DICKINSON, William (1745-1806), of Kingweston, Som.

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



1768 - 1774
20 May 1777 - 1790
1796 - 26 May 1806

Family and Education

b. 13 July 1745, 1st s. of Caleb Dickinson, Bristol merchant, by Sarah, da. of Graffin Prankard, a Bristol iron merchant to whom Caleb Dickinson was apprenticed.1 m. 1771, Philippa, da. of Stephen Fuller, niece of Rose Fuller 1s. 1da. and other issue. suc. fa. 6 Apr. 1783.

Offices Held


William Dickinson, despite his mercantile connexions, was not engaged in trade, except that arising from his West Indian plantations, in which he was closely associated with his wife’s family, the Fullers, and with Hans Sloane. He also had an East Indian connexion, and in 1780 supported Paul Benfield’s candidature at Great Marlow.

How Dickinson came to stand for Marlow is not known. In 1768 he was returned after a contest, but in 1774 was defeated. He re-entered Parliament in 1777, succeeding Rose Fuller at Rye, a Treasury borough, where the Fullers had a good deal of influence.

Dickinson consistently supported North’s Administration. His only recorded speech, 2 Feb. 1773, was on a bill concerning the West Indies.2 He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. John Sinclair wrote of him in early January 1784:3 ‘Voted for the late bill, but could be converted.’ And in Robinson’s list he is classed as ‘very hopeful’—presumably on the basis of Sinclair’s information: which was misleading, for Dickinson went against Pitt, and remained in opposition in the Parliament of 1784. He voted for Pitt’s parliamentary reform proposals of 13 May 1785.

Dickinson died 26 May 1806.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Ex inf. W. E. Minchinton.
  • 2. Cavendish’s ‘Debates’, Egerton 242, f. 190.
  • 3. Thurso mss.