Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/138

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fur trade into the hands of the French in Canada. The new expedition, consisting of two small vessels under the command of G. Moor, who had been master of the Discovery with Middleton, left England in 1746. An account of the voyage was published by Henry Ellis [q. v.] under the title ‘Voyage to Hudson's Bay in the Dobbs and California’ (London, 1748, 8vo). The results, disproving the existence of a passage in the locality supposed, served to rehabilitate Middleton in the eyes of the public. Dobbs then dropped the subject altogether, as appears from some remarks in a paper on ‘Bees, and the mode of taking Wax and Honey,’ which he wrote in ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ 1750 (‘Abridg.’ x. 78).

In 1754 Dobbs was appointed governor of North Carolina, a post worth 1,000l. a year. He arrived out in the fall, attended, the historian of the state relates, by numerous relatives, all full of hope of places and preferment. He was one of the colonial governors who attended the council at Hampton, Virginia, summoned by General Braddock in April 1755. He brought out as gifts from the king to the province several pieces of cannon and a thousand stand of muskets; but he also brought a more powerful advocate than arms, a printer, who was to be encouraged to carry on his calling. Dobbs adopted a conciliatory policy with the Indian tribes, and commissioned Colonel Waddell of Rowan county to treat with the Catawbas and Cherokees. In a despatch of December 1757 he gave a deplorable account of the quit-rents in the province, with some curious particulars of ‘Mr. Starkey, the treasurer, who governs the council by lending them money’ (Wheeler, i. 47). During Dobbs's government the administration of justice in the province was much improved, but its chief characteristic was an interminable series of petty squabbles with the legislature, arising from a somewhat high-handed assertion of the royal prerogative on the part of the governor and stubborn resistance on the part of the colonists (ib.) Dobbs died at his seat, Town Creek, N.C., 28 March 1765.

[Burke's Landed Gentry; Returns of Members of Parliament, vol. i.; Watt's Bibliotheca Brit.; Dobbs's Works; McCulloch's Literature of Political Economy, p. 46; Dict. Universelle, under ‘Christopher Middleton’ and ‘H. Ellis;’ Parkman's Montcalm and Wolfe (London, 1884), i. 191–5; Carolina Papers in Public Record Office, London; Wheeler's Hist. of North Carolina (Philadelphia, 1851), i. 46–7; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. v. 63, 82, 104, 6th ser. viii. 128.]

H. M. C.

DOBBS, FRANCIS (1750–1811), Irish politician, was a descendant of Richard Dobbs, fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and second son of Richard Dobbs of Castletown, whose elder son, Arthur Dobbs [q. v.], was the governor of North Carolina. He was born on 27 April 1750, and after taking his degree at Trinity College was called to the Irish bar in 1773, and in the following year produced a tragedy, ‘The Patriot King, or the Irish Chief.’ It was published in London, but does not seem ever to have been acted. On his return to Dublin, after publishing this tragedy, he took a leading part in the brilliant social life of the Irish capital, and was noted for his wit and poetical ability, and also for a growing eccentricity. He took a keen interest in the independent political life of Ireland which existed during the last quarter of the last century and published his first political pamphlets during the volunteer agitation. The pamphlets are all worth reading, and all essentially the author's; they are: ‘A Letter to Lord North,’ 1780; ‘Thoughts on Volunteers,’ 1781; ‘A History of Irish Affairs from 12 Oct. 1779 to 15 Sept. 1782,’ 1782; and ‘Thoughts on the present Mode of Taxation in Great Britain,’ 1784. Throughout this stirring period he was a noted political personage, a leading volunteer, a friend of Lord Charlemont, and the representative of a northern volunteer corps at the Dungannon convention in 1782. Dobbs then turned for a time from politics, and his eccentricity taking the shape of a belief in the millennium, he published in 1787 four large volumes of a ‘Universal History, commencing at the Creation and ending at the death of Christ, in letters from a father to his son,’ in which he exerted himself to prove historically the exact fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies. He also published in 1788 a volume of poems, most of which had appeared in various periodicals, and many of which possess great merit. Dobbs was fanatically opposed to the legislative union with England, and believed it not only inexpedient but impious. Lord Charlemont and the other national leaders determined to make use of him, and in 1797 he was returned to the Irish House of Commons for Lord Charlemont's borough of Charlemont. He soon delivered an important speech and submitted five propositions for tranquillising the country, which were published in 1799, but the success of that speech was quite overshadowed by the enormous popularity of his great speech delivered against the Union Bill on 7 June 1800, of which, it is said, thirty thousand copies were immediately sold. This popularity was due as much to the eccentric nature of Dobbs's arguments against the union as to its eloquence, for he devoted himself to proving that the union was forbidden by scripture, by