NEWBOLT, John Henry (?1769-1823), of 94 Great Russell Street, Mdx. and Portswood House, Hants.

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



10 Feb. 1800 - 1802

Family and Education

b. ?1769, 1st s. of Rev. John Monk Newbolt of Winchester, Hants by 1st w. (m. 1 Feb. 1768) Susanna, da. of John Knowler of Canterbury, Kent. educ. Winchester; Christ Church, Oxf. 13 Mar. 1787, aged 18, BA 1791, BCL (All Souls) 1794; L. Inn 1790, called 1795. m. (1) 18 Feb. 1794, Elizabeth Juliana (d. 20 Apr. 1809), da. of Very Rev. William Digby, dean of Durham, maid of honour to Queen Charlotte, 3s. 1da.; (2) Sept. 1810, at Madras, Henrietta Blenkinsop, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1803; kntd. 17 Apr. 1810.

Offices Held

Sec. to commrs. of peace in Chancery 1794-1810; commr. of bankrupts 1796-1811; steward to dean and chapter and recorder, Winchester 1796-1810; south auditor, duchy of Lancaster Apr. 1800-1810; puisne judge, Madras May 1810; recorder, Bombay 1811-12; c.j. Madras Sept. 1815-Aug. 1820; chairman, Hants qtr. sessions 1822-d.

Ensign, Inns of Court vols. 1803.


Newbolt’s father, brother-in-law of Henry Penton*, was a mainstay of the latter’s electoral interest at Winchester. At Oxford, Newbolt was one of Canning’s Christ Church set and Canning described him in 1794 as ‘a very particular friend of mine’. He married for love on £400 a year, but his prospects improved when he obtained a place under Lord Chancellor Loughborough. He also practised on the western circuit and in Chancery with sufficient success. He entered Parliament on a vacancy at Bramber in 1800, on the 5th Duke of Rutland’s interest. The seat had been placed at Pitt’s disposal and doubtless Canning recommended him. It was understood that he was keeping the seat warm for the patron’s brother, a minor; he paid his own election expenses. Leave was sought for him to give up personal attendance on the lord chancellor, as it ‘would not be decorous in a Member of the House of Commons’ to attend ‘in the chancellor’s train in the House of Lords’. Soon afterwards he became an auditor of the duchy of Lancaster, of which the 1st Earl of Liverpool was then chancellor.1

Newbolt’s maiden speech was in support of Mildmay’s motion to regulate émigré monastic institutions, in which his father was strongly interested, 22 May 1800. On Pitt’s resignation, Canning pressed him not to follow him into the political wilderness, emphasizing Pitt’s wish that Addington’s ministry should be supported by his friends. On 16 Feb. 1801 Canning wrote, ‘Newbolt has the offer of a place, which (in spite of my most earnest entreaties) he hesitates about accepting—and I am accused of keeping him back. With him however I hope to succeed.’ Canning’s failure was subsequently regarded by Newbolt as the reason for the lapse of friendship between them. The office was apparently that afterwards filled by Serjeant Praed (chairman of the audit board) and Newbolt was also pressed by Lord Liverpool to accept it. The replacement of Loughborough by Eldon as lord chancellor was a further setback—he did not take silk, as it had been supposed he would, at Loughborough’s instigation.2 On 25 Feb. 1801 he obtained leave to go the western circuit. He reappeared in the House to sponsor the duchy of Lancaster business, including the Needwood Forest enclosure bill, for which he failed to obtain Addington’s support. He made a discreet canvass of individual Members and secured its passage.3 He was chairman of the committee on a divorce bill, 28 May, and on 15 June spoke in favour of the clergy residence bill, for which he was teller.

Newbolt informed Lord Liverpool, 25 June 1801, that he wanted office to support his growing family, whether in his profession or out of it. In August he applied in vain for a judgeship in Canada. He showed his goodwill towards Addington’s ministry in a speech in favour of the Baltic convention, 13 Nov. 1801. On 19 Nov. he attempted to amend the Poor Law by removing the stigma of the wearing of badges by paupers, which had fallen into disuse but had lately been revived. After several debates, in one of which Addington was somewhat patronizing to Newbolt’s bill, it passed on 2 Dec. Soon afterwards he declined the office of advocate general at Madras offered him by the chairman of the East India Company, whose son Charles Mills was a friend of his. Instead he recommended James Mackintosh* to Addington for it. He attended until the close of the session in 1802, ‘to assist in making a House’, at John Hiley Addington’s request.4 His last speech of note was in favour of legislation against bull-baiting, 24 May.

Newbolt had attempted, through Lord Hawkesbury, to obtain another seat in the Parliament of 1802 and on 26 June, having heard nothing, asked Lord Liverpool if Addington might secure for him the ‘continuance’ of his present one. He was ‘perfectly ready to bear any expense which it is in my power, with the assistance of my friends, to defray’. Liverpool, while admitting the advantage of having a duchy officer in the House, feared that it would not be a strong enough reason to sway Addington ‘without some other consideration’ and that the application would probably be too late; nor could Pitt help.5 Newbolt was left out of the House. Pitt, on his return to office, intended to provide him with an Indian judgeship and when, on a vacancy in October 1805, (Sir) William Burroughs* was preferred, Canning jogged the premier’s memory, pointing out that another vacancy was expected on the bench in Bengal or, failing that, there was the recordership of Madras, which Sir Thomas Strange was expected to vacate. Nothing was done for him before Pitt’s death, and in the summer of 1806 and on 21 Jan. 1807 Newbolt applied to Lord Grenville. He wanted a promise of the next vacancy ‘either in Madras or Bengal, among the puisne judges’. His wife’s health which required a warmer climate was now a compelling reason. He had had Pitt’s and Eldon’s good wishes and now had Chancellor Erskine’s, the Queen’s and, as it transpired, Lord Grenville’s too.6

Newbolt had to wait until 1810 for his appointment. His wife was dead and his bereavement had intensified his wish to be gone. On arrival in Madras he remarried.7 In the next two years he saved over £10,000, and in 1813, renewing his friendship with Canning by correspondence, expressed a hope that he would return in 1817 with a fortune as well as his pension. In 1815 he realized his ambition of succeeding Strange as chief justice of Madras.8 In 1817 when Canning became president of the Board of Control, he expressed his wish to come home in 1820 and retire to the Isle of Wight, a dream of his youth. ‘I mean a bona fide cottage and not a cottage orné such as a real nabob would order. I shall at best be but a naboblet.’9 Newbolt’s dream was almost fulfilled. He died suddenly 22 Jan. 1823, aged 53.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: M. H. Port / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Add. 37890, f. 235; Harewood mss, Canning jnl. 10 Jan., 6 Apr., 4 June, 14 Nov. 1794; Fortescue mss, Newbolt to Grenville, 21 Jan. 1807; Gent. Mag. (1823), i. 280; PRO 30/8/174, f. 287; Sidmouth mss, Canning to Addington, 1 Feb. 1800 bis.
  • 2. Sidmouth mss, Canning to Newbolt (copy), 7 Feb. 1801; Leveson Gower, i. 298; Harewood mss, Canning to Rev. Leigh, 16 Feb. 1801, Newbolt to Canning, 3 Apr. 1813, 18 Mar. 1817; Dorset RO, Bond mss D367, Jekyll to Bond, 22 Dec. 1800.
  • 3. Add. 38449, passim.
  • 4. Add. 38235, f. 166; 38449, f. 125, 178; 38450, f. 52; Leveson Gower, i. 312; Blair Adam mss, Mackintosh to Adam, Mon. evening [Apr. 1802].
  • 5. Add. 38311, f. 135; 38449, f. 247; 38450, f. 52.
  • 6. PRO 30/8/120, f. 247; Fortescue mss, Newbolt to Grenville, 21 Jan., reply 23 Jan.; Add. 51824, Newbolt to Holland, 21 Jan. 1807.
  • 7. NLS mss 11148, f. 132; Bond mss, Jekyll to Bond, 21 May 1811.
  • 8. Harewood mss, Newbolt to Canning, 3 Apr. 1813; Prince of Wales Corresp. viii. 3298.
  • 9. Harewood mss, Newbolt to Canning, 18 Mar. 1817.