Glynn, John (DNB00)
GLYNN, JOHN (1722–1779), politician and lawyer, second son of William Glynu of Glynn in Cardinham, Cornwall, who married Rose, daughter of John Prideaux of Prideaux Place, Padstow, was baptised at Cardinham on 3 Aug. 1722. He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, on 17 May 1738, but did not proceed to a degree. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1748. His elder brother died in June; 1744, leaving an only son of weak intellect, against whom his uncle took out a commission in lunacy, and was appointed receiver of the family estates. The youth's mother was so much incensed that she left all her own property to distant connections. The lunatic died in December 1762, whereupon Glynn came into the possession of his nephew's property. On 24 Jan. 1763 he was created a serjeant-at-law, but, through his ardent opinions in opposition to the court, he was never promoted to the rank of king's serjeant. In 1764 he was appointed recorder of Exeter. His powers of pleading and his knowledge of legal practice cannot be questioned. Nicholls records that when he first attended Westminster Hall as a law student Glynn stood first for legal knowledge, and, according to Serjeant Hill, knew 'a great deal more' than Dunning, though Dunning's knowledge was invariably accurate. His position at the bar and his liberal opinions entitled Glynn to take the lead in the cases connected with Wilkes. They were in close consultation throughout the summer of 1763, and Glynn's arguments in his friend's legal action increased 'a very great stock of reputation.' He acted for Wilkes in his application for a writ of habeas corpus in May 1763; in the action against Dunk, lord Halifax [q. v.]; and in the trial which took place in 1764 on the republication of the 'North Briton' in volumes. He was the advocate of John Almon in 1765; he pleaded in the king's bench against the outlawry of Wilkes in 1768; and he was counsel for Alderman Townsend in his action in June 1772 against the collector of land tax, which the alderman had refused to pay, urging the nullity of parliament through the irregularity of the Middlesex election. In many smaller actions of the same nature Glynn often rendered gratuitous assistance. He also enjoyed a large share of general business. His advocacy secured the acquittal of Miss Butterfield, accused of poisoning William Scawen. On a by-vacancy in the representation of Middlesex in 1768 he was named by Wilkes, at the request of the majority of its freeholders, as the candidate in the 'Wilkes and liberty' interest; Horne Tooke was active in raising subscriptions to defray the election expenses. The ministerial candidate was Sir William Beauchamp Proctor, who had been ousted from the representation by Wilkes in March 1768. On the first day of polling (8 Dec.)'a desperate set of armed ruffians with “Liberty” and “Proctor” in their hats' stormed the polling-booth at Brentford, when one man was killed. This affair created intense indignation, and was the subject of numerous popular engravings. After six days' polling Glynn won by 1,542 votes to 1,278. Boundless rejoicings followed, the ribbons supplied for his 'favours' costing over 400l. When 1,565 freeholders of Middlesex addressed George III against the illegal act of the majority in the House of Commons, Glynn presented their petition, and in three cartoons at least he is represented on his knees presenting their address to the monarch (24 May 1769). At the dissolution in 1774 he was re-elected without opposition,when Governor Hutchinson enters a note in his diary (i. 267): 'A vast train of carriages and horses attend Wilkes to Brentford, where Glynn and he are elected for Middlesex without opposition. In the evening were illuminations in many parts of London and Westminster.' In the winter of 1770 Glynn, 'tutored by Shelburne, who in his turn had been inspired by Chatham,' moved for a committee to inquire into the administration of justice in cases relating to the press, and to settle the power of juries, and, in conjunction with Dunning and Wedderburne, argued the question 'with much dignity and great abilities.' About the same time he was associated with Fox, Sir William Meredith, and others, in a committee on the modification of the criminal laws. They deliberated for two years, and on their report a bill was introduced for the repeal of eight or ten statutes, but it was thrown out in the lords. He was one of the leading members of the Society of the Bill of Rights, which at the end of 1770 addressed a letter to the American colonies almost inciting them to rebellion, and there was some talk in April 1771 among the wilder courtiers of committing Glynn and Lee 'for pleading before Lord Justice de Grey against the privileges of the house.' His speeches in parliament have been warmly praised for their candour and elevated tone, and Horace Walpole asserts that he 'was applauded by both sides … and defended himself with a modesty that conciliated much favour.' On 27 Sept. 1770, after the recorder, Eyre, had refused to attend the lord mayor in presenting the city remonstrance to the king, it was resolved, at a meeting in the Guildhall, by 106 votes to 58, that Glynn should in all their legal affairs be 'advised with, retained, and employed.' In 1772 Eyre was raised to the bench as a baron of the exchequer, and on 17 Nov., when every alderman was present, Glynn was elected recorder in his place, the votes being Glynn, 13; Bearcroft, a king's counsel, and afterwards chief justice of Chester, 12; and Hyde, the senior city counsel, 1; and on 24 Nov. he was sworn in. The salary of the post was at the same time raised from 600l. to l,000l. per annum. Chatham was delighted, and calls Glynn 'a most ingenious, solid, pleasing man, and the spirit of the constitution itself.' He suffered greatly from gout, and had to be carried into the house in April 1769 to vote against the motion for seating Luttrell for Middlesex. In 1778 a deputy was allowed on account of his illness to act for him as recorder. On 16 Sept. 1779 he died, and was buried at Cardinham on 23 Sept. He married, on 21 July 1763, Susanna Margaret, third daughter of Sir John Oglander of Nunwell in the Isle of Wight; she was born 1 Sept. 1744, and died at Catherine Place, Bath, 20 May 1816. They had issue three sons and one daughter.
Glynn's character was beyond suspicion, and his abilities and his political sincerity were unquestioned. It was of him that Wilkes remarked to George III, 'Sir, he was a Wilkite, which I never was.' The portraits of these two politicians with Horne Tooke were painted and engraved by Richard Houston, and published by Sayer on 6 Feb. 1769. A print of Glynn alone is prefixed to vol. iv. of the 'North Briton,' 1772. Several letters and papers relating to him are noticed in the 'Bibliotheca Cornubiensis,' vol. iii. He edited in 1775-6 eight numbers of 'The Whole Proceedings on the King's Commission of the Peace for the City of London.'
[Cavendish's Debates, vols. i. and ii.; Horace Walpole's George III, vols. iii. and iv.; Walpole's Last Journals (1771-83). i. 117-18, 124-6, 189, 197, 301; Chatham Corresp. iii. 474-5, 481-3, iv. 35, 48, 144, 234; Trevelyan's Fox, pp. 185, 188, 212, 277, 335-6; Twiss's Eldon, ii. 356; Grenville Papers, ii. 61-5, 71-3, 430, ii. 46-8, iv. 2, 291; Almon's Biog. Anecd. i. 236-8, 244; Nicholls's Recollections (1822), i. 342; Oldfield's Parl. Hist. iv. 176-9; Grego's Parl. Elections, 178, &c.; Noorthouck's London, pp. 448-509; Merivale's Sir P. Francis, i. 87-9; satirical prints at Brit. Mus. iv. 465-77, 528-30, 640-1; Stephens's Horne Tooke, i. 102-14, 182-5, ii. 279-80; J. Chaloner Smith's Portraits, ii. 661-2; Hansard, xxxix. 781 (1819); Gent. Mag. 1772 p. 540, 1779 p. 471; Woolrych's Serjeants, ii. 572-604; Maclean's Trigg Minor, ii. 61-2, 70; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.]