Paul Le Mesurier

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Paul Le Mesurier (1755-1805) was a merchant and politician. He was the first Guernseyman to become Lord Mayor of London

Contents

Biography

Le Mesurier was born on the 23 February 1755 the third son (of five) of John Le Mesurier (1717-1793) and Martha Dobrée. His father was the hereditary governor of Alderney. One of his brothers was Havilland Le Mesurier (1758-1806), commissary-general.

Private Life

Le Mesurier married Mary Roberdeau on 10 October 1776. She was the daughter of Isaac Roberdau, a Spitalfields silk manufacturer of Huguenot descent. They had five children, two sons and three daughters. His youngest son Thomas became Archdeacon of Malta.

Career

Le Mesurier was educated in England, partly at Salisbury.He began his career in the City of London, trading with Guernsey from a small office over a gateway in Cloak Lane. At first he met with little success, but in 1776 he entered into a partnership with Noah Le Cras (whose wife was the aunt of Mary Roberdeau). The two became highly successful as prize agents, and owners of the privateers that sailed from Guernsey and the other Channel Islands during the American Revolutionary War. Their success meant Le Cras was able to retire at the end of the war with "an ample fortune".

Le Mesurier campaigned against Charles Fox's India Bill which proposed the nationalization of the East India Company. This led to his election as a Director of that company in April 1784. In June of that year he also became an MP (for Southwark) and was returned as an Alderman of Dowgate ward. He won the parliamentary seat by just 11 votes in a hard fought campaign that The Gentleman's Magazine claimed cost the candidates £10,000 each (equivalent to around £625,000 in 2010).

In the commons he spoke for the Corporation of London's policies in favour of electoral and parliamentary reform

He became City Sheriff in 1786 and had to cope with the problems in Newgate jail caused by the delayed sailing of the first Australia bound convict transports.

In 1793 (just as the French wars started)he became Lord Mayor. He acted with firmness and expediency to deal with the riots that arose due to the "crimping" (the coercion or "shanghaiing") of men into the Army. He remained an MP until 1796. He was also a member of the Honourable Artillery Company and was their Colonel from 1794 until his death.

He was noted as a philanthropist and served on the governing bodies of the Asylum for Female Orphans, London Huguenot Hospital and the Eastern Dispensary.

Death

Le Mesurier died on 9 December 1805 at his home in Upper Homerton, near Hackney, and was buried at Christ Church Hospital, Spitalfields

Papers & Other Items Relating to Paul Le Mesurier

The National Archives hold papers relating to Le Mesurier's time as Lord Mayor including letter's written during the rioting (see Piece HO 42/33 and others). The National Archives of Scotland also hold some papers.

The National Trust of Guernsey has in it's collection a late 18th Century gentleman's court coat that is thought to have belonged to Le Mesurier.

References

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