MANNERS, Robert (1758-1823), of Bloxholm, Lincs.
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Family and Education
Cornet, 3 Drag. Gds. 1775; lt. 1778; capt. 86 Ft. 1779; maj. 80 Ft. 1782 (disbanded 1783); brevet lt.-col. 1784; capt. lt. and lt.-col. 3 Ft. Gds. 1787, capt. and lt.-col. 1791, brevet col. 1794; maj. 3 Ft. Gds. 1795; maj.-gen. 1796; col. 30 Ft. 1799-d.; lt.-gen. 1803, gen. 1813.
Equerry to the King 1784-1801; first equerry and clerk marshal of the mews Jan. 1801-12, (Windsor) 1812-20.
Manners, a courtier brought into Parliament in 1784 as a supporter of administration, unsuccessfully contested Northampton with Treasury support in 1790. A year before he had been a potential candidate for Cambridgeshire on the Rutland interest, but the scheme was discarded and nothing came of a report that the Treasury would send him to Hull as candidate. After the election there was a vacancy at Cambridge and Manners was returned there on the Rutland interest. With a ‘great attachment to government’ and a ‘personal regard’ for Pitt, he was listed among opponents of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. He was a keen professional soldier and frequently absent from Westminster. Applying to Pitt on 8 Dec. 1793, when Manners was in Flanders, for him to succeed as a.d.c. to the King, his mother referred to ‘his zeal for the service, which has made him offer himself on every occasion’. (The Duchess of Rutland backed the application.) In a further unsuccessful request for Manners to be promoted colonel before the intended promotion of lieutenant-colonels and named a supernumerary a.d.c. by Lord Amherst, 18 Aug. 1794, she wrote: ‘When he was last in England he refused an office of pleasure and profit, because it would have prevented his service abroad this campaign’.2
Manners voted against the abolition of the slave trade on 15 Mar. 1796. He was among Pitt’s majority on the third reading of the increased assessed taxes bill, 4 Jan. 1798. In 1799 he was severely wounded in the Helder campaign. No evidence of further parliamentary activity on his part appears until 8 Apr. 1805 when he voted against the censure of Melville. He appears to have voted against repealing the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, but this may have been Lord Robert Manners. He supported Perceval’s administration, voting with government on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, against the censure of the Scheldt expedition, 5 and 30 Mar., against sinecure and parliamentary reform, 17 and 21 May, and against the amendment to the fifth resolution on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811; the Whigs in 1810 had classed him ‘against the Opposition’. He voted for Christian missions to India, 1 and 12 July 1813. From 1815 he voted with ministers against opposition motions for retrenchment and on 23 June 1817 for the suspension of habeas corpus. After surviving a contest in 1818, he voted on 18 May 1819 against Tierney’s censure motion. He voted regularly against Roman Catholic relief from 1812 onwards. His obituary recorded that he ‘had given an undeviating support to the measures and policy of Mr Pitt, and afterwards to those of the existing [Liverpool] administration’.3 He seldom spoke. On 1 May 1812 he objected to Sir Francis Burdett’s ‘slur’ on the army and on 2 May 1814 said a few words on the Cambridge canal bill.
Manners retired from politics in 1820 and died 9 June 1823.