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Le Mesurier, Havilland (1758-1806) (DNB00)


LE MESURIER, HAVILLAND (1758–1806), commissary-governor, born in Guernsey in 1758, was youngest son of John Le Mesurier, hereditary governor of Aldemey, who died in 1793 [see under Le Mesurier, John, 1781-1843]. Havilland obtained a scholarship at Winchester College in 1770, but resigned it in the next year, and after spending some time in mercantile connection with his father and eldest brother, Peter, married in 1782, and joined a large mercantile firm at Havre.

Thence he removed to London, but having suffered in the commercial disasters of 1793, he accepted the post of 'adjutant commissary-general of stores, supplies, and storage' with the forces on the continent under command of the Duke of York [see Frederick Augustus, Duke of York, of which Alderman (afterwards Sir Brook) Watson had been appointed commissary-general Le Mesurier was acting commissary-general of the army during the winter retreat through Holland and Westphalia to Bremen in 1794-5, and received the highest commendation from Count Walmoden (the elder) and General David Dundas (1735-1820) [q.v.] After his return he entered into partnership with his brother Paul [see below], as P. and H. Le Mesurier, merchants, 3 Austin Friars, City. During the invasion alarm of 1796 he was appointed commissary-general of the southern district, where be iutroducedatiewplan of supply with the warm approval of Sir Charles, afterwards the first Earl Grey [q.v.], who commanded the district. It embraced the eatablishment of depots of stores, each in charge of a ‘reserve commissary,’ at Croydon, Leatherhead, Guildford, Farningham, and Rochester. In 1799 the post of commissary-general in England was created or restored for the benefit of Sir Brook Watson, and Le Mesurier, holding that he was thereby placed in a secondary position contrary to express stipulation, entered into a spirited controversy with the authorities, which ended in his resignation in June 1800. All the officers employed under him were soon after reduced, and a totally different system introduced. When the Addington administration took office in March 1801, Le Mesurier was reinstated, and was sent to Egypt, to superintend the commissariat arrangements of the army returning from that country, which involved a subsequent extension of his service in Malta, Naples, and elsewhere at the peace of Amiens.

Le Mesurier was surviving partner of the firm at his death, which took place in Great George Street, Westminster, 5 March 1806. He married in 1782 Miss Eliza Dobrée of Guernsey, and by her had four sons and one daughter.

Le Mesurier was author of a pamphlet on ‘Commissariat Duties in the Field,’ published in 1796; of the ‘British Commissary’ (London, 2 vols. 1798), a work dedicated to Count Walmoden and General Dundas, which went through several editions; of ‘Thoughts on a French Invasion’ (London, 1798), which also went through several editions; and of ‘Two Letters to the Commissioners of Military Accounts,’ exposing commissariat abuses.

Le Mesurier, Paul (1755–1805), lord mayor of London, brother of the above, born in Guernsey 23 Feb. 1755, entered in 1776 into partnership with Nicholas Le Cras, a merchant of Walbrook, London, and was well known as a prize agent during the American war. In 1780 he joined the first voluntary military association formed in England, and rose to be colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company in 1794. As a proprietor of the East India Company he was so active in his opposition to Fox's India Bill of 1783 that he was appointed a director, and was elected M.P. for Southwark at the election which followed the defeat of Fox's measure. He became alderman of Dowgate Ward in October 1784, was sheriff in 1787, and lord mayor in 1794. His hospitality in the latter office, always very liberal, was shown to greatest advantage at his entertainment of Cornwallis, the governor-general of India, when presented with the freedom of the city in December 1794. Le Mesurier died 9 Dec. 1805, and was buried in the churchyard of Christ Church, Spitalfields. He married in 1776 Mary Roberdean of Homerton, by whom he left a son and three daughters (Gent. Mag. 1806, pt. i. pp. 84–6).

[Gent. Mag. 1806, pt. i. p. 290; Havilland Le Mesurier's writings.]

H. M. C.