HOPKINS, Benjamin (c.1734-79), of Lydd, Kent
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Family and Education
b. c.1734, 2nd surv. s. of Edward Hopkins, M.P., of Coventry by Anne Maria, da. of Hugh Chamberlain of Alderton Hall, Suff.; bro. of Richard Hopkins. m. 20 Sept. 1761, Mary, da. of Mark Skinner, of Lydd, s.p.
Director, Bank of England 1765-7, 1768-71, 1772-1775, 1776- d.; alderman of London 1773-6; chamberlain 1776- d.
Hopkins is described in trade directories as ‘Bank director and merchant’, of 58 Old Broad St. In 1765 he held £3,000 of Bank stock and, at the time of his death, £12,000. His main interest was insurance; he told the Commons on 11 Mar. 1773:1‘I have for many years followed the business of an underwriter’.
Lord Bruce returned Hopkins for Great Bedwyn on the death of his brother-in-law, William Northey, a neighbour of Bruce’s and connected with him in politics. His maiden speech on 29 Apr. 1771 was in support of a bill to restrain stock jobbing. ‘I never sell stock,’ he said,2 ‘and I am not possessed of, nor do I buy, what I can’t pay for.’ He concluded: ‘Before I sit down I will return my sincere thanks to the House for their kind indulgence. I do assure them I will not often trouble the House or expose myself.’ Eight of his speeches are reported in Cavendish’s Debates, all on commercial subjects and all sensible. He voted with Government over Brass Crosby’s case, 27 Mar. 1771, and over Wilkes, 26 Apr. 1773, and against them on the naval captains’ petition, 9 Feb. 1773, and on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774: but in both these lists he is marked as normally a Government supporter. He was one of Government’s foremost supporters in the City, and thrice defeated Wilkes in the election for chamberlain.
He did not stand at the general election of 1774, and died 9 Nov. 1779.