PYE, Thomas (c.1713-85).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



9 Mar. 1771 - 1774

Family and Education

b. c.1713, 2nd s. of Henry Pye of Faringdon, Berks., and bro. of Henry Pye.  m. his w. d.s.p. 15 Mar. 1764.  Kntd. 24 June 1773.

Offices Held

Entered R.N. 1727; lt. 1735; capt. 1741, r.-adm. 1758; v.-adm. 1762; c.-in-c. Leeward Is. 1766-70; c.-in-c. Portsmouth 1770-3, 1777-83; adm. 1773.


On 25 Feb. 1771 Lord Sandwich, first lord of the Admiralty, wrote to John Robinson:1

When I saw you last I forgot to talk to you about the borough of Rochester ... I think you may on very reasonable terms get a bad man out and a good man in his room into Parliament.

When William Gordon took the Chiltern Hundreds, Pye stood as Government candidate and was returned after a contest. Naturally he voted with Government, even on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774; but appears never to have spoken in the House. He was defeated at Rochester at the general election of 1774. Philip Stephens, secretary to the Admiralty, wrote to Lord Hardwicke, 7 Nov. 1774:2

With respect to Rochester I may fairly say, they are a set of ungrateful rascals, but indeed they had conceived an utter aversion to our Admiral Sir Thomas Pye, and I find they would have taken anybody who offered himself in preference to him.

Pye’s correspondence with Sandwich is purely naval; there are many references to him in the letters of George III, but as commander-in-chief Portsmouth, not as M.P. Here is a passage from one of Pye’s letters to Sandwich, dated 28 Apr. 1773, which seems typical of the man:3

Give me leave my Lord to make one observation more and I have don—and that is when you peruse Admiral Pyes letters you will please not too scrutinize too close either to the speling or the grammatical part as I allow my self to be no proficient in either, I had the mortification to be neglected in my education, went to sea at 14 without any, and a man of war was my university ... I therefore attempt to state facts only and value my self upon nothing but my integrity and zeal ... ever makeing my own interest a secondary consideration, have therefore only to brag though poor am honest.

Pye died 26 Dec. 1785.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Abergavenny mss.
  • 2. Add. 35612, f. 114.
  • 3. Sandwich Pprs. i. 36.