PHIPPS, Constantine Henry, Visct. Normanby (1797-1863).

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



1818 - May 1820
11 Feb. 1822 - 1826
1826 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 15 May 1797, 1st s. of Henry Phipps*, 1st Earl of Mulgrave, by Martha Sophia, da. of Christopher Thompson Maling. educ. Harrow 1811-13; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1814. m. 12 Aug. 1818, Maria, da. of Sir Thomas Henry Liddell, 6th Bt.*, 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Mulgrave 7 Apr. 1831; GCH 1832; cr. Mq. of Normanby 25 June 1838; GCB 10 Dec. 1847; KG 19 Feb. 1851.

Offices Held

PC 30 May 1832; gov. Jamaica 1832-4; ld. privy seal July-Dec. 1834; ld. lt. [I] 1835-9; sec. of state for War and Colonies Feb.-Aug. 1839, for Home affairs Aug. 1839-Sept. 1841.

Ambassador to France 1846-52, to Tuscany 1854-8.

Capt. 1 batt. Hull militia 1816.


Viscount Normanby cut a figure while up at Cambridge:

His conversation was agreeable and talented; his knowledge of various kinds was ever available; and his social qualifications were appreciated by the dons. Dispensing with University studies, taking easily his pursuits, and otherwise exemplary in his conduct, he made free use of his liberty as a nobleman by passing much of his time at the theatre in London, allured by the charms of a very respectable actress, whose portrait hung over his chimney-piece.

He was first treasurer, then president of the Cambridge Union, of which no member ‘was readier or more fluent as a debater’. All that he lacked there was ‘the stimulus of a practical result’.1

In 1818 Normanby was returned for Scarborough on the family interest and was expected, as an ex-cabinet minister’s son, to support government. His maiden speech on 16 Mar. 1819 arose out of his membership of the Rochester election committee, but his first major effort was an eloquent plea on 3 May for Catholic relief, which his father had supported, favourably noticed by the Whig Morning Chronicle. He had voted with ministers on Wyndham Quin’s* case, 29 Mar., and did so again against Tierney’s censure motion on May. Although he voted for the repeal of the coal duties on 20 May, he also paired with the majority for the foreign enlistment bill on 10 June 1819. On 22 June he was in the majority for the extension of the franchise at Penryn, but on 7 July came out in favour of the disfranchisement of corrupt boroughs such as Camelford. He had voted for Brougham’s motion for an inquiry into abuses of charitable foundations on 23 June.

On 20 Dec. 1819 a ministerialist Member reported: ‘we have lost Lord Normanby, who, in the summer, was bit by the opposition’.2 He joined Brooks’s Club on 3 Dec. On 6 Dec. he voted to limit the seditious meetings bill to three years and next day justified his vote. On 14 Dec., when he seconded Lord John Russell’s motion for the reform of Parliament, he was loudly cheered. In May 1820 his father put a stop to this by depriving him of his seat.3 He subsequently resumed his parliamentary career as a full-blown Whig, but remained a controversial figure in public life. He died 28 July 1863.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Teignmouth, Reminiscences, i. 50.
  • 2. Colchester, iii. 103.
  • 3. Farington, viii. 261.