CONYERS, John (1717-75), of Copt Hall, Essex
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Family and Education
b. 13 Dec. 1717, 1st s. of Edward Conyers, M.P., by Hon. Mathilda Fermor, da. of William, 1st Baron Leominster. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1735. m. (1) Hannah (d. 4 Apr. 1745), da. of Richard Warner, of North Elmham, Norf., s.p.; (2) 1 Jan. 1747, his cos., Lady Henrietta Frances Fermor, da. of Thomas, 1st Earl of Pomfret, 13 ch. of whom 8 surv.1 suc. fa. 23 Apr. 1742.
Conyers sat for Reading as a Tory; he did not stand again in 1754. He was talked of as a candidate for Essex on the vacancy in April 17592 but did not stand. In 1760 he was considering doing so; his sister, the wife of Sir Roger Newdigate, wrote to her cousin, Sir Charles Mordaunt, 9 July 1760,3 that her brother was ‘in a hurry of spirits’ about the Essex Assizes ‘when tis supposed election business will be settled’, and asked them to consult Jacob Houblon; but Houblon thought that Conyers could not succeed, and he desisted. He did stand at the by-election of 1763, supported by the ‘old interest’ and by Sandwich; Grenville and Rigby remained neutral; and after an exceedingly expensive election, Conyers was defeated, 15 Dec., by a narrow margin of about 4 per cent of the votes cast. Some of his friends wanted him to petition. But Conyers feared ‘the enormous expense’ which, he wrote to John Strutt about the end of the year, ‘notwithstanding your generous offer and those of some others will bring an additional blow upon my fortune and family’.4 And in another undated letter: on a further inspection of his affairs he found that the expense had so far exceeded his expectations that he could not take a share of the cost of a petition.
In December 1767 Strutt tried to persuade Conyers to stand: they must not deliver the county ‘tamely to the enemy’ while they have power to defend it. Conyers replied, 23 Dec.:
I am no longer in a condition to undertake the numberless uncertainties and the certain great expenses; and the endless fatigues of body and mind, that I speak of with some experience and that in my present state would be utterly impracticable.
Maynard’s offer to stand down for Conyers if this secured an uncontested election was not accepted. ‘Conyers will never get courage for another battle’, wrote Gascoyne to Strutt, 26 Dec. 1767. It was not until an unopposed return was secured for him in 17725 that he declared himself once more a candidate for the county. In 1774 an unopposed return was again expected on a compromise between Conyers’ and Luther’s friends, but a contest was brought on at the last moment by an interloper.
In March 1772, over the royal marriage bill, Conyers was listed by Robinson as ‘pro, present’; and on 26 Apr. 1773 he voted with the Government over the motion concerning the Middlesex election. This is his only recorded vote in the House. There is no record of his having spoken.
He died 8 Sept. 1775 ‘aged 57 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days’.6