Wilmot, John Eardley- (DNB00)

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WILMOT, JOHN EARDLEY- (1750–1815), politician and author, second son of Sir John Eardley-Wilmot [q. v.], lord chief justice of the common pleas, by Sarah, daughter of Thomas Rivett of Derby, was born in 1750. He was educated at Derby grammar school, Westminster school, the Royal Academy, Brunswick, and the university of Oxford, where he matriculated from University College on 10 Jan. 1766, and graduated B.A. in 1769, being elected fellow of All Souls' College in the same year. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1773, and in 1781 was appointed to a mastership in chancery, which he held until 1804. He represented Tiverton, Devonshire, in parliament from 1776 to 1784, and sat for Coventry in the parliaments of 1784–90 and 1790–6. In the House of Commons he seldom spoke, but from his ‘Short Defence of the Opposition, in Answer to a Pamphlet entitled “A Short History of the Opposition”’ (London, 1778, 8vo), it appears that he was an independent whig who strongly condemned the policy which precipitated the American war. In 1783 he was appointed by act of parliament commissioner to inquire into the claims of the American loyalists to compensation for their losses suffered during the war. In 1790 he organised the Freemasons' Hall committee for the relief of the French refugees. He retired from public life in 1804. In 1812 he assumed by royal license (20 Jan.) the additional surname of Eardley. He died at his house, Bruce Castle, Tottenham, on 23 June 1815. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 18 Nov. 1779, and of the Society of Antiquaries in 1791.

Wilmot married twice: (1) on 20 April 1776, Frances, only daughter of Samuel Sainthill; (2) on 29 June 1793, Sarah, daughter of Colonel Haslam. He had issue only by his first wife.

Letters from and to Wilmot are preserved in Additional MSS. 5015 f. 29, and 9828, and Lord Lansdowne's collection (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. app. i. 242). From materials collected by Wilmot, John Rayner edited Ranulf de Glanville's ‘Tractatus de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Regni Angliæ’ (London, 1780, 8vo). Wilmot edited ‘Notes of Opinions and Judgments delivered in different Courts’ by his father (London, 1802, 4to). Besides the pamphlet mentioned above, he was author of: 1. ‘Memoirs of the Life of the Right Hon. Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Knt., with some original letters,’ London, 1802, 4to; 2nd ed. with additions, 1811, 8vo. 2. ‘The Life of the Rev. John Hough, D.D., successively Bishop of Oxford, Lichfield and Coventry, and Worcester,’ London, 1812, 4to. 3. ‘Historical View of the Commission for Inquiring into the Losses, Services, and Claims of the American Loyalists at the close of the War between Great Britain and her Colonies in 1783; with an Account of the Compensation granted to them by Parliament in 1785 and 1788,’ London, 1815, 8vo.

By his first wife Wilmot had, with four daughters, a son, John Eardley (1783–1847), born on 21 Feb. 1783, educated at Harrow, and called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on 9 May 1806. He resided at Berkswell Hall, Warwickshire, the northern division of which county he represented in parliament in the conservative interest from 1832 to 1843. On 23 Aug. 1821 he was created Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot, bart. In 1843 (27 March) he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Van Diemen's Land, but, in consequence of his supposed indifference to the morals of the convicts under his charge, was superseded on 13 Oct. 1846. He died at Hobart Town on 3 Feb. 1847. He was D.C.L. (Oxon.), F.R.S., and F.L.S., and author of ‘An Abridgment of Blackstone's “Commentaries”’ (London, 1822, 12mo; 2nd ed., by his son Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot [q. v.], 1853, 8vo; 3rd ed. 1855). He married twice: first, on 21 May 1808, Elizabeth Emma (d. 1818), fourth daughter of Caleb Hillier Parry, M.D., of Bath, and sister of Admiral Sir Edward Parry; secondly, on 30 Aug. 1819, Eliza (d. 1869), eldest daughter of Sir Robert Chester of Bush Hall, Hertfordshire. He had issue by both wives.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. and Baronetage; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage; Law List; Gent. Mag. 1776 p. 191, 1793 ii. 670, 1808 i. 458, 1815 ii. 83, 1819 ii. 272, 1847 ii. 206; Ann. Reg. 1743, ii. 333; Memoirs of Sir John Eardley-Wilmot (1802), p. 58; Parl. Hist. xix. 37, 787, xxiii. 564; Madame D'Arblay's Diary, vi. 10; Georgian Era; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; List of Royal Society, 1797; List of Society of Antiquaries (1802); Northcote's Case of Sir Eardley-Wilmot (1847); Heaton's Australian Dict. of Dates.]

J. M. R.