BATHURST, Hon. Henry (1714-94), of the Inner Temple.
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Family and Education
b. 20 May 1714, 2nd s. of Allen Bathurst, M.P., 1st Earl Bathurst, and bro. of Hon. Benjamin Bathurst. educ. Eton 1725-8; Balliol, Oxf. 1730; I. Temple, 1730, called 1736, bencher 1746; L.Inn 1743. m. (1) 19 Sept. 1754, Anne James (d. 4 Feb. 1758), wid. of Charles Phillips, s.p.; (2) 14 June 1759, Tryphena, da. of Thomas Scawen of Maidwell, Northants., 2s. 4da. cr. Baron Apsley 24 Jan. 1771; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl 16 Sept. 1775.
Solicitor-gen. to Prince of Wales 1745-8; K.C. 1746; attorney-gen. to Frederick, Prince of Wales 1748-51, to George, Prince of Wales 1751-4; justice of the common pleas 1754-71; commr. of the great seal 1770-1; ld. chancellor 1771-8; ld. president of the Council 1779-82.
Henry Bathurst was returned by his father for the family seat at Cirencester a month before coming of age, voting against Walpole’s government in every recorded division. He spoke for the motion for an address to the King to settle £100,000 a year out of the civil list upon the Prince of Wales, 22 Feb. 1737.1 When on Walpole’s fall Lord Bathurst received office, Henry supported the Government by speaking for the Hanoverian troops on 16 Nov. 1742, according to an opponent ‘in the most ridiculous, indecent, stupid speech that ever was made’.2 He also voted for them in subsequent divisions. After his father’s dismissal in 1744, he attached himself to Leicester House, becoming solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales among whose followers he was classed in 1746. Horace Walpole describes him to Mann, 4 Mar. 1749, as ‘making some figure in the rising opposition’ and two years later as ‘an unpleasant, but sometimes a good speaker’.3 In the 2nd Lord Egmont’s lists of a future government on the Prince of Wales’s accession he appears as secretary at war. Going over to the Government on the Prince’s death in 1751, he was continued in his office. At the next general election he was again put up by his father for Cirencester but ultimately withdrew in favour of his elder brother Benjamin. On the occurrence of a judicial vacancy a few months later, Lord Bathurst applied for it on Henry’s behalf to Hardwicke, who wrote to Newcastle on 4 Apr. 1754:
I have ... seen Lord Bathurst this morning, and all I have said to him is that I will make no engagement, except that I will mention his son’s name to the King, and do justice to his character. That there are other candidates, particularly Mr. Wilmot [afterwards Sir Eardley Wilmot, lord chief justice of the common pleas], who was one of those thought of the last time, and I own is the fittest man I know. I beg your Grace would be so good as to give no greater encouragement.4
Nevertheless Bathurst was appointed, thus opening the way to a step for Hardwicke’s son, Charles Yorke. He remained a judge till Charles Yorke’s death in 1770, when he was appointed a commissioner for the great seal and a year later, to the surprise of the profession, lord chancellor.
He died 6 Aug. 1794.