DASHWOOD KING, Sir John, 4th Bt. (c.1763-1849), of West Wycombe and Halton, Bucks.

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



1796 - 1831

Family and Education

b. c.1763, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir John Dashwood King, 3rd Bt., of Halton by Sarah, da. of Edmund Moor of Sayes House, Chertsey, Surr. educ. M. Temple 1778. m. 29 Aug. 1789, Mary Anne, da. of Theodore Henry Broadhead of Monk Bretton, Yorks., 5s. 2da. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 6 Dec. 1793.

Offices Held

Capt. Bucks. yeoman cav. 1795.


Dashwood King was defeated by nominees of the Marquess of Lansdowne in contests for the neighbouring borough of Wycombe in 1790 and again, having declined in 1791 an invitation to stand for the county, in January 1794. His persistence secured a compromise and his unopposed return in 1796. Pronounced independence, a probably infrequent attendance and an apparent silence in the House were the most marked features of the 35 years for which he held the seat.

He voted against government on the land tax redemption bill, 18 May, and Cavendish’s motion concerning the Irish insurrection on 22 June 1798, and did not vote with them in support of the assessed taxes augmentation bill, 4 Jan. 1798. There is no evidence of his having opposed Addington’s government. Pressed by the Marquess of Buckingham to stand for Buckinghamshire at the general election of 1802, Dashwood King reportedly ‘had no objection to stand for the county but did not choose to acknowledge himself indebted for it to the marquess’.1 He opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804, was reckoned a follower of Fox and Grenville in the government list of September and, having voted against Melville, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805, was classed as ‘Opposition’ in the ministerial list of July. He did not support the ‘Talents’ on the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr., and opposed them on the American intercourse bill, 17 June 1806. He was listed in both the Morning Chronicle (14 Apr. 1807) and the Parliamentary Debates among the minority who voted for Brand’s motion condemning the ministerial pledge, 9 Apr., but was not included in the Chronicle’s list of Members reckoned to be adverse to the Portland administration, 22 June. Fremantle, in his analysis of the election returns, classed him as ‘doubtful’, but Buckingham thought he was ‘decidedly hostile’ to the new government.2

Dashwood King voted against government on the Duke of York scandal in March 1809, Madocks’s charges against Perceval and Castlereagh, 11 May, Brand’s parliamentary reform motion, 21 May 1810, Bankes’s motion to reduce sinecures, 17 May 1810, and the question of McMahon’s sinecure, 14 Apr. 1812. The Whigs were ‘hopeful’ of his support on the Walcheren inquiry in mid March 1810, but did not receive it. His anti-Catholic leanings induced him to oppose Stuart Wortley’s call for the formation of a stronger administration, 21 May 1812, as well as Canning’s resolution of 22 June to consider Catholic claims. On the strength, presumably, of these votes, he was reckoned a supporter of government in the list compiled after the 1812 election, but he does not appear on the ministerial side in any of the surviving division lists of the 1812 Parliament. He cast at least 14 adverse votes on issues of economy and taxation, including the corn bill, 10 Mar. 1815, the property tax, 18 Mar., Admiralty salaries, 20 Mar. 1816, and the Duke of Clarence’s allowance, 15 Apr. 1818, and supported Williams Wynn’s candidature for the Speakership, 2 June 1817. In the 1818 Parliament, however, he appears only three times in opposition to government, on the Windsor establishment, 22 Feb., excise informers, 9 Mar., and the malt duty, 9 June, and he voted with them against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. He died 22 Oct. 1849.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Spencer mss, Harrison to Spencer, 20 June 1802.
  • 2. Fremantle mss, Buckingham to Fremantle, 16 June [1807].