THOMPSON, Beilby (1742-99), of Escrick, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 17 Apr. 1742, 1st s. of Beilby Thompson of Escrick by 2nd w. Sarah, da. of Richard Roundell of Hutton Wandsley, wid. of Sir Darcy Dawes, 4th Bt., of Lyons, Essex. educ. Craik sch. nr. Easingwold; Christ’s, Camb. 1759-64. unm. suc. fa. 1750.
Mayor, Hedon 1777, 1787.
Gent. of privy chamber 1784.
First returned for Hedon as a Rockingham Whig, Thompson had vowed to wash his hands of public life after his rebuff there in 1784. He had also been disappointed in his appeal to the Shelburne and coalition ministries for a peerage or some other mark of distinction. Perhaps for this reason he was ready to come into Parliament again by 1787, when Earl Fitzwilliam’s friends suggested him as a plausible candidate for York at the next election. Sir William Milner wrote ‘from his vicinity to this city, he must have greater interest than most people’, but Robert Sinclair, Fitzwilliam’s agent at York, knew better:
I verily believe, that however strong his inclination may be, to get into Parliament— and I know such inclination to be strong—yet if he can make good his seat for Hedon he will readily prefer it to that for York, almost upon any terms. I have very often talked to him upon this subject, and the reasons he assigned for such preference were so coincident with the general tenor of his character, that I could not doubt his sincerity. You may therefore depend upon his making his first push at Hedon—and that his attempt here (if such he will make) will be only in consequence of disappointment there. His interest and pretensions are so considerable however that they cannot be overlooked in any engagements or attempt at arrangements touching this place.1
Thompson was returned unopposed for Hedon in 1790. He is not known to have cast a single vote with opposition in the ensuing Parliament. His attitude to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791 was in doubt. In February 1793 he was on Windham’s provisional list for a ‘third party’ muster. It looks as if he wished Pitt to make him a peer, for on 6 Mar. 1793 his kinsman and former tutor Beilby Porteus, bishop of London, enclosed a letter from him to Pitt (which has not been found) with these remarks:2
He is an independent country gentleman living at a place called Escrick about six miles from York and possesses an estate of £6,000 or £7,000 a year, chiefly I believe in that county. He has hitherto uniformly acted in opposition.
I thought you might wish to know a little of his history, before you gave any answer to his letter.
Thompson was then in London. He was a defaulter on 24 Nov. 1795, but present by the 27th. The Treasury listed him ‘pro’ at that time. He retired, doubtless disappointed in his aspiration, in 1796. He died 10 June 1799.