BRAND, Thomas (c.1717-70), of The Hoo, Kimpton, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1717, o.s. of Thomas Brand by Margaret, da. of John Nichol of Chipping Barnet, Herts. educ. Eton 1728;1 prob. Queens’, Camb. 1735.2 m. 9 Jan. 1749, Lady Caroline Pierrepont (d. 1753), da. of Evelyn, 1st Duke of Kingston, and half-sis. of Lady Evelyn Pierrepont, mother of Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford, 1s. 2da. On his marriage Thomas Brand settled estates worth £1,716 p.a.3 suc. fa. 1718.
On 5 June 1754, when Brand was leaving England for a tour in Italy, Horace Walpole thus recommended him to Horace Mann:
His story is very melancholy: about six or seven years ago he married Lady Caroline Pierrepont ... a match quite of esteem: she was rather older than he; but never were two people more completely, more reasonably happy. He is naturally all cheerfulness and laughter; she was very reserved, but quite sensible and faultless. She died about this time twelve-month of a fever, and left him, with two little children, the most unhappy man alive. He travels again to dissipate his grief: you will love him much, if he stays any time with you. His connexions are entirely with the Duke of Bedford.
Their connexion, established as early as 1747, when Brand was returned by Bedford for Tavistock, lasted till Brand’s death. Before the general election of 1754 Brand agreed to contest Newport (Cornwall) at Bedford’s expense,4 but finally did not stand. Instead he was returned unopposed for Gatton through Bedford’s influence in 1754 and again in 1761, and in 1768 was returned at Okehampton on Bedford’s interest.
In Parliament Brand naturally followed Bedford’s political line. There is no record of his having spoken in the House. His ambition was a peerage, and he hoped to obtain it through his political connexions. First Bute, and then Bedford, urged his claims, but found the King averse to increasing the peerage. In 1763, however, Bedford seems to have obtained a promise that Brand should be included in the next creation of peers.5 Circumstances seemed more favourable to him when Chatham returned to office, and sought to strengthen his ministry by including the Bedfords. In the unsuccessful negotiations of December 1766 Bedford demanded a peerage for Brand, ‘whenever any new peers should be made’. When Lord Lorne was created a British peer Brand wished to remind Chatham of the King’s promise, but received no encouragement from Bedford.
I was so provoked [he wrote to Bedford on 18 Dec. 17666] by the minister’s behaviour ... that I meant if I could to distress them by making the claim of a promise at this time, to which they must have given some answer, and I could think of nothing more hostile than to reproach them with breach of their word in a proper manner. This was my intention, very far from thinking of profiting by this manner of proceeding, which would evidently produce ill will to me.
The promise of a peerage for Brand was confirmed when the Bedfords joined Administration in December 1767. On 28 Feb. 1768 Bedford informed him of a conversation with Grafton:7
He told me [Bedford wrote] that he had orders from the King to tell me, that he could not at this instant make any peers, but that he solemnly promised to make none without you, and that it should not be postponed beyond the end of the next winter sessions of Parliament.
But when in March 1769 Bedford raised the matter again, Grafton denied having mentioned a date, and contended that Brand ‘was to be among the first of the peers to be created without a specification of time’.8 He threatened to resign rather than agree to an immediate creation; but offered, in case of Brand’s death, to extend the promise to his son.
Brand took this delay badly. Rigby wrote to Bedford on 11 Apr. 1769:
I hear from many quarters of Brand’s great warmth of expression towards the Duke of Grafton upon the present mal-entendre. I am certain that can tend to no good end, and it is an ill-judged piece of resentment that will hurt nobody so much as himself. He is disappointed and angry, and is not aware that he is going to tramp it about the town more for Lord George Sackville’s ill-humour than his own. He was with Lord George today at the House of Commons, and all last Saturday night at the opera; any prospect of a disagreement between your Grace and the Duke of Grafton will be nuts to Lord George and Lord Temple, and Brand, I am afraid, does not see that he will be the dupe to their malice.9
Brand’s name does not appear in any of the division lists for 1769-70.
He died 22 or 23 Aug. 1770.10
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: John Brooke
- 1. Eton Coll. Reg. 1698-1752 suggests that the Brand who entered in 1728 was
- 2. Venn’s suggestion that this was Thomas Brand Hollis is incorrect.
- 3. ‘Proposals for a settlement on a marriage intended between Mr. B. and Lady C.P.’, Oct. 1748, Bedford mss 22, f. 41. Bedford was one of the trustees of the marriage settlement.
- 4. Brand to Bedford, 19 Aug. 1747, ibid. 17, f. 90; Bedford to Brand, 9 Dec. 1753, ibid. 29, f. 127; Brand to Bedford, 19 Dec. 1753, ibid. f. 126.
- 5. Corresp. between Brand and Bedford, 2, 9 and 13 Oct. 1763, ibid. 48, ff. 142, 150 and 162.
- 6. Ibid. 54, f. 184.
- 7. Ibid. 57, f. 16.
- 8. Grafton to Bedford, 23 Mar. 1769, ibid. f. 58, f. 28.
- 9. Rigby to Bedford, 11 Apr. 1769, ibid. f. 36.
- 10. Gent. Mag. 1770, p. 441; Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 75.