ELLICE, William (?1781-1822), of Park Street, Grosvenor Square, Mdx.

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



1807 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 1781,1 1st s. of Alexander Ellice, merchant, of 27 Mark Lane, London, and bro. of Edward Ellice*. educ. ?Eton to 1796; Glasgow Univ. 1796. m. 23 Oct. 1809, Harriet, da. of Hercules Ross of Rossie, Angus, 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1805.

Offices Held

Capt. Newfoundland fencibles 1801, Canadian fencible inf. 1803-5.


After completing his education in Scotland, Ellice preceded his younger brother Edward to Montreal, whence his father had emigrated to preside over the London branch of his business firm.2 He served in the Canadian fencible militia from 1801 to 1805. Returning to England on his father's death, when he acquired his father's Caribbean assets, he was a partner in the family firm of Phyn, Ellice and Inglis, but overshadowed by his brother Edward. In 1807 he contested Grimsby, where a long purse was needed, as a friend of the Portland administration. He headed the poll and was awarded patronage of any places government had to bestow, but to discourage a petition against his return, he snubbed his fellow ministerial candidate Loft and did not, as he later learnt, satisfy the venal electors.

Ellice seems to have had nothing to say at Westminster. He took leave of absence for illness, 29 Mar. 1808. His first known vote with opposition was on 26 Jan. 1810, on the Scheldt question. He voted likewise on 23 Feb., but with ministers on 30 Mar. The Whigs went so far as to list him a supporter of Canning, but Canning did not refer to him as such. He voted against the committal of Burdett to the Tower, 5 Apr. 1810, but against the release of Gale Jones, 16 Apr. He voted against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810, as well as against sinecure reform 17 May 1810, 4 May 1812. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. On 21 May 1812 he voted against Stuart Wortley's motion for a stronger administration.

Ellice did not contest the election of 1812. His Grimsby agent had warned him in the autumn of 1811 that unless he satisfied those electors who had not benefited by his largesse to date, he might as well stay away; and if he paid up, he must stand in conjunction with Loft.3 Ellice had no interest in such a bad investment. He died at East Sheen in 1822.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. His parents were married at St. Benet Fink, London, 1 June 1781.
  • 2. R. H. Fleming, 'Phyn, Ellice and Company of Schenectady'. Contributions to Canadian Economic Hist. (Toronto Univ. Studies), iv. 9.
  • 3. NLS, Ellice mss E50, ff. 66, 68, 70.