CAVENDISH, William (1783-1812), of Savile Row, Mdx.

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



9 Apr. 1804 - July 1804
16 July 1804 - 1806
1806 - 14 Jan. 1812

Family and Education

b. 10 Jan. 1783, 1st s. of Lord George Augustus Henry Cavendish*, and bro. of Charles Compton Cavendish*, George Henry Compton Cavendish*, and Henry Frederick Compton Cavendish*. educ. Eton 1796; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1800-3; continental tour 1803-4. m. 18 July 1807, Hon. Louisa O’Callaghan, da. of Cornelius, 1st Baron Lismore [I], 3s. 1da.

Offices Held

Capt. Derbys. militia 1803, maj. 1804, col. 1811-d.


While up at Cambridge, Cavendish was described by William Ord* as ‘good and amiable, mais voilà tout’. In May 1803 he arrived at Berlin ‘to see the reviews’ and stayed until April 1804 when, being of age, he returned home to take his seat for Knaresborough on the family interest. He voted steadily against Addington’s and Pitt’s administrations, as a Whig ‘both by family and principles’.1 In July 1804 his father put him up at Aylesbury where the franchise had been opened and he defeated Thomas Grenville*, to the great indignation of the Grenvillites, who were then collaborating with the Whigs in opposition.

Cavendish, who made no impression in debate, supported his friends in office in 1806, when he transferred to the family seat for Derby. He voted for Brand’s motion against the Portland ministry, 9 Apr. 1807. Although he was thought of as a possible county Member for Sussex or Buckinghamshire, he retained the seat for Derby, which better suited family convenience.2 He was one of the more regular supporters of opposition in the Parliament of 1807 and they complimented him on 31 Jan. 1810 by voting his reappointment to the finance committee (to which he had been appointed on 10 Feb. 1807 but dropped in 1809) against the ministerial nominee.3 He was a supporter of Catholic relief and on 21 May 1810 paired in favour of parliamentary reform. His early death, 14 Jan. 1812, was caused by his being thrown headlong from his curricle in Holker Park, on his way back from a shooting excursion.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Lansdowne mss, Ord to Petty, 6 Dec. [1801]; Jackson Diaries, i. 138, 157, 189; J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1808), 180.
  • 2. NLI Richmond mss 69/1240; Add. 51661, Bedford to Holland, 1 Nov. 1809.
  • 3. Geo. III Corresp. v. 4076; Creevey Pprs. ed. Maxwell, i. 126.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1812), i. 93, which gives 15 Jan. as his death date.