FINCH, Hon. Edward (?1697-1771), of Kirby Hall, nr. Rockingham, Northants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. ?1697, 5th s. of Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea, and bro. of Daniel, Lord Finch, and Hon. Henry, John and William Finch. educ. Trinity, Camb. 10 Oct. 1713, aged 16; Grand Tour. m. 6 Sept. 1746, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Palmer, 4th Bt., 2s. 3da. suc. to estates of his gt.-aunt Hon. Anne Hatton 1764, and took add. name of Hatton.

Offices Held

Minister to imperial diet 1724-5, to Poland 1725-7; envoy to Sweden 1728-39; minister to Poland, Apr.-May 1740; envoy to Russia 1740-2; groom of the bedchamber 1742-56; master of the robes 1757-60; surveyor of the King’s private roads 1760-d.


Edward Finch returned from his grand tour via Hanover, whence he reported to his father that Townshend and Carteret, who were there in attendance on the King, had ‘assured me that rather than send me into Rutlandshire as your Lordship’s bailiff ... they will cook me up some secretary place in Italy. Of Lord Carteret’s friendship for me your Lordship will not doubt and of Lord Townshend’s good disposition of doing something for me I have all the reasons in the world to assure you. All depends on a vacancy’. ‘I shall always call Ned the Protestant Envoy’, Lord Finch observed, on learning that his brother had been assigned to the German diet at Ratisbon. ‘My Lord Townshend once speaking to me of him did not give him in discussion the title of envoy but called him only the Protestant Thing’.1 He spent most of his diplomatic career in Sweden, where in 1736 he pleased George II as elector but embarrassed Walpole by putting up a plan for an alliance between the northern and the maritime powers against Prussia.2 In 1742 he retired on grounds of ill health, immediately after concluding an abortive treaty with Russia. Horace Walpole described him as combining the ‘unpolished sycophancy’ of the Russian court with the ‘formality of a Spaniard’.3

In an interval between two posts Finch was returned in 1727 for Cambridge University, for which his brother Henry had stood unsuccessfully at the previous general election. He continued to represent the university for over 40 years, founding jointly with his fellow Member, Thomas Townshend, the Members’ prizes. While on foreign service he is recorded as having voted only once, against the place bill of 1740. On his return to England in 1742 he attached himself to Carteret, was appointed to the King’s bedchamber, and spoke on the Address, 16 Nov. 1742, giving ‘an account of all his negotiations, and the interest as well as the views of every court in Europe.’4 He spoke warmly against the opposition motion of 6 Dec. 1743 for discontinuing the Hanoverian troops on British pay ‘as reflecting on the King’, for which he was called to order and told by the Speaker that he must ‘not mention that great person in the debate’.5 Next year he was recommended by Carteret for the surveyorship of works but was passed over in favour of his brother Henry, Pelham’s candidate. After Carteret’s dismissal he was allowed to retain his post at the personal request of the King (see Finch, William). He subsequently transferred his allegiance to the Pelhams, remaining faithful to Newcastle in the next reign.

He died 16 May 1771.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. 27 Aug. 1723 and 4 Feb. 1724, Finch mss at HMC.
  • 2. Coxe, Walpole, i. 483.
  • 3. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, ii. 120.
  • 4. Hen. Finch to Ld. Malton, 18 Nov. 1746, Fitzwilliam mss.
  • 5. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 191-2.