WENTWORTH, Paul (d. 1793), of Hammersmith, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



12 July - 1 Sept. 1780

Family and Education

Offices Held


Wentworth was a relative of Governor John Wentworth of New Hampshire. He owned plantations in Surinam, and was a stockbroker in London and Paris. During the American war he was an intelligence agent for the British Government, concerned primarily with Franco-American relations. Lord North considered him ‘the most important and truest informer we have had’,1 and Beaumarchais wrote to Vergennes, 17 Dec. 1777:2

He is related to the Marquis of Rockingham; is a particular friend of Lord Suffolk; is employed by the minister in difficult matters, keeping in touch with the Opposition as much as with the Royalists. This Mr. Wentworth speaks French like you and better than I do: he is one of the cleverest men in England.

Wentworth put a high price on his services. In addition to the pension of £739 p.a. he was receiving, he demanded a place at the Treasury Board, a baronetcy, and a seat in Parliament.3 In July 1780 Administration brought him in for Saltash, but the dissolution was announced before he could take his seat. At the general election he stood as Government candidate at Penryn, and came bottom of the poll.

He died December 1793.4

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. Fortescue, iii. 410.
  • 2. S. F. Bemis, ‘British Secret Service’, Amer. Hist. Review, xxix. 484-5.
  • 3. Add. 34414, f. 424.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. 1794, p. 480.