RAWLINSON, Abraham (1738-1803), of Ellell Hall, Lancs.

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



1780 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 1738, 1st s. of Thomas Hutton Rawlinson of Lancaster by Mary, da. of John Dilworth; 1st cos. of Henry Rawlinson and a distant relative of Sir Walter Rawlinson.  m. 1776, Anne, da. of Robert Dodgson of Shotton, co. Dur. s.p.  suc. fa. 13 July 1769.

Offices Held


In 1780 Rawlinson, a merchant, was said to be worth ‘upwards of £40,000 besides a landed estate of £500 per annum’.1 He declared himself a candidate for Lancaster in February 1780, forestalling the offer of Lord Richard Cavendish to stand for re-election, but the Opposition thought him sympathetic: ‘if Lord Richard is not to be the man’, Lord Surrey wrote to Portland, 22 Feb. 1780, ‘I do not see how the borough in the present juncture could be so Whiggishly represented’. Rawlinson was returned without a contest.

He was often confused with his cousin, Henry Rawlinson, and there is therefore some uncertainty about his voting. He is reported to have voted against Lowther’s motion against the war, 12 Dec. 1781, but this seems unlikely in view of his close connexion with the Cavendishes. On 20 Feb., 8 Mar. and 15 Mar. 1782, he is recorded as voting with Opposition. The speeches attributed to him in the Parliamentary History were probably made by his cousin.

Rawlinson voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries in 1783, but followed the Coalition line after that. In 1784 he defended his seat in company with another supporter of Portland, Francis Reynolds, against John Lowther: petitions against their return were rejected on 27 Feb. 1786. He continued to vote with Opposition throughout the whole of the Parliament. In 1783 and 1785 he voted for parliamentary reform.

He died 24 May 1803.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. Ld. Surrey to Portland, 22 Feb. 1780, Portland mss.