TURNER, Sir Edward, 2nd Bt. (1719-66), of Ambrosden, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. 18 Apr. 1719, o. surv. s. of Sir Edward Turner, 1st Bt., of Ambrosden, merchant and director of the East India Company, by Mary, da. of Sir Gregory Page, 1st Bt., M.P., of Greenwich, merchant and director of the East India Company. educ. Eton 1725-32; Balliol, Oxf. 1735; L. Inn 1745. m. 8 Sept. 1739, Cassandra, da. of William Leigh of Aldestrop, Glos., 6s. 3da. suc. fa. 19 June 1735.
Turner in 1754 stood for Oxfordshire as candidate of the New or Whig interest, backed by the Duke of Marlborough and Lords Macclesfield and Harcourt. The New Interest candidates were defeated on the poll, but a double return was made, and they were seated by the House of Commons.
No speeches by Turner are recorded 1755-61. Over the Minorca inquiry he voted against Newcastle and Fox, 26 Apr. 1757.1 On the accession of George III he attached himself to Bute. At the general election of 1761 the compromise between the Duke of Marlborough and the Oxfordshire Tories deprived Turner of his seat for the county; but at the request of George III he was taken care of by Newcastle: nominated for Penryn on the Falmouth interest, he was returned after a contest.2
Turner did not receive Newcastle’s whip for the opening of the new Parliament—obviously Newcastle counted him as a follower of Bute, as which he appears in Bute’s list of December 1761. He is in Fox’s list of Members in favour of the peace preliminaries. Classed by Jenkinson in the autumn of 1763 as ‘pro’, Turner supported the Grenville Administration, and, although sitting for a west country constituency, voted with them against the repeal of the cider duty.3 Rockingham in July 1765 classed him as an opponent, and he voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. He wrote to his friend Sanderson Miller, 18 Jan. 1766:4
Mr. Pitt’s opinion, even Mr. Pitt’s opinion, that Great Britain hath no right to tax the colonies, cannot convince me or many others of inferior, common, and unrefined understandings. If that right be given up (but I think it impossible) good-bye America!
Turner was a rich man, a large investor in Government stock,5 and had one of the biggest holdings in East India stock: in 1763 its value was £28,500.6 He was an energetic magistrate, and became unpopular in Oxfordshire because of his activity in stamping out cattle disease. His only speeches 1761-8 were on an enclosure bill, 1 Mar. 1762, and on a bill to enlarge the powers of justices of the peace, 27 Apr. 1762.
On 26 Oct. 1766 George Grenville wrote to Charles Jenkinson:7
You will be sorry to receive the melancholy account which I must give you of our friend Sir Edward Turner. He was seized on Saturday last with a severe stroke of the palsy whilst he was at Bicester to prevent disorders and lower the price of bread on behalf of the poor ... I had seen him perfectly well a little while ago, and he sent to me two days before to know whether the report was true that no business was to be entered upon in Parliament before Christmas except what relates to the corn.
Turner died on 31 Oct. 1766.