Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn

19th Mar 1784 - 12th Jan 1856

Claimant or beneficiary


See Brian Jenkins, Henry Goulburn, 1784-1856: a political biography (Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 1996); Oxford DNB entry (G. F. R. Barker rev. David Eastwood].

Son of Munbee Goulburn (1756/7-1793) and Susannah (?-1818), daughter of Wm. Chetwynd, 4th Viscount Chetwynd. 'His father habitually overestimated income from his West Indian sugar plantations, and lived comfortably beyond the family's means...'. Died intestate and indebted 1793.

Henry educ. Trinity College, Cambridge, 1801-1805 (MA 1808). While there he was strongly influenced by Charles Simeon, evangelical Anglican clergyman [for whom see ODNB entry], which led to 'a serious, if quietly articulated, evangelicalism, and a firm commitment to the established church'. He also became close friends with F. J. Robinson and Henry Temple (Palmerston).

Took full responsibility for his Jamaica estates in 1805, the most important of which was Amity Hall. Managed estates through agents (as he was unable to visit because of ill health or political commitments). He was 'reconciled to slavery as a social institution and accepted a version of the humanitarians' argument that the most appropriate indicator of slaves' conditions was their ability at least to sustain their numbers. The fluctuating numbers on the Goulburn estates suggests that, even by this narrow humanitarian measure, his management sometimes fell short, but this was not for want of his willingness to invest time in estate administration or capital in improving projects.' (Barker/Eastwood in ODNB)

However, for an assessment of Goulburn's limited embrace of ameliorationist measures in the 1820s - 'Goulburn did not promote the amelioration programme on his estate until his failure to do so was made public' (Turner, p. 248) - see Mary Turner's article.

First elected to the House of Commons as a Tory in 1808 (having stood unsuccessfully in 1807 but 'seated' on petition in 1808. Under-secretary for war and colonies from 1812. [See political legacies for more details of seats and offices.]

By 1818 the income from his Jamaican estates halved to less than £3,000 'although he did console himself that the condition of his slaves had probably improved'. 1821-1827: Chief Secretary for Ireland. His actions included the bill for the suppression of unlawful societies in 1825, directed against the Catholic Association.

1828-30: Chancellor of the Exchequer. Took a providential (evangelical) view of trade cycles; strongly favoured retrenchment in public expenditure.

1832: took a position on reform between that of the reformers and the Tory ultras but after 1832 and strongly committed to following his friend Peel and the Peelites.

Home Secretary in the minority Peel government of December 1834-April 1835.

Chancellor of the Exchequer August 1841-June 1846.

Married Jane Montagu, 20 December 1811. She was the 3rd daughter of Matthew Montagu, close ally of Spencer Perceval, critic of Catholic relief, friend of Goulburn's mother and Goulburn's patron.


G. F. R. Barker, ‘Goulburn, Henry (1784–1856)’, rev. David Eastwood, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 12/08/2012].

Mary Turner, ‘Planter profits and slave rewards: amelioration reconsidered’ in Roderick A. McDonald (ed.), West Indies Accounts. Essays on the history of the British Caribbean and the Atlantic economy in honour of Richard Sheridan (Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies Press, 1996), pp. 232-52.

Kenneth Morgan, 'Guide to the microfilm edition of papers relating to the Jamaica estates of the Goulburn family of Betchworth House' [accessed 04/11/2013].

Further Information

Jane Montagu
Henry [Harry] Goulburn (1813–1843), Edward (1816–1887), Frederick (1818–1878), Jane (1820-?)
Trinity College, Cambridge [1801-1805; MA 1808 ]
Anglican (evangelical)
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (2)

£735 12s 4d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases (Judgement creditor)
£4,866 19s 11d

Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1805 [SY] - 1818 [EY] → Manager
1818 [SY] - 1856 [EY] → Owner
1839 [EA] - → Not known
1823 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Judgement creditor

Legacies Summary

Cultural (3)

Prints, Drawings & Paintings
Anon. Right Hon. Henry Goulburn, by G. Richmond. Album, National Portraits, volume V. Photograph of painting from the National Portrait Exhibition, South Kensington, 1868. Published by the... 
notes →
Full details at: Victoria & Albert Museum Collection: Prints, Drawings & Paintings. Thanks to Allyson Take for...
Prints, Drawings and Paintings
Print, half-length portrait of Henry Goulburn. Engraving by R. A. Artlett after George Richmond,... 
notes →
Ecclesiastical and Church Estates Commissioner for England
Church of England...... 

Physical (1)

Country house
Betchworth House [Purchased] 
description →
For a full description see Nicholas Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Surrey (London, Penguin, 1971), p. 110;...
notes →
Purchased by Goulburn 1816; passed to his son Edward (1816–1887) on Henry's death in...

Political (6)

office →
Chief Secretary for Ireland
1821 - April 1827
office →
Privy Councillor
1821 - 1821
office →
Chancellor of the Exchequer Treasury
22 January 1828 - 21 November 1830
office →
Chancellor of the Exchequer Treasury
3 September 1841 - 5 July 1846
office →
Home Secretary Home Office
December 1834 - April 1835
Conservative/Peelite / West India interest 
election →
Horsham Sussex (West)
1808 - 1812
election →
St. Germans Cornwall
1812 - 1818
election →
West Looe Cornwall
1818 - 1826
election →
Armagh Armagh
1826 - 1831
election →
Cambridge University Cambridgeshire
1831 - 1856

Relationships (5)

Other relatives
Notes →
Sarah Goulburn was Henry's...
Son → Mother
Son → Father
Grandson → Grandfather
Other relatives
Notes →
Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn 1784-1856) was the great-nephew of Henry Goulburn (died...

Addresses (2)

1 Upper Berkeley Street, London, Middlesex, London, England
Betchworth House, London, Surrey, London, England