PAKENHAM, Hon. Hercules Robert (1781-1850), of Pakenham, co. Westmeath.

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



27 Feb. 1808 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 29 Sept. 1781, 3rd s. of Edward Michael, 2nd Baron Longford [I], by Catherine, da. of Hercules Langford Rowley, MP [I], of Summerhill, co. Meath. educ. Armagh; Caius, Camb. 1799. m. 25 Dec. 1817, Hon. Emily Stapleton, da. of Thomas, 15th Baron Le Despenser, 6s. 3da. CB 4 June 1815; KCB 19 July 1838.

Offices Held

Ensign, 40 Ft. 1803, lt. 1804; lt. 95 Rifles 1804, capt. 1805; maj. 7 W.I. Regt. 1810; brevet lt.-col. 1812; lt.-col. 26 Ft. 1812, 2 Ft. Gds. 1814, half-pay 1817, brevet col. 1825; a.d.c. to George IV 1827; maj.-gen. 1837; col. 43 Ft. 1844; lt.-gen. 1846.

Trustee, linen board [I] 1827.


Pakenham’s elder brother Col. Edward Michael Pakenham canvassed county Antrim in 1807, when their brother-in-law Sir Arthur Wellesley* had just been appointed chief secretary, but washed his hands of it and joined the Copenhagen expedition with Hercules. In February 1808 Hercules was returned on a vacancy for county Westmeath, where his eldest brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, a representative peer and friend of government, had revived a strong proprietary interest. Soon afterwards he was reported to be attending in support of the Portland ministry, but proceeded to Portugal with his brother Edward and Sir Arthur Wellesley, who thought him one of the best officers of riflemen he had ever seen. His Peninsular service, during which he was severely wounded and received a gold cross, limited his attendance, though he voted with ministers on the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan., 23 Feb. and 5 Mar. 1810. The Whigs listed him ‘Government’ then, but he appeared in the majority against ministers for a stronger administration, 21 May 1812, thanks no doubt to the Wellesley connexion.

Pakenham re-emerged at Westminster in June 1815, when he made his only recorded speech in favour of the existing system of corporal punishment in the army and voted with government on the grant to the Duke of Cumberland, 29 June and 3 July. He subsequently voted with ministers on the critical divisions of 6 May 1816, 7 and 25 Feb. 1817 and 18 May 1819. On 9 May 1817 and 3 May 1819 he voted against Catholic relief, as he would doubtless have done previously if present, having been returned on an anti-Catholic interest. Pakenham died 7 Mar. 1850.

Belfast News Letter, 19 May 1807; Add. 40221, f. 40; Wellington Despatches, iii. 129.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp