BARRETT LENNARD, Thomas (1788-1856), of Belhus, Aveley, Essex and Hyde Park Terrace, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



14 June 1820 - 1826
1826 - 1837
1847 - 1852

Family and Education

b. 4 Oct. 1788, 1st s. of Thomas Barrett Lennard† (d. 1857) of Upminster and Belhus and Dorothy, da. of Sir John St. Aubyn†, 4th bt., of Clowance and St. Michael’s Mount, Cornw. educ. Charterhouse 1797-1804; Jesus, Camb. 1806; I. Temple 1809. m. (1) 3 Aug. 1815, Margaret (d. 18 May 1818), da. of John Wharton*, s.p.; (2) 30 June 1825, Mary, da. and h. of Bartlett Bridger Shedden of Aldham Hall, Suff., 5s. d.v.p. 28 Apr. 1856.

Offices Held

Metropolitan lunacy commr. 1828-30; steward, Colchester 1831-2.


Barrett Lennard’s father was the illegitimate son and testamentary heir of Thomas Barrett Lennard, 17th Lord Dacre (1717-1786), and Elizabeth FitzThomas. Acknowledged by Dacre and his wife, he assumed the surnames Barrett and Lennard and succeeded to his father’s estates in county Monaghan, Essex and Norfolk on the latter’s death and lived at Upminster and in Sackville Street until Lady Dacre made Belhus available to him in 1804. He was created a baronet in 1801 for raising a regiment in Essex during the invasion crisis of 1798.1 Thomas, the eldest of his 12 children, was intended for a political career, in which he was guided by the rector of Upminster, John Rose Holden, and his Cambridge contemporary, the reforming lawyer Henry Bickersteth (Lord Langdale), who in a letter of 9 July 1809 remarked: ‘Your situation entitles you to take a lead, and it is a sort of treason to yourself and your country when you neglect the opportunities fortune has bestowed on you’.2 In 1812 he was sent to Edinburgh ‘to finish his studies prior to entering Parliament’.3 The sitting Member Charles Powell Leslie* invited him to stand at the 1813 by-election for county Monaghan, where his family’s estate at Clones and property in Monaghan town gave him an interest, and Lord Cremorne offered his influence; but, after canvassing, he decided against going to a poll, paid his respects at Dublin Castle and returned to Belhus and Scotland.4 His father granted him £1,200 a year when he married in 1815, rising to £2,000 when the couple went to Nice in 1818 in search of a cure for consumption, from which Margaret died at the Hotel des Etrangers.5

His family’s support for the Whigs and Catholic emancipation was well known, and in September 1819 Barrett Lennard (a requisitionist for the Norfolk meeting) campaigned without success for a county meeting in Essex to protest at the Liverpool ministry’s response to the Peterloo massacre. He failed partly because he did not have the support of the Whig county Member Charles Callis Western, who then considered him ‘the fairest for the county if I should drop’, but warned, ‘you cannot mix up with the radicals with any comfort or safety’.6 He joined Brooks’s on Western and Lord William Russell’s* recommendation in December 1819. At the general election of 1820 he stood for Ipswich, where his family had influence through the Essex out-voters and the Whig merchants John and William May and the interest cultivated since 1818 by Henry Baring* was available to him.7 On the hustings he attacked ministerial corruption, high taxes, sinecures and the repressive legislation passed after Peterloo, called for free trade and parliamentary reform, and cautioned that Ipswich was in danger of becoming a government borough.8 He and the banker William Haldimand topped the poll in a severe four-man contest; and although he was relegated to third place on scrutiny, he succeeded on petition.9 The Ansons and Cokes, with whom he had attended the Norwich Fox dinner in January, took a keen interest in proceedings and sympathised with him over the high cost of his return.10 In May 1820 Henry Robert Westenra*, who regarded him as a ‘man of most violent principles’, ridiculed talk of bringing him in for county Monaghan should he fail.11

In the 1820 Parliament Barrett Lennard, who was ‘low in voice and small in stature’, established himself as an assiduous attender and ready debater.12 He voted against government with the main Whig opposition in almost every major division between 1820 and 1824, and supported the ‘Mountain’ and Hume’s campaigns for economy and retrenchment, becoming one of their spokesmen on diplomatic expenditure, local courts and a wide range of issues affecting the metropolis and its hinterland. He voted against the barrack agreement bill, 16 June, 17 July 1820, stating on the latter occasion that ‘he could not see any necessity for going to such an extraordinary expense for a regiment consisting only of 400 men and 300 horses’. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 21 Apr. 1825, but made it known when presenting a Monaghan petition for repeal of anti-Catholic legislation, 17 June 1824, that although he had been asked to bring in a bill, he looked to others to do so.13 He backed the 1820-1 parliamentary campaigns on Queen Caroline’s behalf, and disputed the foreign secretary Lord Castlereagh’s assertion that it was improper for the Commons to interfere with the Lords’ proceedings, 18 Sept. 1820, but voted against prorogation. He wrote to his father next day:

I hope you think I was right in the vote I gave last night. All the ill that can be said of a woman has already been said of the queen. It would be a great injustice therefore ... to prevent her from defending herself. I therefore voted ... against Hobhouse and said a few words to explain my vote. The leaders of the party behaved very shabbily: Tierney contrived to be out of town; Calcraft and Macdonald were in the House but walked out of it long before it came to a vote. I thought it would be folly to follow them so I stayed in and did what was far from pleasant in voting against many of my friends.14

He did not relish the prospect of presenting the Ipswich address to the queen in January 1821 (‘only think of white silk stockings and a silk waistcoat in a morning with the thermometer below freezing’), and forwarded it to Lord Holland.15 He spoke against granting Caroline £50,000 a year from the consolidated fund, suggesting instead that she be paid from crown revenue or the proceeds of the admiralty droits, 31 Jan. He argued that her treatment proved the need for legal and parliamentary reform, 13 Feb. He maintained that the disgust generated by the votes of the former Members for Ipswich (Robert Alexander Crickitt* and William Newton) for the Six Acts had been an important factor in his election, and used his speech for the Grampound disfranchisement bill, 12 Feb., to announce that he would try to expunge them. On 8 May, admitting his inexperience and with no hope of success, he moved for the repeal of the Acts on seditious meetings and libels, in what the radical Whig Henry Grey Bennet* considered ‘a clever good statement, somewhat heavy, but rational and manly’. Ministers, however, ‘would not debate the question’ and he lost by 88-66.16 His speech, which he had printed, traced the effect of the Acts on petitioning and county meetings, Peterloo, Henry Hunt’s* trial and the use of ‘immoral’ government informers. He acknowledged that press coverage of Caroline’s case had not been censored, but alleged that by restricting county meetings ‘public opinion has not been expressed with the openness and to the extent that it has hitherto’.17 He voted to make Leeds a scot and lot borough if it got Grampound’s seats, 2 Mar., and for parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, 25 Apr 1822, 24 Apr., 2 June 1823.

His family’s antiquarian interests were well known, and after ordering returns showing the running costs of the British Museum, 16 Feb., he called for an account of all applications to the reading room over the past five years, 11 Apr. 1821. He cited cases that day supporting his assertion that unnecessary delays in processing applications were causing hardship and should be referred to a select committee, but failed to secure its appointment. He announced that he would bring in a bill to ‘afford greater facilities to the public’, 2, 29 June 1821, but did not do so. Before voting for the £4,000 grant to the Museum, 20 June 1823, he approved the plan to unite it and the King’s Library.18 He seconded Lushington’s unsuccessful motion on the case of Thomas Ellis*, 5 Mar. 1821. He consolidated his votes for repeal of the additional malt duty, 21 Mar., 3 Apr., by presenting a distress petition advocating it from Ipswich’s bankers and merchants, 3 Apr.19 He presented a petition from individuals injured at Peterloo, 15 May, and voted next day for inquiry into the massacre. He maintained that the Ipswich petition against the poor laws which he presented, 4 June, ‘broke new ground’ as it came from 24 Ipswich paupers seeking improved rights.20 He advocated inquiry into the conduct of Sir Thomas Maitland† as governor of the Ionian Isles, where the inhabitants had ‘but the mockery of a constitution’, 7 June. Preparing for the next session, he ordered returns on the Middlesex county court, 28 June 1821, which he expected would prove ‘that the judge had a very considerable salary for doing what he considered an inadequate duty’.21 During the recess he was obliged to meet bills of approximately £12,000 at Ipswich, where the expense of anniversary dinners and borough elections, the successful launching of a Pitt Club and fears that he would lose support to Haldimand disturbed him. Asking his father to entertain his agent, he wrote: ‘the truth is I am heartily sick of the Ipswich people myself. I think the victory we have gained is of very little value one way as the other’.22

He regretted that the retrenchment proposals outlined in the king’s speech did not include revision of the civil list, promised to move an address recommending reductions to it and voted for Hume’s amendment against excessive taxation, 5 Feb. 1822. His motion was repeatedly postponed, and on 2 Apr. he announced that it would be confined to ‘obtaining some further reduction in the third class [of the civil list] which comprised the expenses of ambassadors’, making it a direct attack on Henry Williams Wynn† and the recent Grenvillite accession to government. Londonderry (Castlereagh) declared it a question of confidence.23 He proposed the reduction in a well-researched speech, commended in the Whig press, on the next open day, 15 May, when it was rejected by 274-147. He suggested economizing by adopting a franchise system similar to that used by the United States for paying ambassadors.24 He voted to condemn the costs of Williams Wynn’s embassy to the Swiss cantons, 16 May. Londonderry dismissed his question on the government’s likely response to a request for papers on South American independence, 31 May; but, undeterred, he moved for those on Britain’s recognition of the Colombian government, 23 July, referring provocatively in his speech to the recent merchants’ meeting at the London Tavern. Londonderry countered by expressing doubts ‘whether the facts of the case were sufficiently within the possession of the mover to enable him to arrive at a just conclusion upon the point’, tried to call his bluff by arguing that the House should not ‘call for information until it was prepared to adopt some course upon that information when received’ and carried the division by 53-18. Barrett Lennard was repeatedly thwarted in his intention of reintroducing his bill to repeal the Seditious Meetings and Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Acts (11, 18 Feb., 26, 27 Mar.).25 As planned, he moved for a committee on the Middlesex county court, 28 Mar., arguing that infrequent sittings and high costs made it ‘a subject of considerable importance to the working classes’, 28 Mar., but the solicitor-general deemed the motion irregular, as there was no evidence of misconduct by the judge, and it was rejected. Petitions alleging malpractice which he presented were accepted, 19 June, 15 July 1822, but it was too late for a committee that session. He again failed to secure one (by 44-18), 23 June 1823.26 He supported the Suffolk distress petition (presented by Gooch) on his constituents’ behalf, 7 Mar. 1822, and voted for Wyvill’s amendment to secure large tax remissions when the agriculture committee’s report was considered, 8 May. He had attended the Essex county meeting earlier that day, and on the 17th, in a qualified endorsement of their petition attributing distress to currency change and excessive taxation, he spoke of the futility of the jobbing and partial remedies resorted to by government, pleaded for massive tax cuts and cautioned against ‘any return to the baneful system of a paper currency’.27 From Ipswich he presented and endorsed petitions against the poor removal bill, 1 June; for criminal law reform, 5 June (for which he also voted); for repeal of the additional excise duties, 2 July; and against renewing the Aliens Act, 12 July, a measure he criticized as a ‘dangerous and oppressive innovation’ and voted routinely against. He supported the licensing bill, 27 June, and presented his constituents’ petition against the beer retail bill, 18 July 1822.28

Barrett Lennard monitored the political manoeuvring following Londonderry’s suicide from Essex. Addressing the Suffolk ‘Fox and reform’ dinner, 21 Aug. 1822, he commended Hume and Grey Bennet’s indefatigable zeal in opposition and stressed his own commitment to reform and dissatisfaction with the ministry’s response to distress.29 He chose not to vote on the amendment to the address censuring Lord Beresford’s appointment as lieutenant-general of the ordnance (as an ally of the new foreign secretary Canning), 19 Feb. 1823. He divided as previously for tax reductions, 28 Feb., 3 Mar., asked if government intended introducing measures to reduce civil list expenditure, ‘particularly in the diplomatic department’, 4 Mar., and, receiving an inconclusive reply, requested returns detailing expenditure since 2 May 1822, 13 Mar. He agreed to a postponement until Canning could attend on the 25th, when, like Londonderry before, he declared that it was ‘not the usage of Parliament to interfere with these details’, and the motion was defeated by 50-24. The Times reported that ‘Mr. Lennard ... was for some time inaudible in the gallery owing to the low tone of voice in which he spoke’.30 He voted silently to reduce the cost of ambassadorial postings, 9 June. He had been granted leave to bring in a bill to change the law on suicide burials, 27 May 1823, but failed to do so, and although he continued to divide with his friends in opposition, he made no further significant contributions to debate that Parliament; his private letters testify to his growing disillusionment with Ipswich and Foxite politics.31 He presented petitions from Ipswich for repeal of the coal duties, 23 Feb., and against the excise licence duties, 22, 25, 31 Mar., having previously voted for inquiry into transferring the tax from beer to malt, 15 Mar. 1824.32 A committed opponent of capital punishment for non-violent offences (4 June 1821, 21 May, 25 June 1823), he advocated the abolition of whipping, 30 Apr., and voted to end military flogging, 15 Mar., and naval impressment, 10 June 1824. He divided for Brougham’s motion condemning the indictment of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. His bill to remedy delays in the Middlesex county court’s administration lapsed, but he was appointed to committees on the criminal law, 16 Mar. 1824, prisons, 3 Apr. 1824, and the government’s measures for small jurisdictions in England and Wales, 13 Apr. 1824, 15 Feb. 1825. On 15 Apr. 1825 he was granted a week’s leave of absence on account of the death of a near relation, probably Bartlett Goodrich of Sailing Grove, Essex, whose orphaned granddaughter he was to marry in June.33

In October 1825 the corporation of Ipswich resolved that the Members should henceforward bear the cost of their expensive bailiwick elections, and Barrett Lennard made it known that he would not contest the borough again.34 Westenra had countered Cremorne’s manoeuvring on his behalf in county Monaghan;35 and, prompted by John May and Western, he resolved to stand on the Whig or ‘county’ interest for Maldon, where election, though requiring ‘a display of cash’, was not expected to be expensive unless a third candidate intervened.36 He presented petitions from Ipswich for the abolition of slavery, 2 Mar. 1826.37 He described the long expensive contest at Maldon at the general election in June as a ‘struggle made upon the part of the Tory interest to try their strength though the purse of Mr. [Quintin] Dick*’. As there was no contest for the county, his friends were ‘more at liberty’ to assist him, and he was returned at an estimated personal cost of £12,000 (spent mainly on London out-voters), which was less than half the sum expended by his Canningite colleague George Allanson Winn.38 He made time to support Haldimand and the political economist Robert Torrens* at Ipswich, and explained in speeches at the London Tavern, 16 May 1826, and in both constituencies, that his outright hostility to ministers had waned with the expiry of the Six Acts and slavish support for the Holy Alliance. He declared for reform, retrenchment and Canning’s foreign policy.39

Barrett Lennard, who had recently taken a town house in Upper Brook Street, divided with opposition on the duke of Clarence’s grant, 16 Feb., and the army estimates, 20 Feb., and as hitherto for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He was a member of the politically sensitive Galway election committee which considered Canning’s son-in-law Lord Clanricarde’s interference there at the general election,40 and voted to refer the Irish miscellaneous estimates to a select committee, pending resolution of the succession to Liverpool as premier, 5 Apr. His decision to support Canning’s administration occasionally left him embarrassingly at odds with erstwhile colleagues, as on 31 May, when he qualified his vote against Hume’s motion to repeal those sections of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Acts used to levy stamp duty on ‘unwelcome’ small publications with a speech confirming his previous opposition to the clauses and their use to detain and prosecute Richard Carlile, whose cause he had espoused with Hume, 8 May 1823. He concluded with a firm declaration for ‘the present administration’. He presented petitions from Maldon and Wickham for repeal of the Test Acts, 6 June 1827.41 He was expected to support the administration of Lord Goderich following Canning’s death and, aligning with the Huskissonites, he adhered to the duke of Wellington’s ministry until May 1828.42 He presented further petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 11, 13, 18, 22, 26 Feb. 1828, when he voted for the proposal. He endorsed a pro-Catholic petition he presented from Clones, 17 Apr., and brought up several against the friendly societies bill, 21 Apr. His opposition to the Maldon charter bill (presented by Ralph Bernal and Western), 24 Apr., caused Quintin Dick to withdraw the measure temporarily. He voted for inquiry into chancery delays, 24 Apr., the Colchester Member Harvey’s motion to establish more efficient control over crown prosecutions for the recovery of excise penalties, 1 May, and for Catholic relief, 12 May. He ‘gave his cordial support’ to the grant for Canning’s family, 20 May. He mustered with the ‘ejected liberals’ in the Commons following the Huskissonite resignations, 3 June, and subsequently adopted a higher parliamentary profile. He regretted the postponement of the Galway magistrates’ bill, 4 June. He advocated the construction of ‘public slaughter houses’ on the principle of ‘the abattoirs outside of the walls of Paris’, 13 June 1828, and spoke again for Smithfield market’s relocation, 11 May 1829. Referring to his experience of long polls at Ipswich and Maldon, he expressed support ‘in principle’ for the voters’ registration bill, but voted to postpone it, 19 June 1828. In committee on the small debts recovery bill, 23 June, he suggested permitting sheriffs to select judges who were not necessarily barristers or solicitors, appeals to king’s bench, and an equitable apportionment of fees. He voted against government for ordnance reductions, 4 July, and to amend the corporate finance bill, 10 July. He presented an anti-slavery petition from Maldon, 11 July 1828.

Barrett Lennard welcomed the concession of Catholic emancipation in 1829, spoke against Essex anti-Catholic petitions, 2, 12, 17 Mar., presented favourable ones from Ipswich, 2, 25 Mar., and voted for the measure, 6, 30 Mar. Unable to reconcile himself to the attendant Irish freeholders’ disfranchisement bill, he opposed it ‘with regret’ and recalled how Monaghan had rejected him despite his support for emancipation, 20 Mar.43 As a director (since at least 1825)44 of the British Steam and Patent Navigation Company, he pressed for revision of the patent laws with a view to extending patentees’ rights and reducing litigation, 13 Feb., 10 Mar. He moved for and was appointed chairman of a select committee to consider them, 9 Apr., and confided to his father that at least one of its sessions left him feeling ‘as stupid as an owl’.45 He brought up their report and had it printed, 12 June 1829, but delayed acting on it until the next session, when his bill was timed out, 8 July 1830. He ordered returns on the cases tried by the Middlesex county court with a view to influencing the government’s intended measure, 31 Mar., and tried in vain, with Western, to secure exemption from the horse tax for Essex market gardeners, 9 Apr., 13 May 1829. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May. He opposed the metropolitan police bill, 15 May, and sought its postponement, 19 May, suggesting that Middlesex like Essex should have six gaol deliveries a year instead of four, and that a clause should be introduced to make it easier for magistrates in one county to execute a warrant issued by those in another. He welcomed the bill’s provision for establishing ‘a superintending power’, but remained hostile ‘on account of its giving unconstitutional power to the home secretary’, and predicted that the police would become like the gendarmerie in Paris and be copied in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, 25 May 1829. He later criticized the metropolitan police districts proposed by Peel, 28 May 1830. His own bill to curb theatre censorship, the subject of editorials and correspondence in The Times, was postponed, 18 May, held over, 12 June 1829, and rejected, 25 May 1830, after it emerged that it might effectively restrain minor theatres from performing ‘regular dramas’ in contravention of the monopolistic ‘patents of the great houses’.46 From Maldon he presented and endorsed petitions for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 1 June, and for compensation for the proprietors of a vessel lost in collision with a foreign brig entrusted to a Trinity House pilot, 3 June 1829. Addressing the Maldon Independent Club as chairman, 16 July 1829, he proposed a toast to Western and, defending his own parliamentary conduct, praised Wellington and Peel, reaffirmed his opposition to disfranchising the Irish 40s. freeholders and called on the Irish Orange order to exercise moderation.47

He apparently did not vote in the division on the address, 4 Feb. 1830, from which distress was omitted. He attended the Essex county meeting which adopted a petition calling for reform and tax redistribution as remedies, 11 Feb. He had hoped it would call for retrenchment, and when Western presented it stated that he did not agree with all its demands, 12 Feb.48 Feeling unable to support Daniel O’Connell’s state of the nation motion, he joined Thomas Gooch in testifying to the ‘great and general’ nature of distress, for which he remained confident that retrenchment offered the best solution, 22 Mar. He spoke similarly on the plight of small farmers, 6 Apr. From Brighton, 28 Apr., he thanked Huskisson for sending him a copy of his 18 Mar. speech on the state of the nation, which he duly praised.49 He voted to enfranchise Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and for Russell’s general reform proposals, 28 May, but against those put forward that day by O’Connell.50 He divided for information on British involvement in Portugal, 10 Mar., queried ambassadorial expenditure in Belgium, 5 Apr., and proposed, 16 June, but postponed to 2 July, a bill to curb ambassadorial salaries, which thus was lost. He had voted against the appointment of the former Canningite Thomas Frankland Lewis* as treasurer of the navy, 12 Mar., and he divided steadily with the revived Whig opposition until 7 July, including for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May. He called for better public access to St. James’s and Regent’s Parks, 29 Mar., and requested estimates of the cost of the proposed removal of the surveyor general’s department from the Tower to Pall Mall, 2 Apr., and returns on the crown droits, 2 July. Making a major contribution to the campaign for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, he proposed bringing in a bill ‘after Easter’, 22 Mar.; but, demurring to Peel, he backed the government’s measure, although he ‘would have liked greater leniency’, 1 Apr. He presented and endorsed favourable petitions from Maldon and elsewhere, 5, 8 Apr., 13, 18, 24 May, 3, 7 June, and voted accordingly, 24 May, 7 June, 20 July, but pressed for ‘greater mitigation’ to the last.51 He intervened in the debate on Lord Ellenborough’s divorce bill, 1 Apr., and voted for reform of the laws, 3 June. He expressed regret at the lack of progress on measures to expedite small debt claims, 28 May, and voted against a government amendment to increase recognizances under the libel law amendment bill, 9 July 1830.

Although impoverished by losses sustained by Henry Bellenden Ker, to whom he had lent money,52 Barrett Lennard refused outright coalition with his new colleague Quintin Dick at the general election that month and came in for Maldon unopposed at a cost of only £585; but John Disney, the Essex Whig whose candidature he proposed at Ipswich, where the Ultra Charles Mackinnon* maliciously claimed his support, was unsuccessful.53 He was accused with his father of coalescing with the Tories by directing tenants to split votes between Western and the Tory John Tyssen Tyrell* at the Essex county election, so engineering the defeat of the second Whig, William Tylney Pole Long Wellesley*.54 Ministers of course listed Barrett Lennard among their ‘foes’, but he was absent from the division on the civil list that brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. He supported Lord Grey’s new ministry on their modest plans to reduce pensions and salaries, despite his continued hostility to sinecures and diplomatic expenditure, 13, 15 Dec., but when Guest raised the question of Mrs. Arbuthnot’s pension, 21 Dec., he was drawn into the trap and suggested that ‘pensions granted by the crown should afterwards be submitted to this House and the circumstances under which they are granted brought under consideration’. Maldon provided him with a petition advocating a return to Canning’s foreign policy, 20 Dec., and he presented another that day requesting legislation for the disafforestation of Waltham Forest to provide agricultural employment for the poor. He declared for commutation when Hume presented a petition from Havering-atte-Bower complaining of tithe litigation costs, 21 Dec. 1830. His views on the cost of the diplomatic service and abuse of the pension list were, he insisted, unchanged; but he made it clear that ‘my objections to a close pension list will be much softened when we obtain a reform in Parliament’, 7 Feb. 1831. Compromising past ideals to support an administration which would bring this about, he scorned Gisborne’s request for returns on diplomatic and consular service appointments and insisted that mismanagement was confined to the previous administration, 15 Mar. He continued to support government on the civil list, while pressing for measures to prevent its abuse, 28 Mar. Describing himself as an ‘independent Member of Parliament’ who had ‘never very strongly attached myself to any party’, he testified to the people of Essex’s support of reform and urged the need to enfranchise copyholders, leaseholders and large towns such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 9 Mar. He commended the ministerial reform bill at the Essex county meeting, 18 Mar., endorsed a favourable Ipswich petition before voting for its second reading, 22 Mar., and presented another, advocating a householder franchise, from Maldon, which the bill threatened to deprive of a seat, 19 Apr.55 He voted against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment that day and, in what Hunt described as an act of self-interest, on the 20th presented a pro-reform petition adopted on the 12th by Maldon’s London freemen.56 He was implicated in a futile attempt to replace Dick with a reformer at Maldon at the general election that month, when they were unopposed.57 He and his father used their influence in Essex, Ipswich and Monaghan to support reform candidates approved by government.58 In September 1831, Lord Grey acknowledged Barrett Lennard’s support and the value of his father’s patronage, but their request for a peerage for Sir Thomas was shelved.59

He voted for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July 1831, and gave its details general but not unqualified support. He did not oppose Maldon’s designation as a schedule B borough, but he regretted it, and he ascribed high election costs there to the need to bring in out-voters rather than to bribery, 29 July. His wayward votes against the proposed division of counties, 11 Aug., for the enfranchisement of £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug., and against giving county votes to borough copyholders and leaseholders, 20 Aug., were attuned to his agricultural interests and aspirations to represent Essex. Heeding its relevance to Maldon, he expressed support for retaining freedom by marriage as a voting qualification, 27, 30 Aug. He voted for the bill at its third reading, 19 Sept., and passage, 21 Sept., and for the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. Co-operating closely with Disney and Harvey, he rallied and addressed the reformers at the Maldon Independent Club, 21 Nov., and at the county meeting, 10 Dec., and he fully endorsed the Essex nobility’s reform petition, promoted by his father, 14 Dec. 1831.60 He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, by which Maldon retained its second seat, 17 Dec. 1831, and for its details, third reading, 22 Mar., and the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May 1832. He expressed regret at its poor provision for tenants-at-will, 1 Feb., and was a minority teller for an amendment making marriage with the daughter of a freeman a franchise qualification, 7 Feb. He brought up petitions of confidence in the bill and the ministry, 14 May. He divided for second reading of the Irish measure, 25 May. He voted for the Liverpool disfranchisement bill, 23 May, and Alexander Baring’s bill to deny insolvent debtors parliamentary privilege, 27 June, which he was sorry to see timed out as he wanted its provisions extended to the Lords. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. 1832.

He was appointed to the committee on the factories regulation bill, 17 Mar., after presenting petitions in its favour and suggesting that children needed ‘leisure for improvement, 9, 16 Mar. 1832. He spoke similarly of the need for recreation when the Yorkshire petition was received, 27 June, adding that he regretted the bill’s loss and disagreed with the policy of non-interference advocated by the political economists. He contributed to debates on local courts, 8 May, and taxed carts, 12 June, and supported a bill changing admission procedures to the Inns of Court, 14 June. Its promoter Harvey now considered him ‘the only impartial Whig to whom I can appeal in matters connected with Essex politics’.61 He presented petitions from the county against the highways bill, 24 May, and for the Scottish and Irish vagrants bill, 5, 21 July, and others for the removal of deer from Waltham Forest, the government’s plan for education in Ireland, and repeal of the fire insurance duty, 21 July. He did not think monthly publication of daily returns on cholera in London, Westminster and Southwark would produce the ‘slightest good’, 21 July. His commitment to reducing the number of capital offences was undiminished, and he presented and endorsed petitions requesting this, 17, 30 May, 14, 22 June, 21 July, and mustered with opponents of the death penalty at Exeter Hall, 2 June 1832. Preparing for the next Parliament he generated a furious response in the press by tabling a motion for accounts of diocesan and other church revenues in England and Wales with a view to standardizing them.62

Barrett Lennard was uncertain whether to stand as a Liberal for Maldon or the new Essex North constituency at the 1832 general election. He started for both, but chose Maldon, realizing that his father’s candidature for Essex South generated ‘a feeling ... that a borough and a seat for father and son in the two divisions is too much for one family’.63 He rallied to defend his father, who came in in second place with the Conservative after his coalition with Long Wellesley collapsed during polling, and secured his own election for Maldon that month and in 1835.64 Unseated there in 1837 and defeated in 1841, he recaptured the seat in 1847, but lost again in 1852.65 Out of Parliament he spent time in Brighton and on the continent, where his second wife, who was then expecting their sixth child, died in Naples in 1844.66 He died in Brighton in April 1856, recalled as a man of ‘retired and studious habits’ who devoted ‘the chief part of his life to politics as an advanced but independent Whig’ and to supporting the Liberal cause in Essex.67 He predeceased his father, then ‘the eldest living baronet’, whose titles and estates thus passed to his eldest son Thomas Barrett Lennard (1826-1919) in 1857.68 In accordance with his 1825 marriage settlement, provisions in his will (proved, 17 Sept. 1856) for his five sons, brother George, and Sarah Woodfield of Swiss Cottage, Notting Hill, were financed from £50,000 charged on the family estates in Essex, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Norfolk.69

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. T.B. Lennard, Account of Lennard and Barrett Fams. 625-38; Essex Jnl. vii (1972), 77-78.
  • 2. Essex RO, Barrett Lennard mss D/DL/C58/4-16.
  • 3. Barrett Lennard mss C58/20; C59, Spinetto to Armandale, Dec. 1812.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 698-9; Barrett Lennard mss C58/28-30, 39; C59, T.P. Leslie to Sir T. Barrett Lennard, 24 Sept., Bickersteth to Barrett Lennard, 6 Apr. 1813.
  • 5. Barrett Lennard mss C58/39, 48-50, 59, 63-75.
  • 6. The Times, 7, 8, 23 Oct.; Barrett Lennard mss C58/87; C60, Western to Barrett Lennard, 30 Sept. 1819.
  • 7. Barrett Lennard mss C58/90-93; C60, St. Vincent to Barrett Lennard 20 Feb.; Suff. RO (Ipswich), J. Glyde, ‘Materials for Parl. Hist. Ipswich’, ff. 87-90; Morning Chron. 24, 29 Feb., 4 Mar.; The Times, 4 Mar. 1820.
  • 8. Suff. Chron. 11 Mar. 1820.
  • 9. The Times, 15, 21 Mar., 17 Apr, 15 June; Barrett Lennard mss C60, Barrett Lennard to fa. 7, 15 Apr. and n.d.; O41/1-5; Suff. Chron. 6 July 1820; J. Glyde, New Suff. Garland, 411-453.
  • 10. The Times, 26 Jan.; Barrett Lennard mss C60, G. Keppel to Barrett Lennard, 14 Mar. 1820.
  • 11. PRO NI, Rossmore mss T2929/3/3, 19.
  • 12. The Times, 9 May 1821.
  • 13. Ibid. 18 June 1824, 2 May 1825.
  • 14. Barrett Lennard mss C60.
  • 15. Ibid. Barrett Lennard to fa. 1 Jan.; Add. 51851, Barrett Lennard to Holland, 10 Jan. 1821.
  • 16. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 73, 74.
  • 17. Suff. RO (Ipswich) S.92.Len.
  • 18. The Times, 30 June 1821.
  • 19. Ibid. 4 Apr. 1821.
  • 20. Ibid. 5 June 1821.
  • 21. Ibid. 29 June 1821.
  • 22. Suff. Chron. 29 Sept., 6 Oct. 1821; Barrett Lennard mss C61, Barrett Lennard to fa. 24, 30 Oct. and n.d. 1821.
  • 23. The Times, 8, 21, 26 Feb., 3 Apr., 14 May 1822; A. Mitchell, Whigs in Opposition, 165.
  • 24. The Times, 16 May; Suff. Chron. 18 May 1822.
  • 25. The Times, 12, 19, 27, 28 Mar. 1822.
  • 26. Ibid. 20 June, 16 July 1822, 24 June 1823.
  • 27. Ibid. 9, 18 May 1822.
  • 28. Ibid. 2, 6, 28 June, 3, 13, 19 July 1822.
  • 29. Ibid. 23 Aug. 1822.
  • 30. Ibid. 26 Mar. 1823.
  • 31. Barrett Lennard mss C60, Barrett Lennard to fa. [1825].
  • 32. The Times, 24 Feb., 23, 26 Mar., 1 Apr. 1824.
  • 33. Gent. Mag. (1825), i. 360; PROB 11/1669/259; IR26/1041/325; The Times, 2 July 1825.
  • 34. Ipswich Jnl. 1, 8, 15 Oct.; The Times, 5 Oct. 1825.
  • 35. Rossmore mss T2929/3/18, 42, 91. See COUNTY MONAGHAN.
  • 36. Barrett Lennard mss C58/101, 102; C60, Capt. Dick to Law, 5 Aug., 6 Sept., Western to Barrett Lennard, 4 Nov.; Ipswich Jnl. 1, 8, 15 0ct. 1825.
  • 37. The Times, 2 Mar. 1826.
  • 38. Barrett Lennard mss C58/103; C60, G. Winn to Messrs. Clarke and Nares, 16 Apr., Western to Barrett Lennard, 12 June, Holden to same, 18 June, May to same, 7 Mar. 1827; O42/3; G. Caunt, Essex in Parl. 66.
  • 39. Suff. Chron. 19 Apr., 6, 13, 20 May, 17 June; The Times, 17 May, 6 June; Colchester Gazette, 17, 24 June, 1 July 1826.
  • 40. The Times, 9 Mar.; Colchester Gazette, 24 Mar. 1827.
  • 41. The Times, 7 June 1827.
  • 42. Barrett Lennard mss C60, Spring Rice to Barrett Lennard [Jan. 1828].
  • 43. Barrett Lennard mss C61, Barrett Lennard to fa. [1829].
  • 44. The Times, 22 June 1825.
  • 45. Barrett Lennard mss C61, Barrett Lennard to fa. [1829].
  • 46. The Times, 30 May 1829, 7 Jan. 1830.
  • 47. Ibid. 22 July 1829.
  • 48. Colchester Gazette, 13 Feb. 1830.