D'OYLY, Sir John Hadley, 6th Bt. (1754-1818), of D'Oyly Park, Hants.

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



1790 - 1796

Family and Education

b. Jan. 1754, 1st s. of Rev. Sir Hadley D’Oyly, 5th Bt., rector of Wotton and Felixstowe, Suff. by Henrietta Maynard, da. of Rev. Henry Osborne of Nailsworth, Wilts., vicar of Thaxted, Essex. educ. by private tutor. m. 16 Mar. 1779, Diana, da. of William Rochfort of Clontarf, co. Dublin, wid. of William Cotes of Calcutta, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. as 6th Bt. 30 July 1764.

Offices Held

Writer E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1769, Persian translator to army 1775, factor 1776; sheriff, Calcutta 1779; resident at Murshidabad 1779-85; jun. merchant 1780, sen. merchant 1782; collector of customs, Calcutta 1804; postmaster-gen., salt agent, Bengal 1807.

Capt. commdt. Milford and Melton vols. 1798-1800.


Brought up by his widowed mother, D’Oyly was at one time intended to be a page of honour at Court where he and his sisters were ‘much esteemed’. ‘India affording a better prospect for replenishing the empty coffers of his family’, he entered the Company’s service through the influence of Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury*, a family friend. In 1785 the ill health of his wife caused him to sell his office at Murshidabad and return to England. He was said to have brought back £80,000 and, becoming agent to the nawab of Bengal, to have received a further £25,000 from his Indian interests.1

On his return D’Oyly repaid the debts incurred by his father at Ipswich and in 1790 successfully contested the borough. Although he was alleged to have spent £20,000 on electioneering, he failed to establish a permamanent interest. Soon after the election a clash occurred between the two Members over the division of patronage.2 D’Oyly, who had stood as an independent, wrote to Pitt asking to be considered ‘equally with Mr Crickitt as the zealous friend of government’—though on the question of repeal of the Test Act in 1791 both sat on the fence. Crickitt refused a compromise offered through George Rose, and D’Oyly, still describing himself as ‘a friend to the present administration’ despite his opposition votes on the Oczakov question in 1791, complained that ‘the party which brought me in ... expect at least an equal share of the patronage ... Were I to relinquish their claim I should fall into total discredit with them.’3 He did not attempt to stand for Ipswich in 1796, but unsuccessfully contested Tregony on the interest of a fellow nabob, Richard Barwell*. He had paid Barwell £4,000, it seems, but recovered his money before the election on finding Barwell’s interest undermined.

In Parliament D’Oyly made no reported speech but remained associated with the East Indian interest. On 20 June 1794 he was a teller against the vote of thanks to the managers of the impeachment of his friend Warren Hastings and he celebrated his acquittal with ‘a sumptuous entertainment’: it was he who presented Hastings to the King after his trial. On 26 Mar. 1796 he applied to Henry Dundas for a seat on the India board, referring to his 16 years’ experience in India, six as Persian interpreter, and to his support of Pitt’s government. He hinted that he was prepared to substitute another friend of the ministry for himself at Ipswich. According to Farington, Lady D’Oyly was ‘averse to his being in Parliament as she wished him always to reside in the country, but his home was so unpleasant that he desired to have the plea of attending Parliament that he might be absent from it’.4

D’Oyly’s subsequent financial difficulties were attributed to ‘a most expensive wife and hangers on of her family’, but Hastings, who knew her well, expressed no criticism of her. Out of Parliament, ‘after various changes of fortune’, he entered into partnership in a Dublin distillery with some of his wife’s relations. The venture failed, costing him at least £12,000. On his wife’s death in 1803 he decided to return to India, where Lord Wellesley found him a post worth £4,000 a year.5 Described as ‘not only ... a man of education, taste and refinement but [also] a sincere philanthropist’, in his later years D’Oyly was afflicted with religious melancholia. He died at Calcutta, 5 Jan. 1818.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes


  • 1. W. D. Bayley, Hist. House of D’Oyly, 132; Hickey Mems. ed. Spencer, iii. 236-7; Farington, iv. 13.
  • 2. Bayley, loc. cit.; Farington, i. 71; PRO 30/8/173, f. 286.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/130, ff. 166-7, 172-3; Morning Chron. 31 Mar. 1791.
  • 4. Bayley, loc. cit.; Sun, 30 Apr. 1795; SRO GD51/4/296; Farington Diary (Yale ed.), viii. 2871.
  • 5. Farington, ii. 146; iv. 13, 16; Warner, Literary Recollections, i. 204.
  • 6. Gent. Mag. (1818), i. 639; Matheson and Mason, E.I. Reg. 1818.