BATHURST, Henry George, Lord Apsley (1790-1866), of 1 Great Stanhope Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 24 Feb. 1790, 1st s. of Henry Bathurst†, 3rd Earl Bathurst, and Georgiana, da. of Lord George Henry Lennox† of West Stoke, Suss.; bro. of Hon. Seymour Thomas Bathurst* and Hon. William Lennox Bathurst†. educ. by Dr. Moore, Sunbury;1 Eton 1802; Glasgow Univ. 1806; Christ Church, Oxf. 1808. unm. suc. fa. as 4th Earl Bathurst 27 July 1834. d. 25 May 1866.
Commr. bd. of control Sept. 1812-June 1818.
Capt. commdt. Cirencester yeoman cav. 1810; lt.-col. commdt. Cotswold militia 1813.
Apsley, an ‘agreeable young nobleman’ and a favourite companion of the duke of Wellington,2 sat unopposed for Cirencester on his father’s interest throughout this period. He was a fairly regular attender, continuing to support Lord Liverpool’s ministry in which his father was a senior figure, but rarely spoke. He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. He divided against Catholic claims, 28 Feb. He paired against the additional malt duty repeal bill, 3 Apr., and voted against Hume’s economy and retrenchment motion, 27 June. He divided against the forgery punishment mitigation bill, 23 May 1821. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., removal of Catholic peers’ disabilities, 20 Apr., and Newport’s amendment regarding Irish tithes, 19 June 1822. He divided against further tax remissions, 3 Mar., repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and inquiries into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and delays in chancery, 5 June 1823. He voted against the motion condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He was absent from the call of the House, 28 Feb. 1825, but attended next day to vote against Catholic claims. He suggested that an anti-Catholic petition from a public meeting was ‘most likely to express the sense of such a town as Manchester’, 10 May 1825.3 It was said of him at this time that he ‘attended pretty regularly, voted with ministers; spoke not much’.4 Following the breaking off of his engagement to Isabella Forester, which was apparently engineered by aristocratic ladies who considered her not good enough for him, he spent several months abroad, and early in 1826 Lady Lansdowne found him ‘grown so fat upon his travels and disappointment that I did not know him again’.5 He voted against the motion condemning the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar., and was a majority teller against the third reading of the spring guns bill, 27 Apr. 1826.
He was granted one month’s leave on account of ill health, 29 Mar. 1827, having explained to Peel, the home secretary, that he had been advised to ‘avoid long attendance’.6 He was present to vote against the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June 1827. In March 1828 he was one of four Members who sent an ‘impudent letter’ to the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, Planta, ‘calling him the shepherd who was continually crying wolf’, which reflected the difficulty in obtaining a reliable attendance from backbenchers. The whip Holmes was tempted to remind him that his family received ‘about £14,000 a year’ from the public funds.7 He divided against the motion condemning delays in chancery, 24 Apr., Catholic claims, 12 May, and reduction of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July 1828. Privately, he expressed the view that the ‘best course’ on the East Retford question would be to transfer its seats to Yorkshire and divide that county into three constituencies.8 In February 1829 Planta listed him as one who would side ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation. He was absent from the call of the House, 5 Mar., but attended next day to vote for emancipation, as he did again, 30 Mar. He presented a favourable petition from the Protestant inhabitants of Cirencester, with which he ‘most cordially agreed’, 9 Mar. 1829. He divided against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., Lord Blandford’s reform motion, 18 Feb., the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830.
After the general election that summer Apsley was of course listed among the ministry’s ‘friends’, but he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. An exasperated Peel observed that he was one of four sons of cabinet ministers who had never ‘opened [their] lips’ on behalf of the government and had been absent on the fatal night, ‘though all were in town’.9 He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July, to postpone consideration of Chippenham’s inclusion in schedule B, 27 July, and to preserve existing voting rights, 27 Aug. However, he voted with ministers for the proposed division of counties, 11 Aug. On 27 Aug. he moved an amendment against Hume’s motion to expedite progress on the bill by giving precedence to orders of the day over other notices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for the remainder of the session; Hume withdrew. He divided against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He voted against the motion censuring the conduct of the Irish administration during the Dublin election, 23 Aug. Towards the end of September he was reportedly ‘caught at the last on the Dublin committee, which is likely to keep him for some time’.10 He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. According to one list, he voted against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832. He was returned unopposed as a Conservative for Cirencester at the general election later that year and sat until July 1834, when he succeeded to his father’s title and estates. His later years were apparently ‘unmarked by any of those great public services which so distinguished the lives of some of his illustrious ancestors’.11 He died in May 1866 and was succeeded by his brother, William Lennox Bathurst (1791-1878).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. Glenbervie Diaries, i. 399.
- 2. Diary of a Cotswold Parson ed. D. Verey, 35; Wellington Pol. Corresp. i. 53, 366.
- 3. The Times, 11 May 1825.
- 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 448.
- 5. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 384; Add. 51668, f. 134; 51690, f. 194; 52017, ff. 1-3.
- 6. Add. 40393, f. 88; HMC Bathurst, 631.
- 7. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 176.
- 8. Ellenborough Diary, i. 110-11.
- 9. Add. 40401, f. 292.
- 10. Badminton mss Fm M 4/1/19, Worcester to Beaufort, 27 Sept. 1831.
- 11. Wilts. and Glos. Standard, 2 June 1866.