BLACKBURN, John (1766-1824), of 12 New Bond Street, London and Preston Candover, Hants.

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



22 Feb. 1797 - 1802
1802 - 1806

Family and Education

bap. 26 Dec. 1766,1 1st. surv. s. of John Blackburn, merchant, of New Broad Street, London and Bush Hill, Edmonton, Mdx. by 1st w. Ann née Hodgkin (d. 26 June 1786, aged 44). educ. Harrow 1776-80. unm. suc. fa. 1798.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Hants 1809-10.

Capt. Edmonton vols. 1803.


Blackburn’s father, formerly a clerk in the merchant bank of Peter Muilman and John Berens (whose widow he married in 1789) became an ‘immensely rich’ government contractor, notably as the victualler of Gibraltar. In 1798 Blackburn inherited an eldest son’s share in the London business and in extensive estates in the home counties, in Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Cumberland.2 Father and son signed the London merchants’ loyal declaration in December 1795. His father encouraged him to enter Parliament and in 1796, in quest of a seat as a supporter of Pitt’s ministry, he was offered an opening at East Retford on the 4th Duke of Newcastle’s interest. He was prepared to spend £3,500 and was defeated.3 Significantly, £3,500 was the sum paid to the duke’s trustees for his seat for Aldborough.4 The vacancy was caused by the death of Richard Muilman Trench Chiswell, his father’s former business associate, and it was Blackburn senior who effected the purchase. The seat was tenable for six years, irrespective of a dissolution; in fact, Blackburn gave it up then. In 1802 he became a guest on the Holmes interest for an Isle of Wight borough.

Blackburn, whose father subscribed £10,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797, could be expected to support Pitt’s ministry, but he made no particular mark in the House. Perhaps it was he, described as ‘junior’, rather than his namesake the Lancashire Member, who opposed the land tax bill on 9 May 1798, but other hostile votes on this question were attributed to the county Member, who has also been thought more likely, from their context, to have made most of the speeches awarded indifferently by the reporters to ‘Mr Blackburn(e)’. This Member was the chairman of the committee to promote the petition against the return of Burdett for Middlesex, 6 Dec. 1802; objected to the mayor of Grimsby’s petition to the House, 5 May 1803, and on 27 Mar. 1804, as vice-president of the marine society, requested the committal of the fishery bill. On 1 Mar. 1803 he had taken six weeks’ leave for illness.5 No vote of his against Addington’s ministry is known, but he was listed a supporter of Pitt’s in September 1804 and qualified as doubtful in July 1805. There is no indication of his activity in the last two sessions of that Parliament.

Blackburn, a steward at the Pitt Club dinner in 1808 and vice-president in 1815, evidently wished to re-enter Parliament, for he was an unsuccessful candidate at Poole in the by-election of 1809, on the interest of John Jeffery*. He did not find a seat. In October 1819 he was a moderate alarmist on the question of a Hampshire county meeting.6 He died 1 June 1824, still in business as a merchant.7

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Winifred Stokes / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Reg. of St. Thomas the Apostle, London.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1789), i. 177; (1798), ii. 913; PCC 4 Calvert, 637 Walpole.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/197, ff. 247, 248; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss NeC 6044, 6048.
  • 4. Newcastle mss NeC 6068.
  • 5. CJ, lviii. 218.
  • 6. Broadlands mss (NRA), Blackburn to Palmerston, 11, 16 Oct. 1819.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1824), i. 645.