Dawsonne Drake

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The Right Honourable
Dawsonne Drake
1st British Governor of Manila
In office
November 2, 1762 – May 31, 1764
Monarch George III of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra
(As Governor-General of the Philippines and Manila)
Succeeded by Francisco Javier de la Torre
(As the Governor-General of the Philippines and Manila since 17 March 1764)
Governor of White Town
In office
Personal details
Born 1724
Madras, India (now Chennai, India)
Died 1784 (aged 59–60)

The Rt. Hon. Dawsonne Drake (1724–1784) was the sole British governor of Manila from 1762 to 1764, during the British occupation of the Seven Years' War. Prior to his term as the Manila administrator, he was the governor of White Town from 1742 to 1762.


Born in Madras, India (now Chennai, India) in 1724, Dawsonne Drake was the second son of George Drake (4 December 1696 - 1741), a native of Buckland and descendant of Sir Francis Drake, and his wife, Sophia Bugden.

In 1742, Dawsonne Drake joined the British East India Company where he held the position as the clerk. At that time, he also became the governor of White Town, Madras. Because of his faithful service and good connection, he was promoted again and again until he became a member of the Madras Council.

On 2 November 1762, he assumed gubernatorial office as the first British governor of Manila. He was assisted by a council of four, consisting of John L. Smith, Claud Russel, Henry Brooke and Samuel Johnson. During his administration in the Philippines, his term was scandalized by bitter quarrels with various military officers (General William Draper; Admiral Cornish; Major Felt; Captain Thomas Backhouse (command British forces in Manila); and Captain William Brereton[disambiguation needed], RN).[citation needed]


Upon his return to India in 1764, he was tried by the Madras Council on charges filed by his enemies such as bribery, misappropriation of public funds, and violation of orders from the Company. He was found guilty and was sentenced to be dismissed and shipped back to England. The directors of East India Company at London, however, in consideration of his previous services, modified the sentence by simply demoting his rank.[citation needed]

Drake continued to serve as member of the Madras Council until his death in 1784. He left a large fortune, including some valuable Spanish paintings which were part of the loot of Manila.[citation needed] He died unmarried in 1784.


Political offices
Preceded by
Newly established
Preceded by Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra
As Governor-General of the Philippines and Manila
British Governor of Manila
1762— 1764
Succeeded by
Succeeded by Francisco Javier de la Torre
As the Governor-General of the Philippines and Manila (since March 17, 1764)
Preceded by
Governor of White Town, Madras
Succeeded by