John Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Marquess Camden
Portrait by William Salter
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
13 March 1795 – 14 June 1798
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger
Preceded byThe Earl Fitzwilliam
Succeeded byThe Marquess Cornwallis
Secretary of State for War
and the Colonies
In office
14 May 1804 – 10 July 1805
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger
Preceded byLord Hobart
Succeeded byViscount Castlereagh
Lord President of the Council
In office
10 July 1805 – 19 February 1806
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterWilliam Pitt the Younger
Preceded byViscount Sidmouth
Succeeded byThe Earl Fitzwilliam
In office
26 March 1807 – 8 April 1812
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterThe Duke of Portland
Spencer Perceval
Preceded byViscount Sidmouth
Succeeded byViscount Sidmouth
Member of Parliament
for Bath
In office
Preceded bySir John Sebright, Bt
Succeeded bySir Richard Arden
Personal details
Born11 February 1759 (1759-02-11)
Lincoln's Inn Fields, London
Died8 October 1840 (1840-10-09) (aged 81)
Seale, Surrey
Political partyTory
Spouse(s)Frances Molesworth
(d. 1829)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
Quartered arms of John Jeffreys Pratt, 2nd Earl of Camden, KG

John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden, KG, PC, FSA (11 February 1759 – 8 October 1840), styled Viscount Bayham from 1786 to 1794 and known as the 2nd Earl Camden from 1794 to 1812, was a British politician. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the revolutionary years 1795 to 1798 and as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies between 1804 and 1805.

Background and education[edit]

John Jeffreys Pratt was born at Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, the only son of the barrister Charles Pratt, KC (a son of Sir John Pratt, a former Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench), and Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Jeffreys, of The Priory, Brecknockshire.[1] He was baptised on the day Halley's Comet appeared. In 1765, his father (by then Sir Charles Pratt, having been appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1762) was created Baron Camden, at which point he became The Hon. John Pratt. He was educated at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College).[1][2]

Political career[edit]

In 1780, Pratt was elected Member of Parliament for Bath[1][3] and obtained the position of Teller of the Exchequer the same year,[1] a lucrative office which he kept until his death, although after 1812 he refused to receive the large income arising from it.[citation needed] He served under Lord Shelburne as Lord of the Admiralty between 1782 and 1783 and in the same post under William Pitt the Younger between 1783 and 1789, as well as a Lord of the Treasury between 1789 and 1792.[1]

In 1786, his father was created Earl Camden, at which point he became known by one of his father's subsidiary titles as Viscount Bayham.

In 1793, Bayham was sworn of the Privy Council. In 1794 he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl Camden, and the following year he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland by Pitt.[4]

Disliked in Ireland as an opponent of Roman Catholic emancipation and as the exponent of an unpopular policy, Camden's term of office was one of turbulence, culminating in the rebellion of 1798; his refusal in 1797 to reprieve the United Irishman William Orr, convicted of treason on the word of one witness of dubious credit (and for which his own sister Frances, Lady Londonderry, petitioned him),[5] aroused great public indignation.[6] To break the United Irish conspiracy, he suspended habeas corpus and unlashed a ruthless martial-law campaign to disarm and break up the republican organization.[7]

Immediately after the suppression of the rising Camden resigned.[1] In 1804 he became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies under Pitt,[8] and in 1805 Lord President of the Council,[9] an office he retained until 1806. He was again Lord President from 1807 to 1812,[1] after which date he remained for some time in the cabinet without office.[citation needed] In 1812 he was created Earl of Brecknock and Marquess Camden.[10]

The enforced resignation from the Cabinet of Lord Castlereagh, the stepson of his sister Frances (Lady Londonderry), to whom he had always been personally close, in September 1809, led to a series of bitter family quarrels, when it became clear that Camden had known for months of the plan to dismiss Castlereagh, but had given him no warning. Castlereagh himself regarded Camden as "a weak friend", not an enemy, and they were eventually reconciled. Other members of the Stewart family, however, never forgave Camden for what they regarded as his disloyalty.

Camden was also Lord Lieutenant of Kent between 1808 and 1840[1][11] and appointed himself Colonel of the Cranbrook and Woodsgate Regiment of Local Militia in 1809.[12] He was Chancellor of Cambridge University between 1834 and 1840.[1] He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1799[13] and elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1802.[1]


Lord Camden married Frances, daughter of William Molesworth, in 1785. She died at Bayham Abbey, Sussex, in July 1829. Lord Camden survived her by eleven years and died at Seale, Surrey, on 8 October 1840, aged 81. He was succeeded by his only son, George.[1]

The family owned and lived in a house located at 22 Arlington Street in St. James's, a district of the City of Westminster in central London,[14] which is adjoining the Ritz Hotel.[15] In the year of his death, he sold the house to The 7th Duke of Beaufort.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sir John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden
  2. ^ "Hon. John Jeffreys Pratt (PRT776JJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  3. ^ " House of Commons: Baillieston to Beckenham". Archived from the original on 17 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "No. 13759". The London Gazette. 10 March 1795. p. 229.
  5. ^ Bew, John (2011). Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny. London: Quercus. p. 112. ISBN 9780857381866.
  6. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol.2 p. 183
  7. ^ Geoghegan, Patrick (2009). "Pratt, John Jeffreys | Dictionary of Irish Biography". Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  8. ^ "No. 15704". The London Gazette. 22 May 1804. p. 649.
  9. ^ "No. 15823". The London Gazette. 9 July 1805. p. 897.
  10. ^ "No. 16632". The London Gazette. 11 August 1812. p. 1579.
  11. ^ Peerage: Cable to Cardwell[usurped]
  12. ^ London Gazette 13 May 1809, p. 679.
  13. ^ "No. 15169". The London Gazette. 13 August 1799. p. 814.
  14. ^ a b Chancellor, E. Beresford (1908). The Private Palaces of London Past and Present. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co Ltd. pp. 366–367. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  15. ^ "About this project". Architecture. London, England: The Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 30 June 2015.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bath
with Abel Moysey 1780–1790
Viscount Weymouth 1790–1794
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Teller of the Exchequer
Office abolished
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Kent
Succeeded by
Title last held by
The Duke of Dorset
Vice-Admiral of Kent
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of Cambridge University
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Marquess Camden
Succeeded by
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by Earl Camden
Succeeded by
Baron Camden
(descended by acceleration)