BRISTOW, John (1701-68), of Mark Lane, London, and Quidenham, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1734 - 1741
1741 - 1754
1754 - 1761
1761 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 25 Apr. 1701, 3rd surv. s. of Robert Bristow, M.P., of Micheldever, Hants and bro. of Robert Bristow. m. 1733, Anne Judith, da. of Paul Foisin, East India merchant in Paris, 4s. 11da., fa.-in-law of W. H. Lyttelton.

Offices Held

Director, South Sea Co. 1730-3, dep. gov. 1733-56, sub-gov. 1756-62.


A leading merchant in the Portugal trade and a prominent figure in the South Sea Company, Bristow was brought into Parliament by his brother-in-law, Sir John Hobart, 1st Earl of Buckinghamshire, voting consistently with the Government. After the outbreak of war with Spain in 1739 he, in partnership with Peter Burrell, secured contracts for remitting money for the forces in Gibraltar, Minorca and Jamaica,1 the last on such favourable terms as to give rise to allegations that Walpole had made a bad bargain for the public to oblige Bristow and Burrell as Members of Parliament.2 After Walpole’s fall the matter was investigated by the secret committee set up by the Commons to inquire into his conduct, who endorsed the charges against him, observing that

throughout the whole course of this proceeding ... neither the interest of the soldier or the public service seemed to have been the object of the Earl of Orford’s attention.3

No action was taken on the report.

Bristow also played a part in financing the continental war. He was included in the Treasury list of underwriters of a government loan in 1744, his share being £150,000. In the same year he was appointed a trustee for managing a loan of £200,000 to the King of Sardinia. He was also concerned in the raising of supplies for the war in 1746. In 1753 he was one of the financiers who lent Danzig £90,000.4

In later life Bristow ran into financial difficulties, arising partly from severe losses in the Lisbon earthquake. He died in Lisbon, 14 Nov. 1768.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1739-41, passim.
  • 2. Walpole to Mann. 29 Apr. 1742.
  • 3. CJ, xxiv. 289-92.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. 1744, pp. 225, 562; Add. 33055, f. 29; Nichols, Literary Hist. ii. 278.