CHICHESTER, Arthur II (1797-1837), of Dunbrody Park, Arthurstown, co. Wexford and 38 Portman Square, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

1826 - 1830
1830 - 10 Sept. 1831

Family and Education

b. 8 Jan. 1797, o. surv. s. of Lord Spencer Stanley Chichester† of Dunbrody Park and Lady Harriet Stewart, da. of John Stewart†, 7th earl of Galloway [S]. educ. Harrow 1808-13; Brasenose, Oxf. 1815. m. 27 July 1820, Lady Augusta Paget, da. of Henry William Paget†, 1st mq. of Anglesey, 6s. 2da. suc. fa. 1819. cr. Bar. Templemore 10 Sept. 1831. d. 26 Sept. 1837.

Offices Held

Cornet 7 Drag. 1816, lt. 1820; capt. 2 Life Gds. 1822; maj. unattached (half-pay) 1824; maj. 2 Life Gds. 1826; lt.-col. unattached (half-pay) 1827; ret. 1834.

Gent. of bedchamber Aug. 1835-June 1837; ld.-in-waiting July 1837-d.

Biography

Chichester, a cavalry officer and grandson of the 1st marquess of Donegall, unsuccessfully petitioned Parliament against the Marriage Act amendment bill of 1822, a move which was supposedly motivated by his ambition to lay his hands on the Donegall estates on the ground that his uncle, the 2nd marquess, had never been legally married and his children were therefore illegitimate.1 In the autumn of 1825, when he indicated his intention to offer at the next general election for county Wexford, where he was a substantial landed proprietor, doubts were expressed, ‘for if he ... does it will only bring forward stories that may as well remain in the dark’.2 He persisted, hoping that support from the Catholic freeholders would enable him to displace Lord Stopford, but the other sitting Member, Carew, refused to ally with him, and many Catholics apparently failed to register in time to vote. He withdrew shortly before the poll in June 1826, possibly on the understanding that he should fill the next vacancy, and was returned for Milborne Port on his father-in-law Lord Anglesey’s interest.3

He presented a petition from two Wexford parishes for Catholic relief, 16 Feb.,4 and voted accordingly, 6 Mar. 1827. Claiming to be acting on his own initiative, 13 Mar., he suggested that Martin, Member for Galway, should postpone his motion accusing Lord Clanricarde of unconstitutional practices pending the report of the Galway election committee. He divided against the spring guns bill, 30 Mar. He was in the minorities against the corn bill, 2 Apr., and the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May 1827. His father-in-law served in the Canning and Goderich cabinets and was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland in the duke of Wellington’s ministry in 1828. He acknowledged the home secretary Peel’s request to attend at the start of that session, but his application in April to Wellington for a peerage was rejected.5 He presented Wexford petitions for Catholic relief, 12 Feb., 21 Apr., and voted thus, 12 May 1828, when he claimed that the hostile attitude of Henry Evans, Member for Wexford, did not represent the views of his constituents. He defended the conduct of the grand jury in relation to the charges of malversation in the Leinster police establishment, 12 June, and presented a petition from Shilmalier for inquiry into abuses in the Wexford constabulary department, 8 July 1828. His political affiliation at this time is not entirely clear: he appeared on Lord Palmerston’s list of Huskissonites, but not on Lord Colchester’s.6 Early in 1829, despite Anglesey’s recall from Ireland, Chichester offered to use his influence on Peel’s behalf in the Oxford University by-election, as ‘the manly and straightforward measure [Catholic emancipation] intended by ... government should not have the effect of depriving you of your seat’.7 He presented a Catholic petition in favour of emancipation, 6 Feb., and voted for the third reading of the government’s bill, 30 Mar. However, his renewed request that month for a peerage was again disappointed.8 In the autumn, the Ultra Tory Vyvyan reckoned him to be an opposition Member but not a Huskissonite. Yet early in 1830 he unsuccessfully sought employment as an excise commissioner.9 He divided with government against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., but with opposition to condemn British interference in Portugal, 10 Mar. He argued that Irish sub-inspectors of constabulary should be required to give security for the performance of their duties, 30 Mar. He was granted a month’s leave for urgent private business, 5 Apr. 1830. It had been reported the previous autumn that he would offer for county Wexford at the next general election, after Stopford announced his intention to retire. At the dissolution in July 1830 he was nominated by the other retiring Member, Carew, but distanced himself from Lambert, the popular Catholic candidate, one of whose friends condemned him as ‘a most heartless selfish man’ who was ‘extremely unpopular’. He was returned with the Tory Lord Valentia ‘after a severe and desperately fought contest’.10

Chichester’s political allegiance initially remained unclear: ministers listed him as one of the ‘good doubtfuls’, while Brougham claimed him as an opponent of the government. He informed The Times that he had been ‘accidentally shut out’ of the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, ‘fully intending to vote for the motion’.11 His father-in-law returned to Ireland as lord lieutenant on the formation of Lord Grey’s ministry. He presented but dissented from a petition from Palasgreen and Timplebraden for repeal of the Union, 7 Mar. 1831. He divided for the second reading of the ministerial reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He and Lambert were comfortably returned for county Wexford as reformers at the ensuing general election.12 He spoke on the affray at Newtownbarry, conveying his own information that the crowd had not come armed with guns, 23 June 1831. He was satisfied with the government’s explanation, 30 June, but warned that there was ‘no saying to what extremities’ the prevailing excitement in Wexford might lead if decisive action was not taken. He pointed to the mounting pressure in Wexford for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and steadily for its details. He voted for O’Connell’s motion that the 11 Members originally chosen for the Dublin election committee should be sworn, 29 July. He was granted ten days’ leave for urgent business, having served on an election committee, 19 Aug. 1831. That month he submitted a memorandum to his brother-in-law the duke of Richmond, the postmaster-general, stating his claim for a coronation peerage, and observed that ‘the more I think of it, the more I am persuaded that Lord Grey will not object to your asking his majesty yourself’. Early the next month he optimistically detected in Grey’s reply a ‘perfect opening ... for my being included in the first peers made ... which he evidently seems most desirous to do’, and he requested Richmond to

be so kind as ... to see Lord Anglesey when he comes ... before he goes to Lord Grey ... in order that he may be in possession of what has passed and ... of your sentiments about the business. I cannot help thinking that when Lord Anglesey is here will be the time for James Graham to throw his weight into the scale, and I know that he will be kind enough to do anything you will suggest to my advantage ... I do think, with the pressing and squeezing of Lord Anglesey, James Graham and yourself that Lord Grey will consent.13

Grey did, and Chichester was raised to the peerage as Baron Templemore. He was appointed to the royal household by Lord Melbourne in 1835, but died in September 1837. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry Spencer Chichester (1821-1906); his personalty was sworn under £20,000.14

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins

Notes

  • 1. CJ, lxxv. 423; LJ, lv. 250; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 166-7.
  • 2. TCD, Courtown mss P33/14/14.
  • 3. Ibid. P33/14/34-35, 135; Dublin Evening Post, 17, 20, 22 June 1826.
  • 4. The Times, 17 Feb. 1827.
  • 5. Add. 40395, f. 136; Wellington mss WP1/930/18.
  • 6. Bulwer,