GIBBONS, John (c.1717-76), of Stanwell Place, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1717, 1st s. of Sir William Gibbons, 1st Bt., of Barbados, speaker of the house of assembly, master gen. of the Ordnance and lt. gen. of the island, by Frances, da. of Robert Hall of Barbados. m. Martha, da. of Rev. Scawen Kenrick, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 5s. 1da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 11 Apr. 1760; cr. K.B. 23 Mar. 1761.
From 1745 till at least 1768 Gibbons was a member of the Barbados assembly; and apparently retained an active interest in island affairs when settled in England.1 In 1754 he was returned unopposed at Stockbridge. He was described in Dupplin’s list as ‘doubtful’. On 13 Dec. 1760 George Cooke wrote to Newcastle that Gibbons, who owned ‘an immense fortune in land and money’, wished for a knighthood,2 and on 23 Mar. 1761 he was created K.B. According to a suppressed passage in Walpole’s Mems. Geo. III he confessed having ‘purchased a red ribbon’ through Miss Vansittart, maid of honour to the Princess Dowager, whom Walpole describes as ‘her agent for the sale of honours’.
In 1761 Gibbons was returned unopposed at Wallingford. He was included in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries but voted in opposition in the divisions of 1, 9 and 10 Dec. Gibbons was classed in Bute’s list as his follower and on 22 Apr. 1763 asked Bute to recommend him for an Irish peerage, declaring himself ‘already much obliged’.3 In the autumn of 1763 Jenkinson classed Gibbons as ‘doubtful’. James Harris notes that in the debate on Wilkes and the North Briton, 15 Nov. 1763, Gibbons ‘vociferated’, and that ‘Wilkes said, when he first heard him, that he was a greater West India monster than Beckford himself’. He is not in the minority list of this debate, but voted in opposition on general warrants, 6, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764; and on 10 May 1764 was counted by Newcastle as a ‘sure friend’. On 6 Feb. 1765 he spoke against Grenville’s proposals for taxing America; is classed by Rockingham in July 1765 as ‘pro’, in November 1766 as ‘doubtful’. On 27 Feb. 1767 he voted with the court on the land tax; and was listed by Newcastle as ‘Administration’, 2 Mar. 1767.
In 1768 Gibbons was defeated at Wallingford. He did not stand again, and died 9 July 1776.