Wallace, Thomas (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

WALLACE, THOMAS, Baron Wallace (1768–1844), only son of James Wallace, barrister-at-law (afterwards solicitor and attorney-general to George III), and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Thomas Simpson, Carleton Hall, Cumberland, was born at Brampton, Cumberland, in 1768. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he was the contemporary and associate of the Earl of Liverpool and of Canning. He graduated M.A. on 18 March 1790, and D.C.L. on 5 July 1793. At the general election in 1790 he was elected M.P. for Grampound. His subsequent elections were, for Penrhyn 1796, for Hindon 1802, for Shaftesbury 1807, for Weymouth 1812, for Cockermouth 1813, and for Weymouth 1818, 1820, and 1826. It was as a supporter of Pitt that he first appeared in public life, and he consistently upheld his policy, except in regard to Roman catholic emancipation, which he strenuously opposed. In July 1797 he was appointed to a seat at the admiralty, from which he was removed in May 1800 to become one of the commissioners for the affairs of India. When Pitt retired in 1801, Wallace continued to hold office under his successor, Addington, and was made a privy councillor on 21 May 1801. When Pitt resumed office in 1804, Wallace was included in the new government, which was dissolved by the death of Pitt in 1806. The colleagues of Pitt, after the death of Fox, were soon recalled, and remained in power till 1827. Wallace, in 1807 having returned to office, resigned it in 1816, and in 1818 became again a member of the government as vice-president of the privy council for the management of trade. In 1820 he was appointed chairman of the committee to consider the state of our foreign trade, and the best means for maintaining and improving it. The proceedings were extended through several sessions, and an active and leading part fell upon Wallace, who laid the report on the table before the end of the session of 1820, and afterwards introduced and carried through the legislature measures intended to give them effect. In 1823 he was succeeded by William Huskisson [q. v.] at the board of trade, and received addresses from many of the principal trading towns in the kingdom, thanking him for his services to the commerce of the country. Wallace was soon appointed chairman of the committee selected to inquire into the irregularities and abuses existing in the collection and management of the Irish revenue. The recommendations of the committee were adopted. In May 1825 Wallace submitted to the house a measure to effect the assimilation of the currencies of England and Ireland, which passed through both houses without any real opposition. In October 1823 he was appointed master of the mint in Ireland, which he held till the change of administration in May 1827. Canning pressed him to join his government, but he refused. The death of Canning was followed by the ministry of the Duke of Wellington, and on the same day as the publication of the ministerial appointments (2 Feb. 1828) it was announced that Wallace had been made a peer. The title he assumed was Baron Wallace of Knaresdale. Till his death, on 23 Feb. 1844, Wallace resided at his seat, Featherstone Castle, Northumberland. Wallace married, 16 Feb. 1814, Jane, sixth daughter of John Hope, second earl of Hopetoun, and second wife of Henry Dundas, first viscount Melville [q. v.] This lady died without issue on 9 June 1829. The peerage became extinct. The male heir was his cousin, John Wallace of the Madras civil service; but the estates were left to Colonel James Hope, next brother to the Earl of Hopetoun and nephew to Lord Wallace's deceased wife; he assumed the name of Wallace.

[Gent. Mag. 1844, i. 425–30; Burke's Extinct Peerages.]

G. S-h.