JENNINGS, George (?1721-90), of Newsells, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. ?1721, o.s. of Adm. Sir John Jennings, M.P., by Alice, da. of Francis Breton of Wellington, Herefs. and 1st cos. of Phillip Jennings, fa. of Philip Jennings. educ. Westminster July 1730, aged 9; Corpus, Camb. 1737. m. 30 Apr. 1741, Lady Mary. Burke, da. of Michael, 10th Earl of Clanricarde [I], 1s. d.v.p. 1da. (who m. 1784 John Peachey). suc. fa. 1743.
Before the general election of 1754 Jennings applied to the Pelhams to bring him into Parliament; they tried to place him but failed.1 In 1757 he was returned for Whitchurch on the interest of Lord Portsmouth. Newcastle in 1758 described him as ‘a gentleman of great consideration in Hertfordshire and a very zealous friend’.2
He appears in Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, early December 1762, but according to Newcastle’s list voted against them. He voted against the Grenville Administration on Wilkes and general warrants; belonged to Wildmant’s Club; and was classed by Newcastle, 10 May 1764 as a ‘sure friend’. When the Rockingham Administration was being formed Jennings wrote to Newcastle, 13 July 1765:
The many assurances I have had of your Grace’s goodwill towards me encourages me to beg the favour of your recommendation to Lord Rockingham for some employment ... I waited on his Lordship this morning and mentioned my wishes to be at the Board of Trade ... My wish for being at one of the Boards proceeds from my liking business.
Newcastle included Jennings in a list, 15 July 1765, of persons to be given office, and applied to Rockingham on his behalf. On 22 Aug., when most of the vacant places had been filled, Jennings wrote again to Newcastle: ‘I by no means waive my claim, and hope that in case of a vacancy at the Board of Green Cloth or elsewhere I shall still be honoured with your Grace’s protection.’ Rockingham, in his list of July 1765 classed Jennings as ‘pro’, but seems to have made no effort to provide for him. ‘I ... am truly concerned’, wrote Newcastle to Jennings, 17 June 1766, ‘that I have hitherto been able to be of such little service to you.’ Without doubt he was sincere.3
After Chatham had taken office Newcastle wrote from Claremont to Rockingham, 31 Aug. 1766:4 ‘Offley and George Jennings are now here. The first, I think, is equally forgot by everybody. My friend George Jennings is wiser. My Lord Chatham has secured for him his son to be groom of the bedchamber to Prince Henry, whose family is to be established in November next.’ Rockingham in November classed Jennings as ‘Whig’ (i.e. as Rockingham Whig), but Townshend in January 1767 as ‘Administration’; and Jennings voted with Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. At the general election of 1768 his seat at Whitchurch was required for a brother of Lord Portsmouth, and he is not known to have stood elsewhere. In December he was returned at St. Germans by Edward Eliot, presumably at the request of Administration. On the evidence of division lists 1768-74 he was a regular Government supporter, but Robinson in his electoral survey of September 1774 classed him as ‘doubtful’. At the general election he was dropped by Eliot. In 1776 he thought of standing for Cambridge, but withdrew and canvassed for Thomas Plumer Byde; and nothing is known of any further attempt by him to enter Parliament until 1784, when he was returned for Thetford on the Duke of Grafton’s interest. He voted against Pitt on Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, but with him on the Regency. There is no record of Jennings having spoken in the House. He died 9 June 1790.