Thomas Anguish (1724—1785) FRS was a barrister who rose to become Accountant-General to the Court of Chancery. Originally from Beccles in Suffolk he was the only son of Thomas Anguish and Mary Elmy. His great-grandfather had married into the Allin family and Thomas had hopes that his eldest son, also Thomas, would one day inherit the estate of Somerleyton from the Allins.
Thomas Anguish’s will discusses various contingencies of bequests depending on when or if his son inherited, which he did in 1794 after the last Allin died. However, the younger Thomas Anguish never married and, according to Venn, ‘died a lunatic’ in 1810, whereupon the estate passed to his brother Rev. George.
Thomas Anguish was the chief of the Commissioners of the Public Accounts and wrote all of their reports except the last, which appeared after he died. The Commissioners of the Public Accounts were effectively the government’s first thorough auditors. Their reports focused on one area of public expenditure after another and were incredibly thorough and, remarkably, unbiased. Every parliamentary bill drawn up as a result of their recommendations passed into law.
Thomas Anguish was elected to the Royal Society in 1766, the citation on his election certificate reading:
Thomas Anguish Esquire of Great Russel Street Bloomsbury Accomptant General to the High Court of Chancery, a Gentleman very conversant in most branches of natural knowledge being desirous of the honour of election into the Royal Society, we upon our Personal knowledge do recommend him as a Gentleman likely to be a usefull member of the Society
Once elected, Thomas Anguish went about supporting other candidacies, including that of Joshua Kirby the following year. Perhaps Anguish’s Suffolk background explains his support of Kirby, although I do not think we should read too much into it: Anguish supported no fewer than 33 candidates.
Thomas Anguish was active until his death 31 December 1785, reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine as being, ‘of indigestion, occasioned by eating a quantity of cold oysters for supper’.