BASTARD, John Pollexfen (1756-1816), of Kitley, nr. Plymouth, Devon

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



8 July 1783 - Jan. 1784
1784 - 4 Apr. 1816

Family and Education

b. 18 Sept. 1756, 1st s. of William Bastard of Kitley by Anne, da. of Thomas Worsley. educ. Eton 1766-74; M. Temple 1771. m (1) Sarah (d. 26 Apr. 1808), wid. of Charles Wymondesoll of Lockinge, Berks., s.p.; (2) 1809, Judith Ann, da. of Sir Henry Martin, 1st Bt., M.P., s.p. suc. fa. 1782.

Offices Held


Bastard was returned for Truro on the interest of Sir Francis Basset, who in 1780 had captured the borough from Lord Falmouth. No vote or speech by Bastard is recorded during his first term in Parliament, but he afterwards stated that he had disapproved of Fox’s East India bill;1 and it seems that Basset, a strong supporter of the Coalition, requested him to vacate his seat.

In 1784 he was defeated at Plymouth but was returned unopposed for Devon, and was classed by William Adam as a supporter of Pitt. On Pitt’s motion for parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785, he paired in favour of reform. He was a frequent speaker, generally for Administration, but was critical, independent, and pertinacious. In 1786 he pressed Pitt to deal with the problem of transportation of convicts, introduced a bill to reform the ecclesiastical courts, and opposed Pitt’s excise on wines. In February 1786 he came out strongly against the Duke of Richmond’s scheme to fortify the dockyards at Portsmouth and Plymouth, ‘was proud to avow himself to have been its first opposer’, and denounced fortresses as ‘seminaries for soldiers and universities for Praetorian bands’. In a speech of 10 Dec. 1787, opposing an item in the army estimates, he summed up his attitude towards Administration: although ‘he saw good grounds for reposing a confidence’ in Pitt, he insisted on ‘examining every proposition ... and deciding upon it according to the best of his judgment’.2

In May 1788 he signed the third party circular, and later opposed Pitt’s Regency bill.  He died 4 Apr. 1816.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Speech of 5 Mar. 1788, Stockdale, xiii. 302.
  • 2. Ibid. vii. 227-8; xiii. 60.