Catalogue description Correspondence of Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869) and his Family, & Related Material

This record is held by Leeds University Library, Special Collections

Details of MS277
Reference: MS277
Title: Correspondence of Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869) and his Family, & Related Material

The material contains business and personal letters by Thomas Perronet Thompson and his family including distant relatives. It also encompasses notes on politics, religion and other topics. There are pencil drawings. The print collection includes pamphlets by Thomas Perronet Thompson. There are pamphlets on political, military and religious subjects.

Date: 1793-1912

The letters in this collection are divided into five series. MS 277/1 contains Thomas Perronet Thompson's own letters listed in chronological order. MS 277/2 comprises the letters of his family in alphabetical order of the writers. MS 277/3 consists of letters written by other people, either to members of the Thompson family or third parties on matters connected with the Thompsons. This series includes letters by distant relations of the Thompson family who do not bear that surname. MS 277/4-5 contains other manuscript material and some printed material.

Related material:

The John Rylands Library, Manchester, possesses a collection of Thomas Perronet Thompson's letters to H.B. Peacock (Rylands English MS.1180). The bulk of his papers are in the library of the University of Hull. A copy of the schedule of the Hull collection may be consulted in the Brotherton Library, on request.

Held by: Leeds University Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Thompson, Thomas Perronet, 1783-1869, politician

Access conditions:

Access to this material is unrestricted

Custodial history:

The collection forms Leeds University MS.277. It was used by L.G. Johnson, senior lecturer in economics in the University, for his biography, "General T. Perronet Thompson", London, 1957, and was presented to the Brotherton Library by his widow in 1970.

  • Thompson family of Yorkshire
Administrative / biographical background:

General Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869) was well-known in his day as a politician and reformer. His father was Thomas Thompson, a merchant and banker, of Hull. Through his mother, Philothea Perronet Briggs, he was related to Vincent Perronet, a Methodist and close friend of John Wesley.


Thomas Perronet Thompson served both in the navy and the army, and was the first governor of Sierra Leone to be appointed by the Crown (in 1808). On his return to England from active service in 1822, he turned to politics. He was most active on behalf of the Anti-Corn-Law League, and wrote many articles and pamphlets in support of free trade. But his interests were extremely wide, and included natural history, geometry, and music, as well as politics and economics. For seven years he owned the "Westminster review", and used it for the causes which were dear to him. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, he showed an enharmonic organ which had been constructed according to his musical theories. In June 1836, he entered Parliament as the member for Hull, and finally gave up his seat in 1859. During this period he was sometimes defeated at the polls, but always continued to fight for his policies whether in or out of Parliament.


Thomas Perronet Thompson married Anne Elizabeth [Nancy] Barker, from York. They had three sons: Thomas Perronet Edward, Charles William, and John Wycliffe. The first was a lawyer, and became Recorder of Bradford; the other two were both soldiers, who served in India and elsewhere. Thomas Perronet Edward Thompson's daughter was Edith Thompson, who did much work in connection with the "Oxford English dictionary".

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