MOLYNEUX, Thomas More (?1724-76), of Loseley, nr. Guildford, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. ?1724, 1st surv. s. of Sir More Molyneux, and bro. of James More Molyneux. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 8 Apr. 1742, aged 17. unm. suc. fa. 19 Feb. 1760.
Ensign 3 Ft. Gds. 1747, lt. and capt. 1753, capt. and lt.-col. 1761; served in Germany during the seven years’ war; col. 1773.
Molyneux’s return at Haslemere in succession to his brother was apparently unopposed. But he and Philip Carteret Webb had to stand a severe contest in 1761 against candidates supported by Peter Burrell and possibly also by General Oglethorpe, who had represented the borough 1727-54. In Bute’s list of 1761 Molyneux was marked as ‘Government’, and he adhered to the Bute and Grenville Administrations. He spoke on 7 Feb. 1766 in support of Grenville’s motion for enforcing the laws in America,1 and on 22 Feb. voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act.
Before the general election of 1768, presumably on Webb’s deciding not to stand again, Molyneux joined interests with the Burrells and contested the borough against Oglethorpe and John Johnstone. In the House he at first voted with Government over the Middlesex election (15 Apr. and 8 May 1769), but subsequently changed his mind and in the divisions of January 1770 voted against them. After this he reverted to the Government side: he was a country gentleman, generally well inclined to Government, but retaining his independence. At the general election of 1774 he again contested the borough jointly with the Burrells against William Burke, set up by Portland, and H. Kelly. There is no report of his having spoken in the Parliaments of 1768 and 1774.
He died on 3 Oct. 1776. On 6 Oct. the Rev. John Butler wrote to George Onslow:2
I sympathise with you most sincerely in what you must feel upon the death of our friend Molyneux. He was one of the few original men in the world. I hardly know such another. Politeness has the good effect of hiding what is offensive in us, but it covers at the same time many entertaining oddities, and he had more of them than any of our neighbours. There will be a bustle, I suppose, at Haslemere, and we shall probably have some nabob to purchase the venerable old seat at Loseley.
Loseley remained in the family, but Haslemere was sold to Sir James Lowther.