HOWARD, Henry (1802-1875), of Greystoke Castle, Cumb. and Thornbury Castle, Glos.
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Family and Educationb. 25 July 1802, o.s. of Lord Henry Thomas Howard Molyneux Howard* and Elizabeth, da. of Edward Long of Aldermaston, Berks., c.j. of vice-admiralty ct. of Jamaica. educ. privately by Rev. James Dalloway 1810-12, 1821; Dr. Thomas Redman Hooker’s school, Rottingdean 1812; Harrow 1817-20; grand tour 1822-3. m. 6 Dec. 1849, his cos. Charlotte Caroline Georgiana, da. of Henry Lawes Long of Hampton Lodge, Surr., 4s. 2da. suc. kinsman Charles Howard, 11th duke of Norfolk, to Greystoke 1815; fa. to Thornbury 1824. d. 7 Jan. 1875.
Sheriff, Cumb. 1832-3
Howard inherited an estate in Gloucestershire on his father’s death in 1824,1 when he also filled the resulting vacancy for Steyning, a pocket borough controlled by his uncle the 12th duke of Norfolk. Having joined Brooks’s Club, 18 May 1824, he followed his family’s accustomed line in the Commons by voting with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry, though he is not known to have spoken in his first Parliament. A keen field sportsman, he told his mother, 7 July 1824, that he hoped ‘to be able to get out of town this week ... I merely lack a ride every day to keep myself in health’.2 He divided against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15 Feb. 1825, and declared himself to be ‘delighted’ with the associated debate.3 He voted for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May. He divided for repeal of the assessed taxes, 3 Mar., reduction of military expenditure, 7 Mar., and against the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 9, 10 June. He voted to ban spring guns, 21 June, and to allow trial by jury to those accused of combination, 27 June 1825. He divided for reductions in military expenditure, 3, 6, 7 Mar., and to abolish flogging in the army, 25 Apr. 1826. He voted for the disfranchisement of non-resident voters in Irish boroughs, 9 Mar., and Russell’s reform resolutions, 27 Apr. He voted to grant counsel to suspected felons, 25 Apr. He divided for Hume’s motion on the state of the nation, 4 May 1826. At the general election that summer he offered for New Shoreham on his uncle’s interest and was recommended as a ‘young man of no avocations or employment’; he was returned after a sharp contest.4
He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted for inquiries into Leicester corporation, 15 Mar., the conduct of the Lisburn magistrates, 29 Mar., and delays in chancery, 5 Apr. He divided against Canning’s ministry for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May 1827. He voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. He divided against extending East Retford’s franchise to Bassetlaw freeholders, 21 Mar. He presented a Steyning petition against the proposed sliding scale of corn duties, 1 May, and voted against restricting the circulation of small notes in Scotland and Ireland, 5 June. He voted against the duke of Wellington’s ministry to deduct the salary of the governor of Dartmouth from the garrisons grant, 20 June, and to condemn the misapplication of public money for building work at Buckingham House, 23 June 1828. He presented a pro-Catholic petition from Worthing, 3 Mar. 1829, which he took as an indication that opinion on the subject in Sussex had softened. He divided for the government’s emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar. Following its passage he wrote to his mother, 31 Mar.:
Thank Heaven the Catholic question is over in the Commons forever. The bill passed this morning at a quarter before four o’clock with tremendous cheers. I never uplifted my small voice with greater delight, or to a greater purpose.5
He was in the minority against requiring O’Connell to swear the oath of supremacy before taking his seat, 18 May. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and was against the additional grant for the sculpture of the marble arch, 25 May 1829. He divided for Knatchbull’s amendment to the address on distress, 4 Feb. 1830, and acted with the revived Whig opposition on most major issues that session. He voted for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 Mar., and Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May. However, he paired against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. On 9 Mar. he moved the second reading of the Shoreham bridge bill, a project of his uncle’s, and chaired the resulting select committee; the bill gained royal assent, 29 May 1830.6 Much was made of this success when he offered again for New Shoreham at the general election that summer. His nominator joked that ‘it requires no little courage for a man to forsake the fox hounds, but I have known him many times forsake them to get you the new bridge and cheap beer’, the last being a reference to his support for the government’s beer bill, which he thought ‘a good measure, if not the best’; he would have preferred a reduction in the malt duty. He rejoiced at the overthrow of Charles X in France and welcomed the accession of William IV, ‘under whose benign government the principle of the "greatest good of the greatest number" will be in full operation’. He was returned unopposed.7
The ministry regarded Howard as one of their ‘foes’, and he duly voted against them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. Afterwards, he wrote to his sister that there had ‘never [been] a more complete victory’, with ‘almost all the county Members’ voting in the majority. He thought that Lord Grey ‘seems the only likely person’ to become prime minister. He also lamented the recent incidents of machine breaking and rick burning in Sussex, observing that ‘the farmers are now reaping the fruits of their hard hearted, short sighted policy’.8 He presented anti-slavery petitions, 7 Feb., 28 Mar. 1831. On 11 Feb. he informed his mother that his hunting was to be curtailed by a ‘call of the House’ and that he had ‘a private bill (for the Worthing and Littlehampton road) to get through the House, which will occupy me above a week’. He also wrote of his hopes for tax reductions in Lord Althorp’s forthcoming budget, but five days later, after its introduction, he reported to his sister that ‘everything appears ... to be going on as badly as possible’.9 He presented Shoreham petitions for repeal of the coastwise coal duty and against revision of the timber duties, 7 Mar. He divided for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he was returned unopposed for New Shoreham, after recalling with ‘great satisfaction’ his vote on the civil list and expressing his ‘fullest confidence’ in the government.10
He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and generally for its details, though he was against the partial disfranchisement of Guildford, 29 July, and for Lord Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug. 1831. He was absent from the division on the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., owing to ill health, and informed a relative that if there were to be a call of the House the following week he would have to be excused, as ‘I certainly shall not be in a fit state to make my appearance. I have not attempted to walk or get down stairs yet’.11 He voted with ministers to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election, 23 Aug., but was in the minority for a legal provision for the Irish poor, 29 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, its details, and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He was absent from the division on Lord Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May, but attended to vote for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May. On 22 June he supported amendments to the division of counties bill aimed at reducing proprietorial influence in Whitehaven and Stamford, and he commended the choice of Thornbury as an additional polling place for Gloucestershire. He voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. 1832.
He retired at the dissolution later that year and apparently never sought to enter the Commons again. He devoted much time to promoting the Lancashire and Cheshire Railway, of which he became a director. He died in January 1875 and left Greystoke Castle to his eldest son, Henry Charles Howard (1850-1914), and Thornbury Castle, which he had restored from semi-dereliction, to his second son Edward Stafford Howard (1851-1916), Liberal Member for East Cumberland, 1876-85, and South Gloucestershire, 1885-86.