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Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester

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Title: Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester  
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Subject: Charles Manners-Sutton, 1st Viscount Canterbury, John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale, Francis Osborne, 1st Baron Godolphin, Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, Charles Abbot, 2nd Baron Colchester
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Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester

The Right Honourable
The Lord Colchester
Lord Colchester by John Hoppner, c. 1802 (Palace of Westminster)
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
Monarch George III
Preceded by Sir John Mitford
Succeeded by Charles Manners-Sutton
Personal details
Born 14 October 1757 (1757-10-14)
Died 8 May 1829(1829-05-08) (aged 71)
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Gibbes
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester PC, FRS (14 October 1757 – 8 May 1829) was a British barrister and statesman. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons between 1802 and 1817.


  • Background and education 1
  • Legal and political career 2
  • Family 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Background and education

Born in Abingdon, Abbot was the son of Dr John Abbot, rector of All Saints, Colchester, and, by his mother's second marriage, step-brother of Jeremy Bentham. From Westminster School he passed to Christ Church, Oxford, at which he gained the chancellor's prize for Latin verse as well as the Vinerian Scholarship. On 14 February 1793, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1]

Legal and political career

In 1795, after having practised twelve years as a barrister, and published a treatise proposing the incorporation of the judicial system of Wales with that of England, he was appointed to the office previously held by his brother of clerk of the rules in the king's bench; and in June of the same year he was elected Member of Parliament for Helston, through the influence of the Duke of Leeds.

In 1796 Abbot commenced his career as a reformer in Parliament by obtaining the appointment of two committees the one to report on the arrangements which then existed as to temporary laws or laws about to expire, the other to devise methods for the better publication of new statutes. To the latter committee, and a second committee which he proposed some years later, it is owing that copies of new statutes were thenceforth sent to all magistrates and municipal bodies.

Abbot's efforts effected the establishment of the Record Commission, the reform of the system which had allowed the public money to lie for some time at long interest in the hands of the public accountants, by charging them with payment of interest, and, most important of all, the act for taking the first census, that of 1801. On the formation of the Addington ministry in March 1801 Abbot became Chief Secretary and Privy Seal for Ireland; and in the February of the following year he was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, a position that he held with universal satisfaction until 1817, when an attack of erysipelas compelled him to retire. In response to an address of the Commons, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Colchester, of Colchester in the County of Essex, with a pension of £4000, of which £3000 was to be continued to his heir. His speeches against the Roman Catholic claims were published in 1828.


In 1796, he had married, in London, Elizabeth Gibbes (1760–1847), the elder daughter of Sir Philip Gibbes, baronet, of Springhead, Barbados, by whom he had two sons. He was succeeded by his elder son Charles, Postmaster General in 1858, and subsequently by his grandson Reginald Abbot, 3rd Baron Colchester, on whose death in 1919 the title became extinct.


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  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bt
Stephen Lushington
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Stephen Lushington 1795–1796
Richard Richards 1796–1799
Lord Francis Osborne 1799–1800
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Lord Francis Osborne 1801–1802
Succeeded by
Viscount FitzHarris
John Penn
Preceded by
Sir John Leicester, Bt
William Wickham
Member of Parliament for Heytesbury
With: Viscount Kirkwall
Succeeded by
Viscount Kirkwall
Charles Moore
Preceded by
Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood, Bt
Charles Moore
Member of Parliament for Woodstock
With: Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood, Bt
William Eden
Preceded by
Sir William Dolben, Bt
Sir William Scott
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: Sir William Scott
Succeeded by
Sir William Scott
Robert Peel
Political offices
Preceded by
Viscount Castlereagh
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
William Wickham
Preceded by
Sir John Mitford
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Charles Manners-Sutton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Colchester
Succeeded by
Charles Abbot
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