WEST, James (1742-95).

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



8 June 1767 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 1742, o.s. of James West.  educ. Harrow c.1759; Glasgow Univ. 1760, Grand Tour (Holland, France, Italy) 1763.  m. 3 Feb. 1774, Sarah, da. of Christopher Wren of Wroxall Abbey, Warws., issue.  suc. fa. 2 July 1772.

Offices Held

Auditor of land revenue Mar. 1775- d.


Peter Thompson, a leading Poole merchant and an old friend of James West sen., suggested to him, 21 Apr. 1764, that he should try to ‘raise an interest here—not only to make Mr. West jun. a burgess but to represent us in Parliament’; and again, when in May 1765 Joseph Gulston sen. was about to vacate his seat, Thompson wanted West to ‘give out that provided they choose his son he will resign his recordership’; and felt certain that he would have carried the election.1 But apparently West thought his son not equal to a hot election contest. When in 1767 a vacancy was imminent at Newcastle’s pocket borough of Boroughbridge, West wished his son to succeed. Newcastle wrote to him, 15 Apr. 1767:

If the vacancy should happen which you mentioned to me this morning, I will not fail to recommend your son for the remainder of this Parliament only; which is all you desired. I have so many engagements at the next general election that, I am afraid, I shall not be able to comply with them, or otherwise I should not be so determined with regard to your son.

West replied the same day:

I never intended the least farther presumption ... than what your Grace mentions, that it is all I thought of, when as an affectionate father I mentioned my son to you this morning.2

James West jun. was abroad when returned for Boroughbridge, 8 June 1767.3 In Parliament he naturally followed his father’s line, and on 17 Feb. 1768, over the nullum tempus bill, voted with the Opposition. He is not known to have spoken in the House.

Before the general election of 1768 West jun. occasionally appears as a possible candidate in Newcastle’s election papers—thus in a list of 20 Nov. 1767: ‘Evesham—Mr. West, or his son’; never as a candidate for one of Newcastle’s own boroughs; nor did his father press to have him returned—he seemed rather disappointed in his son, who henceforth fades out politically. In 1775 he succeeded to the office of auditor of the land revenue, the reversion of which James West sen. had obtained for himself and his son when he left the Treasury with Newcastle in November 1756.4

West died 11 May 1795.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Thompson to West, 18, 25 May, 5 June 1765, West mss.
  • 2. Add. 32981, ff. 177, 179.
  • 3. T. Lawson-Tancred, Recs. of a Yorks. Manor, 303.
  • 4. Walpole to Mann, 29 Nov. 1756; West to Shelburne, 18 Nov. 1782, Lansdowne mss.