DAMER, Hon. George (1746-1808).
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Family and Education
b. 28 Mar. 1746, 2nd s. of Joseph, 1st Lord Milton, and bro. of Hon. John and Hon. Lionel Damer. educ. Eton 1755-63; Trinity, Camb. 1763; Grand Tour. unm. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Dorchester 12 Jan. 1798.
M.P. [I] 1795-7.
Maj. 87 Ft. 1779-85.
P.C. 17 Dec. 1794; chief sec. to ld. lt. [I] 1794-5.
At Rome in 1765 George Damer and Sir Thomas Gascoigne were involved in a ‘drunken riot’ which had disgraceful consequences. ‘Exacting such offices from their coachman as the valets de place only are used to render, and meeting with an opposition which wine and lust could not bear, a violent skirmish ensued in which the young gentlemen wounded four men’, one of whom, said to have been shot by Damer, afterwards died.1 Money, and the partiality of the governor of Rome, condoned their crime.
In 1768 Damer was elected for Cricklade, an expensive and corrupt borough, and voted consistently with the Opposition. In 1774 he canvassed but did not stand the poll. In 1776 he and his brothers had contracted debts to the amount of £70,000. Their father refused to pay them or to see his sons: the eldest, John, committed suicide, and George and Lionel ‘retired to France’.2
On 27 May 1777 George wrote from Brussels to his uncle, Lord George Germain, ‘expressing his gratitude for the friendly part taken by Lord George in his affairs and mentioning a letter received from Lord Milton, desiring him to remain abroad’.3 It was probably Germain who arranged his rehabilitation, with a seat in Parliament and a commission in the army.
Damer voted with the court, 3 Mar. 1779, on the motion of censure against the Admiralty. From 1780 to 1782 he served with his regiment in the West Indies. He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. Milton and Sackville supported Pitt, but the younger Damers were closely connected with Lord Fitzwilliam and the Opposition: George, wrote Cornwallis to Lt-Col. Alexander Ross, 23 Feb. 1784, was ‘grown a most violent party man’.4 When Fitzwilliam in 1794, after having joined Pitt, went to Ireland with the avowed intention of reforming the government, he took George Damer as his chief secretary.
Damer died 7 Mar. 1808.