Pakington, John Somerset (DNB00)

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PAKINGTON, JOHN SOMERSET, first Baron Hampton (1799–1880), born on 20 Feb. 1799, was the son of William Russell of Powick Court, Worcestershire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Herbert Perrott Pakington, bart., of Westwood Park in the same county. He was educated at Eton and Oriel College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 13 Feb. 1818, but did not graduate. On the death of his maternal uncle, Sir John Pakington, bart., in January 1830, the baronetcy became extinct, and the estates descended to him and his aunt, Anne Pakington (who died unmarried in 1846), as coheirs-at-law [see under Pakington, Sir John (1671–1727)]. On 14 March 1831 he assumed the surname of Pakington in lieu of Russell (London Gazette, 1831, pt. i. p. 496). He unsuccessfully contested, in the conservative interest, East Worcestershire in December 1832, and West Worcestershire in May 1833 and January 1835. At the general election in July 1837 he was returned to parliament for Droitwich, and continued to represent that borough until the dissolution in January 1874. He spoke for the first time in the House of Commons, in the debate on Canadian affairs, on 22 January 1838 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. xl. 346–52). In the session of 1840 he successfully carried through the house a bill for the amendment of the Sale of Beer Act, the principle of which was that no one should be allowed to sell intoxicating liquors unless he had a definite rating qualification (3 and 4 Vict. c. 61). While supporting the vote of want of confidence in the whig ministry on 29 Jan. 1840, he blamed the government for their ‘concessions to the democratic spirit which had recently been making such strides,’ and declared the adoption of the penny post to be ‘a most unworthy bidding for popularity’ (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. li. 754–60). In the following session he obtained the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the state of the colony of Newfoundland (ib. lvii. 705–714); and in the session of 1844 his bill for amending the law respecting the office of county coroner was passed (7 and 8 Vict. c. 92). He cordially supported the second reading of Peel's Maynooth College Bill on 15 April 1845 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. lxxix. 718–22), but voted against the bill for the repeal of the corn laws in the following session. On 13 July 1846 he was created a baronet of the United Kingdom. In the session of 1847 he introduced a bill for the more speedy trial and punishment of juvenile offenders (ib. xc. 430–437), which received the royal assent in July of that year (10 and 11 Vict. c. 82). On 7 Feb. 1848 he was nominated a member of the select committee appointed to inquire into the condition and prospects of sugar and coffee planting in the East and West Indies, of which Lord George Bentinck was the chairman (Parl. Papers, 1847–8, vol. xxiii. pts. i.–iv.; see Disraeli, Lord George Bentinck: a Political Biography, 1852, pp. 529–550), and on 3 July 1848 he was defeated in his attempt to impose a differential duty on sugar of 10s. per cwt. in favour of the British colonies by a majority of 62 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. c. 4–10, 14, 78). In the session of 1849 he successfully carried through the Commons a bill for the prevention of bribery at elections (ib. cii. 1041–50), which was, however, thrown out in the lords (ib. cvii. 1116). His Larceny Summary Jurisdiction Bill was passed in the following session (13 and 14 Vict. c. 37). On the formation of Lord Derby's first administration, in February 1852, Pakington was admitted to the privy council and appointed secretary for war and the colonies (London Gazette, 1852, i. 633–4). As colonial secretary he had charge of the bill for granting a representative constitution to the colony of New Zealand (15 and 16 Vict. c. 72), which he introduced into the House of Commons on 3 May 1852 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. cxxi. 102–119, 136–8). On the defeat of the government in December 1852, he retired from office with the rest of his colleagues. He was appointed a member of the committee of inquiry into the condition of the army before Sebastopol on 23 Feb. 1855 (Parl. Papers, 1854–5, vol. ix.). On 16 March following he introduced an education bill, which contained the germ of the present system of school boards (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. cxxxvii. 640–72). It met with little favour from his own party, and Lord Robert Cecil (the present Marquis of Salisbury) declared that, ‘as far as religious instruction was concerned, he looked upon the bill as the secular system in disguise’ (ib. cxxxvii. 685). In February 1857 Pakington again introduced an education bill (ib. cxliv. 776–85), but subsequently withdrew it. He voted for the third reading of the Oaths Bill on 25 June 1857, against the members of his own party (ib. cxlvi. 367). Early in the following session he obtained the appointment of a royal commission on popular education (ib. cxxviii. 1184). On 8 March 1858 he was appointed first lord of the admiralty in Lord Derby's second administration, and on 25 Feb. 1859 he announced in his speech on the navy estimates that the government had determined to make the experiment of building two iron-cased ships, which were afterwards known as the Warrior and the Black Prince (ib. clii. 910–912; and see clxix. 1100–1). Upon Lord Derby's defeat in June 1859 Pakington resigned office, and was created a G.C.B. on the 30th of that month (London Gazette, 1859, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 2361). He was appointed first lord of the admiralty again in Lord Derby's third administration in June 1866; and on 8 March 1867 succeeded General Peel as secretary of state for war (ib. 1867, vol. i. pt. i. p. 1594). While returning thanks for his re-election at Droitwich on 13 March 1867 he indiscreetly revealed the secret history of the ministerial Reform Bill (see Berrow's Worcester Journal, 16 March 1867), in consequence of which his colleagues were exposed to much ridicule, and the measure became known as the ‘Ten Minutes Bill.’ He remained in office as secretary of war until Disraeli's resignation in December 1868.

At the general election in February 1874 Pakington was defeated at Droitwich, and on 6 March following he was created Baron Hampton of Hampton-Lovett, and of Westwood in the county of Worcester. He took his seat in the House of Lords on the 10th of the same month (Journals of the House of Lords, cvi. 9–10), and spoke there for the first time on 22 May following, when he moved a resolution in favour of the appointment of a minister of public instruction (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. ccxix. 683–8). He was appointed first civil service commissioner in November 1875, and spoke for the last time in the House of Lords on 1 Aug. 1879 (ib. 3rd ser. ccxlviii. 1837). He died in Eaton Square, London, on 9 April 1880, aged 81, and was buried on the 15th in the family mausoleum in Hampton-Lovett Church, where there is a stained-glass window to his memory.

Hampton was a conscientious and painstaking administrator. Though a staunch churchman himself, he was tolerant in religious matters; and his views on the subject of education, especially with regard to unsectarian teaching, were considerably in advance of his party.

He married, first, on 14 Aug. 1822, Mary, only child of Moreton Aglionby Slaney of Shiffnal, Shropshire, by whom he had one son, John Slaney, who succeeded as second Baron Hampton, and died on 26 April 1893. His first wife died on 6 Jan. 1843. He married, secondly, on 4 June 1844, Augusta Anne, daughter of the Right Rev. George Murray, D.D., bishop of Rochester, by whom he had one son, Herbert Perrott Murray, who succeeded as third Baron Hampton on the death of his half-brother. His second wife died on 23 Feb. 1848. He married, thirdly, on 5 June 1851, Augusta, daughter of Thomas Champion de Crespigny, and widow of Colonel Thomas Henry Davies of Elmley Park, Worcestershire, by whom he had no children. His widow died on 8 Feb. 1892, aged 92.

He was chairman of the Worcestershire quarter sessions from 1834 to 1858, and was gazetted lieutenant-colonel of the Worcestershire yeomanry cavalry in November 1859. He was an elder brother of the Trinity House, and served as president of the Institute of Naval Architects for twenty-one years. He was created a D.C.L. of Oxford University on 7 June 1853, and in October 1871 presided over the meeting of the Social Science Association at Leeds. Three of his speeches were separately published, as well as an address on national education delivered by him on 18 Nov. 1856 to the members oof the Manchester Athenæum, London, 8vo.

[Walpole's Hist. of England, vols. iii. iv. v.; M'Carthy's Hist. of our own Times; Turberville's Worcestershire in the Nineteenth Century, 1852; Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, 1884, i. 278, 351, ii. 28, 74, 188, 358, 367; Men of the Time, 1879, pp. 484–5; Annual Register, 1880, pt. ii. pp. 159–60; Times, 10 and 16 April 1880; Illustrated London News, Berrow's Worcester Journal, and the Worcestershire Chronicle for 17 April 1880; Burke's Peerage, 1893, p. 658; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886, p. 1058; Stapylton's Eton School Lists, 1864, pp. 73, 81; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Official Returns of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. pp. 372, 389, 406, 423, 438, 455, 471, 487.]

G. F. R. B.