BOND, Denis (1676-1747), of Creech Grange, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. 10 Dec. 1676, 1st s. of Nathaniel Bond, M.P., of Creech Grange by Mary, da. of Lewis Williams of Chitterton, Dorset; bro. of John Bond. educ. I. Temple 1691, called 1703, bencher 1728. m. 1729, Leonora Sophia, 2nd da. of Sir William Dutton Colt, envoy to Hanover, Hesse and Saxony 1689-93, wid. of Edmund Dummer of Swaythling, Hants, s.p. suc. fa. 1707.
Recorder, Dorchester 1707-d., Weymouth and Melcombe Regis 1707-d., Poole 1719-d., Wareham 1724-d.; carrier of the King’s letters 1714-d.; commr. for forfeited estates 1716-25; member of committee of management, Charitable Corpn. 1725-32.
Bond’s father, a younger son, made a fortune at the bar, with which he bought the estate of Creech Grange, representing Corfe Castle 1679-80 and Dorchester 1681 and 1695-8. After sitting as a Whig for Dorchester for a short time under Anne, Bond was returned in 1715 for Corfe Castle, from which he transferred to Poole in 1727, voting with the Government in every recorded division. At George I’s accession, he obtained for life the office of carrier of the King’s letters, worth £730 p.a., buying out the existing holder.1 In 1716 he was elected by the House of Commons to be a commissioner, with a tax-free salary of £1,000 p.a., for the sale of estates forfeited to the Crown by persons attainted of high treason in the recent rebellion. Among these estates were those of the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, who had been executed in 1716, and of his only brother, Charles Radcliffe, who had escaped to France. Lord Derwentwater’s estates, valued at £200,000, were entailed on his only son, John Radcliffe, an infant, with remainder, should he die without a son, to Charles Radcliffe. John Radcliffe’s right to the estates was preserved by the entail; but both the remainder and the reversion had been forfeited by the attainders of Charles Radcliffe and Lord Derwentwater, and were therefore available for sale by the commissioners.2
In 1723 Bond and another commissioner, Sergeant John Birch, advertised Charles Radcliffe’s remainder for sale by public auction, so arranging the sale that when it came up no one was present to bid for it but their own nominee, one Smith, ‘of such infamous character that, living by Aldgate, he is called Smith of the other gate, meaning Newgate’,3 who bought it for £1,060. A contract on this basis was surreptitiously replaced by one giving Smith the reversion as well as the remainder. To make up the statutory quorum of four commissioners required for a sale, the names of two other commissioners were affixed to the contract, under standing instructions which they had given to the secretary to sign for them in their absence when necessary.4
At the same sale Bond and Birch by similar methods also acquired for £1,200 an annuity of £200, charged on the Derwentwater estates and payable to Charles Radcliffe. The annuity only was advertised but the contract of sale was made out to include all the arrears due on it since Charles Radcliffe’s attainder, amounting to more than the sum paid for the annuity. Thus, for a net outlay of under £1,000, they had secured an annuity of £200 payable for the life of a man of under 30, together with a good chance, since John Radcliffe was known to be in poor health, of succeeding to estates worth over £9,000 p.a.5
These transactions passed unnoticed till the death of John Radcliffe, aged 18 and childless, at the end of 1731, threw the vast Derwentwater estates into the hands of Smith. A parliamentary inquiry was instituted by Lord Gage; the whole story came out; Bond and Birch were expelled from the House of Commons; and the sales were annulled.6
A few weeks later Bond figured in another public scandal, that of the frauds committed by the managers of the Charitable Corporation, of which he was a director. According to the evidence given at the parliamentary inquiry into this affair, some of the directors of the corporation
were for keeping to the intent of their charter, in lending money in small sums to the poor, but the majority were for lending money in the City in large sums; and Mr. Bond, who was of the majority, said ‘Damn the poor, let us go into the City where we may get money’.7
On the facts disclosed by the report, Bond and a number of his colleagues in the Corporation were declared by a resolution of the House of Commons to have been guilty of many notorious breaches of trust and many indirect and fraudulent practices. They were also prohibited by Act of Parliament from leaving the country and from alienating their estates till the end of the next session, so that their property might be available to provide ‘a just satisfaction’ for the losses they had occasioned.8 However next year the House, on further information, reduced its censure on Bond to one of neglect of duty, taking no further action against his property.9 His part in the affair is referred to in Pope’s line: ‘Bond damns the poor, and hates them from his heart’.10
Bond made no attempt to re-enter the House of Commons, but retained all his offices. A pillar of the church as well as of the bar, he was made churchwarden of St. George’s, Hanover Square, in 1735. At the time of his death, 30 Jan. 1747, he was engaged in building a small chapel in his grounds from the remains of a ruined priory.11
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. Inventory of Lands and Goods of Denis Bond (1713).
- 2. Parl. Hist. viii. 1026-39.
- 3. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 244.
- 4. Parl. Hist. loc. cit.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. Ibid.; HMC Egmont Diary, i. 247-50, 257-9, 261-2.
- 7. Parl Hist. viii. 1120.
- 8. See under SUTTON, Sir Robert; GRANT, Sir Archibald; ROBINSON, George.
- 9. Parl. Hist. viii. 1161; ix. 48.
- 10. Poems (Twickenham ed.), iii(2), p. 102 line 95.
- 11. Hutchins, Dorset, i. 605.