BRODRICK, George, 4th Visct. Midleton [I] (1754-1836), of Peper Harrow, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Nov. 1754, 1st s. of George, 3rd Visct. Midleton. educ. Eton 1766-71; St. John’s, Camb. 1772. m. (1) 4 Dec. 1778, Hon. Frances Pelham (d. 28 June 1783), da. of Thomas, 2nd Lord Pelham, 1da; (2) 13 June 1797, Maria, da. of Richard Benyon, 1s. 5da. suc. fa. 22 Aug. 1765; cr. Baron Brodrick [GB] 11 June 1796.
Midleton was returned at Whitchurch on the interest of his uncle Thomas Townshend, later Viscount Sydney, and followed his lead in consistently opposing North’s Administration. He spoke several times on Irish affairs, and on 9 Apr. 1778 took the chair in committee on Irish trade and commerce. On 18 Feb. 1783 he voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, possibly out of deference to his uncle, since in Robinson’s list of March 1783 he was described as a follower of Fox. He did not vote for parliamentary reform, 7 May 1783: though ‘not averse to reforming Parliament’ he preferred ‘continuing as we are’ to a plan which would ‘new model us entirely’. The death of his wife in June 1783 deeply affected him, and in October he wrote to his brother-in-law Thomas Pelham:
I have been interrupted here by a messenger from the Duke of Portland who pressed me most strongly to offer myself for the county [Surrey] ... That never was a scheme of mine, and I am now less inclined or rather more determined against it than ever. I am not equal to the fatigue of a canvass ... I will venture to say that representing the county of Surrey cannot add to my ease, it may have a contrary effect.1
He was proposed by Portland as one of the commissioners to India under Fox’s East India bill, but on North’s demanding the appointment for one of his friends Midleton was offered a place at the Treasury Board. At first Midleton declined, fearing the strict attendance necessary would prevent him from devoting himself to ‘the scrupulous discharge’ of his duty to his motherless daughter.2 He was persuaded by Portland to accept, but shortly afterwards the King dismissed the Coalition, and Midleton went into opposition.
Before the general election of 1784 Robinson noted about Whitchurch: ‘Lord Sidney’s borough and will return two friends.’ Nevertheless Midleton was again returned, and continued to vote in opposition. In 1788 he signed the circular for a third party independent of Pitt and Fox. His last recorded vote in this Parliament was against Pitt over the Regency.
He died 12 Aug. 1836.