shire, on 7 Dec. 1692. He was the second son of William Lowndes of Overton, then a property of some value in Cheshire, and an old possession of the Lowndes family. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph Lowndes of Legh Hall. She became, on the death of her father, heiress to this estate, which seems afterwards to have been the favourite residence of her husband. It was here that Thomas Lowndes passed his childhood (Letter to the admiralty, 6 July 1746). Nothing more is known of his life—unless the residence in France and Holland, to which he alludes in the same letter, be referred to this period—until 1725. On 27 Sept. of that year he received from the lords proprietors the patent of provost-marshal of South Carolina, along with a grant of the four baronies necessary, according to Locke's ‘Constitutions,’ to the dignity of landgrave. From the outset he advocated a policy of vigorous reprisals against Spain for the protection afforded the Indians in their harassing attacks upon the English settlers. He never visited the colony, entrusting his duties to a deputy, but he was the first to point out the advantages Port Royal offered for the obstruction of Spanish navigation (Colonial Records, B. T., ‘South Carolina,’ 3, C. 47). In the proceedings initiated in 1727 for the purchase of Carolina by the crown, he played, in his own eyes, a prominent part. Unfortunately there is nothing to authenticate his claims, which, as represented in his letter to the lords commissioners of trade, are disfigured by the same exaggeration, pretence, and self-importance that characterised most of his communications to that board (ib. 3, C. 26; 4, C. 48). In February 1729 he laid formally before them a memorial of the reasons he had urged upon the government for the purchase—the fertility of the soil, the means of restraining France and Spain, the comparative ease of defence, the disunion among the lords proprietors, the frequency of minorities, and the danger, in case of an invasion, of the colony being lost to England (ib. 4, C. 50).
In September 1728 the English government was perplexed by the difficulties of finding a place for the refugees from the impoverished palatinate who had sought protection in England. Lowndes recommended that the refugees (some of whom had already been sent to New York) should be induced to emigrate to South Carolina, and should be provided for there during the first year at the public expense; 120 acres of land were, according to his scheme, to be assigned to the head of each family, and forty acres to each child and white servant in the family; the land for the first two years was to be free of quit-rent, and afterwards to pay 2d. per acre (ib. 3, C. 26, 47). He clung obstinately to this scheme, modifying it again and again, until it was partially adopted two years later. He was occupied about the same period, 1728–30, with other projects for Carolina—the manufacture of potash as a blow at Russian trade; the importation for that purpose of the persecuted Poles; the incorporation of North Carolina with Virginia; the extraction of oil from sesame, ‘which would make the barren pine-lands as valuable as the rice-fields’ (ib. ‘Plantations General,’ 11, M. 1, 3–6; ‘South Carolina,’ 4, C. 71, 93–5, 110).
On 30 Nov. 1730 George II renewed Lowndes's patent of provost-marshal, which he had surrendered at the transference of the colony to the crown in 1727; but its value was greatly reduced by an act declaring all process null and void unless served by the provost-marshal or his deputy in person. Lowndes did his utmost, ‘in the interests of justice and commerce,’ to have the Summons Act, which in the days of the lords proprietors had screened the abuses of the provost-marshals, restored and the Capias repealed. When the assembly rejected this proposal he accused—possibly upon false information—Governor Johnson of purposely withholding the motion (ib. S. Car. 4, C. 83; 5, D. 13, 18, 25). Johnson, writing from Charlestown, 28 Sept. 1732, protested against the board listening for the future to Lowndes's insinuations, a man who ‘by the neglect of the late lords proprietors had made the province his property to the extent of 4,000l. or 5,000l., by no other merit than a consummate assurance’ (ib. 7, E. 72, Clause D.; 5, D. 53, 63; 6, E. 14, 15; 7, E. 94; 5, D. 57). About 1733 probably he resigned his patent of provost-marshal, and it was not again renewed. In 1739 his project for the regulation of the paper currency in New England won the approval of Carteret [q. v.]; but the distrust of the lords commissioners, or more feasible schemes for the same purpose, seem to have prevented its adoption (ib. ‘Plantations General,’ 12, N. 38, 39). He was now the permanent victim of ill-health.
In April 1745 he laid before the House of Commons a proposal for the prevention, without a register, of the running of wool from Ireland to France. This, from its economic interest perhaps the most notable of his schemes, he shortly afterwards published as a pamphlet, ‘A Method to Prevent,’ &c., 1745. He refers the decay of the English woollen manufacture to the restrictions placed on Irish trade, and, appealing to the example of Holland, proposes to allow Ireland to manufacture in the Isle of Man her