Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tremenheere, Hugh Seymour

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TREMENHEERE, HUGH SEYMOUR (1804–1893), publicist and author, was born at Wootton House, Gloucestershire, on 22 Jan. 1804.

His father, Walter Tremenheere (1761–1855), colonel, a member of a very ancient Cornish family, was born at Penzance on 10 Sept. 1761, and, entering the royal marines as second lieutenant in 1799, was present in the action off the Doggerbank on 5 Aug. 1781 and at the capture of Martinique and Guadeloupe in 1794–5. He attained the rank of captain in 1796, and served as lieutenant-governor of the island of Curaçoa from 1800 to 1802. He was in the action off Brest in 1805, from 1831 to 1837 was colonel commandant of the Chatham division of the marines, and served as aide-de-camp to William IV from 28 Dec. 1830 to some time in the following year. On 18 June 1832 he was gazetted a knight of Hanover. Some of the views in Polwhele's ‘History of Cornwall’ were engraved from his drawings. He died at 33 Somerset Street, Portman Square, London, on 7 Aug. 1855, having married in 1802 Frances, third daughter of Thomas Apperley (Boase and Courtney, Bibl. Cornub. 1878, ii. 783). His fifth son, Charles William Tremenheere (1813–1898), lieutenantgeneral, royal (late Bombay) engineers, served with distinction during the Indian mutiny; was made C.B. in 1861, and retired on major-general's full pay in 1874 (Times, 3 Nov. 1898).

The eldest son, Hugh Seymour, was educated at Winchester school from 1816, and matriculated as a scholar from New College, Oxford, on 30 Jan. 1824. He was a fellow of his college from 1824 to 1856, graduated B.A. 1827 and M.A. 1832, and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple on 21 Nov. 1834. After three years' practice he was made a revising barrister on the western circuit. Shortly afterwards he entered the public service, and was sent in 1839 to Newport to investigate the circumstances connected with John Frost's rebellion. He subsequently served on numerous royal commissions, and was instrumental in bringing about fourteen acts of parliament, all having for their object the amelioration of the condition of the working classes.

In January 1840 he was appointed an inspector of schools and made nine reports to the committee of the council on education on the state of schools in England and Wales. In October 1842 he became an assistant poor-law commissioner, and in 1843 a commissioner for inquiring into the state of the population in the mining districts, on which he made fifteen reports between 1844 and 1858. In 1855 and 1861 he made inquiries into the management of bleaching works and lace manufactories. Appointed one of the commissioners in 1861 for inquiring into the employment of children and young persons in trades and manufactures, he joined in making six exhaustive reports on this subject between 1863 and 1867. As one of the commissioners on the employment of young persons and women in agriculture, he took part in furnishing four reports to parliament between 1867 and 1870. He likewise reported on the grievances complained of by the journeymen bakers, on the operations of the bakehouse regulations, and on the tithe commutation acts. On his retirement on 1 March 1871, after thirty-one years' public service, he was made a C.B. on 8 Aug.

He succeeded his uncle, Henry Pendarves Tremenheere, in 1841 in the property of Tremenheere and Tolver, near Penzance. For three years, 1869–71, he was president of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. He died at 43 Thurloe Square, London, on 16 Sept. 1893.

He married, on 2 April 1856, Lucy, third daughter of Ralph Bernal, M.P., and widow of Vicesimus Knox. She died on 7 Oct. 1872, leaving two daughters, Florence Lucy Bernal who married Ernest Edward Leigh Bennett, and Evelyn Westfaling who married George Marcus Parker, barrister of the Inner Temple.

Tremenheere was the author of:

  1. ‘Observations on the proposed Breakwater in Mount's Bay and on its Connection with a Railway into Cornwall,’ 1839.
  2. ‘Notes on Public Subjects made during a Tour in the United States and in Canada,’ 1852.
  3. ‘The Political Experience of the Ancients, in its bearing upon Modern Times,’ 1852, republished as ‘A Manual of the Principles of Government,’ 1882 and 1883.
  4. ‘The Constitution of the United States compared with our own,’ 1854.
  5. ‘Translations from Pindar into English Blank Verse,’ 1866.
  6. ‘A New Lesson from the Old World: a summary of Aristotle's lately discovered work on the Constitution of Athens,’ 1891.
  7. ‘How Good Government grew up, and how to preserve it,’ 1893.

[Tremenheere's Memorials of my Life, 1885; Times, 19 Sept. 1893; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. 1878–1882, pp. 781–3, 1351; Boase's Collect. Cornub. 1890, cols. 1058, 1060.]

G. C. B.