Caldwell, Andrew (1733–1808), barrister, politician, and social figure, was born on 19 December 1733, the first of three sons of Charles Caldwell (1707–76), solicitor to the commissioners of revenue and agent to Lord Bessborough, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Heywood of Drogheda and Liverpool. Having entered Glasgow University (1751), he was admitted to the Middle Temple, London (11 December 1752), and was called to the Irish bar (1760). Heir to his father's landed property in Co. Louth and urban property in Dublin, he devoted more of his time to becoming a prominent social figure in Dublin than he did to practising law. He was of a literary disposition and loved the fine arts, especially architecture.
According to the obituary of Caldwell in the Gentleman's Magazine, he ‘about the year 1770 published anonymously some very judicious observations on the public buildings of Dublin’. These seem to have been the series of five long articles on Dublin buildings which appeared in the Freeman's Journal between 31 December 1768 and 11 February 1769. They have not been found in book or pamphlet form. His only other literary productions were Account of the extraordinary escape of James Stewart, Esquire . . . from being put to death by some Turks (1804) and a memoir, Caldwell family (1815?), which his brother Benjamin (1737?–1820), a Royal Navy admiral, added to and published after his death. He was an active member of the Dublin wide streets commission (from 1778) and a commissioner for planning the town of New Geneva. A member of the Dublin Society (from 1767), he was very active and was involved in the purchase of land for the Botanic Garden at Glasnevin. He assembled a library strong in natural history and was elected MRIA (23 January 1786).
Caldwell was MP for Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny (1776–83), having purchased the seat from Sir Hercules Langrishe (qv). He was MP for Downpatrick (1783–90), through the influence of John Ponsonby (qv), with whom he aligned himself in the Irish house of commons. When the Bank of Ireland was floated in 1783 he subscribed £1,000; when the bank acquired for conversion to its own use the redundant Parliament House, Caldwell acted as an adjudicator in the competition for a design (1802). A presbyterian (unusual for an MP), he signed the call to William Bruce (qv) to Strand St., Dublin (March 1782). Caldwell lived nearby in Cavendish Row. Though well-mannered and urbane, Andrew Caldwell was exceptionally ugly. He died unmarried on 2 July 1808 at the house near Bray, Co. Wicklow, of a nephew, Sir George Cockburn (qv); he was buried in the graveyard of Glasnevin parish church.