Perceval, Alexander (DNB00)

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PERCEVAL, ALEXANDER (1787–1858), sergeant-at-arms of the House of Lords, second son of the Rev. Philip Perceval of Temple House, Ballymote, co. Sligo, by Anne, daughter of Alexander Carrol of Dublin, was born at Temple House on 10 Feb. 1787, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was very well read, of courteous manner, and full of Irish humour and anecdote. In early life he resided on his ample Irish estates, served the office of a justice of the peace, and held a commission in the Sligo militia, a regiment which in due time he rose to command. As a conservative he sat for the county of Sligo from 17 May 1831 to September 1841. He brought before the House of Commons the fact that Lord Plunket, the lord chancellor of Ireland, had been charging the county magistrates throughout Ireland certain illegal fees, and so boldly and energetically denounced this abuse that the lord chancellor had to refund every shilling he had received. On the accession to office of Sir Robert Peel in December 1834 he became treasurer of the ordnance, a place which he held till April 1835, when Lord Melbourne came into power. He also served as a lord of the treasury from 6 to 16 Sept. 1841. He was treasurer of the Orange Association of Ireland; but, finding that the government were anxious for the sake of peace that it should not be continued, he acquiesced in the decision, and aided in dissolving the association. In 1841 he succeeded Admiral Sir George Seymour as sergeant-at-arms of the House of Lords, an appointment which he held till his death. On 13 June 1834 he was created a D.C.L. of the university of Oxford. He died at 28 Chester Street, London, on 9 Dec. 1858. He married, on 11 Feb. 1808, Jane Anne, eldest daughter of Colonel Henry Peisley L'Estrange, of Moystown, King's County. She died on 20 Jan. 1847, leaving issue (1) Philip Perceval, formerly a lieutenant in the royal horse-guards; (2) Henry Perceval; (3) Alexander Perceval; (4) Charles George Guy Perceval, and six daughters.

[Portraits of Eminent Conservatives, 2nd ser. 1846, portrait xi; Foster's Peerage, 1883, under Egmont, p. 257; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1886, ii. 1448; Gent. Mag. 1859, pt. i. p. 859; Times, 13 Dec. 1858, p. 6.]

G. C. B.