WALLER, Robert (?1732-1814), of Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Bucks.

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



1761 - 1790

Family and Education

b. ?1732, 3rd s. of Edmund Waller, M.P., of Beaconsfield, and bro. of John and Edmund Waller.  educ. poss. Eton 1742-8; Oriel, Oxf. 11 June 1751, aged 18.  unm.

Offices Held

Groom of the bedchamber 1784-1801.


In 1761 and at all his subsequent elections Waller was returned unopposed for Chipping Wycombe on his family interest. He appears in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, December 1762; was listed as a Government supporter by Jenkinson in the autumn of 1763; but on 15 Feb. 1764 voted with Opposition on general warrants. The next day his father, who had sat in the House 1722-54 and made his mark there, wrote to George Grenville:1

The time is too short to settle this affair most properly. The best way seems at present for [Robert] to begin the debate and conclude with mentioning an amendment to the question, but from his inexperience he can only presume to express his thoughts which are that the word illegal be left out, and instead therefore it be inserted ‘an abuse that requires a law to remedy it for the future’, and that he shall be for any other amendment or any other method that is most probable to obtain that remedy.

And when Grenville, replying the same day (16 Feb.)2 declined the suggestion, Edmund Waller wrote back on the 17th3 that as Grenville’s procedure left no room to hope for redress, he perceived ‘with the greatest concern’ that his son ‘can be of no service’ to Grenville. On 18 Feb. Robert Waller again voted with Opposition on general warrants; but he was merely counted as a dissenting friend by Jenkinson. He followed Grenville into opposition to the Rockingham Administration; voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766; and against the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767. Two speeches by Waller are reported during this Parliament: in the debate on the Spanish papers, 29 Jan. 1762, and presenting a petition from the widow of the late serjeant-at-arms, 12 Apr. 1763.4

During the next Parliament he followed an independent line; voted with Opposition on Wilkes’s petition, 27 Jan. 1769; with Administration on his expulsion, 3 Feb. and the Middlesex election, 8 May; but with Opposition on the Address, 9 Jan. 1770. In Robinson’s first survey on the royal marriage bill, March 1772, he was classed as ‘doubtful, present’; in the second, 8 Mar., as ‘pro’. He voted with Opposition on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774, but appears as a friend in the King’s list, and was similarly classed by Robinson in September 1774.

He does not appear in any minority lists 1775-8; was listed by Robinson as ‘pro, absent’ on the contractors bill; and voted with Administration on Keppel, 3 Mar. 1779. Yet Waller voted with Opposition in the five divisions March-April 1780 for which lists are extant. Nevertheless, Robinson, in his electoral survey of July 1780, counted him as ‘hopeful’, and in the new Parliament he consistently voted with Administration till the fall of North. Waller supported Shelburne’s Administration. It seems likely that he was the ‘Mr. Waller’ who appears in the secret service accounts of 7 Feb. 1782 as receiving a payment of £600.5 He did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; was classed as ‘very hopeful’ by Robinson in January 1784; and regularly supported Pitt’s Administration. No speech by him is reported during his last three Parliaments.

He died in October or November 1814.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Grenville mss (JM).
  • 2. Grenville letter bk.
  • 3. Grenville mss (JM).
  • 4. Harris’s ‘Debates’.
  • 5. Fortescue, vi. 342.