Hall, Benjamin (DNB00)

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HALL, BENJAMIN, Lord Llanover (1802–1867), the eldest son of Benjamin Hall, M.P., of Hensol Castle, Glamorganshire, by his wife Charlotte, daughter of William Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, Glamorganshire, was born on 8 Nov. 1802. He was educated at Westminster School, where he was admitted in January 1814. On 24 May 1820 he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, but left without taking any degree. At the general election in May 1831 he was returned to parliament for Monmouth boroughs in the whig interest, but was unseated upon petition in the following July (Journals of the House of Commons, vol. lxxxvi. pt. ii. p. 665). He was, however, duly elected for the same constituency at the next general election in 1832, and continued to represent it until the dissolution of parliament in July 1837. Hall's first reported speech was delivered during the debate on the address in February 1833 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. xv. 340-1). In March 1834 he seconded Mr. Divett's motion for the abolition of church rates (ib. xxii. 387-8), and in March 1837 he supported Grote's motion in favour of the ballot (ib. xxxvii. 38-9). At the general election in July of this year he was returned at the head of the poll for the borough of Marylebone, for which constituency he continued to sit until his elevation to the House of Lords, and on 16 Aug. 1838 was created a baronet. In July 1843 he both spoke and voted in favour of Smith O'Brien's motion for the consideration of the causes of discontent then existing in Ireland (ib. lxx. 898-9) . Hall gradually became a frequent debater in the house. He insisted on the right of the Welsh to have the services of the church rendered in their own tongue, and took an active part in the cause of ecclesiastical reform. The speech which he delivered on the Ecclesiastical Commission Bill on 8 July 1850 was afterwards published in pamphlet form (London, 1850, 8vo). In 'A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury on the State of the Church' (London, 1850, 8vo), and again in a 'Letter to the Rev. C. Phillips, M.A.' (London [1852], 8vo), he called the attention of the public to the great abuses existing in the management of ecclesiastical property, and in the distribution of church patronage. Upon the reconstruction of the general board of health, in August 1854, Hall was appointed president, and was sworn a member of the privy council on 14 Nov. in the same year. In July 1855 he became chief commissioner of works (without a seat in the cabinet), in the place of Sir William Molesworth, who had been appointed secretary of state for the colonies. On 16 March 1855 he brought in a bill 'for the better local management of the metropolis' (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. cxxxvii. 699-722), by which the metropolitan board of works was first established (18 & 19 Vict. cap. 120). During his tenure of the office of chief commissioner considerable improvements were made in the London parks. On the overthrow of Lord Palmerston's administration, in February 1858, Hall was succeeded by the present Duke of Rutland, then Lord John Manners. Upon Lord Palmerston's accession to power for the second time Hall was created Baron Llanover of Llanover and Abercarn in the county of Monmouth, on 29 June 1859 (Journals of the House of Lords, xci. 304). He took his seat in the upper house on 4 July following, but never took much part in the debates, and spoke there for the last time in July 1863 (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. clxxii. 10411042). On 20 Nov. 1861 he was sworn in as lord-lieutenant of Monmouthshire. He died, after a long illness, at Great Stanhope Street, Mayfair, on 27 April 1867, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. Monuments have been erected to his memory in Llandaff Cathedral and in Llanover churchyard, where he was buried. Hall married, on 4 Dec. 1 823, Augusta, daughter and coheiress of Benjamin Waddington of Llanover, by whom he had two sons, both of whom predeceased him, and an only daughter, Augusta Charlotte Elizabeth, who on 12 Nov. 1846 married John Arthur Edward Herbert of Llanarth Court, Monmouthshire. In default of male issue his titles became extinct upon his death. His widow, who in 1861 edited the 'Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville, Mrs. Delany,' &c. (London, 8 vo, 3 vols.), still survives him. A portrait of Hall by Hurlstone is in the possession of Lady Llanover.

[Alumni Westmonasterienses, 1851, p. 44-1; Men of the Time, 1865, pp. 528-9; Illustrated London News, 4 May 1867; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883, p. 257; Gent. Mag. 1867, pt.i.814; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 586; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. 331, 343, 354, 368, 384, 403, 418, 434, 450; London Gazettes; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.