ROUS, George (?1744-1802), of Bedford Square, London

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



17 May 1776 - 1780

Family and Education

b. ?1744, 3rd s. of Thomas Rous of Piercefield, Mon., director E.I. Co., by Mary, da. of Thomas Bates; bro. of Thomas Bates Rous.  educ. poss. Eton 1756-1760; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 16 Dec. 1760, aged 16; M. Temple 1763, transf. to I. Temple 1764, called 1768.  m. Charlotte, da. of Rev. Hugh Thomas, dean of Ely 1758-80, 2s.  suc. bro. 1799.

Offices Held

Counsel to E.I. Co. 1781- d.; bencher, I. Temple 1802.


In 1776 Rous successfully contested Shaftesbury on the interest of Francis Sykes. He does not appear in the minority lists on the civil list debts, 16 and 18 Apr. 1777; or on America, 2 Feb. 1778, and on 6 Nov. 1776 spoke against Lord John Cavendish’s motion that the House should revise all Acts of Parliament by which the Americans considered themselves aggrieved:

There was one point ... which must be the basis of every conciliatory step on either side; that was a clear unequivocal acknowledgement of the legislative supremacy of the British Parliament. If that was not to be obtained but by force of arms, he confessed that he was most eagerly desirous that arms should be resorted to.

And on 5 Feb. 1778 he declared that the rebellion ought to be ‘quelled by any means whatever’. But on he voted against the Administration on the proclamation of the conciliatory mission, which, he declared, was

penned by no other than a Scotch lawyer [Wedderburn]. It was the Scotch lawyers who had approved of the massacre of Glencoe, and they had justified it upon the principle of necessity. Scotch lawyers had of late come into this country with all those principles of blood and massacre about them: they had pervaded the whole system of Government, and their influence prevailed and guided in every department.1

He was listed as an opponent of Government on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, and henceforth all his reported votes were with Opposition, though the Public Ledger in 1779 described him as ‘rather an uncertain voter’. He delivered a long and involved attack on the Administration in the debate on Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr. 1780, and several other speeches of his on various subjects are equally long and intricate. The Public Ledger wrote of him: ‘A barrister-at-law, which he shows himself to be by his method of speaking.’ Rous did not stand again for Shaftesbury in 1780, and he does not appear to have attempted to re-enter Parliament.

He died 11 June 1802.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Almon, vi. 62; viii. 345; xi. 118