MELLISH, Joseph (?1717-90), of Bush Hill, Edmonton, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1761 - 1780

Family and Education

b. ?1717, 3rd s. of Joseph Mellish of Blyth, Notts. by Dorothy, da. of Sir William Gore, ld. mayor of London; uncle of Charles Mellish.  m. 19 Sept. 1751, his cos. Catherine, da. of John Gore.

Offices Held


Mellish, who came of an old London merchant family, went into business in Bishopsgate Street in partnership with John Gore, subsequently his father-in-law. A member of the Russia Company, he had also large interests in Portugal, which suffered considerably in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.1 In 1759 Mellish, together with Samuel Touchet and Thomas Walpole, obtained contracts for money remittances to Germany.2 He was one of the City men consulted by Newcastle on Treasury matters, but although he at times dealt on a fair scale in Government stock, subscribing £150,000 to the £12 million for the service of 1762,3 he does not seem to have held any large quantities for long periods.4

In 1761 Mellish was returned unopposed for Grimsby in place of his father-in-law. In Bute’s list of December 1761 he was classed as a follower of Newcastle. The following year he and Walpole lost their contract,5 and when Newcastle wrote to Gore of his surprise and concern at that ‘very extraordinary proceeding’, Gore replied, 23 Aug.:6 ‘I could no ways account for the injustice, unless it was from ... having too great an attachment to your Grace.’ Mellish voted against Administration on the peace preliminaries, 9, 10 Dec. 1762, on Wilkes and general warrants, and was classed by Newcastle on 10 May 1764 as a ‘sure friend’. In Newcastle’s plan of a new Administration, dated 30 June 1765, Mellish was included among contractors to be reinstated.7 In July he was classed by Rockingham as ‘pro’, and in November 1766 as ‘Whig’. But he voted with the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and in Newcastle’s list of 2 Mar. 1767 was classed as ‘Administration’. There is no record of his having spoken in this or any subsequent Parliament.

In 1768 and 1774 Mellish was again returned unopposed for Grimsby. During the 1768 Parliament his only recorded votes were with Administration: on the Middlesex election, 8 May 1769, and on Brass Crosby, 27 Mar. 1771; but both Robinson’s surveys of March 1772 on the royal marriage bill classed him as ‘contra, present’, and at the end of that Parliament Robinson in September 1774 again listed him as ‘contra’. During the Parliament of 1774, on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, he was marked as ‘pro, absent. Query hopeful.’ His only recorded vote was with Administration on the motion against prorogation, 24 Apr. 1780. Robinson in his survey of July 1780 thought it likely that Mellish would be re-elected for Grimsby, and though ‘not a constant attender, yet when he does attend he is generally with and therefore classed hopeful’. But Mellish did not stand again.

He died on 7 Dec. 1790, aged 73.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Mrs. Delany, Autobiog. Corresp. (ser. 1), iii. 380.
  • 2. T29/34/20.
  • 3. Add. 33040, ff. 290-1.
  • 4. Bank of England recs.
  • 5. T29/34/342.
  • 6. Add. 32941, ff. 341, 366.
  • 7. Fortescue, i. 128.