ROUS, Sir John, 6th Bt. (1750-1827), of Henham Hall, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. 30 May 1750, o.s. of Sir John Rous, 5th Bt.†, by Judith, da. and coh. of John Bedingfeld of Beeston St. Andrew, Norf. educ. Westminster 1764, Magdalen, Oxf. 1768. m. (1) 26 Jan. 1788, Frances Juliana (d. 20 June 1790) da. and h. of Edward Warter Wilson of Bilboa, co. Limerick, 1da.; (2) 23 Feb. 1792, Charlotte Maria, da. of Abraham Whittaker of Stratford, Essex, sis. of Mariana who m. Thomas Sherlock Gooch*, 6s. 3da. suc. fa. as 6th Bt. 31 Oct. 1771. cr. Baron Rous 14 June 1796; Earl of Stradbroke 18 July 1821.
Capt. Suff. yeomanry 1794.
Rous described himself as having been a uniform supporter of Pitt’s administration from its outset. He expected patronage in return. Faced with an expensive contest in 1790, he complained of want of support from the friends of government, some of whom apparently disliked his ‘private character’ and his hostility to the dissenters. He applied for a peerage, which Pitt promised to back up if Rous was still interested at the next creation. In January 1792 he was tipped for one when that took place. On 3 Aug. 1794 he renewed his application, reflecting bitterly that perhaps Pitt’s promise of 1790 was merely an inducement to go on with the contest at a moment when by his own confession he had no great wish to be in Parliament, and that since then Pitt’s former enemies had obtained better rewards than his ‘real friends’. His wish was gratified at the dissolution in 1796. He was asked not to adopt the title of Brandon, already used by the Duke of Hamilton, and opted for his own surname.1
Rous had little to say in the House after 1790. He was listed among opponents of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. On 24 Apr. 1793 he got leave for a bill to regulate highway labour, exempting poor husbandmen from it. He was teller for the reduction of the Prince of Wales’s financial settlement, 15 June 1795. On 18 Nov., after being absent ill, he supported the seditious meetings bill, in unison with a county meeting the day before. He presented the Suffolk petition in its favour, 23 Nov., and described the counter-petition with 13,000 names as signed only by ‘schoolboys and such persons’. On 25 Nov. he supported the regulation of wages by magistrates, as advocated by the county magistracy, and stated that in Suffolk the price of corn was to be the index. On 11 Mar. and 29 Apr. 1796 he opposed Curwen’s bid to regulate the Game Laws, claiming that it was unpopular among the farmers he had consulted. He boasted of his local services to coastal defence and the yeomanry, in addition to those in Parliament, in justification of a peerage.2
Rous applied for an Irish earldom, 18 Apr. 1800, on the strength of his 14,000 acres in Limerick and Tipperary. He described himself as Addington’s ‘decided and attached friend’ and, when Addington and Pitt were reconciled, prophesied to the former, 8 Jan. 1805, that they would split again: he could not give Pitt ‘an atom of credit for any motive beyond self-interest’ in his conduct in 1804. In 1807 he applied for a viscountcy and in 1818, applying again for peerage promotion, informed Lord Liverpool of the ‘marked civility and affection’ of the Prince Regent towards him.3 He obtained a coronation earldom. He died 17 Aug. 1827.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: Winifred Stokes
- 1. PRO 30/8/174, ff. 46-124; 195, f. 91; Add 35654, f. 274; Morning Chron. 12 Jan. 1792; Geo. III Corresp. ii. 1404; Portland mss, PwV110, Portland to Rous 23, 25 May 1796.
- 2. PRO 30/8/174, f. 98; E. Suff. RO, Rous mss HA11/B2/3.
- 3. PRO 30/8/174, f. 123; Sidmouth mss; Portland mss PwV114; Add. 38270, f. 308.