SMITH, Jarrit (?1691-1783), of Long Ashton, Som.
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Family and Education
b. ?1691, o.s. of John Smith of Bristol. m. 8 Feb. 1732, Florence, da. of Sir John Smith, 2nd Bt., of Long Ashton, sis. and h. of Sir John Smith, 3rd Bt., wid. of John Pigott of Brockley, Som., 2s. cr. Bt. 27 Jan. 1763.
Smith was a Bristol attorney who by a fortunate marriage acquired a country estate and considerable property. He was a founder member of the Steadfast Society, the group of Bristol Tories; and contested the city on their interest in 1756.
He entered Parliament as an opponent of the Newcastle-Fox Administration, and in September 1756 presented an address from Bristol calling for an inquiry into the loss of Minorca. He supported the Pitt-Newcastle Administration, and in December 1757 was one of the committee appointed to prepare the Address. He was diligent in his attendance and watchful over the interests of his constituents, but there is no record of his having spoken in the House. He did not correspond with Newcastle; and his application for a baronetcy was forwarded through Robert Nugent, his fellow-Member for Bristol.1
Smith attended the Cockpit meeting of 2 Nov. 1761 to take into consideration the choice of a Speaker.2 In Bute’s list he was classed as ‘Tory, Pitt’. He approved of the peace preliminaries,3 and was created a baronet during Bute’s Administration. He attended Grenville’s levee at the opening of the session, 17 Nov. 1763, and supported Administration over Wilkes and general warrants.4 (He was absent from the division of 18 Feb. 1764, but was classed by Jenkinson as a friend.)
On the formation of the Rockingham ministry Nugent hoped to secure Smith for the Opposition;5 but Smith, in deference to his Bristol constituents, voted for the repeal of the Stamp Act. He voted against the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and the nullum tempus bill, 17 Feb. 1768.
Early in 1768 Smith announced his intention to retire from Parliament at the forthcoming general election. But on 8 Feb. 1768 he wrote from Westminster to his son:
I have been so pressed since I have been here by everyone I have talked with to stand again for Bristol to preserve the peace and quiet thereof, with such reasons given for it that I have been prevailed upon to say that if a popular election can’t be prevented without my doing it, my fellow citizens (to whom I am particularly obliged) shall dispose of me as they please, consistent with my health, and that they will be satisfied with such attendance as may be safe and convenient for me.
On 16 Feb. he wrote, again from Westminster:
My determination to retire will save me and my friends much trouble in not writing on a subject I am quite tired of. I thank God this place and my attendance in Parliament agree with me better than I could expect, and hope to hold out to its time of dissolution, then to retire with this satisfaction, that from the beginning to the end of my being in Parliament I have neglected no part of my duty and impartially discharged the trust reposed in me by my constituents.6
He died 24 Jan. 1783, ‘aged nearly 92’.7