BLACHFORD, Barrington Pope (d.1816), of Osborne House, I.o.W.
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Family and Education
b. c.1784, 1st s. of Robert Pope Blachford of Osborne by Winifred (m. 16 Apr. 1778), da. of Sir Fitzwilliam Barrington, 8th Bt., of Swainstown. educ. Eton 1799 (in Upper 5th). m. 11 Aug. 1812, Lady Isabella Fitzroy, da. of Augustus Henry Fitzroy†, 3rd Duke of Grafton, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1790 subject to life interest of Sir John Barrington*.
Ld. of Admiralty Aug. 1814-d.
Capt. S. Hants militia 1802; maj. commdt. I.o.W. yeomanry 1805, lt.-col. commdt. S.W. batt. 1808.
Blachford was returned to Parliament by his uncle Sir John Barrington, 9th Bt. He had to pay for the privilege like all Barrington’s guests, owning only one burgage in the borough. He made his maiden speech on 29 Feb. 1808, supporting ministers in their conduct of war. On 11 Mar. he took leave of absence and a few months later accompanied Sir Arthur Wellesley to Portugal ‘as an amateur’.1 Wellesley wrote (23 June):2
I will take care of him ... He shall see everything that is to be seen, and if he can, then return to England when he will be tired of us. If he should take a commission in the army, he would be obliged to stay longer than is now his intention, or than would suit his other views and objects. If upon trial he should like the life of a soldier, there will be no difficulty in giving him a commission when he shall be abroad.
Blachford came home full of admiration for Wellesley, whose Vimeiro campaign he praised and whose reputation he defended in the House, 25 Jan. 1809. Report had it that he was to have seconded the address and the reporter, Lord Temple, described him as a friend of George Canning, who, he added, must be remaining in office, else Blachford would not ‘put himself forward’. It was as a follower of the Wellesley party, however, that Blachford voted for investigation of alleged ministerial corruption 25 Apr. 1809, the intention being to oust Castlereagh from the War Office for Lord Wellesley’s benefit.3 That summer he again visited Sir Arthur Wellesley in the Peninsula. He voted with ministers on the address 23 Jan. 1810, but against them in favour of the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan. Like Canning he also joined opposition, 23 Feb. and 5 Mar., on Lord Chatham’s conduct, and on 12 Mar. Canning informed his wife, ‘I hope I have a recruit in Blachford—a clever young man’. On the 30th he wrote ‘Blachford makes my twelfth [recruit] a very valuable acquisition’. Listed a Canningite by the Whigs at that time, Blachford was also listed as having voted with ministers on 30 Mar., but Canning informed his wife on 1 Apr. that, like six others of his friends, Blachford voted against them on the last division.4 On 27 Mar. he had seconded Lethbridge’s motion critical of Sir Francis Burdett’s conduct, denying next day that it was of ‘Treasury manufacture’, and on 16 Apr., unlike Canning, he voted against the discharge of the radical Gale Jones. But he joined Canning in support of sinecure reform, 17 May. In November Canning wrote of him ‘He, I think, is worth wooing and keeping right’. He evidently admired Perceval’s stand for the ministry on the Regency question, but duly voted with Canning against them, 1 and 21 Jan. 1811. He was apparently out of reach later that session when Canning was dictating his squad’s conduct. On 21 Jan. 1812, as an individual convert, it seems, he supported Brougham’s motion on the droits of Admiralty, but the remainder of his votes that session were identical with Canning’s.5
‘A man of profuse expense’,6 Blachford could not afford to pay his uncle for another Parliament by 1812; indeed, he had not paid for his first, and his uncle, who disapproved his ‘gambling and misconduct’, insisted on this as a prerequisite for returning him again.7 In July 1811 Blachford had nibbled at Barnstaple, where one of the Members was a fellow Canningite, but he proved unacceptable there. His marriage in August 1812, which brought him £16,000 (his income was £2,600 p.a.) probably saved the situation, for he was after all returned for Newtown.8
He remained an adherent of Canning, like him opposing the vice-chancellor bill and supporting sinecure regulation and Catholic relief in 1813. Having disbanded his party at the close of that session, Canning did not forget his satellites when he negotiated with the prime minister for office in July 1814, and Blachford was earmarked to accompany him to Lisbon as secretary of embassy. At first, however, he was given a seat at the Admiralty board. When his health began to break down later that year, Canning discouraged his wintering in Lisbon on the grounds of the expense, but fully intended that he should join him officially when the time was ripe.9 Meanwhile Blachford rallied and supported ministers in the House on the treatment of the Spanish Liberals and the civil list, 1 Mar., 13 Apr. 1815. On 19 May he took leave for ill health. In the summer he made a cheap excursion to Paris. He again voted with ministers on the army estimates and the property tax, 6, 8 and 18 Mar. 1816, and spoke briefly on Admiralty business, 1 Apr., but died of consumption, 14 May 1816. He possessed a good stud and was a patron of Winchester races. His widow sold Osborne House, built by his father, to Queen Victoria in 1845.10
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Authors: Arthur Aspinall / R. G. Thorne
- 1. Harewood mss, Canning to his wife, 12 Mar. 1810, 14 July 1814.
- 2. Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 461-2.
- 3. NLW, Coedymaen mss 20, Temple to Williams Wynn, 15 Jan.; NLW mss 2791, C. to H. Williams Wynn, 14 May 1809.
- 4. Harewood mss.
- 5. PRO 30/29/8/5, f. 545; Londale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 18 Jan. ; Add. 38738, f. 94; Creevey mss, Brougham to Creevey, Wed. [22 Jan.], Whishaw to same, 22 Jan .
- 6. Dorset RO, Bond mss D 367, Jekyll to Bond, 7 Sept. .
- 7. Spencer mss, Lady to Ld. Spencer, 5 Oct. 1812.
- 8. Hants RO, Barrington mss 187, handbill, 18 July 1811; NLS mss 2791, Lady to H. Williams Wynn, 30 June 1812.
- 9. Harewood mss, Canning to his wife, 14 July; Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 27 July 1814; Add. 38739, f. 332; 38740, ff. 91, 97; Bond mss D367, Jekyll to Bond, 9 Feb. .
- 10. Bond mss D 367, Jekyll to Bond, 7 Sept. ; J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1808), 430; Hist. Hants, iii. Supp. p. 61.