GORE, William (c.1675-1739), of Tring, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1675, 1st s. of Sir William Gore, Mercer, of London and Tring, gov. Hamburg and Levant Cos., dir. Bank of Eng., alderman of London and ld. mayor 1701–2, by Elizabeth, da. of Walter Hampton, Mercer, of St. Stephen, Coleman Street and St. Botolph, Aldersgate, London; bro. of John† and Thomas Gore†. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1691. m. 12 May 1709 (with £6,000), Lady Mary (d. 1737), da. of George Compton, 4th Earl of Northampton, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1708.1
Dir. Bank of Eng. (with statutory intervals) 1709–12, S. Sea Co. 1711–12, R. African Co. 1723–7.2
Commr. sewers, Tower Hamlets 1712.3
Gore’s father rose from comparatively humble beginnings as the son of a Surrey attorney to become a highly successful merchant and financier and to establish a minor commercial and political dynasty. One of the few Tories among the first directors of the Bank of England, he was to have stood as a parliamentary candidate for London in November 1701 but withdrew. The Tring estate was purchased from Henry Guy* in 1705. Gore himself was active in the same circles as his father, as a naval contractor, in the Old East India Company (pledging £1,000 of its advance loan in 1698), and in the Bank, where he succeeded to his father’s directorship. It was shortly after his father’s death that Gore made his first, unsuccessful, attempt to enter Parliament, canvassing the borough of Wendover at the 1708 election. The following year he married Lady Mary Compton, at the house of her great-uncle the bishop of London. One report of his wedding claimed that Gore was worth £5,000 a year, though the wild rumours as to the cost of his finery suggest that fashionable society believed him richer still: ‘Mr Gore’s wedding-shirt is laced with lace of £8 a yard’, ran one report, ‘the night-shirt lace £3 a yard; this was told for truth’. The marriage was unhappy, and Gore may well have been the original (or one of the originals) for the Spectator’s ‘Jack Anvil’, the ‘bold trader’ maltreated by his aristocratic wife, who ordered him on social occasions ‘to confine myself to the cock-loft that I may not disgrace her among her visitants of quality’. Once, at Bath, as Gore remonstrated with Lady Mary for continually mixing in ‘very rude’ company, he received the haughty reply that ‘if citizens pretended to marry quality they must take it for their pains’. He did, however, benefit from the goodwill of her grandfather and uncle, Sir Stephen* and Charles Fox*, both of whom remembered the Gores with small legacies.4
It was presumably on the Fox interest that he was returned at Cricklade in 1713. His link with Colchester, where he twice came in on petition, in 1711 and 1714, is not so clear. Although he was an Essex j.p. by 1714, the appointment may have been a consequence of his previous election to Parliament. There was probably some family support here as well: Bishop Compton promised to appear for him at his first election. In 1710 Gore had been one of the earliest City figures to offer Robert Harley* and the new Tory ministry his support; in 1711, despite his belated entry into the Parliament, he was included in the list of ‘worthy patriots’ and was listed as a member of the October Club. This did not stop him being nominated on both party slates for the board of directors of the Bank in April 1711, to which he was easily re-elected. He was also one of the founding directors of the South Sea Company. Having told, on 2 May 1713, in favour of giving leave for a bill to suspend the duties on imported French wines, Gore spoke and voted on 18 June for the French commerce bill. In the previous March his name had been mentioned in connexion with a rumour of a further block creation of Tory peers. ‘Assigned’ by the ministry to make the motion for the Address on 2 Mar. 1714, he failed to ‘acquit himself very well’ of his ‘part’, according to one eyewitness:
As soon as the Speaker had returned to the House with the Queen’s Speech and had read it to the House, Mr Gore rise up [sic] with a paper in his hat which he did not read well, to make the motion of thanks, and repeated the Queen’s Speech word for word, so that Sir Joseph Jekyll* observed upon him that the spirit of prophecy was not ceased, for there was a gentleman that know [sic] the Queen’s Speech before she spoke it, for ’twas impossible to remember it upon the first reading.
None the less, Gore was still the first-named Member appointed to prepare the Address, which he subsequently presented on the 4th. The main thrust of his argument had been to denounce those malevolent persons who had been attempting to sow jealousies in the public mind by false insinuations about the succession. He declared the succession to be perfectly safe in the Queen’s hands, and returned to the theme on 18 Mar., speaking against Richard Steele in the debate on the latter’s expulsion, and again on 15 Apr., supporting the motion that the Hanoverian succession was not in danger. His last recorded speech in this Parliament was on 22 Apr., when he seconded the motion to concur in the Lords’ address of thanks on the peace. Further work on behalf of the ministry included his reporting on 30 Apr. upon a bill to permit the Treasury to compound with one Robert Wise for arrears due as surety for tobacco customs, and a tellership, on 11 May, in favour of an amendment to the bill to encourage the tobacco trade. Also appointed on 12 May to prepare the schism bill, Gore was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list. On 5 Aug. he was nominated to prepare the address of condolence on the death of Queen Anne and congratulation on the accession of George I.5
Gore did not stand in 1715, but came in at St. Albans with the Duchess of Marlborough’s assistance at the next election and was later able to return himself for Cricklade, having bought Cricklade manor in 1718. Two of his sons followed him as Members there. He died on 22 Oct. 1739 and was buried at Tring, leaving estates in four counties – Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Wiltshire – as well as property in London.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Beaven, Aldermen, i. 111; N. and Q. clxxix. 38, 61; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 83; Add. 51324, f. 25; HMC Downshire, i. 875; Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 502.
- 2. N. and Q. 61; J. Carswell, S. Sea Bubble, 278; P. G. M. Dickson, Financial Revol. 114.
- 3. HMC Townshend, 211.
- 4. N. and Q. 38; W. Marston Acres, Bank of Eng. from Within, i. 26; Beaven, 278; Clutterbuck, 501; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1708–14, p. 240; CJ, xii. 321; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Mellish mss Me157/96/53, William Wrightson to Joseph Mellish, 24 Apr. 1708; Add. 51324, f. 25; HMC Downshire, 875; Wentworth Pprs. 84, 219; Spectator ed. Bond, iii. 68–71; Mems. of Sir Stephen Fox (1717), 96, 102.
- 5. Hist. Jnl. iv. 196; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 240; Add. 70219, Bp. Compton to Harley, 6 Aug. 1710; 17677 GGG, f. 94; Boyer, Pol. State, v. 388; Wentworth Pprs. 359, 376; NSA, Kreienberg despatches 5 Mar., 23 Apr. 1714; Stowe 226, ff. 306–8; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/55, William Viccars to Visct. Fermanagh (John Verney*), 17 Apr. 1714; Douglas diary (Hist. of Parl. trans.), 22 Apr. 1714.
- 6. Parlty. Hist. ii. 78; Clutterbuck, 502; PCC 259 Henchman.