POULETT, Hon. Anne (1711-85).
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Family and Education
b. 11 July 1711, 4th s. of John, 1st Earl Poulett, by Bridget, da. and h. of Hon. Peregrine Bertie. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1729. unm.
In 1768 Poulett contested Bridgwater on his family interest. He was defeated but seated on petition. During this Parliament he spoke and voted regularly with Administration. In 1774 his re-election was unopposed. For a time he continued his steady support of North; does not appear in any of the minority lists between February 1775 and December 1778; and is listed by Robinson as ‘pro, absent’ on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779. He voted with Administration on Keppel, 3 Mar. 1779, but with Opposition for an account of pensions, 21 Feb. 1780. According to the division lists he voted with Administration on economical reform, 8 Mar. 1780, the abolition of the Board of Trade, 13 Mar., and Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr. Charles James Fox wrote to John Chubb, a Bridgwater merchant,on 8 Apr. 1780:1
Mr. Poulett has ... constantly with two exceptions only (and these upon the least important points) supported the minister; and particularly upon Thursday last when he spoke and voted against those three glorious resolutions which were carried in favour of the petitioners against the influence of the Crown.
This refers to his speech on Dunning’s motion, which, however, is reported as follows:2
He highly approved of the petitions in some particulars; among others that part ... which recommended public economy. He thought a general reformation was much wanted; but he could not approve entirely of the ... motion because he thought there was not sufficient evidence before the committee for its coming to such a resolution. He was satisfied at the same time that the influence of the Crown was greatly increased. In such a situation, therefore, as he stood, not regularly informed of the grounds of the fact which he was called upon to vote, and yet satisfied that the influence stated in the proposition existed, he could neither give it an affirmative or a negative and found himself under the necessity of quitting the House without voting on either side.
He voted with the Opposition on the motion against prorogation, 24. Apr. 1780, and in Robinson’s survey of July 1780 was classed as ‘doubtful’.
In 1780 there was again a contest at Bridgwater in which Poulett topped the poll. He voted solidly with North on the various motions designed to bring down the Administration and end the war; but in favour of Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783. He was counted by Robinson in March 1783 as a follower of North, and he voted for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. Robinson’s list of January 1784 counted him as ‘hopeful’, but he was classed as ‘Opposition’ in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. and by Adam in May. He died 5 July 1785.