Record

Authorised form of nameHibbert; George (1757 - 1837); merchant
SurnameHibbert
ForenamesGeorge
Dates1757 - 1837
NationalityBritish
Dates and placesBurial:
Aldenham, Hertfordshire
ActivityProfession:
Merchant; politician; plantation and slave owner
Research field:
Natural history; botany
Education:
Reverend Booth’s academy at Woolten Hall
Career:
Cotton manufacturer in Manchester; junior partner in G. W. S. Hibbert & Co. a West India merchant house, London (from 1780), ultimately becoming head of the firm (1790s); Chairman of the West India Dock Company; Alderman of the City of London for the Bridge Within ward (1798-1803); Whig MP for Seaford (1806-1812); instrumental in the establishment of the Jamaican Botanical Gardens at St. Thomas-in-the-East (1806); Proslavery lobbyist; Agent for Jamaica (1812-1831) in which capacity he acted as a political lobbyist in Westminster for the planter-controlled Jamaican House of Assembly; Chairman of the West India Committee; founding President, London Institution (1805); edited Caxton's translation of Ovid, Six Books of Metamorphoses (1819); edited the anonymous 'Narrative of a Journey from Santiago de Chile to Buenos Ayres' (1824); a founder of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later RNLI (1824); book and art collector
Memberships:
Freemason's (1796-1806); Brooks's (1810); FSA (1812); Roxburgh Club (1816); FLS
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
30/05/1811
RelationshipsSon of Robert Hibbert, West India merchant and plantation owner; succeeded to the estate of R. Parker, Munden, near Watford; married Elizabeth Fonnereau (1765-1841)
Published works'The Substance of Three Speeches in Parliament on the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and on the Petition Respecting the State of the West India Trade in February & March 1807', 1807; 'Brief Remarks upon the Slave Registry Bill; and upon a Special Report of the African Institution Recommending that Measure, (J. M. Richardson and J. Ridgway) 1816; 'The Reviewer Reviewed or Some Cursory Observations upon an Article in the Christian Observer for January, 1816, Respecting the Slave Registry Bill By Thomas Venables', 1816; Hibbert, G. (ed), 'Metamorphoses by Ovyde' ( Robert Clarke & Co.) 1819; 'Correspondence between Mr George Hibbert and the Society of Friends', 1833
General contextGeorge Hibbert was elected to the Royal Society on account of his knowledge of natural history and botany. He established a botanical garden at his property in Clapham, London, which was considered to be one of the finest plant collections in the country. The rare and exotic plants contained in the garden were regularly drawn and painted by the leading artists of the day including Redoute, and James Andrews and gifted or swapped with the aristocracy and royal families of Europe. The genus Hibbertia was named after him.

George Hibbert owned nine plantations in Jamaica and profited from the labour of enslaved people. G. W. S. Hibbert & Co. was one of the dominant commercial houses in Jamaica. Hibbert was a proslavery lobbyist. He gave evidence to Parliament in 1790 and as an MP spoke in favour of the slave trade during the slave trade debates in 1807, both contributing to the delay of abolition. He supported compensation for enslavers in the event of emancipation (see his speeches published in 1807) and was himself awarded around £66,000 compensation.
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; UCL LBS; https://www.georgehibbert.com/index.html [accessed 23rd June 2020];
Obituaries:
Proc Roy Soc 1838 No 35 pp 93-94
References:
Hibbert Steele, Nick, ''The Jamaican Diaries of Robert Hibbert 1772-1780: Detailing a merchant family's involvement in and defence of the colonial slave trade based economy' (Australia) 2020
'George Hibbert', Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/16791 [accessed 23rd June 2020]
Royal Society codeNA3178
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MS/709/31Letter from George Hibbert, Clapham Common, to James Sowerby, 2 Mead Place, Asylum, Lambeth29 October 1814
EC/1811/09Hibbert, George: certificate of election to the Royal Society
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