HAYLEY, George (d.1781), of London

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



1774 - 30 Aug. 1781

Family and Education

1st s. of George Hayley (whose fam. came from Shropshire) by Hannah Hopkins (of a Herefordshire fam.).  m. Mary, da. of Israel Wilkes, malt distiller of Clerkenwell, wid. of Alexander Stock, merchant of London, sis. of John Wilkes, 2s. 2da.

Offices Held

Alderman of London 1774, sheriff 1775-6.


In 1781 the English Chronicle wrote about Hayley:

He was originally a clerk to the house in which he is now the principal, and by a fortunate marriage with his present amiable consort, with whom he received a dower of £15,000, and by the exertions of honest industry has so increased his fortune as to be deemed, at this time, one of the wealthiest merchants in the city. He is not very well calculated by endowments, nor inclined by disposition, to take an active share in the political bustle of the times, but is singularly exact in his payments, upright in his general transactions, and independent in his parliamentary conduct, which has always entirely coincided with that of his patriotic cynosure, the present chamberlain [John Wilkes].

In January 1775 Hayley took a leading part in the organization of a petition to Parliament from the merchants trading with America against the Government’s American measures.1 During this year he spoke occasionally on questions concerning the colonies, but he was not a good speaker. Frederick Bull, commenting to Wilkes on a newspaper report of a debate, remarked: ‘Brother Hayley’s speech was short. I hope he did not stop in the middle. I think he told the House that if it had not been for his instructions he would not have troubled himself about the Americans.’2

In 1778 Hayley was one of the committee appointed by the common council to petition the King to make peace with America,3 and the same year, as representative of his ward, signed an association ‘for lawfully labouring to secure a more equal parliamentary representation’.4 He was returned again in 1780, standing jointly with Bull, John Sawbridge and John Kirkman as a declared opponent of the Government.

He died 30 Aug. 1781.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. Walpole, Last Jnls. i. 417.
  • 2. Add. 30871, f. 228.
  • 3. Last Jnls. ii. 124.
  • 4. General Evening Post, 9-12 Sept. 1780.