TUFNELL, George Forster (1723-98), of Turnham Green, Mdx. , and Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. 1723, 2nd s. of Samuel Tufnell, M.P., of Monken Hadley, Herts. and Langleys, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of George Cressener of Earl’s Colne, Essex; bro. of John Jolliffe Tufnell. m. (1) 11 Feb. 1744, Elizabeth (div. 9 June 1758), da. and coh. of Richard Forster of Forest, co. Dublin, and gd.-da. of John Forster, l.c.j. of common pleas [I] 1714-20, 1da.; (2) 1767, Mary, da. of John Farhill of Chichester, Suss., 4s. 2da.
Tufnell succeeded his brother as M.P. for Beverley. He received Newcastle’s whip in 1761 through Andrew Wilkinson, a Yorkshireman closely connected with Newcastle, and was classed by Bute as ‘doubtful’. He does not appear in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, yet did not vote against them. He voted against the Grenville Administration over Wilkes and general warrants, and was classed by Rockingham in July 1765 as ‘pro’ and in November 1766 as ‘Whig’. Although he voted with Government on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, Newcastle on 2 Mar. classed him as a ‘friend’.
Tufnell does not seem to have stood in 1768, but he contested Beverley again at the by-election of 1772. He is said to have ‘declared himself a candidate about an hour before the poll began’ and to have been beaten by ‘a very great majority’.1 There was another contest in 1774, when Tufnell had a comfortable majority.
From 1774 to 1780 he voted regularly with the Opposition. On 27 May 1775 he made what seems to have been his first speech in Parliament:2
Mr. Tufnell attempted to show that the war, though begun in America, was the plan of the French minister, but that he did not mean it should have taken place so soon as it did.
On 12 Mar. 1776 he spoke on the futility of attempting to coerce America.3 In 1779 he came forward as a candidate at a by-election for Middlesex. He was supported by the Duke of Northumberland, who (wrote John Robinson to the King on 4 Oct.) ‘had a very full, explicit, and satisfactory explanation with Mr. Tufnell, although Mr. Tufnell has in general hitherto gone against Administration’. The King authorized North to promise Northumberland financial assistance if he should ask it.4 George Byng, who also intended to stand for Middlesex, on learning that Tufnell had been promised the Chiltern Hundreds, told him ‘he must now consider him as a ministerial candidate, and would oppose him’; Tufnell, wrote Byng to the Duke of Portland on 4 Oct., ‘seems ashamed, and has promised me that [if] I have a good show, he will resign’. It is possible that Tufnell had been cultivating the constituency. Byng wrote to Portland on 11 Oct.:5
Many of my Tower Hamlet friends are shaken, they are steady to me, but I cannot work them up to promise absolutely against Tufnell, and they canvass insidiously. Our acting in Parliament together, and his attention to their business has given him a secondary interest. He has brayed for them in committees, and if as they like a great many words, one speech of his ought to entitle him to more favour than twenty of mine.
North refused Byng the Chiltern Hundreds which seems to have won him some support in the county. ‘Tufnell is in a great disposition to give it up’, wrote William Plumer to Portland on 13 Oct., and a few days later he withdrew.
Tufnell voted with Opposition on economical reform, 8 and 13 Mar. 1780, on Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr., and on the motion against proroguing Parliament, 24 Apr. Yet his last speech in the House, 25 Apr. 1780, was against an Opposition motion to station the militia outside their own counties—‘The House had no right to interfere with the executive power’.6 He did not stand at the general election of 1780.
He died 10 July 1798.