KINGSTON, John (1736-1820), of 52 Lower Grosvenor Street, Mdx. and Oak Hill, East Barnet, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Dec. 1802 - July 1814

Family and Education

b. 1736, yr. s. of Paul Kingston ?of Cork. m. (1) 1 Jan. 1771 at Oporto, Katherine née Gardner of Oporto, 1da.; (2) 18 May 1778, Jane, da. of Valentine Knightley of Fawsley Park, Northants., 3s. 4da.

Offices Held

Dir. Sierra Leone Co. 1791-1812, Albion Insurance 1805-d.


Joseph Farington was told in 1809 that Kingston, an Irishman, had gone to Portugal with the army as a surgeon’s mate in 1762, remained there as a surgeon and apothecary and married a Miss Gardner ‘who had some money’. Being employed as an agent there for an English Oporto merchant, he gave up his practice, but returned to England after the death of his wife.1 By another account, he went out to join his brother Benjamin, ‘physician to the factory house’. At any rate the established Oporto firm of Lambert became Lambert, Kingston & Co. in 1772 and the Kingstons were regarded later on as one of ‘the grand names in the vinous history of Oporto’.2 In 1780 the firm of Kingston and Crump, wine merchants, appeared at Queen Square, Bloomsbury, afterwards Kingston, Crump and Adamson of 6 New Broad Street. Kingston’s brother Robert (1748-96) was associated with him, and afterwards his sons-in-law, in new branches, from 1805. At the time of his death the firm was called Kingston, Lambert and Egan, the latter being also an Oporto Irish firm.

Kingston signed the London merchants’ loyal declaration to Pitt in 1795 and subscribed £10,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797, his firm another £10,000 and his brother Robert £5,000. He was one of the first directors of the Sierra Leone Company in 1791 and two letters he wrote to John Clarkson, governor of the colony, were couched in the language of the ‘Saints’.3 By 1802 it was his ambition to be in Parliament. He and another London wine merchant canvassed Newcastle-under-Lyme, but withdrew when it was clear that they had become liable for a treating offence: their substitutes did not succeed. Before the year was out he found a more secure berth, coming in for Lymington on the Burrard interest, probably as a paying guest. His brother-in-law John Willis Fleming’s association with the Burrards doubtless helped. He renewed his lease of the seat until his retirement in 1814.

Kingston had nothing to say in the House and was well disposed to successive administrations; at least, he is not known to have voted against any of them. When Pitt returned to power in 1804 he was listed ‘doubtful etc’ and later that year a supporter, with a query. He was in the government minority on Melville’s conduct, 8 Apr. 1805 (and balloted for the committee on the 11th naval report on 27 May), but was listed ‘doubtful Pitt’ in July. This may have been because of his respect for Lord Sidmouth. When the latter was in office under Lord Grenville, he voted for the repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and on 9 July Sidmouth’s brother informed the premier that Kingston was ‘a warm friend to government’, who had ‘considerable influence with many of the Irish Members’.4 He was among the ‘staunch friends’ of the abolition of the slave trade.

On 24 Apr. 1807 Kingston informed Sidmouth that he and his Irish friends approved his opposition to any attempt to force Catholic relief on the King and hoped that he would be included in the Portland ministry.5 Sidmouth was not, but Kingston did not change his tack. In March 1810, however, he was described as ‘one of Lord Sidmouth’s friends’ anxious to promote his inclusion in Perceval’s ministry, which after ‘a long and recent interview’, he thought, ‘might be procured’.6 Meanwhile he rallied to ministers on the address and the Scheldt inquiry, 23, 26 Jan., 30 Mar. 1810, and was listed ‘Government’ by the Whigs. He opposed the discharge of the radical Gale Jones, 16 Apr., and voted against sinecure reform, 17 May. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. He was a member of the Portuguese relief committee formed in April 1811. In the session of 1812 he again opposed sinecure reform, 4 May, and voted against a remodelling of the ministry, in which Sidmouth was by then included, 21 May.

Kingston was listed a Treasury supporter after the election of 1812. He voted against Catholic relief, 2 Mar. and 24 May 1813, and in favour of Christian missions to India, 12 July. He went out of Parliament early next session. His Barnet estate, purchased in 1790 for £7,350, was sold in two lots, for £12,350 in 1808 and for £18,900 in 1810. In his will, dated 24 Jan. 1820 and proved 8 Feb. 1821, he referred to a small plantation of his in Demerara.7

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Farington, v. 156.
  • 2. C. Sellers, Oporto Old and New, i. 238-40.
  • 3. Morning Chron. 15 July 1791; Add. 41262, ff. 45, 95.
  • 4. Fortescue mss, Addington to Grenville, 9 July 1806.
  • 5. Sidmouth mss.
  • 6. Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 15 Mar. 1810.
  • 7. Cass, East Barnet, 82, 87; PCC 91 Mansfield.