CRICKITT, Robert Alexander (1784-1832), of Smith's Hall, nr. Chipping Ongar, Essex and Brompton Square, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 1784, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Charles Alexander Crickitt†, banker, of Smith’s Hall and w. Sarah Dolby of Brises, Kelvedon Hatch. educ. Eton 1799. m. 1 June 1813, Juliana Maria Eliza, da. of Cornelius Henderixon Kortwright, Danish planter, of St. Croix, W.I. and Hylands, Essex, s.p. suc. fa. 1803. d. 3 Jan. 1832.
Bailiff, Ipswich 1805-6.
Crickitt, a partner in banks at Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, where he had restored the family interest in 1807, survived a strong challenge to his hold on the borough from an ‘independent’ party in 1818.1 He stood again as a church and state Tory in 1820 with his fellow banker John Round†, but his enemies, who claimed that, ‘guided by uniform adherence to the measures of an ambitious ministry’, he had disregarded ‘the interests of the people’, brought forward two Whig sympathizers, Thomas Barrett Lennard and William Haldimand.2 At the close of polling Crickitt was in third place, with Round fourth. They demanded and obtained a scrutiny, a device Crickitt had condemned when resorted to by his opponents in 1818 and had recently attacked on the hustings as ‘contrary to the freedom of election and likely to disfranchise poor but honest voters’; but it left him at the head of the poll, three votes ahead of Haldimand, 14 Apr. 1820.3 No trace of parliamentary activity has been found for Crickitt before he was unseated two months later on a petition alleging bribery and malpractice by the bailiffs as returning officers. He refrained from contesting it to protect them and avoid costly proceedings in king’s bench.4 His enemies exulted in his ‘expulsion’:
This huge Atlas of the little political world enjoyed by the Blues of Ipswich, shook the bloated bubble from his shoulders and retired to that privacy, from which, if his promises are uniformly falsified, he will never venture to emerge.5
Crickitt’s friends attributed his defeat to his support for the suspension of habeas corpus and for the candidatures of the West Indian planters John and William Newton†. He was expected to stand again at the next opportunity, but announced his retirement from politics, 14 Oct. 1825.6 He was in any case in no position to be a candidate in 1826. Prolonged and heavy electoral expenditure and his fondness for buying property had driven him to borrow large sums from his partner in the Ipswich bank, Edward Bacon, and to overdraw on his accounts elsewhere. In the country bank crash of late 1825 the Chelmsford bank collapsed and Crickitt, his mother and their partner Samuel Hunt Ruffell were declared bankrupt with a collective debt of £58,000, which by June 1830 was calculated at £98,858 8s. Creditors were paid 16s. in the pound. Under cross-examination by the bankruptcy commissioners, Crickett, who had raised £10,000 on the Colchester bank, 17 Dec. 1825, and owed the Ipswich bank £21,000, acknowledged that he habitually kept cash from the Maldon and Chelmsford banks at home and had spent £10,000 on electioneering, a sum he later revised to £16,000 on ‘parliamentary election costs’.7 It was reckoned that ‘except for the default occasioned by Mr. Crickitt’s own debts the creditors would have no loss’.8 The Ipswich and Colchester banks survived, but Crickitt and his mother withdrew from both businesses. He spe