SEYMOUR, Lord Robert (1748-1831), of Taliaris, Carm.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Dec. 1748, 3rd s. of Francis Seymour Conway, 1st Mq. of Hertford, and bro. of Lord George Seymour*, Francis Seymour Conway, Visct. Beauchamp*, Hon. Hugh Seymour Conway* and Hon. William Seymour Conway*. educ. Eton 1760-5. m. (1) 15 June 1773, Anne (d. 29 Nov. 1804), da. of Peter Delmé† of Titchfield Place, Hants, 1s. 4da.; (2) 2 May 1806, Hon. Anderlechtia Clarissa Chetwynd, da. of William, 4th Visct. Chetwynd [I], s.p. Styled Lord Robert Seymour Conway 1793-4 and dropped name of Conway on d. of fa. 14 June 1794.
MP [I] 1770-6.
Jt. clerk and prothonotary of the crown, KB [I] 1790-1830, sole 1830-d.
Ensign, 40 Ft. 1766; lt. 2 Irish Horse 1766; capt. 8 Drag. 1770; maj. 3 Irish Horse 1773; lt. 3 Ft. Gds. and lt.-col. 1775; a.d.c. to Gen. Clinton in America 1780-1, ret. 1782; lt.-col. 2 batt. Carm. vols. 1803-8.
Seymour followed the family line in politics, supporting Lord North, opposing Shelburne, supporting Fox and North and opposing Pitt until 1790, when he did not secure a seat. On his brother’s succession to the peerage in 1794, he came in in his place for Orford on the family interest. For over nine years he gave no known speech or vote. In September 1804 he was listed a friend of Pitt. Lord Hertford, who had reproached him for not attending Parliament the previous winter, rejected his proposal in December 1804 (after his wife’s death) to retire in favour of his son Major Henry Seymour, and took the line that Seymour, if he was averse to attendance, should vacate the seat unconditionally; as a placeman anxious to support government, Hertford could not be expected to bring in a nephew who was hostile to him personally and whose politics were unknown. He gave Seymour three weeks to reconsider the matter. He did not vacate his seat next session, but to Pitt he excused himself from attendance, 3 Jan. 1805, on account of his recent bereavement.1 On 8 Apr. he voted against the censure of Melville and was again listed Pittite in July. He voted against the Grenville ministry on Ellenborough’s seat in the cabinet, 3 Mar., and against the repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806. In September he was disappointed when a scheme promoted by the Prince of Wales to secure the reversion of Lord Robert’s substantial Irish sinecure (worth £2,753 p.a. in 1804) for his nephew was blocked by the Duke of Bedford.2
In 1807 Seymour, who had purchased the Taliaris estate in Carmarthenshire 20 years before, was invited to stand there on a ministerialist, anti-Catholic platform: he agreed and was returned after a contest, though he was also elected at Orford as a security. He held the seat until 1820, when he made way for Lord Dynevor’s son, although in 1810 he spoke of retiring and in 1811 he thought he would have to look elsewhere (Totnes), owing to temporary loss of support. He gave a silent support to government, appearing in the majority against the Scheldt censure, 30 Mar. 1810, and against parliamentary reform, 21 May, but, thanks to his brother Lord Yarmouth’s connexion with the Prince of Wales, joined opposition to the Regency proposals in December 1810 and January 1811. Subsequently, he returned to the fold with the Prince’s friends.3
On 19 June 1812 he made a speech in defence of Lord Yarmouth and Lord Hertford’s role during the negotiations for a new administration: he had voted against a change of government on 21 May. Later that year he was listed a supporter of government. On 2 Mar. and 24 May 1813 he voted against Catholic relief, as also (by pairing) on 13 May 1813, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817. He twice spoke in support of the regulation of private madhouses, 11 July 1814, 17 June 1816. On 25 Mar. 1817 he supported a petition for relief from coal duties from the freeholders of Cardiganshire, giving a moving first-hand account of their economic distress. Although rheumatism subsequently hampered his attendance, he informed Lord Liverpool that he had ‘always supported’ his government, and his voting behaviour, particularly in 1815 and 1816, bore this out.4 He attended to vote against Tierney’s censure motion on 18 May 1819. He died 23 Nov. 1831, esteemed for his philanthropic work on behalf of lunatics and slaves.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Egerton 3260, ff. 104, 107, 113, 117; PRO 30/8/177, f. 162. Seymour had been present in April 1804, Carm. RO, Cwmgwili mss 539-40.
- 2. Prince of Wales Corresp. v. 2248, 2423n.
- 3. R. D. Rees, ‘Parl. Rep. S. Wales 1790-1830’ (Reading Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1962), ii. 486; see CARMARTHENSHIRE; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 22 Dec. 1810; NLI, Richmond mss 63/578.
- 4. T.64/260, Seymour to Arbuthnot, 4 Mar. 1818; Add. 38249, f. 272.