DAWKINS, James (1760-1843), of Standlynch, Wilts.

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



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, Oxon. and Standlynch, and bro. of George Hay Dawkins Pennant and Henry Dawkins. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 4 May 1779, aged 18. m. (1) 3 Sept. 1785, Hannah, da. of Thomas Phipps of Heywood, Wilts. wid. of Charles Long of Grittleton, Wilts., 2s. 1da.; (2) Maria, da. of Gen. Gordon Forbes, s.p. suc. fa. 1814; to estates of his cos. Thomas, 4th Earl of Portmore [S], taking name of Colyear before Dawkins by royal lic. 24 Dec. 1835.

Offices Held

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


Dawkins succeeded his father as Member for Chippenham in 1784 and strengthened his interest in the borough by purchasing burgages. He was defeated in 1806, but was returned on petition and was again seated by the House after the election of 1807 when he obtained the same number of votes as another candidate. Following this contest, which had proved very expensive, Dawkins sold his property at Chippenham to John Maitland and in 1812 was returned on the recommendation of the Treasury at Hastings.

In his first Parliament Dawkins acted with opposition and joined the Whig Club, 3 Apr. 1787. In September 1788 Pitt made inquiries about the possibility of ousting him from his seat.1 He met with the Whigs at Burlington House on 11 May 1790 and voted with them against Pitt’s foreign policy, 12 Apr. 1791, 1 Mar. 1792. He was reckoned a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, and was clearly a Portland Whig,