SMITH, William (1756-1835), of Clapham

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



1784 - 1790
8 Jan. 1791 - 1796
1796 - 1802
1802 - 1806
1807 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 22 Sept. 1756, o.s. of Samuel Smith, merchant, of Clapham Common, by his w. Martha Adams.  educ. Daventry.  m. 12 Jan. 1781, Frances Coape, 5s. 5da.

Offices Held


Robinson in 1784 listed Smith as one who would ‘pay £2,000 or £2,500 or perhaps £3,000’ for a seat. He was returned for Sudbury, which Robinson had called ‘as open as the day and night too’.1 His ‘first political attachment was to Mr. Pitt, the friend to peace and popular rights’, and he supported Pitt on parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785, and the Regency question 1788-9. But he was a signatory of the third party circular, 1 May 1788.

Smith’s chief parliamentary interests—his career as a Member is largely outside the period covered by this biography—were the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and the abolition of the slave trade. When speaking, 3 Mar. 1790, in favour of Fox’s motion for repeal, he declared that he himself was a Dissenter.2 He particularly objected to making a religious ceremony the test for taking civil office.

He died 31 May 1835.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. Laprade, 77, 128.
  • 2. Stockdale, xix. 144.