MORGAN, Charles Morgan Robinson (1792-1875), of Ruperra, Glam. and Tredegar, Mon.

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

Constituency

Dates

1812 - 1818
1830 - 1832
1835 - 1847

Family and Education

b. 10 Apr. 1792, 1st s. of Sir Charles Morgan (formerly Gould), 2nd bt.*, and Mary Margaret, da. of Capt. George Stoney, RN; bro. of Charles Octavius Swinnerton Morgan† and George Gould Morgan*. educ. Harrow; Westminster; Christ Church, Oxf. 1811. m. 6 Oct. 1827, Rosamund, da. of Gen. Godfrey Basil Mundy, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da. suc. fa. as 3rd bt. 5 Dec. 1846; cr. Bar. Tredegar 16 Apr. 1859. d. 16 Apr. 1875.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Mon. 1821-2, Brec. 1850-1; ld.-lt. Mon. 1866-d.

Capt. W. Mon. militia 1812, N. Hants 1819, E. Glam. 1824, Central Glam. 1829-32; lt.-col. commdt. W. Mon. militia 1846-d.

Biography

In 1818 Morgan, who was groomed to inherit the family’s 40,000-acre estates in south-east Wales and his father’s Monmouthshire seat, had relinquished the representation of their borough of Brecon with a view to recapturing Breconshire for Tredegar, but he had been defeated there by the foreign secretary Lord Castlereagh’s* brother-in-law Thomas Wood*.1 Notwithstanding rumours that he might contest Glamorgan or Monmouth Boroughs in 1820, he remained out of Parliament until his father substituted him at Brecon for his brother George in 1830.2 In the intervening years he regularly accompanied Sir Charles at elections, the assizes and county occasions, and was a signatory with him of the Breconshire loyal address of January 1821 and the Glamorgan magistrates’ 1828 memorial in favour of abolishing the Welsh courts of great sessions.3 His return to Ruperra with his bride in 1827 was widely celebrated, and every endeavour was made to ensure that the lord lieutenant, the 2nd marquess of Bute, who resented Sir Charles’s intervention on behalf of John Edwards* in Glamorgan in 1820 and the 6th duke of Beaufort’s candidates in Cardiff Boroughs in 1820 and 1824, did not obstruct Morgan’s entry into county society as a militia commander and magistrate.4 In 1829 he succeeded John Nicholl† as captain of the Central Glamorgan yeoman cavalry, and worked hard on behalf of his men.5 Commenting that year on the alleged antipathy between him and his father’s agent Thomas Prothero, the land agent A.T. Hawkins observed:

I hear Mr. Morgan and T.P. are not very good friends - that Mr. M. hates him. I can scarcely believe it, as the good quality of an agent is to bring in the rents, no matter how, and I know Mr. M. never intends to give himself any trouble about representing the county, therefore will care very little what enemies P. makes on that score.6

As Member for Brecon in the 1830 Parliament, Morgan was listed among the Wellington ministry’s ‘friends’, but he failed to vote on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented anti-slavery petitions, 17 Nov., and accompanied his father to difficult meetings in Newport and Brecon when industrial unrest coincided with clamour for parliamentary reform in 1830-1.7 He divided for the Grey ministry’s reform bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., but, unlike Sir Charles, he chose not to vote on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He encouraged his father to stand down rather than risk a costly defeat in Monmouthshire at the ensuing general election and came in for Brecon unopposed.8 He was summoned to Merthyr with his troop to quell the June uprising, and was commended afterwards as a popular officer suitable for promotion. However, the corps being found inadequate, they were disbanded in 1832, a decision he interpreted as a ‘sacrifice to prevent the annoyance of others’.9 He was absent when the reintroduced reform bill was carried at its second reading, 6 July, voted for its adjournment, 12 July 1831, but cast no known vote on it subsequently. He divided against the third reading of the revised measure, 22 Mar. 1832.10 Having assumed a higher profile at the assizes and county functions in Breconshire and Monmouthshire, in June 1832 he commenced canvassing as a Conservative for Brecon, which he lost in December to a Liberal, after a violent contest.11 The Dowlais ironmaster John Josiah Guest* observed: ‘As a gentleman no man can be more respectable, but Mr. Morgan certainly did not shine as an MP’.12 Bute, who in July 1832 had approached him about standing for Glamorgan, noted that ‘his behaviour to many of the Glamorganshire gentlemen at Tredegar and also at his hunting meetings’ was ‘considered rather cool’, and there was ‘no probability of ... [his] wishing it or of Sir Charles permitting his standing’; but he proved assiduous in registering the Ruperra tenantry and made an excellent speech at the Glamorgan dinner in which he accused Watkins of winning through bad votes.13

A diehard Conservative popular at Queen Victoria’s court, Morgan contested Brecon successfully in 1835, helped his brother Charles Octavius (1803-88) to victory in Monmouthshire in 1841, his eldest son Charles Rodney Morgan (1828-54) in Brecon in 1852, and his second son Godfrey Charles Morgan (1831-1913) in Breconshire, which he recaptured in 1858.14 He was raised to the peerage as Baron Tredegar in 1859 on the Derby ministry’s recommendation, and in 1866 became lord lieutenant of Monmouthshire. He died at Tredegar in April 1875 and was buried in the family vault at Bassaleg, having by his will confirmed the 1844 family settlement and made additional provisions for his widow and children, including Godfrey Charles, his successor in the barony and estates.15

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott

Notes

  • 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 482-3; iv. 632-3.
  • 2. NLW, Tredegar mss 135/771; Mon. Merlin, 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 3. Cambrian, 21 Jan. 1821, 20 Oct. 1827, 22 Nov. 1828; PP (1829), ix. 387.
  • 4. Cambrian, 20 Oct. 1827; NLW, Bute mss L65/34; L67/21, 34; L71/15, 32, 42; Glam. RO D/DA11/49-50; Cardiff Pub. Lib. Bute estate letterbks. ii. 5.
  • 5. Bute mss L72/85; L73/49-50, 56-58; Bute estate letterbks. ii. 199-200.
  • 6. NLW ms 17104 D, A.M. Hawkins to T. Cooke, 12 Aug. 1829.
  • 7. Cambrian, 12 Feb. 1831.