PELHAM, Hon. Henry (1759-97).

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



1780 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 10 July 1759, 2nd s. of Thomas Pelham, 2nd Baron Pelham, by Anne, da. of Frederick Meinhardt Frankland; bro. of Hon. Thomas Pelham*. educ. Westminster 1770-5; M. de la Pleignière’s acad. at Caen 1775-6.1 m. 2 Nov. 1788, Catherine, da. of Thomas Cobbe of Newbridge House, co. Dublin, 3da.

Offices Held

Ensign, 3 Ft. Gds. 1775, lt. and capt. 1778, capt.-lt. and lt.-col. 1791, ret. 1792.


At the time of his return for Lewes on the family interest at the contested election of 1790 Pelham, who had joined the Whig Club on 2 Dec. 1788, was in France, attempting to recuperate from illness.2 His elder brother, who canvassed on his behalf, assured the electors that Henry would ‘be able to attend his duty, as soon as the Parliament may meet’,3 but if he did so, there is no record of his having spoken or voted. Although he spent lengthy periods in England, they appear to have been largely devoted to unsuccessful efforts to shake off the bad health which continued to afflict him.4 His allegiance remained initially with opposition: he was listed among the absent critics of government on the Oczakov issue, 12 Apr. 1791; and equally, later that month, among absent friends of the repeal of the Test Act with regard to Scotland; in April 1792 Thomas Pelham proposed to his friend Thomas Wallace, a staunch supporter of Pitt who was also incapacitated by illness, that he should pair with Henry;5 and in February 1793 his father construed his views on the outbreak of war as those of a ‘democrat’.6 Although his name was deleted from the list of Members ‘supposed attached’ to the Duke of Portland compiled in December 1792, it seems probable that, like his brother, he transferred his sympathies to government in 1794. In December 1795 Thomas Pelham, under pressure from Portland to resume his post in Ireland, expressed a desire to ‘obtain some additional income’ for Henry, ‘whose health will not allow him to undertake any office’;7 and in the survey drawn up for the general election of 1796 Rose classed him as ‘pro’.

Pelham retired from Parliament at the dissolution of 1796 and died 16 Jan. 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Add. 33092, ff. 35-38.
  • 2. Add. 33093, f. 118.
  • 3. Suss. Weekly Advertiser, 14 June 1790.
  • 4. Add. 33129, ff. 4, 6, 13, 37; 51845, Lady Pelham to Lady Webster, 31 Jan., 31 Oct. 1792; Minto, i. 393-4.
  • 5. Add. 51705, Pelham to Lady Webster, 8 [Apr. 1792].
  • 6. Add. 33129, f. 155.
  • 7. Portland mss PwF7424.