HUDSON, Thomas (1772-1852), of Cheswardine Hill Hall, nr. Market Drayton, Salop and 6 Park Crescent, Portland Place, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 18 Oct. 1772, 3rd but o. surv. s. of Thomas Hudson (d. 1807) of Wigton, Cumb. and Ann, da. of William Dodgson of Wigton. m. Frances, da. of Robert Bamford Hesketh of Bamford, Lancs. and Gwyrch Castle, Denb., s.p. d. 14 Apr. 1852.
Hudson was a Cumbrian of humble origins. His father, a Wigton shopkeeper who is said to have died in 1807 aged 66, has been erroneously identified with the Thomas Hudson who was clerk to the cathedral chapter of Carlisle and still alive many years later. His eldest brother Robert, born in 1764, joined the navy but was killed in action on the Magicienne, 2 Jan. 1783. Another brother, Samuel, died an infant in 1771. His sister Elizabeth married Alexander Donaldson, a Wigton watchmaker, and bore several sons.1 Thomas Hudson’s early life is obscure, but by 1805 he was in business at 35 Mark Lane, London as a wine merchant, dealing mainly in the produce of Portugal. He seems to have retired from the firm in about 1827 and handed it over to one or more of his Donaldson nephews, with whom he had been in partnership since about 1813. (It traded as Donaldson and Dixon from 1828 to 1850.) He may have been involved in the wine business of Hudson and Williamson at 13 Berners Street, which was listed in the London directories between 1826 and 1828. In 1825 he invested some of his wealth in a Shropshire estate.
At the 1826 general election Hudson stood for Marlborough as part of an abortive bid by the independent association to overthrow the Ailesbury interest. His petition against the return was unsuccessful.2 In 1831 he offered as a reformer for the open and venal borough of Evesham. Returned in second place after an expensive contest, he promised to ‘steadily support’ the reform bill, which would be ‘beneficial to the king, the peers and the people’.3 He duly voted for the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July 1831, and gave steadfast support to its details, though he was in the minority against the enfranchisement of weekly tenants and lodgers, 25 Aug. He contended that Evesham was ‘much superior to many boroughs that will continue to send two Members’ and should keep both seats, but did not oppose its proposed loss of one, 28 July. (The borough subsequently retained both.) He divided with ministers on the Dublin election controversy, 29 July, 23 Aug., and for the issue of the Liverpool writ, 5 Sept. That day he secured returns of information concerning shipping, trade and the drawback on wine. He was in the minority of 20 against the quarantine duties, 6 Sept., and argued for printing the evidence given to the Pembrokeshire election committee. He voted for the third reading and passage of the reform bill, 19, 21 Sept., and for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. 1831.
Hudson divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, again steadily supported its details, and voted for the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He obtained more returns on trade, 9 Apr., and later that day voted against the recommittal of the Irish registry bill. He divided for the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the reform bill unimpaired, 10 May, and paired for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May 1832. At that year’s general election he successfully contested Evesham as a Liberal, but he retired at the dissolution of 1834. He died in London in April 1852. By his will, dated 29 June 1850 with a codicil made the day before his death, he provided his wife with a life annuity of £800, in addition to her benefits from their marriage settlement, and devised his real estate in Madeira to his nephew Robert Donaldson. Further annuities were given to the children of his nephew John Donaldson, Anne and Thomas Donaldson, to whom he also transferred a debt of £10,000 owed him by the firm of Henry and John Donaldson (as it was now styled). His Shropshire property, subject to his widow’s life interest, passed to John Donaldson’s second son Charles (1840-93), Conservative Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1880-85, who took the additional name of Hudson in 1862.4
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Philip Salmon / David R. Fisher
- 1. Wigton Reg. (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc.), ii. 294, 332, 305, 421, 473; Burke LG; C. R. Hudleston and R. S. Boumphrey, Cumb. Fams. 174; Brougham mss, T. Hudson to J. Brougham, 26 Oct. 1828.
- 2. The Times, 17 June 1826; VCH Wilts. v. 214.
- 3. Worcester Herald, 29 Apr., 6 May; Berrow’s Worcester Jnl. 12 May 1831.
- 4. Gent. Mag. (1852), i. 634; PROB 8/245; 11/2156/566.