DUBOIS, John (1622-84), of Love Lane, London.
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Family and Education
bap. 24 Feb. 1622, s. of Jean Dubois, physician, of Canterbury, Kent by Catherine, da. of Jacques de l’Espine of Canterbury. m. (1) 11 Jan. 1652, Anne (d.1659), da. of Charles Herle, rector of Winwick, Lancs., 1s., (2) 1662, Sarah, da. of Daniel Waldo, Clothworker, of Honey Lane, London, 4s. 2da.1
Member, Weavers’ Co. 1653-d.; common councilman, London 1674-82, auditor, bridgehouse accounts 1679-80; commr. for assessment, London 1677-80, Kent 1679-80; committee E. I. Co. 1681-d.2
Dubois’s father was a member of the French Huguenot church in Canterbury, and Dubois himself became an elder of the French church in Threadneedle Street in 1671, though from 1672 to 1674 he was also churchwarden of St. Mary Aldermanbury. His interest in the silk trade was adversely affected by Colbert’s tariffs. He joined the group of London merchants who protested against the French alliance, and in 1674, together with Sir Patrick Ward and Thomas Papillon, he was among the 14 signatories to the Scheme of Trade, which presented evidence of an unfavourable balance of trade with France. In that year he was elected to the common council, becoming a member of the committees administering the city lands and markets, and he promoted the petition to oblige those merchants who had gone to live in the suburbs after the Great Fire to return to the City. In 1679 he was elected auditor of the bridgehouse accounts, an office of considerable profit.3
Dubois’s brother-in-law and partner Charles Herle (cousin of Edward Herle) was a merchant in Liverpool, for which Dubois was returned to the Exclusion Parliaments. Classed as ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury, he was very active in the first Exclusion Parliament, being appointed to 34 committees. Among the most important were those to consider the Lords bill for the better discovery and speedier conviction of Popish recusants and the bill for securing the King and kingdom against Popery, and to draw up an address for the removal of Lauderdale. He supported the exclusion bill in debate and division, saying that it would deprive Papists of any reason to threaten the King’s life. As a member of the Weavers’ Company, he was appointed to the inquiry into the decay in the cloth industry.4
Dubois remained very active in the second Exclusion Parliament, in which he was named to 37 committees. He again spoke for exclusion, saying:
I have a great many children. ... I would have their souls saved, that hereafter they may not be in Popery, which we shall be with a Popish successor. If the Catholics have such an influence on the government under a Protestant Prince, what will they have under a Popish?
He was appointed to the committees to prepare a bill for uniting Protestants, to draft addresses to desire the removal of Sir George Jeffreys as recorder of London, and to represent the dangerous state of the nation. On 20 Nov. he was teller against the second reading of the bill forbidding the import of Scottish cattle. He reported an address for the remission of a fine imposed on the exclusionist journalist, Benjamin Harris. On 26 Nov. he spoke in favour of impeaching Edward Seymour and was appointed to the committee. He was named to the committees to prepare a bill for the naturalization of all foreign Protestants, and to consider a bill for the discovery of estates settled to superstitious uses. During the Oxford Parliament he is not known to have spoken, but he was appointed to five committees, including those to prepare the impeachment of Fitzharris and to bring in the third exclusion bill.5
The common council appointed Dubois with Sir Thomas Player and his East India Company associate Papillon to prepare a petition for a new Parliament on 13 May 1681. In November he served on the ignoramus jury that rejected the charge of treason against Shaftesbury. On this occasion he was heard to complain that ‘it is a great grief to many good people that it should be treason to call the King a Papist. Why may not a man call a spade a spade?’ Dubois and Papillon were the Whig candidates at the shrieval election in the summer of 1682. The outgoing sheriffs declared them elected by large majorities; but the lord mayor, Sir John Moore, swore in two Tories. The aggrieved candidates sought to obtain a writ of mandamus for a false return, and in April 1683 had all the Tory aldermen arrested. Moore’s successor, Sir William Pritchard, brought an action against them for wrongful arrest, but Dubois died before the case was heard. He was buried at St. Mary Aldermanbury on 30 Oct. 1684, the sermon being preached, in accordance with his will, by the Latitudinarian Dean Tillotson. Out of a personal estate of £35, 205 he left many charitable bequests, including £100 to the French church in Threadneedle Street and £100 to the Liverpool poor. He was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Irene Cassidy / Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Reg. of Walloon Church, Canterbury (Huguenot Soc. v), 121, 472; Hist. Walloon and Huguenot Church at Canterbury (Huguenot Soc. xv), 95; Reg. French Church, Threadneedle St. (Huguenot Soc. xiii), 33, 44; Her. and Gen. ii. 237.
- 2. J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 62.
- 3. Guildhall RO, common council jnl.; IHR Bull. xxix. 207-18.
- 4. Grey, vii. 238.
- 5. Grey, vii. 396, 414, viii. 90, 117, CJ, ix. 686.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 256, 276, 603, Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, x. 294, 707; Woodhead, 62; Ailesbury, Mems. 71; St. Mary Aldermanbury (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxi), 202; PCC 169 Hare.