ROUS, Sir John, 6th Bt. (1750-1827), of Henham Hall, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. 30 May 1750, o. s. of Sir John Rous, 5th Bt. educ. Westminster 1764-7; Magdalen, Oxf. 1768. m. (1) 26 Jan. 1788, Frances Juliana (d. 1790), da. and h. of Edward Warter Wilson of Bilboa, co. Limerick, 1 da.; (2) 23 Feb. 1792, Charlotte Maria, da. of A. Whittaker of Stratford, Essex, 6s. 3da. suc. fa. 31 Oct. 1771; cr. Baron Rous 14 June 1796; Earl of Stradbroke 18 July 1821. His sis. Frances m. Dec. 1771, Henry Peyton.
Rous, on his father’s death, declared his candidature for Suffolk, but withdrew it at the county meeting on 13 Nov. 1771. There seems to have been an intention to renew it at the general election of 1774, but for reasons unascertained he did not stand. Robinson wrote in his electoral survey of 1780: ‘It is said Sir John Rous will stand against Mr. Holt’; and in a postscript of 31 July: ‘Sir John Rous made a great point to get excused being sheriff this year and therefore it is probable he will stand.’ Holt having withdrawn, Rous and Bunbury were returned unopposed.
Rous was absent from the division on Lowther’s motion against the American war, 12 Dec. 1781; but after this appears in every single extant division list as voting against the North Administration; and it was he who on 15 Mar. 1782 moved the vote of no-confidence in the Government which brought them down. He disclaimed being ‘actuated, in any degree, by a spirit of party’; he was descended from a Tory family, and ‘had been bred up in Tory principles’; and although from the outset he had felt the impolicy of the American war, and ‘came into that House its declared enemy on principle’, he felt respect for Lord North’s character. Now ‘in his continuance in office, he could see nothing but ruin to the country; by his removal that ruin, perhaps, might be prevented’.1
When the new Government was being formed at the end of March 1782, Shelburne, in a memorandum for the King, named Rous among ‘Independent men who decline office, with professions of great respect for your Majesty’.2 Rous voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; for Pitt’s motion in favour of parliamentary reform, 7 May 1783; and spoke and voted against Fox’s East India bill which he condemned as ‘violating public faith, and invading private property’—‘the East India Co., should that bill pass into law, would only be the first victim to faction, and a spirit of tyranny’.3 Together with William (Johnstone) Pulteney he published a pamphlet on the Effects to be expected from the East India Bill. After the Coalition Government had been dismissed, Rous supported Pitt; in April 1784 was returned top of the poll in a contested election; paired in favour of Pitt’s proposals on parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785; but voted against Richmond’s plan of fortifications, 27 Feb. 1786. He steadily supported Pitt during the Regency crisis 1788-9.
He died 27 Aug. 1827.