SEYMOUR, Horace Beauchamp (1791-1851), of 23 Bruton Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 22 Nov. 1791, 3rd s. of Hon. Hugh Seymour Conway† (afterwards Seymour) (d. 1801) of Hambledon, Hants and Lady Anna Horatia Waldegrave, da. and coh. of James, 2nd Earl Waldegrave; bro. of Hugh Henry John Seymour*. educ. Harrow 1803. m. (1) 15 May 1818, Elizabeth Malet (d. 18 Jan. 1827), da. of Sir Lawrence Palk†, 2nd bt., of Haldon House, Devon, 2s. 1da.; (2) 9 July 1835,1 Frances Selina Isabella, da. of William Stephen Poyntz*, wid. of Robert Cotton St. John Trefusis, 18th Bar. Clinton, s.p. KCH 1836. d. 21 Nov. 1851.
Lt. RN 1809; cornet 10 Drag. 1811, lt. 1812; lt. 18 Drag. 1814; capt. 60 Ft. 1815; capt. 23 Drag. 1815; capt. 1 Life Gds. 1815; brevet lt.-col. 1815; half-pay 1819, sold out 1835.
Gentleman usher to prince regent 1818-20, to George IV 1820-30, to William IV 1830-1; equerry to William IV 1832-7, to Queen Victoria June-July 1837; extra equerry to Queen Adelaide Mar. 1838.
Seymour’s father, an army officer and long-serving Member, was a younger son of the 1st marquess of Hertford, and Seymour owed his advancement in life to his aristocratic connections. After a false start in the navy, he entered the army, and was described by Harriette Wilson (erroneously as to his parentage) as ‘a gay, dashing son of Lord Somebody Seymour, of the 10th Hussars, whom everybody knows and few care much about’. Reputedly one of the strongest officers in the forces, he was said to have slain more men than anyone else at Waterloo. He received several promotions in 1815, including apparently one to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, as he was always thereafter known as ‘Colonel’ Seymour.2 According to Lady Williams Wynn, in May 1818 his wedding took place
in St. George’s [Hanover Square] at half past seven by owl light, the bridegroom having had half an hour to pass with the verger waiting for the rest of the company who likewise were waiting for the principal performer, the bishop of Gloucester, he being locked in the House of Lords for a division.3
That month, no doubt through his uncle, the 2nd marquess of Hertford, the lord chamberlain, and his wife, the regent’s mistress, Seymour was appointed a gentleman usher of the privy chamber. He joined the half-pay list the following year.
Brought in by Hertford for his pocket borough of Lisburn in February 1819, Seymour was an inactive supporter of the Liverpool administration, like his brother Hugh, who represented county Antrim on the Hertford interest from 1818 until his death in 1821.4 At the general election of 1820 he was returned for both Lisburn and Orford, one of Hertford’s English boroughs, but chose to continue to sit for the former. His only known vote that session, unless it was his brother’s, was against making economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820. He divided in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. Either he or Hugh paired against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and voted with government against economies, 28 May, 18 June 1821. He divided against reduction of the salt duties, 28 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. The 3rd marquess of Hertford, who had succeeded to his father’s title that summer, pleaded with Peel, the home secretary, for ‘something for Horace’ as well as the Garter, as the price of his political support. It is not known if any position was offered to Seymour, but he thanked Hertford for his liberality, 2 Oct. 1822.5 He was appointed to the corporations of Hertford’s Suffolk boroughs, Aldeburgh and Orford, during that year.6
Seymour voted against abolition of the house tax, 10 Mar., repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June, and inquiry into chancery administration, 5 June 1823. He divided against alteration of the representation of Edinburgh, 26 Feb., and inquiry into the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He voted for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 25 Feb., and against the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. 1825. As he had, 28 Feb. 1821 and (pairing) 30 Apr. 1822, he divided against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr.; enticed away by Hertford’s hospitality, he paired (probably with Croker) in this sense, 10 May 1825.7 He was in the minority against the second reading of the spring guns bill, 21 June. In September 1825 Hertford commented that ‘dissolution or no dissolution if I can job out something for Horace I shall be glad, if not I suppose I may well let him sell for his own advantage’. But the following March Hertford lamented that Seymour had again been passed over for military promotion.8 Croker’s arrangements for the return of himself and another Protestant Member for Aldeburgh were made conditional on some reward being granted to Seymour, but this linkage evidently came to nothing.9 At the general election of 1826 he left Lisburn, which Hertford wanted for another of his cousins, and, again having no need to fall back on Orford, came in for Bodmin, where his patron was cultivating an interest.10
Following the death of his wife in January, Seymour was given leave from the House for two weeks, 12 Feb., and for a further month, 10 Apr. 1827. In February Hertford applied to the duke of Wellington, the commander-in-chief, for a posting for Seymour, but nothing came of a plan whereby Hertford would pay off his debts in order to allow him to purchase a full-pay commission.11 He paired against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. Unless it was Henry Seymour, Member for Taunton, he voted against the Penryn election bill, 7 June. In November 1827, Sir Henry Hardinge* reported to Mrs. Arbuthnot that ‘one of Lord Hertford’s Members’ had been ‘desired to vote in any way the duke wishes - but Seymour, I am told, has been desired to do the same, unless the duke of Wellington accepts the office of commander-in-chief’.12 When Wellington succeeded Lord Goderich as prime minister in January 1828, Hertford remarked that
as to myself, if I can muster strength to obtain two or three favours, not more than one Member of Parliament commonly gets, I shall not grumble, but I shall preserve my independence, which I will not barter for a favour to Horace S.C. (for whom I want none now) - nor does he; for the family doubt whether I have influence enough over him to get him down to the House of Commons and I have no fancy for a Bodmin re-election.13
He was probably the ‘H. Seymour’ who voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and he again divided against Catholic relief, 12 May 1828.
In February 1829 Seymour confided to Hertford that he had hopes of marrying one of the Misses FitzClarence, but having bluntly told her father, the duke of Clarence, that his prospects were ‘none’, he needed a life interest of £1,000 a year; whether or not this was forthcoming, no marriage took place.14 That month he was listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, as likely to be ‘with government’ on Catholic emancipation, and Hertford urged him, insofar as it was compatible with his wishes, to support administration.15 Yet Seymour, who was a defaulter from the call of the House, 5 Mar., cast no votes on the subject. This was much to Hertford’s embarrassment, as it put him in the wrong not only with ministers but with Davies Gilbert, the co-proprietor of (and other Member for) Bodmin. On 9 Mar. Seymour, who had misunderstood his instructions, wrote an anxious letter to his patron in Italy explaining that he had abstained because Hertford’s opinions conflicted with those of his constituents, and concluding that ‘I wish for my own sake you had been in Piccadilly, I could not then have done wrong which I am now much in doubt about’.16 Unless it was his namesake Henry, he voted against the committal of the silk trade bill, 1 May 1829, and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. He divided against transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., reducing the admiralty grant, 22 Mar., Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. Having been returned for Bodmin at the general election that year, he was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’, and he divided in their minority on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830.
Seymour voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar. 1831, after which he was dismissed from his household position.17 He divided with opposition in favour of Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr., which precipitated a dissolution. At the ensuing general election he was again returned for Bodmin, although he may have been the Seymour who was mentioned as a possible Tory candidate at Coventry, where Hertford also had an interest.18 He voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, to postpone consideration of the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, to censure the Irish government over the Dublin election, 23 Aug., and against the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept. He divided against the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, for Hunt’s motion for giving the vote to all tax-paying householders, 2 Feb., and against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb. 1832. He voted against the third reading, 22 Mar., and paired (with Sir Charles Paget) against the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May. His only other known votes were with opposition against the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July. Partly through Hertford’s influence, he was in September reinstated as an equerry, and Thomas Raikes noted that ‘this nomination of an ultra-Tory to the household must prove to Lord Grey the real bias of the king’. Hertford, who called him a ‘royal Hanoverian and no longer a Tory’, observed that Seymour ‘wished to retire from Bodmin rather than from the household’. He declined an opening in county Antrim at the general election in December 1832, when he found himself without a seat.19
According to Lady Bedingfeld, who had it directly from him, Seymour
was left early an orphan, the sister and brothers were taken by different relations; his uncle, Lord Hertford, took him, and he was put in the army, and went young to India; he served all the war, he is now a widower with three children, a fine figure and handsome but a rather coarse, muddled complexion.20
Seymour, who returned to the Commons as a Conservative in 1841, died intestate at Brighton in November 1851.21 His elder son Charles Francis (1819-54) was killed at the battle of Inkerman. The younger, Admiral Frederick Beauchamp Paget (1821-95), became in 1882 the first and only Baron Alcester.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Stephen Farrell
His surname is sometimes, e.g. in the Returns, given as Seymour-Seymour.
- 1. IGI.
- 2. A.M. Annand, ‘Col. Sir Horace Seymour’, Jnl. for Soc. of Army Hist. Research, xlvii (1969), 86-88; Harriette Wilson Mems. (1929), 410.
- 3. Williams Wynn Corresp. 208.
- 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 122-3.
- 5. Add. 40350, f. 28; Eg. 3261, f. 100.
- 6. PP (1835), xxvi. 2086, 2510.
- 7. Add. 60287, ff. 84, 87.
- 8. Ibid. ff. 114, 184.
- 9. Add. 38301, f. 208.
- 10. Add. 60287, f. 198.
- 11. Wellington mss WP1/883/6, 9; 884/15.
- 12. Arbuthnot Corresp. 92.
- 13. Add. 60288, f. 13.
- 14. Eg. 3261, f. 240.
- 15. Add. 60288, f. 107.
- 16. Ibid. ff. 122, 139, 163.
- 17. Creevey Pprs. ii. 225.
- 18. Add. 36466, f. 410.
- 19. Add. 60289, ff. 45, 70; Raikes Jnl. i. 79.
- 20. Jerningham Letters, ii. 395.
- 21. The Times, 25 Nov.; Suss. Advertiser, 2 Dec. 1851. Most sources wrongly give 23 Nov. 1851 as his death date, including Gent. Mag. (1852), i. 91-92.