WATHERSTON, Dalhousie (d.?1803), of Manderston, Berwicks.

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



1784 - 1790

Family and Education

m. Jane, da. of Rev. Thomas Walker, vicar of Northallerton, s.p. legit.

Offices Held

Cadet Bengal army 1770, ensign 1771, lt. 1776, capt. 1781; res. 1782.


No details of Watherston’s birth and parentage have been found. His brother John was a naval officer and another brother, Robert (who seems to have spelt his name Witherstone) was an officer in the Bengal army. Watherston himself was at one time paymaster to the Bombay detachment under General Thomas Goddard, who in his will speaks of ‘that disinterested friendship and attachment’ Watherston ‘has so long testified towards me’. Watherston was one of Goddard’s executors, and he and his illegitimate son were beneficiaries under Goddard’s will.

The story of how Watherston came to Boston appears in a letter of 10 Mar. 1784 to Sir Joseph Banks from H. B. Pacey, his election agent there:1

I was informed yesterday of the arrival of two gentlemen at Kirton in an handsome equipage, from whence they sent a messenger to Boston, and were escorted into town in the evening by Mr. Creasey ... he gives out that they are friends of his from the East Indies, and worth millions. Another joined them to-night, which makes a trio. They took up their lodgings at the White Hart, but removed this morning to the Red Lion, the landlord of which is a very busy fellow, though no freeman, and has been trying some time to get money spent at his house. They began this morning by opening the said house, and wine was liberally given to every one that chose it, and plenty carried about the streets. The other gentlemen have walked about the town to-day with Mr. Creasey and the said landlord, but have not been joined yet by anything but the very lowest ...
I am given to understand that the name of the party is Witherston, and his two brothers, of Berwickshire—late a lieutenant in the India Company’s service, and aide-de-camp to General Goddard and his Persian interpreter. It is given out among the freemen that he is sent down by the India Company, who are to bear all the expense, which is talked of very largely, but I can’t trace this as coming from them.
This makes the freemen mad, and we are in a state of confusion night and day; our friends in general seem very steady, but liquor has strange inducements. [If] the better sort of discontented gentry do not join them, which they have not yet (having expected a friend of their own), I should not think them very formidable, but every hour may make alterations.

Pacey wrote again on the 13th: ‘Since my last, plenty of liquor and fair speeches have had their full effect, and Captain Witherston has the appearance of a strong party.’ Watherston left again on the 14th having by the ‘almost irresistible arguments of pecuniary influence’ collected enough support to make his election probable, and a month later was returned without a poll. His only known vote was for the Administration on Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and there is no record of his having spoken in the House. He did not stand again in 1790.

No obituary notice has been found. His will, dated 7 Aug. 1792, contains a codicil dated 9 Jan. 1802; it was proved 27 July 1803.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. All quotations from Spalding Gentlemen’s Soc. mss.