WILLIAMS, Robert III (1767-1847), of Bridehead, nr. Dorchester, Dorset.

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

Constituency

Dates

1802 - 1807
17 Mar. 1808 - 10 May 1808
4 Feb. 1809 - 1812
1812 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 11 Feb. 1767, 1st s. of Robert Williams II* of Bridehead, and bro. of William Williams*. m. 28 Aug. 1794, Frances, da. of John Turner of Putney, Surr., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1814.

Offices Held

Alderman, London 1796-1801, sheriff 1797-8; prime warden, Goldsmiths’ Co. 1810-11; dir. Hope Assurance Co. 1820, chairman 1826-41.

Capt. Cornhill vols. 1797, maj. commdt. 1798, lt.-col. commdt. 1799; vol. London and Westminster light horse 1803-7.

Biography

Williams, a partner in his father’s bank in Birchin Lane, became an alderman of London, representing Cornhill ward, before he was thirty.1 He entered Parliament in 1802 as Lord Clarendon’s guest. He was generally well disposed to government, but inconspicuous in the House. Listed a friend of Pitt in September 1804, he raised doubts about it in 1805 by voting for the criminal prosecution of Melville, 12 June, and refusing to rescind that vote, 25 June. He voted against the Grenville ministry at the outset, 3 Mar. 1806, and again, 13 Feb. 1807, on the Hampshire election.

Williams had to find another seat in 1807. Sir Christopher Hawkins offered him one for Grampound for £4,000, but the poll went against him. The election was voided and Williams came in after another contest, only to be unseated on petition seven weeks later. He became a member of the Pitt Club. In January 1809 he was defeated by a Whig in a by-election at St. Albans, but soon afterwards came in for an Irish seat placed at Treasury disposal by Lord Desart. He stood by Perceval’s ministry on the Scheldt question, 23, 26 Jan., 5, 30 Mar. 1810, and was listed ‘against the Opposition’ by the Whigs. He may have spoken on 15 June 1809 against Burdett’s motion for parliamentary reform2 and he was an opponent of it on 21 May 1810. He was in the government minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811, and voted against a change of administration, 21 May 1812.

In 1812 Williams succeeded to his father’s seat for Dorchester. He was listed a Treasury supporter. He voted against Catholic relief, 13 and 24 May 1813, and also in 1816 and 1817. He appears to have voted against agricultural protection, 3 and 10 Mar. 1815, and against the renewal of the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816, but in other respects rallied to government: on the army estimates, 6 and 8 Mar. 1816; on the civil list, 8 May 1815, 6 and 24 May 1816; on the lords of the Admiralty, 25 Feb., and for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. In November of that year he was described as ‘a firm friend’ of administration.3 He was in the government minority on the ducal marriage grant, 15 Apr. 1818. He was the leading supporter of John Atkins in the London election that year. His only known votes in the ensuing Parliament were against the censure on ministers, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. He seldom spoke in the House, but continued in the same political line until, in 1834, he retired in favour of his son Robert. He died 10 Mar. 1847.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne

Notes

  • 1. Beaven, Aldermen of London, ii. 139; Hilton Price, London Bankers, 177.
  • 2. Geo. III Corresp. iv. 3904; cf. Parl. Deb. which gives Sir Robert Williams.
  • 3. Add. 38269, f. 78.