Open main menu


HOBHOUSE, Sir BENJAMIN (1757–1831), politician, born in 1757, son of John Hobhouse, merchant at Bristol, received his education at the grammar school there, and at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he proceeded B.A. in 1778, M.A. in 1781. He was called to the bar by the society of the Middle Temple in the latter year. At the general election of 1796 he stood for Bristol without success, but in February 1797 was elected M.P. for Bletchingley, Surrey, in 1802 for Grampound, Cornwall, and in 1806 for Hindon, Wiltshire, which borough he represented till he withdrew from political life in 1818. In 1803 he took office under Addington as secretary to the board of control. He resigned this in May 1804, and in 1805 was appointed chairman of the committees for supplies. He was also first commissioner for investigating the debts of the nabobs of the Carnatic. He was made a baronet on 22 Dec. 1812. Hobhouse was president of the Bath and West of England Society (1805–17), and his bust by Chantrey was placed in the society's rooms. He was chairman of the committee of the Literary Fund, and a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. He died at Berkeley Square on 14 Aug. 1831. Hobhouse was twice married: first, in September 1785, to Charlotte, daughter of Samuel Cam of Chantry House, near Bradford, Wiltshire;’ she died 25 Nov. 1791; secondly, in April 1793, to Amelia, daughter of the Rev. Joshua Parry of Cirencester. By his first wife he had five children, and by his second fourteen. His eldest son was John Cam Hobhouse [q. v.], afterwards Lord Broughton. The second, Benjamin, became a captain in the 69th foot, and fell at Waterloo. Portraits of Hobhouse were painted by J. Jackson, R.A., and T. Phillips, R.A.; the latter was engraved by P. Audinet.

Hobhouse wrote: 1. ‘A Treatise on Heresy as cognisable by the Spiritual Courts, and an Examination of the Statute of William III for Suppressing Blasphemy and Profaneness,’ 1792. 2. ‘A Reply to F. Randolph's Letter to Dr. Priestley; or an Examination of F. Randolph's Scriptural Revision of Socinian Arguments,’ Trowbridge, 1792; another edition, Bath, 1793. Answered by F. Randolph in ‘Scriptural Revision of Socinian Arguments, vindicated against the Reply of Benjamin Hobhouse,’ 1793. 3. Three letters addressed to ‘the several Patriotic Societies in London and its neighbourhood,’ and to the editor of the ‘Morning Chronicle,’ occasioned by the ‘prevailing disposition to riot and insurrection,’ 1792. 4. ‘An Inquiry into what constitutes the Crime of compassing and imagining the King's Death,’ 1795. 5. ‘Remarks on several parts of France, Italy, &c., in the years 1783, 1784, and 1785,’ Bath, 1796. 6. A collection of ‘Tracts,’ 1797.

[Gent. Mag. 1831, pt. ii. pp. 371, 372, 653; Cat. Oxford Grad.; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Foster's Baronetage; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Add. MSS. 27823 f. 362, 29184 f. 87 (a letter to Warren Hastings about a sack of barley), 32166 f. 25.]

F. W-t.