COLLETT, Ebenezer John (1755-1833), of Lockers House, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 22 May 1755, 4th s. of Joseph Collett of Hemel Hempstead by Sarah née Smith. m. 13 June 1795, Margaret, da. of Thomas Alsager, cloth merchant, of Newington, Surr., 4s. 4da.
Capt. Surr. yeomanry.
Collett claimed descent from Dean Colet the humanist. His grandfather Rev. Joseph Collett was in fact heir to the Colletts of Broadwell, Glos. and his father settled at Hemel Hempstead, where the family remained until 1871. Ebenezer was designed for trade, and according to family tradition went to America in early life and was consul at Charleston. On his return he went into business as a hop merchant in Southwark, in partnership with Samuel Thorpe. He subscribed £1,000 and his firm £2,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797.
He contested Grimsby unsuccessfully in 1812, but was returned on a vacancy for Grampound two years later on the interest of (Sir) Christopher Hawkins*. He supported administration without speaking. Apart from votes of 31 May 1815 and 24 May 1816, he did not appear as a regular ministerialist until 1818, though he was also in the majorities of 7 Feb. and 23 June 1817. He voted against Catholic relief on 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817, and also against Brougham’s motion to promote the education of the poor, 3 June 1818.
Defeated at Grampound in 1818, Collett was found a seat by Peel for Cashel, as he had given ‘a never failing support’ and was ‘a Protestant’. (He duly voted against Catholic relief, 3 May 1819.) He was in the minority on the Marriage Act amendment bill, 26 Apr. 1819, but voted with ministers on 18 May, 10 June and 23 Dec. Though he never went to Ireland in his life, he held his seat until 1830. He paid £500 at each election. He refused a baronetcy, according to a family account.
Collett, who became lame after a fall from his horse on an exercise with the Surrey yeomanry, died 31 Oct. 1833 and was buried ‘at sunrise in his wood’, having quarrelled with the local rector over the expense of his wife’s funeral. He settled £10,000 on each of his children at marriage and left his sons £40,000 each, dying worth £300,000.1
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
He was baptized John, but adopted the additional Christian name of Ebenezer by deed poll. C. E. Coller and H. H. Collett, Hist. Collett Fam. ii. 12.
- 1. Ibid. 21, 24; Add. 40279, f. 47.