BAINBRIDGE, Edward Thomas (1798-1872), of 10 Park Place, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 13 Dec. 1798,1 1st s. of Thomas Bainbridge of Bedford Row, Mdx. and Croydon Lodge, Surr. and Anne, da. of Morgan Waters of Tyfig, Glam. m. (1) Mary Anne; (2) Emily Sedley,2 4s. 2da.3 suc. fa. 1830. d. 30 Sept. 1872.
Bainbridge and his brother Henry were partners in the London banking house of Puget, Bainbridges and Company of 12 St. Paul’s Churchyard, which had grown out of a mercantile firm in Warwick Lane established by their father around 1780. Thomas Bainbridge, a member of the organizing committee behind the London merchants’ loyal declaration of 1795, also had Irish connections, through his firm’s links to the Dublin bankers Latouche and Company, and through ownership of a landed estate at Frankfield, county Cork, which passed to his third son John.4 In 1833, Edward Thomas Bainbridge was described as having connections ‘more extensive than any other gentleman with Irish commercial and banking houses’.5 He announced his candidature for Taunton, where he was a stranger, in succession to the retiring Tory Member Henry Seymour, shortly before the dissolution of 1830. Promising to be ‘an active and independent Member’, he professed his firm attachment to ‘the existing institutions of these kingdoms’, but was ‘disposed to support such measures of moderate and cautious reform as may tend, by purifying, to perpetuate them’. A ‘friend of liberal measures’, he ‘cared not from what party they came’. While he acknowledged the importance of ‘maintaining the national dignity and splendour’, he was ‘anxious ... to alleviate ... the burdens of the people ... especially of the manufacturing and commercial classes’. On completing his canvass he was obliged to define his position on parliamentary reform, stating that he was opposed to any ‘violent or sweeping measure’ of the kind proposed by Lord Blandford but found Lord John Russell’s views ‘consonant to the principles which I have professed and intend to advocate’. He stressed his commitment to religious liberty and the gradual abolition of slavery. He was returned in second place, ahead of the sitting Tory Member, William Peachey. His subsequent declaration, at a celebration dinner, that he would seek to emulate the conduct of his Whig colleague Henry Labouchere, a ‘friend and advocate of civil and religious liberty and of parliamentary reform’, lends credence to the belief of a London Whig that local opinion had obliged Bainbridge to ‘go with Labouchere’.6 His election was confirmed by the inquiry into Peachey’s petition.
The Wellington ministry optimistically listed Bainbridge among their ‘friends’, but he voted against them in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented a Taunton petition for parliamentary reform, 28 Feb., voted for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr., and presented a petition from the inhabitants of Taunton St. James for their inclusion in the borough, 20 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election his support for reform ensured his unopposed returned for Taunton, where he praised both the conduct of the king, who had ‘nobly helped us to throw off the yoke which the boroughmongers would impose on us’, and the ‘patriotic and independent spirit’ displayed by ‘all classes’ of voters.7 He joined Brooks’s Club, 20 July 1831. He voted in the minorities to reduce public salaries to their 1797 levels, 30 June, and the grant for civil list services, 18 July 1831. He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and generally voted for its details, but he was in the minorities for the disfranchisement of Saltash, 26 July, and against the proposed division of counties, 11 Aug. He presented a petition from the ‘poor voters’ of Taunton for the preservation of their elective rights, 23 Aug. He voted for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He was in the minority for printing the Waterford petition to disarm the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug. He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the motion censuring the Irish administration, 23 Aug. He paired for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but voted for its details and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided for Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May. He voted for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, but was in the minority to extend the Irish franchise to £5 freeholders, 18 June. He divided against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., but was absent from the divisions on this issue in July. He voted for inquiry into the glove trade, 31 Jan. He presented a Taunton petition against the general register bill, 7 Feb. He voted with the minorities to postpone the debate on Irish tithes, 8 Mar., and against the government’s resolutions on this subject, 27, 30 Mar. In his only known speech of this period, 28 Mar., he criticized the ministerial plan for recovering money from Irish tithe-payers and passing it to the clergy, warning that legal action by the attorney-general would prompt mass evictions of tenant farmers and ‘leave misery and desolation, where he found poverty and wretchedness’, without achieving the original objective. He feared that religious animosity would be stimulated, and protested against ‘unjustly arming’ the clergy ‘with the power and irresponsibility of the crown’. He divided against the resulting tithes arrears bill, 6, 9 Apr. 1832.
Bainbridge was returned unopposed for Taunton at the general election of 1832 and sat as a ‘reformer ... in favour of the ballot’ until his retirement in 1842.8 Puget and Bainbridges bank was a casualty of the crash of 1866, and Bainbridge seems to have lived his final years in reduced circumstances at Brighton. He died in September 1872 and his personalty was sworn under £50.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. IGI (London).
- 2. His will mentioned a ‘settlement made in 1841’ on Emily.
- 3. The eldest son Edward Thomas, bap. at St. James’s, Westminster, 8 Feb. 1837 (IGI), was Mary Anne’s child; it is not known which wife produced the others.
- 4. Thomas Bainbridge died intestate and administration was granted to his widow; his personalty was sworn under £300,000 (PROB 6/206/83).
- 5. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 87.
- 6. Taunton Courier, 9, 30 June, 7 July, 11 Aug.; The Times, 29 July; Sherborne Jnl. 12 Aug. 1830; Add. 51835, Goodwin to Holland [Aug. 1830].
- 7. Taunton Courier, 27 Apr., 4, 11 May 1831.
- 8. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 87.