BAILLIE, James Evan (?1781-1863), of Rodney House, Clifton, Glos. and 1 Seamore Place, Mayfair, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



17 June 1813 - 1818
1830 - 1834

Family and Education

b. ?1781, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Evan Baillie† (d. 1835) and Mary, da. of Peter Gurley of St. Vincent, W.I.; bro. of Hugh Duncan Baillie* and Peter Baillie†. unm. d. 14 June 1863.

Offices Held

Lt. R. Bristol vols. 1803.


Baillie, who had substantial banking and mercantile interests in Bristol, was nominated for the city without his consent in 1820 by radicals dissatisfied with the official Whig candidate; he was not present during the proceedings and came bottom of the poll.1 Later that year it was thought he would offer for St. Albans, where a by-election was pending, but nothing came of this.2 He attended meetings of the West India planters and merchants committee in London between 1822 and 1824.3 In 1830 he was nominated as the candidate of the West India Whig interest at Bristol and was returned in second place, ahead of an anti-slavery Whig and a radical, after a tumultuous contest in which he declared his support for the ‘ultimate extinction’ of slavery, retrenchment, reductions in the assessed taxes, repeal of the corn laws and abolition of the East India Company’s monopoly of the China trade.4

The Wellington ministry listed him among the ‘doubtful doubtfuls’ and he voted against them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented several Bristol petitions for repeal of the assessed taxes, 17 Dec., and stated that if the Grey ministry did not act he would support Alderman Waithman’s forthcoming motion on the subject. He supported the Bristol anti-slavery petition, 20 Dec. 1830, maintaining that once the principle of compensation had been ‘fairly admitted’ he would ‘as a West India proprietor ... be most happy to give my cordial concurrence to every measure that can promote the emancipation of the slaves and further the wishes of the people of this country’. He attended the reform meeting at Bristol, 21 Jan. 1831, when he declared that his views were ‘completely in accordance’ with his constituents’ but declined to pledge support for the ballot.5 On 26 Feb. he explained that he had not presented the resulting petition because he wished to remain ‘free and unfettered’ as to the ballot, although he was a ‘zealous advocate of reform ... effected in a safe, constitutional and practical manner’. That day he sympathized with another Bristol petition against radical reform of the constitution, but was confident that the government’s measure would not embody ‘extravagant doctrines’ or do anything to ‘lessen the security of property or the just influence of it’. He presented a Bristol petition in favour of the ministerial reform bill, 10 Mar., but while approving of the disfranchisement of rotten boroughs and the transfer of seats to ‘opulent and new communities’, he protested against the ‘monstrous’ plan to disfranchise freemen and the increase in the county representation, which would give ‘the landed interest a complete preponderance over every other’. He divided for the bill’s second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. He presented four petitions from Bristol parishes in favour of the vestries bill, 7 Mar., having been instructed ‘to support the bill as it stands, without any clause for exempting ... Bristol’. He presented petitions from the Bristol political union for repeal of the corn laws and the chamber of commerce for repeal of the excise duty on calicoes and reduction of the sugar duties, 14 Mar. 1831. At the general election in May he was returned unopposed for Bristol, after declaring that he had been ‘a reformer from my cradle’ and promising his ‘most perfect support’ for the bill, notwithstanding the proposals regarding county Members.6

He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July, and generally supported its details, though he voted in the minority to give Stoke two Members, 4 Aug. 1831. He voted for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He presented a petition from the Bristol West India interest against renewal of the Sugar Refinery Act, 18 Aug., and two parish petitions in favour of the vestries bill, 23 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, its details, the third reading, 22 Mar., and Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May 1832. He presented, without comment, a Bristol petition for withholding supplies until the Lords passed the bill, 25 May. He voted against increased county representation for Scotland, 1 June. He divided against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., was absent from the divisions on this issue in July, but voted in the minorities against relief to the crown colonies, 3 Aug., and the Greek loan, 6 Aug. He voted with government on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. He presented a Bristol petition against the labourers in agriculture bill, which he regarded as a ‘general Enclosure Act’, 29 June 1832. At the general election later that year he was returned for Bristol in second place, behind a Conservative but ahead of two advanced Liberals, after deliberately abstaining from the proceedings and avoiding any commitments that ‘could possibly compromise the honour and consistency of my ... character’. He sat as an advocate of ‘Whig principles’ until his defeat in 1835.7 Following the abolition of slavery he received £12,967 in compensation.8 He and his brother Hugh were the residuary legatees of their father’s estate in 1835, but the bulk of it passed to the children of their deceased elder brother Peter.9 Baillie died in June 1863, having instructed that £55,000, raised in part from the sale of estates in Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, should be divided among ten individuals, who were possibly his illegitimate children.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. Bristol Jnl. 11 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. Add. 75940, Althorp to Spencer, 25 Nov. 1820.
  • 3. Inst. of Commonwealth Stud. M915/4.
  • 4. Bristol Jnl. 24, 31 July, 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 5. Bristol Gazette, 27 Jan. 1831.
  • 6. Ibid. 28 Apr., 5 May 1831.
  • 7. Bristol Jnl. 15, 22 Dec. 1832; Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 87.
  • 8. C.H. Cave, Hist. Banking in Bristol, 53.
  • 9. The will was proved under £80,000, with additional property in Scotland valued at £24,761 (PROB 11/1853/635; IR26/1378/987).