DAWKINS, James (1760-1843), of Over Norton, Oxon. and Richmond, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1784 - 1806
23 Feb. 1807 - 1807
5 Feb. 1808 - 1812
1812 - 1826
1831 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 1760, 1st surv. s. of Henry Dawkins† of Over Norton and Standlynch, Wilts. and Lady Juliana Colyear, da. of Charles Colyear†, 2nd earl of Portmore [S]; bro. of Henry Dawkins† and George Hay Dawkins Pennant*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 4 May 1779, aged 18. m. (1) 3 Sept. 1785, Hannah (d. 3 July 1815),1 da. of Thomas Phipps of Heywood, Wilts., wid. of Charles Long of Grittleton, Wilts., 2s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) 10 Sept. 1822,2 Maria, da. of Gen. Gordon Forbes of Ham, Surr., s.p. suc. fa. 1814; to estates of his cos. Thomas Charles Colyear†, 4th earl of Portmore [S], 1835 and took name of Colyear bef. Dawkins by royal lic. 24 Dec. 1835. d. 13 Mar. 1843.

Offices Held

Capt. Wilts. supp. militia 1796, lt.-col. commdt. 1803, col. 1804, 1813.


Dawkins, who had first entered Parliament as an opponent of Pitt, inherited from his wealthy father the family’s Oxfordshire estates (the Wiltshire ones were sold in accordance with his father’s will) and ancestral plantations at Clarendon, Jamaica.3 He was returned again for the treasury borough of Hastings in 1820 and continued to support the Liverpool ministry, but he was not the most assiduous of attenders.4 He voted against economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820, in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb., and against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821. He divided against more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. It is not clear whether it was he or his nephew Henry Dawkins who was in the ministerial majority on the Canada bill, 18 July 1822. He voted with government on the sinking fund, 3 Mar., and against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and inquiries into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and chancery delays, 5 June 1823. He divided against Catholic relief, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He was in the government majorities on the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 30 May, 2, 10 June 1825, and the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. 1826.

Dawkins did not sit in the next two Parliaments, but in 1831, at the age of 71, he was returned for Lord Pembroke’s pocket borough of Wilton as an opponent of parliamentary reform.5 He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, for the adjournment, 12 July, for using the 1831 census to determine the borough disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, and against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. 1831. He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but was credited with a vote for Hunt’s proposal to enfranchise all tax-paying householders, 2 Feb. 1832. He voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading of the bill, 22 Mar. 1832. He was in the opposition minorities on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and the Greek loan, 6 Aug. 1832. He retired from the House at the ensuing dissolution after over 40 years of apparently mute membership.

In 1835 Dawkins inherited the estates at Weybridge, Surrey, of his cousin Lord Portmore and changed his name accordingly.6 His only surviving son George Augustus Frederick, a soldier who had been wounded at Waterloo, had died childless, aged 30, in 1821.7 Four years earlier Dawkins had devised all his disposable real and personal property to his only daughter Caroline Anna, who succeeded him on his death in March 1843 and died unmarried in 1857. The entailed Oxfordshire and Jamaican estates passed to his younger brother Henry.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1815), ii. 92.
  • 2. Ibid. (1822), ii. 273.
  • 3. PROB 11/1558/402.
  • 4. Black Bk. (1823), 151; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 460.
  • 5. Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1375, Boucher to Radnor, 5 May 1831.
  • 6. VCH Surr. iii. 476; PROB 11/1844/194.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1821), ii. 645.
  • 8. PROB 11/1979/311; Gent. Mag. (1843), i. 446; (1857), ii. 471.