FEILDE, Paul (1711-83), of Stanstead Abbots, Herts.
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Family and Education
bap. 6 Oct. 1711, 4th s. of Edmund Feilde of Stanstead Abbots by Martha, da. of James Paul of Braywick, Berks. educ. Westminster 1722; L. Inn 1724, called 1737. m. 12 Feb. 1763, Jane, da. of John Wowen, sugar refiner, of Hackney, Mdx., s.p. suc. bro. 1762.
Recorder, Hertford 1762- d.
Feilde’s father was a cousin of Thomas Plumer Byde, M.P. for Hertfordshire 1761-8; and his great-grandfather had represented Hertford under Charles II. Feilde was a practising barrister, at least until he succeeded to the family estates, and a London magistrate. He was returned for Hertford in 1770 after a contest, presumably with the support of the corporation and probably also of the Dissenters.1
According to his monumental inscription in Stanstead church:2
He was an assiduous and able Member of Parliament, actuated by the purest patriotism, attached to no party, until a firm conviction engaged him in an early and strenuous opposition to the American war.
Isaac Barré, reporting to Chatham the debate of 7 Mar. 1771 on Dowdeswell’s jury bill,3 described Feilde as ‘a friend of the Rockinghams’. But Feilde had not hitherto voted with the Opposition, was never claimed by Rockingham as a follower, and in this debate took a line opposite to that of the Rockinghams. Robinson, in his first survey on the royal marriage bill, classed him as ‘doubtful, present’, in the second as ‘contra, present’. In the remaining divisions of this Parliament for which lists are available, Feilde voted with the Opposition; and in September 1774 was classed by Robinson as ‘contra’. He was an advocate of the booksellers’ right to perpetual copyright, and introduced the unsuccessful bill of March 1774.
Feilde was returned unopposed at the general election of 1774. ‘He approved of the principles of the Declaratory Act’, he said on 6 April 1778,4 but condemned the subsequent conduct towards America; and on 14 April spoke for Savile’s motion for the repeal of the Quebec Act. His last recorded speech in the House was on 15 April 1778, and his last recorded vote on 4 Dec. (on Coke’s motion on the conciliation commission). Early in 1780 he was reported to be in bad health; did not stand at the general election; and died on 2 Feb. 1783.