RODNEY, George Brydges (1719-92), of Great Alresford, Hants.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 Feb. 1719, 1st surv. s. of Henry Rodney of Walton-on-Thames, Surr. by Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Henry Newton, envoy to Tuscany and later judge of the court of Admiralty. educ. Harrow c.1730. m. (1) 31 Jan. 1753, Jane (d. 28 Jan. 1757), da. of Hon. Charles Compton of Eastbourne, Suss., sis. of Charles Compton, 7th Earl of Northampton, 2s.; (2) 1764, Henrietta, da. of John Clies of Lisbon, merchant, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1737, cr. Bt. 22 Jan. 1764; K.B. 14 Nov. 1780; Baron Rodney of Rodney Stoke, Som. 19 June 1782.
Entered R.N. as King’s letter boy 1732, lt. 1739, capt. 1742; gov. Newfoundland 1749-50; r.-adm. 1759; c.-in-c. Leeward Is. 1761-3; v.-adm. 1762; gov. Greenwich Hospital 1765-70; r.-adm. of Great Britain 1771; c.-in-c. Jamaica 1771-4; c.-in-c. Leeward Is. and Barbados 1779; v.-adm. of Great Britain 1781.
Rodney belonged to the younger branch of a good Somersetshire family, related to James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos, who in 1739 recommended him to Admiral Haddock. A year later Chandos advised him to approach Sir Charles Wager rather than Walpole for promotion, as he was ‘a very young lieutenant’ and there were ‘many on the list before him’.1 Making ‘a fortune by very gallant behaviour’2 during the war, he was taken up by the Duke of Bedford, the first lord of the Admiralty. After the peace he was put up by Bedford for Launceston at a by-election in 1750, but withdrew on finding his prospects hopeless. A few months later he wrote to his patron:
Your Grace having honoured me with your protection during the late war, and still continuing to bestow favour on me, obliges me to take this method of expressing my gratitude, and to assure your Grace that the fortune I made, by your kind assistance, shall ever be devoted to your service, and that nothing shall ever influence me to desert the interest I have the honour to embark in.3
A year later, he was returned for Saltash on the Admiralty interest. He died 24 May 1792.