PETERS, Henry (?1763-1827), of White Hart Court, Lombard Street, London and Betchworth Castle, Surr.

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



1796 - 1802

Family and Education

b. ?1763, 2nd s. of George Peters, Russia merchant, of 32 Old Bethlehem, London and Hendon Place, Mdx.1 by w. Sarah. educ. L. Inn 1777; St. John’s Camb. 10 Mar. 1781, aged 18. m. 10 Jan. 1785, Charlotte Mary, da. of Lt.-Gen. George Morrison of Sion Hill, nr. Barnet, Mdx. 5s. 5da. suc. fa. 1797.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Surr. 1818-19.

Dir. South Sea Co. 1790.

Capt. Betchworth vols. 1803.


Peters was the son of a wealthy merchant in the Russia Company who was from 1766 a director and from 1785 to 1787 governor of the Bank of England, and who, at his death in 1797, settled £30,000 on Henry’s issue.2 His elder brother was a linen merchant and he himself had a share in this concern; by 1790 he was also a partner in the bank of Masterman & Co. of White Hart Court (later of 35 Nicholas Lane).3 His opulence caused him to be invited by an independent group of freemen of Oxford to contest the city against the interests of the Duke of Marlborough and the Earl of Abingdon, and after spending freely he defeated the latter’s nominee.

In Parliament Peters’s conduct was less independent than he later sought credit for. Admittedly he voted for Fox’s motion of 14 Dec. 1796 critical of the advance of a loan to the Emperor without consent of Parliament. But he had been a signatory to the London merchants’ loyal declaration in Pitt’s favour in 1795 and his firm contributed £40,000 (his father another £20,000) to the loyalty loan for 1797. On 1 June 1797 he voted for the additional dividend to subscribers. In March 1797 he canvassed for a directorship of the East India Company.4 He voted for Pitt’s assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798. On 11 and 14 Dec. 1801 in accordance with their constituents’ wishes, he seconded his colleague Francis Burton’s unsuccessful bid to renew the restriction on distillery from grain.

Faced with a contest at the next general election, in which his own former agent John Ingram Lockhart* was a candidate, Peters announced from his convalescent bed at Margate that he meant to stand again (6 Aug. 1801); but he declined a junction with Lockhart and when he arrived at Oxford (18 Oct.) hinted that he would not be spending freely this time. He was greeted with derision and retired at the dissolution, covered with obloquy because of his supposed transfer of his interest to the Blenheim candidate.5 He did not seek re-election to Parliament. In 1805 he was appointed a commissioner of inquiry into military expenditure.6 He died 21 Dec. 1827.7

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. N. and Q. clxxix. 117 where for ‘son’ of Henry Peters read ‘father’; E.T. Evans, Hendon, 216.
  • 2. PCC 763 Exeter. No reference is made to any son except Henry.
  • 3. Hilton Price, London Bankers, 113.
  • 4. The Times, 21 Mar. 1797.
  • 5. A Coll. of Handbills, Addresses and Songs ... relative to the Election (Oxford, 1802), 8, 11, 13, 15, 25, 34, 35, 45, 46, 51, 52, 86, 111, 125-8, 130-5, 170.
  • 6. Colchester, ii. 4.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1827), ii. 646.