EDGCUMBE, William Richard, Visct. Valletort (1794-1818), of Mount Edgcumbe, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



26 Mar. 1816 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 19 Nov. 1794, 1st s. of Richard Edgcumbe*, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, and bro. of Ernest Augustus Edgcumbe, Visct. Valletort*. educ. Harrow 1804-10. unm. Styled Visct. Valletort 1795-d.

Offices Held

Lt.-col. commdt. E. Cornw. militia 1815-d.


Vicount Valletort entered Parliament, as soon as he came of age, for the family borough of Lostwithiel, where a vacancy was made for him by the retirement of Reginald Pole Carew. In the House he supported government. On 28 Jan. 1817 he moved the address at the opening of the session in a long set speech, congratulating administration on the successful conclusion of the Napoleonic war, the triumph of legitimacy and their victory over the 'Algerine' government. He welcomed retrenchment and suggested against 'gloomy calculations', that the problems of the economy could be solved and distress remedied: it was inevitable in the changeover from war to peace, which increased unemployment. He warned against 'innovators' inflaming the malcontents and was opposed to radical changes in the constitution, which he found perfect and a guarantee of good order. He voted against Catholic relief, 9 May 1817.

At the election of 1818 his father put Valletort up at Fowey, with the local assistance of Joseph Austen, to the embarrassment of the prime minister, Lord Liverpool, who was under the impression that George Lucy* now had the decisive interest there. Thomas Grenville reported that 'the pretence of Lord Liverpool is that Lord Valletort is put up by the Jacobins at Fowey, but it is being a great alarmist indeed to look at Mount Edgcumbe with these fears'. Valletort who in his nomination speech refused to be shackled, was defeated, but seated on petition, 5 Mar. 1819. By then it was too late; he had died on 29 Oct. 1818. He had 'overworked' himself at the election and as foreman of the grand jury at the assizes and developed pleuisy. His sister mourned him for 'his kind and affectionate heart, his perfect temper, [and] his talents which were far, very far above the average, and ... his strong religious feeling which soothed him in the midst of intense pain'.

HMC Fortescue, x. 437; Countess Brownlow, The Eve of Victorianism, 109.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne