FINCH, Hon. Edward (1756-1843), of Duke Street, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



11 May 1789 - Nov. 1819

Family and Education

b. 26 Apr. 1756, 5th s. of Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Aylesford, by Charlotte, da. of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset; bro. of Hon. William Clement Finch*. educ. Westminster 1766-73; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1773; Italian tour 1787.1 unm.

Offices Held

Cornet 11 Drag. 1778, 20 Drag. 1778; lt. 87 Ft. 1779; lt. and capt. 2 Ft. Gds. 1783, capt. and lt.-col. 1792, brevet col. 1796; 1st maj. 2 Ft. Gds. 1801, maj.-gen. 1801, lt.-gen. 1808; col. 54 Ft. 1808-9, 22 Ft. 1809-d.; gen. 1819.

Groom of bedchamber 1802-37.


Finch, a cousin of the 4th Duke of Rutland who had served in the American war, sat for Cambridge on the Rutland interest. He supported Pitt’s government. In April 1791 he was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. On 28 Mar. 1792 either he or his brother William made a cryptic intervention at the close of the debate on the war with Tipu, and on 11 and 21 May defended their brother, Lord Aylesford, who had signed an appeal to the Birmingham rioters. In the next decade he was frequently serving abroad, in Flanders (1793-5), Holland (1799) and Egypt (1800-1). He was absent from a call of the House on 3 Apr. 1797 and a year later was reported to be recovering from a fever. He was wounded in Egypt in 1801, the Duke of York describing him as ‘a most excellent and meritorious officer’.2 In 1803 he is reported to have spoken against the Bell Rock lighthouse bill.3 The following year he was listed as a Pittite and voted on 8 Apr. 1805 against the censure of Melville. In 1806 he served at Bremen. He acknowledged the thanks of the House on 1 Feb. 1808 for his part in the Copenhagen expedition. In 1810 the Whigs classed him as a ‘Government’ man and he voted with ministers on the Scheldt expedition, Jan.-Mar. 1810, against radical agitation, 16 Apr., and against sinecure and parliamentary reform, 17, 21 May. He also voted with them on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. His seniority to Sir Arthur Wellesley proved an obstacle to his employment in the Peninsula.4

Finch was an anti-Catholic, as his votes from 1812 onwards attested. A firm supporter of Lord Liverpool’s administration, he voted for continuing the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816, and against other motions for retrenchment after 1815. He supported the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. In 1818 his re-election was for the first time contested. He voted with ministers against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill on 10 June 1819. Promoted to general that year, he retired from public life. He died 27 Oct. 1843.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. Add. 34048, ff. 36-37.
  • 2. CJ, lii. 450; Add. 38735, f. 57; Geo. III Corresp. iii. 2390.
  • 3. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1806), 184.
  • 4. DNB.