Sir John Charles Dalrymple Hay (1821-1912) was a naval officer and politician. He joined the navy in 1834 as a 13 year old and served on numerous ships, including as captain of the HMS Victory. In 1866, he was promoted to rear admiral, the same year he was appointed junior naval lord in the Derby ministry. On 1 March 1870, Hay was placed on the list of officers to be retired under the reform introduced by the Liberal first lord, Hugh Childers. Though he protested this decision, it was upheld by the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. As a politician, Hay sat as Conservative MP for Wakefield from 1862 to 1865 and for Stamford from 1866 to 1880.
“The elder son of a second baronet, coming of an old Scottish family, Sir John Hay was wisely sent into the Navy at thirteen, served with bravery and distinction in all parts of the world, and seemed destined to the most brilliant career and the highest kind of reputation that a British sailor need desire. But at forty he left sailorising to begin politics, and being brought into the House of Commons for Wakefield, he was received as a naval authority and soon made a Lord of the Admiralty. When his Party went out in 1868 he found himself without sufficient employment, and was so ill advised as to embark in commercial operations, in the belief that a poor gentleman might take part in such with safety as well as with profit. The result has been that although his honour has remained unquestioned, his judgment and information have been found in fault, and that he has been made to suffer much criticism and great losses, for which his only consolation can be the consciousness of the rectitude of this purposes. It was but last year he was made a Privy Councillor, and seemed certain to play an important part in the affairs of the country; and were this not the case it would be impossible not to feel sympathy and regret for the sailor who at his age of fifty-four is found to have been made so completely the dupe of designing persons. Sir John is a Vice-Admiral on the retired list.”