LEMON, Sir Charles, 2nd bt. (1784-1868), of Carclew, nr. Penryn, Cornw. and 37 Sackville Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Sept. 1784,1 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir William Lemon, 1st bt.*, of Carclew and Jane, da. of James Buller† of Morval. educ. Harrow 1798-1803; Christ Church, Oxf. 1803. m. 5 Dec. 1810, Lady Charlotte Anne Fox Strangways, da. of Henry Thomas Fox Strangways†, 2nd earl of Ilchester, 2s. 1da. all d.v.p. suc. fa. as 2nd bt. 11 Dec. 1824. d. 13 Feb. 1868.
Sheriff, Cornw. 1827-8; dep. warden of the stannaries 1852.
Cornet, Dorset yeoman cav. 1813.
On his father’s death in 1824 Lemon inherited all his Cornish property, including interests in several copper mines, and was the residuary legatee of the personal estate, which was sworn under £70,000.2 In 1830 he was returned at the head of the poll for the venal borough of Penryn, which he had represented in the 1807 Parliament and where he possessed ‘considerable property’, apparently with support from the corporation.3 Although he had previously voted with the Whig opposition, like his father, he had apparently taken no part in the Cornish reform movement. The duke of Wellington’s ministry regarded him as one of their ‘foes’, but he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. His Whig affiliation was confirmed by his admission to Brooks’s Club, 5 Dec., which was sponsored by his friend Lord Lansdowne. He presented several Cornish anti-slavery petitions, 5, 11 Nov., 6 Dec. 1830. Early in March 1831 he informed Lansdowne of ‘some important mistakes in the Cornish returns’ relating to the Grey ministry’s reform bill, and was asked to ‘make a statement of them’.4 He divided for the bill’s second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he withdrew from Penryn when the opportunity arose to stand for Cornwall, as ‘a candidate zealously interested in the cause of reform but a man of no party’. He declared that he ‘should not pledge himself to the details’ of the bill but that its main principle, ‘the disfranchisement of insignificant and nomination boroughs, admitted of no compromise’, and he called for ‘a national effort ... to throw off from our institutions the burthen with which time has encumbered them’. He was returned with the Whig sitting Member Wynne Pendarves after a notable contest in which he ousted the Ultra Tory, Sir Richard Vyvyan.5
He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831, and generally for its details. However, he voted against Downton’s inclusion in schedule A, 21 July, and for the Chandos amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug. He contradicted Wetherell’s assertion that the population of Appleby was equal to that of Truro, 19 July, and commended the ‘most desirable’ union of Penryn with Falmouth, which were ‘both ports increasing in importance’, 9 Aug. He divided for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. Following the Lords’ rejection of the reform bill he attended a county meeting, 26 Oct., when he expressed confidence that the people would avoid ‘violent passions’ as it was ‘a question of time only’ before the measure was carried. He maintained that it would ‘remedy’ the antagonism between the manufacturing and agricultural interests, while ensuring that the latter retained its ‘due weight in the representation’. On the other hand, he was grateful that he had not been asked to pledge support to all its details, as he ‘should have felt great embarrassment in some votes which I have given, departing from the original bill and I think introducing great improvements into it’.6 He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election, 23 Aug. When presenting a petition from the parochial clergy of Cornwall against the Beer Act, 27 Aug., he denied Hume’s imputation that they had a vested interest in maintaining magisterial control over the granting of public house licenses. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and generally for its details, but he was against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and Gateshead, 5 Mar. 1832. He was mentioned by Grey that January as ‘standing amongst the list of those whose claims are the strongest if new creations [of peers] should take place’.7 He voted for the bill’s third reading, 22 Mar., and the motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May. He divided for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and against the Conservative amendment for increased Scottish county representation, 1 June. He voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He divided with the minority for inquiry into colonial slavery, 24 May 1832.
At the general election of 1832 Lemon was returned unopposed for West Cornwall, after pledging support for agricultural protection and the commutation of tithes, and he sat as an advocate of ‘Whig principles’, with one brief interruption, until his retirement in 1857.8 He published a number of pamphlets on mining subjects and had a ‘passion for scientific pursuits’, cultivating a ‘collection of exotic trees and shrubs’ in his gardens. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1822 and helped to found the Statistical Society in 1834. He was also ‘a zealous freemason’ and served as ‘provincial grandmaster of Cornwall for many years’.9 On his death in February 1868 the baronetcy became extinct; he left his estates to his nephew, Colonel Arthur Tremayne (1827-1905).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. IGI (Cornw.).
- 2. PROB 11/1698/208; IR26/1050/249.
- 3. West Briton, 9 July, 6 Aug. 1830.
- 4. Grey mss, Lansdowne to Grey, 5 Mar. 1831.
- 5. West Briton, 29 Apr., 6, 13, 20 May 1831.
- 6. Ibid. 28 Oct. 1831.
- 7. Lansdowne mss, Grey to Lansdowne, 16 Jan 1832.
- 8. R. Cornw. Gazette, 25 Aug., 22 Dec. 1832; Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 133.
- 9. Gent. Mag. (1868), i. 389-90; Boase, Modern Eng. Biog. ii. 386.