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BEAUFOY, HENRY (d. 1795), whig politician, was the son of a quaker wine merchant in London, who, to provide him with a liberal education, sent him first (1765-7) to the dissenting academy at Hoxton, and afterwards (1767-70) to the more famous Warrington academy, at the head of which was Dr. Aikin [see Aikin, John, D.D.]. His education gave him a taste for science, and identified him with the politics of liberal dissent. He sat in parliament nearly fifteen years, being elected for Minehead in 1780, for Great Yarmouth in 1784, and again on 18 June 1790. On 10 March 1786 he was placed on the committee for the establishment of a new dissenting academy, and gave 100l. towards the institution, which was opened as the Hackney College on 29 Sept. 1787. The dissenters placed in his hands the advocacy of their case against the Corporation and Test Acts, the repeal of which he moved on 28 March 1787, and again on 8 May 1789. Next year Fox took the initiative, and Beaufoy seconded his motion. He held the post of secretary to the board of control. He was roughly handled in cross-examination by Horne Tooke, on his trial for high treason (November 1794), and this is supposed to have hastened his death, which took place on 17 May 1795. He wrote: 1. 'The Effects of Civilisation on the Real Improvement and Happiness of Mankind, in answer to Rousseau,' 1768 (this was an academical oration at Warrington, published by his father). 2. 'Substance of the Speech on motion for Repeal of Test and Corporation Acts,' 1787, 8vo. 3. 'Substance of the Speech to British Society for Extending the Fisheries,' 1788, 8vo. 4. 'Plan of the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa,' 1788, folio. 5. 'Speech [18 June] in Committee on Bill for Regulating the Conveyance of Negroes from Africa to the West Indies; with additional observations,' 1789, 8vo. 6. 'Proceedings of the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa,' vol. i., 1790, 8vo (the first report is his).

[Gent. Mag. May 1795, p. 445; W. Turner in Monthly Repos. 1814, pp. 268, 290; Norf. Tour, 1829, p. 263; Hackney Coll. Reports.]

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