LUTTRELL, Hon. John (c.1740-1829), of Kimpton, nr. Andover, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1740, 3rd s. of Simon Luttrell, and bro. of Henry Lawes, James, and Temple Simon Luttrell. m. (1) 1 July 1766, Elizabeth (d. 12 June 1797), da. of John Olmius, 1st Baron Waltham [I], 2s. 1da., and on d. of her bro., Drigue Billers, 2nd Baron Waltham [I] in 1787, took add. name of Olmius; (2) 16 July 1798, Maria, da. of John Morgan of the I. Temple, 1da. suc. bro. Henry Lawes as 3rd Earl of Carhampton [I] 25 Apr. 1821.
Commr. of excise 1785-1826.
In 1774 Luttrell was defeated at Petersfield, but returned after a contest for Stockbridge.
He went with his father into opposition. On 23 Jan. 1775, speaking from ‘personal knowledge of the Americans, their country, and their coasts’, he condemned North’s policy. On 22 Feb. he voted for Wilkes’s motion to reverse the judgment on the Middlesex election, and made an apology for his brother, Henry Lawes.
I have constantly lamented that no arguments of mine, or of the real friends to the Colonel, could prevent him from undertaking, or prevail with him to relinquish, an act which I have ever considered of the greatest injury to the public; but when the Colonel undertook this ministerial job, it was upon the fullest confidence and assurance of being returned by a majority of legal votes. Sir, he never meditated the violation of the sacred right of election, but he was unfortunately doomed to be the vehicle through which the machinations of a certain faction were to be carried into execution.1
On 16 Nov. his petition against the Petersfield election was rejected, and soon afterwards he vacated his seat in favour of his younger brother, James. He served in the navy during the American war, and in 1779 commanded the squadron which captured Omoa in the Gulf of Honduras.
In 1780 he was again returned after a contest for Stockbridge. But now, with his father, he supported North’s ministry, and on 12 Dec. 1781 voted against Lowther’s motion that the war had been lost. On 14 Dec. he defended his conduct on America: in the beginning he had opposed the war,
had exerted all his powers to quench the flame as it increased, and ... should continue his best endeavours to put the best end we consistently could to so destructive a contest ... He, therefore, was unwilling to withhold from Government the means of endeavouring to make a tolerable peace for this country, and he thought they were much more likely to accomplish that end with arms in their hands than by surrendering all their posts, and submitting to the arbitrary dictates of the haughty house of Bourbon.
In the divisions of February and March 1782 he supported North, and took every opportunity of defending Sandwich’s naval administration (which had been so much abused by his brother, Temple Simon). On 23 Jan. he spoke for ‘continuing so active and capable a nobleman ... in his office’; and on 13 Feb. praised Sandwich’s ‘diligence and attention’ and ‘drew a conclusion greatly favourable’ to his administration. On 27 Feb., on Conway’s motion against the war, he ‘rose to deliver his opinion against the motion, but being considerably embarrassed sat down’. But he was absent from the critical division of no confidence in North’s Administration (15 Mar.).2
In October 1782 both John and James Luttrell were classed by Shelburne as ‘doubtful’. In the division list on the peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, only one ‘Hon. J. Luttrell’ is noted—voting against the peace. In Robinson’s list John Luttrell is classed as a follower of North, but who voted for the peace preliminaries; and James a follower of Shelburne, who abstained. That John Luttrell was a follower of North is correct—on 6 and 11 Dec. 1782 he had again defended Sandwich; but it is unlikely that he voted for the peace preliminaries: on 6 Mar. he censured them as ‘ignominious’, and condemned the ‘ill deeds’ of those who had advised them, and ‘thought that the influence of the Crown was diminished to a much greater degree than was consistent with the safety of the constitution’;3 and on 7 May spoke against Pitt’s motion on parliamentary reform.
On 20 Nov. 1783 he spoke for Fox’s East India bill, but did not agree with every part of the Coalition’s Indian policy.4
He was a proprietor of East India stock ... he became a purchaser, not because he thought it the most advantageous fund to vest his money in, but to have the means of attaining some knowledge of East India commerce at the general courts, and to give his vote in favour of those whom he thought most equal to the direction of it ... he had uniformly given his vote at the India House in support of Mr. Hastings, because from all he had read, and all he had heard respecting that gentleman, he believed him to be less rapacious, and to have cleaner hands than any other man who in modern times has possessed equal power and opportunities to enrich himself.
He did not vote on the second reading of the bill, 27 Nov., but spoke for the bill on third reading, 8 Dec.
In Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. 1784 Luttrell is classed as an opponent of Pitt, and similarly in William Adam’s list of the new Parliament. But on 4 Apr., five days after his unopposed return for Stockbridge, he wrote to Pitt asking to be made receiver of the land tax for Hampshire, rather than
to return to the House of Commons in the present situation of things where I must be bound in gratitude to one man [presumably North], while inclination would lead me to support another, and submitting to the former feeling, I am to be divided from the nearest family connexions.
The place of receiver would strengthen his interest at Stockbridge; if that place were unobtainable, he suggested a seat at the Victualling Board, and concluded:
At all events I shall retain a fervent desire to be placed in some situation that will vacate my seat for Stockbridge in favour of some friend of yours before the meeting of Parliament.5
In January 1785 he was appointed commissioner of the Excise.
He died 17 Mar. 1829.