GRAHAM, Sandford (1788-1852), of Kirkstall, Yorks.

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



13 Apr. 1812 - 1812
22 Dec. 1812 - June 1815
1818 - 1826
1830 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 10 Mar. 1788, 1st surv. s. of Sir James Graham*, 1st Bt., of Kirkstall by Anne, da. of Rev. Thomas Moore of Kirkstall. educ. Eton 1802, Trinity Coll. Camb. 1806. m. 22 Apr. 1819, Caroline, da. of John Langston* of Sarsden House, Oxon., 3s. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 21 Mar. 1825.

Offices Held


Graham was a boon companion of Lord Byron, his contemporary at university, in Greece during the winter of 1810.1 His father had other plans for him and in April 1812 he was returned to Parliament on the Crespigny interest for the remainder of the session.2 He voted against sinecure reform, 4 May 1812, and in the government minority against Stuart Wortley’s motion, 21 May. His father was ‘most furious against the government for not bringing Sandford into Parliament’ at the ensuing general election. Viscount Lowther commented: ‘I think he has no cause to complain, for by his own statement he does not appear to have made any application, and he must know that nothing is done in that way without a very earnest and early application’.3 Charles Long informed the Earl of Lonsdale:

With respect to Sandford Graham, I mentioned him more than once, but we really had hardly one seat that was not offered at the full price, and for that Sir James [Graham] would not have thanked us, and there are now six or eight of our friends disposed to give it and complaining that they are left out.4

Graham’s father proceeded to purchase Viscount Sydney’s moiety of the borough of Ludgershall, which provided an opening for Sandford a month after the meeting of Parliament. Unlike his father, he voted for Catholic relief throughout in 1813 (and again in 1815), but he appeared on the Treasury list of supporters and agreed in October 1813 to second the address. His consent came too late and he was reserved for the next opportunity, seconding on 8 Nov. 1814.5 Meanwhile he had been an eye-witness of the arrival of Andrew James Cochrane Johnstone* at Calais, as he informed the House, 5 July 1814. Although he voted with ministers on civil list questions, 14 Apr., 8 May 1815, he opposed them on the plight of the Spanish Liberals, 1 Mar., and on the resumption of hostilities with Buonaparte, 25 May 1815. This was unacceptable to his father, as John Cam Hobhouse explained, 18 May 1818:

Little Sir James Graham was impudent enough to make this the pretext of turning his son out of a seat, but he has been shamed out of his love of advancement which was the real motive for his unnatural conduct, and young Graham comes into the next Parliament totally unfettered and a sure opposition vote.6

His father was resigned to their difference of opinion in politics.7

Graham, who had joined Brooks’s Club, 7 May 1816, did not sign the requisition to Tierney to lead the Whig opposition in the House in 1818, but acted steadily with them, apart from a bout of illness in March and April 1819. He had declined to support the election of Kinnaird for Westminster in 1818 because he objected ‘strenuously’ to universal suffrage and annual Parliaments;8 but he voted for Burdett’s reform motion, 1 July 1819, and he remained in town until 22 Dec. to oppose repressive legislation. No speech of his is known in that Parliament. He died 18 Sept. 1852.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Byron Corresp. ed. Murray, i. 23.
  • 2. Alnwick mss 67, ff. 148-9.
  • 3. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 4 Nov. 1812.
  • 4. Ibid. Long to same, 29 Oct. 1812.
  • 5. Ibid. same to same, 22 Oct. [1813].
  • 6. Add. 36457, ff. 37-38.
  • 7. Lonsdale mss, Graham to Lonsdale, 3 June 1818.
  • 8. Add. 36457, f. 167.