GLYNN, John (1722-79), of Cardinham, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



14 Dec. 1768 - 16 Sept. 1779

Family and Education

bap. 3 Aug. 1722, 2nd surv. s. of William Glynn of Cardinham by Rose, da. of John Prideaux of Padstow, Cornw. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1738; poss. Leyden 1746; M. Temple 1741, called 1748. m. 21 July 1763, Susanna Margaret, da. of Sir John Oglander, 4th Bt., of Nunwell, I.o.W., 3s. 1da. suc. nephew at Cardinham 1762.

Offices Held

Sergeant-at-law 1763; recorder of London 1772- d.


Glynn was a radical both in politics and religion, a member of the Essex St. group of Unitarians and of the Bill of Rights Society. He was counsel for the printers of the North Briton in 1764, for Wilkes in 1768, and for James Townsend in 1772. ‘A most ingenious, solid, pleasing man’, wrote Chatham on their first meeting in 1770,1 ‘and the very spirit of the constitution itself’; and Horace Walpole described him as ‘a man of unexceptionable character’.2

In 1768 he stood for Newtown, I.o.W., on the Worsley-Oglander interest, but was defeated. Encouraged by Dunning and Shelburne, with whom he had been connected since the early 60s, he decided to petition.3 But before the case could be considered a vacancy occurred in Middlesex; and Glynn, sponsored by Wilkes, was elected after a riotous and expensive contest.

He made his first speech in the House, on Wilkes’s petition, 23 Jan. 1769. Six other speeches are reported for that session, all connected with Wilkes’s case; and in the conduct of this difficult and intricate business he acquitted himself well. Walpole wrote of the debate of 27 Jan. that he ‘spoke with a clearness, argument, decency, and propriety that was applauded by both sides’; and of his speech on Wilkes’s expulsion, 3 Feb.: ‘Serjeant Glynn gained great fame by the candour of his conduct on the whole proceeding’.4 He was sincere, earnest, and disinterested; and though so closely connected with Wilkes, they had little in common and never became friends.

On 6 Dec. 1770 Glynn introduced a motion to inquire into the administration of justice, and he was a member of the committee which drew up the bill of 1772 reducing the number of capital offences. Nearly all his interventions in debate were on constitutional questions or radical motions: and only twice (28 Apr. 1774 and 25 Apr. 1776) is he recorded as having spoken on America. After 1774 his health deteriorated, and his speeches were less frequent. In the debate on Wilkes’s motion concerning the Middlesex election, 22 Feb. 1775, ‘he spoke in great pain, being at that time afflicted with a severe fit of the gout’;5 and the Public Ledger wrote of him in 1779: ‘His ill health prevents him from seconding his colleague.’  He died 16 Sept. 1779.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Chatham Corresp. iii. 483.
  • 2. Mems. Geo. III, iii. 190.
  • 3. Gibbon to his stepmother, 18 Apr. 1768.
  • 4. Mems. Geo. III, iii. 211, 219.
  • 5. Almon, iii. 494.