John Gladstone

11th Dec 1764 - 7th Dec 1851

Claimant or beneficiary

Biography

Merchant and politican. He was born John Gladstones, though in 1787 he dropped the final 's' to become Gladstone. His father was Thomas Gladstones (1732–1809), a Leith merchant, his mother was Nelly (1739–1806), daughter of Walter Neilson, a merchant of Springfield, near Edinburgh. After an apprenticeship (1771-1781) in a rope and sailcloth business in Edinburgh, he joined his father's corn-chandling business. In 1786 Gladstone moved to Liverpool where he worked with Edgar Corrie until 1801, when the partnership ended acrimoniously. Gladstone had already become a wealthy man by then. Initially his wealth was based on trade with Calcutta, India; later he moved into Virginian tobacco and American grain: these became the foundation of his fortune. His personal wealth stood at £40,000 in 1799; by 1828 it was £502,550. Building his fortune in Liverpool, Gladstone invested in not only merchanting activities but also in shipping insurance, shipowning and urban property (both warehouses and housing).

His sugar and cotton trading with the West Indies began in 1803, in ventures undertaken with his brother Robert (from 1801). Gladstone extended this to include purchasing estates and the enslaved in British Guiana (Demerara as was) in 1803 (the Belmont Estate) and several others. The largest was the Vreedenhoop estate in Demerara which he bought in 1826 for £80,000. It had 430 enslaved people working on it. Further, in the 1820s, Gladstone expanded his sugar estate holdings in the Caribbean, despite the rise of abolitionism.

He was a strong defender of planter interests: from 1809 he was chairman of the Liverpool West Indian Association. As such he was involved in a well-known controversy with James Cropper, a leading abolitionist, in 1823.

With the ending of slavery, he sold most of his West Indian properties and moved into Bengal sugar. But he was also one of the initiators of schemes for the exporting of indentured labour to the Caribbean. While his onw schemes ran into difficulties with the government and the hostility of post-1833 anti-slavery advocates, they formed an important bridge to the extremely important flow of indentured labour into British Guiana and Trinidad from the 1840s onwards.

Although having something of career in politics, initially as a Whig but becoming a Canningite Tory by the 1810s, and acting as an MP in the 1820s, his major political legacy was in his children: he was the father of William Ewart Gladstone, one of the most significant politicians of the whole century, and of two other sons who were also MPs: Thomas and John Neilson Gladstone.

Sources

The portrait of Gladstone by Thomas Gladstones (oil on canvas, circa 1830; 36 in. x 28 in. [914 mm x 711 mm]) is reproduced by permission of the National Portrait Gallery. (NPG 5042)

The most comprehensive study of John Gladstone and his family is S. G. Checkland, The Gladstones: a family biography, 1764-1851 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1971). See also H. C. G. Matthew, ‘Gladstone , Sir John, first baronet (1764–1851)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn..

For Gladstone and indenture see among others, Madhavi Kale, Fragments of Empire. Capital, Slavery, and Indentured Labor Migration in the British Caribbean (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), ch. 1 and especially pp. 13-26.


Further Information

Absentee?
British/Irish
Spouse
(1) 1792: to Jane Hall (1765?- 16 April 1798); (2) Anne Mackenzie Robertson (1771/2–1835)
Children
With (2): Anne MacKenzie (1802–1829), Thomas (1804–1889), Robertson (1805–1875), John Neilson (1807–1863), William Ewart (1809–1898), Helen Jane (1814–1880)

Associated Claims (9)

£22,274 18S 9D
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£14,721 8S 11D
Awardee (Mortgagee-in-possession)
£10,278 5S 8D
Awardee
£22,443 19S 11D
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£21,011 2S 7D
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£5,624 3S 1D
Awardee
£2,074 14S 10D
Awardee
£3,059 18S 8D
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£4,295 3S 3D
Awardee

Legacies Summary

Commercial (5)

Railway Investment
Edinburgh and Northern (No. 2) [184559]  
£47500 
Railway Investment
Glasgow, Airdrie and Monkland Junction [1846174]  
£2500 
Railway Investment
Birmingham and Oxford Junction [184629]  
£4000 
Railway Investment
Caledonian Northern Direct [184659]  
£37500 
Railway Investment
Direct London and Manchester [1846102]  
£20000 

Historical (2)

PamphletsAuthor?
The Correspondence between John Gladstone, Esq., M.P. and James Cropper, Esq., on the Present State of Slavery in the British West Indies and in the United States of America; and on the importation... 1824 
notes →
Exchanges between Gladstone and the abolitionist, James...
PamphletsAuthor?
A statement of facts connected with the present state of slavery in the British sugar and coffee Colonies, and in the United States of America, together with a view of the ... situation of the lower... 1830 

Physical (1)

School
Liverpool Collegiate Institution [Built] 
description →
Foundation stone laid by Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby K.G. (Rt. Hon. Lord Stanley MP), on 22/10/1840, the first patron of the college. The first building of the college, on Shaw St,...
notes →
Public school established in 1840 by eminent Liverpool citizens to provide education and Christian instruction. Opening was contemporary with opening of other public (i.e. Not for profit)...

Political (1)

MP
Tory 
election →
Lancaster Lancashire
1818 - 1820
election →
Woodstock Oxfordshire
1820 - 1826
election →
Berwick Northumberland
1826 - 1827

Relationships (4)

Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
Uncle → Nephew

Addresses (5)

5 Grafton Street, London, Middlesex, London, England
Fasque Estate, Kincardineshire, North-east Scotland, Scotland
Notes →

In 1833, four years after the death of his wife, Anne, Gladstone returned to Scotland and bought the estate of Fasque and Balfour for almost £80,000. He died there in 1851.

Rodney Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, North-west England, England
Notes →

No. 1 (later, 62) Rodney Street built for Gladstone and his first wife, Jane, on their marriage in 1792.

Seaforth House, Seaforth, Lancashire, North-west England, England
Notes →

Built for Gladstone in 1813.

Stockwell Lodge, Surrey, South-east England, England