PRENDERGAST, Guy Lenox (1773-1845), of 23 Grafton Street, Piccadilly, Mdx.
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Family and Educationbap. 12 June 1773, 5th s. of Thomas Prendergast (d. 1807), attorney, of Dublin and Johnstown Park, Clonmel, co. Tipperary and Jane, da. of Samuel Gordon of Spring Garden, Waterford.1 educ. Harding’s sch., Trinity Place, Dublin.2 m. (1) 16 Feb. 1800,3 Dorothy Christina (d. 1821), da. of Rev. James Stephen Lushington of Rodmersham, Kent, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 4 da. (1 d.v.p.);4 (2) 2 July 1822,5 Emma Eliza, da. of Dr. Alexander Grieve of St. Petersburg, physician to Tsar Alexander, 1s. 2da.6 d. 21 Feb. 1845.
Writer, E.I. Co. (Bombay) 1793; factor and resident, Broach 1800; paymaster to troops at Goa 1801; jun. merchant and military paymaster, Surat 1803; judge and magistrate, Broach 1806; sen. merchant 1809; at home 1810; returned to India 1813; second judge of ct. of circuit and appeal, Surat 1814, chief judge 1816; member of council, Bombay 1817; out of council 1824; collector of customs and town duties and reporter general of commerce, Bombay 1825; at home 1826; res. 1829.7
Prendergast was baptized at Clonmel, near Newcastle, county Tipperary, where his ancestors had been feudal lords. His great-grandfather Jeffery Prendergast (d. 1734) had converted to Protestantism and his grandfather Thomas (1703-61) died in a duel fought over an accusation that his wife was a secret Catholic. Prendergast’s father, also Thomas, may have been the man of that name who entered King’s Inns, Dublin in 1755. He was described as an attorney in Prendergast’s baptismal record and by 1784 was resident in Dublin. Here, according to the records of the East India Company, Prendergast was trained to ‘good proficiency’ in writing, figures and book-keeping. His eldest brother Thomas (1764-1804) sat in the Irish Parliament for Clonakilty, 1796-1800, and held the office of cursitor of the court of chancery in Dublin. Another brother, Francis (1768-1805), served as registrar of the same court, while Jeffery (1769-1856) was knighted in 1838 for military service in Madras.8
Prendergast’s own service in India lasted 33 years and culminated in his appointment to the governing council of Bombay. He came home in 1826 and at that year’s general election was returned unopposed for Lymington by its ministerialist patron Sir Harry Neale*, possibly on the recommendation of his first wife’s brother Stephen Rumbold Lushington*, the treasury secretary. A very lax attender, he left little mark on the parliamentary records and made no known speech. He may have been the ‘M. Prendergast’ who was listed in the majority against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, as Michael George Prendergast generally voted in favour. He was in a minority of seven against the committal of the Irish agitator Thomas Flanagan to Newgate for forgery of signatures on a petition, 19 June 1827. If this was viewed as a transgression by his patron, it may account for his vacation of his seat shortly thereafter. He apparently made no attempt to revive his political career. He retired from the East India civil service on the annuity fund, 15 June 1829, and continued to hold more than £10,000 worth of Company stock until 1839. That year ‘infirmity’ prevented him from signing his will.9 He died in February 1845, when his age was incorrectly given as 66.10 By his will, dated 6 Apr. 1839, with a codicil of 3 Aug. 1840, his London house passed to his second wife, who according to family tradition was descended in the illegitimate line from the Empress Elizabeth of Russia. The residue was divided equally between his surviving children, who included Guy Lushington Prendergast (1806-87) and Charles George Prendergast (1812-51), both of whom served the East India Company in civil capacities.11
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Howard Spencer / Philip Salmon
- 1. BL OIOC J/1/14, f. 228; Add. 59850, f. 139; H.M. Vibart, Life of Gen. Sir H.N. D. Prendergast, 16.
- 2. OIOC J/1/14, f. 229.
- 3. Ibid. N/2/11, f. 651.
- 4. Ibid. N/3/4, f. 112; Add. 59850, ff. 142, 172-3.
- 5. OIOC N/3/6, f. 148.
- 6. Add. 59580, ff. 142, 173.
- 7. OIOC, ‘Bombay Civil Servants, 1750-1858’, p. 312.
- 8. Add. 59850, ff. 3, 138-41; OIOC J/1/14, ff. 228-9.
- 9. PROB 11/2014/232.
- 10. The Times, 22 Feb. 1845; Gent. Mag. (1845), i. 448.
- 11. PROB 11/2014/232; PROB 8/238; IR26/1716/168; ‘Bombay Civil Servants’, 311.