MILLS, Charles (1755-1826), of 12 Mansfield Streetand, Marylebone, Mdx. and Barford, Warws.

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

Constituency

Dates

1802 - 29 Jan. 1826

Family and Education

b. 13 July 1755, 2nd s. of Rev. John Mills, rector of Barford and Oxhill, Warws. by Sarah, da. of Rev. William Wheler, vicar of Leamington Hastings, Warws.; bro. of William Mills*. educ. Rugby 1763. m. 21 Mar. 1810, his sis.-in-law Jane, da. of Hon. Wriothesley Digby of Meriden, Warws., s.p.

Offices Held

Dir. E.I. Co. 1785-1815, dep. chairman 1801, chairman Sept. 1801-2, dir. London Dock Co. 1803-9; asst. Lead Co. 1805.

Lt.-col. 1 R.E.I. vols. 1796, col. 1803; capt. Marylebone vols. 1803; commr. of lieutenancy, London 1808-d.

Biography

Mills’s grandfather was a clerk in Chancery. His uncle William Mills, who married the heiress of Sir John Salter, Lord Mayor of London and an East India proprietor, saved the bank of Glyn and Hallifax in the panic of 1772 with £10,000, stipulating that he become a partner with his nephew Charles (who duly became one on coming of age). In 1785, on the retirement of his elder brother William, Charles also became an East India Company director. According to the historian of Glyn Mills Bank, his connexions in the business world and the Mills funds were great assets to the bank in its steady recovery. His nephews, who inherited his wealth, continued the family association with the bank.1

Mills, who had strong local connexions, was triumphant on the independent interest at Warwick in 1802, driving his London neighbour, Samuel Robert Gaussen*, from the field and attributing his successful canvass to the efforts of the veteran Whig Dr Samuel Parr of Hatton.2 He held the seat unopposed until his death, though he was not conspicuous for political commitment and made little mark in the House. He is not known to have opposed the Addington ministry, but voted against Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804. In September he was listed at first both ‘Addington’ and ‘Pitt’, then among ‘Addington’s friends on whom some impression might be made’ and, finally, ‘doubtful Addington’. He was again so listed in July 1805, after he had joined the majorities on Melville’s case, 8 Apr. and 12 June. He supported the Grenville ministry’s repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, having on 21 Apr. been in the minority on East Indian affairs. He obtained leave of absence 19 Mar.-3 Apr. 1807, and his next known vote was on 11 Feb. 1808, when he supported inquiry into the application of the droits of Admiralty. He was in the minority against the convention of Cintra, 21 Feb. 1809, as also against Perceval’s motion on the Duke of York’s conduct, 17 Mar. He opposed the address, 23 Jan. 1810, and voted against ministers on the Scheldt question, 26 Jan., 23 Feb., 5 Mar., being absent on 30 Mar. on his honeymoon, despite Whig attempts to entice him back.3 On the strength of this, the Whigs listed him with his brother William among their adherents; in fact, William attended more often than Charles. It is not clear which of them Bankes proposed for the finance committee, 31 Jan. 1810. Although both William and Charles were at first reported in the majority against parliamentary reform, 21 May, a correction asserted that Charles was absent. He was ranged with the opposition on the Regency, 1, 21 Jan. 1811, and for the abolition of McMahon’s paymastership, 24 Feb. 1812. After the election of 1812, when the Treasury marked him ‘con’, George Rose commented, ‘I think he should be only d[oubtful]. He is by no means so decided as his brother Wm. was.’4

Mills’s most significant gesture in the House was his presentation of the East India Company petition for the renewal of its charter (and its commercial monopoly), 7 Apr. 1812, but he played no obvious part in the debate on it next session, his fifth as a member of the select committee on Indian affairs. He voted for the committee on Catholic relief, 2 Mar. 1813, but was neutral by May, and in 1817 was hostile. He joined opposition on the Duke of Cumberland’s establishment bill, 30 June and 3 July 1815. He also opposed the army estimates, 8 Mar. 1816, the property tax, 18 Mar., and the leather tax, 9 May, but supported the civil list, 6 May. He further supported ministers on the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb. 1817, the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June, and the employment of informers under it, 5 Mar. 1818. He was in the opposition majority against the ducal marriage grant, 15 Apr. 1818. On 8 May he called for the exemption of his old school from the inquiry into abuse of charitable foundations. His only known votes in the ensuing Parliament were with ministers—on Wyndham Quin’s* case, 29 Mar., and against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. Mills died 29 Jan. 1826.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne

Notes

  • 1. R. Fulford, Glyn’s 1753-1953, p. 77-82.
  • 2. Johnstone, Mems. Samuel Parr, i. 439.
  • 3. Blair Adam mss, Loch to Adam, n.d. [Mar. 1810].
  • 4. T.64/261, Rose to ?Arbuthnot, 8 Nov. 1812.

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