PLEYDELL BOUVERIE, Hon. Philip (1788-1872), of Down Ampney House, Glos.; 36 Curzon Street and 11 Haymarket, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 21 Oct. 1788, 5th s. of Jacob Pleydell Bouverie†, 2nd earl of Radnor (d. 1828), and Hon. Anne Duncombe, da. of Anthony Duncombe†, 1st Bar. Feversham; bro. of Hon. Duncombe Pleydell Bouverie* and William Pleydell Bouverie, Visct. Folkestone*. educ. Harrow 1797. m. 7 Nov. 1811, Maria, da. of Sir William Pierce Ashe A’Court†, 1st bt., of Heytesbury, Wilts., 1s. 4da. (1 d.v.p.). d. 23 May 1872.
Commr. of lieutenancy, London 1831-62; sheriff, Som. 1843-4.
Chairman, Grand Junction Canal Co. 1821-40; dir. Sun Fire Office 1824; dir. Sun Life Office 1824, chairman 1861-5.
Pleydell Bouverie began his banking career as a clerk in the office of Bosanquet and Company of 73 Lombard Street, London, and by 1811 he had entered a partnership with one Edmund Antrobus (d. 1827) at 35 Craven Street.1 In 1820 the leading Whig barrister Henry Brougham* instructed an agent to pay a sum of money into their bank, apparently in connection with the opposition campaign on behalf of Queen Caroline.2 Pleydell Bouverie’s petition concerning the holders of navy five per cent stock was presented to the Commons, 7 Mar. 1822, by his eldest brother Lord Folkestone, Member for Salisbury.3 In 1825 Antrobus retired and was replaced by Pleydell Bouverie’s childhood friend, Henry Francis, youngest son of Charles Shaw Lefevre†. He maintained business and political connections with the Shaw Lefevres but, against his wishes, Henry Francis resigned as his partner in 1830.4 By then the firm had moved to 11 Haymarket, and by 1832 it was known as Bouverie, Norman and Murdoch. He had a hand in other commercial concerns. In 1829, for instance, Edward John Littleton* sought his opinion as chairman of the Grand Junction Canal Company on the effect of the reduction of the duty on seaborne coal on inland trade.5
Pleydell Bouverie voted for the Whig Robert Gordon* for Cricklade at the general election of 1818, and may have been present with Folkestone to witness the queen’s return to London in November 1820.6 His Whig politics were not nearly so advanced as Folkestone’s and he never joined Brooks’s. Yet, as with his brother Duncombe, and much to his disappointment, his Tory father, the 2nd earl of Radnor, who controlled two seats at Downton and one at Salisbury, objected to bringing him into Parliament. When Folkestone succeeded to the earldom in 1828, he declined Alexander Powell’s offer to resign Downton in his brother’s favour, but he put the seat at his disposal at the general election of 1830.7 Then, as part of the compromise whereby Brougham agreed not to challenge the Lowther interest in Westmorland, and in spite of Radnor’s objections, Pleydell Bouverie arranged for Lord Lonsdale to bring him in for Cockermouth and for Radnor to return Brougham’s brother James for Downton.8 At the urgent request of the family’s agent, he successfully represented Duncombe, who was absent on naval service, at the Salisbury election, 30 July.9 He was listed by the Wellington ministry among their ‘foes’ and voted in the majority against them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He signed the requisition for a Wiltshire county reform meeting and was present at it, 25 Feb. 1831.10 He was a regular but silent attender at the Commons, where it was probably Duncombe who presented reform petitions from Salisbury, 26 Feb., 9 Mar., and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 21 Mar., though it might have been to him that one week’s sick leave was granted, 14 Mar. He voted for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.
He originally intended to stand for Downton at the subsequent general election, but instead started for Cricklade, where his family had a vestigial interest, and which was close to his residence at Down Ampney. He offered with Gordon as a ‘zealous friend’ of reform, but his prospects were damaged by the entry of the former Tory Member Thomas Calley and he was defeated after a lengthy contest.11 Alleging sharp practice, he expressed his disappointment in an address, 14 May 1831:
I came forward to afford you the opportunity of sending to Parliament two Members pledged to a defined plan of reform; I was willing to bind myself to that plan, because I thought its provisions just and reasonable -a plan which will give to the middling, intelligent, independent classes the power of selecting such persons to represent them and their interests, and to manage their affairs, as they approve.
He expounded these views at a reform dinner in Malmesbury, 30 May.12 Much to Lord Brougham’s annoyance, Radnor turned out James Brougham in order to provide Pleydell Bouverie with a seat for Downton, 20 July 1831, when his address was given as Nether Broughton, Leicestershire.13
Pleydell Bouverie, who may have been present to vote in the majority for the total disfranchisement of his constituency, 21 July 1831, divided steadily in favour of the details of the reintroduced reform bill. He voted in the minority for printing the Waterford petition for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug., but with government on the Dublin election controversy, 23 Aug. He divided for Lord Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug., and in the minority for transferring Aldborough from schedule B to schedule A, 14 Sept. He voted for the passage of the bill, 21 Sept., and for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. That month he signed the requisition for another Wiltshire county reform meeting.14 He voted for the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and possibly for the schedule B clause, 23 Jan. 1832. He may have been the ‘H.P. Bouverie’ who voted in the minority for the second reading of the vestry bill, 23 Jan. He divided with government against the production of information on Portugal, 9 Feb., but in the minorities against restoring the salary of the Irish registrar of deeds to its original level, 9 Apr., and for inquiry into colonial slavery, 24 May. He divided against giving the vote to all £10 poor rate payers, 3 Feb., and for the registration clause, 8 Feb. He voted for the total disfranchisement of Appleby, 21 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., but against the partial disfranchisement of Helston, 23 Feb. He voted for the third reading of the bill, 22 Mar., Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May, and the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and against increasing the county representation of Scotland, 1 June. His only other known votes were with government for the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July 1832.
His seat having been abolished by the Reform Act, he sought another one in the neighbourhood, but decided not to start for Cricklade, Wilton or one of the Wiltshire divisions. He refused to contemplate replacing Duncombe at Salisbury and, after a brief canvass, declined to stand a contest at Cirencester. Radnor wrote at the time that ‘my brother’s politics are the same as mine, except that he does not push his opinions so far: he is a reformer, but not as radical as I’.15 He stood unsuccessfully as a reformer at Devizes in 1835 and, having established himself at Brymore Park, near Bridgwater, for Somerset West in 1847.16 He deposited some of the papers of John Pym of Brymore in the British Museum, while others remained in the family.17 In 1855 his firm merged with Ransom and Company, to become Ransom, Bouverie and Company of 1 Pall Mall East.18 Having returned to the House as Member for Berkshire, in 1861 he wrote the Vindication of a Churchman in favour of the abolition of church rates. He died in May 1872, leaving the bulk of his estate to his only son, Philip (1821-90), who, like his son Henry Hales (1848-1925), was a partner in the family bank.19