AMYATT, James (1734-1813), of Freemantle, Hants.

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
1784 - 1806

Family and Education

bap. 18 July 1734, 2nd s. of Benjamin Amyatt of Totnes. m. Maria, da. of Rev. W. Wollaston of Norf. wid. of Peter Amyatt of the council of Calcutta, 2da.

Offices Held


Amyatt came of a prominent Totnes family; his father was mayor in 1739, and another relative, John Amyatt, in 1724, 1727, and 1735. On 27 June 1754 Charles Taylor wrote to his brother-in-law, Admiral Edward Vernon, asking him to get ‘a place in the India service, or in a merchant ship’ for his young friend Amyatt who was ‘esteemed a very sober young man and a good seaman’.1 Amyatt is said to have become a captain in the East India Company’s service, and also to have been a free merchant in India.2

In 1774 he successfully contested Totnes in opposition to the Duke of Bolton’s interest. Amyatt was apparently an Administration supporter till April 1780; he does not appear in any of the Opposition lists which alone are extant for 1775-8; he was marked by Robinson as ‘pro, present’ on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779; and voted with the Government till April 1780, when he joined the Opposition on Dunning’s motion, 6 Apr., and the motion against prorogation, 24 Apr. He was classed as ‘contra’ by Robinson in July. There is no record of his having spoken during this Parliament.

Robinson, in his survey of 1780, noted that at the general election the combined Bolton and Buller interests would probably ‘throw out Amyatt’ at Totnes; in fact Amyatt did not seek re-election, nor does he seem to have attempted to re-enter Parliament elsewhere in 1780. In 1784 he successfully contested Southampton, apparently with Administration support. He voted for Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785, and regularly supported Pitt’s Administration. His only reported speech during this Parliament was to press for the modification or repeal of the tax on retail shops, 2 Mar. 1786.3

Amyatt died 10 Jan. 1813.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Add. 40776, f. 178.
  • 2. Foster, Coll. Gen., M.P.s. England, 42; Holzmann, Nabobs in England, 115.
  • 3. Debrett, xix. 270.