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Creevey, Thomas

CREEVEY, THOMAS (1768-1838), English politician, son of William Creevey, a Liverpool merchant, was born in that city in March 1768. He went to Queen's College, Cambridge, and graduated as seventh wrangler in 1789. The same year he became a student at the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar in 1794. In 1802 he entered parliament through the duke of Norfolk's nomination as member for Thetford, and married a widow with six children, Mrs Ord, who had a life interest in a comfortable income. Creevey was a Whig and a follower of Fox, and his active intellect and social qualities procured him a considerable intimacy with the leaders of this political circle. In 1806, when the brief "All the Talents" ministry was formed, he was given the office of secretary to the Board of Control; in 1830, when next his party came into power, Creevey, who had lost his seat in parliament, was appointed by Lord Grey treasurer of the ordnance; and subsequently Lord Melbourne made him treasurer of Greenwich hospital. After 1818, when his wife died, he had very slender means of his own, but he was popular with his friends and was well looked after by them; Greville, writing of him in 1829, remarks that "old Creevey is a living proof that a man may be perfectly happy and exceedingly poor. I think he is the only man I know in society who possesses nothing." He died in February 1838. He is remembered through the Creevey Papers, published in 1903 under the editorship of Sir Herbert Maxwell, which, consisting partly of Creevey's own journals and partly of correspondence, give a lively and valuable picture of the political and social life of the late Georgian era, and are characterized by an almost Pepysian outspokenness. They are a useful addition and correction to the Croker Papers, written from a Tory point of view. For thirty-six years Creevey had kept a "copious diary," and had preserved a vast miscellaneous correspondence with such people as Lord Brougham, and his step-daughter, Elizabeth Ord, had assisted him, by keeping his letters to her, in compiling material avowedly for a collection of Creevey Papers in the future. At his death it was found that he had left his mistress, with whom he had lived for four years, his sole executrix and legatee, and Greville notes in his Memoirs the anxiety of Brougham and others to get the papers into their hands and suppress them. The diary, mentioned above, did not survive, perhaps through Brougham's success, and the papers from which Sir Herbert Maxwell made his selection came into his hands from Mrs Blackett Ord, whose husband was the grandson of Creevey's eldest step-daughter.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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