Wilmot, John Eardley

, second son of the preceding, was born in 1748, and received the first rudiments of education at Derby and at Westminster schools, at both which places he remained but a very short time. From thence he was placed at the academy at Brunswick; and having remained there till he was seventeen, he went to University college, Oxford, where he was contemporary with many men who have since distinguished themselves in public and private life. He was at first intended for the church, as we have seen in our account of his father; but, upon the death of his elder brother in the East Indies, and | upon the elevation of his father to one of the highest judicial situations, his intended pursuits were changed, and the profession of the law was ultimately fixed upon. From All Soujs college, of which he had been elected a fellow, he removed to the Temple, and studied the law under the superintendance of sir Eardley. He was at the usual time called to the bar, and went the Midland circuit. He soon after married the only daughter of S. Sainthill, esq. by whom he had four daughters and one son, all of whom survived him.

In 1783, he was made a master in chancery, having been chosen for Tiverton, in Devonshire, in the two preceding parliaments. Though seldom taking an active part in the debates of those times, he was always attentive to the important duties of a member of parliament, and constant in his attendance in the House. He uniformly opposed the American war, and though at the termination of that coatest, when the claims of the American loyalists were to be inquired into, and satisfied, it was most natural to suppose that some gentleman on the other side of the House would have been appointed commissioner for that purpose, yet Mr. Wilmot’s known abilities, integrity, and benevolence, were so universally acknowledged, that his nomination to that arduous office gave perfect satisfaction. How far the labours of himself and colleagues were crowned with success, the universal approbation of this country, and of America, sufficiently testify.

In 1784 he was elected, with lord Eardley, his brotherin-law, member for Coventry, in opposition to lord Sheffield and Mr. Conway, now marquis of Hertford, whither they had gone to add to the triumphant majority which ultimately secured Mr. Pitt in his situation as prime minister.

It was in the summer of 1790, that the revolutionary storm, so long collecting in France, suddenly discharged itself; and an immense number of French clergy and laity took refuge in this country. The subject of these memoirs was then in town; and the continual scenes of distress he was daily witnessing in the streets, added to particular instances of misery which came under his own immediate observation, induced him alone, without previous communication with any one, to advertize for a meeting of the gentlemen then in town, at the Freemason’s Tavern, to take into consideration some means of affording relief to their Christian brethren. The meeting was most numerous and | respectable; the archbishop of Canterbury, many bishops, and most of the nobility then in London, attending; and Mr. Wilmot being called to the chair, and having stated his object in calling them together, subscriptions to a large amount were immediately entered into; and a fund created, which, with the assistance of parliament, and the ‘contributions of every parish in the kingdom, relieved, and continued to relieve until the late prosperous events rendered a continuance unnecessary, those unhappy exiles from theit native country. Mr. Wilmot continued, till he retired into the country a few years before his death, to dispense under government this national bounty; a task well suited to that universal benevolence and kindness of heart which so eminently distinguished him, and in, which he had few equals, and none superior.

In 1793 he married a second wife, Sarah Anne, daughter of col. Haslam; by whom he had a son and a daughter, both of whom died in their infancy.

It was in the spring of 1804, that, finding himself ill able, from bodily infirmity, to continue the various employments he had so long zealously fulfilled, as also from an innate and hereditary love of retirement and study, he resolved to quit London entirely, and live in the country. He accordingly resigned his mastership in chancery, his situation as distributor of relief to the French refugees, and some of the many important trusts which his own kindness and the importunity of friends had induced him to accept. He bought Bruce castle, formerly the seat of the Coleraine family, situated at Tottenham, about five miles from London; near enough to town to continue what remained of the duty of commissioner of American claims, and to discharge several trusts, which were of a family nature. Here he passed a considerable part of his time in reading and study, and prepared his father’s notes and reports for the press, with the Memoirs of his life already mentioned. The “Memoirs” were sold separately, with a fine engraving of sir Eardley, from a painting by Dawe. Soon after, he engaged on the Life and Letters of bishop Hough, which appeared in a very splendid 4to volume in 1812. Besides these, he published in 1779 “A short Defenee of the Opposition,” in answer to a pamphlet entitled “A short History of the Opposition” and in 1780 he collated “A treatise of the Laws and Customs of England,” written by Ranulf Glanvil, in the time of Henry II, with | the Mss. in the Harleian, Cottonian, Bodleian, and Dp, ’Mills’ s libraries, and printed it in Latrn, 12mo. His last labour was a “History of the Commission of American Claims,” printed in 1815.

Mr. Wilmot died at Tottenham, June 23, 1815, in the sixty-seventh year of his* age, lamented by all who knew the virtues of his public and private character. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXXV.