ROCHFORT, Gustavus Hume (c.1750-1824), of Rochfort, co. Westmeath
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Family and Educationb. c. 1750, o.s. of George Rochfort, MP [I], of Rochfort and his cos. Alice, da. of Sir Gustavus Hume, 3rd bt., MP [I], of Castle Hume, co. Fermanagh. m. July 1779, Frances, da. of John Bloomfield of Redwood, King’s Co., 7s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1786. d. 30 Jan. 1824.
MP [I] 1798-1800.
Sheriff, co. Westmeath 1796-7, gov. 1815-d.
Capt. commdt. Moyarshell yeomanry 1796.
For over 20 years Rochfort had bartered with successive governments for provision for his seven sons in return for his political support. Much had been done for them, but not enough to satisfy Rochfort, whose financial problems, originating in the Irish Parliament’s refusal to countenance his claim to the £16,000 a year Hume estates, were exacerbated by a protracted and expensive lawsuit. He had been ‘harassed by law’, he told the Irish secretary Peel in 1818, and was anxious ‘to get my sons assisted, as that will materially ... enable me to get through the difficulties brought on me by the schemes of others’. At the 1820 general election, when he came in again for county Westmeath on the family interest, his main objects were civil or military employment for his now eldest son Gustavus, a soldier on half-pay, and promotion in the church for his son Henry. In neither case had ministers, who were out of patience with his incessant importunity, been able to oblige him; and he had evidently complained to Lord Liverpool that ‘he has had nothing done for him since Mr. Perceval’s time’ and had been deprived of ‘all the county honours’.1 Rochfort was largely a cypher in the 1820 Parliament, when he is not known to have spoken in debate. He voted with government against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821. On 11 Apr. 1821 he was given leave to attend the House of Lords as a witness before the committee of privileges on the Marchmont peerage claim. That year he foolishly turned down an offer of promotion for Henry ‘from a misunderstanding as to the value of the parish’.2 He was given renewed leave to attend the Lords, 30 Apr. 1822, when he paired against the bill to relieve Catholic peers of their disabilities. No other trace of parliamentary activity has been found.
Rochfort, who apparently had had to sell most of his Irish property, died in January 1824, leaving his five surviving sons ‘very ill provided for’. It was in his name that at least three of them continued to obtrude their respective claims for relief on Liverpool’s and later Conservative ministries, but to no avail.3