FAWCETT, Henry (1762-1816), of Scaleby Castle, nr. Carlisle, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1806 - 1807
1812 - 15 Feb. 1816

Family and Education

b. 26 May 1762, 1st s. of James Fawcett of Broadfield, Dent, Yorks. by Agnes, da. of Henry Stephenson of Docker Garth and Lupton High, Cumb., sis. of Rowland Stephenson of Scaleby Castle. m. 18 Feb. 1794, at Bombay, Helen Hutchins, da. of Maj.-Gen. John Bellasis, E.I. Co. artillery, 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 1803.

Offices Held

Writer E.I. Co. (Bombay) 1782, factor 1784; first asst. to accountant, 1785-7, dep. accountant 1787; jun. merchant 1790, sen. 1792; accountant-gen. to mayor’s ct. 1789-94; military auditor-gen. 1792; accountant-gen. and civil auditor 1794-1803; member of council 1801.

Sheriff, Bombay 1785; capt. Bombay fencibles 1799.


While in the East India Company service, Fawcett was one of the original partners of the firm of Bruce and Fawcett of Bombay. He left India in 1803 and took up residence at 47 Portland Place, continuing his business partnership with Patrick Craufurd Bruce, George Simson* and John de Ponthieu*.1 Like his partners he sought a seat in Parliament and in 1806 purchased one from (Sir) Christopher Hawkins*. He made no mark in his first Parliament. In 1812, with his mother’s family seat of Scaleby Castle as his base, he contested Carlisle, which his uncle Rowland Stephenson had represented on the independent anti-Lowther interest from 1785 until 1790. He was thought to have little chance of success, but benefited by promises of advantage to the local textile manufacturers from his India House connexions and by the loss of nerve of John Christian Curwen*, who withdrew, letting Fawcett in unopposed. Fawcett eschewed politics and regarded himself as champion of the independent party: he was supposed to have courted the ‘Methodistical’ freemen.2

Fawcett was ‘reckoned with Lord Wellesley’3 in November 1812, though not in the Wellesleyite list, but government were also ‘hopeful’ of his support. On 2 Mar. 1813 he voted for Catholic relief but on 13 and 24 May against the relief bill. He spoke and voted against the diffusion of Christianity in India, 22 June, 1 and 13 July 1813. He was a critic of the East India Company charter bill, 28 June, 2, 12 July 1813. On 2 and 9 Dec. 1813 he spoke again on East India trade, being critical of the East India circuitous trade bill and import duty. He said a few words on the Manchester cotton trade petition, 6 July 1814. On 3 and 10 Mar. 1815 he was in the minorities against the second and third reading of the corn bill, observing on 8 Mar. that even agriculturalists had informed him that they had no wish to see the importation threshold price fixed so high. On 29 and 30 June and 3 July 1815 he opposed the marriage grant to the Duke of Cumberland, though he was in the majority on the Regent’s application of his public grant on 31 May.

Fawcett died 15 Feb. 1816, after a horse had stepped on his foot. He left a party of admirers at Carlisle, but despite a gesture by his cousin Rowland Stephenson, no member of his family was up to leading it at that time and Curwen recaptured the seat.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: J. W. Anderson / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. R.T. and A. Gunther, Rolfe Fam. Recs. (1914), ii. 180-94.
  • 2. R. S. Ferguson, Cumb. and Westmld. MPs, 222; F. Jollie, Pol. Hist. Carlisle (1820), 21; Lonsdale mss, Wybergh to Lonsdale, 22 Feb. 1816.
  • 3. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 18 Nov. 1812.
  • 4. Jollie, 23.