MOLINEUX, Crisp (1730-92), of Garboldisham, Norf.
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Family and Education
bap. 7 Sept. 1730, 1st surv. s. of Charles Laval Molineux of St. Kitts by Margaret, da. of Col. Joseph Crisp of St. Kitts. educ. Hackney; St. John’s, Camb. 1748; I. Temple 1749. m. 22 Nov. 1756, Catherine, da. and h. of George Montgomerie of Thundersley, Essex, 1s. 4da. Sheriff, Norf. 1767-8.
‘Blessed ... with a very ample fortune at home and abroad’,1 Molineux came from the West Indies to settle in England in 1754, and bought Garboldisham soon after. Towards the end of 1766 he began canvassing King’s Lynn in opposition to Sir John Turner, whose support of the Grenville Administration and general warrants he strongly condemned. During the contest in 1768 Lord Orford and the third candidate, Thomas Walpole, remained neutral. Molineux, unlike Turner, respected this neutrality, with the result that his second votes, which he made no attempt to stop, elected Walpole, while he himself was defeated. He commented to his friend George Irvine, 23 May:2
Could I have reconciled a breach of word and honour and poised it against the pleasing feather of being a Parliament man, I might have carried the point and flung Mr. Walpole on his back, but I have not yet been practised in the wiles of a rascal and I am grown too old to begin.
In consequence Orford now offered to choose him for the first vacancy in one of his boroughs, and even urged Grafton to find him an Administration seat.3 In November 1768 he was asked to stand for Newcastle-under-Lyme, but declined when he saw there was little chance of success. In September 1769 Molineux himself unsuccessfully applied to Grafton for a seat at Dover, and eventually in May 1771, on the death of Jenison Shafto, Member for Orford’s borough of Castle Rising, claimed Orford’s promise, ‘which’, Molineux wrote to his friend Philip Case, ‘he had totally forgot, consequently he refused my solicitation but recollected himself at dinner, after that called me aside and complied with his promise’.4 Molineux claimed that in Parliament he steadily adhered to the principles imbued in him by Dr. Newcome: ‘Old Newcome so strongly rivetted the Whig principles in his boys that, the black Duke of Grafton excepted, none of us have ever deviated from them.’5 On 26 Dec. 1771 he wrote to Bamber Gascoyne:6
My principles and fortune being equally independent by the blessing of God I propose to continue in that situation ... though do not believe I am going into Parliament a violent opposer of ministry, permit me to set you right on that point and to assure you that as far as my poor abilities go, I shall vote conscientiously.
In fact all his recorded votes were against North’s Administration.
During the remainder of the Parliament of 1768 he diligently cultivated his interest at King’s Lynn, and in 1774, with Orford’s support, was returned there unopposed. He was a member of the committees of association of both Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, and on 6 Apr. 1780, in his first reported speech, he presented the Cambridgeshire petition to the House, and then
launched forth into an eulogium on Whig government in general, on the glorious administration of the late Earl of Chatham, during the late war, and made use of several strong expressions reprobating the system formed at the commencement of the present reign, which he affirmed had been nourished, supported, and rendered successful, merely through the undue, corrupt, and unconstitutional influence of the Crown.7
In a speech on 2 May 1782 Molineux ‘bestowed the greatest praises on Lord Rockingham’.8 He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, though in Robinson’s list of March 1783 he was described as a follower of Shelburne. He voted for Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reform, 7 May 1783, but seems to have spent the remainder of the year abroad. He was still abroad during the election campaign of 1784, when the Norwich Mercury was authorized to declare that he was an opponent of the Coalition. In William Adam’s list of May 1784 he was classed as an opponent of Pitt’s Administration, but no actual vote by him is recorded during this Parliament, though he paired in opposition over the Regency, 11 Feb. 1789, and appears in the consolidated list of February as having voted against Pitt. But in his only reported speech during this Parliament, on 21 May 1789, strongly opposing the abolition of the slave trade, he spoke of Pitt as ‘an excellent minister’.9
By 1790 Molineux’s health was very bad, and in search of a cure he returned to St. Kitts, where he died 4 Dec. 1792.