SMITH, Hon. Robert John (1796-1868).

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



1818 - 1820
1820 - 1831
1831 - 18 Sept. 1838

Family and Education

b. 16 Jan. 1796, o.s. of Robert Smith*, 1st Baron Carrington, by 1st w. educ. Eton 1805-11; Christ’s, Camb. 1811-15. m. (1) 17 June 1822, Hon. Elizabeth Katherine Weld Forester (d. 22 July 1832), da. of Cecil Weld Forester*, 1st Baron Forester, 1da.; (2) 10 Aug. 1840, Hon. Charlotte Augusta Annabella Drummond Willoughby, da. of Peter Robert Drummond Willoughby (formerly Drummond Burrell*), 22nd Lord Willoughby of Eresby, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Carrington 18 Sept. 1838; took name of Carrington in lieu of Smith by royal lic. 26 Aug. 1839.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Bucks. 1839-d.; col. Bucks. militia 1839.


Unlike his father and uncles, Smith played no part in the family’s banking and financial activities. He was elected to Brooks’s at the age of 19, on 10 Apr. 1815, and, after his return for the family pocket borough at the general election of 1818, signed the requisition calling on Tierney to take the leadership of the Whig opposition in the Commons. From the outset of his career he showed a far more decided commitment to the Whigs than did Lord Carrington and he voted consistently and regularly in opposition to government in the 1819 session. On 18 May 1819 Henry Williams Wynn told his wife, Smith’s sister, that the young man was ‘wrapped up in politics’ and ‘very mad with the Grenville party’, Carrington’s closest associates, over their refusal to support Tierney’s major censure motion.1 Early indications that Smith did not share his father’s political conservatism were his votes for inquiry into Scottish burgh reform, 1 Apr. and 6 May, but he did not go so far as to vote for Burdett’s parliamentary reform motion, 1 July 1819.

Thomas Grenville reported in October 1819 that Smith was thought to disagree with Carrington’s alarmist attitude towards the unrest which had followed the Peterloo incident; but according to Charles Williams Wynn it was ‘contrary to expectation’ that he voted for the amendment to the address, 24 Nov.2 He went on to vote for inquiry into the state of the nation, 30 Nov., and against the seditious meetings bill, 2, 6 and 8 Dec., the night searches provisions of the seizure of arms bill, 16 Dec., the stamp duties bill, 20 Dec., and the blasphemous libels bill, 21 Dec. 1819. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820. He died 17 Mar. 1868.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. NLW mss 2792.
  • 2. HMC Fortescue, x. 450; NLW, Coedymaen mss 12, f. 930.