VAUGHAN, Hon. John I (c.1731-95).

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



1774 - 30 June 1795

Family and Education

b. c.1731, 2nd s. of Wilmot, 3rd Visct. Lisburne [I], by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Watson of Berwick and Grindon Bridge, Northumb.; bro. of Wilmot Vaughan*, 1st Earl of Lisburne [I]. unm. KB 15 Aug. 1792.

Offices Held

2nd lt. 9 Marines 1746; cornet, 10 Drag. 1748, lt. 1751, capt.-lt. 1754, capt. 1755, brevet maj. 1759; lt.-col. 94 Ft. 1760, 16 Ft. 1762; brevet col. 1772; col. 46 Ft. 1775-d ; maj.-gen. 1777, lt.-gen. 1782; gov. Fort William 1779-80; c.-in-c. Leeward Islands Dec. 1779-82; gov. Berwick 1780-d; c.-in-c W. I. 1794-d.

MP [I] 1776-83.


Vaughan, a soldier of long and varied experience, sat for Berwick on the Watson interest, which his family seems to have inherited. Like his brother, a former follower of North, he had voted with the opposition in the Parliament of 1784. But on 9 Aug. 1788, John Rolle* had informed Pitt that Vaughan’s ‘inclination was to support your government if he had the smallest reason to know from you that it accorded with your wishes’, and had added that he was anxious ‘to have some mark of the royal favour as an approbation of his services and support’.1 Vaughan, however, remained with the opposition, voting with them on the Regency, and meeting with the Portland Whigs at Burlington House on 11 May 1790. He voted in favour of Grey’s motion on Oczakov, 12 Apr. 1791, and was listed a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland the same month. In August 1792 he was knighted, but there is no reason to believe that it was this honour alone which caused him to support Pitt thereafter. Like his brother he was not listed as a Portland Whig in December 1792, when Lisburne was out of humour with the duke, but Portland remained their mentor. Shortly before his death, when he appears to have been considering retirement from the House, Vaughan wrote, 12 May 1795, ‘I still am of opinion that the seat at Berwick had best be offered to the Duke of Portland, the person paying me 1300 for my expenses’.2 There is no record of his having spoken after 1790.

Late in 1794 Vaughan went out to the West Indies as commander-in-chief, the King writing to Dundas on 6 Oct. that Vaughan ‘ought undoubtedly to have a local commission of general in the same manner as his predecessor Sir Charles Grey ... Jamaica and St. Domingo should be excepted from his command’. He died in Martinique, 30 June 1795, ‘of a bowel complaint frequent in such climates, from which a surmise had arisen that he had been poisoned by his cook’.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. PRO 30/8/173, f. 16.
  • 2. NLW, Crosswood deeds and docs., iii. 71.
  • 3. Geo. III Corresp. ii. 1134; Gent. Mag. (1795), ii. 789.