BOOTH, Hon. George (c.1655-1726), of Westminster
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Family and Education
b. c.1655, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir George Booth†, Baron Delamer by 2nd w. Lady Elizabeth, da. of Henry Grey†, 1st Earl of Stamford; bro. of Henry Booth†, 1st Earl of Warrington. educ. G. Inn 1674. m. Lucy, da. of Hon. Robert Robartes† of Lanhydrock, Cornw., 1s.1
Freeman, Chester 1679; jt. clerk of the crown, Cheshire and Flints. Aug. 1689.2
Commr. customs Apr. 1689–94.3
Booth’s role in the Revolution, as secretary to his brother Henry, Lord Delamer, was rewarded in 1689 with a place on the Board of Customs, at a salary of £1,000 p.a. It was presumably the influence of the customs that secured him a seat at the Dartmouth by-election of September 1689, but he was unseated on petition and defeated at this borough at the 1690 election. He was, however, successful upon the interest of Hon. Thomas Wharton* at the Malmesbury by-election of 1692, and took his seat on 8 Feb. Booth made little impact during his career in the Commons, but appeared on numerous lists of placemen and was classified by Samuel Grascome as a Court supporter with a place or pension. Booth was indeed in favour at court. In March 1692 he was added to the Middlesex commission of the peace on the orders of William III, and when he petitioned in 1693 for the reversion of the manor of West Ham after the death of the Queen Dowager, thought to be worth over £500 p.a., his request was granted ‘by the King’s express command’. Such favour did not, however, guarantee his place in the customs, and Booth was removed from this office in 1694. The Duke of Shrewsbury informed the King that ‘Mr Booth is by all agreed to be a well-wisher to your government, but so highly charged with corruption as it is said he understands nor minds no other part of the place’, and the Earl of Sunderland noted him more concisely as ‘Mr Booth: a great Whig but an ill man’. In June 1694 Booth received some compensation for the loss of his place when the grant of the reversion of the manor of West Ham was confirmed, the rent initially levied upon Booth for this property being ordered in January 1695 to be waived, and his continued support for the ministry in the Commons is suggested by his inclusion during the 1694–5 session upon Henry Guy’s* list of ‘friends’, probably in connexion with the Commons’ attack upon Guy.4
At the 1695 election Booth was returned for Bossiney upon the interest of his brother-in-law the Earl of Radnor (Charles Bodvile Robartes†). Having been forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 upon the council of trade, Booth signed the Association immediately and in March voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. This support for the ministry no doubt explains his failure in this session to be elected to the commission of accounts, his total of 134 votes falling well short of those actually chosen. Booth’s Whiggery was clearly demonstrated in the following session by his vote on 25 Nov. for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. In February 1697 he was unsuccessful in his bid to fill the commissioner of accounts place vacated by Thomas Pelham I*, who had declined to serve this post, finishing a distant third in the ballot. That Booth would have been entirely unsuitable for such a post was suggested by the assessments of his performance in the customs commission. In the spring of 1697 he petitioned the government for a pension of £700 p.a. for 31 years, emphasizing that he had ‘contributed his utmost to the safety, honour and interest of His Majesty’s person and government’. His appeal was answered only in part as he was granted a £600 p.a. pension for seven years, backdated to December 1696. In July 1698 the same year he was included upon a list of placemen, in respect of the place in the customs he had lost four years previously. At the 1698 election Booth transferred to Lostwithiel, again with Radnor’s support, and a comparison of the old and new Commons classed him as a Court supporter, a designation confirmed on 18 Jan. 1699 when he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. Shortly after the end of the 1698–9 session Booth petitioned to be allowed to surrender his pension in return for a grant of £600 p.a. for 21 years, a request granted in July. This grant and that of the manor of West Ham were notified to the Commons in the 1699–1700 session, during which he demonstrated his concern for the affairs of his native county by pledging not to support the proposed Weaver navigation bill. In the early months of 1700 an analysis of the Commons into interests listed Booth under that of Radnor, but Radnor’s support was insufficient to secure Booth’s return at the first election of 1701. Booth petitioned against his defeat, but upon the death of one of the successful candidates he withdrew this petition and was returned at the consequent by-election. He was re-elected at the second election of the year, being noted by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as a ‘gain’ and classed by Robert Harley* as a Whig. Booth again contributed little to parliamentary business, and he retired from the Commons at the 1702 election. Despite his substantial government pension, renewed in October 1710 and June 1711, it seems that he suffered financial difficulties. In 1711 his nephew the 2nd Earl of Warrington claimed in the court of Chancery that in 1701 Booth had retained for himself 1,000 guineas given him to pay two agents who had arranged Warrington’s marriage to the daughter of a wealthy London merchant. The court found in Warrington’s favour and ordered Booth to repay the money, a judgment confirmed in April 1714 when Booth appealed to the Lords against the verdict. It seems unlikely that repayment was made, though after the Hanoverian succession Booth’s pension was again renewed. He died in June 1726, on either the 11th or the 12th, and was succeeded by his only son.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison
- 1. Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 534.
- 2. Reg. Chester Freemen (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. li), 171; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 211.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 53; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 743.
- 4. Luttrell Diary, 177; CSP Dom. 1691–2, pp. 165, 220; 1693, p. 74; 1694–5, pp. 179, 181, 185; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 112, 419, 486, 868; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 1238a, [Sunderland] to [Portland], 13 July 1694.
- 5. HMC Kenyon, 399; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/059/6, Robert Yard* to Alexander Stanhope, 23 Feb. 1696–7; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1697–1702, pp. 30–31, 297; Cal. Treas. Bks. xii. 16, 97, 120; xiv. 371, 408; Add. 36914, f. 11; Bull. John Rylands Lib. lv. 21–22; HMC Lords, n.s. x. 270–1; Boyer, Pol. State, xxxi. 647; Hist. Reg. Chron. 1726, p. 25.