ADEANE, James Whorwood (1740-1802), of Babraham, Cambs. and Chalgrove, Oxon.

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



1780 - May 1789
19 May 1789 - 15 Apr. 1802

Family and Education

bap. 14 Dec. 1740, o.s. of Simon Adeane1 of Chalgrove by Mary, da. of Hon. and Rev. Henry Brydges (bro. of James, 1st Duke of Chandos). educ. ?Westminster 1750-4. m. c.1763, Anne, da. and h. of Robert Jones, 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1747.

Offices Held

Entered army 1755;2 lt. 71 Ft. 1757; capt. 67 Ft. 1761; lt. and capt. 1st troop Horse Gren. Gds. 1763; maj. 1768; capt. and lt.-col. 1770; col. 1779; maj.-gen. 1782; col. 45 Ft. 1788- d.; lt.-gen. 1796; gen. 1801.

Groom of the bedchamber 1784- d.


Adeane’s own property lay in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, but in 1774 his son, then a child, inherited the estate of Babraham (6½ miles outside Cambridge) under the will of his maternal grandfather, and in November 1776 Adeane announced his intention of standing for Cambridge at the next vacancy. He assiduously cultivated an interest there, and according to Dr. Ewin, a Cambridge correspondent of Lord Hardwicke, declared that he would spend £10,000 to secure his return.3 By 16 Jan. 1780 Ewin reported4 that Adeane obviously thought he was

clear in his seat for this town, indeed the attention he pays to it by his almost constant weekly visits and making a point of buying everything he wants here, gains him many friends, and he makes himself all things to all men, rather too much so.

Nevertheless, a sudden demand for his qualification just before the poll so confused Adeane that, according to Ewin,5 ‘he was inclined to give it up’, and was only saved by his wife producing the necessary information, whereupon he was returned at the head of the poll.

In Parliament Adeane seems at first to have supported North’s Administration; was classed as ‘pro’ in Robinson’s survey of February 1781,6 and does not appear in the Opposition list on Lowther’s motion against the war, 12 Dec. 1781,6 but he voted with Opposition on the censure motion against the Admiralty, 20 Feb. 1782, and in the four subsequent divisions for which lists are extant before the fall of North. Adeane voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, for Pitt’s parliamentary reform proposals, 7 May 1783, and against Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. He was classed as ‘pro’ in Robinson’s list of January 1784 and in Stockdale’s of 19 Mar.

At the general election of 1784 Adeane was returned for Cambridge unopposed. During this Parliament his only reported votes were in favour of Pitt’s parliamentary reform proposals, 18 Apr. 1785, and Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786. In the debate of 18 May 1786, when John Mortlock, Adeane’s fellow Member for Cambridge, was accused of altering several names in a list of commissioners for executing the Land Tax Act, Adeane, who had officially delivered the list, intervened several times to pursue the charges, and produced a resolution of 1780 ‘stating that any person’s altering any paper belonging to that House, was to be deemed and considered as highly criminal’—his only reported speech before 1790.7

When in May 1789 the death of Sir Henry Peyton vacated one of the Cambridge county seats, Adeane used his appointment as groom of the bedchamber five years previously as a means to vacate his seat at Cambridge, and with the support of the Rutland family8 was returned for the county unopposed.

Adeane died 15 Apr. 1802.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. I. R. Christie, ‘Adeane of Babraham’, Gen. Mag. xiii, pp. 385-6.
  • 2. Adeane to Pitt, 9 Mar. 1788, Chatham mss.
  • 3. Add. 35626, f. 22.
  • 4. To Hardwicke, ibid. f. 107.
  • 5. Ewin to Hardwicke, 7 Sept. 1780, ibid. f. 174; W. Cole’s account of the election confirms this report.
  • 6. Abergavenny mss.
  • 7. Stockdale, viii. 307-8, 399, 403, 465.
  • 8. Duchess of Rutland to Pitt, 27 Mar. 1789, Chatham mss.