Pusey, Philip 1799-1855, agriculturist, born at Pusey, Berkshire, on 25 June 1799, was the eldest son of Philip Pusey (1748-1828), by his wife Lucy (1772-1858), daughter of Robert Sherard, fourth earl of Harborough, and widow of Sir Thomas Cave. The father was the youngest son of Jacob Bouverie, first viscount Folkestone, whose sister married the last male representative of the Pusey family. The latter's sisters bequeathed the Pusey estates to their brother's nephew by marriage, Philip Bouverie, the agriculturist's father, on condition of his assuming the name of Pusey. This he did on 3 April 1784, and took possession of the estates in 1789. Philip's next brother was Edward Bouverie Pusey [qv.]. A sister Charlotte married Richard Lynch Cotton [qv.], provost of Worcester College, Oxford.
After education at Eton, Philip entered Christ Church, Oxford, at Michaelmas 1817, but left without taking a degree. At Oxford, as at Eton, his greatest friend was Henry John George Herbert, lord Porchester, afterwards third earl of Carnarvon [qv.], and in 1818 he became engaged to his friend's sister, Lady Emily Herbert, a lady unusually accomplished, sympathetic, and earnest-minded. Presumably on account of his father's objection to his marrying, Pusey joined Porchester in a foreign tour. Near Montserrat, in Catalonia, the travellers fell into the hands of the insurgent guerillas, and were in imminent danger of being shot as constitutionalists, or of the army of the Cortes (Carnarvon, Portugal and Galicia, 1836). Pusey returned home at the end of June 1822, and was married on 4 Oct. 1822. He settled with his wife at the Palazzo Aldobrandini, Rome, where they made the acquaintance of the Chevalier Bunsen. As a memorial of his Roman sojourn, Pusey presented a pedestal for the font in the German chapel at Rome, with groups in relief by Thorwaldsen (Bunsen, Memoirs, i. 373-4). On his father's death, 14 April 1828, he came into possession of the family estate.
In 1828 Pusey published pamphlets on The Sinking Fund and on Sir Robert Peel's Financial Statement of 15 Feb. 1828, and on 1 March 1830 he was elected M.P. for Rye in the conservative interest. He was, however, unseated on petition. In the first parliament of William IV (1830), he was chosen one of the two members for Chippenham, and during the reform agitation wrote The New Constitution, a pamphlet which was described by the Quarterly Review (xlv. 289) as one of the best both for reasoning and language that have appeared at this crisis. At the general election in April 1831 Pusey lost his seat for Chippenham, but returned to the house next July as member for Cashel. In the first reformed parliament he failed to secure the third seat given to the county of Berks, but was elected for that constituency in 1835, and retained his position through four parliaments until July 1852. In parliament Pusey won a position of influence. Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone were among his close friends. In 1843 he paid a visit to Scotland to study the Scottish poor-law system, and gained some credit by a pamphlet on the Management of the Poor in Scotland, 1844. He appears to have thought that a similar inquiry as to the condition of the Irish people would be useful; and in 1845 he projected, with Mr. Gladstone, a riding tour through Ireland. Owing to family matters, Mr. Gladstone had to break off the engagement, thereby, as he said in a letter, dated 6 Dec. 1894, to Pusey's son Sidney, postponing for a long time my acquiring a real knowledge of Ireland.
Pusey took no prominent part in the discussions in parliament on the corn laws, and was absent from the two critical divisions on the second and third readings of Sir Robert Peel's bill of 1846. But he followed Peel in his change of opinion, and, though re-elected for Berkshire without opposition at the general election of 1847 as a liberal-conservative, he had to face a growing discontent among his constituents. In 1847 he tried to interest the House of Commons in tenant right, and during four sessions resolutely championed that cause. In 1843, 1844, and 1845 Lord Portman had introduced into the House of Lords bills to secure for an agricultural tenant compensation for unexhausted improvements; but they did not meet with much sympathy from the upper house. Pusey in 1847 submitted to the House of Commons a very modest permissive bill. It was attacked vehemently by Colonel Sibthorp and other members of his class, and was withdrawn. In 1848, on Mr. Newdegate's motion, a select committee was appointed to consider the whole subject. Pusey became chairman, and presented a valuable report. In 1849 and 1850 Pusey's bill passed the commons, but the House of Lords declined to accept it (Hansard, cxii. 855). After a lapse of twenty-five years the struggle was carried by other hands to a successful issue. The Agricultural Holdings Bill of 1875 embodied many of Pusey's views, and Disraeli, in moving the second reading, paid a warm tribute to Pusey's exertions, observing that Mr. Pusey was the first person to introduce into this house the term tenant right.
Before the election of 1852 Mr. Vansittart, a protectionist and ultra-protestant, came forward to oppose Pusey's re-election. Pusey's views on the corn laws, his vote in favour of the Maynooth College grant, and his relationship to the founder of Puseyism, a movement which was identified with Romish practices, exposed him to vehement attack. I hear, he writes, that, among electioneering tricks, some call me a Puseyite. I am no more than Lord Shaftesbury is; but I will not consent to find fault with my brother in public. On the eve of the election, recognising the impossibility of success, he withdrew his candidature.
In 1838 Pusey took a prominent part in the formation of what became in 1840 the Royal Agricultural Society of England [see under Spencer, John Charles, Lord Althorp]. At the preliminary meeting held on 9 May 1838 he seconded the important resolution, moved by Earl Fitzwilliam, determining that annual meetings should be held successively in different parts of England and Wales. Pusey was a member of the original committee of management, and was chairman of the committee appointed to conduct a journal for the diffusion of agricultural information. From the first the editorial control was placed exclusively in his hands, and to it he devoted unstintedly his time and his talents during the best years of his life. Pusey was already a Quarterly Reviewer (see Smiles, Murrays, ii. 378), and the journal was modelled somewhat on the lines of that review. As early as 1844 it had made its mark (cf. Quarterly Review, lxxiii. 481). On 26 March 1840 the society received a charter of incorporation as the Royal Agricultural Society of England, and at the next general meeting Pusey was nominated president by Earl Spencer. He assumed office on 15 July 1840, and retired on 21-23 July 1841. In 1853 he was again elected president, but was unable to attend the meeting at Lincoln in 1854 on account of the illness of his wife.
The six or seven years following 1838 were the most prosperous of Pusey's career. He was in intimate social relations with the leading thinkers and public men of the time. He breakfasted with Samuel Rogers and Monckton Milnes. He entertained Lord Spencer, Sir Robert Peel, Gladstone, Carlyle, Whewell, Grote, Galley Knight, Bishop Wilberforce, and Lord Stanhope the historian. His friend Bunsen, who came to England in 1838, was a frequent guest (cf. Bunsen, Memoirs, i. 504 sq.). He attended the meetings of learned societies; he became a F.R.S. on 27 May 1830; was a member of the original committee of the London Library in 1840, and belonged to the Athenĉum, Travellers', and Grillion's clubs. He wrote on philosophy for the Quarterly Review, on current topics for the Morning Chronicle, and on farming for the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society. He was interested in hymnology, and desired to substitute Milman's hymns for those of Sternhold and Hopkins in the church services, a change to which his brother Edward was strongly opposed. He wrote several hymns, the best known of which is Lord of our life and God of our salvation (Liddon, i. 299). He was a connoisseur of art, and collected prints and engravings as well as autographs.
The whole estate at Pusey was about 5,000 acres in extent, and on the home farm, consisting of between three and four hundred acres of large open level fields, Pusey showed himself a very practical agriculturist. The breeding and feeding of sheep were the points upon which everything on the farm was made to hinge, and the great feature of the management was a system of water-meadows, introduced from Devonshire (Journal R. A. S. E. 1849, x. 462-79; Caird, English Agriculture in 1850-1, pp. 107 sq.). When in the country Pusey was up at six in the morning, superintending all the operations of the farm. He was an excellent landlord. He improved or rebuilt the labourers' cottages, obtaining the assistance of George Edmund Street, R.A. [qv.], in the designs; he provided them with allotments, and he organised works to keep them in constant employ. He tried innumerable agricultural experiments, and frequently arranged for trials of implements on the estate. At a trial held at Pusey in August 1851, ICormick's reaping machine was first introduced into this country. Pusey was fond of sport, and was one of the best whips in England, once driving a four-in-hand over the Alps.
In 1851 Pusey was chairman of the agricultural implement department of the Great Exhibition, and, as a royal commissioner, came much into contact with Prince Albert. He wrote a masterly report on the implement section of the exhibition (printed in the reports of the royal commission, and reproduced in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, vol. xii.). On midsummer day 1851 he brought some five hundred of his labourers to London to see the great show. A silver snuff-box was presented to Pusey in memory of this visit, and there is still in almost every cottage in Pusey an engraving with his portrait and autograph, and a representation of the snuff-box beneath. In 1853 the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Laws was conferred on him by Oxford University. But from the autumn of 1852 the long illness of his wife withdrew him from public affairs. On her death, 13 Nov. 1854, he removed to his brother's house at Christ-Church, Oxford, where within a week a stroke of paralysis disabled him. He died after a second stroke, at the age of 56, on 9 July 1855.
According to Disraeli, Pusey was, both by his lineage, his estate, his rare accomplishments and fine abilities, one of the most distinguished country gentlemen who ever sat in the House of Commons (Hansard, ccxxv. 450-7). Bunsen said of him, Pusey is a most unique union of a practical Englishman and an intellectual German, so that when speaking in one capacity, one might think he had lost sight of the other (Memoirs, i. 522); while Sir Thomas Acland, one of Pusey's executors, replying on behalf of the family to a resolution of sympathy from the Royal Agricultural Society, wrote that by a rare union of endowments he did much to win for agriculture a worthy place among the intellectual pursuits of the present day (Journal R. A. S. E. xvi. 608). In addition to the pamphlets already referred to, with one of 1851 entitled The Improvement of Farming: what ought Landlords and Farmers to do? and unsigned articles in the Quarterly Review and Morning Chronicle, Pusey contributed forty-seven signed articles to the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society. Many of these were on minor questions, like the application of particular kinds of manure, different systems of cultivation and drainage, agricultural implements and crops, and the breeding and feeding of sheep. His more important papers were on The State of Agriculture in 1839 and An Experimental Inquiry on Draught in Ploughing (1839, vol. i.); Progress of Agricultural Knowledge during the last Four Years (1842, vol. iii.); Agricultural Improvements of Lincolnshire (1843, vol. iv.); Theory and Practice of Water Meadows (1849, vol. x.); Progress of Agricultural Knowledge during last Eight Years (1850, vol. xi.); Report on the Agricultural Implements at the Great Exhibition (1851, vol. xii.); Source, Supply, and Use of Nitrate of Soda for Corn Crops (1852, vol. xiii.); and Nitrate of Soda as a Substitute for Guano (1853, vol. xiv.).
Contributor: E. C. [Ernest Clarke]