AGNEW, John (1759-1812), of Whitton Park, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 1759. m. Elizabeth, ?da. of Maj William Stevens, E.I. Co. service, 1s. d.v.p. 2da.
Writer, E.I. Co. (Bombay) 1782; jun. merchant 1790; Dutch and French translator; sec. to commr. of accts.; first asst. to transfer master and sheriff; commercial resident, Calicut, commissary of supplies and postmaster of province 1795.
Agnew, after his return from India about 1795, had a Scottish address as well as an English one and Drumbovie, Wigtownshire was doubtless the district of his birth. He may have been linked with the Agnews of Lochnaw, though proof of it is wanting. On the strength of his Indian fortune he invested in a bank partnership in London, joining Walwyn, Strange, Dashwood, Steward and Macgeorge of 150, New Bond Street in 1799. Several of the partners, including Henry Dundas’s son-in-law, James Charles Stuart Strange*, had an East Indian background.1
In the same year, Agnew entered Parliament by some arrangement with Joseph Foster Barham, who vacated Stockbridge in his favour. In the House he made no mark and did not oppose administration, except on Sturt’s motion for inquiry into the failure of the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb. 1801.2 This was his only known vote. Barham reclaimed his seat at the dissolution and Agnew stood at Bridgwater, where he was defeated as second string on an interest hostile to government. After an unsuccessful petition, he was prepared to persevere, 9 Mar. 1803, but the failure of his banking house ended his public career. According to Lord Minto the failure was due ‘to the misconduct of one of the partners, Mr Agnew’.3 Unlike Strange, he did not return to India. He died 13 Nov. 1812, aged 53.