HOWARD, Hon. Thomas (1721-83), of Ashtead Park, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Jan. 1721, 5th s. of Henry Bowes, 11th Earl of Suffolk and 4th Earl of Berkshire, by Catherine, da. of Col. James Graham of Levens, Westmld. educ. Eton 1732; St. John’s, Oxf. 1738; I. Temple 1742, called 1744, bencher 1779. m. 13 Aug. 1747, Elizabeth, da. of William Kingscote of Kingscote, Glos., 1da. suc. gt.-nephew as 14th Earl of Suffolk and 7th Earl of Berkshire 10 Aug. 1779.
In 1754 Howard appears in Dupplin’s list as a practising lawyer, but he left the bar before 1769.1 He sat for Castle Rising on the interest of his nephew Henry, 12th Earl of Suffolk; was counted as a Tory; and appears in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, December 1762. From 1763 to 1771 he followed Suffolk (who was closely allied with Grenville), and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Charles Townshend in January 1767 marked him as ‘Grenville’, but Rockingham in November 1766 and Newcastle in March 1767 still listed him as Tory.
He was returned on Suffolk’s interest for Malmesbury in 1768. In a speech of 31 Jan. 17692 he said he had ‘never troubled the House but three times’ in over twenty-one years; but between 1768 and 1779 he was a more frequent speaker. In 1769-70 he voted four times against the Government on the Middlesex election, and claimed to have been the first man to sign the Surrey petition against Luttrell’s return.3 When Suffolk and most of the Grenvilles went over to the court in February 1771, Howard remained in opposition. On 25 Feb. 1774 he voted to make Grenville’s Election Act permanent, and in June spoke twice against the Quebec bill—‘this most tyrannous proposition ... to introduce slavery and oppression into the colonies’.4
Howard was left out by Suffolk in 1774. He was thought of as candidate for Surrey,5 but stood down in favour of James Scawen, another Opposition Member, on whose interest he was returned at Mitchell after Scawen had been elected for Surrey. Howard remained in opposition until he succeeded to the peerage. His opposition seems to have had a personal edge against the King; on Suffolk’s death he ‘declined’ to deliver in person the ensigns of the Garter.6 But as a peer he took little part in politics.
He died 3 Feb. 1783.