PERRING, John (1765-1831), of Membland, Devon and New Broad Street, London.
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Family and Education
bap. 26 Apr. 1765, 1st s. of Philip Perring of Modbury, Devon by his cos. Susanna, da. of Richard Legassick. m. 28 Sept. 1790, Elizabeth, da. of John Cowell of Stratford, Essex, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1797. cr. Bt. 3 Oct. 1808.
Alderman, London 1798-d., sheriff 1800-1, ld. mayor 1803-4.
Police magistrate, Southwark 1830-d.
Capt. Broad Street vols. 1798, maj. commdt. 1798; lt.-col. Roborough militia 1824.
Perring, ‘the son of a poor man’, was said in 1800 to be ‘the richest man in the whole court of aldermen’ and to ‘aspire to the honour of a seat in Parliament for the City’. The substance of his wealth appears to have derived from his uncle Peter of Membland, who
went out to India a servant to Sir Thomas Rumbold, and at length became secretary to the government at Madras, where he realized a fortune of £40,000. On his return to England, he married the beautiful daughter of a neighbouring clergyman [Lucinda, da. of Rev. Henry Manning, rector of Stoke-in-Teignhead, Devon], on whom he settled ten thousand pounds; and, in consequence of her extreme good behaviour, intended settling his whole fortune upon her; he died, however, before he could sign his will [8 Dec. 1796].
Administration was granted to Perring’s father and his uncle John in February 1797 and six months later Perring succeeded his father.1 By 1790 he was in partnership with his uncle Thomas, a warehouseman, of 32 Throgmorton Street, London, who died intestate 30 Nov. 1791, when administration was granted to his only child, Elizabeth Bulteel.2 With a younger brother Philip, Perring continued the business, which they removed around 1797 to 118 Bishopsgate Within, where it remained until about the time of Perring’s death. At the time of his election for Hythe in 1810 Perring was described as a banker3 and he first appears as such in the directories of 1811, in partnership with the Hon. Simon Fraser, Godfrey, Shaw, Barber & Co., of 72 Cornhill. By 1814 Fraser and Godfrey had dropped out and Perring was head of the house. He was also connected with the Eagle Insurance Company from about the time of its foundation in 1807 and was for many years its deputy chairman.
Perring signed the London merchants’ declaration of loyalty, 2 Dec. 1795, and at a meeting of common hall called to consider a petition against the income tax, 29 June 1803, expressed his support for the principle of the tax as part of the war effort. On his election to the lord mayoralty later in the year, Lord Chancellor Eldon recommended him to the King as ‘in private life a person of worth, and, in public, of sound and loyal principles’.4 His election in 1806 for New Romney, a borough controlled by the Dering family, may well have been aided by the ‘Talents’. On 29 Dec. 1806 he replied to Lord Howick’s circular letter, promising his attendance on 5 Jan.,5 but he did not vote for Brand’s motion condemning the ministerial pledge after the ministry’s fall, 9 Apr. 1807.
Perring found no seat at the ensuing general election, but he successfully applied to the Portland ministry for a baronetcy.6 He returned to the House in March 1810 after a contested by-election for Hythe, where wealthy outsiders were popular candidates, and he comfortably maintained his position there at contested elections in 1812 and 1818. Classed as ‘doubtful’ by the Whigs shortly after his return, his only recorded vote before 1812 was in support of administration on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. The Liverpool ministry listed him among their supporters after the 1812 general election and, although he was apparently not a dedicated attender, he voted with them on the public revenues bill, 20 June 1816; the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb.; Admiralty reductions, 25 Feb.; the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817; the use of domestic spies, 5 Mar. 1818; the complaint against Wyndham Quin*, 29 Mar.; Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819, and paired on their side against inquiry into the state of the nation, 30 Nov. 1819. His only recorded votes against government were on the Duke of Cumberland’s establishment bill, 3 July 1815; against the extension of the inquiry into the prevention of bank-note forgeries to all negotiable credits, 14 May 1818, and for repeal of the coal duties, 20 May 1819. He voted against Catholic relief, 24 May 1813 and 9 May 1817, and against inquiry into the education of the poor, 3 June 1818. He is not known to have spoken in the House.
Perring issued his customary address to the electors of Hythe, 13 Feb. 1820, but illness prevented him from canvassing and, complaining of ‘the advantage taken of it in quarters where I considered myself most secure’, he did not go to a poll. He promised to come forward at Hythe on the first vacancy, but did not return to the House, although he was still politically active in the City in 1826.7
Perring’s bank, which was said to have ‘formed at one period a considerable connexion in the City’, stopped payment on 21 Feb. 1826, following the failure of the Stock Exchange. He was said at the time to be ‘engaged extensively in the manufacture of woollens in the neighbourhood of Exeter’; but the demands of the bank’s creditors ‘could not be satisfied without the sacrifice of Sir John’s fine estates’, and at the time of his death, 30 Jan. 1831, he was living in Burton Crescent, St. Pancras.8
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: J. M. Collinge
- 1. City Biog. (1800), 57-58; Gent. Mag. (1796), ii. 1115; PCC admon. act bk. 1797.
- 2. Gent. Mag. (1791), ii. 1161: PCC admon. act bk. 1792.
- 3. Kentish Chron. 16 Mar. 1810.
- 4. The Times, 30 June 1803; Geo. III Corresp. iv. 2803.
- 5. Grey mss.
- 6. Portland mss, PwV114, patronage bk.
- 7. Kentish Chron. 18 Feb., 7, 10 Mar. 1820; Beaven, Aldermen of London, i. 293.
- 8. The Times, 22 Feb. 1826; Gent. Mag. (1831), i. 176; PCC 106 Tebbs.