ANDREWS, Miles Peter (c.1742-1814), of Bignore, nr. Dartford, Kent and Green Park,, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1742, 2nd s. of John Andrews, dry salter, of Watling Street, London. educ. Utrecht. unm.
Lt.-col. commdt. Prince of Wales’s loyal vols. 1803.
Dir. Globe Insurance Co. 1805-d.
Andrews’s father intended him for a business career in the Levant trade, but ‘his mind received a bias towards theatrical composition’ from his father’s friendship with Garrick and Foote. By the death of his elder brother he became a partner with his cousin Frederick Pigou in gunpowder magazines at Dartford purchased in 1778, acquiring another magazine at Chester. In 1787 he and an associate wrote to Pitt begging him not to promote government powder mills. His plays, written between 1774 and 1795, were, according to Colman ‘like his mills at Dartford ... particularly hazardous affairs and in great danger of going off with a sudden and violent explosion’.1 He was also an East India Company stockholder, entitled to two votes for the directorate by 1806.
Andrews owed his seat in Parliament to his friendship with Thomas, 1st Baron Lyttelton (d.1779), from whom he had been inseparable in his youthful quest for social distinction. Andrews was Lyttelton’s first victim when, within hours of his death, he took to haunting his friends as a ghost. Left £2,000 in Lyttelton’s will, he succeeded George Fulke Lyttelton in 1796 as Member for Bewdley, retaining the seat until his death. He made gifts of at least £6,000 to the corporation to secure his position.2
Although Andrews frequented Whig theatrical circles and was a member of the Beefsteak Club patronized by the Prince of Wales, his business interests drew him into support of Pitt’s administration. Indeed, Pitt, perhaps mistakenly, attributed to him a maiden speech given by the reporters to William Adams on 19 May 1797, against Combe’s motion for the dismissal of the ministry.3 He voted for the bonus to subscribers to the loyalty loan, 1 June 1797, his own offer having been £20,000. On he spoke in support of Pitt’s triple tax assessment, describing it as ‘one of the best measures that could be devised’. He concluded: ‘The road of war is unfortunately now the only path that is left to us to pursue’. Next day he voted for the tax. No further speeches are known. He was a teller against the bill to limit the slave trade, 2 May 1799.
Andrews was in opposition to Addington only on the minorities for inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s finances, 31 Mar. 1802 and 4 Mar. 1803. In August following he was placed in command of the Prince’s volunteers. In May 1804, on Pitt’s return to power he was listed ‘doubtful etc.’ by the Treasury. He joined the opposition to Pitt’s additional force bill on 11 June.4 In September he was listed first ‘Prince’, then among the Prince’s friends ‘on whom some impression might be made’, and finally ‘doubtful’. His only known vote in the next session was for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 6 Mar. 1805, and after being named to the committee to investigate the 11th naval report on 27 May he was listed ‘doubtful Pitt’ in July. Thomas Creevey described him at that time as one of the ‘spies and courtiers’ who frequented the Prince’s dinners.5 He did not oppose the Grenville ministry, though listed ‘adverse’ to the abolition of the slave trade. His next known vote was for the address, 23 Jan. 1810. The Whigs listed him ‘doubtful’ from their standpoint and he rallied to ministers on the Scheldt question. His personal connexion with the Prince was again illustrated by his vote with opposition on the Regency bill, 1 Jan. 1811. He was one of those who ‘stayed away from sheer ignorance’ on McMahon’s question, 24 Feb. 1812. Listed a Treasury supporter after the ensuing election, he voted against Catholic relief on 2 Mar. and 11 May and paired against it on 24 May 1813.
Andrews died 18 July 1814, having ‘by the exercise of his own talents, raised himself to rank in the fashionable and commercial world’. He had never married, thinking it ‘natural for a gunpowder maker to be afraid of a match’. His death was ‘so unexpected, that he had sent out above 200 cards of invitation to ladies to see the fireworks in the Green Park from his windows’. He bequeathed over £100,000, and his connexion Charles Edward Wilsonn succeeded to his seat in Parliament.6
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: Lawrence Taylor
- 1. Public Characters (1809-10), 523; Gent. Mag. (1814), ii. 190; John Taylor, Recs. of My Life, ii. 297; Mems. Colman Fam. ed. Peake, ii. 217; PRO 30/8/181, f. 229; S. K. Keyes, Dartford, 943; J. Dunkin, Dartford, 306-8.
- 2. DNB; Gent. Mag. (1837), ii. 223; see BEWDLEY.
- 3. Geo. III Corresp. ii. 1546; Senator, xix. 440; Debrett (ser. iii), iv. 532.
- 4. Sidmouth mss, H. to J. H. Addington, 12 June 1804; Morning Chron. 13 June 1804.
- 5. Creevey Pprs. ed. Maxwell, i. 63.
- 6. Gent. Mag. (1814); J. Bernard, Retrospections of the Stage, ii. 138, 145, 153, 176; PCC 386 Bridport.