COLLETON, James Edward (c.1709-90), of Haines Hill, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1709 at Barbados, 1st s. of John Colleton of Barbados and Haines Hill by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Edward Ernle, M.P., wid. of Thomas Drax; Henry Drax was his half-bro. educ. poss. Eton 1725; Clare, Camb. 1728. m. (1) 1731 Lady Anne Cowper (d. 26 Mar. 1750), da. of William, 1st Earl Cowper, s.p.; (2) 30 Mar. 1754, Frances, da. of Philip Jennings, M.P., s.p. suc. fa. Dec. 1755.
Colleton, who unsuccessfully contested Lyme Regis in 1734, was in 1747 returned as an Administration candidate for Lostwithiel. In 1754 he paid Lord Edgcumbe £1,000 for his seat, negotiated by Administration, and in 1761 £1,500. He held neither office nor pension. In Parliament, though not prominent, he seems to have been respected: in the autumn of 1761 Newcastle considered him a possible candidate for the Chair,1 and when in November 1761 a commission of accounts was to be set up, Barrington thought that Colleton ‘might guide the whole business’.2 Up to May 1762 he adhered to Newcastle, but did not vote against the peace preliminaries in December 1762, and voted with Administration on general warrants, 6 Feb. 1764, having become connected with George Grenville. He followed Grenville into opposition and was the only Member with North American family affiliations who voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. Even after Robert Nugent, with whom Colleton seems to have acted, had accepted office in December 1766, Colleton continued in opposition.
Colleton had no electoral interest of his own, and in 1768 could not have had at Lostwithiel either the support of Administration or of Lord Edgcumbe, who acted with the Rockinghams. He is not known to have stood in 1768, but in 1772 was returned by Nugent for St. Mawes as a Government supporter—in the division of 9 Feb. 1773 on the naval captains’ petition he is placed among the ‘friends’ who voted against the Government. There is no record of his having spoken in the House, and he did not stand for re-election in 1774.
Ref Volumes: 1754-1790
Author: Sir Lewis Namier
See Namier, ‘Charles Garth and his Connexions’, EHR , July 1939.