SMITH, Samuel (1754-1834), of Woodhall Park, Herts. and 39 Berkeley Square, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



3 Sept. 1788 - 1790
1790 - 1818
1818 - 1820
1820 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 14 Apr. 1754, 4th s. of Abel Smith† (d. 1788), banker, of Nottingham and London and Mary, da. of Thomas Bird of Barton, Warws.; bro. of George Smith*, John Smith* and Robert Smith†. m. 2 Dec. 1783, Elizabeth Frances, da. of Edmund Turnor of Panton, Lincs., 3s. 7da. (2 d.v.p.). d. 12 Mar. 1834.

Offices Held

Lt.-col. commdt. Nottingham vols. 1799.


Smith was senior partner in the family’s original Nottingham bank and had a substantial share in its branches in London, Derby and, until 1825, Hull.1 At the general election of 1820 his eldest brother Lord Carrington transferred him from Midhurst to his other nomination borough of Wendover, where he came in with his younger brother George. He continued to act generally with the conservative wing of the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s administration, but he was not a dedicated attender. He was in the opposition minorities on the civil list, 5, 8 May, the additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May, military expenditure, 16 May, the barracks establishment, 16 June, and economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820. He divided against government on the Queen Caroline affair, 23, 26 Jan., 6, 13 Feb. 1821. He was at odds with George and their brother John in voting against Catholic relief (which he had once supported), 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822 (as a pair), 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He divided with opposition on the revenue, 6 Mar., and for army reductions, 14 Mar., but, like George, was in the ministerial majority against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821. He paired for the forgery punishment mitigation bill, 23 May. He voted against the payment of arrears in the duke of Clarence’s grant, 18 June 1821.

Smith voted for the amendment to the address, 5 Feb. 1822. He may have divided for more extensive tax remissions, 11 Feb., but he was in the majority against a similar motion, 21 Feb. He voted to condemn Sir Robert Wilson’s* dismissal from the army, 13 Feb., and interference with Members’ letters, 25 Feb. He divided for admiralty economies, 1 Mar., abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., inquiry into diplomatic expenditure, 15 May, use of the sinking fund to pay the deadweight pensions, 3 June, and repeal of the salt duties, 3, 28 June. He voted for criminal law reform, 4 June. He was in the minorities for inquiries into Irish tithes, 19 June, and the lord advocate’s dealings with the Scottish press, 25 June, and to curb the influence of the crown in the House, 24 June 1822. His only recorded votes in the next two sessions were for proper use of the Leeward Islands defence fund and inquiry into the coronations costs, 9 June 1823, to accuse lord chancellor Eldon of a breach of privilege, 1 Mar., and to condemn the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He divided against the Irish franchise bill as an adjunct of Catholic relief, 26 Apr., and against the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 30 May, 2, 6 June 1825. He voted against proceeding with the ministerial proposals to deal with the recent banking crisis, 13 Feb. 1826. He divided for inquiry into distress in the silk trade, 24 Feb., was a teller for Hume’s minority of 22 for reduction of the grant for the Royal Military College, 6 Mar., and voted against the emergency admission of warehoused corn, 8 May 1826. He came in again for Wendover at the general election a month later and, chairing the celebration dinner, promised to continue to act on ‘independent principles’ in Parliament.2

Smith voted against Catholic claims, 6 Mar. 1827, and paired with the hostile minority, 12 May 1828. He voted against the Wellington ministry for inquiry into the proposed restriction of small bank notes, 5 June 1828. Planta, the patronage secretary, thought he would side ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation in 1829; but he divided against it, 6, 18, 27 and (as a pair) 30 Mar. He voted for the amendment to the address deploring official indifference to distress, 4 Feb. 1830. Two months later Carrington told the premier that Smith, like himself and George, would ‘support the government’.3 He voted against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. At the general election next month he was returned for Wendover with his eldest son Abel after a vexatious contest.4 Ministers listed him as one of the ‘good doubtfuls’ who was in fact a ‘friend’, and he was in their minority in the crucial division on the civil list, 30 Nov. 1830. He was credited with an unlikely intervention, 18 Feb. 1831, urging the Grey ministry to introduce poor laws to Ireland, ‘since nothing can be so dreadful as the accounts we are constantly receiving, that our fellow-citizens ... are dying of famine’. He was a spectator in the Lords for lord chancellor Brougham’s speech on chancery reform, 22 Feb.5 With Abel, and in accordance with Carrington’s wishes, he voted against the second reading of the ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. Returned unopposed for Wendover at the ensuing general election, he divided against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, for use of the 1831 census to determine borough disfranchisement, 18 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. From mid-August he paired with the convalescent Tom Macaulay.6 He voted against the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the revised measure, 17 Dec. 1831. In January 1832 he signed the Hertfordshire address to the king which professed support for moderate reform but called for suppression of the political unions and praised William’s resistance to a mass creation of peers.7 He voted against the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar. His only other known votes before his retirement from Parliament after Wendover’s disfranchisement, having sat for 44 consecutive years without distinguishing himself, were against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and in the majority against the production of information on military punishments, 16 Feb. 1832.

Smith died at his palatial Hertfordshire mansion of Woodhall in March 1834.8 By his will, dated 30 Dec. 1830 and proved under £500,000, he made generous provision for his wife and seven surviving children. He devised the Hertfordshire manor of Beeches, Brent Pelham, to his second son Samuel George, for whom he had already bought the Goldings estate, and his Nottinghamshire properties to his third son Henry. Abel, his residuary legatee, succeeded him in the Woodhall estate.9

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. J.A.S. Leighton Boyce, Smiths the Bankers, 194, 243, 270.
  • 2. Bucks. Chron. 10 June 1826.
  • 3. Add. 40309, f. 31.
  • 4. Bucks Gazette, 31 July 1830.
  • 5. Three Diaries, 10.
  • 6. Macaulay Letters, ii. 87.
  • 7. Hatfield House mss 2M/Gen. Smith to Salisbury, 7 Jan. 1832.
  • 8. Gent. Mag. (1834), ii. 317.
  • 9. PROB 11/1830/239; IR26/1367/153.