Bathurst, Allen

, earl, an English nobleman of distinguished abilities, was son of sir Benjamin Bathurst of Pauler’s Perry, Northamptonshire, and born in St. James’s square, Westminster, Nov. 16, 1684. His mother was Frances, daughter of sir Allen Apsley, in Sussex, knt. After a grammatical education, he was entered, at the age of fifteen, in Trinity college, Oxford; of which his uncle, dean Bathurst, was president. In 1705, when just of age, he was chosen for Cirencester in Gloucestershire, which borough he represented for two parliaments. He acted, in the great opposition to the duke of Maryborough and the Whigs, under Mr. Harley and Mr. St. John; and, in Dec. 1711, at that memorable period, in which the administration, to obtain a majority in the upper house, introduced twelve new lords in one day, was made a peer. On the accession of George I. when his political friends were in disgrace, and some of them exposed to persecution, he continued firm in his attachment to them: he united, particularly, in the protests against the acts of the attainder against lord Bolingbroke and the duke of Ormond. We have no speech of his recorded, till on Feb. 21, 1718 from which period, for the space of twenty-five years, we find that he took an active and distinguished part in every important matter which came before the upper house; and that he was one of the most eminent opposers of the measures of the court, and particularly of sir Robert Waipole’s administration. For an account of these, however, we refer to history, and especially to the history and proceedings of the house of lords.

The principal circumstances of his private life are as follow: In 1704, he married Catherine, daughter of sir Peter Apsley, son and heir of sir Allen aforesaid by whom he had four sons and five daughters. In 1742, he was made one of the privy council. In 1757, upon a change in the ministry, he was constituted treasurer to the present king, then prince of Wales, and continued in that office | till the death of George II. At his majesty’s accession, in 1760, he was constituted privy counsellor; but, on account of his age, declined all employments: he had, however, a pension of 2000/, per annum. “I have attended parliament,” says he to Swift, “many years, and have never found that I could do any good; I have, therefore, determined to look to my own affairs a little:” and it has been said, we believe justly, that no person of rank ever knew better how to unite otium cum dignitate. To uncommon abilities he added many virtues, integrity, humanity, generosity: and to these virtues, good breeding, politeness, and elegance. His wit, taste, and learning connected him with all persons eminent in this way, with Pope, Swift, Addison, &c. and from the few letters of his which are published among Swift’s, his correspondence must have been a real pleasure to those by whom it was enjoyed. He preserved, to the close of his life, his natural cheerfulness and vivacity: he delighted in rural amusements, and enjoyed with philosophic calmness the shade of the lofty trees himself had planted. Till within a month of his death, he constantly rode out on horseback two hours in the morning, and drank his bottle of wine after dinner. He used jocosely to declare, that he never could think of adopting Dr. Cadogan’s regimen, as Dr. Cheyne had assured him fifty years before, that he would not live seven years longer, unless he abridged himself of his wine.

In 1772, he was advanced to the dignity of earl Bathurst. He lived to see his eldest surviving son, the second earl Bathurst (who died in 1794) several years chancellor of England, and promoted to the peerage by the title of baron Apsley. He died, after a few days illness, at his seat near Cirencester, Sept. 16, 1775, in his ninety-first year. 1


Biog. Brit,