BAILLIE, Hugh Duncan (1777-1866), of 34 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, Mdx.; Park Row, Bristol, Glos., and Tarradale, Ross.

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

Constituency

Dates

1830 - 1831
1835 - 1847

Family and Education

b. 31 May 1777, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Evan Baillie†, merchant, of Bristol and Dochfour, Inverness and Mary, da. of Peter Gurley of St. Vincent, W.I.; bro. of James Evan Baillie* and Peter Baillie† . m. (1) 13 Dec. 1796, at Cape of Good Hope, Elizabeth (d. 21 July 1818),1 da. of Rev. Henry Reynett of Great Prescot Street, Goodmans Fields, London, 1s. surv. 3da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 2 July 1821, Mary, da. of Thomas Smith of Castleton Hall, Lancs., 3s. 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1835. d. 21 June 1866.

Offices Held

Ensign 37 Ft. 1793; lt. 93 Ft. 1793; capt. 97 Ft. 1794; maj. 86 Ft. 1794; lt.-col. army 1800; half-pay Surr. Rangers 1802-25; col. army 1810, ret. 1825.

Ld. lt. Ross 1843-d.

Biography

Baillie went with his regiment to the Cape in 1796 and married there at the end of the year. He was placed on half-pay at the peace and spent a brief period farming at Tickenham near Bristol, where his father was a prosperous West India merchant. In April 1804 he became an inspecting field officer. Soon afterwards he declined Prince William’s offer of a majority in the 6th Foot, but he quickly came to regret this decision, as he explained to his elder brother Peter from Manchester:

I shall ... soon endeavour to make up for my error. My own inclinations strongly pressed me to accept it, knowing that my future prospects in the army were connected with a more active life than my present, and that they ought not to be neglected. At any other period, I should have acted otherwise, for notwithstanding a sudden decrease of £200 per annum would have been severely felt, it would not have deterred me had I known my father’s sentiments, which at the time I asked for them would have gratified me very much. I was really fearful of the reproach of quitting a comparatively comfortable situation, as well as of the expense attending such change.

He was vexed by financial problems at this time and generally discontented with life:

Manchester is not a place that improves upon a close acquaintance. I believe it is generally allowed to be one of the dirtiest places in England. I have a small house near a mile from it, and am by no means desirous of society. In this part of England, most articles of life are near one third dearer than with you, but the greatest inconvenience for families is the total want of lodgings or ready furnished houses.

In April 1805 he was ‘in constant expectation’ of ‘some change in my situation’, but whether this occurred is not clear.2

In 1812, following Peter Baillie’s death, Hugh and his next brother James became partners in the Bristol Old Bank and took over active management of the family firm from their father. He entertained Queen Charlotte at his Bristol residence on her visit to the city in 1817.3 At the general election the following year Baillie, who joined Brooks’s Club on 11 May, was chosen by the Bristol Whigs to replace the sitting Member Protheroe, who had forfeited their support. Protheroe initially withdrew, but was persuaded by his brothers to stand his ground. Baillie was handicapped by uncertainty as to his political views, especially on parliamentary reform and Catholic relief, which was anathema to most Bristolians. His declaration that although he favoured toleration, he would never support the admission of Catholics to political power and would be bound by his constituents’ views, failed to allay suspicions, and a week before the election he withdrew. He re-entered the contest at the eleventh hour in response to a formal invitation from his committee, who had reconvened after the local reformers, determined to oust Protheroe, had organized their own campaign to secure Baillie’s return. Yet his views on reform were unclear and he did not appear on the hustings during the election, in which he finished a distant third. A petition on his behalf was unsuccessful, and his conduct became the subject of a public squabble between the Bristol Whigs and reformers.4 In 1825, when he retired from the army, he was cultivating an interest at Fowey in alliance with Alexander Glynn Campbell, a former Member for the borough. They stood there in 1826 but were beaten at the poll by candidates standing on the established interests. Their petition was unsuccessful.5

At the 1830 general election, when his brother came in for Bristol, Baillie was returned for Rye on the Lamb interest, after a contest. Uncertainty as to his politics persisted: the Wellington ministry listed him among their ‘friends’, but Henry Brougham* reckoned him a gain for opposition. In the event, he voted with government in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, when James took the other side. Like his brother, he voted for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., but he was absent from the division on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He is not known to have spoken in debate in this period and did not seek re-election in 1831.

Baillie reappeared at Westminster as a Conservative in 1835. In 1838 he bought the estate of Redcastle in Ross and Cromarty to add to the property at Tarradale conveyed to him by his father. He was the senior partner in the Bristol Old Bank at the time of his death in June 1866.6 His personal estate was sworn under £50,000 in London, 10 Aug. 1866.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1818), ii. 187.
  • 2. Bristol Univ. Lib. Pinney mss, H. D. to P. Baillie, 1, 14, 27 Oct., 14 Nov., 4, 26 Dec. 1804, 24 Apr. 1805.
  • 3. C.H. Cave, Hist. Banking in Bristol, 53.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 171-2.
  • 5. Treffrey mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), J. Austen to Valletort, 22 Jan. 1825;