ADAMS, James (1752-1816), of Berkeley Square, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

21 Aug. 1784 - 1790
1790 - 1796
1796 - 1802
7 Apr. 1803 - 1806
9 Mar. 1807 - 1807

Family and Education

b. 5 June 1752, 1st s. of Sir Richard Adams, baron of Exchequer, by 1st w., and bro. of Charles Adams*. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1769; I. Temple 1769. m. 10 Sept. 1796, Mary Anne Susanna, da. and coh. (with Ursula Mary, w. of Henry Addington*) of Leonard Hammond of Cheam, Surr., 1s. suc. fa. 1774.

Offices Held

Ld. of Admiralty Feb. 1801-May 1804.

Biography

Adams rallied to Pitt’s administration in his first Parliament, sitting on the Buller interest. In 1790 and 1796 he was returned as a guest on the Calthorpe interest at Hindon and Bramber. He seldom spoke in debate, but not infrequently acted as teller for the government. He was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. On 26 Jan. 1795 he briefly opposed peace negotiations and on 4 Jan. 1798 supported Pitt’s assessed taxes. He had subscribed £5,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797 and his brother Charles £2,000. Although never particularly close to his brother-in-law Addington, he was appointed a lord of the Admiralty by the latter on taking office in 1801. He was occasionally obliged to bring up Admiralty business in the House, but took no great interest in it: he was absent from the board meeting of 20 Aug. 1802 which launched the inquiry into the management of the dockyards. He had heedlessly taken a holiday and St. Vincent had to insist that he should at least attend the proceedings at Chatham and Sheerness, the yards nearest his home.1 In the election of 1802 he had caused a stir by being defeated as Treasury nominee at Harwich, but gained the seat on petition. By then the other Member was Addington’s brother Hiley.

Adams joined Addington in opposition in 1804, voting against Pitt’s additional force bill in June. He voted with the majority for the criminal prosecution of Melville, 12 June 1805. His brother-in-law did not obtain any office for him in the Grenville ministry in 1806, but he voted with them for the repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. Lord Grenville could not be persu