REYNOLDS MORETON, Henry George Francis (1802-1853), of Lasborough, nr. Tetbury, Glos. and 15 South Audley Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 8 May 1802, 1st s. of Thomas, 4th Bar. Ducie, and Lady Frances Herbert, da. of Henry Herbert†, 1st earl of Carnarvon. educ. Eton 1814; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1820. m. 29 June 1826, Hon. Elizabeth Dutton, da. of John, 2nd Bar. Sherborne, 11s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. as 2nd earl of Ducie 22 June 1840. d. 2 June 1853.
Ld. in waiting July 1846-Dec. 1847; charity estates commr. 1849.
Maj. N. Glos. militia 1835.
Reynolds Moreton, whose family had been established in Gloucestershire since the seventeenth century, was renowned as a ‘follower of the hounds’ and frequenter of ‘fashionable circles’.1 He joined Brooks’s Club, 11 Feb. 1824, made his first public appearance in the county in 1826, when he nominated the sitting Whig Member Sir Berkeley William Guise, and repeated this service in 1830.2 He took a prominent part in the county meeting on reform, 17 Mar. 1831, when he dismissed the ‘silly ... groundless’ claims that the Grey ministry’s bill would undermine traditional institutions and maintained that its purpose was merely to ‘correct the abuses which had crept into the government’ and ‘let the fabric of the constitution rest firm, fair, and glorious on the same solid basis in which it was at first reared’.3 He accepted a requisition to offer at the ensuing general election in conjunction with Guise, and was returned unopposed after the retirement of the Tory sitting Member. He declared that he supported reform ‘because the interests and pockets of the people have been too long at the mercy of those who have only represented their own interests’, expressed confidence that once the bill was passed ‘the country will be represented by men of integrity’ and hoped ‘the system of bribery will ... receive a death blow’.4
He confirmed Guise’s opinion that it was desirable to re-establish local courts in the Forest of Dean, 27 June 1831. He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and generally supported its details, though he voted against giving borough freeholders the right to vote in counties, 17 Aug., and for Lord Chandos’s clause to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug., and the transfer of Aldborough from schedule B to A, 14 Sept. He divided 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 attended the county meeting to petition the Lords for reform, 28 Sept., when he advised against ‘any act of disaffection’ and promised that ‘if this bill should not pass he would come down again immediately to ask his constituents to petition the throne for a creation of new peers’.5 He voted in the minorities against the grant for Oxford and Cambridge professors’ salaries, 8 July, and the quarantine duties, 6 Sept. He opposed Hunt’s suggestion that restrictions should be placed on the right of small farmers to appoint gamekeepers, 8 Aug. He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the censure motion on the Irish administration, 23 Aug., and was in the minority for issuing the Liverpool writ, 5 Sept. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, supported its details, the third reading, 22 Mar., and Ebrington’s motion for an address asking to king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May 1832. On 22 June he moved an amendment to the boundaries bill against the ‘very injudicious substitution’ of Thornbury for Wotton-under-Edge as the nomination place for West Gloucestershire, and complained about the underhand way in which the change had been made; he was defeated by 83-54, acting as a teller. He voted with the minority that day for another amendment to the bill regarding Stamford’s boundaries. He divided with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He voted in the minorities to omit the reference to Providence in the Scottish cholera precautions bill, 16 Feb., and for inquiry into the Peterloo massacre, 15 Mar., dismissing the claim that too much time had elapsed since the event as ‘no argument whatsoever. Murder was committed’. That day he presented a Gloucestershire woollen manufacturers’ petition against the factory bill. He was presumably the ‘Hon. H. Mortimer’ who voted against postponing the Irish tithes bill, 13 July 1832.
At the general election later that year Reynolds Moreton was returned for East Gloucestershire in second place behind Guise, which he proclaimed a triumph for the ‘cause of freedom and independence’.6 He sat as an advocate of ‘Whig principles ... in favour of the immediate abolition of slavery and the ballot’ until his retirement in 1834.7 He succeeded to his father’s title and estates in 18408 and became an ‘eminent agriculturist’, promoting scientific methods of farming and stockbreeding, manufacturing new agricultural implements and advocating repeal of the corn laws. The ‘man of pleasure’ also became a ‘lover of God’, furnishing a fine ‘example of spiritual regeneration’; he was a ‘zealous promoter of temperance’ and a ‘prominent member of the Evangelical Alliance’.9 He died in June 1853 and was succeeded by his son Henry John (1827-1921), Liberal Member for Stroud, 1852-3, and then by his fourth son Berkeley Basil (1834-1924).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. Von Neumann Diary, i. 239; Gent. Mag. (1853), ii. 87.
- 2. Gloucester Jnl. 19 June 1826, 7 Aug. 1830.
- 3. Ibid. 19 Mar. 1831.
- 4. Ibid. 23, 30 Apr., 7, 14 May 1831.
- 5. Ibid. 1 Oct. 1831.
- 6. Ibid. 21 July, 22 Dec. 1832.
- 7. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 141.
- 8. The will was proved under £70,000 (PROB 11/1937/829; IR26/1544/846).
- 9. Gent. Mag. (1853), ii. 87; Glos. RO D2698/2/27, ‘The late earl of Ducie’ (anon. pamphlet); J. Stratford, Great and Good Men of Glos. 319-34.