DUNTZE, John (c.1735-95), of Rockbeare, nr. Exeter, Devon

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



22 Feb. 1768 - 5 Feb. 1795

Family and Education

b. c.1735, s. of John Duntze of Exeter, merchant, by Elizabeth, da. of James Hawker or Hawkes of Luppitt, Devon, wid. of Nicholas Munckley of Exeter. m. in or bef. 1765, Frances, da. of Samuel Lewis, 3s. 3da. cr. Bt. 8 Nov. 1774.

Offices Held


Duntze was an Exeter clothier and general merchant. Before 1776 his name does not appear in the London trade directories; in 1776 he founded a bank in London with John Halliday and William Mackworth Praed, which in 1781 became Halliday, Duntze, Saunders, and Hamilton, and seems to have been dissolved in 1782. He held no Bank of England stock, and did not invest in Government loans. In short, he was a provincial merchant, with few City connexions.

He first appeared at Tiverton in 1764 as an ally of the Barings, but quarrelled with them and began to build up his own interest. In 1765 he was elected to the corporation, and represented the borough in Parliament without a contest.

In the House he twice voted against the court over Wilkes in 1769, and on the Spanish convention, 13 Feb. 1771. He voted for Meredith’s motion on the 39 Articles, 6 Feb. 1772. In John Robinson’s surveys for the royal marriage bill he is noted as an opponent. His first speech seems to have been on 26 Jan. 1773, against Sawbridge’s motion for annual Parliaments.

He got his baronetcy through Nathaniel Ryder, his colleague at Tiverton and a supporter of Administration, and presumably gave assurances about his conduct in Parliament. ‘The vanity is all my own and not my wife’s’, he wrote to Ryder on 29 Nov. 1774.1 On 5 Apr. 1775 he spoke for the bill to restrain the trade of the American colonies, using commonplace and familiar arguments:2

The Americans had by their open violence and repeated acts of disobedience forfeited the goodwill and protection of this country; and that it therefore became necessary for us to retaliate, in order to bring them back to a proper sense of their duty and dependence.

Bad health prevented his regular attendance: Philip Thicknesse, who treated him for gout, said that ‘scarce any man has suffered more from the disorder’;3 and Robinson wrote in his survey for the general election of 1780: ‘Sir John Duntze will come in again if his health will permit.’ He was absent from the critical divisions of 1781-2 until 15 Mar., when he voted for the court in the last division of North’s ministry.

He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and was classed by Robinson as a follower of North. Nor did he vote on Fox’s East India bill. Robinson before the general election, and William Adam after it, classed him as an opponent of Pitt, but his only known vote after 1784 was for Pitt on the Regency.

He died 5 Feb. 1795.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. ‘Tiverton Letters and Papers’, N. Q. clxx. 204.
  • 2. Almon, i. 421.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. 1786, p. 108.