CHAPLIN, Charles II (1786-1859), of Blankney, Lincs.
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Maj. Lindsey regt. Lincs. militia 1809; capt. Lincoln Heath yeoman cav. 1831.
Chaplin owed his first seat in Parliament to his kinsman Brownlow, 2nd Marquess of Exeter, during whose minority his father, the county Member, was recorder of Stamford. Such ‘notorious respectability’ enabled him to defeat an attempt to open that borough and he contributed £700 out of £2,500 expenses. He was soon being challenged by a constituent to state what his political principles really were.1 Like his father he was an unobtrusive supporter of government and so listed by the Whigs in 1810, when he voted with ministers on the address, 23 Jan., and against the Scheldt inquiry, 30 Mar. He was in the ministerial minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. He voted against Catholic relief, 22 June 1812.
He did not seek re-election in 1812 and when, on his father’s death in 1816, the friends of government in Lincolnshire urged him to offer in his place, with every prospect of success, he demurred. His bereavement sufficed; his ‘retired habits’ reinforced his reluctance and he could not approve of the token contest put up in his name by some insistent friends against the ministerial candidate Cust. Nevertheless, before the year was out he had decided to offer at the next election. His connexion by marriage with Charles Arbuthnot at the Treasury helped him. The premier Lord Liverpool admitted (22 Nov. 1817) that as a country gentleman he was ‘unquestionably a more proper person to represent the county of Lincoln than Mr Cust’, but as Cust (brother of Lord Brownlow, the lord lieutenant) was in possession, he hoped to use peaceful persuasion to secure his withdrawal in Chaplin’s favour. A show of determination on Chaplin’s part achieved it. There was a contest against Sir Robert Heron, but the sitting Whig member Anderson Pelham insisted on neutrality and noted that Chaplin was more popular than Heron: he had the character of a ‘good landlord’ and had more to spend. On the hustings, as Heron admitted, ‘Chaplin himself, though without learning or information, spoke with good humour, and in a manner far superior to all our expectations; and which, though somewhat vulgar, was not ill adapted to his audience’.2
Chaplin gave a silent support to the ministry in the Parliament of 1818, in which he sat on the Windsor establishment committee. He was granted a month’s leave of absence for ill health, 1 Mar. 1819, and ten days more on 31 Mar.; but he voted with government against Tierney’s censure motion, 15 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June. He died 24 May 1859.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. J. Drakard, A narrative of the procs. at the Stamford election, Feb. 1809 ; Burghley House mss D23/1; Stamford Town Hall, Phillips mss, A Stamford Elector, To Evan Foulkes esq. and Charles Chaplin jun. esq. 18 Apr. 1809.
- 2. Add. 38458, f. 204; Lincs. AO, Brownlow mss 2 BNL/26/2, 120; Harrowby mss, Arbuthnot to Harrowby, 10 Dec. 1816; Add. 38269, ff. 135-6; Fitzwilliam mss, X1607, Heron to Milton, 8 Dec., Anderson Pelham to same, 14 Dec. 1817; box 92, same to same, 13 Jan. 1818; Heron, Notes (1851), 98.