RAINIER, Peter (1741-1808), of Great George Street, Westminster.
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Family and Education
b. 24 Nov. 1741,1 2nd s. of Peter Rainier, merchant, of Sandwich, Kent by w. Sarah Spratt of Sandwich. educ. Tonbridge 1754. unm.
Entered RN 1756, lt. 1768, cdr. 1777, capt. 1778; c.-in-c. E.I. 1794-1804; r.-adm. 1795, v.-adm. 1799, adm. 1805.
Rainier was the grandson of a Huguenot refugee who settled at Ramsgate and whose family established themselves as merchants in the surrounding area. He served for most of his naval career in the East Indies. There he acquired, he claimed in 1802, ‘the principal part of my fortune I now have which has far exceeded my merits and pretensions’.2 He invested in East India Company stock. When the ‘Talents’ were seeking a successor to Sir Philip Stephens at Sandwich in 1806, Thomas Grenville, first lord of the Admiralty, informed Lord Grenville, 17 Oct., that Stephens ‘hinted at Admiral Rainier as being connected with Sandwich, but that does not sound good’.3 Rainier was not then chosen, but he came forward independently in 1807, professing loyalty to the constitution in church and state, and headed the poll.4 No speech or vote is recorded, but on 5 Mar. 1808 Lord Mulgrave, first lord of the Admiralty in the Portland ministry, referred to him as ‘our supporter’.5 On 25 Feb. 1808 he was granted a month’s leave because of ill health and he died 7 Apr. 1808, ‘in consequence of an abscess formed in his thigh’ which his ‘extreme corpulence’ rendered inoperable. He bequeathed one-tenth of his property to the reduction of the national debt.6