HELY HUTCHINSON, John II (c.1795-1842), of Benlomond House, Downshire Hill, Hampstead, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



29 Dec. 1826 - 1830

Family and Education

b. c. 1795, 1st s. of Hon. Christopher Hely Hutchinson* and 1st w. Anne Wensley, da. of Sir James Bond, 1st bt., MP [I], of Coolamber, co. Longford. unm. suc. fa. 1826. d. 1842.

Offices Held


Hely Hutchinson, son of Christopher, quasi-radical Member for Cork, 1802-12, 1818-26, was ‘a great favourite’ with his uncle John, Lord Hutchinson, who ‘almost entirely directed the course of his education’. In November 1823 he was in Florence, where his father’s eldest brother Richard, 1st earl of Donoughmore, sent him a letter of introduction to the duke of Devonshire at Rome.1 He evidently shared his uncle’s disapproval of his father’s second wife, to whose ‘baneful influence’ and ‘wild and wicked ends’ he attributed the ‘melancholy’ state of his ‘poor father’s health’ in May 1826, when he reluctantly agreed to deputize for him at the Cork general election.2 In August 1826 he came forward for the vacancy caused by the death of his father, who two days before dying had appealed to the electors to support him, saying ‘I know him to be talented and extremely well informed’.3 He secured the backing of Lord Hutchinson, now 2nd earl of Donoughmore, who agreed to make it ‘a family object’ to have him in Parliament:

He is a much more capable man than I took him to be, has a great deal of concealed energy about him and can throw off his indolence, whenever he is roused to exertion ... He ... is quite a different man, of more reflecting mind, of ten times the understanding, than his father ever was, and will never adopt but rational and moderate views.4

Commenting on his rebuttal of another candidate’s complaints to the press about the seat becoming ‘inheritable property’, in which he expressed a ‘natural aversion to engage in newspaper controversy’, Donoughmore remarked, ‘John’s answer’ does ‘admirably’ and ‘very few men could write a paper of that kind’.5 Pressed on the hustings, he explained that he was a ‘decided opponent’ of any concession to the Catholics that did not provide ‘for the security and inviolability of Protestantism’, and promised to support the abolition of slavery and ‘moderate reform’, though he deprecated ‘radical reform’ with its ‘annual parliaments and universal suffrage’. After a severe and protracted contest he was returned in absentia on the tenth day.6 He was too ill to attend the declaration, when his cousin and namesake, Member for county Tipperary, spoke on his behalf:

He goes into Parliament belonging to no party ... It has been asserted that whoever might be minister of England my relative would be in the ranks of opposition. So far from that being the case, I am convinced that if all of us had been in Parliament last session we would have been found among the firmest supporters of ... government.7

Donoughmore later blamed Hely Hutchinson ‘more than anybody else’ for the high expenditure incurred, ‘entirely contrary’ to his ‘express instructions’, during the election, adding, ‘I do not think that John will make an efficient Member ... [for] his mind is rather for writing than for speaking’.8

Hely Hutchinson’s votes in this Parliament were subject to confusion with his cousin’s, but those which mistakenly appeared with the initials of his father were surely his. He was listed as such in the opposition minority against the grant to the duke of Clarence, 16 Feb. 1827. He presented Cork petitions for Catholic claims, 2 Mar., 2 Apr., and voted thus, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828.9 On 7 Mar. 1827 he joined Brooks’s, sponsored by Donoughmore and Lord Clifden. He presented a petition from the flour millers of Shallaghan, county Tipperary against the importation of foreign flour, 19 Mar. 1827, next day telling his cousin, ‘I presented a petition from your d--d millers, but the House would not listen to my tale of their woes’. He presented a similar Cork petition, 29 Mar.10 That month, following Lord Liverpool’s incapacitating stroke, Donoughmore urged his nephews ‘to do anything ... to weaken the present government and to strengthen the opposition’, but if in doubt to ‘consult [James] Abercromby* ... and tell him I desired you to do so’.11 Hely Hutchinson divided for information on the Barrackpoor mutiny, 22 Mar., and the Lisburn Orange procession, 29 Mar., and against the supplies next day. On 21 Apr., after Canning’s accession as premier, he urged his cousin

not to be absent during the present eventful crisis, where it is said that the Tories, or as they will henceforth be, the opposition, mean to make a great rally and to turn out the new ministry. I do not know whether any or what arrangements will be made with the Whigs but I am at present all for supporting the new minister if he be inclined to play a fair and open game with respect to Ireland.12

He presented Cork petitions against the salmon fisheries bill, 11, 22 May, 8 June.13 He was in the ministerial majority (as C.H. Hutchinson) for the grant to improve water communications in Canada, 12 June. On 16 June 1827 he informed Donoughmore of having

just heard that it is the intention of ministers to bring in another corn bill ... Although I have not spoken, I have certainly not been idle during this session as I have been a very regular attendant on committees and my constituents have continued to keep me continually employed.14

He presented and endorsed petitions for Catholic claims, 21 Feb. 1828, when, in his maiden speech, he warned that ‘matters could not remain’ as they were, condemned the withholding of rights ‘guaranteed’ by the treaty of Limerick and argued that by ‘removing this discontent’, ‘capital would flow into Ireland’ and ‘indolence ... poverty and wretchedness’ would disapppear. Either he or his cousin voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and to censure public expenditure on Buckingham House, 23 June. He presented a Cork petition for repeal of the local coal duties, arguing that it was necessary to afford ‘every possible facility to the internal trade of Ireland’, 12 Mar., and against the stamp duty on receipts, 14 Mar. Following reports about his admission to the Cork Brunswick Club, he assured Donoughmore, 6 Apr.:

You need be under no alarm with respect to my belonging to the Orange Club as I had the honour of being blackballed yesterday ... The Catholics were not opposed to my being put up, as the feeling was that if I were admitted, it would completely break up that establishment ... I never dreamt of such a thing as forming a connection with the violent party, but I still think that much is to be done by coming into contact with those who are most violently opposed to me.15

On 16 June he was in the minority against the archbishop of Canterbury’s appointment of a registrar. He divided against the additional churches bill, 30 June, and for ordnance reductions, 7 July 1828. (It was probably he rather than his cousin who had voted the same way three days before.) That autumn he travelled widely on the continent.16

Hely Hutchinson voted for the Wellington ministry’s concession of Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar., and presented a favourable petition, 17 Mar. 1829. He divided to allow Daniel O’Connell to take his seat unhindered, 18 May. In July 1829 Lord Francis Leveson Gower*, the Irish secretary, informed him that Donoughmore’s ‘application for command of the county of Cork militia’ had been unsuccessful, but hoped there would be ‘some other opportunity’ of ‘obliging’ their family.17 It was probably his cousin who voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., but a similar vote was firmly attributed to him, 5 Mar. 1830. He divided for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He presented Cork petitions against the Clyde navigation bill, 23 Mar., and the assimilation of Irish stamp duties, which would ‘utterly destroy the newspaper press of Ireland’, 17 May. Either he or his cousin voted for repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May, information on privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, and Jewish emancipation, 17 May. He presented a petition from Cork distillers for a reduction of Irish spirit duties, 18 June 1830.

At the 1830 general election he offered again for Cork, proclaiming his ‘complete independence’ from the other candidates. Peel, the home secretary, advised Leveson Gower that he did ‘not know’ what his politics were.18 Six days before the nomination he unexpectedly withdrew, citing the growth of the city’s ‘corruption’ and the settlement of the Catholic question, which his family had ‘long’ supported. ‘As long as there was a great public principle’ at stake, he explained, ‘there was some justification for contributing to the public benefit’, but ‘now that is has become a question of mere personal ambition, I do not think myself justified in submitting ... to an unlimited expenditure of money’.19 By the end of December 1830 he had decamped to Paris, from where he sent Donoughmore regular accounts of the aftermath of the July revolution, conjecturing that a similar ‘crisis must take place in England’, and complained that the Grey administration’s neglect of Irish affairs would lead to repeal of the Union.20 ‘I quite agree with you in your estimate of our present ministry’, he told Donoughmore, 28 Mar. 1832:

They are collectively and individually incapable, and advance from blunder to blunder from one month’s end to the other ... I hear nothing certain as to the fate of the [reform] bill. I have long considered it as too extensive a change, but after all it matters little, as I am convinced that we are rapidly advancing towards ... a revolution in England.21

He died unmarried in 1842.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. TCD, Donoughmore mss D/27/5.
  • 2. Bodl. Bruce Ms. Eng. c. 5753, f. 90; Southern Reporter, 13 June 1826.
  • 3. Southern Reporter, 31 Aug. 1826.
  • 4. Donoughmore mss F/13/155.
  • 5. Southern Reporter, 17, 19 Oct. 1826; Donoughmore mss F/13/158.
  • 6. The Times, 21 Dec.; Southern Reporter, 23, 30 Dec. 1826.
  • 7. Southern Reporter, 30 Dec. 1826.
  • 8. Donoughmore mss G/7/6; F/13/163.
  • 9. The Times, 3 Mar., 3 Apr. 1827.
  • 10. Ibid. 20, 30 Mar. 1827; Donoughmore mss G/6/11.
  • 11. Donoughmore mss G/7/7.
  • 12. Ibid. G/6/20.
  • 13. The Times, 12, 23 May, 9 June 1827.
  • 14. Donoughmore mss E/353.
  • 15. Ibid. E/357.
  • 16. Ibid. E/359-60, 371.
  • 17. NAI, Leveson Gower letterbks. M. 736/204, 213; Wellington mss WP1/1030/29.
  • 18. Add. 40338, f. 218.
  • 19. Southern Reporter, 22, 31 July 1830.
  • 20. Donoughmore mss E/371, 374-6.
  • 21. Ibid. E/386.