FRENCH, Jeffrey (d.1754), of Argyle Buildings, London
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Family and Education
6th s. of Arthur French of Cloonyquin, co. Roscommon, by his 2nd w. Sarah, da. and h. of Ulick Burke of Clare, co. Galway, wid. of Iriel Farrell of Cloonyquin. educ. M. Temple 1719, called 1724. m.Catherine, da. of Richard Lloyd of Croghan, co. Roscommon, speaker of the upper house of assembly and c.j. Jamaica; issue.
French was a practising barrister, and owned a plantation in Jamaica. In 1754 he and Richard Rigby unsuccessfully contested Newport (Cornwall) on the Duke of Bedford’s interest; and were returned by Bedford for Tavistock. French was too ill to attend at Newport until the day before the poll, and died on 14 May before Parliament met. He left his Jamaica plantation and ‘about £900 per annum in the county of Roscommon’ to James Plunkett, son of his sister Mary.1 According to Horace Walpole,2 French had paid Bedford £1,500 for his seat at Tavistock, and Plunkett sued the Duke for the return of the money, ‘who paid it, rather than let the cause be heard’. A slightly different story is told by Charles Townshend:3 Plunkett applied to Bedford for the vacant seat, and on being refused ‘brought a bill in equity for the recovery of the purchase money’, to which Bedford replied that ‘the contract was merely personal and strictly performed on his part’.