HOPE, Sir George Johnstone (1767-1818).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



14 Apr. 1815 - 2 May 1818

Family and Education

b. 6 July 1767, 5th s. of Hon. Charles Hope Vere of Craigiehall, Linlithgow by 3rd w. Helen, da. of George Dunbar of Leuchold, Linlithgow. educ. Edinburgh h.s. 1775-9. m. (1) 28 Jan. 1803, Lady Jemima Hope (d. 5 Sept. 1808), da. of James, 3rd Earl of Hopetoun [S], 1s. 1da.; (2) 1 Dec. 1814, Hon. Georgiana Mary Anne Kinnaird, da. of George, 7th Baron Kinnaird [S], 1da. KCB 2 Jan. 1815.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1782, lt. 1788, cdr. 1790, capt. 1793; col. marines 1810-11; r.-adm. 1811; maj.-gen. marines Jan. 1818-d.

Groom of bedchamber to Duke of Sussex 1805-d.

Ld. of Admiralty Mar. 1812-May 1813, Oct. 1813-Apr. 1818.

Dir. Greenwich Hosp. 1815-d.


Hope served in the Mediterranean in the 1790s and commanded the Defence at Trafalgar, taking the San Ildefonso as his prize. From 1808 until 1811 he commanded the Victory in the Baltic under Sir James Saumarez. His family connexion with the 2nd Viscount Melville secured him a place at the Admiralty board under him. Eight months later he was detached to succeed Saumarez in the Baltic and therefore omitted from the board in May 1813, but reappointed in October on the termination of his command.1 He did not enter Parliament until 1815 when he was brought in by the dowager Duchess of Dorset to accommodate her kinsman the prime minister, Lord Liverpool.

Hope spoke in the House only on Admiralty business, chiefly in defence of the navy estimates. He was cheered when he eulogized the navy’s wartime achievements, 24 Apr. 1815, but met with a more critical reception in 1816 and 1817, when assailed by Charles Forbes* and others. He resisted Forbes’s motion to secure the pay of naval officers in foreign stations, 10 Apr. 1816. Otherwise he satisfied himself with a silent vote with ministers. He paired against Catholic relief, 21 May 1816, and voted against it on 9 May 1817. His last known vote was in favour of the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. An explanation was provided by Henry Legge, writing to Lord Colchester in February 1818:

Sir George Hope is not only tired of the Admiralty, but is also very unwell; and, as relaxation from business in his native air has been strongly recommended to him, I have no doubt that he may have the command at Leith, when his cousin’s time is out, if he chooses it. I have heard no successor named for him.2

Soon after resigning his place Hope died, 2 May 1818, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

His manners were of the true seaman-like appearance and the frankness which is so peculiarly the characteristic of the gallant defenders of our country was combined with the manners of the perfect gentleman.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Brian Murphy


  • 1. R. H. Mackenzie, The Trafalgar Roll, 178, 180; NLI, Richmond mss 74/1909; Ross, Mems. of Saumarez, ii. 289, 293.
  • 2. Colchester, iii. 38.
  • 3. Naval Chron. (1818), 424.