GIBBON, Edward (1707-1770), of Putney, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. Oct. 1707, o.s. of Edward Gibbon of Putney, linen draper, clothing contractor and bill broker, by Catherine, da. of Richard Acton of Leadenhall St., London, goldsmith. educ. Westminster 1716-20; Emmanuel, Camb. 1723; Grand Tour (France, Italy). m. (1) 3 June 1736, Judith (d. Dec. 1747), da. of James Porten of Putney, 6s. 1da.; (2) 8 Apr. 1755, Dorothea Patten. suc. fa. 1736.
Alderman, London 1743.
Gibbon, the father of the historian, was the son of a South Sea Company director, who had theoretically been deprived of most of his money by the South Sea Sufferers Act of 1721, but in practice had managed to preserve most of his real property by settling it on his wife shortly before the passing of the Act. Returned as a Tory for Petersfield in 1734 on the interest of his father, who owned the manor, he voted against the Administration in all recorded divisions. In his son’s words:
without acquiring the fame of an orator or statesman, he eagerly joined in the great Opposition which, after a seven years chase hunted down Sir Robert Walpole, and in the pursuit of an unpopular minister he gratified a private revenge against the oppressor of his family in the South Sea persecution.
After his father’s death he sold the manor of Petersfield, with his electoral influence there, to John Jolliffe, in 1739. In 1741 he stood ‘an expensive and successful’ contest for Southampton,1 continuing to act with the Tories against the Administration. On 4 May 1743 Thomas Carte, the Jacobite historian, wrote to the Pretender:
In the Whiggish wards in the city [of London] that party does scarce pretend to make any opposition; for so the other day in Vintry ward, Mr. Gibbon, Member of Parliament for Southampton, was chosen alderman without opposition, though he had not been made a freeman above two months, and was not known to any man in the ward; but Alderman Benn’s [an active Jacobite and future lord mayor] recommendation of him and his being son to Ned Gibbon (who when living was the most zealous man for your Majesty and the most capable of serving you of any in the city) were enough to carry the point without any difficulty.2
Gibbon was elected in 1744 to three of the key committees of the court of common council administering city affairs, but resigned in 1745, according to his son because the duties were ‘repugnant to his inclination and habits’.3 He did not stand in 1747, after which increasing financial difficulties, caused by extravagance and lack of business ability, forced him to retire to his estate at Buriton, near Petersfield, where he died, 10 Nov. 1770.