BOND, John (1717-84), of Creech Grange, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. 11 May 1717, 1st s. of John Bond, M.P., of Tyneham, Dorset by Margaret, da. of John Williams of Herringston, Dorset. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1736; I. Temple 1735, called 1740. m. 17 July 1749, Mary, da. of Edmund Dummer of Swaythling, Hants, 5s. 2da.; her sis. m. 1740 Valentine Knightley. suc. fa. 21 June 1744, and uncle Denis Bond, M.P., at Creech Grange 30 Jan. 1747.
Recorder, Dorchester 1756-81, Poole 18 July 1772- d.
Bond practised a few years at the bar,1 and only after having succeeded his uncle at Creech Grange was returned to Parliament for the seat which his uncle and father had held, 1715-44. In the House he ranked as an independent Government supporter—otherwise nothing is known about the part he took; nor why he did not stand at the general election of 1761. No speech of his is recorded during all the 30 years he sat in Parliament, and no vote during his first term for which no full division lists are extant, only occasional incomplete reports. His membership truly falls under the heading of ‘honour with ease’: he had to maintain his family’s position in the county and its interest in the borough, which he nursed carefully, upholding the old alliance with the Bankes family. This was confirmed by letters exchanged with John Bankes in November 1757,2 when John Calcraft was trying to break into Corfe Castle. Bond seems to have been popular in the neighbourhood: in October 1759 the mayor and burgesses of Poole asked their recorder, James West, who could not regularly attend their sessions, to give up the post so that they might choose Bond in his place.3
When Lord Malpas, returned for Corfe Castle on Bond’s interest in 1761, died on 15 Mar. 1764, Henry Bankes informed Bond of it, and asked him to come to London even ‘if my sincere ally perseveres in his self denial, and declines public honour and parliamentary bustle, and chooses retirement, and rural quiet’. Bankes seems to have thought of recommending his cousin John Jenkinson to Bond. Bond replied: ‘It would on many considerations have been more agreeable for me to have continued some little time longer out of Parliament. But it has long since been my resolution that in case any vacancy should happen with respect to this seat to stand myself.’4 He was returned unopposed, as he was in all his elections. In July 1765 he was classed by Rockingham as ‘doubtful’, and in Newcastle’s and Townshend’s lists of 1767 as a Government supporter; but no vote of his is recorded. In the Parliament of 1768-74 he voted against the expulsion of Wilkes, 3 Feb. 1769; was classed as ‘doubtful, present’ in Robinson’s surveys on the royal marriage bill, March 1772; voted with Government on the Middlesex resolution on 26 Apr. 1773 (which, if accurate, contradicts his vote of 1769); over Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774, was marked in the King’s list as a friend for once voting with Opposition; and was classed by Robinson as ‘pro’ in his survey of September 1774. For the period 1775-8 no majority lists are extant; but over the contractors bill Bond is listed by Robinson ‘pro, present’; over Keppel he voted with Government, 3 Mar. 1779; and he appears as voting with Government in two of the six divisions, February-March 1780: on economical reform and on Dunning’s motion. A packet of division lists preserved among his papers at Creech Grange bears witness to his interest in parliamentary proceedings. The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘A steady ministerialist ... what is Lord North’s hold upon him, he himself best knows.’ Presumably it was his honest conviction.
In 1780 he stood down in favour of his son, and died 30 May 1784. The Gentleman’s Magazine wrote in his obituary notice:
He was particularly skilled in the writings of the best Greek and Roman authors. He had studied the constitution of his own country, which he thoroughly understood. He contributed greatly to the peace and happiness of the people in his neighbourhood, as from the general esteem in which he was held he was usually applied to as arbiter in their differences ... Many of his leisure hours were spent in improving and embellishing his estate.