MORDAUNT, Hon. John (?1709-67).
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Family and Education
b. ?1709, yr. s. of John Mordaunt, M.P., Visct. Mordaunt (s. of Charles, 3rd Earl of Peterborough), by Lady Frances Powlett, da. of Charles Powlett, M.P., 2nd Duke of Bolton. educ. Westminster Sept. 1719, aged 10. m. (1) 9 Oct. 1735, Mary (d. 12 Sept. 1749), da. of Scrope Howe, M.P., 1st Visct. Howe [I], wid. of Thomas Herbert, M.P., 8th Earl of Pembroke, s.p.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Samuel Hamilton, s.p.
Cornet, R. Horse Gds. 1726-36, ranger of Alice Holt and Walmer Forest by 1741; lt.-col. Duke of Kingston’s Horse, Oct. 1745-Sept. 1746.
Soon after marrying the dowager Countess of Pembroke1 Mordaunt resigned his commission in the army and began to look for a parliamentary seat in Nottinghamshire, where his wife’s family, the Howes, had an hereditary interest. In 1737, on the news that one of the Members for the county was dying, Lady Pembroke, without consulting the local Whig leaders, announced that her husband would stand for the vacancy to keep up the Howe interest till her nephew, the 3rd Lord Howe, came of age.2 Having previously come to a mutual assistance agreement with the local Tory leaders, Mordaunt, though a Whig, was unanimously adopted by a meeting of ‘the country interest’, while a corresponding meeting of ‘Lords and gentlemen in the Whig interest’, indignant at his tactics, passed resolutions declaring him not a proper person to represent the county and undertaking to support any suitable gentleman who might offer himself as a candidate.3 No one being prepared to face the cost of a contest, he was returned unopposed. He continued to represent the county, voting with the Government, till 1747, when he withdrew to make way for Lord Howe and was accommodated by Newcastle with a government seat at Winchelsea.
Mordaunt rejoined the army in 1745 as lieutenant-colonel of the Duke of Kingston’s Horse, one of the temporary regiments raised by noblemen at their own expense during the rebellion. Next year he was turned out of his command to make room for the Duke of Rutland’s son, Lord Robert Sutton, thus losing the prospect of acquiring permanent rank as lieutenant-colonel when the regiment was subsequently placed on the establishment as the Duke of Cumberland’s Dragoons. When the sinecure of clerk of the pipe fell vacant in 1748 he besieged Pelham in London with applications for the place in compensation for the loss of his commission. ‘I am plagued out of my life for this place’, Pelham complained to Newcastle, ‘Jack Mordaunt follows me everywhere ...’ Having failed to extract a promise from Pelham, Mordaunt sent two ‘most pressing letters’ to Newcastle begging for his support. ‘There is one thing’, he wrote, that ‘has given me great pain, that Mr. Levinz [William Levinz, jun.] should have so good a place, who voted against the royal family for three Parliaments together, and this is my third Parliament, and never gave one vote against them’.4 He did not get the place but in consideration of his ‘bad luck’ he was given a secret service pension of £800 p.a., which was increased to £1,200 on compassionate grounds when he retired from Parliament in 1761.5 He died 1 July 1767.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. See Hervey, Mems. 589-90.
- 2. Lady Pembroke to Newcastle, 28 Sept. 1737, Add. 32690, f. 374.
- 3. John Plumptre to Newcastle 29 Oct. 1737, 3 July 1738, George Gregory to Newcastle, 2 Sept. 1738, Add. 32690, f. 406; 32691, ff. 226, 309, 311.
- 4. Pelham to Newcastle, 16 Sept. 1748, Mordaunt to Newcastle, 7 and 16 Sept. 1748, Add. 32716, ff. 192, 231, 233.
- 5. Namier, Structure, 217, 473; Mordaunt to Newcastle, 26 Jan. 1761, Add. 32918, f. 74.