EWER, William (c.1720-89), of Richmond, Surr.

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



23 Dec. 1765 - 23 June 1789

Family and Education

b. c.1720, 4th surv. s. of Henry Ewer of The Lea, Herts., by his w. Hester Dunster. His aunt Jane Ewer m. Anthony, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. unm. suc. uncle Charles Ewer, M.P., grocer and alderman of London 1742; and bro. Anthony Ewer 1755.

Offices Held

Director, Bank of England 1763- d., dep. gov. 1779-1782, gov. 1782-3; treasurer, Levant Co.


William Ewer and his brother Thomas inherited the grocery business of their uncle Charles Ewer, and continued trading at his premises. They also carried on business as Turkey merchants.

In 1765 William Ewer was returned unopposed for Dorchester on the interest of his cousin Lord Shaftesbury, governor of the Levant Company. In Rockingham’s list, November 1766, Ewer is classed as ‘doubtful’, and in Townshend’s, January 1767, as ‘Government’. He voted with the Opposition on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767.

In 1768 he successfully contested Dorchester on the Shaftesbury interest. During this Parliament he regularly voted with the court, except on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774, when he is described in the King’s list as normally a friend.

After 1771 Ewer subscribed very large sums to Government loans, and before 1781 his one recorded speech was on 26 May 1774 to defend the method of alloting subscriptions to the current loan.

Returned after a contest in 1774 and unopposed in 1780, he voted with the court till the fall of North, except on the division for an account of pensions, 21 Feb. 1780, when he voted with Opposition.

In 1781 he advised the Government on the loan, and on 12 Mar. made a short speech explaining and defending its terms. He spoke on the renewal of the Bank’s charter on 6 and 13 June 1781 when at some length he justified the bargain which as deputy governor he had helped to make. On 26 June 1782 he opposed the part of Burke’s bill for regulating the pay office which affected the Bank. His only other recorded speech in this Parliament was on the receipts tax, 5 June 1783. Ewer voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. In Robinson’s list of January 1784 he was described as ‘doubtful’. He was one of the St. Alban’s Tavern group which tried to unite Pitt and Fox; after its failure he went over to Fox, and remained in opposition. He made two other speeches: on the establishment of the sinking fund, 6 Apr. 1786; and presenting a petition of London merchants claiming the benefits to the country of the slave trade, 28 May 1788.

He died 23 June 1789.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond