GRANT, Sir Colquhoun (?1763-1835).
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Family and Education
b. ?1763.1 m. 7 Aug. 1810,2 Marcia, da. of Rev. John Richards of Long Bredy, Dorset, 1s. d.v.p. 2da. (1 d.v.p.). KCB 2 Jan. 1815; KCH 1816; GCH 1831; suc. Francis John Browne† to Frampton, Dorset 1833. d. 20 Dec. 1835, aged 72.3
Ensign 36 Ft. 1793, lt. 1795; lt. 25 Drag. 1797; capt. 9 Drag. 1800; maj. 28 Drag. 1801; lt.-col. 72 Ft. 1802; lt.-col. 15 Drag. 1808-16; a.d.c. to prince regent 1811-14; brevet col. 1811; maj.-gen. 1814; col. 12 Drag. 1825; col. 15 Drag. 1827-d.; lt.-gen. 1830.
Groom of bedchamber to duke of Cumberland 1815-d.
Grant’s origins are obscure. He was said to be descended from the Grants of Gartenbeg, but no trace of him has been found in the published pedigrees of that family. According to Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus, he was the son of a wadsetter and was ‘but poorly reared’.4 He apparently made a belated entry to the army on the outbreak of war. He served first in India, where he was present at Seringapatam in 1799, and later in Ireland as a captain of dragoons. He commanded the 72nd Highlanders at the Cape in 1806 and was wounded. He exchanged into the 15th Hussars in 1808 and led them with distinction in the retreat from Corunna. The regiment was deployed in the English Midlands during the Luddite disturbances, but returned to the Peninsula under Grant’s leadership in January 1813. He commanded cavalry brigades at Morales, where he was again wounded, at Vittoria and Waterloo. During the 1820s he served as a general officer on the Irish staff.5
Grant canvassed the government borough of Queenborough, in tandem with the independent Member John Capel, at the general election of 1830, but was ‘frightened out of the field’ by the prospect of an expensive contest.6 Having been applied to by the freemen, he and his fellow anti-reformer Capel were returned, without having coalesced, for that borough after a contest at the general election the following year.7 He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and in the opposition minority in favour of using the 1831 census to determine the boroughs in schedules A and B, 19 July 1831. In his only known speech, 26 July, he deplored the disfranchisement of Queenborough on the ‘arbitrary and unjust principle’ of population, and declared that his ‘chief object in wishing for a seat’ had been to ‘express’ his hostility to reform. He voted against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, the passage of the bill, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept. He paired in favour of terminating the Maynooth grant, 26 Sept. He voted against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and going into committee on it, 20 Jan. 1832. He paired for the division against the registration clause, 8 Feb. He voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar. His only other known votes were against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and with the majority against the production of information on the extent of corporal punishment in the army, 16 Feb. He did not stand for Parliament at the 1832 general election.
Soon afterwards he inherited the principal Dorset estate of his wife’s sister’s husband Francis Browne of Frampton, near Dorchester, who died in March 1833 at the Weymouth house which Grant was then occupying. Browne left £10,000 and his property at Abbotsbury and Litton in remainder to Grant’s younger daughter Charlotte Augusta, but she died in Brussels a few months later.8 Grant subsequently acquired a London house at 9 Grosvenor Square. He was unwell for ‘some time’ early in 1835, but in May came forward as a Conservative for Poole, whose Whig sitting Member had been made a peer. While his back was turned, his only surviving child Marcia Maria eloped from London with Richard Brinsley Sheridan† (?1809-88), grandson of the dramatist, with whom Grant had forbidden her to have any intercourse. The affair became the talk of the town, and a furious Grant hurried back to ‘consult his lawyer’ and ‘shoot Miss Grant’s favourite horse’. A kinsman stood in for him at Poole, where he was narrowly beaten by the son of the former Member. Convinced that the elopement had been organized by Sheridan’s celebrated sisters Helen Blackwood, Caroline Norton and Lady Seymour, he charged the husbands of the two latter with complicity in ‘the disgraceful plot that has been fatal to my pride and happiness’. He accepted Norton’s protestation of innocence, but fought a bloodless duel with Seymour on 29 May 1835. It was thought that he would prosecute the entire Sheridan clan for conspiracy, but in the event he soon became reconciled to his son-in-law, with whom he reached an agreement over the disposal of the estate on 16 Oct.9 In his will, executed a week later, he devised Frampton to Marcia, his residuary legatee, who took the names of Grant and Browne before Sheridan the following year. Grant died of ‘dropsy in the chest’ in December 1835. His personalty was sworn under £60,000. On the strength of the Dorset property Sheridan sat as a Liberal for Shaftesbury, 1845-52, and Dorchester, 1852-68.10
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: David R. Fisher / Stephen Farrell
Not to be confused with Lt.-Col. Colquhoun Grant (1780-1829), the duke of Wellington’s chief intelligence officer (Oxford DNB).
- 1. Possibly the son of John Grant who was baptized, 23 Dec. 1763, at Boleskine, Inverness, or the son of Evan Grant, who was baptized there in June 1764 (IGI).
- 2. Reg. St. George, Hanover Square, iii. 13.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1836), i. 545.
- 4. Highland Lady, 108.
- 5. DNB; Mq. of Anglesey, One-Leg, 125, 135, 138, 143, 146, 359, 364; Add. 40334, f. 221; 40350, f. 18.
- 6. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 195, T. to J. Gladstone, 12 July; Maidstone Jnl. 13, 20 July 1830.
- 7. Glynne-Gladstone mss 521, Capel to T. Gladstone, 1 Apr.; 198, T. to J. Gladstone, 3, 8 May; Maidstone Gazette, 3 May; Maidstone Jnl. 10 May 1831.
- 8. J. Hutchins, Dorset (1868), ii. 298; Gent. Mag. (1833), i. 465-6; ii. 191; PROB 11/1815/271; IR26/1312/289; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 281.
- 9. J.G. Perkins, Mrs Norton, 67-69; Malmesbury Mems. i. 66; Creevey’s Life and Times, 407-8; Lieven-Palmerston Corresp. 86; Raikes Jnl. ii. 112; The Times, 18, 19, 21-23 May, 1 June 1835.
- 10. Gent. Mag. (1836), i. 545; PROB 11/1856/25; IR26/1415/40; DNB; Oxford DNB.