HEDGES, John (1688-1737), of Finchley, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 26 Feb. 1688, 4th s. of Sir William Hedges of Finchley, Turkey merchant, gov. Bengal 1682-4, and director of Bank of England 1699-1700, by Anne, da. of Paul Nicoll of Hendon Place, Mdx., wid. of John Searle of Finchley. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1706; I. Temple 1708. unm.
Envoy to Sardinia 1726-8; treasurer to Prince of Wales 1729-d.
Returned by the Administration for Cornish boroughs, Hedges was one of the managers of Lord Macclesfield’s trial in 1725.1 In March 1726 he went as envoy extraordinary to Turin, where he was concerned in the negotiations on the repartition of the two Sicilies and the Milanese.2 Put up by the Government to move a motion on Spanish depredations, 13 Mar. 1729, he also moved the Address in January 1735.3
In January 1729 Hedges became treasurer to Frederick, Prince of Wales, composing ballads and songs, for which Frederick took the credit. He also lent the Prince £6,000 for the purchase of a house in Pall Mall. Frederick repaid the loan by borrowing the money from Bubb Dodington, boasting, to the indignation of Hedges, ‘a man of honour as well as a man of sense’, that
with all his parts I have wheedled him out of a sum of money for the payment of which he has no security if I die, and which, God knows, he may wait long enough for if I live.
In 1737 Hedges tried at Walpole’s request to dissuade the Prince from bringing the question of his allowance before Parliament ‘by telling him it was impossible he could ever get the money’. When the Prince rejected his advice he and Lord Baltimore ‘put his Royal Highness’s directions into writing, then asked him if that was what he would have them say, and spoke in the House from that paper’.4 He said:
the Prince had all the duty and affection for his Majesty that was possible, and had shown it on all occasions. He put himself to an inconvenient expense to purchase his house at Kew, that he might be near his Majesty when at Richmond, and he purchased his house in Pall Mall that if it pleased God to enlarge his family by children he might not inconvenience his Majesty in his own palace; that when he came to the duchy of Cornwall he had been at great expense in law to recover the revenue which had been embezzled, and had not yet brought it up to £10,000 a year; that he owes £25,000 and by the best management cannot live upon £60,000 a year, his expenses being £63,000; but neither does he see £60,000 a year, the Duchy income being but £9,500, interest being paid for what he owes, and the fees of his £50,000 coming to £4,000; that the precarious title by which he held the £50,000 allowed him, the same revocable at his Majesty’s pleasure, made it impossible for him to settle a scheme for his living, and it was a great uneasiness to him to see her Royal Highness insecure in a jointure in case of his death.5
He died four months later, 20 June 1737.