INGLIS, Sir Hugh, 1st Bt. (1744-1820), of Milton Bryant, Beds.

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



1802 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 30 Apr. 1744, s. of Robert Inglis, W.S. and procurator fiscal, of Edinburgh by Mary, da. and h. of James Russell. educ. Edinburgh h.s. m. (1) 14 Dec. 1784, Catherine (d. 1 May 1792), da. and coh. of Harry Johnson of Milton Bryant, 1s. 2da.; (2) 8 May 1794, Mary, da. and h. of George Wilson, solicitor in Chancery, of Bedford Row, Mdx., s.p. cr. Bt. 6 June 1801.

Offices Held

Midshipman, E.I. Co. naval service 1762; asst. to chief of factory and commission merchant at Dacca 1766; priv. sec. to gov. of Bengal 1769; left India 1775.

Dir. E.I. Co. 1784-1813, dep. chairman 1796-7, 1799-1800, 1811-12, chairman 1797-8, 1800-1, 1812-13.

Col. 2 R.E.I. vols. 1796.


On leaving school Inglis went to Italy and then to New England, where his cousin James Russell, an eminent merchant, employed him in his counting house. He entered the East India Company’s naval service in 1762, but, when his ship’s return from India was delayed, travelled to Dacca, where another cousin, Francis Russell, was surgeon. He fought and was wounded in the defence of the city against Cosim Ali Khan and on his recovery was recommended by Russell to John Cartier, chief of the factory at Dacca. Cartier made Inglis his assistant and set him up as a commission merchant and, when he became governor of Bengal in 1769, employed him as his private secretary. Inglis left India in 1775 with a modest fortune and unsullied reputation and took up residence in Devon. In 1784 he married a Bedfordshire heiress and was elected to the direction of the East India Company. He became one of Dundas’s staunchest supporters at East India House and in 1796 was described by the chairman, David Scott, as ‘able, industrious, perfectly correct and of a most accommodating disposition’.1

Inglis received a baronetcy in 1801 and the following year was returned for Ashburton on the Clinton interest, apparently at the recommendation of his friend Lord Rolle. He supported Addington, a personal friend, whose secretary his son became in 1806, and was thought to be the author of the pamphlet Sketch of the state of parties (1803). On Addington’s fall he transferred his support to Pitt and voted against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. On 21 Apr. 1806 he voted, with some of his fellow directors, for Hamilton’s motion for a copy of the Company’s dispatch of 1805 criticizing Lord Wellesley’s aggressive policy as governor-general. His three known speeches, 14 Mar. 1803, 25 Feb. and 15 May 1806, were on Indian matters, as a spokesman and apologist for the Company, and he was appointed to the select committee on its affairs, 8 May 1805. He lost his seat at the dissolution of 1806, when Lord Clinton sold it to a ministerial nominee, and was never again in Parliament. Inglis, who was noted for his evenness of temper and gentle disposition, retired from the East Indian direction in 1813, after guiding the Company’s negotiations with government for the renewal of its charter to a satisfactory conclusion.2 He died 21 Aug. 1820.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: J. W. Anderson / P. A. Symonds


See Sketch of Life of Sir Hugh Inglis (1821).

  • 1. Scott Corresp. (Cam. Soc. ser. 3, lxxv), i. 68.
  • 2. W. Playfair, Pol. Portraits (1814), ii. 143.