\ Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis (1780-1855)


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Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis (1780-1855)

Taken from Sir Lesley Stephen & Sir Sidney Lee (eds.), Dictionary of National Biography: from the earliest times to 1900 (London, Oxford University Press, 1949).

Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, a politician, was the only son of John Lewis of Harpton Court, Radnorshire by his second wife, Anne, second daughter of Admiral Sir Thomas Frankland, bart., was born in London 14 May 1780. He was educated at Eton, where his name appears in the school lists for 1793 and 1796, and afterwards proceeded to Christ Church, but took no degree there.

From 1806 to 1815 he was lieutenant-colonel of the Radnorshire militia. He was M.P. for Beaumaris from 1812 till 1826, when he was returned for Ennis. This seat he quitted in February 1828 for Radnorshire, which he represented till his retirement in 1834 on becoming chairman of the poor-law commission, but he again sat in parliament for the Radnor Burghs from 1847 until his death.

From an early date he was employed in political and administrative posts of the second rank. He was appointed a member of the commission to inquire into the Irish revenue in 1821, of that to inquire into the revenue of Great Britain and Ireland in 1822, and was from 1825 to 1828 a member of the commission on Irish education. Being an adherent of Canning, he was, on 4 September 1827, appointed joint-secretary to the treasury, and from February to May 1828, when he retired with Huskisson, he was vice-president of the board of trade. On taking this office he was sworn of the privy council. In February 1830 he succeeded John Charles Herries in the treasurership of the navy, when Herries was sent to the board of trade; but he personally added little strength to the Wellington administration, and, although the salary of his post was reduced from £3,000 to £2,000 by the pressure of the opposition, the fact that the post was filled up at all exposed the ministry to the charge of having broken their pledges of economy. In August 1834 the Whig ministry made him chairman of the new English poor-law commission. He displayed much administrative prudence, and in 1836, when the Irish poor-law commissioners had reported somewhat hastily in favour of extensive reclamation works, he induced the ministry to send his colleague, Nicholls, to Ireland to report independently on the subject. In 1839 he resigned his chairmanship of the poor-law commission. He was a member of the commission upon the ‘Rebecca’ riots in Wales in 1843, and on 27 June 1846 he was rewarded with a baronetcy. He died at Harpton Court 22 January 1855.

He was twice married; first, on 10 March 1805, to Harriet, fourth daughter of Sir George Cornewall, bart., of Moccas Court, Hereford, by whom he had two sons, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, and Gilbert, afterwards a prebendary of Hereford Cathedral; and, secondly, in 1839, to Mary Anne, daughter of John Ashton. McCullagh Torrens describes him as ‘a careful and accomplished man, but formal, verbose, and dull.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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