Edward Cooke (1755–1820)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edward Cooke (27 June 1755 – 19 March 1820) was a British politician and pamphleteer.

Family and early life[edit]

He was born at Denham, Buckinghamshire, the third but only surviving son of William Cooke (1711–1797), provost of King's College, Cambridge and his wife, Catherine, the daughter of Richard Sleech, a canon of St George's Chapel, Windsor. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA in 1777 and MA in 1785, being a fellow of the college from 1776 to 1786.[1]

Ireland[edit]

Cooke entered government service in 1778, as private secretary to Sir Richard Heron, the Chief Secretary for Ireland while John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He served in a series of posts in the Irish administration and parliament, becoming under-secretary for the military department in 1789–1796 and for the civil department 1796–1801. In this period, he was also Member of Parliament (MP) for the boroughs of Lifford (1789–90) and Old Leighlin (1789–1801). He prospered because he was clever and ready to support British policy. He had an extremely poor opinion of the Irish judiciary, and sent jaundiced letters to London describing nearly all of them as insolent, ignorant or biased. Some of these judgments were fair enough, but others were certainly far too severe.

He published several political pamphlets during the 1790s. However, his position became difficult during the passage of the Irish Act of Union, because he favoured relief to Catholics. This determined him to return to England. While in London in 1801, negotiating the augmentation of the Irish Secret Service Fund, he was in negotiation with Lord Pelham over his future employment and Pelham's under-secretary, but a row broke out over the respective role of the Home Secretary and the Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Lieutenant consented to his retirement, and he received sinecure posts worth £2000 per year, including Keeper of the records of the Irish parliament.

Politics in Britain[edit]

Following his return to England. Cooke remained unemployed until 1804, when he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies under Lord Camden and then Viscount Castlereagh. His career then followed Castlereagh's to the Foreign Office. He went with him to Vienna and to Italy in winter 1814–15 to support Castlereagh in peace negotiations and partly to negotiate with the Vatican over the Catholic Question. In 1817, he retired, much to his chief's regret.

Private life[edit]

Cooke married, on 10 August 1791, Isabella, the daughter of Hamilton Gorges of Kilbrew, Co. Meath, an Irish MP. There were no children. He died in 1820.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cooke, Edward (CK773E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Abraham Creighton
Sir Nicholas Lawless, 1st Bt
Member of Parliament for Lifford
1789–1790
With: Abraham Creighton
Succeeded by
Abraham Creighton
Abraham Creighton, Viscount Creighton
Preceded by
Sir Edward Leslie, 1st Bt
Hon. Arthur Acheson
Member of Parliament for Old Leighlin
1790–1801
With: Hon. Arthur Acheson 1790–1791
Patrick Duigenan 1791–1798
Sir Boyle Roche, 1st Bt 1798–1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Political offices
Preceded by
John Sullivan
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
1804–1806
Succeeded by
Sir George Shee, Bt
and Sir James Cockburn, Bt
Preceded by
Sir George Shee, Bt
and Sir James Cockburn, Bt
Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
1807–1809
With: Hon. Charles Stewart
Succeeded by
Hon. Frederick John Robinson
and Hon. Charles Jenkinson
Preceded by
Culling Charles Smith
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
1812–1817
Succeeded by
Joseph Planta