EGERTON, Sir Thomas, 7th Bt. (1749-1814), of Heaton, nr. Lancaster
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Family and Education
b. 14 Feb. 1749, o.s. of Sir Thomas Grey Egerton, 6th Bt., of Heaton by Catherine, da. of Rev. John Copley of Batley, Yorks. educ. Westminster 1764. m. 12 Sept. 1769, Eleanor, da. and coh. of Sir Ralph Assheton, 3rd Bt., of Middleton, Lancs., 2s. d.v.p. 3da. suc. fa. 7 Aug. 1766; cr. Lord Grey de Wilton, 15 May 1784, Earl of Wilton, 26 June 1801, with sp. rem. to 2nd and yr. sons of his da. Eleanor, m. 1794 to Robert Grosvenor, Visct. Belgrave.
Egerton was returned unopposed in 1772, and at each subsequent election. At first he voted in opposition: on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773, Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774, and Wilkes, 22 Feb. 1775; but on the American war he supported Government. In 1778 he raised a regiment of foot at Manchester for service in America,1 and voted with North’s Administration to the end.
Most of his speeches were on matters concerning Lancashire, and he was particularly sensitive about Lancashire’s trade or industry. In 1778 he opposed North’s proposals for opening Irish trade, and suggested a committee of inquiry.2 But in 1780, when the situation in Ireland was critical, he said of North’s further proposals:3
It was no longer a question of commerce but a question of great national importance, for which reason the several places in the kingdom likely to be affected ... thought it more decent and dutiful to remain silent and trust altogether to the wisdom and justice of Parliament.
On 26 Apr. 1781, fearing the effect of proposed bounties on linen goods, he asked for an adjournment to consult his constituents; and on 21 May proposed that cotton goods should receive the same bounty as linen.4
Egerton voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; was classed by Robinson as ‘North, doubtful’, and on the formation of the Coalition was considered for some promotion, probably a peerage.5 He did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, but on 20 Jan. 1784 announced his support of Pitt,6 and on 28 Jan. wrote to the King:7 ‘I ... do assure your Majesty that I have had no view whatever in my political life, but to support and maintain the true principles of the Constitution.’ He did not stand at the general election, and a month later was created a peer.
He died 23 Sept. 1814.