JOCELYN, Hon John (1769-1828), of Tairhill, co. Louth.

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



1807 - Sept. 1809
10 Aug. 1820 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 1769, 4th s. of Robert Jocelyn, 1st Earl of Roden [I], by Lady Anne Hamilton, da. and h. of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Clanbrassill [I]. m. 1795, Margaret, da. of Richard Fitzgerald, MP [I], of Mount Ophaly, Queen’s Co., 1da.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1797-1800.

Port surveyor and storekeeper, Belfast 1796-1803; commr. of customs [I] June 1803-July 1807, Sept. 1809-July 1820.

Sheriff, co. Louth 1801-2.


Jocelyn sat for the family borough of Dundalk in the last Irish parliament and supported the Union, whereupon he resigned his seat to suit his father. After an application to the chief secretary on 1 Oct. 1802 for an exchange, he was placed on the customs board in 1803.1 His entry into Westminster arose out of the need to find a locum tenens for Louth until his nephew Robert, Viscount Jocelyn, returned aged 18 in 1806, came of age, lest there should be a disturbance of the peace of the county.2 Lord Roden wished Jocelyn not to suffer by vacating his customs place for the purpose and asked government to let his agent John Metge* act as trustee for his brother while he was in Parliament. This was judged improper, and when Jocelyn gave up his place to be returned for the county in 1807 it was on the understanding that he should be reinstated on the first vacancy after he vacated his seat in Parliament.

Jocelyn was at first prevented by a severe rheumatic complaint from attending Parliament, but he was in London supporting government in the spring of 1808 when Roden, fearful of a change of ministry, tried to nail the Irish government down on its promise to reinstate Jocelyn. They offered to do so ‘tomorrow’ if he vacated his seat, but declined to admit a substitute for him unless of acknowledged fitness, or to allow any more precise engagement than an honourable agreement. They advised Roden to bide his time. The viceroy then pacified him by assuring him that ‘if I should be removed I will either appoint his brother or his friend if a proper person’.3 At the end of the session of 1809 the promise was fulfilled and Jocelyn vacated his seat in favour of his nephew. He had made no mark in Parliament. By 1816 he was ‘the most inefficient commissioner’,4 so the chief secretary reported. In 1820, when his nephew succeeded to the peerage, he stepped into the county seat again. He died 21 Jan. 1828.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Wickham mss 5/14.
  • 2. HMC Fortescue, viii. 422; PRO NI, Foster mss 207, Foster to Balfour, 2 Nov. 1806.
  • 3. NLI, Richmond mss 70/1323; Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 57, 84; Wellington mss, Wellesley to Hawkesbury, 28 May, Jocelyn to Wellesley, 20 June 1807, Roden to same, 29 Mar., 12 Apr., Wellesley to Roden, 20 Apr., Richmond to Wellesley, 12 May 1808.
  • 4. Add. 40290, f. 118.