RIVETT, Thomas (c.1713-63), of Derby.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



20 Dec. 1748 - 1754

Family and Education

b. c.1713, o.s. of Thomas Rivett, mayor of Derby, by Elizabeth, da. of A. Eaton of Derby. educ. I. Temple 1731-2, called 1739. m. 26 Apr. 1749, Anne, da. of Rev. Peter Sibley, of Ilam, Som., 2s. 1da. His da. m. John Carnac.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Derbys. 1757-8.


On the death of John Stanhope in 1748, his kinsman, Thomas Stanhope, was put up for Derby by the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Chesterfield, joint patrons of the borough. The corporation undertook to support Stanhope; but eight days before the election the Duke of Devonshire was informed by his friends on that body that one of their number, Thomas Rivett, ‘the Duke’s chief friend and manager’ at Derby, had unexpectedly

declared himself a candidate, which has broke into your Grace’s interest ... We shall need the assistance of all the outvoters. Are afraid the election will be very precarious and also expensive.

And a day later:

The opposition made by Mr. Rivett ... is very surprising to us all ... As affairs are now circumstanced if anything could be done to prevail upon Mr. Rivett to decline standing, it would be very well, and seems to be the only chance we have.1

The Duke replied:

I am afraid the election will be very precarious if Mr. Rivett persists; which I imagine he now is so engaged that he cannot be prevailed upon not to do; and to attempt to persuade without hope of success might not be so proper ... it is evident to me by the names that have been sent up it is not for Mr. Rivett’s sake that this is done and it would be surprising if anyone that sincerely wishes him well should advise him to it. Instances have been frequent of families suffering greatly by being chose for towns where they reside. It must be a large estate to support the expense that must attend it. As to these gentlemen that used to be in the Whig interest and have now set up Mr. Rivett, I suppose the pretext is that they do not know Captain Stanhope and that he is not of the county and that some of the county should have been set up.

Rivett’s return by a large majority was most embarrassing to the Duke, who foresaw that he would be suspected of having ‘acted a double part’ in the affair.2 This unfounded suspicion was voiced by the 2nd Lord Egmont, who in his electoral survey, c.1749-50, wrote: ‘Rivett may be gained to act independently of the Duke, since it can never be owned that he owes his election to the Duke of Devonshire, who played false to Chesterfield at the last choice’. At the next general election Rivett was persuaded not to stand by the promise of ‘a place in some of the inferior commissions, and in the meantime £300 a year’ from the secret service money.3 He died, still in receipt of his pension, 6 Apr. 1763.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Walpole to Mann, 26 Dec. 1748; mayor of Derby and others to Devonshire, 6 Dec., T. Gisborne and others to Devonshire, 12 Dec. and J. Gisborne jun. and others to Devonshire, 13 Dec. 1748, Devonshire mss.
  • 2. To Gisborne, 15 Dec. 1748, ibid.
  • 3. Namier, Structure, 435 n. 2.