JENKINSON, Hon. Charles Cecil Cope (1784-1851), of Pitchford Hall, Salop and Buxted Park, Suss.

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

Constituency

Dates

1807 - 1812
1812 - 1818
1818 - 4 Dec. 1828

Family and Education

b. 29 May 1784, o.s. of Charles Jenkinson†, 1st earl of Liverpool (d. 1808), and 2nd w. Catherine, da. of Sir Cecil Bisshopp†, 6th bt., of Parham, Suss., wid. of Sir Charles Cope, 2nd bt., of Brewerne, Oxon.; half-bro. of Hon. Robert Banks Jenkinson†. educ. privately by Rev. Charles Richards; Christ Church, Oxf. 1801. m. 19 July 1810, Julia Evelyn Medley, da. and h. of Sir George Augustus William Shuckburgh Evelyn†, 6th bt., of Shuckburgh Park, Warws., 3da. suc. cos. Adam Ottley to Pitchford estate 1807; half-bro. as 3rd earl of Liverpool 4 Dec. 1828; GCB 11 Dec. 1845. d. 3 Oct. 1851.

Offices Held

Page of honour 1793-4; précis writer, foreign office Apr. 1803-Apr. 1804; priv. sec. to sec. of state for home affairs May-July 1804; sec. of legation, Vienna 1804-7; under-sec. of state for home affairs Nov. 1807-Nov. 1809, for war and colonies Nov. 1809-June 1810; prothonotary co. palatine of Lancaster 1838-d.; PC 3 Sept. 1841; ld. steward of household Sept. 1841-July 1846.

Cornet Surr. yeomanry 1803; lt.-col. cinque ports militia 1810.

Biography

In February 1820 Jenkinson’s half-brother, the prime minister Lord Liverpool, encouraged him to consider standing for Sussex at the impending general election, but he preferred to come in again for East Grinstead on the interest of his cousin Lady Whitworth, widow of the 3rd duke of Dorset. His decision to decline the county was attributed by Lord Sheffield to his ‘peculiar aversion to expenditure’.1 He naturally continued to support Liverpool’s ministry, though he was not the most assiduous of attenders. He voted in defence of their conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. He divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He voted against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and described as ‘absurd and contemptible’ a charge that members of the select committee on sewers were influenced by ‘private considerations’, 11 Apr.2 He divided against parliamentary reform, 9 May, and paired against the forgery punishment mitigation bill, 23 May. Next day he spoke in support of Scarlett’s poor relief bill, declaring that he ‘deserved the thanks of the country for having brought before the House a measure on this most important subject’. He appeared in a list of placemen who supported payment of arrears to the duke of Clarence, 8 June 1821. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., and blamed agricultural distress on maladministration of the poor laws, which he also believed were intrinsically defective, 16 May 1822.3 He divided against removing Catholic peers’ disabilities, 30 Apr. 1822. Granted three weeks’ leave to attend to urgent private business, 10 Apr., his next recorded vote was against inquiry into delays in chancery, 5 June 1823. He divided against the motion condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He was granted two weeks’ leave owing to illness in his family, 14 Apr., but returned to act as a minority teller for the immediate second reading of the Shrewsbury poor bill, 2 May 1825. He voted against Catholic relief, 10 May, and for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 30 May 1825. At the general election of 1826 he was returned for East Grinstead by the new patrons, Lords Plymouth and De la Warr, having acted as an intermediary in their protracted negotiations over the borough with the 5th duke of Dorset.4

He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. In January 1828 he briefly stepped out of his stricken half-brother’s shadow when he offered to move the address on behalf of the duke of Wellington’s newly formed ministry. This met with a mixed response from the colonial secretary Huskisson, who advised the leader of the House, Robert Peel:

If he runs true the name is a great advantage. Should he bolt the mischief may be very embarrassing ... He must be very carefully tutored, but before you commit yourself, you will, I have no doubt, probe him very carefully in respect to the spirit in which he undertakes the task.

Accordingly, Peel provided Jenkinson with a ‘general notion’ of what should be said, which he duly followed in his speech on 29 Jan., notably in the avoidance of any reference to the previous coalition administrations, other than a personal tribute to Canning.5 He used Liverpool’s eminence to account for his own inconspicuousness, explaining that it had been ‘needless for me to trouble the House with my own private opinions’, which were ‘on all public matters ... invariably in accordance’ with his half-brother’s. He commended Peel’s inclusion in the government and, emphasizing that he spoke with Liverpool’s approval but not at his behest, declared that ‘I am not wrong, I think, in supposing in the general sense that [he] highly approves of the administration’. On specific issues, he sought to forestall discussion of the battle of Navarino by urging that it should be delayed until relevant papers were laid before the House. He announced the recall of British troops from Portugal and applauded the commercial treaties with Brazil and Mexico. He justified his ‘most sanguine anticipations for the future’ of the economy with historical examples of recovery from depression and hoped for a ‘gradual and equal alleviation of distress’. He maintained that the government’s ‘great object’ was ‘the amelioration, as far as possible, of the condition of the poor’. His speech won praise from Peel, who called it ‘excellent’ and ‘perfectly safe’. The Tory Henry Bankes* thought there was ‘nothing ... remarkable’ in it, apart from the intimation of Liverpool’s opinions. Jenkinson privately observed that

I had long intended to step forth the champion of my own opinion and the representative of those of my unfortunate brother. I chose myself the occasion and have not to regret or retract a syllable. Indeed, whatever my enemies may say, vanity or interest never have swayed me in politics. I have at least proved now that I was always capable of addressing Parliament and have assigned my reasons for not having done so, and I can say what no one I firmly believe could say before, that my brother was prime minister during 15 years during which time I never asked or received a personal favour and always supported his government.6

His last recorded votes in the Commons were against repeal of the Test Acts, 28 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828.

In December 1828 Jenkinson succeeded to his half-brother’s title and Gloucestershire estates and received personalty worth £46,500.7 He supported the government’s Catholic emancipation bill in 1829. His interest in the poor laws resurfaced in 1836, when he published An account of the operation of the poor law amendment in the Uckfield Union, a defence of the workhouse system in his Sussex neighbourhood. He became closely attached to the duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria, to whom his own daughter Catherine was a lady-in-waiting, and he held a household appointment during Peel’s second ministry. He died suddenly following an attack of pleurisy in October 1851, prompting Victoria to write of her ‘great sorrow at the loss of a dear and faithful, excellent friend’.8 The earldom became extinct on his death but was conferred on his grandson as a fresh creation in 1905.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832