Quintin Dick

Quintin Dick (7 February 1777 – 26 March 1858)[1][2][3][4][5][6] was an Irish Peelite, independent, Conservative, and Tory politician, and barrister.[7][8]

Quintin Dick
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Aylesbury
In office
29 March 1848 – 7 July 1852
Preceded byJohn Peter Deering
George Nugent-Grenville
Succeeded byRichard Bethell
Austen Henry Layard
Further information
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Maldon
In office
30 July 1830 – 31 July 1847
Preceded byHugh Dick
Thomas Barrett-Lennard
Succeeded byThomas Barrett-Lennard
David Waddington
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Orford
In office
26 December 1826 – 3 August 1830
Preceded byHenry Frederick Cooke
Horace Seymour
Succeeded byHenry Frederick Cooke
Spencer Kilderbee
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Cashel
In office
25 May 1807 – 15 April 1809
Preceded byArchibald Primrose
Succeeded byRobert Peel
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for West Looe
In office
21 December 1803 – 1 November 1806
Preceded byJames Buller
Thomas Smith
Succeeded byRalph Daniell
James Buller
Member of the Dublin Parliament
for Dunleer
In office
January 1800 – August 1800
Serving with Thomas Foster
Preceded byThomas Foster
Henry Coddington
Succeeded byDisenfranchised
Personal details
Born7 February 1777
Dublin, Ireland
Died26 March 1858(1858-03-26) (aged 81)
Mayfair, London
Political partyConservative
Other political
ParentsSamuel Dick
Charlotte Forster
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin


Born in Dublin, Dick was the eldest child of East India merchant and proprietor Samuel Dick and Charlotte née Forster, daughter of Nicholas Forster. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a BA in 1797, before becoming a barrister of King's Inns, Dublin, in 1800. He died at his home in Mayfair, London, in 1858, unmarried, leaving an estate worth almost £300,000.[7][8]

Political careerEdit

Over the course of 52 years, Dick represented six constituencies as a Member of Parliament, including one for the Parliament of Ireland. He was seen as "dandified and stiff, old-fashioned in dress as in politics" and his "lavishly illuminated" Mayfair dinners, leading to the nickname "Jolly Dick, the lamplighter"—commented upon by Benjamin Disraeli as unsuited to his habitual expression. Also known as "Carrotty Quintin" due to his wealth, Dick was unpopular.[8]

Dunleer MPEdit

Dick first entered politics as a representative for Dunleer in the Parliament of Ireland in March 1800, immediately opposing the Act of Union 1800.[6] However, when that act passed later that year, unifying the parliaments of Ireland and Great Britain into the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Dunleer was disenfranchised and Dick left without a seat.[7][8]

West Looe MPEdit

However, upon inheritance of his father's wealth in 1802, Dick entered the UK Parliament in 1803 as an independent member for West Loee in Cornwall by purchase.[7] Entering the Commons in 1804. Within a month of entering the House, he raised objections to debate on the Irish exchange and currency, arguing it diminished the public's confidence in the Bank of Ireland. Later that year, he also expressed some objection to William Pitt the Younger's additional force bill, voting against it in June, causing him to be listed as a Foxite and Grenvillite by Pitt's friends in September. However, by April 1805, he was voting with the government minority against Lord Melville's censure, and was then in July listed as a Pittite. He then held the seat until the 1806 general election when he did not seek re-election.[8][4]

Cashel MPEdit

Initially offering £5,000 for Tralee—a payment blocked by Viscount Castlereagh for his previous lack of support for the administration—Dick returned to parliament in 1807, becoming a Tory MP for the Irish borough of Cashel through a purchase from Henry Wellesley.[3] However, this part of his career was also short-lived as he resigned in 1809 when unwilling to vote with the administration to block an investigation into Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany's alleged abuse of military patronage.[8][7]

Although he saw his resignation as a matter of honour, he complained of receiving no rebate for vacating the seat, leading to a call from Radicals, namely William Madocks, for an inquiry into governmental abuse of power. Brought forward on 11 May 1809, the motion was defeated by a vote of 310 against to 85 for. Arthur Wellesley, the Chief Secretary for Ireland responded the next day, describing the failure as "rather a damper upon Jacobinism". Dick wrote to Madocks, as well as his kinsman John Foster, assuring them that the alleged corruption was "totally unfounded" and that accusations Spencer Perceval had put put pressure on Dick to resign were wrong, and instead he had pressed him to remain in the house.[8][7][9]

1826 electionEdit

After a long period outside of Parliament, and being "thrown out of his gig and nearly killed" in August 1820, Dick sought election as a Tory professing independence at Maldon at the 1826. At first securing the support of Colchester Radical MP Daniel Whittle Harvey, on the basis his politics would be congenial, Dick stood on an anti-Catholic agenda. However, at the nomination he landed third, behind his fellow candidates Thomas Barrett-Lennard and George Allanson-Winn, and then came third and last at the eventual election, narrowly defeated by 53 votes.[10]

The poll saw Dick and his fellow candidates rack up considerable bills, with more than £50,000 estimated to have been spent on transport, treating and admission fees. Dick himself spent £4,000 on tavern bills. Barrett-Lennard's electoral agent, who had admitted the Whigs' campaign had been "bad", also said the "purse of Mr. Dick" would lead to the seat only represented by those "who can afford to contest the place".[10]

Orford MPEdit

Charges were again levelled at him that he was "merely a wealth cat's paw" for the Tories, and later that year he paid an additional £4,000 to become MP for Orford at a by-election in 1826—called when "his friend" Horace Seymour chose to sit for Bodmin, which he had also been elected to at the general election.[8][7][5] In this seat, Dick opposed Catholic emancipation right up to when Lord Hertford told his members to vote for it in 1829.[11]

Maldon MPEdit

At the 1830 general election, Dick left Orford to successfully seek election, unopposed, as a Tory at Maldon, alongside the Whig Thomas Barrett-Lennard.[10][2]

The two members were on either side of the debate over the Grey ministry's Reform Bill—with Barrett-Lennard supporting and Dick opposing—which would see Maldon reduced to one seat. During a debate over the motion in the House of Commons, Dick made arguments against the partial disenfranchisement of the constituency, and it was at one point suggested it could be combined with Heybridge to create a viable two-member constituency but this was concluded unfeasible due to the high cost of the 1826 election. However, the Parliament Boundaries Act 1832 added Heybridge to the old borough, and the seat retained its two MPs.[10]

While the Reform Act was designed to reduce corruption and remove rotten boroughs, in Maldon it increased the corruption by creating a "manageable and venal resident electorate", leading to every election being 1832 and the Reform Act 1867 being contested via an election petition. Despite this, becoming a Conservative in 1834 and a "peripheral" Young Englander in the 1840s, Dick retained the seat until the 1847 general election when he was defeated.[2] Dick then sought election again in 1852 as an independent conservative,[12] and 1854 as a Peelite.[13][10][14]

Aylesbury MPEdit

Nevertheless, Dick's protectionist record and money allowed him to gain the Aylesbury seat as a Conservative at a by-election in 1848, caused by the election of John Peter Deering being declared void due to treating.[15] He held the seat until 1852.[14][1]


Dick also served in the military, becoming captain of the West Essex militia in 1839, and Lieutenant-Colonel from 1846 to 1852.[10]


  1. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 3)
  2. ^ a b c Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "M" (part 1)
  3. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 3)
  4. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 2)
  5. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "O"
  6. ^ a b Rayment, Leigh (20 September 2012). "Irish House of Commons 1692-1800". Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Thorne, R.G. (1986). "DICK, Quintin (1777–1858), of 20 Curzon Street, Mayfair, Mdx". History of Parliament. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Millar, Mary S. (September 2004). "Dick, Quintin". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/42183. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. ^ Jupp, P. J. (1986). "Cashel". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Fisher, David R. (2009). "Maldon". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ Escott, Margaret (2009). "Orford". The History of Parliament. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. ^ "The Elections". London Daily News. 12 July 1852. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 27 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "The Elections". Blackburn Standard. 23 August 1854. p. 2. Retrieved 27 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  15. ^ "Dumfries and Galloway Standard". 29 March 1848. p. 3. Retrieved 27 May 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Henry Coddington
Thomas Foster
Member of Parliament for Dunleer
March 1800 – December 1800
With: Thomas Foster
Disenfranchised under the Act of Union 1800
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Buller
Thomas Smith
Member of Parliament for West Looe
With: Ralph Daniell (18051806)
James Buller (18031805)
Succeeded by
Ralph Daniell
James Buller
Preceded by
Archibald Primrose
Member of Parliament for Cashel
Succeeded by
Robert Peel
Preceded by
Henry Frederick Cooke
Horace Seymour
Member of Parliament for Orford
With: Henry Frederick Cooke
Succeeded by
Henry Frederick Cooke
Spencer Kilderbee
Preceded by
Hugh Dick
Thomas Barrett-Lennard
Member of Parliament for Maldon
With: John Round (18371847)
Thomas Barrett-Lennard (18301837)
Succeeded by
Thomas Barrett-Lennard
David Waddington
Preceded by
John Peter Deering
George Nugent-Grenville
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
With: Richard Bethell (18511852)
Frederick Calvert (18501851)
George Nugent-Grenville (18481850)
Succeeded by
Richard Bethell
Austen Henry Layard