BULLER, John (1771-1849), of Morval, Cornw.

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



1796 - 11 Nov. 1796
1826 - 28 Mar. 1827

Family and Education

b. 10 Jan. 1771, 1st s. of John Buller† of Morval and Anne, da. of William Lemon of Carclew; bro. of Sir Anthony Buller* and Charles Buller I*. educ. Westminster 1784; ?I. Temple 1789. m. (1) 10 Apr. 1799,1 Elizabeth (d. 11 Feb. 1802), da. of Rt. Rev. Hon. James Yorke, bp. of Ely, s.p.; (2) 29 June 1814, Harriet, da. of Sir Edward Hulse, 3rd bt., of Breamore, Hants, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1793. d. 3 Apr. 1849.

Offices Held

Commr. of customs 1797-1823.

Recorder, East. Looe 1802-7;2 sheriff, Cornw. 1835-6.

Lt. R. Cornw. militia 1798, capt. to 1792.


Buller inherited the ‘old mansion’ of Morval from his father in 1793, along with the parliamentary patronage of nearby West Looe.3 His customs commissioner’s salary of £1,400 attracted the attention of radical publications, and though he gave up his post in 1823 he was surely the ‘James Buller’ referred to in 1831 as

a mild amiable person ... [who] disposing of his seats to the government, was made a commissioner of customs; was unfortunately attacked with deafness; marries; is tired of London; retires to the country; makes rooms for some other protégé of government, and saddles the country with a pension of £1,100.4

He had indeed accommodated treasury nominees, but he generally preferred family connections after 1820 and returned himself at the general election of 1826. As in 1796, this was no more than a temporary measure. He was granted six weeks’ leave on account of a relative’s illness, 9 Feb., but was present to vote for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He retired later that month in favour of his brother-in-law Sir Charles Hulse, who had previously sat for the borough. At the dissolution in 1831 he removed his nephew Charles, apparently for having voted for the Grey ministry’s reform bill. The passage of the Reform Act in 1832 deprived him of his borough interest and there is no evidence that he ever sought to re-enter the Commons. William Makepeace Thackeray, a friend of his nephew, visited Morval in June of that year and found his host ‘very civil’. In January 1842 there were grave fears for Buller’s health, but he evidently rallied and later took an interest in new techniques for the extraction of metals.5 He died ‘suddenly, while dressing’ in April 1849 and left the Morval estate to his only son John Francis Buller (1818-90).6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1799), i. 346.
  • 2. T. Bond, East and West Looe, 236.
  • 3. Ibid. 179.
  • 4. Black Bk. (1820), 22; J. Wade, Extraordinary Black Bk. (1831), 428.
  • 5. Thackeray Letters ed. G.N. Ray, i. 245; Cornw. RO, Buller mss DD/BU, J. Parkinson to Harriet Buller, 25 Jan. 1842, W. Longuaird? to Buller, 18 Nov. 1848, 9, 21 Feb. 1849, reply, n.d.
  • 6. Plymouth Herald, 7 Apr. 1849; PROB 11/2094/417; IR26/1826/480.