Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/228

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joint vice-treasurer of Ireland, and he held that office until his death.

Though afflicted with bad health, Potter was extremely handsome in person and full of wit. His figure is said to have been introduced into Hogarth's election-print as the handsome candidate (Nichols, Anecdotes of Hogarth, 1785 ed. p. 335), and he was a member of the witty set that became notorious at Medmenham. Among the associates of John Wilkes he ‘was the worst, and was indeed his [Wilkes's] ruin, who was not a bad man early or naturally. But Potter poisoned his morals’ (Almon, Wilkes, i. 18–19). Wilkes was connected with Aylesbury, and desired to become member for the borough. A triangular deal was thereupon arranged, in July 1757, by Potter: a vacant seat at Bath was filled by Pitt; the place at Okehampton in Devonshire, a borough of the Pitt family which Pitt had vacated, was occupied by Potter; and Wilkes succeeded to the seat at Aylesbury. This arrangement cost the new member no less than 7,000l., and, as he had not the ready money, he was introduced by Potter to Jewish moneylenders, and was hopelessly entangled.

After a long decline Potter died at his favourite residence of Ridgmont, near Woburn, Bedfordshire (a property which he possessed through his wife), on 17 June 1759, and was buried on 25 June, at his own desire, in its churchyard, ‘at the west end of the belfry, in a place where no one was used to be buried,’ which he had pointed out to his steward a few days before his death. By his directions his body was dissected, and his lungs and liver were found to be much decayed. At the dictation of his father he married Miss Manningham, whom he treated very badly. She died on 4 Jan. 1744 (Gent. Mag. 1744, p. 53), leaving an only son, a youth of ‘good parts, good nature, and amiable qualities,’ who was sent to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in October 1756, when Pitt strongly recommended him to his nephew as a desirable acquaintance (Chatham Corresp. i. 172–5). Potter married for his second wife, on 14 July 1747, Miss Lowe of Brightwell, Oxfordshire, with a fortune of 50,000l.; by her he had two daughters, one of whom married Malcolm Macqueen, M.D. (d. 1829). To the latter Potter's estates passed. His descendant, Thomas Potter Macqueen, was member for East Looe in Cornwall from 1816 to 1826, and for Bedford county from 1826 to 1830 (Lysons, Bedfordshire, pp. 97, 127).

In some bibliographical notes contributed to ‘Notes and Queries’ (2nd ser. iv. 1–2, 41–3), Charles Wentworth Dilke [q. v.] gave good reasons for believing that the ‘Essay on Woman,’ although printed at the private press of Wilkes, was written by Potter. The burlesque notes appended to it purported to be by Warburton, and it was suggested that the selection of the bishop's name was due to a quarrel at Ralph Allen's house of Prior Park, near Bath, where both of them had been intimate guests. The suggestion as to the authorship is confirmed by a manuscript note by Dyce in his copy, which states that Wilkes had remarked to William Maltby ‘I am not the author of the “Essay on Woman”: it was written by Potter,’ and gives point to the line in Churchill's ‘Dedication’ describing the denunciations of Warburton on the printing of the poem:

And Potter trembles even in his grave.

Potter was called by Horace Walpole the ‘gallant of Warburton's wife,’ and is said in Churchill's ‘Duellist’ (bk. iii. lines 241–8) and in other satirical publications to have been the father of her only son. Potter wrote to Pitt on 11 May 1756, describing the ‘worthy’ owner of Prior Park (i.e. Warburton) and ‘the present joy at the birth of an heir.’

The name of Potter was printed, with those of Chesterfield, Wilkes, Garrick, and several other wits of the day, on the title-page of ‘The New Foundling Hospital for Wit,’ and some epigrams by him are included in the collection. Letters from him to A. C. Ducarel, describing his travels in France and the Low Countries in 1737, are in Nichols's ‘Illustrations of Literature’ (iii. 687–90), and several letters to Zachary Grey are in the same work (iv. 333–43). He was a correspondent of Pitt, and many of his communications are in the ‘Chatham Correspondence’ (i. 153–366). His letters to George Grenville are in the ‘Grenville Papers’ (i. 102–3, 104–5, 137–48, 155, 166–7, 172–3, 188–9). His library was sold in 1760.

[Gent. Mag. 1747 p. 342, 1759 p. 293; Cole's Addit. MS. Brit. Mus. 5831, ff. 181–3; Watson's Warburton, pp. 559–60; Bridges's Okehampton, p. 140; Gibbs's Aylesbury, pp. 214–20; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, i. 178, iii. 668; Dyce's Catalogue, ii. 424; Warburton's Letters to Hurd, p. 289; Churchill's Works (ed. 1804), i. 223, 225; Coxe's Pelham Administration, ii. 167, 271; Walpole's George II, i. 69–71, ii. 11; Walpole's George III (ed. Barker), i. 248–9.]

W. P. C.

POTTER, THOMAS JOSEPH (1828–1873), catholic story-writer and professor, born on 9 June 1828 at Scarborough, Yorkshire, was son of George Potter, by his wife Amelia Hunt. His parents intended him to take orders in the church of England, but, on 24 Feb. 1847, he was received into the