HAMPDEN, Hon. Thomas (1746-1824), of Glynde, nr. Lewes, Suss.; and Hampden House, nr. Wendover, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Sept. 1746, 1st s. of Robert Trevor (who in 1754 took the name of Hampden), subsequently 4th Baron Trevor and 1st Visct. Hampden, by Constantia, da. of Peter Anthony de Huybert, Lord van Kruyningen, of The Hague. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1763. m. (1) 13 June 1768, Catherine (d. 24 May 1804), da. of David Graeme of Braco, Perth., s.p.; (2) 11 June 1805, Jane Maria, da. of George Brown, said to be of Ellistoun, Scotland, s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Visct. 22 Aug. 1783.
The Trevors were an old Sussex family and represented several Sussex constituencies in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Robert Trevor Hampden, 4th Baron Trevor, was descended from the famous John Hampden, and inherited the family estates in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. He was joint postmaster general in Grenville’s Administration and after 1765 remained politically connected with Grenville. His brother Richard, bishop of Durham 1752-71, was a close friend of Newcastle; and it was as a compliment to the bishop that Newcastle in 1768 selected his nephew, Thomas Hampden, to stand on the Pelham interest at Lewes, where he was returned head of the poll.
Hampden voted with Opposition in the divisions of 1769 on Wilkes and the Middlesex election, but did not attend the Opposition dinners of May 1769 and January 1770. His name is rarely mentioned in the correspondence of Opposition leaders, yet he seems to have achieved a certain prominence—possibly through his father’s close connexion with Grenville. On 25 and 31 Jan. 1770 he seconded the Opposition motions in the committee on the state of the nation, but his speeches are not reported in Cavendish’s very full notes of these debates.
In 1770 Hampden apparently went abroad and did not return until 1772, during which time Grenville died and most of his followers went over to the court. In Robinson’s survey on the royal marriage bill, March 1772, Hampden is listed as ‘doubtful, present’. And here is Lady Temple’s report of his speech of 11 Mar. on the bill:1
Mr. Hampden spoke against the whole of the bill, said he was an independent man, had seen very few people since his return, that he found some of his friends in a very different situation from that he left them in, he did not know how it came about. That he found himself so happy in a marriage of choice that he could not but think it the greatest hardship to debar a person from making their own felicity, that he could not understand the King ever had a right to break or hinder marriages, that his consent might be asked in form just as his Dutch relations sent to him for his consent whenever they married ... That he was very much hurt to vote contrary to his father, but his conscience would not let him do otherwise. Then run into vast encomiums of his father’s ability and services to the state, and seemed to think that he had not been paid for them. In short, he talked a great deal too much of his father and himself, but they gave him a good hearing, and thought it upon the whole a spirited speech.
In the divisions of 26 Apr. 1773 (Wilkes) and 25 Feb. 1774 (Grenville’s Act) he voted against the court; and in Robinson’s list of September 1774 was classed as ‘contra’.
In 1774 he unsuccessfully contested Bedfordshire while his brother contested Lewes; and in 1779 stood for Buckinghamshire but withdrew before the poll. As a peer he voted for Fox’s East India bill, and opposed Pitt until the French Revolution.
He died 20 Aug. 1824.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: John Brooke
- 1. To Ld. Temple, 12 Mar. 1772, Grenville mss (JM).