MUNDY, Francis (1771-1837), of Markeaton Hall, Derbys. and 44 Queen Anne Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 29 Aug. 1771, 1st s. of Francis Noel Clarke Mundy of Markeaton and 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Robert Burdett†, 4th bt., of Foremark Hall, Derbys. educ. ?Eton 1786; Christ Church, Oxf. 1788. m. 16 Dec. 1800, Sarah, da. of John Leaper Newton of Mickleover, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1815. d. 6 May 1837.
Cornet Derbys. vol. cav. 1794, lt. 1798; lt.-col. 2 regt. Derbys. militia 1803.
Sheriff, Derbys. 1820-1.
Mundy’s ancestors had long been prominent in local politics, frequently serving as sheriff of Derbyshire, and his grandfather, Wrightson Mundy, had sat for Leicestershire, 1747-54. His father, who was a much admired public figure and poet, died in October 1815, leaving him the bulk of his estate, which included personalty sworn under £3,000.1 At the general election of 1820 his kinsman (Wrightson’s second cousin) Edward Miller Mundy, the county Member, recommended him as a future Member by drawing attention to his creditable conduct as sheriff, which gave ample proof of his suitability for ‘every public station to which he may be called’.2 As chairman of the turbulent Derbyshire county meeting on the Queen Caroline affair in January 1821, when a Whig amendment in her favour was agreed, his role was said to have been ‘distinguished by the most inflexible firmness and impartiality, and the most conciliating moderation and urbanity’.3 He offered for Derbyshire on the death of Edward Mundy in October 1822, when his first cousin Sir Francis Burdett*, who considered that a ‘contest would be ruinous to him’ and that ‘my only surprise is that he should be desirous of being in Parliament’, rightly predicted that none of his rumoured opponents would persist, even though the Tories were still smarting from his supposed impartiality at the previous year’s county meeting. Mundy was duly returned unopposed at the by-election the following month, when he boasted of his independence: ‘my judgement may err, but I will never give a vote contrary to that judgement, nor from any corrupt or unworthy motive’.4 An active county Member, he regularly presented constituency petitions and served on several select committees.
Mundy, whose votes are not always easily distinguishable from those of his kinsman George Mundy, ministerialist Member for Boroughbridge, divided against parliamentary reform, 20 Feb. 1823. He voted to reduce taxation by £7,000,000, 28 Feb., which suggests that he was not the ‘Munday’ who was in the majority against a motion, also moved by Maberly, to repeal the assessed taxes, 18 Mar. He became an honorary freeman of Leicester, 5 Mar.5 He sided with the Liverpool government against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., but voted for Burdett’s motion for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He was in the minority for inquiry into the sugar duties, 22 May, but in the majority against criticizing chancery administration, 5 June. He voted (as ‘E. Mundy’) to recommit the silk manufacture bill and for inquiry into the coronation expenses, 9 June. He divided for the beer duties bill, 13 June, and the reciprocity of duties bill, 4 July 1823. He was in minorities against the usury bill, 17 June 1823, 27 Feb. 1824. He voted for repeal of the window tax, 2 Mar., and spoke for further easing the silk trade, 19 Mar., when he acknowledged that the alarm formerly prevailing in Derbyshire on this had subsided. He divided to condemn the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June, but with ministers for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824, and the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb. 1825. He voted against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. He went against government on the grant to the duke of Cumberland, 2, 10 June. One contemporary source had it that he ‘attended occasionally and appeared to join with the opposition’.6 On 28 Sept. 1825 he wrote to acknowledge the ‘very handsome’ compliment which Peel, the home secretary, had paid him in response to his request for patronage and to advise him of the local disadvantages of his Jury Act, under which the number of qualified jurors in Derbyshire ‘will be rather diminished than increased ... [and] some very respectable and proper persons, in point of intellect, etc., will be excluded’.7 He declared that he ‘yielded to no man in detestation of slavery’ at the Derbyshire county meeting, 12 Jan. 1826, when he indicated that he was ready to endorse the ‘combined wishes of his constituents’ with his vote.8 In the House, he observed that it was uncommon for Derbyshire banking houses to make their bills payable in London, 27 Feb.9 He voted in opposition minorities against providing a separate ministerial salary for the president of the board of trade, 7, 10 Apr. 1826. Stating that it was his intention to vote ‘conscientiously and to the best of my judgement’ and that he had ‘no bigoted attachment to the corn laws’, he was returned unopposed for the county at the general election that year.10
He may have been the Mundy who endorsed the proposal to restrict voting on private bills in committee and spoke of the great ‘mischief’ which arose from Members voting who had not ‘attended to the details’, 20 Feb. 1827. He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar., but for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May. He brought up Derby petitions in favour of repeal of the Test Acts, 6, 8 June 1827.11 He would have voted for this had not the effects of illness caught up with him and obliged him to leave the House, 26 Feb. 1828.12 He called for the appointment of a committee to review and amend the Malt Act, 17 Mar., successfully moved to postpone the turnpike trusts bill, 15 Apr., and voted against reducing the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July. He again divided against Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. Listed by Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, among those ‘opposed to the principle’ of the 1829 emancipation bill he confided to one of his local supporters that its opponents ‘appear to be rapidly on the increase, and at least we shall make a respectable minority, but I hope for even better still’.13 Claiming that he had ‘constantly’ opposed Catholic relief and had ‘heard no reasons alleged, which would justify me in departing from the opinions I have hitherto held’, he presented and endorsed hostile petitions from Derbyshire and Derby, 9, 27 Feb., 4, 12 Mar., clashing with his colleague Lord George Cavendish over their validity, 12, 23 Mar. He divided against emancipation, 6 Mar., and, having said on the 12th that he had given his vote ‘not from party feelings, but from principle’, did so again, 18, 23, 27, 30 Mar., arguing on the 23rd that the ‘admission of Catholics to political power would be fatal to the British constitution’. He expressed his support for the principle of the labourers’ wages bill, 4 May 1829, but believed that its details should be ‘fully discussed and considered’ in committee. One of the Derbyshire magistrates who had addressed Wellington over the prevailing level of distress, he voted for Knatchbull’s amendment to the address on this, 4 Feb. 1830.14 He divided against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He spoke for the introduction of a poor law to Ireland, 9 Mar., calling for the abolition of ‘so serious an evil’. He divided against Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., and paired against this, 17 May. He voted in minorities against the sale of beer for on-consumption, 21 June, 1 July 1830. Speaking of his detestation of slavery and his desire for ‘retrenchment and proper economy’, he was again returned unopposed at that summer’s general election.15
Mundy, who on 9 Nov. deprecated the ‘enormous expense’ incurred by the printing of petitions, had been listed by ministers among their ‘friends’, and he voted with them in the division on the civil list which brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. According to the Derby Member Edward Strutt, ‘a few hours before he [had] told me he disapproved much of [chancellor of the exchequer Henry] Goulburn’s speech and was decidedly of opinion that the civil list should be confined to the king’s personal expenses!’16 Mundy was discharged from an election committee on account of illness, 8 Dec. 1830. He supported a Derbyshire petition for relief from distress, 16 Feb. 1831. On 9 Mar. Strutt confided to his wife that
Mundy tells me with infinite simplicity that he is in the greatest possible difficulty and anxiety about his vote. He approves of reform, but objects to a considerable part of the [Grey ministry’s reform] bill, and wishes to know what is thought of it in Derbyshire.17
He announced that he would vote for the bill, ‘on the understanding that I shall not feel bound to any of the clauses in it’, 19 Mar., stating that he had ‘always been satisfied ... that some reform was necessary’, and rebutting the argument that a vote for the second reading was a ‘pledge’ to support the ‘whole measure’. He accordingly voted for the second reading, 22 Mar., but, since he deemed any reduction in Members ‘most fatal to the interests of this country’, he spoke and voted for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. He claimed that he did not vote from any ‘party motive’ nor for the purpose of ‘ejecting any ministry ... I hope, indeed, that ministers will not think it necessary to abandon the bill ... but that the bill will be so modified ... that it will be made acceptable to the majority of the House’. However, Grey obtained a dissolution, and Mundy, facing rejection by the county’s Tories, on 25 Apr. reluctantly issued a farewell address, in which he vindicated his vote on the civil list. According to the Derby Mercury, his retirement was regretted by the landed gentry, especially as he had been ‘accessible to the freeholders ... without regard to party or influence’, but one radical publication sweepingly denounced him as a ‘thick and thin Tory, whose votes are uniformly bad’.18 His perceived hostility to reform was probably one of the reasons why Markeaton was targeted by the violent mob during the Derby riots in October 1831.19 The following year he was reported as describing Derbyshire as ‘such a disagreeable county to live in!’20 He died at Markeaton in May 1837, leaving, by his will of 17 Dec. 1836, most of his property and personal wealth sworn under £12,000 to his son William (1801-77), who was Conservative Member for Derbyshire South, 1849-57 and 1859-65.21
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Stephen Farrell / Simon Harratt
- 1. J. T[illey], The Old Halls, Manors and Fams. of Derbys. iv. 129-30; PROB 11/1576/35; IR26/680/18.
- 2. Derby Mercury, 22 Mar. 1820.
- 3. The Times, 11 Jan. 1821.
- 4. Derby Mercury, 23 Oct., 13, 27 Nov.; Wilts. RO, Burdett mss 1883/229-77, bdle. 4, Burdett to Crabtree, 27 Oct. 1822; Chatsworth mss 6DD 739.
- 5. Leicester Borough Recs. vii. 55.
- 6. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 477.
- 7. Add. 40381, f. 410.
- 8. Derby Mercury, 18 Jan. 1826.
- 9. The Times, 28 Feb. 1826.
- 10. Derby Mercury, 31 May, 21 June 1826.
- 11. The Times, 7, 9 June 1827.
- 12. Derby Mercury, 5 Mar. 1828.
- 13. Derbys. RO, FitzHerbert mss D239 M/F 8703, 8710.
- 14. The Times, 28 Jan. 1830.
- 15. Derby Mercury, 7 July, 11 Aug. 1830.
- 16. Derby Local Stud. Lib. Strutt mss, E. to F. Strutt, 19 Nov. 1830.
- 17. Ibid.
- 18. FitzHerbert mss 8849; Derby Mercury, 27 Apr. 1831; [W. Carpenter], People’s Bk. (1831), 329.
- 19. The Times, 14 Oct. 1831; Jnl. of Mary Frampton ed. H. G. Mundy, 386-94.
- 20. Strutt mss, E. to F. Strutt, 14 Apr. 1832.
- 21. Gent. Mag. (1837), ii. 99.