DICKSON, William (1748-1815), of Kilbucho, Peebles.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 3 or 11 June 1748, 1st s. of Rev. David Dickson of Kilbucho, minister of Newlands, yr. bro. of John Dickson, by 2nd w. Anne, da. of Alexander Gillon of Wallhouse, Linlithgow. unm. suc. fa. 1780.

Offices Held

Ensign 4 Ft. 1777, lt. 1779; capt. 42 Ft. 1782, maj. 1795, lt.-col. 1795; brevet col. 1803, brig.-gen. 1804-8.

Lt. gov. Cork 1808-d.


After his return from the Egyptian campaign, Dickson became a candidate for Linlithgow Burghs in 1802, on the strength of his interest at Peebles. He offered to retire in favour of the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch’s intended nominee the sitting Member, Lord Stopford. News reached Buccleuch that ‘a noble duke’s promise for some easy government’ for Dickson, who wished to sell out of the army, would do the trick. In the event, Buccleuch decided to back Dickson, who was stronger than Stopford, to keep off the challenge of William Maxwell, the Whig candidate, and he was returned by three votes to one. He promised to meet Buccleuch’s wishes ‘on any future occasion’ and made it clear that he wished ‘to make use of his seat merely to get a postie’.1

Dickson was listed a supporter of Addington’s administration, who however would prefer Pitt as minister ‘against every person whatever’.2 In 1803 he was promoted colonel. He took no part in debate. On 15 Mar. 1804 he was reported to have joined Pitt’s minority on naval defence. The Morning Chronicle stated on 27 Apr.: ‘Col. Dickson’s name has more than once been inserted in the list of the opposition minorities. The Colonel has always voted with the minister.’ He was listed and circularized as a supporter of Pitt’s second ministry. On 8 Apr. 1805 he was in the minority against the censure on Melville. According to Lord Archibald Hamilton, Dickson also supported the Grenville administration.3 He duly withdrew at the election of 1806. In 1808 he obtained the government of Cork. He died at Edinburgh, 18 May 1815.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. SRO GD224/581, [?J. Reid] to Elibank [?13 June]; Dickson to Buccleuch, 5 July, Hope to same, 14 July 1802.
  • 2. NLS mss 9370, f. 197.
  • 3. NLS mss 11057, f. 69; Fortescue mss, Hamilton to Erskine, 20 Sept. 1806.