WATSON, Hon. Lewis Thomas (1754-1806).
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Family and Education
Lewis Thomas Watson was related to Lord Rockingham and was the son of one of his oldest friends, Lord Sondes. When in 1774 Rockingham offered Watson a seat at Pontefract placed at his disposal by Lord Galway, Sondes refused it—probably because he considered Galway’s price of £3,500 too high.1 In 1775, on the death of Sir Charles Saunders, M.P. for Hedon, Rockingham recommended Watson to William Iveson, Saunders’ election manager, for the vacant seat; and after a contest he was returned. Rockingham seems to have given Sondes an assurance about the expenses, but these, he later admitted, were exorbitant and came to more than he had expected. Sondes first paid £3,600 and in December 1776, confronted with a further demand for £1,200, complained to Rockingham about ‘this unlucky affair’: ‘I am confident your Lordship meant it well to me and my family, though the event has proved the contrary.’2
Watson voted consistently with the Opposition; but apparently never spoke in the House. In 1780 he offered himself for Kent. Robinson in his electoral survey naturally classed him as an opponent, yet wrote: ‘He is not very averse to Government, and it is hoped he will succeed, as he is the most moderate and in time may not be averse.’ But the county meeting showed no support for his candidature and he withdrew. In 1784 he stood for Seaford on the Pelham interest but was defeated.
He died 21 June 1806.