MILNES, Richard Slater (1759-1804), of Fryston Hall, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 12 Dec. 1759, o. surv. s. of Robert Milnes of Wakefield, cloth merchant, by his 1st w. Joyce, da. of Adam Slater of Chesterfield. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1775. m. 30 May 1781, Rachel, da. and eventually h. of Hans Busk of Leeds, 2s. 7da. suc. fa. 1771.
Milnes bought Fryston Hall after his father’s death and settled there as a country gentleman, but maintained his interest in the cloth business. The family had a traditional connexion with Wentworth Woodhouse, but they were Dissenters, parliamentary reformers, and supporters of the Yorkshire Association. In 1784 Milnes followed Pitt, and said at the county meeting of 25 Mar.:1
I am surprised that gentlemen who opposed the undue influence of the Crown should oppose its just prerogative ... the Coalition must not be forgotten, I hope it shall be remembered ... that the most amiable men, in private life, could not resist temptation when public advantage was set in opposition to interest.
He contested York in 1784, supported by the Yorkshire Association and opposed by the Fitzwilliam interest, and came second on the poll. In his maiden speech on 24 May 1784 he declared opinion in Yorkshire to be ‘clearly and decidedly’ in favour of Pitt—‘The conduct of the late ministers was held in execration.’2 He voted with Pitt on parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785. He died 2 June 1804.