BOUVERIE, Jacob des (1659-1722), of Allhallows, Barking, London and Terlingham, Kent
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Family and Education
b. 1659, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Edward des Bouverie, Mercer, Turkey and East India merchant, of Barking, London, and Cheshunt, Herts., by Anne, da. and coh. of Jacob de la Forterie, of London. unm.1
Commr. taking subscriptions to land bank 1696, S. Sea Co. 1711.2
Having fled religious persecution in Flanders, Bouverie’s great-grandfather, a Huguenot, arrived in England in the 1560s and established himself at Canterbury. Bouverie’s father moved to London and made his fortune as a merchant in the Levant and East India Companies. Although probably not one of the very richest merchants, he had sufficient wealth to pay £17,500 for lands in the hands of the Earl of Salisbury’s trustees, lend £16,200 to the government in 1689–90 and, before his death, give his children some £24,000. Sir Edward has been identified by one historian as a Tory from his support for the Old East India Company and his election in 1690 to the Tory-dominated London common council. However, he was evidently acceptable to the Whig leadership, for in February 1694 he was appointed to the London lieutenancy at a time when many Tories were being purged. He died shortly afterwards in March, his estate being divided between his children, with Jacob des Bouverie inheriting half of the real estate (his elder brother William received the other moiety) and one-sixth of the personal estate. Two of Jacob’s brothers, William and Christopher, were important Levant merchants, the former also serving as a director of the Bank of England and the latter as a director of the South Sea Company. Jacob himself was based in Aleppo in the 1680s as an agent for his father and other merchants.3
In 1695 Bouverie was elected as Member for Hythe with his brother-in-law Sir Philip Boteler, 3rd Bt.*, defeating the Whig William Brockman*. The previous year, Anne des Bouverie, having already brought Boteler a substantial portion, had also inherited a sixth of her father’s personal estate, to be used by Boteler to buy land. Anne’s marriage to Boteler was Bouverie’s only link with Hythe at this time and it seems likely that Boteler influenced his election. In 1695 Bouverie was recorded as living in Barking, but in 1697 he bought the Dixwell estates in Kent, including the manor and hundred of Folkestone, whereby he became lord paramount of the hundred of Folkestone. This title carried with it certain local rights, the defence of which involved him in disputes with his neighbour, the lord of the manor of Cheriton, the same William Brockman he had defeated in election. In a further link with the Botelers, Bouverie charged his lands with an annuity of £300 for John Boteler* for life. Bouverie’s position as a large landowner in Kent was recognized with his appointment as a deputy-lieutenant in December 1697 (a position he held until at least 1702) and as a justice in July 1700 until 1715. He was reappointed in 1716 and continued in office until his death in 1722.4
In the Commons Bouverie was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions on 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade and was an early signatory of the Association. He continued this support for the government on 25 Nov. 1696 with a vote in favour of the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. Bouverie was returned unopposed at the 1698 general election and in an analysis of the House in about September was queried as a possible Court supporter. However, he was then forecast as likely to oppose a standing army and was not listed as having voted against the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. An analysis of the House of early 1700 listed Bouverie as being in the Old East India Company ‘interest’, but although the Bouveries had in the past been closely associated with the Old Company, it is by no means clear that this was still the case. Bouverie’s father and brother, William, were heavy investors in the Old Company and both had been assistants in the late 1680s and early 1690s. Bouverie himself had sold out his stock of £1,000 in 1698 and invested in the New East India Company. His last committee appointment for William’s reign was on 13 Feb. 1700, to a drafting committee to prevent the sale in England of fish caught in foreign vessels, a matter of some significance in Kent. The committee was headed by his brother-in-law Boteler.5
Bouverie did not contest the January 1701 election, evidently making way for John Boteler. For much of Anne’s reign Bouverie apparently retired to his estates and possibly continued with his merchant interests and investments. He had made a loan to the government in 1698 of £1,000, was a stockholder in the Bank of England in 1710 and by the end of his life held some £6,000 of stock in the South Sea Company.6
In contrast to his earlier career, Jacob des Bouverie’s politics in the latter years of Anne’s reign would appear to indicate Tory sympathies. Although he did not vote in the 1710 London poll, it is significant that he was appointed to the London lieutenancy commission of that year, when many Whigs were replaced by Tories. Moreover, Bouverie was elected for Hythe again in 1713, when he and John Boteler defeated William Brockman, and in the 1713 London poll he voted for all four Tory candidates. On 14 Apr. 1714 Bouverie was again involved in the issue of fish imports, being appointed to a drafting committee for a bill to prevent the import of fish by foreigners. The Worsley list identifies him as a Tory. Re-elected in 1715, he was described as a Tory on one list and as a Whig on another list of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments. The Whig government also appears to have been uncertain as to his political views, dismissing him from the Kentish bench in July 1715, but reappointing him the following year. Thereafter he was apparently reconciled to the Whig government of George I, continuing as a Member for Hythe until his death.7
The changes in Bouverie’s voting pattern and his classification in parliamentary lists from 1690 to 1722 would appear to indicate that he took a pragmatic view of politics. In 1698–9 he seems to have drifted away from his initial support for the Court. This may demonstrate a switch to the more Tory viewpoint which became apparent in 1710. However, his easy accommodation with the Hanoverian regime after 1716 implies that he held no strong ideological convictions. This is also suggested by the range of his investments, in companies which have been identified as being of various political inclinations, and it may also be significant that other members of his family seem to have taken an independent line in politics.8
Bouverie made his will on 7 June and died on 2 Sept. 1722, being described as ‘an eminent London merchant’. He left most of his estate to his nephew Jacob, second son of Sir William des Bouverie. Jacob, created Viscount Folkestone in 1747, was Member for Salisbury, 1741–7, while his elder brother, Sir Edward des Bouverie, sat for Shaftesbury, 1719–34.9
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Sonya Wynne
- 1. Hasted, Kent, viii. 152; Collins, Peerage (1812), v. 32; Add. 24120, f. 248; Procs. Huguenot Soc. of London xv. 49.
- 2. CJ, xii. 508; Pittis, Present Parl. 349.
- 3. Add. 24120, f. 248; Procs. Huguenot Soc. of London xv. 49; C9/281/48; C104/44, pts. i, ii; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1972, 1977, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1995; PCC 45 Box; De Krey thesis, 460, 636; CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 21; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III. 128; Wood, Life and Times, iii. 448; N. and Q. clxxix. 59; J. Carswell, S. Sea Bubble, 277.
- 4. PCC 45 Box, 235 Marlbro’; London Rec. Soc. ii. 88; Hasted, 120, 136, 138–9, 149–50, 152, 164, 167, 181; Add. 42487, f. 123; 42588, ff. 66, 68; 70018, f. 104; Centre Kentish Stud. Pleydell-Bouverie mss, L19, L23–25; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 528; 1700–2, p. 251; 1702–3, p. 394; info. from Prof. N. Landau.
- 5. Add. 38871, unfol.; Bodl. Rawl. A.302, ff. 224–7.
- 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 134; Egerton 3359, unfol.; PCC 235 Marlbro’.
- 7. London Poll Book, 1710; De Krey thesis, 482; London Rec. Soc. xvii. 82; info from Prof. N. Landau.
- 8. G. S. De Krey, Fractured Soc. 24–27, 141–4, 161, 242–3; De Krey thesis, 482.
- 9. PCC 235 Marlbro’; Hist. Reg. Chron. 1722, p. 41.