CHETWYND TALBOT, see Henry John, Henry John, Visct. Ingestre (1803-1868).

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

Constituency

Dates

1830 - 1831
1831 - 12 Aug. 1831
18 Aug. 1831 - 1832
1832 - 2 Apr. 1833
1837 - 10 Jan. 1849

Family and Education

b. 8 Nov. 1803, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Charles Chetwynd, 2nd Earl Talbot, and Frances Thomasine, da. of Charles Lambart of Beau Parc, Slane, co. Meath. m. 8 Nov. 1828, Lady Sarah Elizabeth Beresford, da. of Henry De La Poer Beresford, MP [I], 2nd mq. of Waterford [I], 4s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.). CB 13 Nov. 1827; suc. fa. as 3rd Earl Talbot 10 Jan. 1849; distant cos. Bertram Arthur Talbot as 18th earl of Shrewsbury and 18th earl of Waterford [I] 10 Aug. 1856. d. 4 June 1868.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1817, lt. 1824, cdr. 1826, capt. 1827, half-pay 1837, r.-adm. (ret.) 1854, v.-adm. (ret.) 1861, adm. (ret.) 1865.

Ld. in waiting May-Dec. 1852; naval a.d.c. to Queen Victoria 1852-4; PC 26 Feb. 1858; capt. of gentlemen-at-arms Feb. 1858-June 1859; high steward [I] 1858-d.

Lt. Staffs. yeoman cav. 1831; lt.-col. Staffs. militia 1832.

Biography

Ingestre’s grandfather, John Chetwynd Talbot (1750-93), a grandson of Charles, 1st Baron Talbot, lord chancellor, 1733-7, was member for Castle Rising from 1777 to 1782, when he succeeded his uncle William Talbot as 3rd baron. Two years later he was promoted to an earldom. On the death of his mother Catherine, the daughter of the 2nd Viscount Chetwynd, in 1785, he inherited her family’s Staffordshire estates, which replaced the Talbots’ property at Hensol in Glamorgan as their main residence and sphere of influence. He took the additional name of Chetwynd in 1786. He married Charlotte, daughter of the 1st marquess of Downshire and sister of ‘Old Sal’, the celebrated marchioness of Salisbury. His eldest son was born in 1777 and succeeded to the peerage at the age of 16. A bulky, bucolic, straightforward man, he was noted primarily as a promoter of agricultural improvement in Staffordshire, where he became lord lieutenant in 1812. By his marriage he reinforced his family’s connections with the Irish Protestant hierarchy; and in 1817 he was the premier Lord Liverpool’s slightly surprising choice as Irish viceroy. He formed a close friendship with the Irish secretary Robert Peel*, a Staffordshire neighbour. Like Peel, he was a staunch opponent of the Catholic claims, but Daniel O’Connell* gave him credit for neutrality in his administration.1 He was shattered by the premature death of his wife in December 1819, soon after the birth of their 11th child in 19 years. He became increasingly dissatisfied with Peel’s successor Charles Grant*, an indolent pro-Catholic, but the upshot of his pressure on the government for Grant’s replacement was the removal of them both in December 1821. Talbot, furious at being ‘condemned unheard’, was not mollified by the ‘humbug’ of a royal invitation to Brighton, and he vented his mortification to Liverpool in ‘strong and indeed indignant terms’. He subsequently attached himself personally and politically to Peel. He considered Canning’s accession to power in 1827 a ‘quite appalling’ event and was relieved at his early death, whereby ‘we Protestants have another squeak for our establishment and principles’.2 He was ‘not friendly’ to the Goderich ministry, and welcomed the return to power of the duke of Wellington and Peel in January 1828, though he wished ‘they had been able to form an administration on really pure Protestant principles’.3

As a younger son Ingestre entered the navy, but in May 1826 his prospects were changed by the death of his elder brother Charles Thomas in a bizarre accident in Vienna: during his daily ride on the Prater, his hat was dislodged by a low branch and fell on his horse, which bolted and plunged him into a quagmire, where he suffocated.4 Ingestre distinguished himself in command of the Philomel at the battle of Navarino, 20 Oct. 1827, and was sent home with Admiral Codrington’s dispatches. He was, however, ‘detained for three days in quarantine at Ancona, and was consequently obliged, though reluctantly, to part with them and send them on by a courier’. George Agar Ellis* met him at Lady Spencer’s, 14 Nov., the day after his arrival in London: ‘He seems a fine, rough, sailorlike fellow, and tells his tale simply and well’.5 Next day James Stuart Wortley† told his mother:

Lord Ingestre is ... to see the king tomorrow. He gives the most brilliant account of the gallantry of the affair on all hands ... At one period of the action he was obliged to send to one of the [Russian] captains ... to beg that he would not point his guns so as to fire into his own ship, as he was then doing.6

He was more reticent a few days later at Hatfield House, the home of his father’s cousin, the 2nd marquess of Salisbury, where, according to Mrs. Arbuthnot, he was ‘very discreet and would not say a word’.7 For his part in the battle he was made a companion of the Bath and promoted to captain, as well as being decorated by the tsar. In 1828, like his father and grandfather, he made a dynastically advantageous Irish marriage, to the stunningly attractive daughter of Lord Waterford, one of the leading champions of the Protestant ascendancy; her jointure was reputed to be £80,000.8

Lord Talbot was ‘quite overset’ by Wellington and Peel’s volte face on Catholic emancipation, which he regarded as ‘the blessed fruit of Charles Grant’s appointment’. Although he gave Peel ‘every credit for honest conviction’ and remained on ostensibly good social terms with him, he felt that he had been ‘gulled and misled’, and for the future could not ‘confide in his stability’. He visited Dublin in October 1829, when the current Irish secretary reported that he ‘behaves like a gentleman and abuses the duke of Cumberland like a pickpocket’. Yet at the beginning of 1830 he wrote to his former Irish under-secretary:

I cannot say that I am in opposition, but I feel all my old ties relaxed, and I cannot feel I am, as I used to be, disposed to act without suspicion or reserve with my friends. Yet I confess there is no one I should wish to see at the helm rather than the present premier and Peel.9

In September 1829 Ingestre’s Beresford relatives had briefly considered putting him up for county Londonderry at the next election, but concluded that he ‘would not answer’ and if elected would be ‘ungovernable’.10 In May 1830 Salisbury offered to bring him forward for Hertford at the next general election. Accepting the offer, Ingestre, who was then living as a tenant of the Craddock Hartopps at Gumley Hall, Leicestershire, replied:

I think it useless to have any blarney about incapacity and so forth: suffice it to say that I have no great idea of my merits as a senator. Still, as I am without much occupation, I think a seat in Parliament might be very advantageous to me. As I think all after explanations are odious things, I hope you will pardon me if I say a word or two about the understanding I am to be on with you in the event of my coming in. I do not think it at all likely that you and I can differ much in politics, certainly not in general principles; but I can only say that if I had that misfortune at any time, I should on your expressing the slightest wish be happy to resign my seat.

By arrangement Salisbury paid the election expenses and Ingestre, who had ‘not much to throw away’, the ‘annual expenses’. A notion that he might be called on to stand for Staffordshire came to nothing, and on the king’s death in late June 1830 he duly started for Hertford, where he was joined by the advanced Whig sitting Member and a moderate reformer.11 He declared his hostility to ‘radical reform’, which he defined, when pressed, as universal suffrage. When asked whether he would support any measure to abolish the borough influence of the aristocracy, he replied evasively that ‘reform may in some instance be judicious’, but he set his face against wholesale disfranchisement of close boroughs. A contest was averted when the moderate reformer withdrew in suspicious circumstances.12

Ministers numbered Ingestre among the ‘moderate Ultras’, with the rider that he was essentially a ‘friend’. His father was said to have urged Wellington to concede some ground on parliamentary reform, and he was shocked by the duke’s defiant declaration against any change. He reflected that Peel’s ‘erroneous view’ of the Catholic question had ‘more or less been the cause’ of the current ‘evils’.13 Ingestre was absent from the decisive decision on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. At a Hertford dinner to celebrate his return, 24 Nov. 1830, he declared:

I do not possess the gift of oratory ... The present state of the country ... must give everyone pain ... I do not think it arises from any general bad feeling of the middle classes ... [but] it is the work of a few evil, misguided and malignant spirits, who make use of the lower orders, and ... have in some degree infected other portions of the community.

He pronounced the new Grey ministry to be ‘unfit to take the helm of government in the present state of affairs’, but said he would not go into ‘factious opposition’.14 Salisbury’s Hertford agent was anxious that he should attend the borough reform meeting, 18 Mar. 1831, but he did not do so.15 He voted against the second reading of the ministerial reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. These votes cost him his seat for Hertford, where he was beaten by two reformers, but his wife’s uncle, the Irish primate, provided him with a berth at Armagh.16 Ingestre voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831. In his maiden speech, 12 July, he supported the prayer of a Dublin petition against the additional wine duty. Later that day he presented a petition from Irish clergymen complaining of the ‘general, systematic and determined opposition’ to the payment of tithes. He promised to support any measure designed to enforce payment, and challenged O’Connell’s denial of the existence of a concerted campaign against tithes. Later still, he voted with opposition in the first of the obstructive adjournment divisions on the reform bill. He was in the minority against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, and spoke in support of an unsuccessful attempt to secure two Members for Stoke, 4 Aug. 1831. A few days later he vacated his seat to stand for Dublin, where the 1831 election had been declared void, on an anti-reform and Orange platform. According to a hostile reporter, he attacked the reform bill ‘with an awkward deliverance: his enunciation was thick, and the reformers played upon every slip with much ludicrous effect’. He had the last laugh when, to the dismay of ‘the Irish faction’, he and his colleague Shaw defeated two adherents of O’Connell in a bitter and costly contest.17

Ingestre voted with the West India interest for inquiry into the sugar duties, 12 Sept. 1831. Next day he called for more effectual measures to deter agricultural machine-breakers, presented a petition for compensation to be given to the coal-meters of Dublin if their establishment was abolished and objected to the inclusion of his Staffordshire neighbour Edward Littleton* in the boundary commission because he was ‘a partisan’ for the reform bill. He voted against its passage, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept. On 21 Sept. he replied at length to Tommy Duncombe’s attack on Salisbury for allegedly evicting those of his tenants who had opposed his interest at Hertford at the last general election: only 38 of 71 such men, almost all of them in considerable arrears of rent, had been given notice to quit. He brandished written evidence of Duncombe’s having evicted two of his own tenants for political recalcitrance, predicted that the reform bill would place the tenant in Hertford and similar boroughs ‘infinitely more than at present under the influence of his landlord’ and refuted Grattan’s charge that he owed his own return for Dublin to bribery and corruption. On 26 Sept. he warned against the introduction of an unmodified English system of poor laws to Ireland, and voted with the minority of 47 to discontinue the Maynooth grant. He deplored the proposed reduction of the grant for the Royal Dublin Society, 29 Sept., and presented a petition in favour of the establishment of a board of trade in Dublin, 30 Sept. Bringing up more clerical petitions complaining of non-payment of tithes, 6 Oct., he said that the petitioners were willing to surrender a portion of their property in return for guaranteed protection of the remainder and threatened to found a motion on these petitions next session. Later that day he supported opposition calls for the removal of such of the newly appointed Irish lord lieutenants as were non-resident in their counties: in particular, he pressed his brother-in-law Lord Waterford’s claims, even though he was a few months under age. ‘Having said that I would support any reform I conscientiously could’, he supported suspension of the Liverpool writ with a view to dealing with corruption there, 12 Oct. 1831.

In discussions with ministers to settle the list of proposed members of the select committee on Irish tithes, 12 Dec. 1831, Littleton suggested the inclusion of Ingestre ‘as one not very likely to give much trouble’; but he was not one of those appointed three days later.18 Ingestre, whose father ultimately rejected Lord Harrowby’s blandishments to join the ‘Waverers’ in the Lords, voted against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831.19 He was in the opposition minorities against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar., and for Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment concerning Lincoln freeholders, 23 Mar. 1832. He supported Shaw’s calls for inquiry into the building of St. George’s church, Dublin and fuller discussion of the Dublin coal trade bill, which threatened to inflict ‘serious injury’ on the coal-meters, 16 Feb. His bid to improve their compensation, 9 Mar., was unsuccessful. He presented petitions against the ministerial plan for Irish education, 27 Feb., 16 Mar., when he complained that ‘more countenance is given to the Catholics than to the established church’ and threatened, in reprisal for opposition to the grant for the Kildare Place Society, to resist the Maynooth grant; he did so, as one of a minority of eight, 27 July. He was credited with a vote for wider Irish tithe reform than ministers contemplated, 27 Mar.; but, after failing in his attempt to secure a call of the House for the anticipated introduction of their tithes composition bill, 9 July, he gave that measure his ‘most cordial, anxious and sincere support’, 13 July. He criticized the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., and deplored the appointment of Symonds as surveyor of the navy in preference to men trained in naval architecture, 29 June. In the debate on the ministerial crisis, 14 May, he ‘advocated’, but did not move, an adjournment, ‘in order to give time for such arrangements as may tend to the general welfare of the country’. His speech was seen as an example of the ‘surrender at discretion’ of most Conservative backbenchers.20 He voted against the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, supported Shaw’s bid to preserve the rights of freemen under it, 2 July, and argued for the retention of the qualification oath for Catholic voters, 18 July. He joined the Dublin Conservative Society in June.21 He acquiesced in the introduction of the Irish party processions bill, 14 June, but voted against going into committee on it, 25 June. He voted to exclude insolvent debtors from Parliament, 27 June, and divided against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July. He asked for more money to complete the harbour at Dun Laoghaire, 17 July, defended Shaw against the charge that his role as recorder of Dublin interfered with his parliamentary duties, 18 July, and argued that Hunt’s call for an end to corporal punishment in the forces was based on ‘a false notion of humanity’ and, if successful, ‘would be the signal for the downfall of the navy’, 24 July. He was in the minority against the crown colonies relief bill and supported an abortive attempt to remove the retrospective element of the ecclesiastical courts contempts bill, 3 Aug. On 7 Aug. he contradicted Duncombe’s allegation that Salisbury had imposed on his Hertford tenants a bond requiring them to vacate their houses at short notice or forfeit £50. He expressed his support for the proposed increase of £1,000 in the lord chancellor’s retirement pension, 9 Aug. 1832.

At the general election of 1832 Ingestre was returned for Hertford after a notoriously corrupt contest, but he was unseated on petition three months later.22 He was nominated on a vacancy for South Staffordshire in June 1833, but did not risk a poll, and he was beaten at Hertford in 1835.23 He won a county seat in 1837 and held it until he succeeded his father. His right to the earldom of Shrewsbury was recognized by the committee of privileges, 1 June 1858, and the following year he obtained a judgement in support of his claim to the estates associated with it. General Dyott, who blamed Ingestre for his son’s failure to come in for the county with him in 1837, dismissed him as ‘a shallow man, and in his profession, tyrannical; his manners neither courteous or highly polished’.24 Macaulay, a political opponent, was pleasantly surprised by an encounter with him on a steamer in France in 1843:

We stopped ... at Saumur to take in passengers. One of them greeted me very heartily and shook me by the hand. I was surprised to find that it was Lord Ingestre, with whom I never exchanged a word except once in discussion on a private bill in a committee ... He is a violent Tory, and passes for a rough surly man. Nor would there have been the least discourtesy in his taking no notice of me. However he was extremely cordial and insisted on introducing me to his wife, an agreeable and rather handsome young woman, with whom I had some pleasant chat.

He did not, however, take up their invitation, delivered in Ingestre’s ‘gruff professional tone’, to visit them at their house at Dieppe.25 Ingestre died in June 1868 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles John (1830-77).

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Oxford DNB; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 228-30; O’Connell Corresp. ii. 807.
  • 2. Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box ed. Lady Gregory, 138, 139-41, 151, 166-7, 169- 71; Gash, 367; Add. 40397, ff. 203, 215.
  • 3. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1433; Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 292, 296-8, 300.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1826), ii. 87.
  • 5. Ibid. (1827), ii. 453-5, 458; Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 14 Nov. [1827].
  • 6. C. Grosvenor and Lord Stuart, Lady Wharncliffe and Fam. ii. 19.
  • 7. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 147-8.
  • 8. PRO NI, Downshire mss D671/C/2/332/1; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 389; Howard Sisters, 241; Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 304.
  • 9. Mr Gregory’s Letter-Box, 305-10, 314-15; Arbuthnot Corresp. 126.
  • 10. PRO NI, Carr Beresford mss T3396, B. Beresford to Lord Beresford; PRO NI, Pack-Beresford mss D664/A/94.
  • 11. Hatfield House mss 2M/Gen., Ingestre to Salisbury, 29 May, [5 June 1830].