DAWKINS, James (1722-57), of Laverstoke, nr. Whitchurch, Hants.

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



1754 - Dec. 1757

Family and Education

b. 1722, 1st s. of Henry Dawkins, and bro. of Henry Dawkins. educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1739; Grand Tour. unm.  suc. fa. 1744.

Offices Held


James Dawkins was a great traveller, orientalist, and eccentric; 1751-3 he accompanied Robert Wood on his journeys in the East, and helped him in the preparation of his books The Ruins of Palmyra and The Ruins of Balbec. He was an active Jacobite even after the failure of the ‘45: he is said to have provided the Young Pretender with money, and in 1753 went on his behalf on a mission to Frederick of Prussia. The British Government issued a warrant for his arrest, and Dawkins abandoned Jacobitism. In 1754 he purchased Laverstoke for £9500.1

He was probably the author of a pamphlet, published in 1756, entitled Reflections Physical and Moral upon the various ... Phenomena ... which have happened from the Earthquake at Lima to the present time. It argued that the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was God’s punishment for mankind’s disobedience of the Mosaic law.2

He sat for Hindon on the interest of William Beckford, another West Indian, and was classed by Dupplin as a Tory. Nothing is known about his conduct in Parliament.

He died in Jamaica Dec. 1757.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. VCH Hants, iv. 209.
  • 2. Sir T. Kendrick, Lisbon Earthquake, 150.