MANN, Sir Horatio, 2nd. Bt. (1744-1814), of Linton, nr. Maidstone, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Feb. 1744, o. surv. s. of Galfridus Mann, army clothier, of Boughton Malherbe, Kent by Sarah, da. of John Gregory of London. educ. Charterhouse; Peterhouse, Camb. 1760. m. 13 Apr. 1765, Lady Lucy Noel, da. of Baptist, 4th Earl of Gainsborough, 3da. suc. fa. 1756; kntd. 10 June 1772; suc. uncle Sir Horatio Mann as 2nd Bt. 6 Nov. 1786.
Mann, who had inherited over £100,000 from his father, became a leading Kentish landowner in 1775, when his uncle, Sir Horatio Mann, 1st Bt., British envoy in Tuscany and friend of Horace Walpole, made over the family estates to him in return for an annuity. He joined Brooks’s in 1780, became an increasingly severe critic of North’s administration as the American war progressed, did not vote on Fox’s East India bill and belonged to the St. Albans tavern group of country gentlemen who tried to bring about a union between Pitt and Fox. He did not stand for Parliament in 1784 and was in Florence when his uncle died there, 6 Nov. 1786. He agreed to act as chargé d’affaires until a successor was appointed, on the assumption that he would receive a salary, but government made him only the ‘paltry, ignominious offer’ of £2 a day, which he indignantly refused. He was relieved after six months, complaining of the ministry’s ‘studied contempt’ for his services. His subsequent applications for compensation were ignored and in 1788 he had to return to Italy to deal with financial problems created, so he claimed, by the expenses incurred in maintaining his late uncle’s establishment in Florence.1
Mann joined the Whig Club on 19 Jan. 1790 and at the general election later in the year defeated an administration candidate at Sandwich, where his estates gave him considerable influence and where, according to Oldfield, he was ‘much respected for his hospitality and convivial talents’.2 He was returned unopposed in 1796 and 1802. His only recorded vote with the Whigs after 1790 was on Oczakov, 12 Apr. 1791, though he was listed favourable to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland that month too. His two recorded speeches reveal the influence of Francophobia. On 18 May 1795, in opposing Macleod’s motion critical of the additional allowance to soldiers, he contrasted ‘the exertions of the executive government to save the freedom of this country’ with ‘the conduct of those who seduced the military in France’.3 Supporting the address, 2 Nov. 1797, he saw ‘the black designs’ of France as being ‘no less than to destroy our commerce, to revolutionize the country, to abolish our laws, and to annihilate the constitution’; at the same time he regretted the secession of Fox, ‘whose political knowledge and abilities he had ever highly respected’: ‘sorely was he disappointed in not seeing ... [Fox] join heart and hand with the House and harmonise it into unanimity, and approve [sic] himself anxious and ready to support, not ministers, but the country’. Thereafter no speech or vote is recorded. He was marked ‘pro’ in the ministerial election survey for 1796, listed as a supporter of Pitt’s second administration in September 1804 and July 1805 and considered ‘adverse’ to the abolition of the slave trade by the ‘Talents’ in 1806.
Mann’s life, as Joshua Wilson recorded, was ‘dedicated to pleasure rather than to business’.4 His arrangements for the 1800 session were probably typical. He wrote to his son-in-law Robert Heron* before the meeting of Parliament, 4 Dec. 1799:
I shall attend it and probably remain in London for the first fortnight when may be expected the great press of business. To intermit a long tedious residence in London, I shall go to Bath for six weeks and then take a house in London.5
His ‘hereditary friend’ the gout (Elizabeth Cornwallis reported early in January 1801 that ‘He always has it about this time of the year’) no doubt made his attendance still more infrequent. He had periods of leave because of ill health in 1803 and 1807.6
Mann again escaped a contest at Sandwich in 1806 when he joined forces with the Grenville ministry’s Admiralty candidate. He repeated the manoeuvre a year later with the Portland ministry’s man, but found the local strength of Admiral Peter Rainier too strong for him. Although he informed Lord Hawkesbury, 1 Nov. 1807, that ‘I will never fail to cultivate the interest I have in Sandwich’, his ill health and reduced circumstances put any further intervention beyond him.7
Samuel Egerton Brydges* recalled Mann as ‘a wild, fickle, rattling man, who made no impression’; and Farington wrote, 19 Oct. 1811: ‘In Kent there is no great controlling property. That possessed by Sir Horace Mann would have been the largest but by his extravagance he has reduced his income to not more than £4,000 a year.’8 He died 2 Apr. 1814, when his property passed to his nephew James Cornwallis*, whose father wrote, 6 Mar. 1815: ‘My son has had a great deal of trouble in consequence of succeeding a person really ruined. The sums Sir Horace expended are beyond all belief, or rather squandered.’9
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: J. M. Collinge
- 1. Horace Walpole Corresp. (Yale ed.), xxv. 664, 666-78.
- 2. Boroughs, ii. 314.
- 3. Woodfall, vii. 271.
- 4. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1806), 363.
- 5. Lincs. AO, Heron mss.
- 6. Walpole Corresp. xxv. 671; HMC Var. vi. 394; CJ, lviii. 266; lxii. 258.
- 7. Add. 38242, f. 127.
- 8. Autobiog. i. 86; Farington, vii. 51.
- 9. HMC Var. vi. 433.