COX, Laurence (d.1792), of Woolcombe, Dorset

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 1780
14 Feb. 1781 - 1784

Family and Education

Offices Held


Cox, a London merchant, bought an estate near Dorchester, and in 1768 unsuccessfully contested the borough. He did not again attempt a Dorset constituency, but in 1774 stood for Honiton where he was a ‘perfect stranger’, and was returned after a contest said to have cost him £5,000.1 In Parliament he at first voted regularly with Opposition, but Robinson listed him as ‘pro, present, gained’ over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779; he voted with Administration on the demand for an account of pensions, 21 Feb. 1780, against them on the abolition of the Board of Trade, 13 Mar. 1780, and with them on the motion against prorogation, 24 Apr. 1780; and was classed by Robinson in his survey for the general election of 1780 as ‘pro’. In 1780 he once more contested Honiton, but was defeated. On 6 Feb. 1781 Cox was given a contract for victualling 1,000 men in New York.2 He was returned on the Duke of Northumberland’s interest at Bere Alston a few days later, and supported North’s Administration till its fall. In January 1782 he obtained a further contract for victualling 1,500 men in America.3 He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; but was classed as a supporter of Pitt by Robinson, January 1784, and by Stockdale, 19 Mar. Cox did not stand again in 1784. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.

He was knighted 6 Sept. 1786, and died 26 Aug. 1792.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. W. H. Wilkins, ‘Notes on Members for Honiton, 1640-1868’ (Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxvi. 265).
  • 2. T54/43/314.
  • 3. Ibid. 435.