BULLER, Charles (1774-1848), of Polvellan, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1812 - Mar. 1816
1826 - Feb. 1830

Family and Education

b. 31 May 1774, 6th s. of John Buller of Morval, and bro. of Anthony Buller*, James Buller II* and John Buller II*. educ. Westminster 1788; by Richard Jackson 1791. m. 26 Aug. 1805, Barbara Isabella, da. of Maj.-Gen. William Kirkpatrick, E.I. Co. service, 2s.

Offices Held

Writer E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1791; registrar to judge of Patna 1793; Persian and Bengali translator to board of revenue 1794; factor and sub. sec. board of revenue 1797; jun. merchant and sec. to board of revenue 1801; 3rd member, board of revenue 1807; sen. merchant 1807; commr. at Cuttack 1808; at home 1811; in Bengal Sept. 1816, sen. member, board of revenue 1817; sen. member, board of commrs. in Bihar and Benares 1819; at home 1821; res. 1826.


Buller’s great-uncle Lord Bathurst said he had been ‘educated in the mercantile line’ and asked Pitt to recommend him as one of the new writers going out to Bengal, adding that the boy had a relation in Calcutta to take care of him (his father’s cousin John Buller I*). He went out in 1791 and for most of his career in India was associated with the board of revenue at Calcutta. A year after his return home he came in for West Looe on the family interest. No sooner had he been returned than his brother James informed the Treasury that Buller wished for a seat on the supreme council of Bengal, or failing that, Madras. Nothing came of it then.1 His knowledge of Indian affairs was considerable and he gave evidence before the select committee of the House inquiring into East Indian affairs, 14 Apr. 1813. On 19 May he wrote a letter to the court of directors justifying the Bengal government’s taxation of worshippers at the temple of Jaggernaut at Cuttack. This was ordered to be printed by the House.2

Buller was expected to be a supporter of administration. He voted for Catholic relief, 2 Mar., 13 and 24 May 1813, as also on 30 May 1815, opposed Christian missions to India, 22 June 1813, and voted for the censure on the Speaker, 22 Apr. 1814. Either he or his brother Anthony voted with government on 1 Mar. 1815 against Whitbread’s motion. He resigned his seat in March 1816 and returned to India where he rose high in the Company’s service. He was back in England in 1821 and again entered Parliament for West Looe in 1826.

Buller was described by Thomas Carlyle, who had been tutor to his two sons, as a man ‘of perfect probity, politeness, truthfulness and a more solid type than his wife’ whom he described as ‘a graceful, airy and ingeniously intelligent woman of the gossamer kind’. He died 17 May 1848, leaving all he possessed to his wife and two sons. His brilliant son and namesake died tragically later the same year, cutting short an already extraordinary career in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. W. Anderson


  • 1. PRO 30/8/112, ff. 16, 22; Dodwell and Miles, Bengal Civil Servants, 70-71; Northumb. RO, Wallace (Belsay) mss S76/3/33, 40; S76/6/2.
  • 2. Parl. Deb. xxv. 881-5; PP (1812-13), viii. 597-600.
  • 3. DNB (Buller, Charles); PCC 1848, f. 606; Gent. Mag. (1848), ii. 206.