MORLAND, Sir Scrope, 4th bt. (1758-1830), of Kimble and Nether Winchendon, Bucks. and 50 Pall Mall, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

16 Feb. 1789 - 1802
1806 - 14 Apr. 1808
28 Feb. 1809 - 18 Apr. 1830

Family and Education

b. 1 Oct. 1758, in New Jersey,1 3rd s. of Sir Francis Bernard, 1st bt. (d. 1779), of Nettleham, Lincs, gov. New Jersey, 1758-60, and Amelia, da. of Stephen Offley of Norton Hall, Derbys. educ. Harrow 1774-5; Christ Church, Oxf. 1775, BA 1779, MA 1781, DCL 1788. m. 26 July 1785, Hannah, da. and h. of William Morland† of Lee, Kent, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. Took name of Morland by royal lic. 15 Feb. 1811; suc. bro. Sir Thomas Bernard, 3rd bt., of Nether Winchendon as 4th bt. 1 July 1818. d. 18 Apr. 1830.

Offices Held

Private sec. to ld. lt. [I] Sept. 1782-Apr. 1783, Nov. 1787-June 1789; sec. to commn. of inquiry into public offices 1785-6; gentleman usher of black rod [I] 1787-9; under-sec. of state for home affairs June 1789-Aug. 1792; adv. Doctors’ Commons 1789-1801; chan. eccles. ct. of Durham 1795-1818.

Capt. Bucks. militia 1786, Aylesbury vols. 1803.

Trustee, County Fire Office 1807, Provident Life Office 1812.

Biography

From 1819 Morland, a substantial Buckinghamshire landowner, was head of the London banking house of Morlands, Auriol and Company at 50 Pall Mall, after the dissolution of his partnership in his father-in-law’s establishment of Ransom, Hammersley and Morland. His new partners were James Peter Auriol and George Duckett, former Member for Lymington and Plympton. From 1825, when Morland took in his then second surviving son Thomas as a partner, the firm was styled Morlands and Company.2 Morland was a member of the small Grenvillite parliamentary squad, having acted as secretary, banker and factotum to his county neighbour the 1st marquess of Buckingham for over 30 years until his death in 1813. The 2nd marquess, who virtually inherited Morland as a family heirloom, hypocritically commented in 1823 that his ‘sole object has been ... to fasten ... [his] family on the country for the longest possible space of time’. On his retirement as under-secretary at the home office in 1792 he had received a pension of £554, which he transferred to his wife; and his period of service under Buckingham in Ireland had furnished him with the Irish half-pay agency, worth £600 a year, which he made over to Thomas and his elder brother Francis.3

Buckingham returned him again for his borough of St. Mawes at the general election of 1820, when, as usual, he was obliged to attend the formalities.4 His ‘few words’ on a patents bill, 14 June, were inaudible in the gallery.5 The death of his eldest son William at Caen in November 1820 hit him hard; and at this time he watched nervously from the bank, where he was alone with a skeleton staff, the mobs celebrating the abandonment of the bill of pains and penalties against Queen Caroline.6 He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards her, 6 Feb. 1821. His comments on the Grampound disfranchisement bill, 12 Feb., escaped the reporters.7 He divided, as previously, for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. He voted with the Liverpool ministry against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and parliamentary reform, 9 May, for the duke of Clarence’s grant, 18 June, and against a call for economy and retrenchment, 27 June; but he was in the minority, with other Grenvillites, for Buckingham’s brother Lord Nugent’s motion for inquiry into the administration of justice in Tobago, 6 June, when he also spoke in support of compensation for American loyalists. He voted against mitigation of the punishment for forgery, 23 May. On his pet subject, the national lottery, he advocated reducing the number of tickets and restricting draws to two a year, 29 June 1821.8 At the county quarter sessions in October 1821 he was one of the Grenvillite majority who defeated a proposal to place advertisements in the newly founded Whig Buckinghamshire Chronicle.9

Morland divided against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb. 1822, by when the Grenvillites had coalesced with the ministry, earning Buckingham a dukedom. He suffered a further personal tragedy with the death of his wife on 4 Mar.10 The following month his son Thomas went to Ireland in a futile bid to secure redress from the viceroy, Lord Wellesley, for his and his brother’s loss of income following reform of the half-pay regulations.11 Resuming parliamentary attendance late in the session, Morland voted against repeal of the salt tax, 28 June, for the Canada bill, 18 July, and, in accordance with Buckingham’s directive, for the aliens bill, 19 July.12 He divided for abolition of the lottery tax, 1 July, and in the minority of 11 against the third reading of the lottery bill, 24 July. On 22 July 1822 he spoke and voted for items in the Irish estimates.13 He voted with government against inquiry into the parliamentary franchise, 20 Feb., and on the sinking fund, 3, 13 Mar. 1823. That month he got himself in ‘a great pucker’, as Buckingham put it, for fear that he had gone too far in telling the duke’s toady William Fremantle* of his objections to being involved in direct dealings with his nephew White, to whose ailing newspaper Buckingham wished his friends to subscribe. The duke told Fremantle:

I believe the poor fellow’s greatest crime (and a greater crime cannot exist in Morland’s eyes) is his owing said Morland money ... If I am disappointed in White and he turns out a dishonest man or anything except an extravagant man (a very murderer in the eyes of Bernard would be more innocent) I shall be surprised.14

Morland presumably complied with Buckingham’s request for his attendance to oppose inquiry into the game laws, 13 Mar., though in the event there was no division.15 He divided with administration for the grant for Irish glebe houses, 11 Apr., and against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He was one of the minority of 16 who opposed the decision to drop proceedings against O’Grady of the Irish exchequer court, 9 July 1823. He voted against the production of information on Catholic office-holders, 19 Feb., and reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 26 Feb. 1824. He spoke in defence of the grant for propagation of the gospels in the colonies, 12 Mar. He divided for repeal of the usury laws, 8 Apr. 1824, 17 Feb. 1825. Like other Grenvillites, he was an ‘accidental’ absentee from the division on the state of Ireland, 11 May.16 He voted against inquiry into the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. At the end of the year he evidently got the impression that Buckingham was disposed to ‘blame’ him, as the ‘principal creditor’ of distressed fishermen at St. Mawes, for any discontent which might occur there; but the duke disclaimed any such intention.17 Morland welcomed Fyshe Palmer’s bill to empower magistrates to effect exchanges of land between counties for administrative purposes, 22 Feb. 1825.18 He voted for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 10 June 1825. His only known votes in 1826 were for the president of the board of trade’s ministerial salary, 10 Apr., and against the spring guns bill, 21 Apr. Buckingham brought him in again for St. Mawes at the general election that year.19

Morland voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and the Clarence annuity bill, 16 Mar. He was in the minority of 18 against the spring guns bill, 30 Mar. He voted against the corn bill, 2 Apr., and in the small Tory minority against the Coventry magistracy bill, 11 June 1827. He was one of the half dozen Members who Buckingham was anxious to see muster ‘en masse’ against a threatened ‘side wind’ strike against Catholic relief that month.20 He voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. That session he successfully opposed, on behalf of the Irish Society of London, the salmon fisheries bill, which sought to impose nationally uniform open seasons.21 On 28 Mar. he urged the speedy passage of the steamboat passengers regulation bill to forestall evasion by unscrupulous operators. He was in the minority of nine for repeal of the 1827 Act prohibiting the use of ribbons at elections, 20 Mar. He voted against throwing the corrupt borough of East Retford into the hundred of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar., and with the Wellington ministry on the ordnance estimates, 4 July 1828. In November 1828 he was the recipient of a letter from Buckingham, who was in Rome, expressing approval of his Members’ political conduct in the last session and warning them not to be seduced into following the line of his rabidly anti-Catholic son Lord Chandos*. He showed it ‘in confidence’ to Fremantle. Before the month was out his health, which had been indifferent for some time, took a momentarily alarming turn for the worse, but he recovered.22

In mid-January 1829 Morland, who was now almost ‘the only remnant of the Grenville party in Parliament’, received from Buckingham a letter stating that

the mode of conduct will please me best as pursued by my friends which will lead in the straightest ... manner to the speediest removal of the Catholic disabilities. There are certain points, which I shall be glad to see joined to the measure as securities, but I will not endanger the loss of the measure on account of them ... You are authorized and I request you to state to my friends that such are my wishes ... and that such is the line which I am most desirous of seeing acted upon.

Passing the letter on to Sir Thomas Fremantle*, whom he asked to keep its contents to himself, Morland commented that it showed

how strongly and entirely it is wished that we should support the Catholic question. Upon foreign politics we are free to oppose if we choose, where weak measures are the consequence of our situation with Ireland. Upon all other topics we may give general support, using our discretion as last winter.23

The following month he was instructed by Buckingham to assure the duke of Wellington that he had not been party to Chandos’s assertion of his pretensions to the Irish lord lieutenancy.24 He of course voted for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. He presented Cornish petitions for retention of the export bounty on pilchards, 26 Mar., 2 June. He supported inquiry into the regulations concerning patents, 9 Apr., presented a Rotherhithe petition against the local poor rates bill, 15 Apr., and seconded a wrecking amendment to Hobhouse’s bill to reform St. James’s vestry, 21 May 1829. By now Morland, turned 70 and in declining health, had largely left the affairs of the bank in the hands of others.25 He voted against Lord Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. He was, however, ‘much harassed by the incessant late hours to which the debates extended’, and, after a short illness, he died at 50 Pall Mall in April 1830.26 According to a rather fanciful obituary

his abilities were of a very superior order. He was a sound classical scholar, and possessed a fund of practical knowledge, which ... was always ready to be communicated with singular affability and promptitude ... Unassuming and unostentatious, Sir Scrope passed much of his time, and more particularly in the evening of his days, in retirement: but, if he felt no anxiety to distinguish himself in the bustle of public life, he was ever ready to devote his services to the public advantage.27

He left no completed extant will, having made and cancelled at least three during his life, and ‘left one commenced at his death’. In an amicable suit in the prerogative court, 27 July 1830, the validity of a will of 1788 was tested: it was ruled invalid and Morland deemed to have died intestate. His personalty was put at £10,000 and his real estate at £16,000.28 He was succeeded in the latter and the baronetcy by his son Francis (1790-1876), whose partnership with Duckett in the bank ended in its failure in March 1832.29 Francis was succeeded by his brother Thomas Tyringham (1791-1883), who retained the family’s original surname of Bernard and was Conservative Member for Aylesbury, 1857-65. On his death the baronetcy became extinct.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Bucks. RO, Spencer Bernard mss D/SB OE 10/1(b).
  • 2. VCH Bucks. ii. 301, 305, 332; iv. 120-1; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 530; ii. 351; S.E. Napier Higgins, Bernards of Abington and Nether Winchendon, iii. 78, 148, 159; iv. 247-8, 307; F.G. Hilton Price, London Bankers, 118, 135.
  • 3. J.J. Sack, The Grenvillites, 43; Higgins, iv. 279; Black Bk. (1823), 178.
  • 4. Spencer Bernard mss PF1/2(a), diary, 3, 11 Mar.; West Briton, 17 Mar. 1820.
  • 5. The Times, 15 June 1820.
  • 6. Gent. Mag. (1820), ii. 571; Spencer Bernard mss PF1/2(a), diary, 20, 28 Nov., 22, 25 Dec. 1820; Higgins, iv. 265.
  • 7. The Times, 13 Feb. 1821.
  • 8. Ibid. 30 June 1821.
  • 9. Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/46/9/9.
  • 10. Ibid. 46/10/18.
  • 11. Higgins, iv. 268, 275, 279-87.
  • 12. Fremantle mss 46/12/77.
  • 13. The Times, 23 July 1822.
  • 14. Fremantle mss 46/11/71, 72, 75.
  • 15. Ibid. 46/11/78.
  • 16. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 73-75.
  • 17. Spencer Bernard mss PFD8/5, 7.
  • 18. The Times, 23 Feb. 1825.
  • 19. Fremantle mss 46/11/118; West Briton, 9 June 1826.
  • 20. Fremantle mss 138/28/5.
  • 21. Spencer Bernard mss PF8.
  • 22. Fremantle mss 139/2/2, 4; 139/8/8, 9.
  • 23. Sack, 216; Fremantle mss 139/10/4.
  • 24. Wellington mss WP1/998/13; 1000/29; Higgins, iv. 311.