James Dawkins the younger

1722 - 6th Sep 1757


Born in Jamaica, the eldest of four sons of Henry Dawkins (1698–1744) of Clarendon, Jamaica [q.v.], slave-owner and sugar planter, and his wife, Elizabeth (1697?–1757), third daughter of Edward Pennant of Clarendon, chief justice of the island, and his wife, Elizabeth. Brother of Henry Dawkins, slave-owner [q.v.]. He appears in the Accounts Produce as James Dawkins junior presumably to distinguish him from his uncle James Dawkins (d. 1766).

Traveller, orientalist, antiquary and Jacobite sympathiser.

1751-53: accompanied Robert Wood on his journeys in the Middle East, and helped him to prepare The Ruins of Palmyra [Syria] and The Ruins of Balbec [Lebanon]. There is a painting by Gavin Hamilton of 'James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra' (1758) in the Scottish National Gallery.

Active Jacobite even after the failure of the 1745 rebellion: said to have provided the Young Pretender with money; in 1753 went on his behalf on a mission to Frederick of Prussia. The British Government issued a warrant for his arrest. Dawkins abandoned Jacobitism.

In 1754 purchased Laverstoke manor, Hampshire, for £9,500 from Sir Stewkley Shuckburgh. In 1759 Dawkins sold the manor to Joseph Portal (died 1793). (The Portal family and their companies owned the mill at Laverstoke until 1995).

Probably the author of Reflections Physical and Moral upon the various ... Phenomena ... which have happened from the Earthquake at Lima to the present time (1756), claiming that the Lisbon earthquake (1755) was God’s punishment for mankind’s disobedience of the Mosaic law.

He sat for Hindon on the interest of William Beckford, another 'West Indian' and said to be a Tory but played no active part in parliament.

Dawkins and Cunningham were listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owners of 500 acres of land in St Elizabeth. This may refer to James Dawkins, James Dawkins the younger or Henry Dawkins II. The Cunningham may be James Cunningham of Chesterfield or perhaps one of the Cunninghames of Grandvale.

Died unmarried on the Sutton's Plantation, Jamaica, 6 September 1757. He had owned 25,000 acres in Jamaica with his brother Henry.


J. A. Cannon, entry in History of Parliament online; 'Parishes: Laverstoke', in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page (London: Victoria County History, 1911), pp. 208-10: British History Online, accessed 15 October 2016; Gavin Hamilton, 'James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra'; M. St John Parker, ‘Dawkins, James (1722–1757)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online.

Further Information


Associated Estates (6)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1753 [EA] - 1754 [LA] → Owner
1753 [EA] - 1753 [LA] → Owner
1744 [SY] - 1757 [EY] → Owner
1744 [SY] - → Owner
1744 [SY] - 1757 [EY] → Owner
1744 [SY] - 1757 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

'James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra', by Gavin Hamilton (1758) in the Scottish National Gallery. Commissioned by his brother Henry Dawkins II as a posthumous tribute.... 
notes →

Political (1)

Tory / West India interest 
election →
Hindon Wiltshire
1754 - 1757

Relationships (9)

Son → Father
Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew
Nephew → Uncle
Grandson → Grandfather
Grandson → Grandfather

Addresses (1)

Laverstoke, Whitchurch, Hampshire, Wessex, England