Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 12.djvu/344

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1741, and admitted at Westminster School in 1755, proceeding thence in 1759 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he took the degrees of B.A. 1763, M.A. 1766, and D.C.L. 1774. Having taken orders in the English church, some valuable preferments speedily fell to his lot. The rectory of Lee in Kent and the second prebendal stall in Rochester Cathedral were conferred upon him in 1773. In the following year he was appointed to the valuable rectory of St. George, Hanover Square, when he vacated his stall at Rochester; but he was one of the prebendaries of Exeter from 1772 to 1794, and he retained the fourth prebend at Rochester from 1783 to 1797. Early in 1794 he was nominated to the poor bishopric of Bristol (his consecration taking place on 11 May), and after three years' occupancy of that preferment was translated to the more lucrative see of Exeter (March 1797), holding the archdeaconry of Exeter in commendam from that year until his death, and retaining as long as he lived his rich London rectory. He died in Lower Grosvenor Street, London, 9 June 1803, and was buried in the cemetery of Grosvenor Chapel. His wife, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Thomas Howard, second earl of Effingham, whom he married in January 1774, lived till 31 Oct. 1815. They had two sons and four daughters. The elder son, William, sometime clerk-assistant of the parliament, became in 1835 the eleventh earl of Devon; the younger son, Thomas Peregrine, is separately noticed. A letter from the bishop to the Rev. Richard Polwhele is printed in the latter's 'Traditions and Recollections,' ii. 536-7. Courtenay was stiff and reserved in social intercourse, but his letters were frank and unreserved. Several of his sermons for charities and on state occasions were printed between 1795 and 1802. His charge to the clergy of Bristol diocese at his primary visitation was printed in 1796, and that delivered to the clergy of the diocese of Exeter on the corresponding occasion was published in 1799.

[Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, ix. 158, 184; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 221, 383, 397, 430, 432, ii. 584, 586; Oliver's Bishops of Exeter, 165, 274; Gent. Mag. 1803, pt. i. 602; Burke's Peerage; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (1852), 362, 366, 372, 410.]

W. P. C.


COURTENAY, JOHN (1741–1816), politician, son of William Courtenay, by Lady Jane Stuart, second daughter of the Earl of Bute, was born in Ireland in 1741. He entered political life under the auspices of Viscount Townshend, who, while lord-lieutenant of Ireland, 1767–1772, made him his private secretary. In this capacity he accompanied Townshend to the ordnance office in 1772. As Townshend's nominee he was returned to parliament in 1780 as member for Tamworth. In 1783 Townshend appointed him surveyor-general of the ordnance. This vacated his seat, but he was re-elected (23 April). In parliament he spoke much and with considerable effect. In a speech of elaborate irony he supported, while feigning to oppose, Fox's bill for the repeal of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in 1781; he advocated the renunciation of the right of legislation on Irish matters in 1782; and spoke in favour of Fox's India Bill in 1783. He retained his seat for Tamworth at the election of May 1784. In a debate on navy bills in this year (6 Aug.) he somewhat startled the house by apostrophising Rose, the secretary to the treasury, who was conspicuous by his silence when he ought to have been defending the government, in the lines:—

Quid lates dudum, Rosa? Delicatum
Effer e terris caput, o tepentis
Filia cœli.

Rose being ignorant of the Latin tongue did not reply. In 1785 a proposal to levy a tax on domestic servants furnished him with the occasion for a very humorous speech. He opposed Pitt's Irish commercial policy, averring that if carried out it would be equivalent to a re-enactment of Poynings's act. He supported the proceedings against Hastings in a speech which, according to Wraxall, stood ‘alone in the annals of the House of Commons, exhibiting a violation of every form or principle which have always been held sacred within those halls. The insult offered to Lord Hood at its commencement (referring to his services as a spectator of Lord Rodney's glorious victory of 12 April 1782) became eclipsed in the studied indecorum of the allusions that followed, reflecting on the personal infirmities or the licentious productions of the member for Middlesex (Wilkes). His invectives against Hastings, however violent, might seem to derive some justification from the example held out by Burke, Sheridan, and Francis, but the insinuation levelled at the king (of having taken bribes from Hastings) with which Courtenay concluded, and the mention of the bulse, unquestionably demanded the interference of the chair’ (Post. Mem. ii. 312). For the insult to Hood Courtenay afterwards apologised. Courtenay gave a steady support to Wilberforce in his efforts to arouse the public conscience to a sense of the iniquity of the slave trade, opposed the suspension of the habeas corpus in 1794, and gave an ironical support to the ‘bill for the better observation of Sunday’ (1795). He