John Vaughan (British Army officer, died 1795)

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For other people named John Vaughan, see John Vaughan (disambiguation).

Lieutenant-General Sir John Vaughan KB (c. 1731 – 30 June 1795), styled The Honourable from 1741, was a British soldier and a Member of Parliament in both the British and Irish Parliaments.

Background and early career[edit]

Vaughan was the second son of the 3rd Viscount Lisburne. He began his military career as an officer in the 9th Marines, being commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1746; but he transferred to the 10th Dragoons as a cornet in 1748, being promoted to lieutenant in 1751, captain-lieutenant in 1754 and Major in 1759. In 1760 he became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 94th Foot, and held the same rank in the 16th Foot from 1762. He served in both Germany and North America during the Seven Years' War, leading a division of grenadiers with great distinction at the capture of Martinique. In 1772 he was promoted to colonel, and from 1775 until his death was Colonel of the 46th Foot.

Member of Parliament[edit]

He entered the British Parliament in 1774 as member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, holding the seat for the remaining twenty years of his life. From 1776 to 1783 he was also a member of the Irish Parliament and represented St Johnstown (County Longford). He was appointed Governor of Fort William in 1779 and then in 1780 Governor of Berwick, also holding this post until his death, although it did not interfere with his active military career. He was a reliable supporter of the government when in the House of Commons, but of course could not attend while he was absent on active service: at the 1780 election the government's election managers considered trying to replace him temporarily as Berwick's MP by someone who would be able to attend and vote, but the borough's patrons would have none of it and he was returned unopposed.

American War of Independence[edit]

Following the outbreak of the American War of Independence Vaughan returned to North America as a Major-General, serving from 1776 until 1779. He led the grenadiers at the Battle of Long Island, and was wounded in the thigh; he commanded a column in the Battle of Short Hills, New Jersey, in July 1777, and he commanded a column during the successful assault on Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, where his horse was killed under him. In 1779 he returned to England but was immediately appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Leeward Islands: he served in the West Indies from 1779 until 1782, taking a leading part in Rodney's Capture of St Eustatius in 1781. Later in the year he was accused of embezzling the property confiscated at St Eustatius, and was forced to defend himself against Burke's attack in Parliament, stating that he had not profited by a shilling and had always acted in the national interest rather than his own. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1782.

Later life[edit]

1792 he was knighted as a Knight of the Bath (KB). In 1795 he was appointed once more to command in the Leeward Islands, but died later the same year at Martinique.


Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir John Delaval
Robert Paris Taylor
Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed
With: Jacob Wilkinson 1774–1780
Sir John Delaval 1780–1786
Sir Gilbert Elliot 1786–1790
Captain Charles Carpenter 1790–1795
Succeeded by
Captain Charles Carpenter
John Callender
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Ralph Fetherston
Robert Jephson
Member of Parliament for
St Johnstown (County Longford)

With: Sir Ralph Fetherston, 1st Bt 1776–1780
Sackville Hamilton 1780–1783
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Fetherston, 2nd Bt
Nicholas Colthurst
Military offices
Preceded by
Hon. William Howe
Colonel of the 46th Foot
Succeeded by
Sir James Craig
Preceded by
John Burgoyne
Governor of Fort William
Succeeded by
James Murray
Preceded by
Sir John Mordaunt
Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed
Succeeded by
The Viscount Howe