PHIPPS, Hon. Edmund (1760-1837), of Mulgrave Castle, Yorks. and 64 Mount Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 7 Apr. 1760, 4th s. of Constantine, 1st Bar. Mulgrave [I], and Lepell, da. of John Hervey†, Lord Hervey. educ. Eton 1771-3; St. John’s, Camb. 1778-80. unm. d. 14 Sept. 1837.
Ensign 85 Ft. 1780; lt. 88 Ft. 1780; lt. 93 Ft. 1781, capt. 1782; a.d.c. to gov. Gibraltar 1782; half-pay 1783; capt. 1 Ft. Gds. 1784; a.d.c. to ld. lt. [I] 1784-7; lt.-col. 1 Ft. Gds. 1793, brevet col. 1796; maj.-gen. 1801, lt.-gen. 1808; col. commdt. 60 Ft. 1807-d.; gen. 1819.
Paymaster of marines Jan. 1810-12; clerk of deliveries at the ordnance Oct. 1812-Nov. 1830.
Phipps was left without a seat in 1820 as his brother, the 1st earl of Mulgrave, had resigned as master-general of the ordnance and was therefore unable to return him again for Queenborough. However, shortly afterwards, Mulgrave removed his son Lord Normanby, who had recently defected to the Whigs, from the family’s seat at Scarborough and Phipps filled the vacancy. As a member of the ministerial phalanx he gave reliable, though silent support to Lord Liverpool’s government, notably in the economy and retrenchment divisions of the early 1820s. It was stated in a parliamentary return of 1822 that his ordnance post was worth £1,043 per annum, but The Times alleged that the total emoluments for this and his duties as inspector of the military academy amounted to £3,100.1 He paired for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, and voted for it, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He presented Scarborough petitions for the abolition of slavery, 11 June 1823. He was returned unopposed for that borough at the general election of 1826.
He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and presented a Scarborough petition against the reciprocity of duties bill, 2 May 1827. He remained in his post for the duration of the coalition ministries of Canning and Lord Goderich, but cast no recorded votes for the former. Thereafter he gave loyal support to the duke of Wellington’s government, though his attendance was much less frequent than in the previous Parliament. In his first known speech in this period, 25 Apr. 1828, he blamed the Catholic Association for ‘much, if not all, of the disloyalty and disturbance which have been recently witnessed’ in Ireland, and he deplored the absence of censure of its activities from the advocates of emancipation there; he concluded that ‘it would be extremely dangerous to grant any further accession of political power’ to the Irish. Nevertheless, he paired for Catholic relief, 12 May. He presented a Scarborough petition against restrictions on the circulation of small notes, 2 June 1828. As Planta, the patronage secretary, correctly predicted, he divided for the government’s Catholic emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He presented a petition from Scarborough seamen against the tax levied for the upkeep of Greenwich Hospital, 4 May 1830. He was returned quietly for Scarborough at the general election that summer.
The ministry naturally regarded him as one of their ‘friends’, and he voted with them in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He resigned with the rest of the government and his office was subsequently abolished by Lord Grey’s ministry. He was granted periods of leave on account of family illness (presumably that of his ailing brother), 22 Nov. 1830, 9 Feb. 1831. He presented a petition from Scarborough ship owners for protection from foreign competition, 1 Mar. In response to a constituency petition for parliamentary reform, 19 Mar., he maintained that it did not ‘express the opinions of the majority of the inhabitants’ and certainly ‘not those of the corporation’. He voted against the second reading of the government’s bill, 22 Mar., but was absent from the division on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. In the debate on the civil list, 28 Mar. 1831, he helped force the chancellor of the exchequer Lord Althorp to admit that Robert Ward’s* auditorship of the civil list was not a sinecure. Later that day he welcomed the ministerial statement that the taxation of seamen for the upkeep of Greenwich Hospital would continue. Although his Whig nephew had succeeded as 2nd earl of Mulgrave, he was returned as usual for Scarborough at the 1831 general election. He was absent from the division on the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and his only recorded votes on it were for use of the 1831 census in determining the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, and against its passage, 21 Sept. 1831. He voted against issuing the Liverpool election writ, 5 Sept., and for inquiry into the effects of renewing the Sugar Refinery Act on the West India interest, 12 Sept. In the discussion surrounding proposals to allow half-pay for certain naval officers appointed to civil office, 7 Oct., he asked why they should receive preference over army officers, for whom no such privilege was being considered. He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., the third reading, 22 Mar., and the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May 1832. He opposed the general register bill, 8 Feb., claiming that in Scarborough it was ‘objected to most strongly, particularly by the shipping, commercial and agricultural interests’. He voted against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July. He welcomed the plan to permit both army and naval officers to retain half-pay, under certain conditions, when appointed to civil office, 8 Aug., and expressed surprise at Joseph Hume’s opposition, pointing out that ‘no officer can accept an appointment unless with the consent of the treasury and the war office’. In his last known speech in the House, 15 Aug. 1832, he defended the action of troops during the recent disturbances at Clitheroe, claiming that they had not acted ‘till called on’ and had shown ‘the greatest forbearance’. He remarked that the radical Member Henry Hunt ‘seems to object to the military acting in any case, right or wrong’.
With Scarborough opened by the Reform Act, Phipps retired at the dissolution in 1832. He died at Venice in September 1837. According to Benjamin Disraeli†, he spoke ‘with that peculiar voice which Phipps’s only have’.2 He divided his estate between the children of his beloved elder brother, except for Mulgrave, who received nothing; his personalty was sworn under £35,000.3