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William Nathaniel Massey

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Title: William Nathaniel Massey  
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William Nathaniel Massey

William Nathaniel Massey (3 June 1809 – 25 October 1881) was a British barrister, author and Liberal politician. His first wife was Frances Carleton (3 November 1806 - 11 July 1872), and their son was Charles Carleton Massey (23 December 1838 - 29 March 1905), the famous writer on spiritualism, psychic phenomena, mysticism and theosophy.

W. N. Massey studied law, being admitted as a student at the Inner Temple in 1826, and was called to the bar in 1844.[1] Massey practised on the Western Circuit and in 1852 was appointed recorder of Portsmouth and in 1855 of Plymouth.[1]

He first entered the House of Commons in 1852 as a member for Newport, Isle of Wight. In 1857 he became MP for Salford. In 1855 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department during the first ministry of Lord Palmerston.[1] He held the office until March 1858 when the Conservatives came to power, and Lord Derby formed his second government.[1] He continued to represent Salford in the Commons until 1865, and was appointed Chairman of Committees of the Whole House.[1]

In 1865 he left parliament to become a member of the Council of the Governor-General of India. He was nominated to the position of Minister for Finance in the colony, and was sworn onto the Privy Council. He retired from the council in 1868.[1]

Massey returned to parliament in 1872 as MP for Tiverton, a seat he held until his death.[1]

He was the author of A History of England under

Political offices
Preceded by
William Cowper
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
1855 – 1858
Succeeded by
Gathorne Hardy
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles Martin
William Plowden
Member of Parliament for Newport, Hants
With: William Biggs
Succeeded by
Charles Mangles
Charles Buxton
Preceded by
Edward Ryley Langworthy
Member of Parliament for Salford
Succeeded by
John Cheetham
Preceded by
George Denman
John Heathcoat-Amory
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
1872 – 1881
With: John Heathcoat-Amory
Succeeded by
Viscount Ebrington
John Heathcoat-Amory
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Nathaniel Massey

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Obituary".  
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages


  • Common sense versus common law. London, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850.
  • A history of England, during the reign of George the Third. London, J.W. Parker and son, 1855-63.


He died at his London home in Chester Square in October 1881.[1]

Apart from his legal and parliamentary activities, he was chairman of St John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin.


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