SMITH, Abel (1788-1859), of Woodhall Park, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 17 July 1788, 1st s. of Samuel Smith I* of Welford, Notts. and Woodhall by Elizabeth Frances, da. of Edmund Turnor of Stoke Rochford, Lincs. educ. Harrow 1800-5; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1805. m. (1) 28 Aug. 1822, Lady Marianne Leslie Melville (d. 22 Mar. 1823), da. of Alexander, 9th Earl of Leven and Melville [S], s.p.; (2) 12 July 1826, Frances Anne, da. of Sir Harry Calvert, 1st Bt., of Claydon, Bucks., 4s. 6da. suc. fa. 1834.
Smith, a partner in the family banking concern from 1810, was active in the business for the rest of his life and became one of the most respected bankers of his day. The first member of his generation of the Smith family to enter the House, he was returned for Malmesbury on the Estcourt interest at a by-election in January 1810, presumably at the behest of the head of the family, his uncle Robert Smith*, Lord Carrington. At the general election of 1812 Carrington brought him in for his pocket borough of Wendover.
Like Carrington, his father, and his uncle George Smith*, he aligned himself with the conservative wing of the Whig opposition. He could usually be relied on to supply his vote in major confrontations with government on issues on which the Whigs were united, but he was clearly not a regular attender for routine business: no votes are recorded in his name, for example, between 21 Jan. 1811 and 24 Feb. 1812, 22 June 1813 and 23 Feb. 1815, or 29 Apr. 1817 and 13 Apr. 1818. He was elected to Brooks’s on 11 May 1816. Smith took no part in the opposition to the renewal of war in 1815, the terms of the peace settlement in 1816, the suspension of habeas corpus in 1817, or the domestic spy system in 1818. He voted against Brand’s parliamentary reform motion, 21 May 1810, and in his only known speech in this period, 13 July 1812, supported the peace preservation bill as a ‘moderate exertion of power’ necessary to restore tranquillity. He voted for the abolition of the sinecure paymastership of widows’ pensions, 24 Feb., and for the sinecure offices bill, 4 May 1812; and in the sessions of 1815 and 1816 he voted regularly for retrenchment, economy and reduced taxation. He voted for Catholic relief, 2 Mar. and 24 May 1813. At the dissolution of 1818 Carrington did not have enough seats available to accommodate all his relatives and Smith made way for Carrington’s son. He died 23 Feb. 1859.