CAYLEY, William (d.1768), of Scampton, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



7 Feb. 1752 - Apr. 1755

Family and Education

b. 3rd s. of Simon Cayley (7th s. of Sir William Cayley, 2nd Bt.) of Brompton, Yorks. m. Sarah, 1da.

Offices Held

Sec. to Sir Thomas Saunderson, M.P., minister to Lisbon 1722; chargé d’affaires at Lisbon 1723-4, 1725; consul at Cadiz 1726-39; consul at Faro, Portugal 1739-46; commr. of excise 1755-67.


Cayley, as consul at Cadiz, was in a favourable position to engage in private trade. On hearing a rumour that he was to be promoted away from there he wrote to Newcastle, in 1738:

the small fortune I have acquired, since your Grace was pleased to send me to this place, (for I had none, my Lord, before) is, the chiefest part of it, now in the West Indies in the hands of Spaniards.1

On the outbreak of war with Spain he was moved to Portugal, continuing to draw his salary as consul at Cadiz, till he was recalled at his own request in 1746.

At the general election of 1747 he stood for Totnes and, ‘in obedience to Mr. Pelham’s commands’,2 for Bishop’s Castle. Defeated at both he wrote to Andrew Stone:

I have ... humbly desired Mr. Pelham to think of me on the disposal of seats that must come to be vacated by the members who have had double elections ... I shall have no other aim in Parliament than to manifest a most grateful attachment to him.3

When Henry Legge was sent in 1748 to Berlin with Cayley as secretary, Pelham promised to place Cayley second on his list ‘for any vacancy in Parliament’ within his influence. Legge wrote to Pelham on 7 July 1748: ‘Cayley ... pants for his native air, and dreams every night of a house he is building upon the borders of Hounslow Heath’.4 In September 1751 he asked Newcastle to put him up for Bramber or St. Ives:

As your Grace knows, I have served the Crown all my life with zeal and fidelity ... I have been deprived of my employment in H.M. service without the least equivalent for it ... I have been sent a long and disagreeable journey into Germany without any sort of consideration either for my troubles or expense, and was assured, as some little compensation, by Mr. Pelham himself, that he would bring me into Parliament almost four years ago. I cannot help flattering myself that on your Grace’s interposition he will think it time to let me receive the effects of his promise.5

A few months later, on the recommendation of the Administration, he was returned unopposed for Dover. He died 14 Feb. 1768.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. 7 Oct. 1738, Add. 32691, f.405.
  • 2. Cayley to Newcastle, 24 June 1747, Add. 32711, f.513.
  • 3. 12 July 1747, Add. 32712, f.101.
  • 4. Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 5. 26 Sept. 1751, Add. 32725, f. 317.