MINCHIN, Humphrey (1727-96), of Holywell, Droxford, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



11 June 1778 - 1784
27 Apr. 1785 - 1790
1790 - 26 Mar. 1796

Family and Education

b. 1727, 1st s. of Paul Minchin of Ballinakill, King’s Co. by Henrietta, da. of Joseph Bunbury of Johnstown, co. Carlow. educ. Trinity, Dublin 11 Jan. 1742, aged 14. m. 4 Aug. 1750, Clarinda, da. of George Cuppaidge of Dublin, 4s. 6da. suc. fa. 1764.

Offices Held

2nd serjt.-at-arms [I] 1754-d.

Clerk of Ordnance Apr.-Dec. 1783.

Capt. N. Hants militia 1779, lt.-col. 1793-d.


Minchin sat for Okehampton on the interest of Lord Spencer. In 1787 he informed his patron that he felt no longer able to act with opposition and proposed to support Pitt; Spencer allowed him to hold the seat until the dissolution in 1790 and washed his hands of him. He was called ‘the miscreant Minchin’ by the satirists.1 He was then returned for Bossiney in a seat placed at the disposal of friends of government by its patron Lord Mount Edgcumbe. He continued to support Pitt, who reported him as having spoken against Grey’s motion on the Oczakov question on 20 Feb. 1792.2 He had also on 8 Apr. 1791 moved for an inquiry into hemp growing, to prevent dependence on imports from hostile countries. He was listed an opponent of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland the same month. On 22 Feb. 1793 he defended the erection of barracks. He defended the Quebec convoy, 29 Jan., and chaired the committee on the militia bill, 13 Mar. 1794.

Having twice written before 1790 to ask Pitt for an Irish peerage, he renewed his application on 8 July 1793, complaining that favours were bestowed on those who had joined Pitt ‘at the last hour of the day’ while he had ‘strenuously and assiduously’ supported him for seven years. He added that his property and connexions in Ireland were ‘much greater than those of many who have received that honour’. Moreover, he pointed out that regular attendance in Parliament exposed him to the ‘sarcasms of Mr Sheridan and many more who not attending to the principles on which I left them and joined you take every occasion to laugh at and reproach me for the folly of my conduct in quitting them’. In conclusion, he asked Pitt to address his reply to him as Lt.-col. North Hants Regt., Tunbridge Wells, ‘because there are other persons of my name here to whom I do not wish to have the subject of it by mistake communicated’. A further application followed on 3 July 1794, when he assured Pitt that Dundas and Rose, with whom he had spoken on the subject, were wrong in supposing that he was of no consequence in Ireland, where ‘the largest share’ of his property lay, and that ‘from the particular situation respecting my family at this time it will be of much more value than a greater favour at another’. On 3 Aug. Minchin repeated his allegation that ‘much depends upon it’, and on 23 Nov., replying to a ‘circular Treasury letter’ requesting his attendance on 30 Dec., he reproached Pitt with not appreciating his services, but stated that he would continue to be among Pitt’s ‘steady friends’. His death, unrewarded, on 26 Mar. 1796 ‘was very sudden. He was on the point of sitting down to dinner, apparently in perfect health, and reaching to hang up his hat, he fell in a fit, and died almost instantly.’3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Cristicisms on the Rolliad (1790), ii. 129.
  • 2. Geo. III Corresp. i. 738.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/160, ff. 7, 9, 11, 13; Gent. Mag. (1796), i. 262, 349.