MAYNE, Robert (1724-82), of Jermyn St., London
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 1724, 5th s. of William Mayne of Powis Logie, Clackmannan by his 2nd w. Helen, da. of William Galbraith of Balgair, Stirling; bro. of William Mayne. m. (1) 24 Oct. 1763, Anne, da. of John Knight, s.p.; (2) 15 June 1775, Sarah, da. and coh. of Francis Otway, 4s.
Robert Mayne was a banker in Jermyn St.: his firm first appears in the trade directories in 1770 as Mayne and Needham; in 1774 it becomes Robert Mayne and Co.; and in 1778 Mayne and Graham. He was also an important Government contractor: his first contract, 9 Feb. 1776, held jointly with Anthony Bacon, was to victual 6,000 men in America;1 further contracts followed in 1776, 1778, 1781, and 1782,2 all for victualling troops in America or the West Indies—which suggests that he may also have been a merchant trading to America.
He sat at Gatton on his brother’s interest, and voted steadily with North’s Administration. There is no record that he ever spoke in the House. In 1780 he contested Stockbridge, a very corrupt borough, and Colchester, where he received only 12 votes on a poll of over 600.
In 1782 his firm went bankrupt, and on 5 Aug. he committed suicide. On 7 Aug. Sir John Eliot, a Scottish physician practising in London, wrote to John Douglas, later bishop of Salisbury:3
Mayne’s bankruptcy is attended with circumstances of uncommon villainy. Our friend Mac [probably James Macpherson] has not only lost above a thousand pounds, but a valuable diamond ring, which he had deposited there for safety. The box which contained it is found empty. My usual good fortune served me. I lost only fifty pounds. During the whole of the last year I had a large sum of money there and indeed till the day after the taking of St. Christopher. Then the stocks fell lower than they have ever been and I wasted the whole sum in them.
Mayne advised me so strongly to let the money remain that I suspected him, and never paid in any more to his shop.