CAVENDISH SCOTT BENTINCK, William Henry Cavendish, Mq. of Titchfield (1796-1824).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

27 Feb. 1819 - Jan. 1822
9 Jan. 1822 - 5 Mar. 1824

Family and Education

b. 21 Aug. 1796, 1st s. of William Henry Cavendish Bentinck*, 4th Duke of Portland. educ. Dr Goodenough’s sch. Ealing; Christ Church, Oxf. 1815. unm.

Offices Held

Capt. Clumber yeoman cav. 1819.

Biography

His uncle, Greville the diarist, considered that Titchfield suffered from the disadvantage of never having had a public school education:

The superior indulgences and early habits of authority and power in which he was brought up, without receiving correction from any of those levelling circumstances which are incidental to public schools, threw a shade of selfishness and reserve over his character, which time, the commerce of the world, and a naturally kind disposition had latterly done much to correct.1

Agar Ellis, his contemporary at school and university, described this ‘stripling marquess’ in his diary (6, 9 May 1815) as a ‘horrid bore ... an empty talkative coxcomb, with the Devonshire bad, affected manner’; he talked a great deal, but said nothing. Nevertheless they became the closest of friends and Ellis recalled, on the day of Titchfield’s death, his powers of application and his anxiety to distinguish himself in public life.

There was a battle among Titchfield’s relatives for his political allegiance when he came down from university. On 1 Mar. 1818, declining the offer of a seat in Parliament from his Whig cousin the 6th Duke of Devonshire, he wrote:

although I have by no means determined on any particular line of politics, I can’t help contemplating the extreme probability that my opinions may prove to be not in unison with your own. I am persuaded that, in conferring such a favour, you would act throughout in the most liberal manner, but in proportion as I anticipate such conduct on your part, I scruple to take advantage of it. The reflection would ever be present to me that if I did not go the whole length with you in your political views, I should be occupying a seat in a way not the most advantageous to your interests. Allow me therefore with the strongest sense of your kindness to say, that, under all the circumstances, I feel myself compelled to decline the offer which you have so handsomely laid before me and which I could so little have expected.2

His uncle George Canning, who wished to attach him to himself, contrived to obtain his assistance in his canvass at Liverpool in the election of 1818.3

Before the year was out William Huskisson negotiated with Matthew Russell, proprietor of Bletchingley, for the purchase of a seat in Parliament. Russell wrote ‘Huskisson I believe would give me my own terms for the Marquess of Titchfield’, and at length closed with him. The terms are not known, but after his re-election in 1820 Titchfield negotiated a ‘remodelling the arrangement’ to make the payments equal, in which case ‘my father would no longer consider himself entitled to the nomination, excepting only in the event of my death’.4 He took his seat on the ‘lowest bench on the opposite side’, as a mark of independence. He voted with ministers on the conduct of Wyndham Quin*, 29 Mar., and against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. He was also in their majority of 10 June for the foreign enlistment bill. But in his only known speech of that Parliament, 14 May 1819, he criticized the Game Laws and favoured an amendment bill, save for the clause that legalized the sale of game. He also voted against public lotteries, 9 June, and for inquiry into the abuse of charitable foundations, 23 June. On 15 Dec. 1819 Canning reported him as setting out for Nottinghamshire to join his yeomanry corps ‘having paired off for the remainder of the before Christ