COKE, Edward (1758-1836), of Longford, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. 1758, 2nd s. of Wenman Coke† of Longford by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of George Chamberlayne† (afterwards Denton) of Hillesden, Bucks.; bro. of Thomas William Coke I*. educ. Harrow 1774-5. m. 9 Apr. 1792, Grace, da. of William MacDowall Colhoun* of Wretham, Norf., 2s. 1da. suc. fa. at Longford 1776.
Sheriff, Derbys, 1819-20.
Coke continued to sit for Derby on the corporation interest with the concurrence of the dukes of Devonshire and to support the Foxite Whigs in Parliament. In this respect he had nothing like the zeal of his elder brother: he did not attend half as often and seldom did so when Coke of Norfolk did not, unless perchance the latter requested him to do so when unable to attend himself. This seems to have been the case with his votes of 5 Mar. 1810, 4 May 1812, 22 Apr. 1814 and 15 May 1818; if not on 25 Apr. 1804, when Edward voted for Pitt’s decisive attack on Addington’s ministry but his brother, whose dislike of a coalition with Pitt was known, stayed away. Unlike his brother, Edward had nothing to say for himself in debate, and whereas his brother joined the Whig Club in 1784, he did not join until 7 May 1793. This date was significant, as the Portland Whigs and Windham had speculated as to the possibility of weaning him from Fox. After 12 Apr. 1791 no vote of his with opposition is known, unless as anticipated he supported repeal of the Test Act in Scotland on 10 May 1791, until 18 Feb. 1793, but that was with Fox against war with France. He voted in the same sense on 21 Jan. 1794 and steadily next session. Then and in the ensuing session, he voted against the curtailment of civil liberty. On 26 May 1797, at Fox’s request, he voted for parliamentary reform and, seceding with Fox, reappeared in the minority lists only on 4 Jan. 1798 (assessed taxes) and 22 June 1798 (Ireland) until 1801, when he voted for Grey’s censure motion on 25 Mar.
Coke voted against Addington with Fox on 24 May 1803 and 23 Apr. 1804 and with Pitt on 25 Apr. 1804 and remained in opposition to Pitt’s second ministry. His support of his friends in office in 1806 was inconspicuous and he troubled them only on behalf of his father-in-law. As his brother had been unseated on petition, Coke stepped into his shoes as Member for Norfolk until the dissolution, in exchange for the Derby seat. He took no interest in county business: on 20 Apr. 1807 he was reported to have taken his seat, ‘being on his way to place his son at Eton school and has not troubled the House since his first appearance’. He certainly did not vote for Brand’s motion following his friends’ dismissal from office, 9 Apr. 1807, though he may have voted for Lyttelton’s similar motion of 15 Apr.1
After joining opposition on the address, 26 June 1807, Coke does not appear to have rallied to them until January and March 1810 when he voted for the Scheldt inquiry. After a summons, he likewise voted with them on the Regency, 21 Jan. 1811, and further on Ireland, 4 Feb. 1812; on McMahon’s appointment, 14 Apr.; for Catholic relief, 24 Apr.; for sinecure reform, 4 May, and for a stronger administration, 21 May. He was even less active in the ensuing Parliament when, apart from supporting Catholic relief in 1813, he joined opposition only on the Speaker’s conduct, 22 Apr. 1814, the army estimates, 6 Mar., the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816, and the Duke of Kent’s establishment, 15 May 1818. At the dissolution that year he made way for his son. He died 29 July 1836.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Norf. RO, Hamond mss, Astley to Hamond, 20 Apr.; Morning Chron. 22 June 1807.