FARRER, Thomas (1744-97), of Clapham, Yorks.

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



1780 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 4 Feb. 1744, 3rd s. of James Farrer of Ingleton, Yorks. by Mary, da. and h. of Thomas Harrison of Ingleton. unm.

Offices Held


Farrer was trained as a solicitor in London, where he set up in practice. In 1774 he went to India as private secretary to Colonel Monson, one of the newly appointed members of the supreme council of Bengal. On arrival he started practice as a barrister in the new supreme court of Bengal, and in 1778 returned to England with a fortune said to be £60,000.1

In 1780 Farrer, recommended by Administration, negotiated his return for Wareham on the Calcraft interest. In Parliament he voted with Opposition on Lowther’s motion against the war, 12 Dec. 1781; the censure motion against the Admiralty, 20 Feb. 1782; and Conway’s motion against the war, 22 Feb.; but with Administration on Cavendish’s censure motion, 8 Mar. Yet on 15 Mar., on Rous’s motion, he again voted with Opposition. He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; was classed as ‘doubtful, some hope’ in Robinson’s list of January 1784, and as a Pittite in Stockdale’s of 19 Mar. and Adam’s of May.

Farrer’s only recorded vote in the new Parliament was with Pitt on the first division on the Regency, 16 Dec. 1788, but in the consolidated list drawn up in February 1789 he is counted as having voted with the Opposition. His only reported speeches were on 7 and 11 Feb. 1788, during the debates on the impeachment of Impey, when he told the House that ‘he had it in his power to throw more light upon the business of the first charge than any other man could’, and agreed to give evidence as an impartial witness but ‘would on no account consent to be considered as witness either of the accusers or the accused’.2

Farrer died 12 Mar. 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. T. Cecil, 2nd Baron Farrer, Some Farrer Memorials, 136 seq.
  • 2. Stockdale, xiii. 171.