Sir William Young 2nd Bart.

1st Dec 1749 - 10th Jan 1815


Sir William Young 2nd bart., son of Sir William Young 1st bart. (q.v.) and grandfather of Sir William Laurence Young 4th bart. (q.v.), Governor of Tobago 1807-1815 and MP for St Mawes (1784-1806) and Buckingham (1806-1807).

  1. He is in the ODNB as 'colonial governor and politician.' The entry says: 'At the death of his father in 1788 Young inherited four sugar plantations—one in Antigua, two in St Vincent, and one in Tobago—and a total of 896 African slaves. He also inherited his father's debts, amounting to approximately £110,000. On 30 October 1791 he embarked on a voyage to the West Indies which he later wrote about under the title A tour through the several islands of Barbadoes, St Vincent, Tobago, and Grenada, in the years 1791 and 1792. It was first published in 1801 as an appendix to the second edition of An Historical Survey of the Island of Saint Domingo by Bryan Edwards, the whole work being edited by Young. He undertook this tour to save his plantations from bankruptcy, which he eventually failed to do, and to gain information about slavery and the sugar industry of the West Indies which would support his agenda in parliament to gain votes for an alternative to the campaign led by William Wilberforce and his allies, who worked persistently and with widespread public support for abolition of the slave trade. On his tour of the islands Young said he was greeted wholeheartedly by his slaves, and he reciprocated by granting them extra holidays and gifts of herrings and rum, holding balls in the great house, and at Christmas feasting, drinking, dancing, and exchanging gifts. He was pleased that he discovered little evidence of harsh treatment of his and other planters' slaves. In all of the islands he visited he was observant of the methods of feeding, housing, clothing, disciplining, providing medical care, and religious instruction of the slaves. After returning to his seat in parliament Young drew upon his recent experience in the West Indies to argue that, by ameliorating the condition of the slaves, their numbers would increase by natural propagation and, in time, the trade from Africa to the islands would die a natural death without intervention by act of parliament. However, Young's reform plans were naïve and utopian, and Wilberforce and his allies finally succeeded in getting the necessary votes to abolish the British transatlantic slave trade.'

  2. Based on the attempted interventions of Sir William Laurence Young in the slave compensation process, the Antigua estate referred to above was Old Road; the Tobago estate was almost certainly Betsey's Hope; the two St Vincent estates were Pembroke and Villa; Sir William Laurence Young referred to one of these latter as 'the Calliaqua estate.' The 'Sir William Young of Wimpole Street' who also made an unsuccessful claim on Madey's in Grenada was probably Sir William Young 1st bart. of the East India Co., unconnected to this family of Young baronets. According to David Beck Ryden, Young's 1793 marriage settlement with his second wife, Barbara Talbot, included a 1792 enumeration of approximately 200 enslaved on the St Vincent estate of Calliaqua.

  3. Young writes about his first wife Sarah, in A Few Poems, written at different periods of my life, now first collected and printed for presenation to friends (privately printed, Tobago, 1814): "Alas, my Laura! In the vault under the chancel of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, lay the Remains of my darling and excellent wife, SARAH, daughter of Charles Lawrence, Esq. from whom I received her hand in marriage, Aug. 22 1777. – From that time, having constituted the purity and happiness of my life during fourteen years, my Wife Sarah Lady Young, died at our house in Great George Street, Westminster, on the 7th January 1791, in the 37th year of her age..."


R.G. Thorne, History of Parliament online: Sir William Young 2nd Bt..

  1. E. I. Carlyle, ‘Young, Sir William, second baronet (1749–1815)’, rev. Richard B. Sheridan, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 1 Nov 2013]

  2. T71/877 Antigua no. 282; T71/880 Grenada no. 691; T71/892 St Vincent nos. 559 and 577; T71/891 Tobago no. 64; David Beck Ryden, West Indian Slavery and British Abolition, 1783-1807 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 80 citing 'Negroes on Calliaqua Estate, January 1792', Stowe Collection, Brydges Papers, STB West Indies Box 12, Huntington Collection.

  3. W. Young, A Few Poems, written at different periods of my life, now first collected and printed for presenation to friends (privately printed, Tobago, 1814) p. 35. Death confirmed in The Annual Register (1791) p. 63.

Further Information

(1) Sarah Lawrence (2) Barbara Talbot
With (1) 4 sons, 2 daughters
Oxford (University College) [1768 ]
Colonial administrator
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1788 [SY] - → Owner
1801 [EA] - 1801 [LA] → Owner

Sir William Young of Huntercombe had mortgaged the Pembroke and Calliaqua estates to Alexander Donaldson and George Glenny in 1801.

1788 [SY] - 1815 [EY] → Owner
1788 [EA] - 1804 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (3)

Prints, Drawings and Paintings
Sir William Young, 2nd Bt by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after J Brown, stipple engraving, 1788, in the National Portrait Gallery,... 
notes →
Sir William Young, 2nd Bt by Joseph Collyer the Younger, after J Brown, stipple engraving, 1788 NPG D15581 © National Portrait Gallery,...
Royal Society...... 
notes →
For the full record of Young's membership of the Royal Society see Royal Society:...
Society of Antiquaries...... 
notes →

Historical (1)

Essay on the commercial and political importance of ye island of... 1810 
notes →
For discussion of the book and its context see the King's College London Special...

Physical (2)

Country house
Hartwell House 
description →
notes →
Sir William Young was not the owner but a tenant of the...
Tomb or Grave
Plaque and graves of Sarah and Brook Henry Young [Built] 
description →
Plaque in Westminster Abbey to Sarah nee Lawrence, wife of Sir William Young 2nd bart, and to their son Henry Brook Young, inscribed: 'In the chancel vault beneath lie the remains of Sarah daughter...

Political (1)

election →
St. Mawes Cornwall
1784 - 1806
election →
Buckingham Buckinghamshire
1806 - 1807

Relationships (8)

Notes →
Hartley also leased some fifty enslaved people to Sir William Young 2nd bart. to work upon the latter's Pembroke estate....
Grandfather → Grandson
Son → Father
Brother → Sister
Grandson → Grandfather
Father → Son

Addresses (4)

Charlton, Woolwich, Kent, London, England
Delaford Park, Iver Lane, Iver, Buckinghamshire, Central England, England
Great George Street, London, Middlesex, London, England
Hartwell House, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Central England, England