KNATCHBULL, Sir Edward, 9th bt. (1781-1849), of Mersham Hatch, Kent and 30 Great George Street, Mdx.

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



16 Nov. 1819 - 1831
1832 - 19 Feb. 1845

Family and Education

b. 20 Dec. 1781, 1st s. of Sir Edward Knatchbull†, 8th bt., of Mersham Hatch and 1st w. Mary, da. and coh. of William Western Hugessen of Provender, Kent. educ. Winchester 1794; Christ Church, Oxf. 1800; L. Inn 1803. m. (1) 25 Aug. 1806, Annabella Christiana (d. 4 Apr. 1814), da. of Sir John Honywood†, 4th bt., of Sibton, Kent, 5s. (3 d.v.p.) 1da. d.v.p.; (2) 24 Oct. 1820, Fanny Catherine, da. of Edward Knight (formerly Austen), of Godmersham Park, Kent, 5s. 4da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 9th bt. 21 Sept. 1819. d. 24 May 1849.

Offices Held

PC 16 Dec. 1834; paymaster-gen. Dec. 1834-May 1835, Sept. 1841-Feb. 1845.

Receiver-gen. E. Kent 1814-19; chairman, q. sess. Kent (Maidstone) 1819-35.

Capt. Provender cav. 1803; lt.-col. 2 E. Kent militia 1810; capt. Sandgate Castle 1817, E. Kent yeomanry 1819.


Imbued with the principles and prejudices of a Tory country gentleman, of which he was a typical specimen, Knatchbull was eventually forced by his stubborn commitment to the Protestant constitution and the agricultural interest into direct opposition to the government of Robert Peel* and the duke of Wellington. He had a strong and pious, but normally quiescent, sense of moral duty. This was revealed in a letter to his second wife, Jane Austen’s favourite niece, ‘Dearest Fanny’, shortly after their engagement, when he was called away by the death of his aunt’s husband, the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks (having obtained leave from the House, 21 June 1820). He wrote:

In all that I have undergone I have been supported by that Power from above without whose aid I must long ago have sunk; but, seriously as I have always regarded every occurrence of life, and attributing as I always do everything that happens to a superintending Power, I have never suffered these considerations to interfere with the duties or even the amusements of life. I have never felt that it could become one to find fault with the conduct of others, and dogmatically prescribe what course it is best to pursue. To act upon a uniform and steady principle, to adhere to what is right and to abstain from what is wrong, to afford the best example in my power, never to obtrude my opinions, but never upon proper occasions to be ashamed or afraid of avowing them - these have been the rules upon which I have acted, and I believe that they will bring peace at the last ... Your own principles as expressed to me are right: grounded on humility, admitting how unequal we are to perform our duties, but resolutely and constantly persevering to the utmost of our ability to discharge them properly - thinking seriously of everything that happens, constantly mixing with the world, but enjoying it more or less according as we meet with similar feelings and kindred spirits, and always hoping that our example and principles will effect some good and receive the respect to which they are entitled.1

As Banks’s executor, he oversaw the distribution of his manuscripts to the British Museum and the Royal Society, though he was later criticized for holding back much of the material, some of which can now be found among his papers.2

After succeeding to his father’s title, estates and parliamentary seat in 1819, he proved indefatigable in his application to county business, both inside and outside the House. He was a frequent attender at meetings all over Kent, as his wife’s diaries attest, and was especially sensitive to the grievances of farmers.3 He several times intervened with ministers to secure a postponement of the payment of the hop duties, and he led delegations opposed to the malt duties to the chancellor, 23 May 1829, 26 Feb. 1831.4 He also took an active part in forwarding the interests of Kentish boroughs: for example, he was made an honorary freeman of Rochester, 24 July 1820, and was thanked by the corporation for his opposition to the alehouses licensing bill, 20 Oct. 1828.5 He had a number of special concerns, notably as president of the Kent Auxiliary Church Missionary Society, which, despite the polemics of Wellington’s crony, George Robert Gleig, perpetual curate of Ash, near Sandwich, he believed to be within the workings of the established church.6 He was chairman of the east Kent quarter sessions and took his responsibilities as a magistrate, such as over the administration of Maidstone gaol, very seriously.7 In the House, he defended the work of local justices, 20 Feb. 1821, 27 Mar. 1822, 27 May 1824, and he brought their resentment of increased expenses before Peel, 16 Nov. 1823, and before the House by petition, 10 Mar. 1826.8 He was involved in the passage of a large number of local transport and improvement bills and presented a great many petitions, usually from specific economic interests in the county. Not even his most inveterate Whig opponents could deny that he supervised Kent, and occasionally Sussex, affairs with marked endeavour and ability, particularly towards the end of the 1820s when his ailing colleague, William Philip Honywood, to whom he was distantly related by marriage, was increasingly absent.9

Despite the respect in which Knatchbull was usually held, he did have his detractors, like the headmaster of Winchester, William Stanley Goddard, who remarked on his ‘general incivility of manners and sullenness of temper’.10 His fussy and alarmist character, and dull and mediocre talents, were combined with a high-minded but entrenched conservatism.11 According to Greville, he was ‘anti-everything’.12 While official opinion increasingly moved away from under-consumptionist theories, Knatchbull insisted that agricultural distress was caused not by overproduction but by lack of purchasing power. He therefore advocated reduced expenditure and taxation, repeal of Peel’s Act of 1819 for the resumption of cash payments, which he said ‘had mainly been the cause of all difficulties’, and maintenance of the protectionist corn laws.13 He frequently suffered at the hands of radical writers; for instance, over still owing £2,000 in 1820 in his former role as receiver-general, a sign of his sizeable financial problems.14 William Cobbett†, in one of his surveys of Kentish distress, 8 Dec. 1821, delivered just such an attack:

Sir Edward Knatchbull, who is a child of the System, does appear to see no more of the cause of these sufferings than if he were a baby. How should he? Not very bright by nature; never listening to but one side of the question; being a man who wants high rents to be paid him; not gifted with much light, and that little having to strive against prejudice, false shame and self-interest, what wonder is it that he should not see things in their true light?15

His rejection of Catholic emancipation drew a similar response from Richard Lalor Sheil*:

He seems a proud, obstinate, dogged sort of squire, with an infinite notion of his own importance as an English county Member and a corresponding contempt for seven millions of his fellow citizens. He has in his face and bearing many of the disagreeable qualities of John Bullism, without any of its frankness and plain-dealing. He is rude without being honest and offensive without being sincere.16

Knatchbull did eventually acknowledge some support for moderate parliamentary reform, but he remained deeply suspicious of such incursions into the established constitution. In the Commons he was initially a diffident, sometimes inaudible, speaker, but later became a competent performer. He reported to his wife that his speech on 4 Feb. 1830 was

badly reported. The Mirror of Parliament people came to me. I rather complained. The reply was ‘you speak so fluently, without stopping or hesitating, that it is most difficult to take down your words. We hear you well, but you never give us time to pause’.17

His local administrative experience was put to good use on a number of select committees, including those on poor returns in nearly every session from 1822 to 1828, and he served on very many others during this period. He made frequent minor interventions on a wide range of subjects and, during the period of disaffected Tory opposition around 1830, he often asked questions about the timetable of future business.

There was little expectation of a contest at the general election of 1820, when Knatchbull was returned with Honywood, after having defended his support for the recent repressive legislation as ‘only temporary laws for temporary evils’, condemned Catholic claims and endorsed some measures of economy to assist agriculture.18 He moved the address to general commendation, 27 Apr. 1820, when he justified the use of force to put down acts of sedition, but clearly separated them from outbreaks of genuine agricultural distress, which needed to be treated in a non-partisan way, by measures of retrenchment.19 He presented several Kentish petitions complaining of distress, 11, 15 May, and moved the second reading of, and acted as a teller for the majority for, the Kent coal meters bill, 9 June.20 He urged ministers to accept Wilberforce’s compromise motion on Queen Caroline, 6 June 1820, and voted in defence of their conduct towards her, 6 Feb. 1821. To save unnecessary expense, he opposed printing all the petitions in favour of restoring her name to the liturgy, 26 Jan., and when the Kentish one was brought up, 8 Feb., he defended the sheriff’s refusal to call a county meeting, on the ground that the general feeling was against it. He voted against Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, and the Catholic peers bill, 30 Apr. 1822. On 26 Feb. 1821 he commented that he hoped more was intended than changes in the method of calculating the corn averages, else agriculturists ‘would sink down in utter despondency’.21 He asked Maberly to delay his motion for economies so that the House could discuss agricultural distress and voted with ministers against him, 6 Mar. In seconding Gooch’s motion the following day for a select committee, to which he was appointed, he spoke of the extensive distress, advocated various solutions, including the exclusion of foreign imports and the retention of lands in marginal cultivation, and concluded that it ‘would be highly serviceable also if a graduated scale of duties, varying according to the price of British corn, were fixed’. He divided against repeal of the malt tax, 3 Apr., but spoke and voted against the ‘oppressive and objectionable’ agricultural horse tax, 15 June.22 He sided with ministers against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, and alteration of the Scottish representative system, 2 June 1823.

Knatchbull, who judged it inexpedient to attempt to get up a county meeting on this topic, was present at a meeting of agriculturists in Maidstone, 13 Dec. 1821, when he explained that he had not voted for the report in the committee on distress, because ‘it did not do that which he conceived was necessary to afford relief’.23 On 5 Feb. 1822 he admitted to being tempted by Hume’s amendment, and ‘had not ministers embodied in the address an admission of the existing agricultural distress, and similar principles of economy as disclosed in the amendment, he should have felt it his duty to vote against the proposition’. Two days later he repeated his point that opposition should wait to see what government proposed and only bring forward their plans if nothing satisfactory was forthcoming, and he was reappointed to the select committee on the subject, 18 Feb. He presented petitions for continued protection, 11, 13 Feb., 30 Apr., 6 May, but voted with ministers against further tax reductions to relieve distress, 11, 21 Feb.24 Amid Whig charges of inconsistency, he asserted that voting for repeal of the salt tax, which he did, would not jeopardize the intended £5 million surplus, 28 Feb., and he divided for reducing the junior lords of the admiralty, 1 Mar. He commented that he could not vote for repeal of the leather, salt and tallow duties all at once, 1 May, but sided with opposition for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May. He acknowledged ministers’ support for the agricultural committee’s report, 6 May, and again backed relief measures, 10 May, but he divided in favour of Lord Althorp’s amendment for permitting an 18s. bounty on wheat exports, 9 May.25 On the 12th William Huskisson* complained to Liverpool, the prime minister, that ‘it has come to my attention that the tone in which Sir E. Knatchbull and Mr. Wodehouse thought fit to animadvert upon the part which I have taken in the agricultural discussion is also the tone of the official connections of government’.26 On the corn importation bill, 10 June, he objected to Canning’s clause permitting foreign corn in bond to be ground into flour for export, and was teller for the majority against it.27 He attended the county meeting which finally took place in Kent, 11 June, defending ministers’ record on agricultural relief, but opposing a call for reform, which was embodied in the ensuing petition.28 According to Baron de Staël-Holstein

his speech was listened to without favour, but with impartiality; and the orator was respected for having acquitted himself of the task in a frank and manly manner, a term which, in the English language and spirit, is one of the greatest testimonies of esteem.29

When the petition was entered, 14 June, he condemned the rider calling for a reduction in the rate of interest on the national debt, which had been hitched to it by Cobbett in the face of Whig uneasiness, as a ‘proposition for breaking faith with the public creditor’, and he presented a Kent counter-petition, 4 July 1822.30

On bringing up three Kentish hop growers’ petitions for repeal of the hop duties, he warned that if no relief was offered he would move for an inquiry, 21 Feb.; when the chancellor refused such a step, he admitted that there was an overproduction of hops, but again asked for assistance, 27 Feb. 1823. He voted in the minority for a bill to amend the corn laws by reducing the import price to 60s., 26 Feb., and presented a petition from the landowners of west Kent for relief, 24 Apr.31 He voted for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and was one of the Protestants who attended at Henry Bankes’s* house to hear Peel, the home secretary, explain the government’s policy on Lord Nugent’s Catholic relief bill, 28 Apr.32 He divided against ministers on the silk manufacture and Irish tithes composition bills, 9, 16 June 1823, but was in the majority against receiving papers on Catholic office- holders, 19 Feb. 1824, when he spoke in support of Peel’s gaol and juries consolidation bills. He complained of the increase in the duty on exports of wool as amounting almost to a prohibition, 29 Mar., but successfully moved an amendment to equalize the duties on imported and exported wool by 102-83, 21 May.33 He advocated lower duties on beer and voted against going into committee on this, 24 May, but on the warehoused wheat bill, 17 May, he stated that he was ‘not disposed, when prices were rising, to withhold a liberal relief to the mercantile body, whose capital was employed in the warehoused wheat’. He moved the third reading of the Canterbury corn market bill, 3 June 1824, and spoke of its future contribution to the city’s prosperity at a dinner to celebrate its opening, 5 Apr. 1825.34 He objected to putting turnpike trusts into the hands of government, ‘convinced that it would only lead to corruption and jobs, which he had always opposed’, 17 Feb., when he voted against repeal of the usury laws. As he had been the previous year, he was named to select committee on the state of Ireland, 17 Feb. He gave the Irish unlawful societies bill his hearty support, confirming that he had always opposed Catholic relief ‘from conscientious motives’, 21 Feb., and complained that anti-Catholic petitions had not been received by the House with proper respect, 21 Apr.35 He voted against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the related Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr., 9 May. He opposed changes to the corn laws until they were proved necessary ‘by the actual experience of some inconvenience’, 25 Apr., and expressed his disapproval of either higher or lower rates of duty, 13 May.36 He opposed ministers on the duke of Cumberland’s grant, ‘both by speaking and voting’, 27 May, and divided against his annuity bill, 6 June. He chaired the annual dinner of the Pitt Club at the London Tavern, 28 May, after which Lord Eldon, the lord chancellor, wrote that ‘I have hardly ever heard a display of good sense, excellent temper, appropriate language, etc., which pleased me more’.37 He spoke at a meeting of the agriculturists of east Kent at Canterbury, 22 Oct. 1825, urging them not to support repeal of the corn laws, but also not to raise any agitation in their favour for the time being.38

He voted in the minority for a select committee on the silk trade petitions, 24 Feb. 1826. Sponsoring a bill for a new corn market in London, he was a teller for the majority against postponing consideration of its report, 17 Apr., and had a rider added, 25 Apr. He presented Kentish anti-slavery petitions, 14, 17 Mar., 13, 20 Apr.39 He voted against reform of the representation of Edinburgh, 13 Apr. He defended Huskisson against the imputation of having communicated the government’s plans to alter the corn laws to Liverpool merchants, 4 May, but regretted that such a delicate question was brought forward when there was no ‘urgent necessity’ for it. The following day he said that he had told his constituents ‘that there would be no occasion for them to trouble the House with any petitions against an alteration in these laws. Under these circumstances, he could not think of acceding to the proposition’.40 On 8 May he opposed empowering the government to admit foreign corn because it would only increase debate on the general question of protection and serve no purpose, ‘except that of turning the odium of the distresses of the manufacturers upon the landed proprietors’. He added that he would have preferred ministers to act under discretionary powers and to seek parliamentary indemnity afterwards, and, as he feared that the measure was ‘part of a system tending to do away with those laws, he considered it his duty to give it his opposition’, which he did in the division. He offered no resistance to the second reading of the warehoused corn bill provided the importation bill was put off that night, 9 May, but felt ‘compelled’ to vote against the latter measure (as a teller), 11 May. He presented a petition from the landowners of east Kent against alteration of the corn laws, 12 May.41 A rumour had circulated two years previously that he would be raised to the peerage as Lord Mersham, but nothing came of this, and no opposition was raised against him at the general election in 1826.42 He spoke and voted in favour of Henry Dundas* at the Rochester election, 13 June.43 On the hustings, 20 June, he restated his commitment to fulfil his parliamentary duties independently, urged the gradual abolition of slavery and defended the landed interest as ‘the basis of our prosperity, and the foundation of all our greatness’, especially as he was ‘convinced that their interest combined the interest of every class’. He claimed to have constantly attended the committees on Ireland and Catholic relief, and had come to the conclusion that he could not support their claims.44 At a dinner in Ashford to celebrate his election, 12 Sept., he confirmed his hostility to emancipation and reduced protection, and at the Canterbury mayoral dinner he repeated his commitment to the cause of agriculture, 30 Sept. 1826.45

He spoke in support of indemnifying ministers for opening the ports during the recess, 24 Nov. 1826, but again denied that there was a class basis to the corn laws and deplored attempts to stir up jealousy between landlords, manufacturers and the people. At a meeting of the East Kent Agricultural Association in Canterbury, 15 Dec., he justified government policy and advised toning down the proposed protectionist petitions in order not to alienate Members.46 He repeated this point and pledged his continued support for the corn laws at the Maidstone Agricultural Association, 28 Dec. 1826.47 He commended Lord Milton’s moderation on presenting the Leeds petition, 21 Feb. 1827, and stated that the agriculturists’ ‘great object was to ensure a supply of corn equal to the demand of the country, at moderate and steady prices, as far as they could be regulated, save only where the vicissitudes of the season interposed’. He presented over 30 Kentish petitions against alteration of the corn laws, 23, 26, 27 Feb.48 On 1 Mar. he ‘thought himself bound to state (for he had given the subject the most mature consideration) that he was in favour of prohibition in preference to duty’, and that his mind was filled with the ‘greatest surprise and distrust’ by the foreign secretary Canning’s comment that he intended to ‘cast the balance in favour of free trade’. Afterwards, Canning informed Knighton that

one only, a thorough malignant and furious Ultra in politics, as well as upon corn, attempted a feeble cry about free trade. It fell flat and before he is six days older, he shall rue the attempt, if he gives me (as I trust he will) the opportunity.49

He brought up at least 45 anti-Catholic petitions, 2, 5, 19 Mar., and voted against relief, 6 Mar.50 With what John Evelyn Denison* described as ‘unfair and illiberal remarks’, 8 Mar., he presented several more Kentish petitions for continued protection, expressed his regret at the change of policy by ministers whom he had once approved and (exempting Peel from his strictures) proceeded to quote a number of passages in which Canning, Huskisson and Liverpool had stressed the importance of self-sufficiency and restrictive duties.51 He briefly offered an amendment to have the corn averages calculated over the previous six weeks, 19 Mar., and denied the existence of fictitious selling between agriculturists to raise the averages, 27 Mar.52 He opposed relaxation of the corn laws unless accompanied by a reduction in taxes and prices, the scope for which he knew to be limited, 2 Apr., and he was a teller for the minority against the second reading of the corn bill. Given the mooted ministerial changes, he asked Lethbridge to withdraw his motion for an address to the king to that effect, 6 Apr., and proposed, only to withdraw, a minor amendment to the corn bill. He met Canning’s appointment as prime minister with a prolonging baiting to the effect that only a man of Liverpool’s ‘high character, profound judgement and exalted rank’ could hope to preside over so divided a cabinet, 3 May 1827. The new premier reported to the king that he ‘indulged in a furious declamation against both the government and its supporters, which Mr. Canning felt it absolutely necessary to notice with part of the severity which it deserved and to declare that the standard of opposition is now openly raised’.53 Mrs. Arbuthnot was indignant at his ‘completely losing his temper in answering Sir Edward Knatchbull, one of our best country gentlemen’.54 Peel spoke too, but apparently ‘left the knight errant, his unfortunate laudator, wounded, overthrown and mud-bespattered’.55 He drew up a series of questions to press Canning on how far he had offered places to members of the opposition, and sent them to Peel for his approval, but thereafter presumably abandoned the plan.56 He stood forth in defence of protection, 18 June, when he was in the minority against the Coventry magistracy bill, but the following day Canning refused his request to delay the implementation of the corn bill.57 He raised doubts over whether farmers would obtain a remunerating price and urged that the measure be made of only temporary duration, 21 June 1827. Lord Seaford commented on the 22nd that in Canning’s first speech against him, ‘which I heard, there was nothing to find fault with. And last night, as far as I can judge from the report, he was very temperate with Knatchbull’.58

While thinking that the ‘list of the new ministry does not afford grounds for that unmixed satisfaction which I had anticipated’, Knatchbull privately assured Peel of his support on his return to office under Wellington, 22 Jan. 1828. He was one of the ministerial ‘supporters’ appointed to the finance committee, 15 Feb.59 He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and asked for a postponement in order to allow a compromise measure to be drawn up, 28 Feb., when he probably left the House with Peel before the division. He prepared and brought in a bill to allow appeals from minor jurisdictions to the county sessions, 27 Feb., and the following day supported the extension of the police force to populous areas of Kent near London. He asked whether the corn question would be brought on before the Easter recess, 24 Mar., and, facing insinuations of causing unnecessary delay, he declared he that he would ‘make all the opposition the forms of the House will admit’. However, he wrote to Thomas Neame, chairman of the East Kent Agricultural Association, that he ‘feared the legislature was so bent upon doing a something, that little in the way of prohibition could be accomplished’.60 As well as presenting Kentish petitions for continued protection for corn and wool, he represented the agriculturists’ hostility to any alteration, 22, 25 Apr. 1828, and on the latter day promised to vote for Portman’s amendment to postpone consideration of it for six months if it was forced to a division, which it was. On 28 Apr. he made it clear that he had divided for Ferguson’s amendment to raise the proposed level of duty on oats that day, and he endorsed (and probably divided in favour of) Western’s motion to increase the duty on rye, peas and beans. He also raised concerns about growing unemployment, as he did on the hiring of servants, 29 Apr., and the exclusion of Irish paupers from parish relief, 6 May. He presented petitions against Catholic relief, 6 May, and voted in this sense, 12 May. He divided against provision for Canning’s family, 13 May, and argued that a reduction of 2,000 men in the preventive service was not a true measure of economy, 16 May. Lord Ellenborough recorded that Sir Henry Hardinge* had said of Knatchbull that he was the ‘best man to be got in the House of Commons’, 17 May, and considered him one of the few who could be brought forward to strengthen the government.61 He succeeded in delaying the third reading of the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill for the appointment of a registrar, 5 June, and voted against it, 16 June. He supported the reintroduction of £1 notes, 6 June, and divided against going into committee on the Scottish and Irish small notes bill, 16 June. He advocated increased import duties on foreign wool in order to place it ‘on a fair footing, which while it gives protection to the home grower, will in no respect be detrimental to the manufacturer’, 12 June. Lord Bexley informed Lord Sidmouth, 16 Sept., that Knatchbull was one of those who had privately attempted to restrain Lord Winchilsea in his plan to establish a Brunswick Club at a meeting in Maidstone earlier that day.62 However, Knatchbull spoke against those who opposed agitating the question, stating that when the Catholics ‘will give full and undeniable security to the Protestant establishment in church and state, then he would agree to the concession of all they required, but till then he would never move his foot from his present position’.63 He signed the requisition for the county meeting, held on 24 Oct., although he placed himself with Lord Camden on the sheriff’s wagon, rather than amongst the Brunswickers. He was given a very stormy reception, but amid the catcalls of the radicals and Whigs, he stated that the opinions of those present confirmed his long held view that the county was decidedly anti-Catholic.64 He thought the sheriff should have let Thomas Law Hodges’s* pro-Catholic amendment be put to a vote rather than merely declaring that the majority was in favour of the Brunswick resolution, saying that ‘it won’t do; if we insist, they will deny it, and we are not in a condition to prove the contrary’.65 He reiterated his staunch anti-Catholic views at various Brunswick dinners, including those at Maidstone, 31 Oct., and Ramsgate, 14 Nov. 1828.66

Knatchbull was, of course, listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, among those ‘opposed to the principle’ of Catholic emancipation in February 1829, and he was named as home secretary in one list of a putative Protestant ministry.67 He gave his support to Peel’s suppression of the Catholic Association as ‘essential to the safety of the country and the dignity of the crown’, 10 Feb., but spoke ‘with a good deal of violence’ against emancipation.68 He also charged Peel with inconsistency and dishonesty, and, in making clear his separation from him, added that ‘I state this with unspeakable distress and I lament the circumstance beyond anything that ever occurred in my life’. He presented and endorsed the Kent anti-Catholic petition, 12 Feb., declaring that ‘Protestantism and the constitution of this country are about to be invaded and I will endeavour to the last moment, to defend them’, but denying that he was entering a ‘factious opposition’. According to John Wilson Croker*, he spoke ‘moderately and, as I thought, fervently in general for Peel, but he dropped a hint that it was a pity that the conversion had not taken place in Canning’s time; this threw Peel into, or gave him occasion to assume, a fit of passion’.69 He presented at least 30 more anti-Catholic petitions during the session, and voted against concessions, 6 Mar. He spoke against the incitement of popular clamour, 9 Mar., and in defence of the constitution of 1688, 11 Mar., and of his fellow anti-Catholic John Wells, Member for Maidstone, 16 Mar. Despite being ill, he went to the House to give a major speech against emancipation, 17 Mar., because ‘my sense of public duty is paramount to every other feeling’. He found it ‘utterly impossible’, he said, to change his views for any of the reasons assigned by ministers: the state of Ireland was no worse than it had been, the Commons was as divided as ever on the issue and opinions in the cabinet were also still evenly matched. He insisted that it was only a religious question and made a deep impression by ending with the apt quotation, ‘nusquam tuta fides’, from Dido’s upbraiding of Aeneas at his desertion, in order to emphasize that he could no longer place his trust in ministers.70 John Cam Hobhouse* observed that he and Sadler ‘had the best of the debate’, while Hudson Gurney* noted that he ‘did not make a bad speech, though mischievous and little to the purpose of the bill’.71 Ellenborough, who thought his performance ‘about as good as I expected’, recorded that Thomas Wood had ‘met Sir E. Knatchbull in the lobby. Sir E. said he was glad to see him there. Wood said he was there reluctantly, in obedience to his constituents. Sir E. said that was in reality his case; and yet he made a violent speech against the bill!’72 He voted against the second reading, 18 Mar., for Bankes’s amendment to prevent Catholics sitting in Parliament, 23 Mar., and against the report, 27 Mar., and third reading, 30 Mar. He made interventions on the oaths for Catholic Members, 23 Mar., for excluding them from the privy council, his amendment to this effect being defeated, 24 Mar., and to protect corporate funds, 27 Mar., but was reluctant to renew the debate on the 30th.73 He defended Stephen Rumbold Lushington, who had refused to resign his seat at Canterbury on being appointed governor of Madras, 19 Mar. 1829, and busied himself for the rest of the session with legal and local legislation.

From the autumn of 1829 Knatchbull played a conspicuous part in the activities of the group of 20 to 30 disaffected Ultra Tories, who were led by Sir Richard Vyvyan*. In his later embittered memoirs, Vyvyan recalled that

when I first ascertained the full extent of my influence, it was my impression that my age and isolation in the dominant aristocracy of the country would interpose serious obstacles to my being the recognized head of the party. This induced me to put forward Sir Edward Knatchbull as its nominal chief. When I arranged all the combinations and acted oratorically as the mouthpiece of the section of the Tories, who opposed the duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, I used my best endeavours to let it be understood, that Knatchbull was the ostensible leader. I issued summons for party meetings at his house instead of my own and committed the great mistake of making him the important personage, by which I inflamed his small ambition and perhaps generated his personal hostility to myself.74

Gatherings certainly took place at 30 Great George Street, where Knatchbull lived from 1827 to 1838, but they must have been equally convenient for Vyvyan, who had a house a few doors away at number 26. Knatchbull’s disillusionment with Peel over the ‘great betrayal’ made him the prime target for his anger, and their relationship was further soured by his failure to advance his brother, Wyndham Knatchbull, to the regius chair of Hebrew at Oxford.75 He refused even to forward patronage requests to Wellington,76 but although hostility towards him was one of the defining features of the Ultras, it was not really the case with Knatchbull. After a visit to Mersham, Planta reported to Wellington, 8 Sept. 1829, that he had found him desponding over the scarcity of money and the prevailing distress:

Sir Edward uses expressions like these: ‘If old England should go on’, ‘If we shall last for five years’, to which I answered, ‘I suppose you do not, Sir Edward, really think it will not’. ‘No I suppose it will go on after all,’ he replied. He has a most established hatred for the Whigs; and, on that score, does not like the appointments of Rosslyn and Sir James Scarlett*. I explained to him, in general terms, the grounds on which they were made. He answered that ‘that certainly palliated the matter very much, but then the world at large could not know these things and the impression was the other way’. Upon the whole I should say, quite unreservedly, that Sir Edward looks up wholly to your Grace, and that if anything can be done to propitiate the Ultras, he will hail it with great joy and cheerfully assist in the operation. On one occasion he said to me: ‘I believe you must shake us all up in a bag together again, and see who will come out first’. I took up the expression of ‘our being shaken up together again’, and said that was what we wished; that we never willingly looked to the Whigs, but were always glad, standing on our own strength, to keep them between us and the radicals, reformers, etc. I made always more progress by insisting that there must be either the present government or a Whig government. The latter, the worthy baronet seemed to consider little short of perdition.77

Knatchbull was a subscriber to the defence of the Ultra Morning Journal in its libel action,78 but as he wrote to Vyvyan, 2 Aug. 1829, he disliked its support for parliamentary reform and he was never one of those Ultras who were fully converted to its cause. In the same letter he revealed his desire to continue in personal opposition to ministers, his doubts about many of the ‘high Tory party’, and his inclination to side with Wellington as the only feasible alternative to merely standing aloof from politics. He added that ‘our principles and policy should be what they always have been: to oppose the free traders and reformers, to assist in keeping together what yet remains of the constitution and to be a little more alive and active in all that relates to the public expenditure’. On 26 Aug. he wrote again, reluctantly agreeing to accept office (as home secretary and leader of the Commons) in any new Tory ministry, but ‘full of distrust’ at the idea of the duke of Cumberland, whom he had not even met, presiding over so unlikely a group of ministers as Vyvyan proposed. His preferred course was to strain for the removal of Peel, which would leave the Commons unmanageable and thus precipitate a change. He again hinted at some sort of arrangement with Wellington, 4, 11 Sept., but in Vyvyan’s draft reply of 7 Sept., which flattered Knatchbull by revealing that he was ‘the only person, to whom I have even given the outlines of [Cumberland’s non-committal] letter, or have mentioned the general tenor of what has passed already’, he entirely ruled out any rapprochement with him or Peel.79 Vyvyan received rebuffs not only from Cumberland, but also from Lord Palmerston*, who believed that the ‘only government which could really answer the wants of the nation at the present moment would be one composed of men known and looked up to; fancy Knatchbull and Vyvyan secretaries of state!’80 There was an untimely public dinner for Knatchbull at Maidstone, 13 Nov., and as he wrote to Vyvyan on the 15th

I had enough to do, to talk without saying anything. It would not be difficult to create a stir in Kent, but there is no distinct and definite object that can justify me in taking such a course. It is more important to keep our body united, to prevent confusion and discord as long as possible, and also that when the proper moment does arise, we may all press together to gain the same object.81

Owing to a mixture of personal preference and adverse circumstances, Knatchbull thus spent the rest of the year in cautious but anxious inactivity, though he continued to inveigh against agricultural distress and signed the grand jury of Kent’s letter of complaint about it to Wellington, 16 Dec. 1829.82

His decision to challenge the government, 4 Feb. 1830, was not the result of any prior preparations by the Ultras. He informed Lady Knatchbull a few days later that

as I travelled to town, I thought it possible that an amendment might be wise, but I did not resolve upon moving my amendment till after two o’clock on Thursday, when I heard the king’s speech. You know my opinion of the distress of the country and the assertion in the speech was by far too untrue and too insulting to pass without contradiction.83

Although agreeing with much of the speech, notably its pledge on economies, he argued that distress was not confined to ‘some parts’ of the country, but was general and required extensive relief. He also advocated restoration of a paper currency, and, while ‘disposed to promote measures for a reform in Parliament’, he was careful to distance himself from those whose object was to destroy, rather than to amend, the constitution. According to Sir James Willoughby Gordon*, he began ‘with great apparent moderation, but as he proceeded and felt the House was with him, he became warm and hostile, and was cheered by a very large portion of the House’.84 A variety of speakers rallied to him, but he was opposed by ministers and by Lord Grey’s heir, Lord Howick, who thought Knatchbull had pounced ‘very dexterously’ on his amendment, as a slur on the Whigs’ conduct. In the division (in which he was a teller), 28 opposition Members and many of the country gentlemen, who he had hoped would follow his lead, divided against the amendment, which was defeated by 158-105, despite Ultra, Whig and radical support. Knatchbull informed his wife, 8 Feb., that ‘as to intrigues, if any there are, I am no party to them. I have very little communication with my party, but all seem very well satisfied with me, except the government, who are very angry, but they dare not show it or avow it’. His son Charles, who was present, confirmed that ministers ‘never meant to leave such a nice little lupe hole in the speech on which an amendment could be moved. Peel was very angry with Papa’.85 Although his manoeuvre had been unexpected, it nevertheless provided an impetus for Ultra attempts to beat down the administration’s majority. Ellenborough reckoned that he led about 23 followers and, for instance, he had a ‘good party’ of leading Ultras at his house, 14 Feb.86 During the succeeding months he presented a great many petitions for relief from distress and repeal of the malt duties, and against the sale of beer bill, and he often divided against ministers in favour of further economies. After voting with them against transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., he told Hume that ‘you saved the government the first night, and we have given them the majority tonight’.87 He voted against parliamentary reform, 18 Feb., and Peel noted that on the motion to enfranchise Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830, he and a ‘great majority of those Members who usually act with him left the House without voting’.88

Knatchbull acknowledged the strategic necessity of maintaining the size of the army, but spoke and voted in favour of restricting its grant to six months, 19 Feb. 1830. In presenting and endorsing a Romney Marsh petition against the importation of foreign wool, 1 Mar., there was ‘some incivility’ between him and Sir Charles Burrell.89 He agreed with the Suffolk petition against distress, 5 Mar., but warned ministers and its presenter, Gooch, that worse was yet to come, and that immediate relief could only be attained by an alteration of the currency. He attended the Kent county meeting which agreed to petition against distress, 12 Mar., but spoke against including a request for reform.90 After bringing it up, 29 Mar., he made a major synoptic speech on the subject of distress, which drew together his hostility to excessive poor rates, free trade, the state of the currency and oppressive taxation, and he also reiterated his opposition to reform. He was given one month’s leave of absence on urgent private business, 2 Apr. He spoke against soldiers being forced to participate in religious ceremonies with which they disagreed, 30 Apr. He later said that he had ‘entirely concurred’ with Graham’s motion for a return of privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, but had declined to vote for it in order to take advantage of the chancellor’s offer of information.91 He voted against Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and denied that there was a general feeling in Kent in favour of the abolition of tithes, 18 May. He objected to the Scottish and Irish poor removal bill, 26 May, on the ground that the burden would fall disproportionately on southern counties. While not questioning the Morning Journal’s libel of lord chancellor Lyndhurst, he raised constitutional doubts about his prosecution being financed out of the law charges, 4 June. He gave his opinion that a ‘limited paper currency, founded on a secure basis and placed under proper regulations, will be the best means of affording relief to the country, which has been so long suffering from distress’, 8 June. He voted against going into committee on the administration of justice bill, 18 June. Having divided against the second reading of the sale of beer bill, 5 Apr., he spoke against it, 21 May, and asked when it would come on, 14, 16 June. He complained about the House considering it at 1 a.m., 21 June, when he unsuccessfully moved two amendments: to prevent the consumption of beer on the premises of beer houses, on which he was a teller for the minority of 108-138, and to limit the duration of the bill to an experimental period of three years. He again condemned it as ineffective in providing relief and as immoral and unjust, 1 July 1830, and he voted for postponing permission for the on-consumption of beer for two years that day.

Long before the general election of 1830 there were rumours that a Tory candidate might emerge to challenge Knatchbull, but he offered again and was not opposed.92 He stressed his desire for an end to colonial slavery, further reductions to achieve agricultural relief and limited reform:

If it is for the purpose of disfranchising those boroughs where ... corruption ... has been carried on to so great an extent and conferring it upon large towns, when the facts are properly proved, I shall support such a measure. But let us take care that in endeavouring to repair the fabric of our constitution we do not pull it down altogether.93

With the ‘mild, gentlemanly and impressive manner with which he always speaks’, he addressed the Hawkhurst dinner to celebrate his and Hodges’s return, 8 Sept., stating, with typical modesty, that ‘a Member of Parliament could ill perform his duty without the advice and assistance of his constituents; he had always received those, and from no one more than his present colleague’.94 He ascribed the wave of ‘Swing’ unrest that swept Kent from mid-September to temporary agricultural distress, aggravated by outside agents provocateurs, rather than to any revolutionary disaffection.95 He was very active in attending meetings of the local magistrates and in devising ways of containing the disturbances as peaceably as possible.96 His curious leniency in sentencing guilty machine-breakers to only a few days’ imprisonment, 24 Oct., met with widespread criticism, not least from Peel, but he continued to be involved with further efforts to end the outrages.97 He was very reluctant to leave Mersham and had to delay a pre-session meeting with the Ultra duke of Richmond until 1 Nov.98 He was present on the first day, 2 Nov., when he agreed with Hodges on the prevalence of distress in Kent, pointed out the basic loyalism of the peasantry and argued that had his former amendment been adopted it would have removed many of the present difficulties. He commended the actions of magistrates and of landowners who, at great expense, had taken on unemployed labourers, 9 Nov. He was granted one month’s leave of absence on account of the disturbed state of his neighbourhood, 23 Nov., and supported the idea of a select committee on distress, 6 Dec. 1830.

Althorp wrote to Lord Milton*, 15 Nov. 1830, that Knatchbull and his friends might support Henry Brougham’s intended reform motion the following day.99 However, there was a meeting at his house in Great George Street on the morning of the 15th, at which it was decided that they would vote against government that day, perhaps in order to avoid having to show support for reform.100 He duly voted in the majority which brought down the Wellington administration, on the establishment of a select committee on the civil list (to which he was appointed), an action which ministers attributed to personal pique.101 He was sounded by Charles Wood*, at Grey’s request, about whether he would accept the paymaster-generalship in his administration. Palmerston, who was similarly entrusted, reported to Edward John Littleton* on the 17th that he ‘expresses himself favourably disposed ... but he declines office for himself, bona fide and handsomely’.102 Brougham later commented that it was ‘accidental circumstances’ which prevented his joining the government at this point, but Ellenborough wrote, 19 Nov. 1830, that the Ultra leaders, the duke of Newcastle, Lord Falmouth, Knatchbull and Vyvyan

will not support the new government. Having had their revenge they mean to put their knees in our backs and do all they can to get out the others. They are sorry for the work they have performed and regret their vote. They had intended to stay away on the question of reform - now they mean to vote against it.103

Knatchbull presented petitions against distress, 7 Feb. 1831, when he accepted ministers’ explanation about the barilla duties, and stated that he would support them so long as they promoted the interests of the community at large. He informed his wife, 13 Feb., that he had held a party of Ultra friends the day before and had been summoned by Althorp, the chancellor, who ‘gives up his plan of finance’, ‘to tell him what I thought of the matter: so I went and told him little enough of what I thought’.104 He suggested that the House should regard with forbearance the difficulties in which the chancellor was placed and requested that the proposed duties on transfers of land, as well as those of stock, be dropped, 14 Feb. He asked Althorp when the coal duties would cease and if there would be a drawback on stock in hand, 23 Feb. A meeting of country gentlemen at his house, 2 Mar. 1831, apparently decided that they would henceforth take no part in such debates.105

In another letter to Lady Knatchbull, 27 Feb. 1831, he revealed the worries that were on his mind:

I am sure you must have perceived from the papers, that I have been especially quiet and I do wish they would let me alone, for I wish I were out of all this turmoil and at home with you. On Tuesday [1 Mar.] we have reform and no one knows what I mean to do - but I am asked and asked and asked - all the world is anxiety and all sorts of changes are talked of - for me a peerage, disgraceful as it would be, might be the best thing; for then I could live at peace at home - but that will not do, it will be discreditable.106

Lord Lansdowne suggested his name to Grey, 5 Mar., adding that ‘I do not know him personally, but hear him always represented as having considerable influence among the Tories, a good speaker and man of business and supposed to be not averse to office’.107 However, he held a further ‘crowded’ meeting of Ultras, 5 Mar., perhaps to consolidate their opposition to ministers’ reform proposals after Peel’s refusal to denounce them. He told his wife that he was in better health, 6 Mar., though sickness continued to prevent his regular attendance, and he added some new reflections:

I should not be at all surprised, and personally not sorry, if this reform question led to my quitting public life. If it is carried it may present a fair opportunity for me to retire. If it fails, it is likely to create an election in Kent, which might prevent my return, unless at much expense, which I will never incur - there now - of this I thought last night.108

He condemned threats of mass action to compel Parliament to accept reform and argued that public opinion should be expressed in a regular manner, 7 Mar.; but Sir James Mackintosh* wrote to Lady Holland, 8 Mar., that the ‘temper of the Tories’, as declared by Knatchbull, ‘inclines them to yield passive obedience even to the present ministers’.109 According to John Rickman, a Commons clerk, ‘the coward of Kent (Sir E. K.) already shows the white feather in asking a fortnight’s "leave of absence" [on the 9th], foreseeing ill health with careful eye’.110 Although he presented a reform petition from Ashford, 19 Mar., he was expected to oppose the second reading of the bill like Vyvyan, and then to move a resolution for moderate changes in the following session. This tactic was adopted at a meeting at his house, 20 Mar., but he paired against the second reading on account of illness, 22 Mar.111 Indisposition also prevented his attendance at a county meeting, 24 Mar., but he acknowledged his hostility to the bill in a letter, his declaration in favour of less extensive alterations being met with derision.112 After communicating with him, Gleig wrote to Wellington, 8 Apr., that ‘I don’t know whether he thinks entirely with ... [you], but I believe he does. But he wants moral courage’. Writing again, 13 Apr., he confirmed that Knatchbull’s ‘sentiments accord perfectly with those of your grace, but he is timid; he believes that resistance is hopeless, and he is ready to concede everything that can be given up, short of the absolute acknowledgement that the bill is just and politic’.113 He paired in favour of Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.

Prior to the dissolution there were rumours that Knatchbull would bow to the growing criticism of his opposition to reform and decline to stand at the general election.114 In the end no rival Tories offered, but he was opposed by two reformers, Hodges and Thomas Rider*. Several meetings in his favour took place and a large subscription was entered into. He made clear his hostility to reform by signing the Kentish declaration against it and, after repeated requests, he clarified his views in a second address, 27 Apr., in which he stated that

the power of nominating representatives ought not to be exercised by any individual. This great object may be secured consistently with the rights of the electors. Large and populous towns ought to be directly represented; the amount of qualification is a matter of detail to be fixed on deliberate consideration. I think it would be injurious to divide counties and I am opposed to diminishing the number of English representatives.

In Canterbury, 30 Apr., he explained that he had initially supported the bill, but had opposed the second reading because ministers had declared against any modification in committee, and he argued that the real problem facing the country was the continued distress.115 After an unsuccessful canvass, he announced his withdrawal in a bitter address, 4 May, but he was generally considered to have acted honourably.116 Gleig wrote to Wellington, 9 May, that his retirement was ‘scarcely to be deplored, for he had so committed himself on the subject of reform, that he could have done no good service’. However he confirmed, 29 June, that Knatchbull would use his influence in support of a Tory at Sandwich, and would have to be thought of at the next election because ‘he had got such [a] hold of this county, that it would be foolish to think of shaking it’. Wellington replied, 30 June, that Kent ‘would not be satisfied’ unless Knatchbull was its Member. Gleig reported to Wellington, 14 July, that he had found Knatchbull ‘as usual, doubting, hesitating, distrustful whether we should not do more harm than good’, but had finally persuaded him ‘to move heaven and earth in the good cause’ of systematically organizing anti-reform petitions from Kent. He concluded by adding that ‘though difficult to move, and wavering until his mind is made up, once he comes to a determination there is no man more obstinate’. Gleig continued to urge Wellington to co-operate with Knatchbull, 19 July, and Wellington expressed himself willing to do so, 21 July, though Gleig had to warn him to take Knatchbull’s ‘foreboding of evil ... cum grano salis’, 27 July.117 At a dinner in his honour at Sittingbourne, 3 Aug., Lord Mahon* praised him ‘as the leader of what are called the country gentlemen. His opinion was always awaited with impatience, listened to with attention and generally followed by conviction’.118 Gleig trusted that Mahon would ‘talk Knatchbull into decision, if he be able’, on opposing radical reform agitation in Kent, 21 Sept., but, fearful of making a poor impression, he absented himself from the county reform meeting, 30 Sept. 1831.119

Except for his temporary rise to prominence in early 1830, Knatchbull was never happy to act as a leader unless he was certain that he had the support of his colleagues in Parliament and of his constituents. From 1831 he began to move back into the mainstream of the Tory party and he was a founder member of the Carlton Club, 10 Mar. 1832. He gradually recovered the good opinion of the Kentish voters, for instance when he spoke at a meeting in Canterbury, 2 June, though Whigs such as Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges† continued to think that his inveterate and unbending Toryism disqualified him from returning to the House.120 He was elected for Kent East behind a fellow Tory after a contest at the general election of 1832, and in late 1834, despite his notoriety as a leader of the mutiny which had overthrown the Wellington administration, he broke with Vyvyan and accepted the junior ministerial position offered to him by his erstwhile friend, Peel.121 He was reappointed in 1841, but resigned in 1845 because of his growing unease at the liberal trend of ministerial policies, and also on account of personal distress over a number of family problems which had culminated with the death of his favourite daughter, Fanny Elizabeth. He died in May 1849, bequeathing the Mersham estate to his estranged heir, Norton Joseph (1808-68), who became the 10th baronet, and the Provender estate to his eldest son with his second wife, Edward Hugessen (1829-93), who was created Baron Brabourne in 1880.122

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


Based on Sir H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, Kentish Fam. 164-260.

  • 1. Letters of Jane Austen ed. Lord Brabourne, ii. 273-4.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1820), ii. 381-2; The Times, 13 Jan. 1830; Cent. Kent. Stud. Knatchbull mss U951 Z32.
  • 3. Knatchbull mss F24/17-29.
  • 4. Add. 57418, f. 49; Kentish Gazette, 29 Apr., 10 June; Kentish Chron. 25 Mar., 6 June 1823, 26 May 1829, 1 Mar. 1831.
  • 5. Medway Archives and Local Stud. Cent. Rochester city recs. RCA/A1/6, 209, 534.
  • 6. G. R. Gleig, Constitution and Tendency of Church Missionary Society (1824).
  • 7. New Maidstone Gaol Order Bk. ed. C.W. Chalklin, 126-43.
  • 8. The Times, 21 Feb. 1821; Add. 40359, f. 30.
  • 9. E.g. Maidstone Jnl. 17 May 1831.
  • 10. Knatchbull mss C15/6, 7.
  • 11. N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 72, 288.
  • 12. Greville Mems. iii. 148.
  • 13. Kentish Chron. 18 Dec. 1832.
  • 14. Extraordinary Red Bk. (1821), 164; Knatchbull mss C53/16.
  • 15. Cobbett’s Rural Rides ed. G.D.H. and M. Cole, i. 42.
  • 16. New Monthly Mag. (1828), ii. 479.
  • 17. Knatchbull mss C127/43.
  • 18. Kentish Chron. 29 Feb., 14, 21 Mar. 1820.
  • 19. Dorset RO, Bankes mss D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 116; Colchester Diary, iii. 134.
  • 20. The Times, 12, 16 May, 10 June 1820.
  • 21. Ibid. 9, 27 Feb. 1821.
  • 22. Ibid. 16 June 1821; HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 100.
  • 23. Cent. Kent. Stud. Stanhope mss U1590 C190/1, Knatchbull to Stanhope, 14 Dec.; Kentish Chron. 21 Dec. 1821.
  • 24. The Times, 12, 14 Feb., 1, 7 May 1822.
  • 25. Ibid. 2, 11 May 1822.
  • 26. Huskisson Pprs. 137.
  • 27. The Times, 11 June 1822.
  • 28. Kentish Chron. 14 June 1822.
  • 29. A. de Staël-Holstein, Letters on England (1825), 191-2.
  • 30. The Times, 5 July 1822.
  • 31. Ibid. 22, 28 Feb., 25 Apr. 1823.
  • 32. Colchester Diary, iii. 281.
  • 33. The Times, 22 May 1824.
  • 34. Ibid. 4 June 1824; Kentish Chron. 8 Apr. 1825.
  • 35. The Times, 22 Apr. 1825.
  • 36. Ibid. 14 May 1825.
  • 37. Knatchbull mss C3/10; Twiss, Eldon, ii. 556.
  • 38. Kentish Gazette, 25 Oct. 1825.
  • 39. The Times, 15, 18 Mar., 14, 21, 26 Apr. 1826.
  • 40. Ibid. 6 May 1826.
  • 41. Ibid. 13 May 1826.
  • 42. Kent Herald, 30 Dec. 1824; Kentish Chron. 6, 9 June 1826.
  • 43. Kentish Chron. 16 June 1826.
  • 44. Ibid. 23 June 1826.
  • 45. Kentish Gazette, 15 Sept., 6 Oct. 1826.
  • 46. Ibid. 19 Dec. 1826.
  • 47. Maidstone Jnl. 2 Jan. 1827.
  • 48. The Times, 24, 27, 28 Feb. 1827.
  • 49. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1292.
  • 50. The Times, 3, 6, 20 Mar. 1827.
  • 51. Ibid. 9 Mar.; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossulton mss acc. 636, Denison diary, 8 Mar. 1827.
  • 52. The Times, 20 Mar. 1827.
  • 53. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1323.
  • 54. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 116.
  • 55. Kent Herald, 10 May 1827.
  • 56. Add. 40394, ff. 124, 126.
  • 57. Add. 52447, f. 82; The Times, 20 June 1827.
  • 58. Canning’s Ministry, 397.
  • 59. Add. 40395, ff. 75, 221.
  • 60. Kentish Chron. 15 Apr. 1828.
  • 61. Ellenborough Diary, i. 107, 111, 112.
  • 62. Devon RO, Sidmouth mss.
  • 63. Kentish Chron. 23 Sept. 1828.
  • 64. Ibid. 14, 28 Oct. 1828; Report of Speeches at Kent County Meeting (1828), 27-28.
  • 65. The Times, 30 Oct. 1828.
  • 66. Kentish Chron. 4, 18 Dec. 1828.
  • 67. Ellenborough Diary, i. 365.
  • 68. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 240.
  • 69. Croker Pprs. ii. 9.
  • 70. Speech of Sir E. Knatchbull (1829), 3-11; Oxford DNB.
  • 71. Broughton, Recollections, iii. 310-11; Gurney diary.
  • 72. Ellenborough Diary, i. 397, 399.
  • 73. Bankes jnl. 166 [Mar. 1829].
  • 74. B. T. Bradfield, ‘Sir Richard Vyvyan and Fall of Wellington’s Government’, Univ. of Birmingham Hist. Jnl. xi (1968), 142, 148, 154-6.
  • 75. Survey of London, x. 50; Add. 40397, ff. 299, 301; 40398, ff. 73, 75; Knatchbull mss C14/13-20.
  • 76. Wellington mss WP2/215/5.
  • 77. Ibid. WP1/1044/4.
  • 78. Hatfield House mss 2M/Gen., Crosbie to Salisbury, 6 Aug. 1829.
  • 79. Cornw. RO, Vyvyan mss; Knatchbull-Hugessen, 182-6.
  • 80. Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 235.
  • 81. Maidstone Jnl. 17 Nov. 1829; Vyvyan mss.
  • 82. Knatchbull-Hugessen, 187-8; Kentish Chron. 22 Dec. 1829.
  • 83. Knatchbull mss C127/43.
  • 84. Taylor Pprs. 313.
  • 85. Grey mss, Howick jnl.; Knatchbull mss C38/8; C127/43.
  • 86. Knatchbull mss C127/42; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 186; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 332.
  • 87. Greville Mems. i. 372.
  • 88. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1579.
  • 89. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 204.
  • 90. Kentish Chron. 16 Mar. 1830.
  • 91. Maidstone Jnl. 10 Aug. 1830.
  • 92. Kent Herald, 6 Nov. 1828; Kentish Chron. 6, 13 July 1830.
  • 93. Maidstone Jnl. 10 Aug.; Kentish Chron. 10 Aug. 1830.
  • 94. Maidstone Jnl. 14 Sept. 1830.
  • 95. Knatchbull mss C177/28; J.L. and B. Hammond, Village Labourer, 245; E. Hobsbawm and G. Rudé, Captain Swing (1985 edn.), 187.
  • 96. Kent Herald, 30 Sept. 1830; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 386-7; Knatchbull mss C14/12.
  • 97. The Times, 25 Oct., 1 Nov. 1830; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 398, 403; Knatchbull mss C14/1-5; C.J. Griffin, ‘"Policy on the Hoof": Peel, Knatchbull and Trial of Elham Machine Breakers’, Rural Hist. xv (2004), 127-48.
  • 98. W. Suss. RO, Goodwood mss 1432, ff. 65-69.
  • 99. Fitzwilliam mss.
  • 100. Hopetoun mss 167, f. 189; Greville Mems. ii. 60.
  • 101. Three Diaries, 109.
  • 102. Ibid. p. xxviii; Le Marchant, Althorp, 261; Bankes mss HJ1/368; Hatherton mss; Knatchbull-Hugessen, 202-3.
  • 103. Brougham, Life and Times, iii. 376; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 439.
  • 104. Knatchbull mss C3/12.
  • 105. TCD, Jebb mss, Inglis to Jebb, 3 Mar.; Maidstone Gazette, 8 Mar. 1831.
  • 106. Knatchbull mss C3/14.
  • 107. Grey mss.
  • 108. Three Diaries, 14; Knatchbull mss C3/13.
  • 109. Add. 51655.
  • 110. O. Williams, Life and Letters of Rickman, 275-6.
  • 111. Three Diaries, 67; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 172-3; B. T. Bradfield, ‘Sir Richard Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, EHR, lxxxiii (1968), 732; Greville Mems. ii. 133.
  • 112. Maidstone Jnl. 29 Mar. 1831.
  • 113. Wellington mss.
  • 114. Maidstone Jnl., 22 Mar., 5, 12 Apr. 1831.
  • 115. Ibid. 26 Apr., 3 May; Kentish Chron. 19 Apr., 3 May; Kentish Gazette, 19, 26, 29 Apr., 3 May; Maidstone Gazette, 19 Apr. 1831; TNA 30/29/9/5/80.
  • 116. Three Diaries, 90; Maidstone Jnl. 10, 17 May 1831; Knatchbull-Hugessen, 204-5.
  • 117. Wellington mss; WP1/1188/6; 1190/17; 1191/4, 11, 12, 14, 18; Wellington Despatches, vii. 466-8, 473; G. R. Gleig, Personal Reminiscences of Wellington, 76-81, 85-87.
  • 118. Maidstone Jnl. 9 Aug. 1831.
  • 119. Wellington mss; Stanhope mss C381/1, Knatchbull to Mahon, 30 Sept. 1831.
  • 120. Kentish Gazette, 5 June, 17 July 1832.
  • 121. Torrens, Melbourne, ii. 65; Greville Mems. iii. 122; Add. 40405, ff. 56, 84-88.
  • 122. Gent. Mag. (1849), ii. 89; The Times, 28 May 1849; Knatchbull mss F20; Knatchbull-Hugessen, 258-9; Oxford DNB.