TEED, John (b.c.1770), of Plympton, Devon and 5 St. George's Place, Blackfriars, London.
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Family and Education
b. c.1770. m. c.1793, Hannah née Godfrey (d. 29 July 1855, aged 83), 3s. at least 1da.
John Teed came of a Devon family1 and prospered at the head of John Teed Co. merchants, ship agents and brokers of 14 Lower Broad Street, Plymouth, so described in 1808, the year he entered Parliament. He had been disparagingly described in 1806, when he contested Fowey against the patrons, as ‘the book-keeper of the stage waggon’ and as likely ‘to remove from the waggoners storeroom to the House of Commons, if not to procure a title’. But his venture was doubly unfortunate, for he ‘started from Plymouth for Fowey in his own vessel, the privateer Trafalgar, but mistaking Lantivet cove for the harbour, ran on shore, where his vessel was completely wrecked’.2 In 1810 he was also described as a banker at Plymouth and in 1817 as a naval agent resident in the outports.
He was returned for Grampound after a contest: it is probable that he was introduced there on the Hawkins interest, but started to build up an interest of his own. In any case, he was unseated two months later without having made any mark in the House. In February 1810 a correspondent of Lord Grenville’s informed him that the majority of the electors of Grampound were pledged to return Teed at the next election unless he succeeded in the meantime ‘in obtaining a slice of the droits of Admiralty’, said to be ‘his favourite object’, and that he would give his interest there to anyone who would help him to this end.3 Colonel Andrew Cochrane Johnstone offered to and he was returned with him after a contest in 1812.
Teed was listed a government supporter and so he at first behaved. He voted against Catholic relief throughout in 1813 and in 1816, and twice in favour of Christian missions to India in 1813. No speech is known. On 23 Dec. 1813 he wrote to Lord Liverpool4 applying for the vacant consul generalship at Lisbon, having been ‘advised by my medical friends to try the effect of a warm climate in order to reestablish my health’. He explained:
although no circumstance has occurred since I have had the honour of a seat in the House in which I could render myself conspicuously useful to your friends, I trust to the very kind consideration of your lordship for the credit of entertaining every wish to be of use, and that had any opportunity presented itself I should never have shrunk from my duty.
Liverpool referred him to Castlereagh, in whose province his application was, but Teed did not get the post. He had promised: ‘my future conduct will best explain my gratitude’. He continued to support the ministry until the end of the session of 1816.
On 7 Feb. 1817 Teed started to vote fairly regularly with opposition. He then voted against Lord Binning’s membership of the finance committee and on 17 Feb. opposed the wartime salaries of the Admiralty secretariat. He opposed the habeas corpus suspension bill at its first reading, 26 Feb., supported Brougham’s motion on trade and manufactures, 13 Mar., disapproved the seditious meetings bill, 28 Mar., and supported Tierney’s motion on the third secretary of state, 29 Apr. On 20 May he supported Burdett’s motion for parliamentary reform; supported the opposition candidate for the Speakership, 2 June; opposed the civil services compensation bill, 10 June, and the duration of habeas corpus suspension, 26 June. On 13 Apr. 1818 he voted for the opposition amendment on the ducal marriage grants and on 22 May against the expense of £15,000 for land on Hounslow Heath for the cavalry.
Teed got a lively reception on the hustings in 1818, not because of his political conduct, which was apparently not mentioned, but because he exposed the system of bribery and corruption that led to his defeat. His petition against all the other candidates was not successful, but as chief witness for the prosecution he secured the downfall of (Sir) Manasseh Masseh Lopes* the boroughmonger: he stopped at nothing to assemble the evidence, disclosing a private interview he had with Lopes before the election and buying Lopes’s letters on the subject;5 nor was he entirely cleared of implication in the prevailing corruption. He was never again in Parliament. Nothing further is known of him, but his wife was a widow at her death in 1855.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Perhaps he was the son of Samuel Teed of Budleigh, Devon, gent. and brother of Rev. Samuel Teed (see Alumni Oxon.). His sons were John Godfrey Teed, barrister (1794-1871), Rev. Frederick Teed (1810-63) and Henry Cowd Teed, salt merchant of London and Plymouth (d. 1831). Joseph and Richard Teed (d.1817) of London were interested in Honiton politics in 1788 (PRO 30/8/182, f. 101).
- 2. Pole Carew mss CC/L/39, Rashleigh to Pole Carew, 15 Nov. 1806; R. Cornw. Gazette, 8 Nov. 1806.
- 3. Fortescue mss, Flindell to Grenville, 25 Feb. 1810
- 4. Add. 38255, f. 145.
- 5. The Late Elections (1818), 128; Parl. Deb. xl. 821; CJ, lxxiv. 91, 135, 474; Grimsby Pub. Lib. Tennyson mss, Smedley to Tennyson, 20 Mar. 1819.