WARRENDER, Sir George, 4th bt. (1782-1849), of Lochend, Dunbar, Haddington; Cliveden, Bucks. and Bruntsfield House, Edinburgh

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
1818 - 1826
1826 - 1830
1830 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 5 Dec. 1782, 1st s. of Sir Patrick Warrender†, 3rd bt., of Lochend and Helen, da. of James Blair of Dunbar.1 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1799; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1811. m. 3 Oct. 1810, Hon. Evelyn Boscawen, da. of George Evelyn, 3rd Visct. Falmouth, s.p. suc. fa. as 4th bt. 14 June 1799; cos. Hugh Warrender, WS, to Bruntsfield 1820. d. 21 Feb. 1849.

Offices Held

Ld. of admiralty Oct. 1812-Feb. 1822; commr. bd. of control Feb. 1822-Feb. 1828; PC 4 Feb. 1822.

Dir. (extraordinary) Bank of Scotland 1822-8.

Lt.-col. Berwick, Haddington, Linlithgow and Peebles militia 1805.

Biography

Warrender, a former Grenvillite Whig who had defected to take junior office in the Liverpool ministry in 1812 and so branded himself as a ‘rat’, often cut a preposterous figure. A fat, garrulous and rather stupid man, he was pompous, quick-tempered and coarse.2 Despite his ancestry, title and inherited property in Haddingtonshire there was, so Lady Gower thought, a ‘parvenu-feeling’ about him;3 and Luttrell the wag pronounced that ‘the two most disgusting things in the world, because you cannot deny them, are Warrender’s wealth, and John Croker’s* talents’.4 His frequent and lavish dinner parties earned him the sobriquet of ‘Sir Gorgeous Provender’.5 His marriage was a bad one, as his wife admitted to Croker in 1819, when she formally separated from him and went to live abroad.6

At the general election of 1820 Warrender was again returned unopposed for Sandwich on the government interest, having turned down Lord Falmouth’s offer to bring him in for his former seat at Truro.7 He assured his admiralty chief Lord Melville, the government’s Scottish manager, that he had ‘done everything I could to ensure the return’ of the ministerialist Sir James Grant Suttie for Haddingtonshire, where he encountered ‘hostility’ to his own pretensions to the county, in which Melville had ‘encouraged’ him.8 He was named to the select committees on Scottish burgh reform, 4 May 1820, 16 Feb. 1821. He handled the navy estimates, 17 May, 9 June, when he boasted of a reduction of £114,000 and replied to Hume’s criticisms of the grant for naval shipbuilding.9 On 12 June he was given three weeks’ leave on account of the illness of his father’s first cousin Hugh Warrender, deputy keeper of the signet and crown agent in Scotland. He had in fact died four days earlier, having bequeathed all his property, which included the ‘gloomy, but comfortable and dignified’ Edinburgh mansion of Bruntsfield and a smaller house at 625 Castle Hill, to Warrender; the residual personal estate was calculated at almost £74,000.10 Warrender voted with his colleagues against economies in revenue collection, 4 July. In December 1820 Sir William Rae*, the lord advocate, told Melville that he ‘would not be a desirable candidate’ for Haddington Burghs in the event of a vacancy.11

In a debate on Scottish petitions in support of Queen Caroline, 31 Jan. 1821, Warrender admitted her popularity among those ‘least informed’, but declared that ‘the great mass of the persons of landed property in Scotland were decidedly friendly to ministers’. He was hounded by Creevey, Hume and others when he presented the navy estimates, 2 Feb.; and according to Creevey he ‘was so cursed sore upon my fire into him ... that he did nothing but bluster and vow vengeance upon me ... at White’s, telling everyone that the first opportunity, he would blow me up sky high in the House of Commons’. Creevey decided to ‘anticipate his shot’, and on 14 Feb. attacked Warrender as ‘a sinecure and sham lord’ of the admiralty, ‘once himself a tip-top patriot ... who combatted much for retrenchment’. Warrender, he later wrote, ‘looked like the damnest idiot you ever saw, and could not produce a single word in reply’; but the following day Warrender demanded a private apology through Lord Binning* who, with Creevey’s representative General Ronald Ferguson*, reached ‘a settlement’ after four hours’ negotiation.12 For the first time since 1813, Warrender voted for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821. He again clashed with Hume and other critics of the navy estimates, 4 May, when the radical Whig Henry Grey Bennet* dismissed his speech as ‘weak, flippant, bad’, and 7 May, when he defeated a proposed inquiry into dockyard expenditure by 82-27.13 He presented a Dumfriesshire landowners’ petition against the Scottish juries bill, 9 May 1821.14 By the end of the year it was known that he wished to leave the admiralty, and in February 1822, as part of the reshuffle which took in his quondam friends the Grenvillites, he was moved to the less demanding India board.15 Opposing reduction of the number of junior admiralty lords, 1 Mar., he recalled his own heavy workload, which had kept him in London for five consecutive summers. To general hilarity he blundered on:

In fact, the duties of the office so much interfered with his private pursuits, arrangements and interests, that it had formed one strong ground with him relinquishing a situation he had long held, and with so much satisfaction.

(Robert Hay, Melville’s private secretary, 1812-23, told Greville in 1830 that in his experience Warrender ranked second only to Sir George Murray* for total inefficiency in office.)16

Warrender played host to an eclectic range of guests during the king’s visit to Edinburgh in August 1822, when he was supposed to be in unrequited love with the young widow, the Vicomtesse de Noailles.17 His younger brother John’s marriage to a daughter of the earl of Lauderdale the following year gave him the chance to be ‘very magnificent’. To the ‘great amusement’ of Edward Ellice*, he was seated next to Creevey at a private London dinner, 10 Feb. 1824. Creevey, who never tired of baiting him, boasted that ‘I cracked my jokes with such success that Old Rat Warrender was compelled to ask me to drink wine with him, though he was infernally annoyed all the time, and made a most precipitate retreat after dinner’.18 He was not conspicuous in the House in these years. He presented a Berwickshire petition for repeal of the duties on foreign wool, 25 Mar. 1824.19 By the end of that year he had bought the attractive estate of Cliveden, near Maidenhead, where he carried out a ‘substantial repair’ to the old and fire damaged house.20 He had attached himself politically to Canning, the foreign secretary, whom he dined ‘very often’.21 He voted for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He presented Haddingtonshire and Roxburghshire petitions against alteration of the corn laws, 28 Apr.22 On 6 June 1825 he defended the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, provoking derisive laughter with his observation that he and his duchess were ‘at present enjoying the highest degree of domestic happiness and comfort’. He presented petitions against interference with the Scottish banking system, 28 Feb., 15 Mar., 10 Apr., 9 May, and one from Jedburgh for the abolition of slavery, 5 May 1826.23

At the general election that summer Warrender abandoned Sandwich, pleading ‘the state of my health’, and came in unopposed for Westbury with its patron, Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes.24 He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and for the spring guns bill, 23 Mar. 1827. On the formation of Canning’s ministry in April a joke, attributed to Lady Morley, became current that Warrender, one of ‘Canning’s toads’, was to ‘share the office of privy seal with [Lord] Dudley; Warrender to be the privy’.25 He kept his place at the India board and in the House, 3 May, deplored the breakdown of ‘neutrality’ on the Catholic question, which had ‘very nearly lost him his election’ (Masseh Lopes was anti-Catholic.) He pledged his ‘most zealous aid’ to the new ministry in defiance of the ‘factious course’ pursued by Canning’s erstwhile colleagues, particularly Peel. Canning told the king that this was ‘a sentiment only important from the manner in which it was generally received’.26 The following day Peel’s brother William made fun of Warrender for being ‘ready even to sacrifice his dinner’ to support Canning. Warrender replied that he was, but that ‘there seemed to be a little too much soreness among some Members ... for the loss of places to allow them fully to enjoy themselves’. Edward Littleton* later claimed that he and Warrender were the only personal friends of Canning to whom no favours were offered.27 Warrender welcomed Williams Wynn’s proposal to consolidate the regulations for dealing with controverted elections, 8 May, and spoke against an amendment to the Dunbar harbour bill, 15 June 1827; he was a teller for the majority.28

In October 1826 Warrender had written to Melville on the subject of a ‘considerable’ balance of money allegedly owed by the treasury to the estate of Hugh Warrender on account of his ‘secret and confidential services’ as crown agent. He evidently got no satisfaction, and in July 1827 voiced his grievance to Melville’s kinsman William Johnstone Hope*, who reported to the Scottish solicitor-general John Hope that he

talked a great deal of nonsense. At the same time, he talked of the ill usage he had met with from Lord Melville, but I own I could not discover in what he had been injured. But he held out a threat, that I think you ought to know and perhaps would be glad to put out of his power to execute. It was, ‘that it was lucky for the Melville interest in Scotland that he was an honourable man, as he had in his possession ... all the accounts of the secret service money that was disbursed in Scotland for the whole time Hugh Warrender was crown agent, and that he could a tale unfold’.

Johnstone Hope was inclined to buy him off, but John Hope, who thought ‘Warrender’s jaw is so loose that one cannot rely on there being even the pretext of a foundation for what he says’, was prepared to call his bluff; and Melville declared that ‘he might have advertised ... [the vouchers] in all the newspapers, as far as I cared, either on my father’s or my own account’.29 That was presumably the end of the matter. After Canning’s death Warrender told Huskisson, his political heir, that he would act with him, but that he could not ‘have any kind of feeling in common’ with the former Tory ministers who had hounded Canning to the grave.30 It was reported in November that Warrender, possibly under the influence of Lauderdale, seemed ‘inclined to go against [Lord Goderich’s] government’;31 and Huskisson, unwilling to credit a story that he had ‘become a frondeur’, asked Lord Binning* if he had noticed ‘any symptoms of this disease coming upon him before he left Scotland’. Binning replied, 2 Dec. 1827:

Warrender’s language when I saw him ... was rather tending to despondency than fronde, and he quoted certainly pretty high authority for some of the gloomy views he took. With respect to Scotland he has been a frondeur from the beginning, taking always as I thought, very unsound views of the real interests of ... [Canning] and his government ... But I suppose he must have been haranguing while he was in London, for I received a letter from him from thence in which he says that he concludes he shall be supposed to be a frondeur ... I believe that let him talk as he will, he is desirous to uphold the present government, and to act with the friends of Canning. He always speaks of you with real interest and regard. He is, as old Dean Jackson used to tell him, ‘a strange creature’.32

On the collapse of the Goderich ministry and the duke of Wellington’s accession to power Warrender, though professedly not upset by Huskisson’s acceptance of office, resigned his place at the India board; he told Melville, the new president, that he had asked Goderich the previous September not to include him in any future commission.33

Warrender disapproved the reference in the king’s speech to Navarino as an ‘untoward’ event, 31 Jan. 1828. On 18 Feb. he defended Huskisson against charges of inconsistency, but said he could not give ‘entire confidence’ to the new ministry because of its ‘decided opposition to the Catholic question’. He presented petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 22 Feb., and voted thus, 26 Feb. When Peel flounced out of the chamber in pique with a phalanx of ministerialists during the debate on the formal resolution for repeal two days later, Warrender ‘poured a violent philippic’ on him. The Whig Lord Milton* thought his speech ‘admirable’ but, like the Canningite Lord George Cavendish Bentinck*, considered its effect was ruined when Warrender ‘ate up his words as fast as he had uttered them’ on being told that Peel, who returned to hear the end of his attack, had left merely to avoid the division.34 On Williams Wynn’s scheme to improve election committee procedure, 3 Apr., Warrender suggested the appointment of an assessor to advise on legal technicalities. He brought up the report on the Aberdeen harbour bill, 5 May, and was a teller for the minority in the subsequent division. He voted for Catholic relief, 12 May. After the Huskissonites’ resignation from the ministry he praised Wellington’s military services but expressed ‘apprehensions in respect of the continuance of his civil career’, 30 May. He was one of ‘the ejected liberals as mustered in [the] House of Commons’, 3 June, and voted against government for inquiry into the Irish church, 24 June, and reduction of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July 1828.35 The following month he speculated that Huskisson, reportedly depressed and ill in Switzerland, had regrets about ‘his mode of leaving office’ and, in a change of tune, avowed that Wellington was ‘the only man in England’ who could settle the Irish problem.36 Many years later Littleton wrote that Warrender did much socially to promote the views of the Huskissonite group and accomplished a great deal ‘towards cementing the confederacy’ against Wellington.37 Warrender disputed Lord Chandos’s assertion that majority opinion in Buckinghamshire was hostile to Catholic relief, 16 Feb. 1829, and the following day forecast that emancipation would pacify Ireland. He voted for it, 6, 30 Mar., but, as he explained on 17 Mar., he could not, as one ‘opposed to parliamentary reform’, accept the Irish 40s. freeholders bill. He was in the small minorities against it, 19, 20 Mar., and on the 26th argued that the proposed criterion of value would give landlords too much knowledge of their tenants’ financial circumstances. He supported the militia suspension bill, 23 Mar., but, ‘as a representative of the people’, he joined Huskisson in opposing the proposed increase in Scottish judicial salaries, 21 May 1829.

He voted for the amendment to the address, 4 Feb., and, from the government side of the House, 12 Feb. 1830, praised the Whig Sir James Graham’s speech advocating retrenchment. He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., 5 Mar., and for inquiry into alleged electoral malpractice at Newark by the duke of Newcastle; but he divided against Lord Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He supported the navy estimates, 1 Mar., though he agreed with some of Hume’s detailed criticisms. He also questioned the accuracy of Hume’s statement of the extent of distress, yet on 15 Mar. he insisted that it was so bad in Perthshire that he could not raise ‘a farthing of rent’ on his local estates. He was in the opposition minorities on British involvement in Portugal, 10 Mar., and the Terceira incident, 28 Apr. He spoke and voted for Graham’s unsuccessful motion to subsume the treasurership of the navy in another office, 12 Mar., but opposed Smith’s bid to reduce its salary by £1,200, 22 Mar., blaming the House and not the government, in which he now professed to have ‘the greatest confidence’, for the rejection of the earlier proposal. He voted for a revision of taxation, 25 Mar., and to do away with the post of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 29 Mar.; but he opposed an attempt to reduce the salary of the chief treasury clerk because it was ‘mistaken economy to attempt to pare down the salaries of efficient public officers’, 10 May. That day he presented Scottish petitions against any increase in spirit duty and to extend jury trial to the provincial courts. He voted against government for abolition of the Irish lord lieutenancy, 11 May, information on privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, and against the grant for consular services, 11 June. On 18 June he called for the Scottish court of session bill to be postponed and got ministers to admit that it was intended as a foundation for increases in judges’ salaries. He threatened to divide the House against its third reading, 21 June, but when it came on, 23 June, he agreed not to do so in return for being allowed to rehearse his objections to it, which no one could understand. At the same time he tried to discomfit Rae by pointing out that he had been passed over for the post of chief baron of the exchequer in favour of the renegade Whig James Abercromby*, elevated by the very men who had denounced him for joining Canning’s ministry as judge advocate. Warrender’s prediction that the measure would be substantially amended in the Lords proved inaccurate. He voted against the increase in recognizances required by the libel law bill, 9 July 1830.

At the subsequent general election Warrender came in unopposed for the venal borough of Honiton and was ‘a happy witness’ of the return of the Whig Ferguson for Nottingham. He took a prominent part in the Haddingtonshire contest, supporting George Grant Suttie, one of the county’s ‘great landed proprietors’, in unavailing opposition to the ministerialist outsider Lord John Hay. In a controversial speech he referred to his own pledge of 1820 ‘never to trouble the county’ as a candidate and deplored the ‘somewhat new and extraordinary’ degree of government interference there and elsewhere:

He would tell ministers ... such was the view taken by the public of their interference, that they would lose all the counties and great towns in England, though they might gain by it in the rotten boroughs and in Scotland ... He did not wish it to be supposed that he had become a convert to any wild scheme of parliamentary reform. He had always uniformly voted against it, because he had always considered that the elective franchise was wisely distributed and fairly exercised; but from what he had recently seen he doubted very much whether at the end of this general election he might continue of the same opinion.

Hay asked him what property he had at Honiton.38 Ministers listed Warrender as one of ‘the Huskisson party’ and Brougham counted his return as a gain for opposition. After Huskisson’s death he told Graham that he hoped to see a junction between the Whigs and the Huskissonite rump; and on 6 Oct. 1830 he wrote to Littleton:

I anxiously hope nothing may arise to break up our little society in the House of Commons. We are all so well together and there is nothing so delightful ... as a small and united party who command general respect both in the House and in the country, and who avoid the extremes to which others go.

He was hostile to ‘a second junction with Peel and the duke’, but considered some of Brougham’s recent speeches on reform to have been ‘quite wild’.39 On the eve of the new session he told Sir John Hamilton Dalrymple† of his pleasure that the Huskissonite leaders, with whom he enjoyed ‘cordial union and consultation’, would have no truck with the beleagured government and that ‘although co-operating with, we are not joined to the Whigs’. As for the expected showdown on reform, he had ‘not decided what I shall do’, having ‘never yet voted for reform in any shape’ and ‘differed from my friends on it last year and voted with ministers against Huskisson and all the rest’.40

Warrender voted against the ministry on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. Soon afterwards he informed Hay that as ‘a strong anti-reformer’ he had ‘written to some of his friends in the north to get up petitions against any degree of reform’.41 He applauded the Grey government, in which his associates Charles Grant*, Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston* took office, for their good start in implementing measures of economy, 6 Dec. He also made a suggestion concerning the proposed select committee on the reduction of public salaries, to which he was named, 9 Dec. Two days later, speaking from the opposition benches, he denied that successive governments had neglected Ireland, approved the pension granted to Rae’s wife after his removal from office, but again noticed his failure to become lord chief baron, and, praising Lord Althorp’s* honesty, announced that he was ‘disposed to watch the government, but ... in a spirit of perfect confidence’. He threatened to propose a deduction of 27 per cent in tax from all pensions and sinecures except those conferred for distinguished services, 16 Dec. At the same time, he refuted ‘the imputations that are most unjustly cast on the whole aristocracy of this country, as grasping at and retaining all that they can obtain’: ‘efficient public service’ was not ‘overpaid, but the inefficient must be cut down and ultimately abolished’. As a freeman of Evesham, though ‘not unfriendly to reform’, he objected to Lord Chandos’s attempt to supersede its writ and deal with bribery there, 16 Dec. According to Sir George Clerk*, he was ‘so much alarmed’ by the unruly mood of the House in this debate that ‘he went to some of the ministers, urging them to dissolve’.42 He endorsed the sentiments of the Middlesex petition presented by Hume as far as retrenchment went, but warned ministers against the more lunatic radical nostrums, 21 Dec. 1830. On reform, he argued that the ‘majority of the persons of property and education’ were hostile to it and that the defeat of the Irish secretary Smith Stanley by Hunt at Preston did not augur well for any reformed system. Later that evening he rebutted Tennyson’s comment that he was wilfully blinding himself to the strength of pro-reform feeling in the country, reminding him that he had supported his attempts to enfranchise Birmingham. He tried to clarify his earlier pronouncement on reform:

I said that if I could be convinced that the majority of the middle classes and the reasonable part of the community were desirous of reform, I did not know that I might not change my opinions. I should be sorry to be so misrepresented to the public, as to be understood to be decidedly hostile to every plan of reform, for that is not the case.

Warrender was willing to support the transfer of Evesham’s seats to Birmingham if a case could be made out, 18 Feb. 1831, but he feared that the impending ministerial reform scheme would be ‘too extensive’. He thought Hume’s advocacy of the confiscation of church property showed that ‘the state is in danger’, 26 Feb., and said that naval lords of the admiralty should be allowed to keep their allowances, 28 Feb. He condemned the reform bills as ‘a violation of ancient charters and sacred rights’, 7 Mar., but criticized preceding Tory governments for resisting the enfranchisement of large manufacturing towns, which he now claimed consistently to have supported. With mounting fury, he predicted that ‘a large portion of the intelligence and property of Scotland’ would oppose reform, forecast that all surviving boroughs would be under treasury influence and professed contempt for recent attacks on him in the national press. He voted against the second reading of the English bill, 22 Mar. He supported the civil list grant, even though he considered it inadequate, 25, 28 Mar., when he deplored the proposed disfranchisement of the Anstruther district of burghs but said he would support ‘a just, proper and moderate reform’. He denied that the salaries committee had made an invidious distinction between the army and the navy and did not consider ministers pledged to accept its recommendations on pensions, 30 Mar. He welcomed the abolition of the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 13 Apr., but opposed Hume’s attempt to reduce the civil list allowances for the royal dukes, 14 Apr. That day he admitted that in the light of communications from Scotland he had changed his mind on reform there, and now believed that ‘a popular system of election’ was desirable, though he remained hostile to all disfranchisement. He therefore spoke and voted against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the English reform bill, 19 Apr. 1831, contending that if its proposed veto on any reduction in the number of English Members was carried, the ‘general wealth and intelligence of Scotland’, notably in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, would have no chance of adequate representation. The reformers John Fazakerley and Thomas Spring Rice reacted favourably to his ‘good speech’, which they hoped would have a beneficial effect on the Scottish Members; but the Tory Lord Ellenborough thought he had ‘behaved shabbily’.43 Warrender was returned for Honiton after a contest at the ensuing general election; one newspaper attributed his success to the ‘constitutional and anti-republican sentiments of the inhabitants’.44 At the Haddingtonshire election his brother John, who had declared his opposition to the reform bill, supported the successful Tory James Balfour on Warrender’s principle that the Member should have ‘a considerable stake’ in the county.45

Warrender voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, but on 12 July 1831he expressed his approval of some of its details, while advising ministers against wholesale disfranchisement. He presented a Jedburgh petition for all existing Scottish electors to be allowed to retain the franchise for their lives, 14 July. He dissented from the prayer of an anti-Maynooth petition from Glasgow, 19 July. He presented one from the inhabitants of Chelsea asking to be allotted a separate Member, though he condemned the plan to create metropolitan district constituencies, 27 July, when he voted against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham. Next day he put in a word for Honiton which, though scheduled to lose a Member, had over 300 £10 houses and 550 resident electors, and attacked schedule B as the worst feature of the bill, threatening to move at the report stage that no borough with over 400 resident electors should be disfranchised. Later, responding to a personal attack by Denman, the attorney-general, he said that ‘to destroy a decayed borough is intelligible’, but to deprive ‘considerable towns’ of ancient rights was ‘founded on nothing but a reckless spirit of innovation’. He delivered ‘a short funeral oration’ on Honiton, 29 July, but did not divide the House, which had become ‘a court of injustice to convict innocent and unoffending boroughs’. On 11 Aug. he opposed printing the Waterford petition for disarming the Irish yeomanry in the aftermath of the Newtownbarry massacre, wishing to ‘establish the welfare and tranquillity of Ireland’ by assuaging ‘violent religious and party feelings’. He voted with ministers for the division of counties, 11 Aug., said he would welcome any scheme to give two Members to the more populous Scottish counties, 16 Aug., and spoke and voted against the censure of government’s alleged interference in the Dublin election, 23 Aug., observing that ‘some degree of undue influence is proved’, but ‘unless the exercise of some influence is allowed, the business of government cannot be conducted’. Explaining that he had abandoned his motion to preserve boroughs with over 400 resident electors in order to avoid a charge of offering ‘vexatious opposition’ to the bill, 1 Sept., he addressed ‘some young Members’ on his own side of the House who ‘look upon me as a suspicious character’: as ‘an independent Member’, he did ‘not seek to please them, but to do my duty’. On the government’s concession of additional Members for some Welsh counties, 14 Sept., he urged them to do the same for Scotland; and the following day he again attacked the ‘gross injustice’ of schedule B and of ‘the whole of this bill’, though he conceded that ‘a very considerable and extensive reform is necessary’. He voted against the passage of the bill, 21 Sept. On 23 Sept. he approved the idea of Scottish university representation and supported the second reading of the Scottish reform bill, although he cavilled at some of its details and wanted at least five more Members; he acknowledged that ‘I now stand in a situation in which I shall get credit with neither party’. He admitted that he had concurred in the salaries committee’s recommendation of a reduction for the president of the India board, 29 Sept., and supported the government amendment to Hobhouse’s vestries bill, 30 Sept. He backed Murray’s unsuccessful bid to secure eight additional Scottish county Members, 4 Oct. He saw no reason to ban the appointment of non-residents as lord lieutenants of Irish counties, 6 Oct., but objected to the government’s Scottish exchequer court bill, 6, 7 Oct. He thanked Peel for his work in setting up the metropolitan police force, 11 Oct. He dissociated himself from Wetherell’s charge that ministers had connived in the disturbances provoked by the loss of the reform bill in the Lords, 12 Oct., and spoke for suspension of the Liverpool writ on account of the ‘mass of corruption’ revealed there. He supported the sugar refinery bill and Brougham’s reform of bankruptcy jurisdiction, 15 Oct. 1831.

In November 1831 Littleton had ‘excellent fun’ at dinner with Warrender, who

we discovered, had written and printed a letter to his constituents at Honiton expressing his regret that his avocations and the state of his health (robust) would not allow of him going down to them this winter, and sending them a printed copy of his speech on the case of Honiton ... Quite clear from the tone of the letter that friend Warrender finds that his anti-reform votes are putting him in the wrong box in their estimations.

A few days later he made Warrender ‘very angry’ by describing him as ‘a Zephyr entre deux Flores’ when seated between his own wife and the pretty Mrs. Twiss.46 Warrender, who voted for the grant to improve Buckingham House, 9 Dec., ‘triumphed for the immaculate Honiton’ by welcoming ‘the spirit of conciliation’ exhibited in the revised reform bill, which restored the borough to full status, 12 Dec.; his speech was one of a number seen as Tory rebukes for Peel.47 He drew attention to himself as a ‘convert’ by voting for the second reading, 17 Dec. 1831.48 He voiced strong objections to Campbell’s general register bill, 17 Jan., and was in the government majorities on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. 1832. On the introduction of the new Scottish reform bill, 19 Jan., he expressed disappointment that no increase in representation was offered, though he disclaimed any ‘hostile feeling’ towards government. He was again at pains to justify his vote against Gascoyne’s amendment. He spoke in support of the opposition amendment to schedule B and in explanation of his vote for the second reading of the English bill, 23 Jan.: he had cast it to promote ‘the peace, tranquillity and security of the country’, which depended on the speedy passage of a ‘practicable, conciliatory and safe’ measure of reform. While he agreed that thriving manufacturing and commercial centres should be enfranchised, he still disliked the schedule B disfranchisements, which he suggested could be avoided by abandoning the London districts and the three Member counties; he called for concessions on both sides. He voted against the third reading of the bill, 22 Mar. Clerk’s motion to add him to the committee on the exchequer court bill, of which he claimed to have no prior knowledge, was defeated by 100-56, 2 Feb. He supported calls for British intervention on behalf of Poland, 18 Apr., 28 June. In yet another change of mind, he gave his ‘most cordial support’ to the second reading of the Scottish reform bill as ‘a final measure’, 21 May, when he admitted that he was no longer anxious to obtain additional Members, being now satisfied that the English boroughs would continue to provide Scots with an alternative route to Parliament. Accordingly, he opposed Murray’s motion to increase the Scottish representation, 1 June, though he used the curious argument that if carried it would entitle Ireland to 50 new Members. While he had no objection to allowing superiorities to continue providing county votes, if only because in practice they would prove too expensive to keep up, he told the bill’s opponents that if their extinction was indeed ‘a spoliation’, it was ‘one for the public benefit, and must be submitted to’. He had some qualms about the proposed arbitration procedure for disputed voting claims, 5 June, and dispensing with the property qualification oath, 27 June; but he looked askance at Johnstone’s attempt to bar the Scottish clergy from voting, 6 June, and was a teller for the majority against it. He deplored party squabbles over the corn laws and professed his willingness, for all his own vested interest in agriculture, to back any measure ‘calculated to produce permanent cheap food’, 1 June. He supported the inclusion of Protestant scripture instruction in the Irish education scheme, 8 June, and favoured the establishment of a tribunal to deal with financial claims on the East India Company, 14 June. On 2 July he said that his previous vote on the Russian-Dutch loan did not bind him for the future, when the separation of Belgium and Holland had been effected; and he paired with the opposition minority on the issue, 12 July. Later that day he had a sharp exchange with Peel’s brother-in-law George Dawson on the subject of ministerial salaries but, after mutual apologies, said he was ‘determined to avoid being nettled at any remarks that may be made in this House’. He sought and received an assurance that the dissolution would not take place until registration had been completed, 15 Aug. 1832.

Warrender decided not to stand at the 1832 general election because of ‘the state of my health, and the determination of passing several winters out of England’.49 For all this, he was in London in late January 1833.50 John Hobhouse* visited him at Lochend in September 1834:

Warrender was very kind and hospitable, and had a great deal to say, particularly about the men with whom he had lived, Canning being the chief: but he verged on the absurd and talked too much of himself, and how he was employed and treated by Canning.51

A year earlier Warrender had brought an action in the court of session for divorce on the ground of adultery by his wife, then living in France. She entered objections, based essentially on a claim that a Scottish court could not dissolve a marriage contracted in England between a resident Englishwoman and a domiciled Scotsman. They were dismissed in an interlocutor of 28 June 1834, but Lady Warrender appealed to the Lords and Warrender’s attempts to have the appeal disallowed were unsuccessful. After several delays, the Lords heard counsel on the case in May 1835; and on 27 Aug. 1835 Brougham and Lyndhurst, arguing that in law a wife’s domicile became that of her husband, upheld the interlocutor of the lower court. It does not appear, however, that Warrender subsequently proceeded with the case in Scotland.52 He died at his London house at 63 Upper Berkeley Street in February 1849, having on 19 June 1821 devised all his property to his brother John (1786-1867), his successor in the baronetcy. By a codicil of 8 Jan. 1847 he left an annuity of £100 to one Rosa Phillicory. His personalty within the province of Canterbury was sworn under £12,000, but his Scottish personal estate was rated for duty at £24,968 in August 1871.53

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. They were married on 26 Nov. 1780 (IGI).
  • 2. Hatherton diary, 24 Nov. [1831]; Creevey’s Life and Times, 258.
  • 3. Howard Sisters, 227.
  • 4. Disraeli Letters, i. 146.
  • 5. Wellington and Friends, 36; N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 666.
  • 6. Croker Pprs. i. 153.
  • 7. Kentish Chron. 11, 25 Feb., 14 Mar. 1820; Add. 38282, f. 89; 38458, f. 227.
  • 8. NAS GD51/1/198/9/28.
  • 9. The Times, 18 May 1820.
  • 10. Gent. Mag. (1820), i. 573; Cockburn Jnl. ii.142; PROB 11/1632/450; IR26/847/591; Bk. of Old Edinburgh Club, x. 24-26; Warrender Letters (Scottish Hist. Soc. ser. 3, xxv), pp. xiv-xxii.
  • 11. NAS GD51/1/198/8/8.
  • 12. Creevey’s Life and Times, 139; HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 20, 37.
  • 13. Grey Bennet diary, 68; The Times, 8 May 1821.
  • 14. The Times, 9 May 1821.
  • 15. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 266; Christ Church, Oxf. Phillimore mss, Phillimore to Buckingham, 23 Dec. 1821.
  • 16. Greville Mems. ii. 11.
  • 17. Fox Jnl. 141-3.
  • 18. Creevey Pprs. ii. 60, 74.
  • 19. The Times, 26 Mar. 1824.
  • 20. G. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 297; Von Neumann Diary, i.190; ii. 306; Dyott’s Diary, ii. 139; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1530.
  • 21. Buckingham, ii. 157.
  • 22. The Times, 29 Apr. 1825.
  • 23. Ibid. 1, 16 Mar., 11, Apr., 6, 10 May 1826.
  • 24. Kentish Chron. 23 May; Salisbury Jnl. 12 June 1826.
  • 25. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC12/79; Bagot, Canning and Friends, ii. 390; Canning’s Ministry, 108, 132.
  • 26. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1323.
  • 27. Hatherton diary, 12 July [1840].
  • 28. The Times, 9 May, 16 June 1827.
  • 29. NLS mss 1057, ff. 196-204.
  • 30. Add. 38750, ff. 119, 192.
  • 31. Add. 51590, Agar Ellis to Lady Holland, 19 Nov. 1827.
  • 32. Add. 38752, ff. 85, 177.
  • 33. Add. 38754, f. 114; Wellington mss WP1/899/9; NLS mss 1074, f. 188.
  • 34. Fitzwilliam mss, Milton to sister, 29 Feb.; Harewood mss, Cavendish Bentinck to Lady Canning, 3 Mar. 1828; Gash, Secretary Peel, 463-4.
  • 35. Palmerston Letters, 205-6.
  • 36. Hatherton mss, Warrender to Littleton, 31 Aug. 1828.
  • 37. A. Aspinall, ‘Last of Canningites’, EHR, l (1935), 650, 659.
  • 38. Edinburgh Evening Courant, 12 Aug.; Stair mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Murray to Dalrymple [10 Aug. 1830]; NLS mss 2, ff. 149, 151; Add. 56554, f. 133.
  • 39. Parker, Graham, i. 88-89; Hatherton mss.
  • 40. Stair mss.
  • 41. NLS mss 14441, f. 82.
  • 42. Three Diaries, 36.
  • 43. Add. 51573, Rice to Holland [19 Apr.]; 51576, Fazakerley to same [19 Apr. 1831]; Three Diaries, 86.
  • 44. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 7 May; Western Luminary,10 May 1831.
  • 45. Edinburgh Evening Courant, 4 Apr., 12 May 1831.
  • 46. Hatherton diary, 20, 24 Nov. [1831].