VAUGHAN, Hon. John II (1769-1831), of Crosswood, Card.

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



Family and Education

b. 3 Mar. 1769, 2nd s. of Wilmot Vaughan*, 1st Earl of Lisburne [I], by 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of John Shafto of Whitworth, co. Dur. educ. Harrow 1779-80. m. 2 Aug. 1798, Hon. Lucy Courtenay, da. of William, 2nd Visct. Courtenay, 5s. 1da. suc. half-bro. Wilmot as 3rd Earl of Lisburne [I] 6 May 1820.

Offices Held

Lt.-col. Loyal Sheffield vols. 1794, half-pay 1799; brevet col. 1800-d.


As his elder half-brother Wilmot was mentally unstable, Vaughan was the effective heir to his father’s interest in Cardiganshire and elsewhere. On the death of his uncle John in 1795, he was to have been put up on the family interest at Berwick: Sir Lawrence Palk*, his brother-in-law, writing to the Duke of Portland, 2 Aug. 1795, assured him that ‘Mr Vaughan inherits a most respectful attachment to your Grace and a steady determination to support the measures of government in this arduous crisis’.1 Owing, however, to his father’s financial embarrassments, he was only to be put up if his election could be secured without a contest and, that not being the case, he gave up Berwick. He came in unopposed for Cardigan Boroughs in 1796, after his father had given up the county seat not to him, as he had intended, but to Thomas Johnes*, to confirm an alliance of the two families since 1774 which was too strong for other contenders.

Vaughan did not cut a figure in Parliament, where he made no known speech, unless it is true that he spoke on militia affairs in 1804. In general, he supported administration; but after Pitt had requested his attendance by circular, 27 Sept. 1797, and Vaughan’s father had taken this opportunity to press his claims for an English peerage, which were spurned, Vaughan voted in a minority of 15 against Pitt’s tax proposals, 4 Dec. 1797. He did not appear in subsequent minority lists and resumed his military career.2 His father died in 1800 and Vaughan showed no interest in reviving his claims. On 4 Mar. 1803 he voted for Calcraft’s motion for an inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s finances: he was himself a debtor, who despite the inheritance of an encumbered estate, lived lavishly in London. In 1804 the Pittites were in some doubt as to his loyalties: in September he was listed by them first as a friend of Fox and Grenville, then of Pitt. In July 1805 he was listed ‘doubtful opposition’, the immediate grounds for this not being apparent. His election address of 1807 showed hostility to the outgoing ministers,3 but on 15 and 17 Mar. 1809 he voted for Wardle’s and Turton’s addresses against the conduct of the Duke of York. On 30 Mar. 1810 he voted with government on the Scheldt expedition and the Whigs at that time were ‘doubtful’ of him. He was in the minority on the Household clause of the Regency bill, 21 Jan. 1811. He was opposed at Cardigan in the election of 1812, when his negligence was blamed, and he had to borrow funds and fight hard to retain the seat. He was listed a supporter of government by the Treasury, but his only known votes in the Parliament of 1812 were for Ridley’s motion on the lords of the Admiralty, 25 Feb., and against the suspension of habeas corpus, 28 Feb. 1817, apart from his vote against Catholic relief, 24 May 1813.

Vaughan was by 1818 deeper in debt and less often in Cardiganshire than ever and, rather than face another contest, gave up his seat. It had in fact been disposed of in his absence, as part of a compromise at the county by-election of 1816, when Vaughan was ‘tossed on the shelf’.4 He failed also to obtain the lord lieutenancy in that year. He died, still in debt despite the sale of the Mamhead estate for £100,000, 18 May 1831.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. R. D. Rees, ‘Parl. Rep. S. Wales, 1790-1830’ (Reading Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1962), ii. 539; Portland mss PwF7329.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/185, f. 134.
  • 3. NLW mss 12169, f. 25, address May 1807.
  • 4. NLW, Powis Castle mss 4151, Sheldon to Wilding, 16 May 1816.