CALVERT, John I (1726-1804), of Albury Hall, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 6 May 1726, 1st surv. s. of Felix Calvert, London brewer, of Albury Hall by 2nd cos. Mary, da. of Felix Calvert of Nine Ashes. m. 8 Sept. 1757, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Edward Hulse, 1st Bt., of Breamore, Hants, 2s. suc. fa. 1755.
Calvert, formerly a substantial brewer, stood his third contest for Hertford in 1790. A protégé of the 1st Marquess of Salisbury, he was alleged by a local critic, the attorney John Hale, writing to Salisbury’s brother-in-law in 1789, to be unpopular because of ‘his want of humanity in denying his fellow-creatures, the miserable captives in our gaol the necessary comfort of fire at an unclement season’. Hale defied Calvert’s friends to point to
any useful law that originated with him for the general good upon the ground of benevolence during the many years he has been in Parliament, or any ray of light or information he from experience or observation has afforded upon the discussion of any matter of public importance during the long period he has been a representative.
Admittedly Calvert was privately amiable: ‘he is sensible and animated, but it is his utility and not the most pleasing countenance, significant nod, graceful bow or hearty squeeze of the hand so prevailing with many, that alone can merit my regard’.
Despite this, Calvert headed the poll. His explanation, at the county election meeting, of the arrangement whereby his son John came in for St. Albans was subsequently exposed as a sham. Opposition to him came to nothing in the election of 1796. He had continued to support Pitt, silently, in the House. By 1791 he was no longer favourable to the repeal of the Test Act; nor was his son John. He was teller against the corn millers’ price regulation bill, 7 Mar. 1794. On 4 Jan. 1798 he voted for the assessed taxes. In 1802 he retired. He died 22 Feb. 1804.
PRO NI, Downshire mss D607/B/228.