BLUNT, Sir Charles Richard, 4th bt. (1775-1840), of Heathfield Park, Suss.
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Family and Educationb. 6 Dec. 1775, 1st s. of Sir Charles William Blunt, 3rd bt., and Elizabeth, da. of Richard Peers, alderman of London, of Croydon, Surr. educ. Rawes’ sch., Bromley, Kent.1 m. 20 Mar. 1824, Sophia, da. of Richard Baker, MD, of London, wid. of Richard Auchmuty of Bengal, 1s. suc. fa. as 4th bt. 29 Aug. 1802. d. 1 Mar. 1840.
Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1793; asst. to salt agent at Tumlook Feb. 1795, asst. to register of the Sudder Dewanny and Nizamut Adawlut Oct. 1795; head asst. 1796; register of Burdwan 1797; collector of Dacca 1802; officiating judge and magistrate of Beerbhoom Oct. 1803; acting judge and magistrate of Hooghly Nov. 1803; judge and magistrate of Beerbhoom 1804; officiating judge of the provincial ct. of Calcutta 1810; home 1811; out of service bef. 1815.
Blunt’s great-grandfather was John Blunt, the son of a Baptist shoemaker who had risen to become a leading London financier, been granted a baronetcy in 1720 for his ‘extraordinary services in raising the public credit’, but suffered ruin shortly afterwards when the South Sea Bubble burst.2 Subsequent generations of the family had followed less conspicuous careers, several in the service of the East India Company. Blunt’s father achieved the rank of postmaster-general of Bengal and left £100,000 on his death in 1802, ‘three-fourths to his eldest son’. Blunt himself enjoyed rapid promotion following his arrival in India late in 1794, and was said in 1802 to have been ‘lately ... promoted to a situation worth £4,000 a year’, presumably a reference to the collectorship of Dacca. Eight years after his return to England his nabob’s fortune enabled him to purchase the Heathfield Park estate, which further acquisitions swelled to 3,000 acres by the time of his death.3 He offered for Bossiney in 1818, 1819, and 1820, in token opposition to entrenched Tory patrons, and in 1820 was also mentioned as a possible candidate for Sussex.4 At a county meeting, 9 Apr. 1831, he declared himself to be ‘an old and staunch friend to reform’, and likened the Grey ministry’s bill to ‘a safety valve in the great machine of national government, by which the danger of any violent explosion would be completely removed’. He had recently accepted an invitation to stand for Lewes at the next general election and was commended by one local newspaper as a man who possessed the necessary resources to be truly independent. He described himself as ‘an honest and strenuous advocate for retrenchment and economy’ and ‘a friend to freedom throughout the world, never forgetting the poor slave’. He also blasted the ‘iniquitous’ game laws and demanded sweeping reform of all state institutions, including the church. He was returned unopposed after the sitting anti-reform Member retired.5
He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, steadily for its details, and for its passage, 21 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. 1831. He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the motion condemning the Irish administration, 23 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and for its details, the third reading, 22 Mar., and Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May 1832. In presenting a Lewes petition for the withholding of supplies until the bill was passed, 18 May, he maintained that his constituents’ support for reform had never faltered. He voted for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and against increased county representation for Scotland, 1 June. He divided with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. However, he voted with the minorities for the immediate abolition of slavery, 24 May, and an amendment to the vestry bill to reduce the property qualification for those serving on such bodies, 23 June. That day he introduced a bill to standardize arrangements for the charging of double tolls on turnpike roads, which gained royal assent, 16 Aug. (2 & 3 Gul. IV, c. 124), being among the final enactments of the unreformed Parliament. He was granted a week’s leave to attend the quarter sessions, 29 June 1832.
Blunt was again returned for Lewes at the general election of 1832 and sat as a Liberal until his death in March 1840. His title and estates in Sussex, Surrey, Wiltshire and Bengal passed to his only son Walter Blunt (1826-47), on whose early death as a result of a riding accident they devolved in turn on two nephews.6
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Howard Spencer
- 1. BL OIOC J/1/15, f. 111.
- 2. J. Carswell, South Sea Bubble, 19, 157-8, 258, 275.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1803), i. 283; (1840), i. 430.
- 4. E. Suss. RO, Ashburnham mss 3242, Egremont to Asburnham, 24 Feb. 1820.
- 5. Brighton Gazette, 31 Mar., 14 Apr.; Brighton Guardian, 6 Apr., 4 May; The Times, 9 Apr. 1831.
- 6. PROB 11/1924/151; Gent. Mag. (1847), ii. 333.