WEDDELL, William (1736-92), of Newby, Yorks.

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



15 Mar. 1766 - 1774
28 Feb. 1775 - 1784
10 Aug. 1784 - 30 Apr. 1792

Family and Education

b. 13 May 1736, 2nd s. of Richard Elcock (afterwards Weddell) of Newby by Barbara, da. of Joseph Tomlinson, apothecary, of York. educ. Hackney; St. John’s, Camb. 1753; G. Inn 1753. m. 14 Feb. 1771, Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Ramsden, 3rd Bt., of Byram, s.p. suc. bro. 1756.

Offices Held


An old Yorkshire follower of Rockingham, Weddell was retained in his Malton seat by Rockingham’s heir, Earl Fitzwilliam. In 1788 he put himself out of the question for a county seat by reference to his health.1 After 1790 he voted with the Whigs on Grey’s motion on Oczakov, 12 Apr. 1791, and Whitbread’s on the Russian armament, 1 Mar. 1792. He was listed ‘doubtful’ on the Test Act repeal question in 1791. He is not known to have spoken in that Parliament. He shared the opinions of Edmund Burke, his colleague at Malton, on the effects of the French revolution on English politics, and, having received a copy of his Appeal from the new to the old Whigs, wrote to Burke, 27 Aug. 1791:

Having received so much satisfaction from your first book, I have the less to say upon this—(not as thinking it in any way inferior to the former one but)—because it breathes the same spirit of our constitution, with the same rectitude, and purity of mind, ever inherent in your disposition. Your defence of your own conduct is admirably set forth, and I feel much delight in your explanation (at this time much wanted to be understood) of that vulgar, tho’ I had almost said, mysterious word—the people ...

The spirit of anarchy and confusion, tho’ I fear not entirely destroyed, yet seemingly much quelled for the present, will it is to be hoped, bring forward the exertion of sober minds. You have the power to inculcate it. I can do little more than admire your efforts, which are likely to produce so much essential good.2

He died 30 Apr. 1792 ‘on entering the cold bath in Surrey Street, in the Strand, tempted by the extreme heat of the day ... seized with a sudden internal chill’.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F34/72.
  • 2. Ibid. Burke letters.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1792), i. 481; NLS mss 11048, f. 107.