Easthope, John (DNB00)

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EASTHOPE, Sir JOHN (1784–1865), politician and journalist, born at Tewkesbury on 29 Oct. 1784, was the eldest son of Thomas Easthope by Elizabeth, daughter of John Leaver of Overbury, Worcestershire. He was originally a clerk in a provincial bank, and came to London to push his fortune. In 1818, in partnership with Mr. Allen, he became a stockbroker at 9 Exchange Buildings, city of London, and engaged in a series of speculations by which in the course of a few years he is said to have realised upwards of 150,000l. He was a magistrate for Middlesex and Surrey, chairman of the London and South-Western Railway Company, a director of the Canada Land Company, and chairman of the Mexican Mining Company. He unsuccessfully contested St. Albans in the liberal interest on 9 June 1821, but was elected and sat for that borough from 1826 to 1830. In 1831 he was returned for Banbury; in 1835 contested without success Southampton and Lewes, and sat for Leicester from 1837 until his retirement from parliamentary life in 1847, when he contested Bridgnorth unsuccessfully. He spoke in the house with great ease, and usually with much effect, but only on the corn laws and other questions with which he was well acquainted. He purchased the ‘Morning Chronicle’ from William Innell Clement [q. v.] in 1834 for 16,500l., and sold his interest in the paper on his retirement from parliament in 1847. On 24 Aug. 1841 he was created a baronet by Lord Melbourne, as a reward for his adherence to the liberal party, and for his advocacy of a war policy in connection with the Syrian affairs. He died at Fir Grove, near Weybridge, Surrey, on 11 Dec. 1865. He married, first, 4 Aug. 1807, Ann, daughter of Jacob Stokes of Leopard House, Worcester; secondly, 19 Sept. 1843, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Colonel A. Skyring, R.A., and widow of Major John Longley, R.A., who died on 23 Jan. 1865.

[Gent. Mag. January 1866, p. 128; Times, 14 Dec. 1865, p. 9; Portraits of Public Characters (1841), i. 76–86; Letters by James Sedgwick, chairman of the Board of Stamps (1845), pp. i–vi.]

G. C. B.