AMYATT, James (1734-1813), of Freemantle, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 1780
1784 - 1806

Family and Education

bap. 18 July 1734, 2nd s. of Benjamin Amyatt, surgeon, of Totnes, Devon by Mary née Dyer of Woodland, Devon. m. 2 Mar. 1764, at Calcutta, Maria, da. of Rev. William Woollaston of Norf., wid. of Peter Amyatt of Calcutta, 2da.

Offices Held

Alderman, Calcutta 1766.


Amyatt, a former nabob and an East India Company stockholder, retained his seat for Southampton, where he was introduced on a ministerial interest in 1784. There were manoeuvres to exclude him, but in August 1789 he was thought safe: ‘a good natured man, very attentive to the place, and very popular’.1 He headed the poll in 1790. He was criticized for having withheld his support from Pitt ‘in the last question of the Regency business’, but showed no sign of opposition to him during the next two Parliaments.2 By 1791 he was no longer favourable to the repeal of the Test Act. George Rose listed him ‘pro’ in 1795 and coalesced with him in elections. No speech of his is known in his last 20 years in the House and evidence of his attendance is thin. On 28 May 1795 he applied for ecclesiastical patronage for his nephew John Amyatt of Totnes.3 On 27 Nov. 1795 he presented his constituents’ petition in favour of legislation against sedition. He obtained leave of absence on 9 Dec. 1796. By 1802 his interest had dwindled, but Rose shored it up.4 In the next Parliament he voted for inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s financial claims, 4 Mar. 1803 and, though listed ‘Pitt’ in September 1804, did not vote on 8 Apr. and voted in the majority for the criminal prosecution of Melville, 12 June 1805. He was accordingly listed ‘doubtful Pitt’ in July. Nor did he join Rose in opposition to the Grenville ministry, voting for their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806; but he retired in the face of a keen contest which he was expected to lose in 1806, alleging ill health.5 He died 10 Jan. 1813. He was father-in-law of Sir John Kennaway.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Add. 35392, f. 137.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/191, f. 126.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/108, f. 69.
  • 4. E. Suff. RO, Tomline mss, Rose to bp. of Lincoln, 11 July 1802.
  • 5. The Times, 19 Apr. 1805; Fremantle mss, Temple to Fremantle, Sat. [Sept. 1806]; Hants Telegraph, 27 Oct. 1806.
  • 6. DNB.