WARRENDER, Sir George, 4th Bt. (1782-1849), of Lochend, Haddington.
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Family and Education
b. 5 Dec. 1782, 1st s. of Sir Patrick Warrender†, 3rd Bt. of Lochend by his w. H- née Blair. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1799; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1811. m. 3 Oct. 1810, Hon. Anne Evelyn Boscawen, da. of George Evelyn, 3rd Visct. Falmouth, s.p. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 14 June 1799.
Ld. of Admiralty Oct. 1812-Feb. 1822; commr. of Board of Control Feb. 1822-Feb. 1828; PC 4 Feb. 1822.
Dir. (extraordinary) Bank of Scotland 1822-8.
Lt.-col. Berwick, Haddington, Linlithgow and Peebles militia 1805.
Warrender’s father had been Member for Haddington Burghs, 1768-74 on the interest of Sir Hew Dalrymple†, and when a vacancy arose there in December 1804 Warrender offered Sir Hew junior £800 a year for the seat. The latter demurred, commenting, ‘somebody has told him that he is under the guidance of Lord Binning [his friend at Oxford] and to prove the contrary (I really believe) he is determined to be in opposition’.1 Sir Hew returned his brother John Dalrymple, who in 1806 married Warrender’s only sister.
In 1807 Warrender, who had joined Brooks’s Club the year before, came in for the burghs after a contest, paying Sir Hew £4,500 for the Parliament. By his contract, apparently, ‘he was free to act as he pleased’ but he gave, as expected, ‘very cordial support’ to Sir Hew’s Grenvillite friends in opposition, speaking occasionally on their behalf, usually on military matters.2 He objected to the government’s militia proposals, 22, 28 July 1807, 18 and 30 May 1808 and 14 Feb. 1809, but criticized Burdett’s notion of abolishing corporal punishment in the army, 30 June 1808, and again 13 Mar. 1812. He was active in questioning witnesses at the bar of the House on the Duke of York’s conduct early in 1809. He was strongly pro-Catholic and assisted Lord Grenville in his canvass for the chancellorship of Oxford later in 1809.3 He was one of the impatient young Whigs who ‘insisted on an amendment the first day as the condition of their support’ in January 1810, and keenly supported the Scheldt inquiry; but was seen to cheer Perceval when he got the better of Tierney in debate. A member of the finance committee in 1810, 1811 and 1812, he advocated a reduction of the cavalry in the debate on the military estimates, 23 Mar. 1810. On 21 May he voted against parliamentary reform, despite his support for the discharge of the radical Gale Jones on 16 Apr.
After his marriage in October 1810 to the younger sister of Lord Falmouth, who was a ministerialist, Warrender was more selective in his support for opposition. He voted with them on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811, but being ‘a good natured man’, admired Perceval’s conduct in debate and did not obey their summons for 21 Jan., though he voted for Catholic relief and Irish tithe reform, 31 May, 6 June 1811. He at this time condemned ‘rats’ on the Whig side but said he would leave the Whigs if they allied with Canning.4 Yet on 24 Feb. 1812 Charles Williams Wynn wrote of him:
Warrender discovered a great inclination to rat at the beginning of the session in consequence of a promise of a seat in the next Parliament from his beau frère Lord Falmouth. It was even supposed that the crime was consummated as upon the Household question [27 Jan.] he sat upon the other side and voted with them. In consequence when he got up at the end of the last Irish debate [4 Feb.], he had the pleasure of hearing among the shouts of ‘Question’ &c. a most audible cry from several quarters of ‘No rat’. The hint however was useful for he voted with us and did the same again last night and now professes that he never had any intention of leaving us.5
On 4 Feb. he had declared that his vote was for Catholic relief and not directed against ministers. On 24 Feb. he was in the opposition majority against McMahon’s sinecure. He still wavered, for he voted with government against Turton’s censure motion, 27 Feb.,6 but rejoined opposition on the orders in council, 3 Mar., the barrack estimates, 13 Apr., and Catholic relief, 24 Apr. On 13 and 14 May he advocated early provision for the late Spencer Perceval’s eldest son and next day a monument to Perceval, though he had always voted against him. He presented a petition in favour of the orders in council from Port Glasgow, 15 May, but was in the majority for a stronger government, 21 May 1812.
Warrender subsequently transferred his loyalty to Lord Liverpool’s administration. At the election of 1812 he was returned for Truro on his brother-in-law’s interest, giving up his pretensions to Haddingtonshire, which he had nourished while still in opposition, to fall in with Lord Melville’s arrangements.7 His reward for his conversion was a place on the Admiralty board which he gave up for another in 1822. On 2 Mar., 13 and 24 May 1813 he voted for Catholic relief, but not subsequently. From November 1814 he regularly moved and defended the naval estimates, speaking ‘prodigiously ... wallowing and spouting ... like a great grampus’. His colleague Croker, who only once saw him discomposed, during the opposition onslaught in the spring of 1816, described him as ‘a much cleverer fellow than he was generally thought’.8 He seems also to have been disgruntled about a pointed reference of Whitbread’s in the debate of 24 Apr. 1815 to rats, which he challenged, only for Whitbread to explain it away. After taking office he seldom contributed to debate except on business: though he briefly supported the revised Corn Laws, 27 Feb. 1815, and several times spoke on Scottish local affairs. He voted against inquiry into popular education, 3 June 1818. On 16 Mar. 1819 he was given leave for a bill to allow Members to qualify for English constituencies with a Scottish property qualification.
Although his brother-in-law wished him to retain his seat for Truro in 1818, Warrender elected to fight the government’s battle at Sandwich, which was ‘anything but a sinecure’.9 He was one of the Members who remained in town until 23 Dec. 1819 to support coercive measures against radicalism. A generous host (whence his sobriquet of Sir George Provender) and a celebrated amateur musician, Warrender died 21 Feb. 1849.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. SRO GD51/1/198/3/38.
- 2. Spencer mss, Cassillis to Spencer, 8 June 1810.
- 3. HMC Fortescue, ix. 428.
- 4. Harrowby mss, Ryder to Harrowby, 5 Jan.; Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 18 Jan. 1810; Phipps, Plumer Ward Mems. i. 321, 336, 337.
- 5. NLW mss 2791, C. to H. Williams Wynn, 24 Feb. 1812.
- 6. Phipps, i. 437.
- 7. NLW mss 2791, C. to H. Williams Wynn, 7 July 1812; Add. 38249, f. 340; SRO GD51/1/198/9/20.
- 8. Canning and his Friends, ii. 20; Croker Pprs. ed. Jennings, i. 82.
- 9. Add. 38458, f. 227; NLS mss 1041, f. 119.