BULTEEL, James (c.1676-1757), of Tavistock, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



26 Nov. 1703 - 1708
3 Feb. 1711 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1676, 2nd s. of Samuel Bulteel (d. 1682) of Tavistock.  educ. I. Temple 1694.  m. 1 Oct. 1718, Mary, da. and h. of Courtenay Croker*, 1s. 1da.  suc. John Modyford Hele at Flete 1716.1

Offices Held

Commr. public accts. 1714.


A Tory lawyer of Huguenot descent, Bulteel was a legal adviser to several landed families in Devon. He stood unsuccessfully for Tavistock in the two elections of 1701, but was returned unopposed at a by-election in November 1703. He was wrongly listed as having voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. Forecast as a probable supporter of the Tack, he did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704. On 15 Jan. 1705 he was appointed to the drafting committee on a private bill, managing it through all subsequent stages in the House. Re-elected without opposition in 1705, he was classed as ‘Low Church’ in an analysis of the new Parliament, and voted against the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. He spoke in defence of Charles Caesar* during a debate on the regency bill on 19 Dec. He managed another private bill through the House, having been appointed to its drafting committee on 14 Jan. 1706. He told on the Tory side over the disputed election for Coventry on 5 Feb. 1707, and on the 15th in favour of an instruction to a committee to name the Corporation Act in a bill from the Lords for the security of the Church. During March, he managed a private bill for the relief of Alexander Pendarves*. He told on 5 Apr. in favour of putting the question for an address to the crown on the Newfoundland fishery. On 14 Feb. 1708 he told against going into committee on the bill to secure American trade, again telling on 8 Mar. on an amendment to a supply bill. On 15 Mar. he told in favour of an amendment to the East India Company bill, which would have made it impossible to hold a directorship simultaneously of the company and the Bank of England. He presented a bill to impose further duties on imported yarn on 16 Mar., telling in favour of its second reading on 22 Mar. His final tellership of this Parliament was against the adjournment of a debate on a legal reform bill on 30 Mar.

Classed as a Tory in early 1708, Bulteel did not stand at the general election of that year. He contested Tavistock in 1710 and was seated on petition on 3 Feb. 1711. A member of the October Club and one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who exposed the mismanagements of the previous administration, he was chosen by ballot to the abortive commission for the resumption of King William’s grants on 17 Apr. 1711. He managed two private bills through the House in April and May. On 12 May 1712 he was again elected to the grants resumption commission, an initiative which once again failed, as previously. He told on 26 May in favour of granting leave to bring in a bill to extend the charter of the East India Company. During June he assisted in the management of two more private bills. On 18 June 1713 he spoke and voted in support of the Court over the French commerce bill.2

Re-elected in 1713, Bulteel was nominated to the committee on the Address on 2 Mar. 1714. He managed three private bills through the House in this session. He told on 15 Mar. on a procedural motion over an address on the demolition of fortifications at Dunkirk. On 15 Apr. he seconded the motion that the Protestant succession was not in danger under her Majesty’s government. During his speech he made an attack on Robert Walpole II*. He told on 14 May 1714 in favour of a resolution for a 2d. duty on London coal imports as part of the financing of repairs to a breach in the bank of the Thames. He was nominated on 10 June to the drafting committee for a bill to discharge the commissioners of the Scottish Equivalent from liability for money already disbursed. After chairing a committee of the whole on the Equivalent accounts on 21 June, he carried up to the Lords on 1 July the bill in favour of the commissioners. The previous day he had been elected a commissioner of public accounts. Listed as a Tory on the Worsley list, Bulteel retired from the House at the dissolution.3

In 1716 Bulteel, although no relation by blood, succeeded John Modyford Hele to Flete House and other Devon estates under the will of Hele’s father, Richard*. Bulteel was named as a ‘dubious’ Jacobite sympathizer in a list sent to the Pretender in 1721. He died in 1757.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Burke, LG (1952); Trans. Devon Assoc. xliii. 396; lxiv. 495; Her. and Gen. viii. 380; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 466.
  • 2. Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 5, iii. 17–18; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 53.
  • 3. Huntington Lib. Q. xxxiii. 168; NSA Kreienberg despatch 16 May 1712; HMC Lords, n.s. x. 275; Wentworth Pprs. 370; Douglas diary (Hist. of Parl. trans.), 15 Apr. 1714; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. letters Quarto 8, ff. 95, 138.
  • 4. P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 148; Vivian, 466.