BATEMAN, John, 2nd Visct. Bateman [I] (1721-1802), of Shobdon, Herefs.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. Apr. 1721, 1st s. of William, 1st Visct. Bateman [I], M.P., by Lady Anne Spencer, da. of Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, and gd.-da. of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. m. 2 July 1748, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Sambroke, M.P., bro. of Sir Jeremy Sambroke, 5th Bt., M.P., s.p. suc. fa. Dec. 1744.
Ld. Lt. Herefs. 1747- d.; ld. of Admiralty 1755-6; P.C. 19 Nov. 1756; treasurer of the Household 1756-7; master of the buckhounds 1757-Mar. 1782; high steward, Leominster 1759- d.
Bateman inherited from his father property which gave him an interest at Leominster and on the Welsh borders; through his mother he was connected with the Marlborough, Bedford, and Pelham families.
In 1753, Bateman, then representing Woodstock on the interest of his uncle Charles, Duke of Marlborough, was nominated at St. Albans by the Duke, who was nursing the constituency for another nephew, John Spencer, then a minor. Bateman also seems to have acted as Marlborough’s agent there, and was said to have ‘given some umbrage by talking in a very high strain of preserving Mr. Spencer’s interest for him till he came of age by weight of money against all opposers’.1 A compromise was however reached, Bateman withdrew, and was again returned for Woodstock.
In Parliament Bateman supported Administration. In September 1755, Henry Fox included him in his list of persons to be promoted, adding ‘the most useful man in the House who does not speak’.2 He spoke in the debate on the Minorca inquiry, 26 Apr. 17573—his only reported speech in the House—but no details are given. In 1761 he acted as one of Newcastle’s agents in Radnorshire and the Welsh borders,4 and Newcastle in October 1761 asked him to secure the attendance of five Members at the opening of the session.5 After Newcastle’s resignation he went with Fox, supporting the Bute and Grenville Administrations. Lady Holland wrote to her sister about Bateman, 6 Dec. 1764:6 ‘Though he is not a favourite with me, as he is not a pleasant body, yet I do value him for his constant disinterested attachment to Lord Holland.’ On 11 July 1765, a few days after the formation of the Rockingham Administration, Bateman was sent by the Duke of Cumberland to attempt to dissuade the Duke of Marlborough from making his brother, Lord Charles Spencer, resign his office as comptroller of the Household.7 But, Lord Digby wrote to Lord Holland, 18 July:8 ‘The Duke of Marlborough takes a hostile part, and I should think Lord Bateman would be in some danger.’ Yet, though Bateman was counted as ‘contra’ by Rockingham in July 1765, and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act (7 and 22 Feb. 1766), he retained his office worth more than 2,000 a year. At the same time he remained on good terms with Bute, to whom he wrote, 28 Oct. 1766:9 ‘To know if there is any business in the House of Commons at their first meeting that is agreeable to you that I should attend’, and added that his obligations were to Bute alone. No vote of his is recorded during the Chatham Administration, but he was counted by Townshend in January 1767, and by Newcastle, 2 Mar. 1767, as a Government supporter.
In 1768 the seat at Woodstock was needed for Lord Robert Spencer, recently come of age, and Bateman was returned unopposed on his own interest at Leominster. He now constantly supported Administration till the fall of North. On the formation of the second Rockingham Administration he lost his post as master of the buckhounds; does not appear in any division list before he left Parliament in 1784; and was classed as ‘absent’ by Robinson in January 1784. Wraxall, who knew him ‘with great intimacy’, writes:
No individual ... was more personally regretted by the King than Lord Bateman ... The frankness and gaiety of his disposition rendered him peculiarly agreeable to the Sovereign. At near seventy years10 of age Lord Bateman preserved all the activity of youth, accompanied by an elasticity of mind and character which never forsook him. He might have been reinstated in the employment of master of the buckhounds under succeeding Administrations but he preferred the enjoyment of personal liberty, and passed the last years of his life principally at his seat of Shobdon. His understanding was good, though he loved pleasure of every description more than business, and he possessed that mediocrity of talents which never inspiring awe, forms the best recommendation to royal favour.11
He died 2 Mar. 1802.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: Mary M. Drummond
- 1. Add. 34734, f. 68.
- 2. Fox’s proposals to Newcastle, Henry Fox mss.
- 3. Add. 35877, f. 363.
- 4. Namier, Structure , 268.
- 5. Add. 32930, ff. 37-42.
- 6. Leinster Corresp. i. 422.
- 7. Marlborough to Lord Gower, 11 July 1765, Bedford mss 52, f. 46.
- 8. Ilchester, Letters to H. Fox, 239.
- 9. Bute mss.
- 10. In 1782 Bateman was sixty-one.
- 11. Mems. ii. 275-6.