ESTWICK, Samuel (?1736-95), of Berkeley St., London and Barbados.
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Family and Education
b. ?1736, 3rd but o. surv. s. of Richard Estwick of Barbados by Elizabeth, da. of John Rous of Barbados. educ. poss. Eton; Queen’s, Oxf. 10 Oct. 1753, aged 17; I. Temple 1752. m. (1) bef. 24 Mar. 1763, Elizabeth (d. 1766), da. of Lt.-Col. John Frere, gov. of Barbados, 2da.; (2) 11 May 1769, Grace, da. and coh. of Jonas Langford of Antigua, 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1753.
Assistant agent for Barbados 1763-78; agent 1778-1792; dep. paymaster-gen. Aug. 1782-Apr. 1783, 1784- d.; registrar of Chelsea Hospital, and searcher of the customs at Barbados, Mar.-?Apr. 1783, Jan. 1784- d.
Samuel Estwick first became known through his political pamphlets. These included: A Vindication of the Ministry’s Acceptance of the Administration (1765), Considerations on the Negro Cause (1772), and A Letter to the Rev. Josiah Tucker (1776)—which last, in addition to the usual reasons against the American war, argued that ‘Great Britain without America can neither support nor protect the West India islands.’ ‘Connected with no party of men of any description whatever’, he wrote, ‘I enjoy the solid comfort of independence.’ Yet he clearly inclined towards Chatham, whom he described as ‘this statesman unique’.
As a result of this pamphlet Estwick became acquainted with Lord Abingdon,1 who held similar opinions and who brought him into Parliament for Westbury. His first speech, 23 Jan. 1781, was when presenting a petition from Barbados for relief for the sufferers in a hurricane. Two other speeches followed in this session, both on matters connected with Barbados. In 1780 or 1781 the English Chronicle wrote about him:
He does not possess the gift of oratory, and never delivers his opinion in the House upon any but mercantile subjects, but constantly attends his duty, and votes upon all questions, with Opposition. He enjoys very large possessions in the West India islands, and is said to have been included as a very considerable sufferer in the dreadful calamity which has recently taken place in that quarter. He has not distinguished himself in the political world by any other circumstance, than by the zeal of his opposition to the measures of the present Administration.
It is also stated that he was a West India merchant, which is not substantiated by the trade directories—he seems to have been a planter only; nor has evidence been found for the further statement that he had rejected the offer of a share in a rum contract.
On the change of Administration in March 1782 Abingdon applied to Shelburne on Estwick’s behalf: his hitherto ‘sufficient and independent fortune’ was now much reduced by the ‘calamities of the times’, and Abingdon asked for him to be appointed undersecretary of state.2 Shelburne was already engaged but offered Estwick a place abroad, which he declined. However, when Barré became paymaster general in August 1782 he appointed Estwick his deputy. And on 18 Aug. Estwick wrote to Shelburne:3
Mr. Barré informed me of your Lordship’s providing more permanently for me upon the expected vacancy at the customs. My noble friend the Earl of Abingdon gave me the same information and I had his Lordship’s approbation for my acceptance of this provision, though my seat in Parliament was not tenable therewith; his Lordship seeing that whilst a numerous offspring would thereby be taken care of, I might more effectually serve your Lordship as well as the public in such a situation.
Shortly before Shelburne left office he secured further provision for Estwick, compatible with a seat in Parliament.
Estwick voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and against Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; and supported Pitt. On 3 June 1783 he intervened in the debate on Burke’s pay office bill, the last time he is known to have spoken in the House before 1790.
He died 19 Nov. 1795.