Hely-Hutchinson, Christopher (DNB00)

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HELY-HUTCHINSON, CHRISTOPHER (1767–1826), lawyer, fifth son of John Hely-Hutchinson (1724–1794) [q. v.], was born on 5 April 1767. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and at the Temple, he was called to the Irish bar in 1792. The study and practice of law was little to his taste, but his father's influence soon secured him a respectable position, which the more easily reconciled him to his profession. In 1795 he succeeded his father in the representation of the borough of Taghmon, co. Wexford. He entered parliament during the vice-royalty of Earl Fitzwilliam, and was an ardent supporter of his administration. He was strongly opposed to the government of Lord Camden, and becoming disgusted at the course of events he soon withdrew altogether from parliament. On the outbreak of the rebellion of 1798 he enlisted as a volunteer under his brother John, for whom he entertained a profound admiration, and was actively engaged in the affair at Ballinamuck, where he was instrumental in capturing the French generals Lafontaine and Sarrazin, and was commended for his bravery by Lord Cornwallis. He was strongly opposed to the union, and at a meeting of the bar proposed to resist it with the sword. After the passing of the measure, Hely-Hutchinson quitted Ireland in disgust. He took part as aide-de-camp of his brother in the expedition against the Helder, and was wounded in the battle of Alkmar. In January 1801 he was raised to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and accompanied his brother John as a volunteer in the expedition to Egypt under Sir Ralph Abercromby. On the elevation of his brother to the peerage as Lord Hutchinson he succeeded him in the representation of the city of Cork, which he continued to represent, except from 1812 to 1819, when he was displaced by Colonel Longfield, till his death in 1826. Like the rest of his family he was strongly in favour of a liberal treatment of the Irish Roman catholics. He congratulated the government on the suppression of Emmett's rebellion without needless bloodshed, but pressed for an inquiry into the causes of Irish distress, declaring that he saw more supineness and negligence respecting Irish affairs than he had ever witnessed respecting the smallest English interest. In 1805 he voted for the Irish Habeas Corpus Suspension Bill, ‘but was of opinion that the Union would be of little benefit if it was not followed up with other marks of attention to Ireland than continued suspensions of the Habeas Corpus Act.’ He was a strenuous advocate of the war, and made an offer, which was, however, declined, to raise a regiment at his own expense. In 1806 he accompanied Lord Hutchinson on a diplomatic mission to St. Petersburg and Berlin. In 1807 he took part in the Polish campaign, fighting in the Russian ranks. He was wounded in the battle of Eylau, and was also present in the mêlée at Friedland. After the peace of Tilsit he visited Moscow, and on his return to England in the beginning of 1809 he vehemently opposed the ministry for their mismanagement of the war, and particularly for the Convention of Cintra, which he declared had mortified the troops and disgusted the nation.

As he had opposed the union when it was first mooted, so he regarded the refusal to fulfil the conditions of the bargain as the chief cause of Irish disturbance. Against Lord Castlereagh he was particularly indignant, and on more than one occasion was reprimanded by the speaker for the violence of his language (Parliamentary Debates, 30 May 1809 and 14 June 1811). He voted in favour of Sir Francis Burdett's plan of parliamentary reform, and one of the last speeches he made was directed against emigration to Canada as a panacea for Irish distress. After the conclusion of the war with France he was accustomed during the recesses of parliament to visit Paris with his family; but becoming objectionable to the French government, owing to his intimacy with the liberal chiefs, and his opposition to the legitimist intervention in Spain, he was compelled to withdraw from France. He died after a lingering illness at his residence, Ben Lomond House, Downshire Hill Road, Hampstead, on 26 Aug. 1826. He married, first, on 24 Dec. 1792, the daughter of Sir James Bond, who died on 30 March 1796, and by her had issue a son John; secondly, Anne, widow of John Brydges Woodcock, esq., daughter of the Hon. and Rev. Maurice Crosbie, dean of Limerick, and sister to William, fourth lord Bandon.

[Burke's Peerage; Biographie Universelle; Randolph's Life of Sir Robert Wilson; Hansard's Parliamentary Debates; Gent. Mag. 1826; Annual Register, 1826.]

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