Booth, George (1675-1758) (DNB00)

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BOOTH, GEORGE (1675–1758), second Earl of Warrington, was the second son of Henry, earl of Warrington [q. v.], by Mary, daughter of Sir James Langham, of Cottesbrooke, and was born at Merehall, Cheshire, on 2 May 1675. On the death of his father, in 1694, he succeeded to the title, and also received the appointment of lord-lieutenant of Chester, another nobleman being nominated to discharge the duties during his minority. In 1702 he married Mary, daughter of Sir John Oldbury, a merchant in London. During the lady’s lifetime he published anonymously, in 1739, ‘Considerations upon the Institution of Marriage, with some thoughts concerning the force and obligation of the marriage contract, wherein is considered how far divorces may or may not be allowed, By a Gentleman. Humbly submitted to the judgment of the impartial.' It is an argument in favour of divorce on the ground of incompatibility of temper. From other sources we learn that he had been convinced of the advisability of admitting this as a sufficient reason by his own unhappy experiences. Luttrell (Relation of State Affairs, v. 162) states that the lady had a fortune of 40,000l., and Philip Bliss, in a manuscript note in a copy of Walpole‘s ‘Royal and Noble Authors,’ now in the British Museum, adds: ‘Some few years after my lady had consign'd up her whole fortune to pay my lord’s debts, they quarrelled, and lived in the same house as absolute strangers to each other at bed and hoard.' Of the earl and his lady there is an amusing and not too flattering description in a letter by Mrs, Bradshaw, printed in ‘Letters to and from Henrietta, countes of Suffolk’ (1824), i. 97: ‘The Earl and Countess of Warrington,’ she writes, ‘met us, which to me quite spoiled the feast; she is a limber dirty fool, and he the stiffest of all stiff things.' Besides his pamphlet on divorce the earl was the author of a ‘Letter to the writer of the "Present State of the Republic of Letters," vindicating his father from the reflections against him in Burnet’s 'History of his own Time,' He died on 2 Aug. 1758, and was buried in the vault at Bowden. His wife died in 1740. Their only child, Mary, married, in 1736, Henry Grey, fourth earl of Stamford, who inherited the estates in Cheshire and Lancashire, and in whose son the title of Earl of Warrington was revived in l796.

[Biog Brit. (Kippis), ii. ; Walpole’s Royal and Noble Authors (Park). iv. 231-41 ; Luttrell’s Relation of State Affairs.]

T. F. H.