STEELE, Thomas (1753-1823), of Westhampnett, nr. Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
bap. 17 Nov. 1753, 1st s. of Thomas Steele, recorder of Chichester, by his w. Elizabeth Madgwick of Cuckfield, Suss. educ. Westminster; Trinity, Camb. 1771; M. Temple 1772. m. 3 Sept. 1785, Charlotte Amelia, da. of Sir David Lindsay, 4th Bt., of Evelick, Perth, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1775.
Sec. to master of the Ordnance 1782-3, of the Treasury Dec. 1783-91; P.C. 9 Mar. 1791; commr. of Board of Control 1791-3; jt. paymaster gen. 1791-1804; King’s remembrancer in the Exchequer 1797- d.
About 1760 Thomas Steele’s father was connected in Chichester politics with John Page, but transferred his allegiance when the Duke of Richmond secured control of the borough. Thomas Steele jun. was Richmond’s protégé, sat at Chichester on his interest, became secretary to Richmond at the Ordnance, and was recommended by him to Pitt. Naturally he followed Richmond in politics, opposed North and the Coalition, and supported Shelburne and Pitt. Before the fall of North only one speech by him is reported; afterwards he spoke frequently, invariably on Treasury or Ordnance business.1
At the Treasury he was concerned principally with finance: patronage was not his responsibility. His stature as a politician was not high, and he never quite shook off the impression of being a dependent of Richmond—although by 1790 he had a considerable personal interest at Chichester. Wraxall writes of him:2 ‘His faculties, though good, were moderate, and would never of themselves have conducted him to any eminence in public life.’
He died 8 Dec. 1823.