BANCE, John (d.1755), of Coleman St., London, and Challow, Berks.
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Family and Education
Director, E.I. Co. 1722-30, Bank of England 1731-d. (with statutory intervals).
John Bance was a merchant, trading to Hamburg, who served his apprenticeship with the firm of Jan Berewent of Amsterdam.2 Elected in 1732 to the committee of twenty-one London Dissenters, composed of ‘moneyed men of the city’, which was set up to consider the question of an application to Parliament for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, he was one of the sub-committee appointed to confer with ministers on this matter, being re-elected to the committee in 1735.3 In 1734 he was defeated at Bridport but returned for Westbury, having had no previous connexion with the borough. He spoke on 11 Mar. 1737 for Walpole’s proposal that the Government should be empowered to borrow from the sinking fund to finance current expenditure; on 16 Feb. 1739 for the elder Horace Walpole’s motion to remove the duty on Irish yarn; and on 30 Mar. 1739 for the repeal of the Test Act,4 voting against the Government on the Spanish convention 1739 and on the place bill of 1740.
At the general election of 1741 Bance lost his seat at Westbury but was returned for Wallingford, which his brother-in-law, James Lamb, had contested unsuccessfully in 1740. He was included in the opposition list for a committee on the public accounts;5 spoke against a vote of supply for the army in Flanders on 6 Dec. 1742; and on 10 Mar. 1743 gave effective support to an opposition motion attacking a contract concluded by the Treasury for army remittances, which he described as ‘a designed fraud’.6 He voted against the Hanoverians till 1746, when he abstained and was classed as doubtful.
In 1747 Bance rejected an offer by Pelham of a compromise at Westbury and Wallingford, claiming that ‘both boroughs were under his command and he would bring in whom he pleased’.7 In the event he was defeated at Wallingford, standing single, but was returned for Westbury, only to be unseated on petition. He became closely connected with Bubb Dodington, who in 1749 offered to procure for him from the Prince of Wales ‘the reversion of the remittances’, i.e. a share in the contracts for the payment of British troops abroad, ‘or of the board of Trade, if he had a mind to leave the city’. Bance said he would ‘choose the remittances, and to have the secret and government of the bank, as what he thought would render him most useful to his friends’. Dodington promised to arrange this with the Prince, but there is no further reference to it in his diary, nor does Bance appear in the lists of beneficiaries on Frederick’s accession. In 1750 he was consulted by Dodington on a scheme for increasing the Prince’s revenue from the Cornish tinmines.
Bance died 23 Feb. 1755, leaving £1,000 to Dodington and the same amount for the relief of the widows and children of poor dissenting ministers. His will shows him to have been a man of considerable wealth.8
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: R. S. Lea
- 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iii. 213.
- 2. PCC 67 Paul; Bd. Trade Jnl. 1735-41, p. 16.
- 3. N. C. Hunt, Two Early Pol. Assocs., 134-45; Hervey, Mems. 130.
- 4. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 36, 47.
- 5. Walpole to Mann, 26 May 1742.
- 6. Parl. Hist. xiii. 32.
- 7. Add. 32735, f. 573.
- 8. Dodington Diary, 8, 76; PCC 67 Paul.