GEE, Sir Orlando (c.1619-1705), of Petworth, Suss. and Syon Hill, Isleworth, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1619, 4th s. of John Gee (d. 1631), vicar of Dunsford, Devon by Sarah Mogridge of Littleham, Devon. m. (1) 18 May 1662, Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Maxey of Bradwell-next-Coggeshall, Essex, wid. of Thomas Barker of Sibton, Suff., s.p.; (2) 7 Aug. 1682, Anne, da. and h. of Robert Chilcot of Isleworth, Mdx., s.p. Kntd. 18 Aug. 1682.1
Jt. registrar, Admiralty ct. Sept. 1660–2, (sole) 1662–d.
Gov. sons of clergy 1678.2
Gee owed both his place at the Admiralty court and his seat at Cockermouth to an association with the Percys dating back to the 1650s, which had in turn led him into the orbit of the 6th Duke of Somerset. It was Somerset’s interest which secured Gee’s election in 1690, following which he was listed as a Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Gee’s only significant activity in the 1690 session related to a bill to encourage the manufacture of white paper, a measure which he felt threatened production at two paper mills he owned in Buckinghamshire. On 9 May the House heard Gee’s counsel object to this bill, and four days later two clauses were offered in an attempt to continue production at Gee’s mills. Both were lost. In the following session Carmarthen included Gee in a list of December 1690, probably of those likely to support him in the event of a Commons attack. Gee was also appointed to draft the militia bill and the bill to prevent escapes from the King’s Bench and Fleet prisons (10 and 18 Oct. 1690). His few recorded speeches all date from the 1692–3 session, and clearly demonstrate his support for the Court. In a debate of 21 Nov. 1692 in the committee of the whole, for example, he joined other office-holders in opposing an address calling upon the King ‘to constitute a commission of Admiralty of such persons as have known experience in maritime affairs’, an implicit reflection upon the current commissioners, and when the committee’s resolutions were reported on 11 Jan. 1693 he again spoke against such an address. Gee’s relationship with Somerset was highlighted on 19 Jan. when he seconded the motion that Somerset’s chaplain deliver the sermon commemorating the execution of Charles I, and was asked to convey this request to the clergyman. Gee’s allegiance to the Court was emphasized during the debate of 2 Feb. upon the triennial bill. He informed the House that his initial support for the bill had given way to the belief that ‘it will be an invasion on the prerogative’, and suggested that rather than pass the bill the Commons should address the King requesting a dissolution and ‘frequent Parliaments’ in the future. He also warned Members that
the king of France hath formerly given money for prorogation and dissolution of Parliaments and now you do it for him gratis. Our alliances may be hereby weakened, as if we were weary of giving money. After dissolution, ill accidents may happen, to our prejudice. If a Parliament had not been at the Duke of Monmouth’s invasion, it had been very hard, though no title could have been pretended.
During 1693 Gee was noted in several lists as a placeman. On 23 Feb. 1694 he was granted indefinite leave of absence owing to ill-health. His advanced years appear to have induced him to retire from Parliament at the 1695 election, though he retained his place at the Admiralty court until his death in 1705. He died childless, and his will, dated 20 May 1705 and proved on 1 June, left charitable legacies amounting to £10,000.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. DNB; Egerton 2758, f. 107; IGI, London; Morant, Essex, i. 157; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700–15, p. 96.
- 2. Abstract of the Charter of the Sons of the Clergy . . . (1678).
- 3. Luttrell Diary, 248, 363, 373, 375, 395, 398; Grey, x. 305–6; Lowther Corresp. ed. Hainsworth, 245; Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 5, x. 29; Le Neve, 96; PCC 138 Gee.