John Wilmot (politician)

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John Eardley Wilmot (1748 – 23 June 1815) was a Member of the Parliament of Great Britain.

Early life[edit]

The younger son of Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Wilmot was born at Derby in 1748, and was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, where he went on to become a fellow of All Souls. He studied for the church under Dr William Warburton, but afterwards decided to pursue the law instead and was called to the Bar, which his father called "quitting a bed of roses for a crown o' thorns."


In 1776, about five years after his call to the bar, Wilmot was returned to parliament for Tiverton in Devon; and, taking part with the opposition, attacked the ministerial party in a pamphlet, denouncing the continuance of the American Revolutionary War. In 1781, he was appointed a master in Chancery; and, in 1782, was commissioned, in conjunction with others, to inquire into the distribution of the sums destined for the relief of the American loyalists. In the following year, he spoke on the subject in parliament; and, in reply to Charles James Fox's condemnation of the large sums expended on the American sufferers, he declared "he would share with them his last shilling and his last loaf."

In 1784, and the parliament which followed in 1790, Wilmot sat as member for Coventry, and supported the views of Pitt during every session. He was hostile to the French revolution and obtained the distribution of a fund, under the sanction of parliament, on behalf of the emigrants from that country. He was the author of A Treatise on the Laws and Customs of England.

In November, 1779 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society [1]

Private life[edit]

In 1804, Wilmot retired from public life and devoted himself to writing. He published a Life of his father and another of Bishop Hough. In the year of his death, 1815, An Historical Review of the Commission relative to the American Loyalists appeared.

He lived at Berkswell Hall and was also the last private resident of Bruce Castle. In 1813 he was lord of the manor of the Prebend of Calne.[2]

He was reported to be a man of upright and unimpeachable character, learned and eloquent. He was twice married. His first wife was the only daughter of S. Sainthell, Esq., by whom he had one son, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, 1st Baronet, and four daughters. He married secondly, in 1793, Miss Hastam, by whom he had two further children who both died young.


  • John Eardley Wilmot, A Treatise on the Laws and Customs of England
  • John Eardley Wilmot, Memoirs of the life of the Right Honourable Sir John Eardley Wilmot (1802, 2nd edition 1811)
  • John Eardley Wilmot, The Life of the Rev. John Hough, D.D. (1812)
  • John Eardley Wilmot, An Historical Review of the Commission relative to the American Loyalists (1815)


  1. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  2. ^ John Britton, The Beauties of Wiltshire, Volume 3, p. 403 online
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir John Duntze, Bt
Nathaniel Ryder
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
1776 – 1784
With: Sir John Duntze, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir John Duntze, Bt
Hon. Dudley Ryder
Preceded by
The Lord Sheffield
Hon. William Seymour-Conway
Member of Parliament for Coventry
1784 – 1796
With: Sir Sampson Gideon, Bt
Succeeded by
William Wilberforce Bird
Nathaniel Jefferys