DUCKETT, George (1777-1856), of Upper Grosvenor Street, Mdx.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 17 July 1777, o. surv. s. of Sir George Jackson* (afterwards Duckett), 1st Bt., of Hartham House, Corsham, Wilts. by 2nd w. Grace, da. and h. of Gwyn Goldstone, London merchant, of Goldstone, Salop, wid. of Robert Neale jun. of Shaw House, Melksham, Wilts. educ. Charterhouse 1788-91; Ritterakademie, Lüneburg; Brunswick. m. (1) 17 July 1810, Isabella (d. 10 Oct. 1844), da. and coh. of Stainbank Floyd of Shrewsbury, Salop and Barnard Castle, co. Durham, 1s. 1da.; (2) 30 Apr. 1846, Charlotte, da. of Edmond Seymour of Inholmes, Berks. and Crowood Park, Wilts., wid. of Joseph Laxe, s.p. Took the name of Duckett with his fa. 3 Feb. 1797, suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 15 Dec. 1822.
Lt. W. Essex militia 1797, capt. 1798, maj. 1804, lt.col. 1805.
Sheriff, Herts. 1826-7.
On 29 Apr. 1807 Duckett’s father wrote to Lord Sandwich:
Mr Rose has this morning said that in his opinion the borough under your lordship’s command is yet open; and promised to write to you this post. The gentleman on whose account he has undertaken this, is Colonel Duckett my son; and supposing your lordship to be disengaged as to the candidate whom you may be disposed to patronize, I take the liberty to assure you that you cannot confer the honour on one more deserving it. His politics are with your lordship’s and the present government. He is a young man of strict honour and great integrity, and has abilities that in all probability may render him a character of some distinction.
George Rose* did indeed write to Sandwich the same day, commending Duckett as ‘a most respectable young man of good landed property, and considerable right of succession’ and ‘of a most unimpeachable character as well as possessing considerable talents’. The terms would be left to Sandwich, whose father had been a friend of Duckett’s. Rose had no personal acquaintance with him, ‘but he is just the sort of young man I wish to see in Parliament’.1
Duckett did not obtain Sandwich’s nomination for Huntingdon and came in for Lymington instead, in place of his brother-in-law Sir Harry Burrard Neale. He duly supported the Portland ministry, speaking on their behalf against Whitbread’s motion, 6 July 1807,2 and for the address, and in defence of the Copenhagen expedition, 21 Jan. 1808. He objected to Burdett’s attack on courts martial, 14 Mar.: ‘To abridge the power of the crown in this point would not add to the liberties of the people, but to the independence of that army which was so much the object of constitutional jealousy’. He was a steward of the Pitt Club that year and listed ‘Government’ by the Whigs in 1810. He rallied to Perceval’s ministry on the address and the Scheldt inquiry, 23, 26 Jan., 23 Feb. and 30 Mar. He voted against the release of the radical Gale Jones, 16 Apr., and against sinecure and parliamentary reform, 17 and 21 May 1810. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. On 11 Mar. he unsuccessfully opposed the Shoreham road bill. On 1 Apr. he spoke in favour of the militia enlisting bill, as a temporary measure, based on ‘the same necessity which at times might justify the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act’. He applied the same principle to the militia interchange bill on 23 May (‘a temporary evil was to be endured when likely to produce a permanent good’); also to corporal punishment in the army, which he was averse to, but thought a necessary deterrent, 6 Mar. 1812. He was in government minorities on 24 Feb. and 4 May 1812 on sinecure questions, and on 21 May against a more comprehensive administration.
Duckett was returned for Plympton on the Treby interest in 1812, but vacated before the year was out. Had he remained in, he would doubtless have shown that he was ‘very antagonistic to Romanists’. He was a friend of the Duke of Cumberland. It does not appear that he attempted to return to Parliament. Curiously, a speech in justification of corporal punishment in the army was attributed to him by the reporters on 15 Mar. 1813, after he had resigned his seat. He did not realize his father’s great expectations. A renowned swordsman, he was nevertheless ‘better read in books than in men’ and ‘never a man of business in any sense’.3 His father had made part of the river Stort navigable and until the advent of the railway he derived more than £4,000 p.a. income from it. In 1825 he sold Hartham, the Duckett estate. Having ‘entered into speculations in various ways, in mortgaging his estate, in making a canal near Bethnal Green, and in associating himself with a bank, which rumour afterwards said was not solvent when he entered it’, he went bankrupt in March 1832. The bank was Duckett, Morland & Co. He lived in straitened circumstances, at least until his second marriage.4 He died 15 June 1856.