CUST, Hon. John (1779-1853), of Belton House, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. 19 Aug. 1779, 1st s. of Brownlow Cust†, 1st Baron Brownlow, by 2nd w., and bro. of Hon. Edward Cust*, Hon. Peregrine Francis Cust*, and Hon. William Cust*. educ. Eton 1788-93; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1797; European tour (Russia, Germany) 1801. m. (1) 24 July 1810, Sophia (d. 21 Feb. 1814), da. and coh. of (Sir) Abraham Hume*, 2nd Bt., 2s. 1da.; (2) 22 Sept. 1818, Caroline (d. 4 July 1824), da. of George Fludyer*, 4da.; (3) 17 July 1828, Lady Emma Sophia Edgcumbe, da. of Richard Edgcumbe*, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Brownlow 25 Dec. 1807; cr. Earl Brownlow 17 Nov. 1815; GCH 1834.
Ld. lt. Lincs. 1809-52; recorder, Boston 1820.
Cornet, Lincs. yeomanry 1798; capt. R. North Lincs. militia 1803, maj. 1805; col. S. Lincs. militia 1811.
Cust, ‘a student of the classics with literary and refined tastes’,1 was returned unopposed for Clitheroe on his father’s recently acquired interest in 1802 and at the next two general elections. He made no mark in the House and is not known to have spoken in debate. He voted against the Addington ministry on the Irish militia bill, 10, 11 and 13 Apr. 1804, but not in the divisions of 23 and 25 Apr. which sealed the government’s fate. On 10 June Lord Brownlow wrote to Pitt:
As under the present circumstances it must doubtless be acceptable to you to know the political opinions of Members of Parliament, I do myself the honour of waiting on you for the purpose of introducing to you my son, Mr Cust, who is constant in his attendance on parliamentary business; and at the same time to acquaint you that you may rely on the support of him and myself to the general measures of your administration ... this line of conduct is in strict conformity with that which I pursued during your late administration.2
Cust duly supported Pitt’s second ministry and voted against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805; but when his father wrote to the minister two months later soliciting a step in the peerage and a promise of the succession to the lord lieutenancy of Lincolnshire, he was still seeking an opportunity of ‘introducing to you my eldest son who is in Parliament but, I believe, has not the honour of being personally known to you’.3
Cust voted against the Grenville ministry’s repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, but on 17 May he apparently joined Brooks’s Club. From June until November he was on militia duty in Huntingdonshire.4 In one source he was listed in the minority against ministers on the Hampshire election petition, 13 Feb. 1807, but on 2 Mar. he was a defaulter ordered to attend the House on the 10th. Shortly afterwards he wrote to his cousin, Simon Yorke*:
A call of the House summoned me hither ‘invita Minerva’ last Monday, but as I sat near a fortnight on the election committee about a month ago, I shall not another, and I have therefore got leave of absence for a fortnight on urgent private business, or in plainer terms, for the sake of fox-hunting.5
He was removed from the Commons at the end of the year by the death of his father, whom the Portland ministry had regarded as ‘doubtful’ on their accession to power.6
He obtained the lord lieutenancy in 1809 and successfully applied to Lord Liverpool for promotion in the peerage in 1815, claiming that ‘no one has been a more steady and zealous friend to your lordship’s administration, and in carrying into execution the measures of government’, particularly those relating to the militia.7 It was later said of him that ‘socially, he was considered very alarming, and many people were terrified of him’.8 He died 15 Sept. 1853.