SMITH, Robert (1752-1838), of Bulcot, Notts.

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



9 Feb. 1779 - 20 Oct. 1797

Family and Education

b. 22 Jan. 1752, 3rd s. of Abel Smith sen., and bro. of Abel and Samuel Smith.  m. (1) 6 July 1780, Anne (d. 9 Feb. 1827), da. of Lewyns Boldero Barnard of Cave Castle, Yorks., 1s. 11da.; (2) 19 Jan. 1836, Charlotte, da. of John Hudson of Bessingby, Yorks., wid. of Rev. Walter Trevelyan, vicar of Henbury, s.p.  suc. fa. 12 July 1788; cr. Baron Carrington [I] 11 July 1796; Baron Carrington [GB] 20 Oct. 1797.

Offices Held


Smith, a partner in the family bank, succeeded his brother Abel as M.P. for Nottingham; and in 1780 was re-elected, receiving support from both opponents and supporters of the American war. In Parliament he voted against North’s Administration. The English Chronicle wrote about him in 1781:

Mr. Smith is a gentleman whose conduct, both in public and private life, every way justifies the high opinion his constituents entertain of him. In Parliament he is uniform and uninfluenced; in private life upright and benevolent. He takes no active part in political business out of the House, from an apprehension perhaps that too much zeal might prove injurious to his domestic connexions and convenience, having an extensive concern in a private bank, in partnership with Messrs. Payne and Smith, the essential constitution of which species of commerce manifestly implies the necessity for as many friends as possible. As an individual, therefore, he wishes to stand fair with men of all denominations, but is by no means so much devoted to interested considerations, as to be governed in his parliamentary conduct by any sinister influence. He is far from being defective in original understanding, though he has never thought proper to exert it in the way of oratorical declamation; is very attentive to duty in the House, and may be justly esteemed a valuable member of the British senate.

Smith voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, and became a close personal and political friend of Pitt. In May 1783, and again in April 1785 when he was teller, he supported Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reform. He voted against Fox’s East India bill. In March 1785 he presented a petition from his constituents against Pitt’s Irish propositions, but proclaimed his entire disagreement with its contents; and in May he gave a detailed explanation why he believed the proposed agreement would not injure Nottingham’s industry. ‘No one’, he added, ‘was more an enemy than he was to the strange doctrine that it was the duty of a Member of Parliament to give up his own judgment, and vote as he was instructed in all cases whatever.’1 These are his only substantially reported speeches in the House before 1790—according to Wraxall, he possessed ‘no parliamentary talent’.2

He died 18 Sept. 1838.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. Debrett, xvii. 432; xviii. 397-402.
  • 2. Mems. iii. 391.