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Henry Dawkins

1727 - 1814

This person is the subject of ongoing research. We have started by researching their relationship to the enslavement of people.

Biographical notes

A Jamaican slave- and plantation-owner, and politician.

Summary of activity

Henry Dawkins II (1728–1814) was the son of Henry Dawkins I (UCL Department of History, ‘Henry Dawkins I’, in UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership [online], London 2020, <> accessed 6 August 2021), the owner of a number of estates and enslaved people on Jamaica, and Elizabeth Pennant. He owned 20,000 acres in Jamaica and estates in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. He lived in Jamaica from around 1751 to 1759. He was MP for Southampton, Hindon and Chippenham from 1760−84. He appears never to have spoken in Parliament.

Slavery connections

Dawkins was the owner of extensive plantations and enslaved people on Jamaica. From 1773 to 1805 he was a member of the Society of West India Planters and Merchants, who resisted the abolition of slavery.

For further information, see J. S. Dawkins, ‘The Dawkins family in Jamaica and England, 1664-1833’, Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), University College London (University of London), 2018, <>).

Abolition connections

No known connections with abolition.

National Gallery painting connections

Sitter: Henry Dawkins is the subject of a pastel portrait of around 1751 by Maurice-Quentin de la Tour (NG5118).


J. Brooke, 'DAWKINS, Henry (1728-1814), of Over Norton, Oxon. and Standlynch, Wilts.', in History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, London 1964-, 1754-1790,
Checked and foundItem on publisher's website

J. Dawkins, 'Dawkins, Henry', in C. Matthew et al. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 1992-,
Checked and foundItem on publisher's website

J. Turner et al. (eds), Grove Art Online, Oxford 1998-,
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website

UCL Department of History, 'Henry Dawkins II', in UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership, London 2020,
Checked and foundItem on publisher's website

Wine, Humphrey, National Gallery Catalogues: The Eighteenth Century French Paintings, London 2018
Checked and foundPublisher's cover shot