JONES, Hugh Valence (1722-1800), of Dover, Kent
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Family and Education
b. 9 Dec. 1722, 1st s. of Charles Valence Jones of Penrose, Cornw., by Mary, da. of Philip Yorke of Dover, sis. of Philip, 1st Earl of Hardwicke. unm.
Clerk in sec. of state’s office 1740; under-sec. of state 1750-4; solicitor to the Treasury 1754-90; commr. of revenue [I] 1759-71; comptroller of customs 1780- d.
Jones’s father, a barrister, ‘who doth not practice, nor hath he exerted himself’,1 died practically bankrupt in 1737, leaving his wife and family dependent on Hardwicke who recommended Hugh Valence Jones to Newcastle. In 1747 he became Newcastle’s confidential amanuensis, and retained the post till the Duke’s resignation in 1762. Nothing but a subordinate clerk (although he kept the secret service accounts 1757-62), Jones never played any part in the management of patronage or elections (as did for instance Roberts under Pelham and Jenkinson under Bute); and the idea of returning him to Parliament did not originate with Newcastle but with Jones’s fellow townsmen at Dover, who disliked having all the time strangers ‘named, sent down and recommended’ to them by the ministry.2 Newcastle, although he had another candidate in view, acceded to the request, and Jones was returned unopposed.
When Newcastle left the Treasury in November 1756, Jones was given the reversion to the comptrollership of the customs, to which in 1759 Newcastle wanted to add a pension on the Irish establishment. But as Hardwicke objected, lest people should say that it was held by Jones in trust for him,3 Jones was appointed commissioner of the revenue in Ireland which vacated his seat in Parliament.
With places worth over £1,600 a year and a reversion of £1,200, Jones still pressed Newcastle for an additional appointment in the customs ‘reputed £2,000 per annum’. Newcastle wrote to Hardwicke on 13 Sept. 1760:
I perceived for these two last days an alteration in him; and as I always do with my friends I spoke to him and I found him harping or still muttering about the holding both places ... I have experience enough in these matters to know that a man that talks so is not pleased, and what is my situation if Mr. Jones is not now pleased with me?
Hardwicke replied the next day:
Your Grace does him the honour and justice to say you know his good heart and so do I. He is very honest and nobody can possible have more duty and gratitude to your Grace or be more sensible of his infinite obligations to you.4
His advice was ‘not to take the least future notice of it’.
Jones remained solicitor to the Treasury after Newcastle’s resignation in 1762, and, in 1771, exchanged his commissionership of the revenue in Ireland for a pension of £725 on the Irish establishment; when in 1780 his reversion of the comptrollership of the customs fell in, this gave him an additional £1,085 per annum. He died 9 Jan. 1800.