LUCY, George (1789-1845), of Charlecote House, Warws.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 8 June 1789, 1st s. of Rev. John Lucy (formerly Hammond) of Charlecote and Maria, da. of John Lane of Bentley Hall, Staffs. educ. Harrow 1804-5; Christ Church, Oxf. 1807; continental tour. m. 2 Dec. 1823, Mary Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Williams, 1st bt., of Bodelwyddan, Flints., 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1823. d. 30 June 1845.
Maj. 3 Warws. militia 1808; cornet, Warws. yeoman cav. 1814.
Recorder, Fowey 1819-27.
Sheriff, Warws. 1831-2.
Lucy, the heir to a Warwickshire landed estate, had had an interest at Fowey purchased for him by his father in 1818, and ‘never ... [knew] real peace of mind again’. He was returned at the general election that year but unseated on petition the following March. He subsequently agreed to share the representation with his rival Joseph Austen, and was returned in 1820 after a threatened opposition evaporated.1 He was an occasional attender who gave general but silent support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry. He divided against economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820. That October he expressed to a friend his suspicion that the government regretted having initiated legal proceedings against Queen Caroline, for although ‘every unbiased person must be clear of her guilt’, the case against her had been ‘so badly got up’ that she was likely to ‘escape’. Ministers should have been ‘satisfied they were going on sure ground before making a trial’. He later wrote to Austen that the proposed allowance of £50,000 to the queen was ‘too much’ and that an opposition attempt to insert her name in the liturgy would ‘try the strength of ... government’, but he thought the outcome of the debate on 26 Jan. 1821 had helped to ‘keep ... ministers in their places’.2 He voted in defence of their conduct, 6 Feb. He divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., but for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May 1822. He divided against removing Catholic peers’ disabilities, 30 Apr., and inquiry into the lord advocate’s conduct towards the Scottish press, 25 June 1822. In April 1823 he was named as the residuary legatee of his father’s estate, which included personalty sworn under £18,000 and resworn under £20,000 in 1825.3 He voted against the motion condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June, and for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824. That autumn he wrote to Austen that ‘having seen what Parliament is ... I am grown indifferent about it and would prefer ... a pecuniary return to a seat’.4 He divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., and against Catholic relief, 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. At the general election in 1826 he was returned for Fowey after a troublesome contest and survived a subsequent petition.5 He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, and repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He divided against extending the East Retford franchise to Bassetlaw freeholders, 21 Mar. 1828. He presented a Fowey petition for continuation of the export bounty on pilchards, 17 Feb. 1829. That month Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would side ‘with government’ on Catholic emancipation, but in fact he voted against their bill, 6, 27, 30 Mar. He divided with the minority to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May 1829, but was against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. At the general election that summer it was reported that he had retired ‘in consequence of family arrangements, which will necessarily occasion his absence from this country, which ... he does not consider to be compatible with his parliamentary duties’.6
In the summer of 1831 Lucy observed to his successor, John Severn, that there seemed little prospect of saving Fowey from the disfranchisement proposed by the Grey ministry’s ‘abominable’ reform bill, which the Commons was certain to pass as the government would not ‘dare to flinch’ from the details ‘as given out to the public’. He believed that if the Lords rejected the measure ‘the people finding their hopes dashed ... may grow desperate and ... a revolution may be the consequence in six months’, but added that ‘they would never have thought of getting so much, and would have been contented with far less, if the ministers had not put it into their heads’. He feared that ‘in the excited state of the country and under the influence of the innovating spirit of the time’, there was ‘little ... doubt’ that the bill’s passage ‘must fast pave the way to a republican form of government’. When the bill was carried, he wrote to Austen:
I suppose it will be impossible hereafter for idle men like myself to get seats in Parliament, and that none can enter Parliament who have not local interests in the places they sit for ... so that this greater diffusion of the elective franchise actually contracts the number of those out of which MPs can be chosen, and many interests, such as the East and West Indian, may have none in Parliament to watch over and protect them. The future governments ... of the country ... must be at the mercy of the fluctuating opinions of the people and mob law hereafter we must submit to be governed by. How upon earth men in their senses could propose such a scheme, is to me perfectly incomprehensible.7
He devoted much of his retirement to the ‘renovation and embellishment’ of the ‘fine Elizabethan mansion of Charlecote’, on which he ‘expended large sums’ and which showed him to be ‘a man of polished mind and refined taste’. He died in June 1845 and was succeeded in turn by his eldest son William Fulke Lucy (1824-48) and his second son Henry Spencer Lucy (1830-90).8
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Terry Jenkins
- 1. A. Fairfax-Lucy, Charlecote and the Lucys, 252-3, 281; West Briton, 3, 10 Mar. 1820.
- 2. CUL, Buxton of Shadwell Court mss 117/69, Lucy to Buxton, 17 Oct.; Treffry mss (Aspinall transcripts), Lucy to Austen, 12 Dec. 1820, 27 Jan. 1821.
- 3. PROB 11/1669/222; IR26/964/327.
- 4. Treffry mss, Lucy to Austen, 1 Oct. 1824.
- 5. West Briton, 9, 30 June 1826.
- 6. Ibid. 30 July 1830.
- 7. Cornw. RO AD 275/17-18; Treffry mss, Lucy to Austen, 23 July 1832.
- 8. Gent. Mag. (1845), ii. 534-5; PROB 6/221/247; 11/2014/246.