DEWAR, John (c.1746-95), of Clapham, Surr.

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



20 Feb. 1776 - 1780

Family and Education

b. c.1746, 1st s. of George Dewar of Antigua by Christina, da. and h. of John Panton of Basseterre, St. Kitts. m. 27 Aug. 1766, Caroline, da. of James Vernon of Hilton Park, Staffs.

Offices Held


John Dewar’s grandfather was a merchant and postmaster of Edinburgh; his father emigrated to the West Indies, and on his return purchased an estate at Doles, near Enham, Hampshire.

Dewar was a stranger to Cricklade when he contested it at the general election of 1774. He declined during the poll. Nevertheless, on a vacancy in December 1774 he came forward once more, and was defeated apparently by the partiality of the returning officer, who closed the poll on the pretext of violence, and submitted a double return. The House of Commons declared the election void. In February 1775 he again contested the seat, in opposition to Samuel Peach and Samuel Petrie. Once again the returning officer intervened on Peach’s behalf, and disqualified 108 of Dewar’s votes. Peach was declared elected, but on petition the House seated Dewar. Dewar was absent at the time his petition came before the House, and his father sought leave to withdraw it. It was prosecuted, however, by Henry Herbert and Petrie, who between them seated Dewar despite himself.

In Robinson’s list on the contractors bill, Dewar appears as ‘pro, abroad’. His first recorded vote was over Keppel, 3 Mar. 1779, and in the four extant division lists, March-April 1780, he appears as voting with the Government. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.

Robinson’s estimate for the 1780 election was that ‘Mr. Dewar certainly will not come in again’. This was probably because he was in difficult financial circumstances. In 1784 his father made a will disinheriting John in favour of his younger brother, David.1 He complained that his son had ‘by a continued series of imprudences and extravagances, involved himself hopelessly in difficulties’, and that he had sold an annuity of £400 p.a. which his father had settled on him.

Dewar died 9 Feb. 1795.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. PCC 371 Norfolk.