EVANS, George De Lacy (1787-1870), of 12 Regent Street and 6 Waterloo Place, Mdx.

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



17 May 1830 - 1830
1831 - 1832
11 May 1833 - 1841
19 Feb. 1846 - 1865

Family and Education

b. 7 Oct. 1787, 3rd s. of John Evans of Lisready and Milltown, co. Limerick and Mary Ann, da. of Patrick Lacy of Milltown. educ. RMA, Woolwich. m. 21 June 1834, Josette, da. of Lt.-Col. Robert Arbuthnott, wid. of Philip Hughes, cdr. E.I. Co. marine service, s.p.1 KCB 13 Feb. 1838; GCB 5 July 1855. d. 9 Jan. 1870.

Offices Held

Ensign 22 Ft. 1807, lt. 1808; lt. 3 Drag. 1812; capt. 5 W.I. Regt. 1815, half-pay 1817; brevet maj. 1815; dep. q.m.g. with Wellington’s army 1815; brevet lt.-col. 1815; brevet col. 1837; maj.-gen. 1846; col. 21 Ft. 1853-d.; lt.-gen. 1854; gen. 1861.


Evans, the youngest son of a small landowner and farmer, was born at Moig, county Limerick. His mother’s family had a strong military tradition and, like his elder brother Richard Lacy Evans (?1782-1847), who became a cadet in the East India Company’s forces in 1800, he followed this line. He entered the army in India as a volunteer in 1806, obtained a commission the following year and was promoted in 1808. He declined an invitation to join Sir John Malcolm’s* mission to Persia, preferring active service in the Deccan. In March 1812 he secured a transfer to the 3rd Dragoons in the Peninsula, where he served for two years in a staff capacity, playing a conspicuous and daring role in all the major engagements. In March 1814 he was attached as deputy quartermaster to the corps sent under General Ross to act with Cochrane’s fleet on the American eastern seaboard. He showed bravery at Bladensberg, 24 Aug. 1814, and later that day led the successful attack on Washington. He fought at Baltimore, 12 Sept., and in the New Orleans operations in December 1814, when he was twice wounded. Promoted to captain in January 1815 and major in May, he joined the staff of the duke of Wellington’s army and served with distinction at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. His merits were recognized by promotion to lieutenant-colonel, his third step in three months. He remained some time with the army of occupation, was placed on captain’s half-pay in 1817 and on his return to Britain served briefly with the troops sent to Glasgow during the disturbances of 1819. He later claimed to have made numerous unsuccessful offers to serve abroad in the following years, and to the end of his life he resented this stagnation of his career, which he attributed to personal malice on the part of the military hierarchy. He wrote an untitled and undated pamphlet on Waterloo, in refutation of a French account, and Facts Relating to the Capture of Washington (1829), a defence of Ross against the criticisms of Admiral Cockburn.2

By 1824 Evans was on very friendly terms with Robert Otway Cave* of Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, who later left him £20,000 in a codicil to his will. (A chancery suit was required to obtain the money in 1847.)3 He was involved in Otway Cave’s successful campaign for a seat for Leicester in 1826, when he advised him to compromise his pro-Catholic views in order to secure influential support: ‘hereafter when you are more independent in point of fortune you may be disposed to change your mind and it will be time enough then to do it’.4 He made a name for himself in the late 1820s as a Russophobe. In August 1828 he published On the Designs of Russia, in which he argued fancifully that success in the conflict with Turkey would put world domination easily within Russia’s grasp and called for armed intervention by Britain and France. The book, which sold 500 copies, received considerable attention in the press, though few reviewers concurred in Evans’s views. Late in 1829, after the peace of Adrianople, he produced a more temperate work, On the Practicability of an Invasion of British India. This consisted largely of quotations from a number of authorities designed to illustrate the Russian threat to India and to establish that Britain possessed the economic resources to meet it. He welcomed the passage of Catholic emancipation and argued that, despite appearances, the aggregate of national wealth was greater than ever:

Still pauperism spreads, and demoralization with it. The evil, however is not the diminution, but the inequality of wealth; and, unfortunately, the nature and repartition of the taxes, instead of tending to remedy, are calculated to promote ... this inequality. If means, however, are to be found, in one order of society, for alleviating any excessive pressure on another, we may be well assured that the present government will fearlessly advance to effect that end.

Evans succeeded in stimulating an official investigation of the possible Russian threat to India. Lord Ellenborough, president of the board of control, discussed his book with the premier Wellington and sent copies for evaluation to the experts Sir James Macdonald* and Malcolm. Both complimented Evans for drawing timely attention to an important problem, but concluded that although Russian activity required careful monitoring, there was no immediate danger to British India.5

In March 1830 Evans, a thin, swarthy scruffy individual,6 was invited to contest a by-election for Rye by the leaders of the independent interest there, who for five years had been trying to wrest control of the borough from the Lamb family. He was beaten at the poll but petitioned and secured a decision on the right of election which gave him the seat.7 He was sworn in on 19 May. On 27 May he presented the petition of the inhabitants of Rye complaining of an abuse of magisterial power by Herbert Barrett Curteis*, who earlier that month had sent in coast guards to curb disorders resulting from the townsmen’s destruction of a sluice which was impeding the free navigation of Rye harbour and the river Rother. Evans outlined the recent history of the dispute on this issue between the townsmen and the neighbouring landowners, who included Curteis and his father, Member for Sussex. He argued that his constituents had been ‘morally justifiable’ in wrecking the sluice: not only had the landowners defied a chancery decree of 1826 by failing to modify it, but they had in 1830 introduced a bill intended to annul that decree. On the advice of Joseph Hume*, Evans let the matter drop, lest he prejudice the question, on which there was considerable sympathy for the inhabitants of Rye in official circles. The admiralty subsequently intervened to impose a compromise which temporarily satisfied the bill’s opponents. Evans voted for parliamentary reform, 28 May, abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June, modification of the sale of beer bill, 1 July, against increased recognizances in libel cases, 9 July, and to abolish colonial slavery, 13 July 1830.

His electoral success at Rye was celebrated with a triumphal procession and dinner, 16 June 1830, when he joined in calls for the example set there to be followed throughout the country. He stood for the borough with his fellow-reformer Benjamin Smith at the general election, when he was probably instrumental in encouraging the contests which occurred in the other ‘oppressed’ Cinque Ports of Hastings (where Otway Cave stood), Hythe, New Romney and Winchelsea. The patron of Rye, the Rev. George Augustus Lamb, defied the May ruling on the right of election, against which he had appealed to Parliament, and Evans and Smith were beaten at the poll. They petitioned, but when an election appeal committee reversed the decision of May they gave up the legal struggle.8 Evans, ‘the complete idol of the Cinque Ports’, attended several meetings at Rye in the interim. On 19 Oct. 1830 he welcomed the revolution in France, but thanked the admiralty for their intervention in the harbour dispute and spoke warmly of Wellington as lord warden of the Cinque Ports, trusting to his good offices to ensure fair play in the impending trial of the right of election. These conciliatory utterances may have provided the basis of the charge of ‘political dishonesty’, excused only by his ‘poverty’, which was made against him two years later by an enemy: ‘he came into the House as a radical, then went over [to] the duke, and being refused the post of king’s aide-de-camp he joined the Whigs, and would have been with them now if they had paid him’.9 After the unfavourable decision of the appeal committee he urged the Hastings and Rye independents to join forces with their fellows throughout the country in agitating for parliamentary reform and the destruction of corrupt oligarchies. On 3 Mar. 1831, two days after the unveiling of the Grey ministry’s reform scheme, he addressed meetings at Hastings and Rye in its support, though he stated his personal wish that it had included the ballot and triennial parliaments.10 The following day he spoke at the Westminster reform meeting, and was reported as having said that ‘ten thousand persons were ready to march up to London’ from Sussex if the bill was defeated. He subsequently denied any intention to incite armed insurrection, claiming that he had merely expressed his fear that obstructive opposition to the measure could provoke serious disorder; but Francis Place, the Westminster radical activist, later claimed that Evans was one of several army officers who had been ‘ready to lead’ a show of force to ensure the success of the bill.11

At the general election of 1831 Evans was encouraged by John Cam Hobhouse* to go to Preston to oppose Henry Hunt, who was felt in respectable reforming circles to have betrayed the cause by denouncing the bill as inadequate. He had been ‘left bare’ of money by his activities at Rye, which had cost him £4,000; but Place secured an apparent promise of payment of his expenses from Hobhouse’s fellow-Member for Westminster Sir Francis Burdett and the managers of the Loyal and Patriotic Fund. Furnished with letters of introduction from Place, Evans arrived at Preston on 27 Apr., when he declared his hostility to all trade monopolies, especially the corn laws, advocated reform of the established church and defended the reform bill despite its shortcomings.12 He was too late to stand any chance of success, the more so as Hunt’s colleague Wood refused to join forces with him, and he was in any case summoned back to Rye during the night by a deputation from his supporters there. The squabbles which had arisen since the 1830 election among the Rye independents were temporarily laid aside and Evans again stood with Smith. They made no attempt to poll the votes which had been deemed ineligible by the appeal committee, but serious disorder occurred when their supporters, provoked by Lamb’s parade of physical and military force, barricaded the streets and intimidated those who wished to vote for his nominees. Lamb was forced to concede one seat in return for a promise to keep the peace and Evans was returned.13 Place subsequently tried to extract £100 from the Loyal and Patriotic Fund to cover Evans’s travelling expenses but, to the disgust of both men, payment was refused.14 Evans intruded himself on the freeholders of Leicestershire, 6 May 1831, when he defended Otway Cave’s role in the intrigues which had preceded the return of two reformers and attacked the conduct of one of them, Thomas Paget, whom Burdett considered to be ‘a pendant of Hunt’.15 He attended the annual Westminster purity of election dinner, 23 May 1831, when, responding to a toast to himself and the electors of Rye, he gave one to ‘the heroic Poles’.16

Evans proved to be a voluble and dogged but largely ineffective parliamentarian in this period. He was a self consciously poor speaker, and his ignorance of parliamentary protocol frequently led him astray.17 He responded to the anti-reformer Wetherell’s condemnation of the ‘barricades at Rye’, 21 June 1831, blaming the trouble on Lamb’s provocative tactics and the inhabitants’ resentment of his corrupt domination of the borough. He denied Hunt’s allegation that he had been sent to Preston by the Parliamentary Candidate Society and boasted that but for the lateness of his arrival he would have ‘performed a great public service’ by turning him out, 23 June. He could not agree to O’Connell’s proposal for disbandment of the Irish yeomanry, 27 June, preferring their gradual reduction and a proportionate augmentation of regular troops. In the same debate he called for improved treatment of half-pay officers, though he doubted the practicability of Hume’s suggestions. He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and two days later, after another clash with Hunt, repeated his view that its defeat would entail ‘lamentable and melancholy circumstances’. He also vowed to propose abolition of the law of primogeniture. He voted for most of the details of the reform bill, though he was in the minorities against the division of counties, 11 Aug., and for the disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept. He criticized ministers over the slow progress of the bill, 26 July, when he applauded the disfranchisement of New Romney. On the proposal to deprive Rye of one Member, 30 July, he put the case for uniting it with Winchelsea to return two. He appealed for support to the opponents of reform, but had an uncomfortable time in trying to gloss over the violence which had attended his election and withdrew his motion when ministers resisted it. He welcomed the enfranchisement of Brighton, 5 Aug. On 24 Aug. he presented petitions from Bury for an extension of its boundaries to prevent the exercise of undue influence and from Rye complaining of ‘useless delays’ in the progress of the bill. The Speaker deemed the latter unacceptable and he withdrew it, as he did one from Manchester against the enfranchisement of tenants-at-will which was also ruled out of order, 5 Sept. He voted for the third reading and passage of the bill, 19, 21 Sept., when he addressed the Westminster meeting to petition the Lords in its favour as a Member

of that estate miscalled the House of Commons ... [He] was heartily wearied of listening to debates upon reform for the last three months, nor did he participate in the zeal which seemed to animate both parties within the walls of Parliament, for he conceived that they assumed to themselves more power and influence over the decision of the question than in his opinion they really possessed. The bill had been submitted to the empire at large before it was proposed to the acceptance of the legislature, and the public had sealed its fate from the beginning by their unanimous acquiescence.18

He voted for the second reading of the Scottish reform bill, 23 Sept. 1831.

Evans carped at the size of the grants for convict settlements and additional churches, 18 July, and for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels and the defence of Canada, 25 July 1831. He approved government’s agreement with France on the dismantling of some of the Belgian frontier fortresses, 25, 27 July. On 21 July he moved for information on the case of Thomas and Caroline Deacle of Marwell, who had been arrested for conspiracy during agricultural disturbances in Hampshire in November 1830. The charges were subsequently dropped and Deacle sued six magistrates for unlawful arrest. All were acquitted except William Bingham Baring*, who was found guilty of assault, but Deacle was awarded a derisory £50 in damages. Evans, who admitted that he knew no more of the business than what he had read in the press, found little support and, with ministers coming to Baring’s defence, he did not persevere. His unauthorized initiative only angered the Deacles and on 22 Aug., conceding that he had unintentionally done them ‘great injury’, he presented their petition to be heard at the bar of the House to clear their names. They expected him to press for a full inquiry, but he unhappily prevaricated until it became clear that no further litigation would take place. When he moved for a select committee, 27 Sept., he found ministers firmly against him and was beaten by 78-31. He later claimed that after raising the case, a ‘heinous’ offence in the eyes of ‘party men of all kinds’, he was subjected to ‘a considerable indication of odium and hostility, on the part of the lower official people’.19 He voted in the minorities for swearing in the Dublin election committee, 29 July, against the issue of a new writ, 8 Aug., and for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug., but rallied to government in the divisions on alleged interference in the Dublin election, 23 Aug. The Polish revolution of 1830 had reinforced his Russophobia and on 16 Aug. he drew attention to the plight of the Poles and moved for information on their conflict with Russia. Ministers, seeing no scope for British interference, resisted and Evans was reprimanded by the Speaker for accusing the House of neglecting its moral duty. He presented petitions on the subject, 7, 16 Sept. He repeated his criticisms of the Irish yeomanry, 3 Oct. Next day, on the pretext of paving the way for ‘some specific measure for the maintenance of the public peace’ in ‘the present awful crisis’, he moved for disclosure of the military preparations alleged to have been made in case of insurrection in November 1830. Lord Porchester* thought it a ‘queer’ motion, and it found no seconder.20 At the Westminster meeting to protest against the Lords’ rejection of the reform bill, 10 Oct., Evans stressed ‘the necessity of a peaceable, though firm demeanour in the present trial’;21 but when supporting Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion later the same day he caused a stir in the House with his declaration that

no government can exist in this country opposed to reform, except one prepared to maintain its power by force and the sword ... If any government should attempt to govern on such principles ... I would be one of the first to draw my sword in resistance against it.

He again failed to secure a declaration of support for Poland, 13 Oct., but promised a comprehensive motion on the subject next session. He endorsed the prayer of a petition presented by Hunt for the exclusion of bishops from the Lords, 18 Oct., and gave notice of a motion for the following day for a delay of no more than a month in the reintroduction of the reform bill. In the event he withdrew it, having been assured in the interim that the prorogation would be brief. He presented a petition for the creation of peers and disfranchisement of bishops to secure the bill, 20 Oct. 1831.

Evans, who became alarmed by the violence of the reform riots, was present at a meeting of the committee formed to organize a public meeting to launch the National Political Union, 27 Oct. 1831. According to Place, he subsequently acted ‘a rather disgraceful part’ by colluding with Burdett, to whom ‘he had been toadeating’, in his belated attempt to postpone the meeting, at which it was planned to create an alliance between middle and working class reformers. Evans attended the meeting, 31 Oct., but evidently played no conspicuous role in the subsequent proceedings of the Union and presumably resigned from it with Burdett some weeks later.22 He addressed reform meetings at Lewes, 4 Nov., when he denounced the bishops and voiced his confidence that ministers would introduce an improved reform bill, and at Rye, 7 Nov.23 A week later he chaired a meeting of the inhabitants of St. James’s, Westminster to form a Loyal Association to back government in carrying reform, and expressed his support for ‘armed associations for the citizens of the metropolis, to protect themselves equally from the borough monger and the pickpocket’.24 Later that month he applied to the lord lieutenant of Sussex and to Wellington for authority to raise a corps of volunteers to protect property in and around Rye, but was refused.25

Evans voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but was not a particularly assiduous attender during its progress through committee. He blamed ‘an accidental indisposition’ for his absence from the division on the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb. 1832.26 He voted for the third reading, 22 Mar. He was in the government majorities on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. On 14 Feb. he advanced the view that cholera was ‘not a dangerously contagious disorder’, and the next day argued that the prevention bill would ‘produce more injury than good, by retarding the commerce of the country’. His suggestion of a commission of inquiry into the origin and spread of the disease was ignored, and he had no more success on 23 Feb., when he was accused of risking catastrophe by seeking to play down the seriousness of the outbreak. He deplored the ‘spirit of party’ in opposition attacks on his friend Admiral George Sartorius, who had enlisted under Dom Pedro in the Portuguese civil war, and clashed with Hobhouse, now war secretary, over the cost of the foreign half-pay establishment, 17 Feb. He complained - mistakenly, so the Speaker thought - of the exorbitance of solicitors’ fees for conducting cases against bills before committees, 22 Feb. It was at about this time that he told Otway Cave:

I have been ... till the last day or two far from right inside, finding myself more alarmed a day or two back at hearing my own voice that I have come to the conclusion of inflicting a sentence or two almost each day so as to habituate myself to the matter if possible, however humiliating it maybe to make such small attempts so often and perhaps indifferent. I think I have got some propositions for economy in the military department which may be of use ... You will be delighted to hear that the tithe system is to be done away, but it remains to be proved that the remedy is a good one.27

He welcomed the French invasion of Italy, 13, 26 Mar., when he also denied that the Foreign Enlistment Act had been violated by Dom Pedro’s expedition. He was in correspondence with Sartorius and his former regimental colleague George Lloyd Hodges, who was commanding Dom Pedro’s British Legion, and seems to have considered joining them in Portugal, but nothing came of the notion. On 16 Apr. he challenged Peel to say whether he wished the government to intervene against Dom Pedro. He attacked the purchase system of promotion in the army, 28 Mar., and supported Hume’s criticism of military pensions, 2 Apr. He voted with government for the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., but later that day was in the minority against the arrears of tithes bill. He told Otway Cave that Robert Ferguson* had ‘not behaved courteously’ in shouldering him aside on the Polish issue; but, he went on, ‘I do not mind that much. I do not like to annoy [the foreign secretary] Lord Palmerston if I could help it, and I am thus relieved from bringing forward this question and yet can speak on it’.28 He did so briefly on 18 Apr. 1832, having earlier welcomed the government’s plans for Irish education.

Evans voted for the address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry undiluted reform, 10 May 1832. At the Westminster meeting called to protest at their resignation the following day he condemned proceedings in the Lords as ‘a desperate experiment on the presumed baseness of the House of Commons, and the cowardice and pusillanimity of the people of England’, and advocated the withholding of taxes to secure reform.29 Later, in the House, he deplored the prospect of Wellington’s accession to power, which he thought could only be maintained by military force. Place later implied, albeit vaguely, that during the days of crisis which followed, Evans was one of a number of army officers who were ‘ready to serve the people against the Tories’.30 On 23 May he defended the right of soldiers to ‘entertain political opinions’, but attacked Wellington for ‘bartering his purely-earned glories of victory for the doubtful honours of a political career’. He presented a Rye petition for supplies to be withheld until the reform bill had been carried, 1 June. Evans voted for the Liverpool disfranchisement bill, 23 May, the abolition of colonial slavery, 24 May, and the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May. On 7 June he advocated reduced factory hours for children and unsuccessfully sought information on municipal recorderships, which he believed were abused by peers for electoral purposes. He supported repeal of the taxes on knowledge, 14 June, and voted for an absentee tax to relieve Irish poverty, 19 June, when he also supported the suspension of flogging in the army, though he was not prepared to risk such an experiment in time of war. He was in minorities for amendments to the coroners bill, 20 June, and to the boundaries bill, 22 June. Supporting Ferguson’s motion on Poland, 28 June, he welcomed Palmerston’s admission that Britain had a right to remonstrate with Russia, but demanded armed intervention in alliance with France. He was in the government majorities on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12, 16, 20 July. He spoke and voted for inquiry into the inns of court, 17 July, backed Hume’s attempts to exclude the recorder of Dublin from the House, 18, 24 July, and promised to propose the exclusion of full-pay army officers at a future date. On 25 July he questioned ministers about arrangements for the burial of London cholera victims and argued that the only ‘just’ way to prevent smuggling was to lower customs duties. Next day he proposed wholesale reductions, amounting to £2,000,000, in the military establishment, an area in which he felt that ministers had been badly remiss. Hobhouse, moving the previous question, observed that ‘looking at the deserted benches, it does not seem as if the House was disposed to join’ Evans ‘in his gallop through the establishments of the army’. The resolutions were negatived. Evans spoke and voted for reception of a petition for the abolition of tithes and supported a call for resistance to the repressive policies of the German Diet, 2 Aug. He moved but did not press a resolution for intervention in support of Poland, 7 Aug., and the following day supported the Greek Convention bill, welcoming the establishment of an independent Greek state, though on 10 Aug. he insisted that the Greek government should pay its due debts. He was reproved by Hume for being too ready to accept the salary proposed for lord chancellor Brougham, 9 Aug. 1832.

In February 1832 Place had supplied Evans with statistics on rates and taxes. In July, wishing to draw attention to his belief that the Reform Act, by requiring borough voters to have paid their current year’s poor rates and assessed taxes by the end of that month in order to qualify, would drastically reduce the size of the electorate at the impending general election, he persuaded Evans to move for returns on the subject, 27, 30 July. On 7 Aug. Evans, having been coached by Place, alleged that two-thirds of potential borough voters might be disfranchised and proposed that the regulations should be relaxed. Only Hume supported him and he was beaten by 66-2. According to Place, he was ‘so alarmed’ by the fear of making a fool of himself that he wanted to ‘drop the matter’, but Place provided him with evidence to support motions for more returns and for an address for the convening of a short session to tackle the problem, 9 Aug., when he painted an alarming picture of the anticipated extent of disfranchisement in the Lancashire industrial towns. For the government Lord Althorp, insisting that the problem had been greatly exaggerated, would have none of it. Evans raised the subject again when supporting a Westminster petition for redress, 11 Aug., but on 15 Aug. 1832 was forced to concede that information lately received showed his ‘suppositions’ about Lancashire to have been wildly erroneous, though he still thought that ‘great disfranchisement’ would occur in London.31

O’Connell had a notion of Evans’s standing for Limerick as a Repealer at the 1832 general election, but nothing came of it.32 He was beaten at Rye by a member of the Curteis family, who had been given a decisive advantage by the extension of the constituency’s boundaries. He was additionally handicapped by his estrangement from some of his former supporters in the borough, where divisions among the independents had reappeared after the 1831 victory. He also stood for Westminster in response to the invitation of elements hostile to Hobhouse. As at Rye, he espoused a radical programme of the ballot, shorter parliaments, repeal of the assessed taxes and the taxes on knowledge, church reform, abolition of tithes, free trade and factory reform. ‘It furnishes serious ground for apprehension and regret’, he declared, ‘that the ministers do not intend to proceed in the work of reform, in that manner which the country has been led to expect’. Hobhouse’s supporter Le Marchant dismissed Evans as a ‘demagogue’ and described him on the hustings:

He looked anything but the representative of an English constituency - in short, anything but English. Those who could recollect the jolly good-humored convivial countenance of Mr. Fox, or the comely elegance of Burdett, could have drawn comparisons rather odious ... Tall and thin, with very sallow complexion, and jet black hair and whiskers, one might almost have mistaken him for an Italian assassin. His speech was dull and but ill adapted to his audience.

Evans came a poor third on that occasion, but had his revenge six months later when Hobhouse resigned both his office and his seat to put his popularity to the test.33 He lost the seat in 1841, but regained it in 1846 and held it for 19 years. He achieved further notoriety by taking command of the controversial British Auxiliary Legion on the side of the queen regent of Spain against Don Carlos, 1835-7. Some observers ridiculed him as ‘a vain coxcomb’ who ‘fancies himself a great general’, and as ‘the Brummagen Wellington’, but his services set him on the road to belated promotion.34 In 1854, at the age of 66, he commanded the second division of the army in the Crimea with striking bravery. He returned home a hero, but with his health damaged.35 He died of bronchitis in January 1870. In codicils to his will, which was sworn under £80,000, he left legacies totalling £57,000.36

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


See E.M. Spiers, Radical General: Sir George De Lacy Evans, 1787-1870 (1983).

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1832), i. 376; (1834), ii. 208; (1861), i. 354. His wife brought him a son, Philip Alexander Hughes, by her first husband and a considerable fortune (Spiers, 65; The Times, 18 July 1870).
  • 2. Spiers, 1-18; Add. 43252, ff. 333-9.
  • 3. Leics. RO, Braye mss 130-44; PROB 11/2010/19; 2020/547; The Times, 4 Mar. 1845, 6 Mar. 1847.
  • 4. Braye mss 3453, 3457, 3536.
  • 5. J. Gleason, Genesis of Russophobia, 85, 101-4; Spiers, 19-29; Quarterly Rev. xxxix (1829), 1-41; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 92, 122-3, 149-50; Add. 21178, ff. 34-77.
  • 6. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 257.
  • 7. Spiers, 40-44; Brighton Guardian, 10 Mar. 1830.
  • 8. Brighton Guardian, 23 June, 28 July, 4, 11 Aug. 1830.
  • 9. Hastings Iris, 23 Oct., 13 Nov. 1830; Three Diaries, 285.
  • 10. Hastings Iris, 1, 29 Jan., 5 Feb., 5 Mar. 1831.
  • 11. Morning Chron. 5, 9 Mar. 1831; Ann. Reg. (1831), Hist. p. 80; Add. 27789, ff. 276, 280.
  • 12. Spiers, 44-45; Preston Chron. 30 Apr. 1831; Add. 36466, ff. 317, 333.
  • 13. Hastings Iris, 30 Apr., 7, 21 May 1831.
  • 14. Add. 27789, ff. 375-8, 36466, ff. 332, 335, 345, 354.
  • 15. Leicester Jnl. 13 May 1831.
  • 16. Add. 56555, f. 140; The Times, 24 May 1831.
  • 17. Grant, 255-6.
  • 18. The Times, 22 Sept. 1831.
  • 19. Spiers, 46-48; Evans, Letter to Electors of Westminster (1833), 32.
  • 20. Hants RO, Carnarvon mss 75M91/L12/9.
  • 21. Morning Herald, 11 Oct. 1831.
  • 22. Add. 27791, ff. 38, 44; 27822, f. 31; Morning Advertiser, 1 Nov.; The Times, 5 Nov. 1831.
  • 23. Brighton Guardian, 9, 16 Nov. 1831.
  • 24. The Times, 16 Nov.; Brighton Guardian, 23 Nov. 1831.
  • 25. Spiers, 49.
  • 26. The Times, 1 Mar. 1832.
  • 27. Braye mss 3541.
  • 28. Ibid. 3540.
  • 29. The Times, 12 May 1832.
  • 30. Add. 27789, f. 280; 27790, ff. 243-4; 27793, f. 104.
  • 31. Add. 27796, ff. 80-90; 35149, ff. 135, 172-9; Spiers, 50.
  • 32. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 471.
  • 33. Spiers, 50-52; Croker Pprs. ii. 195, 210; D. Miles, Francis Place, 208-10; Westminster Election (1832), 15-28; Three Diaries, 284.
  • 34. Spiers, 66-100; Greville Mems. iii. 209; Raikes Jnl. iii. 155.
  • 35. Oxford DNB; Spiers, 146-72.
  • 36. The Times, 11, 18 Jan., 18 July 1870.