PERCY, Hon. William Henry (1788-1855).

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

Constituency

Dates

1818 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 24 Mar. 1788, 6th s. of Algernon Percy†, 1st earl of Beverley (d. 1830), and Isabella Susanna, da. of Peter Burrell† of Langley Park, Beckenham, Kent; bro. of Hon. Charles Percy*, George Percy, Lord Lovaine*, Hon. Henry Percy*, and Hon. Josceline Percy†. unm. d. 5 Oct. 1855.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1801, midshipman 1802, lt. 1807, cdr. 1810, capt. 1812, r.-adm. (ret.) 1846.

Commr. of excise 1828-49.

Biography

Percy, whose active naval career ended under a slight cloud in 1815, continued to sit for Stamford on the interest of his kinsman Lord Exeter. At the 1820 general election he was again returned unopposed. ‘By way of thanks’, the local press mocked, ‘he mumbled over his address in the week’s Mercury, adding, satirically enough, that his re-election was a proof of the satisfaction his previous conduct had given to his constituents’.1 A lax attender, when present he continued to give silent support to the Liverpool ministry. He voted in support of their conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821, and against criminal law reform, 21 May 1821 (as a pair), and tax reductions, 11 Feb. 1822. He divided against Catholic relief, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 10 May 1825. He voted against inquiries into chancery delays, 5 June, currency reform, 12 June 1823, and the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith for inciting slave riots in Demerara, 11 June 1824. On 2 Mar. 1824 he presented a petition for repeal of the coal duties.2 He divided for suppression of the Catholic Association, 25 Feb., and the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 6, 10 June 1825. He was in the minority against the spring guns bill, 21 June 1825. Commenting on a report in the Sporting Magazine that he and his brother Algernon had shot a large amount of game, including ‘several coots’, that December, the local paper dryly observed:

What a fine thing it is to have a representative who can shoot coots! and what a vast stock of useful information must the gallant captain have brought from the coot-pond to the great council of the nation.3

He voted against condemning the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar., and for maintaining the president of the board of trade’s salary, 10 Apr. 1826. At that year’s dissolution he gave up Parliament for an excise place, worth £1,200 a year, which had long been his object.4 ‘Percy retires’, observed the local press, ‘for which our townsmen "praise God and make no boast of it"’.5 He died at 8 Portman Square, the London home of his eldest brother George, Lord Beverley, in October 1855.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Philip Salmon / David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Drakard’s Stamford News, 10 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. The Times, 3 Mar. 1824.
  • 3. Drakard’s Stamford News, 3 Feb. 1826.
  • 4. Add. 38291, f. 1; 38299, f. 100.
  • 5. Drakard’s Stamford News, 26 May 1826.
  • 6. The Times, 9 Oct. 1855.

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