STEUART, James (d.1757), of St. George's, Hanover Sq., London.
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Family and Education
s. of John Steuart and nephew of Gen. William Steuart of St. George’s, Hanover Sq., and of Ireland. m. bef. 1744, Mary, da. of John Taylor of Portsmouth, 1s. suc. to half the estate of his uncle, Gen. Steuart 1726.1
Capt. R.N. 1709, r.-adm. 1742, v.-adm. 1743, adm. 1747, adm. and c.-in-c. of the fleet 1750-d.
In 1715 Steuart commanded a squadron on the west coast of Scotland engaged in helping the military to round up the rebels, but his next twenty-five years were passed in complete obscurity.2 He was still a post captain in 1740, when he was put up by George Bubb Dodington for Weymouth at the forthcoming general election as a friend of the Duke of Argyll.3 Though returned as an opposition candidate, by the opening of the session of 1742-3 he was regarded as a government supporter; his only recorded vote was for the Hanoverians in 1744; and in 1746 he was classed as Old Whig. Meanwhile, thanks to the outbreak of war and his own seniority, his advancement was as rapid as it previously had been slow. Beginning the war as a captain of some thirty years standing, he ended it as a full admiral and the third senior officer of the navy.
In 1747 Steuart wrote to Henry Pelham and the Duke of Bedford, then the first lord of the Admiralty, about his prospects of re-election. ‘The state of affairs is this’, Pelham explained to Bedford:
Mr. Dodington and I have agreed to nominate two persons each; Mr. Dodington would not name Mr. Steuart for one of his, and I did not see the necessity of my naming him for one of ours. Dodington, therefore, made the best excuse to him he could, and I must own, in my sense, not an improper one. For during these three or four years Mr. Steuart has had a command at Portsmouth which has kept him from attending Parliament as much as if he had been in the West Indies; besides, to whom does he belong? Not to your Grace, otherwise than as his profession obliges him; and as to your humble servant I have no knowledge of him but what was acquired by House of Commons acquaintance.4
Steuart did not obtain a seat. He died 30 Mar. 1757, having risen by seniority to the post of commander-in-chief of the fleet.