LAWLEY, Sir Robert, 5th Bt. (1736-93), of Canwell Priory, Staffs.
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Family and Education
bap. 22 Mar. 1736, o. surv. s. of Sir Robert Lawley, 4th Bt., of Canwell Priory by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Lambert Blackwell†, 1st Bt., of Sprowston Hall, Norf. educ. Westminster 1748; Emmanuel, Camb. 1753. m. 11 Aug. 1764, Jane, da. of Beilby Thompson of Escrick, Yorks., sis. and h. of Beilby Thompson*, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 28 Nov. 1779.
Lawley was chosen for Warwickshire under Whig auspices, but by 1784 he wished to see a coalition of Fox and Pitt and he voted with the latter during the Regency debates: nor is he known to have voted with opposition subsequently. Regarded as the representative of Birmingham interests, he had ‘frequent committee business’ and, being obliged ‘to ride most mornings’ for his health, sought royal permission in February 1790 to do so through the Horse Guards. Listed as an opponent of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, he was commended for his part in healing the social dissension caused by the ‘Church and King’ attack on the leading Birmingham dissenters in 1791. On 11 May 1792 he informed the House that he had joined the troops who quelled the riot and seen provocative handbills. Ten days later he vindicated the conduct of the Birmingham magistrates against Whitbread’s motion, and added: ‘he would not assert that it was entirely a political riot, but he was firmly persuaded, that if there had been no political meeting on the 14th of July last, there would have been no riot at Birmingham’. On 13 Feb. 1793 he presented a petition from Hemlingford Hundred (in which Birmingham was situated) for authorization of a loan of nearly £30,000 to meet the damages imposed on them at the instance of the victims of the riots.
Lawley died 11 Mar. 1793, a week after obtaining leave of absence for ill health.
Fortescue mss, Lawley to Grenville, 24 Feb. 1790; Geo. III Corresp. i. 700, 708; CJ, xlviii. 318.