DOVETON, Gabriel (?1759-1824), of Everdon, nr. Daventry, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. ?1759. unm.
Cadet, E.I. Co. (Madras) 1775, ensign 1776, lt. 1780, capt. 1789, maj. 1796, lt.-col. 1799, col. 1809, maj.-gen. 1812.
Doveton, descended from a family which had settled in St. Helena in the 17th century, served for about 30 years as an infantry officer in the East India Company’s forces in Madras. He was the brother of Sir John Doveton (?1768-1847), who had a distinguished career as a cavalry officer on the same establishment, and of Richard Doveton (?1763-1823), who attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Bengal army. His father, who may have been called Frederick Doveton, was probably a brother of John Doveton (1725-58) of St. Helena, who had at least five sons, including Frederick Doveton (?1748-1815) of Upper Wimpole Street, London, Sir William Webber Doveton (?1754-1843), a member of the council of St. Helena, and Richard Doveton of Chudleigh, Devon, whose son the Rev. John Frederick Doveton (?1774-1857) Gabriel described in his will as his cousin.1
He was in England by 1807, when he contested Lancaster unsuccessfully in partnership with the sitting Member, John Fenton Cawthorne, who presumably took him up on account of his wealth, as he is not known to have had any connexions with Lancashire. Two years later he bought a decrepit property in Northamptonshire and converted it into ‘a genteel residence’.2 He and Cawthorne were unopposed at Lancaster in 1812 and he retained the seat until his death, surviving a contest in 1818.
On 8 Nov. 1812 George Rose, surveying a ministerial analysis of the new House, noted that Doveton, ‘if the East India officer’ was ‘probably attached to Lord Wellesley’. He was listed, with a query, as one of Wellesley’s 12 personal followers, but Charles Long told Lord Lonsdale, 18 Nov. 1812, that his inclusion in this group was ‘at least doubtful’.3 He was marked ‘doubtful’ in the final ministerial list, but turned out to be a very reliable general supporter of government. His name appears on their side in almost all the divisions of this period for which full lists have been found and in 1813 Cawthorne complained that Doveton was receiving ‘all the patronage’ of Lancaster.4 His only recorded hostile votes were against the renewal of the punitive framework knitters bill, 29 Nov. 1813; the address on the resumption of war, 25 May; the East India ships registry bill, 6 June 1815; and the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816. An East India Company stockholder and opponent of Christian missionary activity in India, 22 June, 1 and 12 July 1813, he voted steadily in favour of Catholic relief. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820.
Doveton died 9 Apr. 1824, ‘aged 64’. He left Everdon to his brother Sir John, £2,000 to an illegitimate son in India, £6,000 for investment on behalf of his sister Caroline, wife of Rev. William Philpot, and made other cash bequests totalling over £20,000.5
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. Registered copy wills of Gabriel Doveton (PCC 284 Erskine), Frederick Doveton (PCC 601 Pakenham), Elizabeth Doveton (PCC 798 Lushington) and Jonathan Doveton (PCC 69 Fountain); E. Dodwell and J. S. Miles, Officers of Indian Army (Madras), 46-47; V.C.P. Hodson, Officers of Bengal Army, ii. 77-78.
- 2. G. Baker, Northampton, i. 365.
- 3. T.64/261; Lonsdale mss.
- 4. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 25 [Feb. 1813].
- 5. Annual Reg. (1824), Chron. p. 218; MI at Richmond, Surr.; PCC 284 Erskine.