Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet
Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet PC (6 February 1685 – 2 February 1775), of Northwick Park, Worcestershire was a British Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons for 55 years from 1713 to 1768. He was a supporter of Pulteney in opposition to Walpole, and was briefly part of an Administration. He was Father of the House from 1762.
Rushout was the fourth son of Sir James Rushout, 1st Baronet and his wife Alice Pitt, daughter of Edmund Pitt. His elder brother James succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father.  He was educated at Eton in 1698, and joined the army. He was a cornet in the Royal Horse Guards in 1705 and lieutenant in 1706. In 1710 he became captain. On the death of his nephew, the third baronet, on 21 September 1711 he succeeded to the baronetcy and most of the family’s estates in Worcestershire. He resigned his army commission in January 1712 which he later claimed was to pre-empt his dismissal under the Duke of Ormond’s policy of weeding out Whig officers in order to defeat the Hanoverian succession. In 1729 he married Lady Anne Compton, the sixth daughter of George Compton, 4th Earl of Northampton in 1729.
Rushout was elected at a by-election on 20 April 1713 as Whig Member of Parliament for Malmesbury, with the support of Lord Wharton. He voted against the French commerce bill on 18 June 1713. At the 1713 British general election, he stood without success at Evesham, but was returned unopposed for Malmesbury again. He voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele on 18 March 1714 and acted as a teller for the Whig side on the Harwich election petition on 16 July 1714.
At the 1715 British general election, Rushout was returned again as MP for Malmesbury. He voted against the septennial bill, but for the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts. He was absent from the vote on the peerage bill. At the 1722 British general election, he was returned for both Malmesbury and Evesham. However he was unseated on petition at Malmesbury on 13 December 1722, and so took up his seat at Evesham. He initiated the House of Commons inquiry into the Atterbury plot, and in 1725 sponsored the complaint leading to Lord Macclesfield’s impeachment. He then followed his friend, William Pulteney, into opposition. He spoke against a vote of credit on 25 March 1726, and introduced a bill against election bribery on 27 April which was lost in the House of Lords after being passed in the Commons. He was returned as MP for Evesham at the 1727 British general election and was a lieutenant to Pulteney, playing a leading role in the Whig opposition. He acted as Pulteney’s second in his duel with Lord Hervey in 1731. He chaired a select committee of the House of Commons, whose report led to the passing of the Molasses Act. During the excise bill crisis in 1733 he was put down as secretary at war in the list of a new ministry prepared by the opposition leaders. At the 1734 British general election, he was returned again for Evesham. He spoke in favour of increasing the allowance to Frederick, Prince of Wales on 22 February 1737. It was said he was a frequent and boring speaker, with a trick of always putting out one leg and looking at it while speaking. At the 1741 British general election, he was returned again as MP for Evesham.
On the fall of Walpole in 1742, Rushout, with Samuel Sandys, and Phillips Gybbon became Pulteney’s representatives on the new Treasury board, where they combined to outvote the first lord, Wilmington. He was elected to the secret committee of enquiry into Walpole’s Administration, but defended John Scrope, the secretary of the Treasury, for refusing to give evidence. When Pelham replaced Wilmington, under a compromise, Rushout was appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1743 and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1744. However, he was turned out of office with most of Bath’s followers in 1744. He spoke against the Queen of Hungary’s subsidy on 18 February 1745 with the intention of sowing dissensions between the Old Whigs and the Government’s new allies. He also refused to make any payments from the sums standing in his account as treasurer of the navy, thus holding up payments, for 8 or 9 months, to all the seamen who had not received their pay up to the date of his dismissal. When Bath and Granville made their abortive attempt to form an Administration in February 1746, he was expected to be appointed Leader of the House of Commons, but Pulteney's attempt to form a government collapsed before Rushout could be offered the position. He was returned at Evesham at the 1747 British general election and joined the Leicester House party. He was put down to have a peerage and the pay office when the Prince came to the throne. After Frederick’s death in 1751 he attached himself to Newcastle in the hopes of a peerage .
At the 1754 British general election, Rushout was returned head of the poll for Evesham after a contest. At the 1761 British general election, he stood together with his son, and after another hard contest they were both returned. He became the longest standing member (Father of the House of Commons) in 1762. In the debates on Wilkes’s privilege in November 1763, he spoke against Grenville’s Administration, and voted against them in the division on general warrants in February 1764. He opposed the repeal of the cider duty, despite representing a cider producing county. He became less regular in his attendance and retired on account of age at the 1768 British general election.
Death and legacy
- Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1903), Complete Baronetage volume 3 (1649-1664), 3, Exeter: William Pollard and Co, retrieved 9 October 2018
- "RUSHOUT, Sir John, 4th Bt. (1685-1775), of Northwick Park, Worcs". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 17 May 2019.
- "RUSHOUT, Sir John, 4th Bt. (1685-1775), of Northwick Park, Worcs". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- "RUSHOUT, Sir John, 4th Bt. (1685-1775), of Northwick Park, Glos". History of Parliament Online (1754-1790). Retrieved 2 March 2019.
|Parliament of Great Britain|
| Member of Parliament for Malmesbury
With: Joseph Addison to 1719
Fleetwood Dormer 1719 – March 1722
Viscount Hillsborough from March 1722
| Member of Parliament for Evesham
With: John Rudge to 1734
William Taylor 1734–1741
Edward Rudge 1741–1754
John Porter 1754–1756
Edward Rudge 1756–1761
John Rushout from 1761
| Father of the House
|Baronetage of England|
John Rushout, 1st Baron Northwick