CRAUFURD, James (c.1744-1811).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



28 Nov. 1783 - 1784

Family and Education

b. c.1744, 2nd s. of Patrick Craufurd of Auchenames, and bro. of John Craufurd (d. 1814). educ. Eton 1755-8; Grand Tour 1760-1. unm.

Offices Held

Entered army 1762; lt. 3 Ft. Gds. and capt. 1766; capt. and lt.-col. 1775; lt.-col. 73 Ft. 1780-3; equerry to Queen Charlotte 1766-94;1 gov. Bermuda 1794-6.


Known at Eton as ‘Flesh’ to distinguish him from his elder brother ‘Fish’ Craufurd;2 sometimes as the ‘young Fish’. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire describes him as ‘very gallant’ but lazy;3 Mme du Deffand, as ‘assez bon enfant’.4 He was a reckless gambler. Lord March wrote to Selwyn, February 1773:5‘The Fish says that Colonel Craufurd continues to lose, and that he complains he has no money, nor anything now remaining of all his riches but bad debts.’ And Selwyn to Lord Carlisle, 4 Aug. 1775:6 Craufurd has ‘paid another enormous sum for his brother, with which he torments or diverts everybody, while his brother does not seem to think himself obliged for a shilling’. In December 1774 John Craufurd applied to Lord Dartmouth for James to be made governor of East Florida.7 In June 1779 James and Hare, bracketed for ‘foreign ministers’ in the King’s ‘minutes of arrangements for consideration’,8 competed for the post of minister to Warsaw. Carlisle wrote to Selwyn, 21 May: ‘The old Fish’s importunity will beat me in my application for Hare, and the young Fish will go to Warsaw.’ But to Fish’s intense annoyance Hare won, and his brother was to go to Germany.9 Then new complications arose: Craufurd asked ‘that he might remain in the Guards during his mission to Munich’; Lord North dallied; Fish, losing patience, arranged for an exchange between James and an officer going out to India; and James reluctantly accepted the arrangement.10 By the time North brought up the matter the King had already consented to the exchange—‘more advantageous to Lt.-Col. Craufurd than going to Munich’;11 and when North, with a guilty feeling, reverted to the subject12—the Colonel foresaw ‘little prospect of early advantage in India’—the King expressed disapproval of officers in the Guards being in wartime ‘employed in foreign courts’—‘if I was to advise him I should think in his situation no means as advisable as his going to the East Indies’.13 When Craufurd was about to embark in May 1780, North obtained for him permission to retain during his absence the ‘very genteel and distinguished’ post he held ‘in her Majesty’s family’.14

When Craufurd was about to return to England, Lord Macartney wrote to John Macpherson from Fort St. George, 11 Jan. 1782:15

Col. Craufurd is determined to go home and even grows a little angry at his friends attempting to dissuade him. He has £1,800 p.a., and yet says one reason for leaving us is that he cannot live upon it. He throws away in my opinion a brilliant fortune, whether considered in the light of affluence, or reputation.

Craufurd’s return for Horsham in November 1783 on Lady Irwin’s interest was arranged by her son-in-law Lord William Gordon who supported the Coalition Administration.16 So did Craufurd; and on Gordon going over to Pitt he lost his seat in 1784. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.

He died in New York 22 Mar. 1811.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. P. Craufurd to Mure, 11 Dec. 1766, Caldwell Pprs. ii (2), p. 96.
  • 2. Eton Coll. Reg. 1753-90. Ld. Bessborough, Georgiana, 92.
  • 3. Ld. Bessborough, Georgiana, 92.
  • 4. To Horace Walpole, 29 Apr. 1772.
  • 5. J. H. Jesse, Selwyn, iii. 27. Misdated ‘1772’; cf. Mme du Deffand to H. Walpole, 26 Feb. 1773.
  • 6. HMC Carlisle, 284.
  • 7. HMC Dartmouth, ii. 238.
  • 8. Fortescue, iv. 353.
  • 9. Jesse, iv. 156, 223.
  • 10. North to the King, 17 Jan. 1780, Fortescue, v. 10-11.
  • 11. The King to North, 17 Jan. ibid. 11.
  • 12. North to the King, 28 Jan. ibid. 13-14.
  • 13. The King to North, 3 Mar. 1780, ibid. 25.
  • 14. North to the King, 20 May, and the King to North, 21 May, ibid. 63-64.
  • 15. Private Corresp. Lord Macartney, ed. Davies, 19.
  • 16. Laprade, 91, 101.