FLEMING, Sir Michael le, 4th Bt. (1748-1806), of Rydal, Westmld.
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Family and Education
b. 10 Dec. 1748, o.s. of Sir William Fleming†, 3rd Bt., by Elizabeth, da. of Christopher Petyt of Skipton, Yorks. educ. Eton 1760-5. m. 23 Nov. 1782, Lady Diana Howard, da. of Thomas Howard†, 14th Earl of Suffolk and 7th Earl of Berkshire, 1da. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 31 Mar. 1757.
Sheriff, Cumb. 1770-1.
Lt.-col. Westmld. militia 1779.
Fleming, a former ward of Sir James Lowther†, 5th Bt., and of an established Westmorland family, held on unchallenged to one of the county seats controlled by the Lowthers. He followed the Lowther line in politics, supporting Pitt, except on the Regency question. He made little mark in the House. His enthusiasms lay elsewhere—his wife was on the verge of separation from him in 1793 and he was described as ‘a most abandoned profligate’ by the father of a young man enamoured of an illegitimate daughter of his.1 He was a defaulter from the House on 24 Nov. 1795, but appeared six days later. The Treasury listed him ‘hopeful’ at that time. His only known speech in this period, 24 Mar. 1797, was prompted by Sheridan, whom he called to order after a speech which he considered ‘shamefully inflammatory, and intended merely to work up the minds of the labouring poor to discontent and resentment against the government’. On 23 May 1797 he acted as a teller on the Lancaster sessions bill, in which the Lowthers were interested.
Fleming is not known to have divided against Addington’s ministry. He took leaves of absence for illness, 25 Feb. 1801, and from March to May 1803. He was listed ‘Pitt’ in March 1804; ‘doubtful Addington’ in September 1804 and, after abstaining on Melville’s case, ‘doubtful Pitt’ in July 1805. Next session, following Viscount Lowther’s line, he voted with the Pittite minorities on Spencer Stanhope’s motion concerning Ellenborough’s seat in the cabinet, 3 Mar., and against the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.
He died 19 May 1806, while soliciting a place for a protégé at the Admiralty.2