Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Courtenay, Thomas Peregrine

1354825Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 12 — Courtenay, Thomas Peregrine1887Thomas Finlayson Henderson

COURTENAY, THOMAS PEREGRINE (1782–1841), statesman and author, youngest son of the Right Rev. Henry Reginald Courtenay [q. v.], bishop of Exeter, by Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of Thomas, second earl of Effingham, was born 31 May 1782. He was returned to parliament in 1811 as M.P. for Totnes, being re-elected to every succeeding parliament until the dissolution of 1831. He was deputy-paymaster of the forces 1807–11. He was secretary to the commissioners for the affairs of India from 1812 till 1828, when he was promoted to be vice-president of the board of trade, being sworn a privy councillor on May 30 following. He retired from office in 1830 on a pension of 1,000l. a year. Besides efficiently discharging his official duties, he devoted a large portion of his time to the interests of literature, and was a member both of the Camden and Granger Societies. In addition to various political pamphlets, including ‘Observations on the American Treaty, being a continuation of the Letters of Decius,’ 1808, ‘View of the State of the Nation,’ 1811, ‘Treatise upon the Poor Laws,’ 1818, and a ‘Letter to Lord Grenville on the Sinking Fund,’ 1828, he was the author of ‘Memoir of the Life, Works, and Correspondence of Sir William Temple, Bart.,’ 1836, 2 vols., and ‘Commentaries on the Historic Plays of Shakespeare,’ 1840, originally contributed to the ‘New Monthly Magazine.’ After his brother's accession to the earldom of Devon, Courtenay was in November 1835 raised to the rank of an earl's younger son. He was accidentally drowned 8 July 1841. By his marriage, 5 April 1805, to Anne, daughter of Mayow Wynell Mayow of Sydenham, Kent, he left eight sons and five daughters.

[Gent. Mag. (1841) new ser. xvi. 316; Annual Register, lxxxviii. 213.]

T. F. H.