WHITE THOMAS, George (?1750-1821), of Watergate House, nr. Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. ?1750, 1st s. of John White, member of councils of Montserrat and St. Kitts, later of Chichester by Lydia, da. of Sir George Thomas, 1st Bt., of Yapton, gov. Leeward Islands. educ. Eton 1757-66; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1767; M. Temple 1768. m. Frances, da. and event. h. of John Page† of Watergate House, 1da. suc. fa. 1776; uncle Sir William Thomas, 2nd Bt., to Yapton 1777 and took name of Thomas after White 20 Jan. 1778.
Capt. Suss. yeomanry 1798.
White Thomas, like his cousin Inigo Freeman Thomas*, benefited from his maternal grandfather’s disinheriting his grandson and heir male, Sir George Thomas, 3rd Bt. As the son-in-law of John Page, who had until 1768 resisted the 3rd Duke of Richmond’s bids to command both seats for Chichester, he was the successful choice of the independent party there in 1784. Thereafter he was secure. He was not to be nailed down in the House, though before the election of 1790 the Treasury decided that he was well disposed to them. By 1791 he had ceased to support dissenting pressure for the repeal of the Test Act. His only known minority vote in the ensuing Parliament was against the imperial loan, 5 Feb. 1795. He was a defaulter on 24 Nov. 1795, but turned up on 1 Dec. with a petition from his constituents against the seditious meetings bill. He did not vote in that sense and no other speech is known. The Treasury had doubts about him all the same.
Thereafter Thomas drew little attention to himself in the House. He took two weeks’ leave on 13 Dec. 1796. He was listed ‘doubtful’ by Pitt’s calculators in May and September 1804 and ‘doubtful Pitt’ in July 1805, but no vote is known to assess these classifications. With his West Indian connexions he was listed ‘adverse’ to the abolition of the slave trade in 1806, but did not vote with the diehards—he was a defaulter on 2 Mar. 1807. On 28 Mar. 1808 he took a fortnight’s leave for ill health. He suddenly appeared to vote against ministers on the Duke of York’s conduct on 15 Mar. and twice on 17 Mar. 1809. The Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ in 1810. On 1 Jan. 1811 he obtained a month’s leave for ill health. He voted against a remodelling of the government on Stuart Wortley’s motion, 21 May 1812, and obtained further leave on 19 June. He retired, for health reasons, at the dissolution. George Rose assured the Treasury that his replacement ‘should have been stated as a loss, because Thomas was friendly though he very seldom attended’. With him, the interest that returned him lapsed. He died 24 June 1821, aged 71.
Add. 39948, f. 30; Suss. Weekly Advertiser, 5 Oct.; T.64/261, Rose to ?Arbuthnot, 8 Nov. 1812.