MARRIOTT, Sir James (1730-1803), of Twinstead Hall, Essex.

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



26 Apr. 1781 - 1784
1796 - 1802

Family and Education

b.1730, o.s. of Benjamin Marriott, attorney, of Hatton Garden, London by Esther, da. of Abraham Chambers of Twinstead. educ. Trinity Hall, Camb. 1746, LLB 1752, LLD 1757, fellow 1756-64, master 1764-d. unm. suc. fa. 1732. Kntd. 9 Oct. 1778.

Offices Held

Adv. Doctors’ Commons 1757; King’s adv. 1764-78; vice-chancellor Camb. Univ. 1767-8; judge of ct. of Admiralty Oct. 1778-Oct. 1798.


Marriott, a ‘very eminent civilian’, had retired from Parliament in 1784 to reserve himself for his judicial duties in the Admiralty court. The outbreak of war in 1793 engaged him in naval prize cases and at that time he unsuccessfully drafted a prize bill to remove anomalies in the law.1 His return to Parliament in 1796 was fortuitous. He lived near Sudbury, his former seat. He supported the recorder and sitting Member John Coxe Hippisley and attempted to prevent a contest, but on the eve of the election was induced by some influential electors to appear in the borough and be adopted as their candidate. Hippisley, who had been led by him to believe that Marriott was acting on his behalf, was outraged, and withdrew in a huff. After Marriott’s unopposed election he wrote to Pitt, ‘Government [will not] find an adverse vote, I believe, in my successor, but his conduct towards me will find, I am disposed to think, few to commend it’.2

Marriott was an unobtrusive supporter of Pitt’s administration in the Parliament of 1796. Meanwhile, he was being ‘hunted out of his office by memorial after memorial’. The reason was his inability to cope with the increased volume of business.3 At length he agreed to resign in September 1798, on grounds of infirmity. A pension of £2,000 was proposed for him and Sir William Scott* was designated as his successor. In May 1799, awaiting the completion of his pension arrangements, he admitted that he was not attending the House, but his wish was to resign his seat in favour of a relative of his friend Lord Liverpool. There was some talk of his becoming a director of the East India Company, but his collaboration with Lord Liverpool in forming an Indian connexion was eventually vetoed by Henry Dundas.4 He retained his seat until the dissolution, announcing his impending retirement on 16 Dec. 1801. He informed his constituents that he was then in his 72nd year, had been 34 years in legal office apart from his responsibilities at Cambridge, and that his health was infirm. He would not reconsider his decision.5 He died 21 Mar. 1803.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes


  • 1. Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, vi. 617; Add. 38228, ff. 263, 312, 339, 348; 38229, f. 62.
  • 2. Morning Chron. 27 May 1796; PRO 30/8/145, f. 84.
  • 3. Merthyr Mawr mss L/197/5.
  • 4. Ibid. L/189/3; Geo. III Corresp. iii. 1859, 1957; PRO 30/8/156, f. 55; Add. 38233, f. 98; 38236, f. 40.
  • 5. The Times, 24 Dec. 1801; Add. 38236, f. 103.