HOPKINS, Richard (c.1728-99), of Oving, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1728, 1st s. of Edward Hopkins, M.P., of Coventry, and bro. of Benjamin Hopkins. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1746. unm. suc. fa. 1735.
Clerk of Board of Green Cloth 1767-77; ld. of Admiralty, Mar. 1782-Apr. 1783, Apr. 1784-91; ld. of Treasury 1791-7.
Hopkins was connected with the Fitzroy family and a personal friend of the 3rd Duke of Grafton. On 27 June 1755, when the 2nd Duke was alive, Hopkins wrote to Newcastle about a vacancy at Seaford:1 ‘I should not presume to put your Grace in mind of me upon the vacancy ... but that I have the Duke of Grafton’s orders to do so.’ But he had to wait eleven years before entering Parliament: when the 3rd Duke was secretary of state Hopkins was returned on the Government interest for Dartmouth. In 1767 Grafton appointed him a clerk of the Green Cloth, and he remained a supporter of Administration until October 1775 when Grafton resigned over American policy.
On 26 Oct. 1775 Hopkins voted against the Address, yet retained his place until 1777. On 9 Dec. the King wrote to North:2 ‘I don’t think Mr. Hopkins of consequence enough to have notified to him his dismissal.’ It is surprising that he should have held office so long after he had gone into opposition. Henceforth he voted regularly against ‘the absurd, detestable, and damnable’ American war, as he described it in the Commons on 9 Dec. 1779.3 At the general election of 1780 he was returned by Grafton for Thetford.
In 1782-3 his conduct closely followed Grafton’s: he held office under Rockingham and Shelburne, but refused to join the Coalition in spite of his liking for Fox. He voted against the East India bill on 27 Nov. 1783, yet wrote to Grafton on 16 Dec.:4 ‘Though I rejoice that the bill is thrown out, I am not yet ready to say that the overthrow of the ministry at this moment is a desirable event’; and on 1 Mar. 1784 spoke in the Commons for agreement between Fox and Pitt. Only after the attempt to reconcile Pitt and Fox had failed did he take office; and at the general election of 1784 he was again returned as a Government candidate.
He died 19 Mar. 1799.