ARCHER HOUBLON, John (1773-1831), of Great Hallingbury, Essex and Welford, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Dec. 1773, 1st s. of Jacob Houblon of Great Hallingbury by Susanna, da. and coh. of John Archer of Coppersale. educ. Felsted; Charterhouse 1784-91; Emmanuel, Camb. 1791. m. 29 July 1797, Mary Ann, da. of Thomas Berney Bramston* of Skreens, Essex, 10s. 3da. suc. fa. 1783; mat. gdfa. 1800 and took additional name of Archer by royal lic. 6 Jan. 1801.
Sheriff, Essex 1801-2.
Capt. 3 troop Essex yeomanry 1797; maj. 2 regt. Essex militia 1809, lt.-col. 1 regt. 1814.
Houblon’s father-in-law, the Member for Essex, wrote to the prime minister in 1799 to get him excused from the shrievalty that year, pointing out that he had raised a corps of yeomanry at considerable expense.1 A fox-hunting squire, he was sponsored by the friends of government in 1810 for the vacancy in the county representation caused by the death of the ‘old Whig’ Member Bullock. This step meant ‘Tory domination’ in Essex, but Houblon survived a protracted contest with ease, because his opponent displeased the Whigs. At the same time, he was tongue-tied on the hustings.2 Soon after his return, the Whigs listed him as ‘doubtful’ from their point of view. Rightly so, for he was on the government side on the Scheldt question, 5 and 30 Mar., and went on to vote against sinecure reform, 17 May 1810, 4 May 1812, and against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810. He further voted against a more effective administration, 21 May, and against Catholic relief, 22 June 1812.
Faced with another contest in 1812, Houblon refused to share expenses with his colleague Eliab Harvey, who left the field to the Whigs: the political compromise in Essex was thus restored. He continued to vote against Catholic relief, 2 Mar., 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816, 9 May 1817. Government counted on his support and usually got his vote, though he seldom uttered. On 6 June 1815 he appeared in the minority for a committee on the East India ships registry bill. On 6 Mar. 1816 he denied that the county petition against the property tax presented by his Whig colleague conveyed the unanimous sentiment of the country, acquiesced in the relief on agricultural taxation and himself voted for the tax on 18 Mar. On 3 Apr. he was hooted down when attempting to parry the attack on George Rose as treasurer of the navy. His attendance was regular that session. He voted for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. In the ensuing session he failed to muster for the divisions on the ducal marriage grants in April 1818, though he voted with ministers on 21 May. In the Parliament of 1818, too, he was little in evidence, though he presented a petition against Catholic relief, 3 May 1819, was in the majority against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June.
Houblon retired in 1820. Described by the family historian as ‘amiable and well meaning ... but of a negative personality’, he died 31 May 1831.3