CHAMIER, Anthony (1725-80), of Epsom, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 6 Oct. 1725, 4th s. of Daniel Chamier by Susan de la Mejenelle. m. 3 Oct. 1753, Dorothy, da. and coh. of Robert Wilson, merchant, of Woodford, Essex, s.p. Her sis. Elizabeth m. Thomas Bradshaw.
Sec. to commander-in-chief at the War Office 1763-72; dep. sec. at war 1772-5; under-sec. of state 1775- d.
Anthony Chamier’s grandfather was a Calvinist minister at Neufchatel who came to England in 1691, and his mother’s family were also Huguenots. His father, a London merchant, had been private secretary to the Earl of Stair on his embassy to France 1714-20. Anthony Chamier was a broker, conducting his business at Garraway’s coffee house in Change Alley. By 1760 he had established himself as a leading City financier, and was one of Newcastle’s advisers on monetary affairs. In a letter to Bute of 15 Jan. 1763,1 asking for a share in the next Government loan, he wrote: ‘I have never paid in less than £150,000 every year during the course of the late war.’ He was also a man of wide cultural interests, and a foundation member of Samuel Johnson’s literary club.
About 1763 he retired from business, and went into Government service. When in February 1763 Lord Sandwich was appointed ambassador to Spain he selected Chamier as his private secretary ‘in consequence of a recommendation from Lord Barrington’.2 Sandwich never went to Spain, and Chamier was appointed by Barrington to a place at the War Office. His introduction to Barrington he probably owed to his brother-in-law Bradshaw, who had been first clerk at the War Office. In a letter to Sandwich of 26 Sept. 17683 Robert Jones, his man of business, wrote: ‘I have told Mr. Chamier how favourably your Lordship speaks of him, and that he is the first person to be provided for when your Lordship has it in your power.’ In December 1770 Sandwich was appointed secretary of state and offered Chamier the post of under-secretary;4 but the following month Sandwich resigned to become first lord of the Admiralty, and Chamier remained at the War Office, becoming in 1772 its deputy head.
In 1775 Rigby recommended Chamier to Weymouth as under-secretary of state.5 Three years later he was returned to Parliament on Weymouth’s interest at Tamworth. There is no record of his having spoken in the House, and as a politician he was of little account.
Chamier was one of the few in Parliament to estimate correctly the difficulties the Government faced in prosecuting the American war. ‘I am inclined to be a croaker in this business’, he wrote about America to Sir Robert Murray Keith, 21 July 1775.6 And on 1 Jan. 1778, after the news of Burgoyne’s surrender had reached England:7 ‘Stores of every sort and kind are now fitting out in France and Spain ... for America; if they ... arrive in their ports the submission of America is not to be obtained.’ His letters to Keith show his poor opinion of North’s Administration and his pessimism about the future. 3 Apr. 1778: ‘I do not think my present situation worth many years purchase’;8 26 Feb. 1779: ‘I ... am sick of politics’;9 16 July 1779: ‘The public have very deservedly great contempt for the present Administration, but ... still more ... for the Opposition.’10
Chamier died 12 Oct. 1780.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: John Brooke
- 1. Add. 5726C, f. 127.
- 2. Sandwich to Grenville, 4 Aug. 1764, Grenville Pprs. ii. 415-16.
- 3. Sandwich mss.
- 4. Bradshaw to Grafton, 18 Dec. 1770, Grafton mss.
- 5. Chamier to Sir R. M. Keith, 23 Nov. 1775, Add. 35509, f. 248.
- 6. Ibid. f. 138.
- 7. Add. 35513, f. 1.
- 8. Ibid. f. 218.
- 9. Add. 35515, f. 262.
- 10. Add. 35517, f. 27.