HAMMET, John (1767-1811), of Park Farm Place, Eltham, Kent and New Norfolk Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Nov. 1767, 1st s. of Sir Benjamin Hammet*. educ. Charterhouse 1780-2. m. 14 June 1801, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Ralph Woodford, 1st Bt., of Carleby, Lincs., gov. Trinidad, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1800.
Bailiff, Taunton 1781-d.
Capt. Duke of Gloucester’s vol. inf. 1803.
Hammet grew up in the shadow of his more flamboyant father; he was made a member of the Taunton Market House Trust in 1769; bailiff and keeper of the castle, which his father had purchased and restored, in 1785; was an East India Company stockholder, and a partner in the bank of Esdaile and Hammet in 1799; and in the following year inherited his father’s estates and seat in Parliament. (His father had negotiated, unsuccessfully, with (Sir) Thomas Coxhead* to have him returned for Bramber on the Rutland interest in 1795.)1
In the House, where he was apparently a silent Member, he voted with the minority for Sturt’s motion for an inquiry into the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb. 1801. Thereafter he is known to have voted against administration only once (with Pitt on 3 June 1803) until April 1804 when he did so twice, on Fox and Pitt’s defence motions. As anticipated, he supported Pitt’s second administration and in his only letter to him which survives (5 Jan. 1806) declined an invitation to second the address at the opening of the session at Pitt’s request, ‘from the apprehension I am under that not being in the habit of delivering my sentiments in the House, I might fail, at a period so important of acquitting myself either to your satisfaction or my own’.2
Hammet opposed the Grenville ministry at the outset, 3 Mar. 1806. He further voted against their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. ‘On good constitutional grounds’, he voted against Brand’s motion deploring the pledge given by their successors, 9 Apr. 1807. After an anxious contest in 1806, he was unopposed in 1807, but contemplated selling his Taunton estate, valued by his agent at £34,000, in the belief ‘that I may sell more than half my property, and have a better income than is at present procured’. He did not at first find a buyer. He was well disposed to the Portland administration, wistfully denying a report that he was to have ‘a good place’ and voting in the minority only on the charge of ministerial corruption, 25 Apr. 1809.3 In 1810 the Whigs listed him ‘government’. He voted with them on the Scheldt question on 5 and 30 Mar.; but his name had appeared both pro and con the address, 23 Jan., and in the majority favouring the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan. He was opposed to sending Sir Francis Burdett to the Tower, 5 Apr. 1810, but voted against parliamentary reform on 21 May. His last known vote would appear to have been with ministers on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811.
Hammet died unexpectedly, 16 Apr. 1811, described as ‘mild, generous and obliging’. His estate was valued at £15,000.4 His Taunton property was being purchased by Sir John Lethbridge*. He abandoned the Llechryd tin-plate works acquired by his father, but sometimes resided at Castle Maelgwyn. The family banking interest was assumed by his younger brother James Esdaile Hammet.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Kite and Palmer, Taunton, 73; J. Toulmin, Taunton, 263; Hilton Price, London Bankers, 57; Gent. Mag. (1800), ii. 799; PRO 30/8/112, f. 213.
- 2. PRO 30/8/141, f. 214.
- 3. Som. RO, DD/X/RON, Hammet to Beadon, 10 Apr., 27 May, 1807, 2 Feb. 1808.
- 4. Taunton Courier, 25 Apr. 1811; PCC admon. act bk., Feb. 1812.