Beaumont, John d. 1701, colonel, was the second son of Sapcote Beaumont, Viscount Beaumont of Swords, Leicestershire, and Bridget, daughter of Sir Thomas Monson of Carleton, Lincolnshire (ped. in Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 744). He attended Charles II in his exile, and was employed at court under James II; but, notwithstanding this close connection with royalty, he was instrumental in thwarting the policy of the king in a matter deemed of the highest importance. With, it was supposed, an ulterior design of gradually leavening the army with Roman catholic sentiments, the experiment was attempted (10 Sept. 1688) of introducing forty Irishmen into the regiment of which the Duke of Berwick was colonel, then stationed at Portsmouth. Beaumont, who was lieutenant-colonel, resisted the proposal in his own name and that of five of the captains. We beg, he said, that we may be either permitted to command men of our own nation or to lay down our commissions. At the court-martial which followed they were offered forgiveness if they would accept the men, but they all refused, whereupon they were cashiered, the highest punishment a court-martial was then competent to inflict. In Clarke's Life of James II (ii. 169) it is affirmed that Churchill (afterwards Duke of Marlborough) moved that they should be put to death, but this is apparently a baseless calumny. The resistance of the officers was supported by the general sentiment of the army, and no further attempts were made to introduce Irishmen into the English regiments. All the portraits of the officers were engraved by R. White on one large half-sheet in six ovals, joined by as many hands expressive of their union. The print, which is called the Portsmouth Captains, is extremely scarce (Granger Biog. Hist., 2nd ed., iv. 306). Colonel Beaumont was with the Prince of Orange at his first landing. After the coronation he was made colonel of the regiment of which he had previously been lieutenant-colonel, and served with it in Ireland, where he was present at the battle of the Boyne, in Flanders, and in Scotland, holding his command till December 1695 (Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, iii. 564). He was also for some time governor of Dover Castle. In 1685 he was chosen M.P. for Nottingham, and he was returned for Hastings in 1688 and 1690. In May 1695 he fought a duel with Sir William Forrester, occasioned by some words between them in the parliament house, and the latter was disarmed (ib. iii. 468). Beaumont died on 3 July 1701. He was twice married: first, to Felicia, daughter of Mr. Hatton Fermor of Easton Neston, and widow of Sir Charles Compton, and, second, to Phillipe, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew of Bedington, Surrey, but by neither had he any issue.
Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 738-9, 744
Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs (1857)
Reresby's Memoirs (1875), pp. 402, 403
History of the Desertion (1689)
Burnet's Own Time, i. 767
Clarke's Life of James II
Granger's Biog. Hist., 2nd ed., iv. 306
Macaulay's England, chaps. ix. and xvi.
Townsend-Wilson's James II and the Duke of Berwick (1876), pp. 78-9.
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]