The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Vansittart, Nicholas, Lord Bexley (1766–1851)

  • H. R. Tedder
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_1770

Abstract

Son of Henry Vansittart, sometime governor of Bengal, Vansittart took his MA degree at Oxford in 1791, and was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn, where he became a bencher in 1812. He was MP for Hastings in 1796, and in 1801 was sent as minister plenipotentiary with Parker and Nelson to Copenhagen to endeavour to detach Denmark from the Northern Alliance. In April 1801 he was appointed joint-secretary to the treasury by Addington.

Son of Henry Vansittart, sometime governor of Bengal, Vansittart took his MA degree at Oxford in 1791, and was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn, where he became a bencher in 1812. He was MP for Hastings in 1796, and in 1801 was sent as minister plenipotentiary with Parker and Nelson to Copenhagen to endeavour to detach Denmark from the Northern Alliance. In April 1801 he was appointed joint-secretary to the treasury by Addington.

Between 1802 and 1812 he sat for Old Sarum, and afterwards for Harwich. In 1804 he was a lord of the treasury in Ireland and in the following year secretary to the lord lieutenant. He was reappointed joint secretary to the treasury, 1806–7, under Grenville’s administration; and in 1812 became a cabinet minister, succeeding Perceval as chancellor of the exchequer. He held this office during Lord Liverpool’s administration until January 1823, when he retired, and was raised to the peerage. He remained in the cabinet as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster until 1828. He died 8 February 1851, in his 85th year.

Vansittart was a poor debater, with feeble voice and indistinct utterance, but he at one time had a certain financial reputation, and his gentle manners and benevolent character secured the attention which his natural abilities were unable to command. The eleven years during which he was chancellor of the exchequer were from a financial point of view perhaps the most critical England ever saw, but Vansittart never showed dexterity either in imposing or in remitting taxation. He introduced no measure of first importance. He was not responsible for the repeal of the income tax in 1816, the surrendering of the war malt tax, nor the return to cash payments. His resolutions on the report of the Bullion Committee have not added to his fame, and a praiseworthy scheme for converting the navy five per cents to four per cents in 1822 was coupled with an objectionable proposal to farm the pensions known as the ‘dead weight annuity’. He introduced alterations into the sinking fund far from successful. He was simply an honest and industrious clerk, finally dismissed from his office with little ceremony.

Selected Works

  • 1793. Reflections on the propriety of an immediate conclusion of the peace. London.

  • 1794. A reply to the addressed to Mr. Pitt by Jasper Wilson. London.

  • 1796a. Letter to Mr. Pitt on the conduct of the Bank directors. London.

  • 1796b. An inquiry into the state of the finances of Great Britain, in answer to Mr. Morgan’s facts. London.

  • 1811. Substance of two speeches on the bullion question. London.

  • 1813. Outline of a plan of finance proposed to be submitted to parliament. Pamphleteer 1: 255.

  • 1815a. The budget of 1815. Pamphleteer 6: 27.

  • 1815b. Speech … February 20 1815 in the Committee of ways and means. Pamphleteer 6: 1.

  • 1818. Speech 16 March 1818 on a Grant of £1 M for (Churches). Pamphleteer 12: 3.

  • 1819. Speech of the chancellor of the exchequer on the budget of 1819. Pamphleteer 15: 1.

Bibliography

  1. Attwood, T. 1817. Letter to N. Vansittart on the creation of money and … upon the national prosperity. Birmingham.Google Scholar
  2. Colchester, Lord. 1861. Diary and correspondence of Charles, Lord Colchester by his son, 3 vols. London.Google Scholar
  3. Dunn, W. 1820. The Vansittart plan of finance. Pamphleteer 16: 263.Google Scholar
  4. Walpole, S. 1878–86. History of England, 5 vols. London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Tedder
    • 1
  1. 1.