Biography of John Albert Bentinck (1737-1775; naval captain and M.P.)
- [Hans] William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709)
- [William] Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726)
- William Bentinck, 1st Count Bentinck (1704-1774)
- Charlotte Sophie, Countess Bentinck, née Countess of Aldenburg (1715-1800)
- William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762)
- Margaret Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785)
- John Albert Bentinck (1737-1775; naval captain and M.P.)
- William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809)
- William Bentinck (1764-1813; Vice-Admiral)
- William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland (1768-1854)
- Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1774-1839; M.P. and Governor General of India)
- William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879)
- Lord [William] George Frederic Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck (1802-1848)
- Lord [William] Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1804-1870)
- William John Arthur Charles James Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland (1857-1943)
- Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1863-1954)
- William Arthur Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 7th Duke of Portland (1893-1977)
- Ferdinand William Cavendish-Bentinck, 8th Duke of Portland (1888-1980)
- Victor Frederick William Cavendish-Bentinck, 9th Duke of Portland (1897-1990)
- Henry Noel Bentinck, 11th Earl of Portland (1919-1997)
- Timothy Charles Robert Noel Bentinck, 12th Earl of Portland (b 1953)
John Albert Bentinck was the second son of Count William Bentinck and Countess Charlotte Sophie of Aldenburg. He was a grandson of the 1st Earl of Portland. He never knew his mother, as she separated from his father when he was around a year old.
Despite his Dutch and German parentage, Bentinck inherited the Terrington St Clements estate in Norfolk which had been owned by his grandfather the 1st Earl of Portland, and he settled in England.
Destined for a British naval career, he first went to sea at the age of 14 and by June 1753 had set sail for Newfoundland as the midshipman of the Penzance.
After serving on numerous ships in various locations, in 1759 Bentinck found himself being promoted to the rank of Captain of the Dover, which was on Baltic convoy duty. Again, he moved around from ship to ship, but in 1762 he was superseded in charge of the Niger for ignoring orders. Luckily, his interest and connections meant that this demotion did not cause long-term damage to his career.
Bentinck also pursued a political career. His father had considerable influence with the Duke of Newcastle, and using his connections he was elected as M.P. for Rye in 1761. He played little part in politics, however, speaking only once in the House of Commons - understandably enough in a debate on longitude at sea. His political inactivity led to him losing his seat in 1768.
Bentinck was also well known as an inventor, and as an improver to mechanical devices - especially those used in ships. He gave his name to 'Bentinck shrouds', the 'Bentinck boom' and also to a triangular mainsail which became known as simply 'the Bentinck'. Perhaps his most important innovation, though, was the Cole-Bentinck pump, a much more reliable and efficient version of a standard chain pump, which became standard issue for all ships in the Royal Navy.
Captain John Bentinck, 1737-75, and his son, William Bentinck, 1764-1813, by Mason Chamberlin, 1775. (c) National Maritime Museum. Source: http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/14024.html
In 1763 he married Renira (1744-1792), daughter of John, Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken and had:
- William (1764-1813), Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy
- John (1771-1804), a cleric
- Charles John (1773-1781)
- Henry Saville (d 1776 as an infant)
- Sophia Henrietta (1765-1852) m Admiral Sir James Hawkins-Whitshed in 1791
- Charlotte Frances (1768-1850), m Sir Robert Shore Milnes, Baronet, in 1785
- Harriet Elizabeth (1770-1806), m Admiral Sir George Martin in 1804
- The Portland (Welbeck) Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham contains letters from John Albert Bentinck to the 3rd Duke of Portland (Pw F 673-716)
- The Papers of the Bentinck Family, Counts of the Holy Roman Empire, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham, contains naval correspondence of John Albert Bentinck, and correspondence with his father (BK 6/1) .
- The British Library holds correspondence, mainly with his father, 1752-1759 (Egerton MS 1727)
- The National Maritime Museum holds a notebook relating to inventions (SPB/33)
Randolph Cock, 'Bentinck, John Albert (1737–1775)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2159, accessed 11 Dec 2014] .
- L.B. Namier and J. Brooke, eds., 'Bentinck, John', The history of parliament: the House of Commons, 1754-1790, 3 vols. (1964); repr. (1985)