DE LANCEY, Oliver (c.1749-1822), of Effingham Hill, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. c.1749, s. of Brig.-Gen. Oliver De Lancey of New York by Phila, da. of Jacob Franks of Philadelphia.1 educ. in England. unm.
Cornet, 14 Drag. 1766, lt. 1770; capt. 17 Drag. 1773, maj. 1778; adj. gen. N. America and lt.-col. 1781, brevet col. 1790, maj.-gen. 1794; col. 17 Drag. 1794, 1795, lt.-gen. 1801, gen. 1812.
Barrack master gen. Jan. 1794-1804.
De Lancey came of a distinguished American loyalist family of Huguenot descent.2 He served against the American rebels, like his father, who raised three battalions and became, after the loss of the colonies, a claimant for compensation, dying in England in 1785. De Lancey himself was employed in the adjudication of loyalist claims. In 1791 he helped to suppress the Birmingham riots.3 In 1792 he was appointed superintendent-general of barracks, and in 1794 barrack master general at £1,500 a year. In 1796 he headed the poll at Maidstone on the ministerial interest. His opponents tried in vain to disturb him by virtue of his office and because he was ‘a contractor for building barracks and an alien refugee’.4 He voted for the loyalty loan bonus, 1 June 1797, and for Pitt’s triple tax assessment, 4 Jan. 1798. His first known speech, 27 Mar. 1798, was in defence of the precautions taken against a French invasion which, he was sure, were sufficient to resist Buonaparte; but he admitted that he was ‘not in the habit of speaking in public’. On 2 Dec. 1800 he insisted that there was a deficiency of horses for the cavalry regiments.
De Lancey declined a contest in 1802 and was disgraced two years later when the commissioners of military inquiry reported that he could not account for considerable sums of money entrusted to him. No further action was then taken despite pressure from John Calcraft* in the House, as the only fault imputed was negligence. The property he had purchased and improved in Surrey was, however, seized by government to meet his liabilities in 1806.5 He died in Edinburgh, 3 Sept 1822.