HOWARD, Hon. William (1781-1843).

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



1806 - 1826
1830 - 1832
1837 - 20 Mar. 1840

Family and Education

b. 25 Dec. 1781, 2nd s. of Frederick, 5th earl of Carlisle (d. 1825), and Margaret Caroline, da. of Granville Leveson Gower†, 1st mq. of Stafford; bro. of George Howard, Visct. Morpeth†. educ. Raikes’s sch., Neasden 1789; Eton 1793; Christ Church, Oxf. 1799; L. Inn 1802. m bef. 7 Nov. 1842, Mary Ann.1 d. 25 Jan. 1843.

Offices Held

2nd lt. 1 N. Yorks. riflemen vols. 1798, lt. 1803, capt. 1803; capt. E. Yorks. militia 1805.


Frustrated in his hopes of a diplomatic career, Howard, an associate of the diarist Charles Greville, Charles Henry Bouverie†, Sidney Herbert†, Thomas Raikes and Charles Baring Wall*, had been brought in for the family borough of Morpeth in 1806.2 An indolent and silent Member, he had usually voted with his elder brother Lord Morpeth, a pro-Catholic Whig and friend of Canning, opposed to sweeping parliamentary reform, differing from him only in his readiness to vote against the repressive measures introduced by Lord Liverpool’s administration after Peterloo. He was returned for Morpeth at the general election of 1820 and not required to make way when his brother was unseated in Cumberland.3

From 5 May 1820-16 May 1822, Howard, who is not known to have voted on reform before 1831, divided consistently with the main Whig opposition on all other issues. His majority vote for inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823, was the only one recorded for him that session and his last until 1825, when (as on 28 Feb. 1821) he divided for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May. A radical publication of that session noted that he ‘attended occasionally and voted with the opposition’.4 Concern at his long absence had caused his brother to consult Lord Holland, whom he informed on 10 Nov. 1824 that William had been ‘heard of’ in Paris and ‘is probably in England at this time’.5 He inherited £15,000 in addition to his 1801 settlement of £10,500, on his father’s death, 4 Sept. 1825, but estate debts precluded full payment.6 He voted for inquiry into the silk trade, 24 Feb., and for Hume’s state of the nation motion, 4 May 1826. Having ‘no wish to continue in Parliament’, he retired at the dissolution that month to accommodate his nephew Lord Morpeth, who was then abroad, and deputized for him at the election. He also briefed his brother (now 6th earl of Carlisle) on the Northumberland contest and the festivities requisite at Morpeth before his nephew took his seat in 1827.7

Appointed clerk of the peace for the East Riding of Yorkshire, 5 Jan. 1828, a ‘valuable office’ he held for life, Howard assisted his nephew in the contest for that county at the general election of 1830 and came in again for Morpeth as what he termed his ‘eager but inadequate substitute’.8 The Wellington ministry listed him among their ‘foes’ and he divided against them when they were brought down on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He received a fortnight’s leave on account of ill health, 2 Dec. Obliged to support the new Grey administration of which Carlisle was a member, he divided for their reform bill, which threatened Morpeth’s second seat, at its second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, after Morpeth had been reprieved. He presented a petition for the abolition of colonial slavery from Blyth, 13 Apr., and was returned for Morpeth as a reformer at the general election that month.9 He divided for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, and against the adjournment, 12 July 1831, but rarely for its details. He criticized the comparison made by its opponents between Appleby and Morpeth, 19 July, having defended his record that day as chairman of the select committee on the Arundel road bill, which was the subject of a critical petition presented by Lord Dudley Stuart from the Tory whip, Holmes. He voted for the reform bill’s passage, 21 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He did not divide on the revised reform bill, which returned Morpeth to schedule B, at its second reading 17 Dec. 1831, or for the schedule B disfranchisements, 23 Jan.; but he voted for its proposals for Appleby, 21 Feb., Helston, 23 Feb., and Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and for its third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., and presented a Morpeth petition against the general register bill, 28 Feb. 1832.

Howard stood down at the dissolution of 1832 and remained out of Parliament until 1837, when his kinswoman the dowager duchess of Sutherland returned him for Sutherland as a Conservative, which, as he had warned Peel the previous year would be the case, he was obliged by the 2nd duke to vacate in March 1840 on account of his politics.10 He died in January 1843. On 10 Feb., correcting its obituary statement that Howard had been unmarried, the Morning Herald disclosed that though it was ‘not mentioned in the Peerages’, he had ‘left an afflicted widow’. By his will, which was proved under £8,000, he left everything to his wife.11

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. Howard was not, as stated in HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 256, unmarried. Details of his marriage are not known, but it is confirmed by his will, dated 7 Nov. 1842 and proved 13 Feb. 1843 (PROB 8/236; 11/1975/108; Castle Howard mss [NRA 24681] A5/159).
  • 2. Greville Mems. i. 350; Raikes Jnl. i. 272; ii. 372.
  • 3. Newcastle Courant, 18 Mar., 25 Mar.; The Times, 25 Mar. 1820.
  • 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 469.
  • 5. Add. 51578, Morpeth to Holland, 10 Nov. 1824.
  • 6. Add. 51590, Agar Ellis to Lady Holland, 1 Aug. 1825; Castle Howard mss A5/129; J14/1/20; IR26/1039/1321.
  • 7. Add. 51580, Carlisle to Lady Holland, 2 May; Castle Howard mss, Howard to Carlisle, 10 June 1826, 4 Jan. 1827; The Times, 12 June 1826.
  • 8. Castle Howard mss [NRA 24681] W2; Leeds Mercury, 11 Feb. 1843; Newcastle Chron. 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 9. Tyne Mercury, 26 Apr., 10 May 1831.
  • 10. Add. 40246, f. 164; The Times, 18, 19, 21, 23, 27 Mar. 1840.
  • 11. Morning Herald, 30 Jan., 10 Feb.; Gent. Mag. (1843), ii. 92; PROB 8/236; 11/1975/108.