DALLAS, Sir George, 1st Bt. (1758-1833), of Petsal, Staffs.

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



8 May 1800 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 6 Apr. 1758, 2nd s. of Robert Dallas, insurance broker, of 2 Cooper’s Court, St. Michael’s, Cornhill, London and Kensington, Mdx. by Elizabeth, da. of Rev. James Smith, minister of Kilbirnie, Ayr; bro. of Robert Dallas*. educ. Dr Elphinston’s sch., Kensington; by M. Chauvet, Swiss pastor, Geneva. m. 12 June 1788, Catherine Margaret, da. of Sir John Blackwood, 2nd Bt., MP [I], of Killyleagh, co. Down, 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1797. cr. Bt. 31 July 1798.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1776; supt. of collections at Rajshahi; factor 1782, jun. merchant 1785; home 1785.


Dallas was a protégé of Warren Hastings in India, but came home prematurely in the course of a promising administrative career because of ill health. His poem The India Guide had amused Calcutta and he had also drawn attention to himself there by an address hostile to Pitt’s East India bill, 25 July 1785. On his return he appeared at the bar of the House with a petition to the same effect from Calcutta, supported by his elder brother the barrister. In 1789 he published a pamphlet vindicating Warren Hastings, then on his trial. His reputation as a publicist was enhanced by his Thoughts upon our present situation (1793), an attack on the French revolution which was reprinted at Pitt’s suggestion for general circulation. His marriage connected him with Ireland and, after a visit in 1797, he wrote several pamphlets defending the government there against its critics. He also contributed on Ireland to the Anti-Jacobin, under the signature of ‘Civis’. In 1798 he was rewarded with a baronetcy. A year later appeared his Considerations on the impolicy of treating for peace with the present regicide government of France.1

Dallas was returned to Parliament on a vacancy on Lord Holmes’s interest in 1800, most probably as a paying guest. His maiden speech was critical of the adultery bill, which he characterized as a seducers’ charter and a libel on the state of private morality, 30 May 1800. On 23 July 1800 and 2 June 1801 he defended government against charges of having violated the treaty of El Arisch. At Pitt’s suggestion he transferred his support from his to Addington’s administration. On 12 June 1801 he expressed his decided approval of the Irish martial law bill and a month later sent Pitt the draft of a speech against the critics of the government of Ireland, not delivered in the House.2

Dallas gave up Parliament, apparently for health reasons, at the dissolution of 1802. He had returned to Indian questions and published a pamphlet addressed to (Sir) William Pulteney* advocating free trade between Europe and India. When the Marquess Wellesley’s Indian administration came under attack in 1806, he sprang to its defence with his Vindication of the justice and policy of the late wars carried on in Hindostan and the Dekkan by Marquess Wellesley. An East India Company stockholder with four votes for the directorate, he also unsuccessfully attempted to thwart a motion critical of Wellesley’s expansionism sponsored by George Johnstone* in the general court of the East India Company. Wellesley, to whom he claimed to be a stranger, acknowledged Dallas’s efforts and gave him carte blanche to write about his Indian policy without reference to him.3 In November 1806, when James Paull* saw fit to imply that the Prince of Wales approved the attack on Wellesley, Dallas sent the Prince a recommendation of his own contribution to the debate. He presented it to the Prince in 1808 and, confident that ‘no British subject ever approached him with a similar document’, added to it in April 1811 a memorial on India, which he was then submitting to the Board of Control. His ambition was now to succeed Sir George Hilaro Barlow in the government of Madras and introduce ‘a system of conciliation’ to heal the wounds caused by the mutiny there.4

In 1812 he pressed his claims on the premier Lord Liverpool, but was unable to convince him, though he claimed substantial support among the stockholders and that of Wellesley. The appointment of Thomas Wallace* in 1813 seemed to him the last straw and he confidently assured the Regent’s secretary that Wallace had been foisted on the directors against their will by Lord Buckinghamshire and that they would rebel.5 In his favour perhaps? His younger brother was by then solicitor-general, but nothing became of him: except that he wrote more pamphlets. Dallas’s abilities as a publicist were generally acknowledged. He died 14 Jan. 1833.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. W. Anderson


  • 1. Jas. Dallas, Fam. of Dallas; DNB ; Add. 29163, f. 154; Annual Biog. (1834), xviii. 30-40.
  • 2. Add. 38410, f. 121; PRO 30/8/128, f. 46.
  • 3. C. H. Philips, E.I. Co. 147; Add. 37283, f. 525.
  • 4. Prince of Wales Corresp, vi. 2318; vii. 2977.
  • 5. Add. 38328, f. 36; 38410, f. 121; Geo. IV Letters, i. 301, 308.