HUME, Alexander (c.1693-1765), of Wormleybury, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1693, 1st s. of Robert Home (subsequently Hume) of Ayton, Berwick, and bro. of Abraham Hume. m. 5 Apr. 1733, Mary, da. of Sir Thomas Frederick, gov. of Fort St. David, sis. of Sir John Frederick, 4th Bt. and of Sir Charles Frederick, 1da. d.v.p. His w.’s sis. Hannah m. Abraham Hume. suc. fa. 1732. Bought Wormleybury 1739.
Director, E.I. Co. 1737-40, 1742-5, 1747-8.
In 1754, because of ill-health, Hume did not contest Southwark, but claimed subsequently1 that ‘by his influence’ William Hammond was returned there ‘to the satisfaction of the Duke of Newcastle’. On his giving up Southwark Newcastle recommended him for Steyning ‘in the room of his brother who willingly resigned to make room for him’, and he was returned there unopposed at a cost of £1,400.2 During this Parliament he spoke against the prize bill ‘as it was drawn’,3 4 May 1759, and against the distillers bill, 25 Mar. 1760.4
On 10 Mar. 1760, having discovered that Newcastle intended to nominate another candidate at Steyning, Hume submitted a long memorandum to the Duke summarizing his parliamentary career, and concluding:
Mr. Hume is ignorant of what may have offended the Duke of Newcastle; he very seldom differed from him in Parliament; he carried all his elections at his own expense; with the very few exceptions enumerated, his conduct in Parliament always conformed with the wishes of the Government.
On 24 Dec. 1760 he wrote to Newcastle that his friends had invited him to stand for Southwark; he did not propose to join either of the other candidates ‘unless directed to do so by a majority of the electors who declared themselves my friends in so distinguished a manner’. He asked for the Duke’s assistance with the officers of the Customs and Excise; presumably he received a favourable reply; but on 24 Feb. 1761 complained that ‘not a single person belonging to the Customs hath hitherto been applied to’; again on 27 Mar.: ‘not one of them ... had the least hint given them as yet to be in my interest’; he must therefore struggle on unaided after having counted on such help. He was returned second on the poll.5
In Bute’s list of 1761 Hume is counted as an Administration supporter, and appears in Fox’s list drawn up early in December of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries. In the autumn of 1763 Jenkinson classed him as ‘doubtful’; he voted with Opposition over general warrants, 6 Feb. 1764; and when absent from the division on 18 Feb. 1764 was listed as an ‘absent friend’ by Newcastle who, however, on 10 May 1764 counted him as ‘doubtful’. Rockingham marked him as ‘pro’ in July 1765.
Hume was wealthy and independent; he held no Government contracts himself, though he sometimes acted in them for others,6 and occasionally subscribed to Government loans, e.g. £20,000 in 1762; and while he was generally well disposed to Government, after 1761 neither side seems to have been certain of him. At India House he was a friend of Clive’s, and there are a good many letters from him among the Clive papers.
He died 15 Sept. 1765, leaving his estate to his brother Abraham, besides more than £25,000 in Government stock.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: Sir Lewis Namier
- 1. Memorandum to Newcastle, 10 Dec. 1760, Add. 33055, ff. 265-7.
- 2. Add. 32995, f. 172.
- 3. H. V. Jones to Newcastle, Add. 32890, f. 488.
- 4. James West to Newcastle, 24 and 25 Mar. 1760, Add. 32903, f. 497 and 32904, f. 26.
- 5. Add. 33055, ff. 265-7; 32916, f. 304; 32919, f. 265; 32921, f. 119.
- 6. Cal. Treasury Pprs. 1742-5.