the Marquess Wellesley later wrote, ‘On my arrival at Fort William in 1798 I selected Captain Wyatt on account of his professional character and experience to carry into execution a plan ... for the improvement of the public buildings of ... Calcutta’. Wyatt’s main achievement was the building of the new Government House which was said to have cost the Company £180,000. In 1804 Wellesley sent Wyatt on furlough with an introductory letter to Grenville desiring that his ‘reception in England should be distinguished by the countenance of my friends’. In an almost identical letter to Pitt, Wellesley described Wyatt as ‘a most worthy man’ and expressed a ‘cordial interest in his future welfare and happiness’. It is uncertain whether these recommendations had any effect. In 1808 Wyatt was living in Rotherhithe.1

In 1812 he stood for Parliament and, in an expensive contest, defeated (Sir) Emanuel Felix Agar* for the second seat at Sudbury. Wellesley wrote to him a few days after the election:

Your accession to our common cause in Parliament is very important to my interests in this crisis when it is become absolutely requisite that the most cordial union of all my friends should enable me to correct the errors and infirmities of the government, moderate the vehemence of the opposition and maintain the honour and independence of my own character.2

Unlike Wellesley, Wyatt opposed Catholic relief, 2 Mar. and 24 May 1813 and again on 9 May 1817. As anticipated by the Treasury, too, he generally supported administration. He opposed them on the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816, but voted with them on the army estimates, 6 Mar., and the civil list, 6 May; and did so again on 7 and 25 Feb. 1817 and 10 Feb., 5 Mar. and 15 Apr. 1818. He made no known speech in the House. In 1818 he intended to contest Sudbury again, but after the withdrawal of Sir John Coxe Hippisley decided against it.3

Though Wyatt was described as a ‘liberal benefactor’ to the poor of Sudbury, ‘much beloved and respected by his constituents’, his links with the borough seem to have been limited to liberal entertainment at election time. In 1813 he took over his uncle’s house in Portland Place, ‘mortgaged to the utmost’, but valued at nearly £42,000. He died there, 13 Mar. 1819.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes

Notes

  • 1. V. C. P. Hodson, Officers of Bengal Army, iv. 533-4; HMC Fortescue, vii. 215-16; Farington, viii. 263; PRO 30/8/188, ff. 145-6; Holden’s Directory (1808).