LOVEDEN, Edward Loveden (?1751-1822), of Buscot Park, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. ?1751, o. surv. s. of Thomas Townsend of Cirencester, Glos. by Jane, da. of Thomas Baker of Buscot (by Martha, da. of Edward Loveden of Buscot). educ. Winchester 1762-5; Trinity, Oxf. 10 Apr. 1767, aged 16. m. (1) 15 July 1773, Margaret (d. 30 Jan. 1784), da. and h. of Lewis Pryse of Gogerddan, Card., 1s. 2da.; (2) 20 Aug. 1785, Elizabeth (d. 25 Jan. 1788), da. and h. of John Darker† of Gayton, Northants., wid. of Joseph Nash, s.p.; (3) 15 Nov. 1794, Anne, da. of Thomas Lintall of Norbiton Hall, Surr., s.p. suc. fa. 1767; to Buscot under will of gt.-uncle Edward Loveden (d.1749) and took name of Loveden in lieu of Townsend by royal lic. 10 Oct. 1772.
Member, board of agriculture 1793, vice pres. 1807.
Sheriff, Berks. 1781-2, Brec. 1799-1800.
Lt.-col. Berks. militia 1794-6.
Loveden had been returned for Abingdon, where his Berkshire property gave him a strong interest, as an avowed opponent of the Coalition in 1783 and 1784, but he became involved with the ‘third party’ in 1788 and outraged many of his constituents, already resentful of his parsimony, by siding with opposition on the Regency question. Threats of electoral retribution persisted long after an abortive attempt by William Curtis*, sheriff of London, in January 1789; but with the leading inhabitants willing to support him for the sake of peace, despite political differences, Loveden was able to secure his position and he was returned unchallenged in 1790. His Welsh property, inherited through his first wife, gave him electoral interests in Cardiganshire and Cardigan Boroughs, but they were not asserted effectively until 1818.
Loveden’s political attitude at the time of the Regency crisis was equivocal. While he told his agent, 11 Jan. 1789, that he had had no dealings with the Prince of Wales or Fox, he expressed confidence that when the Whigs came to power he would be able to procure him some material reward, claimed to have been offered electoral support by an unspecified peer, probably Moira, and was critical of Pitt, a man of ‘the doubtful gender’, who was ‘setting up a fourth estate—the Queen and himself’.1 Writing to the mayor of Abingdon, 24 Mar. 1789, in response to a renewed threat of opposition, he used the stock rhetoric of disinterested independence.2 He was a fringe figure in Carlton House politics after 1790, but was never close to the Prince or recognized as one of his parliamentary connexion.
He continued to act with the Whig opposition in the first two sessions of the new Parliament, attacking the Spanish convention, 12 and 14 Dec. 1790, and the armament against Russia, 2 June 1791, against which he voted on 12 Apr. 1791 and 1 Mar. 1792. Events in France caused Loveden to rally to government and there is no record of his having voted against them for the rest of the Parliament. He condemned Fox’s motion for peace negotiations, 15 Dec. 1792, as an ‘improper interference in the exercise of the executive power’, and supported repression of seditious activity, 16 June 1794. A leading agricultural improver, he was teller for his friend Sir John Sinclair’s motion for the establishment of a board of agriculture, 17 May 1793.
In the summer of 1793 one of the Berkshire county Members fell seriously ill and Loveden evidently secured Pitt’s approval of his plan to contest the seat. He was unpopular in the county, however, and when the vacancy occurred in 1794 he had to give way to Charles Dundas of Barton Court. Loveden stood for Berkshire in 1796, but not before he had been forced to abandon Abingdon to a wealthy nabob, whose intervention he attributed to a plan concerted between a disaffected party at Abingdon and Dundas and his colleague, who in turn ran in tandem against him. He went to a poll but suffered a heavy defeat. He maintained an interest at Abingdon, but late in 1801 canvassed Shaftesbury at the instigation of his friend Richard Messiter, a local attorney, who planned to challenge the new proprietor, (Sir) Mark Wood I*. Shortly before the dissolution of 1802, when he claimed to have received ‘some handsome overtures for the county’, he wrote of having ‘almost determined against going into Parliament’, but in the event he stood for Shaftesbury, topped the poll and survived a petition.3
There is no record of his having opposed Addington, though the Carlton House set considered pressing him to join in the final assault on his government in 1804. In the ministerial list of May 1804 he was reckoned ‘doubtful’. He opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June, and in the September list was classed initially as ‘doubtful’, then as one of ‘Addington’s friends on whom some impression might be made’ and finally once more as ‘doubtful’. His votes in support of the attack on Melville, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805, led to his inclusion among ‘Opposition’ in the government list of July 1805. He supported the ‘Talents’, voting for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and at the general election of 1806 was returned again for Shaftesbury, this time on Wood’s interest, after a contest. It is hard to take at face value Wood’s later claim that Loveden’s candidature for Shaftesbury in 1807, when he was again successful in a contest, was ‘approved of’ by the Duke of Portland, for he had voted for Brand’s motion condemning the ministerial pledge, 9 Apr., and was clearly hostile to the new government.4 At the same time, his voting record after 1807 scarcely justified his inclusion by the Whigs among their ‘thick and thin’ adherents in March 1810. While his only known vote with government was for Perceval’s exculpatory address on the Duke of York, 17 Mar. 1809—on the ground that corruption or connivance had not been proven, though there had undeniably been an exercise of ‘undue influence’, which warranted further action—his only recorded opposition votes were for Hamilton’s charges against Castlereagh, 25 Apr. 1809, Porchester’s resolutions on the Walcheren fiasco, 30 Mar. 1810, and Gower’s amendment to the Regency proposals, 1 Jan. 1811. Loveden, who spoke against the distillation prohibition bill, 3 June 1808, and the militia enlistment bill, 14 Feb. 1809, retired from the House at the dissolution of 1812.
The apparent lapse in his attendance after 1807 may have owed something to his preoccupation with divorce proceedings against his third wife, many years his junior, on the ground of adultery. The business does not appear to have been settled during Loveden’s lifetime, because of his objection to a Commons amendment to the divorce bill which required him to pay the lady an annuity of £400.5 He died 4 Jan. 1822.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. Berks. RO, Preston mss.
- 2. Ibid. Pryse mss.
- 3. Preston mss, Loveden to Sellwood, 23 May. 1802.
- 4. Add. 38368, f. 206; Preston mss, Loveden to Sellwood, 11 May 1807.
- 5. The Times, 4 July, 10 Nov. 1809, 14 July 1810; LJ, xlviii. 153, 170, 251, 263, 360, 448, 450; CJ, lxvi. 431, 443; Parl. Deb. xx. 639.