SMITH, George (1765-1836), of Selsdon Park, Croydon, Surr. and 1 Upper Harley Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 30 Apr. 1765, 5th s. of Abel Smith† (d. 1788), banker, of Nottingham and London and Mary, da. of Thomas Bird of Barton, Warws.; bro. of John Smith*, Robert Smith† and Samuel Smith*. m. 12 May 1792, Frances Mary, da. of Sir John Parker Mosley, 1st bt., of Ancoats, Lancs. and Rolleston, Staffs., 9s. 6da. (1 d.v.p.). d. 26 Dec. 1836.
Dir. Westminster Fire Office 1786-8; dir. E.I. Co. 1795-1833, dep. chairman 1805-6.
Maj. E.I. Co. vols. 1798.
Smith, a partner in the family’s London and Hull banks until his retirement from business in 1829, and a director of the East India Company for 38 years, was again returned unopposed for his eldest brother Lord Carrington’s nomination borough of Wendover at the 1820 general election. He continued to act with the conservative wing of the Whig opposition, but he was not a reliable thick and thin attender. He divided against the Liverpool ministry on the civil list, 5, 8 May 1820, and their prosecution of Queen Caroline, 23, 26 Jan., 6, 13 Feb. 1821. Unlike his elder brother and colleague Samuel, he voted for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821. He was in minorities for army reductions, 14 Mar., ordnance economies, 21 May, and to omit arrears from the duke of Clarence’s grant, 18 June; but he divided with ministers (and with Samuel) against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821. It is not clear whether it was he or Samuel who voted for more extensive tax remissions, 11 Feb. 1822. He divided for reduction of the salt duties, 28 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., 2 May. He was in Ricardo’s minority of 25 for a maximum 20s. duty on wheat imports, 9 May. On 3 June he voted for reception of the Greenhoe petition for parliamentary reform, but he divided for none of the substantive reform motions of this period. He voted for criminal law reform, 4 June, inquiry into the lord advocate’s dealings with the Scottish press, 25 June, and to abolish the lottery tax, 1 July. On the budget that day he ‘said a few words in a low tone regarding the claim of the East India Company, and on the sinking fund’.1 He voted for investigation of the Calcutta bankers’ claims on the Company, 4 July 1822, having confirmed by request that their agent Prendergast, Member for Galway, had a ‘clearly established’ grievance.2 Smith voted for ordnance economies, 19 Feb., but with government against Hume’s motion for £2,000,000 tax reductions, 3 Mar. 1823. His only other known votes that session were for inquiry into the Irish church establishment, 4 Mar., and for proper use of the Bardados defence fund, 17 Mar. He voted to accuse lord chancellor Eldon of a breach of privilege, 1 Mar., for inquiries into the state of Ireland, 11 May, and Irish church pluralities, 27 May, to condemn the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June, and, in a minority of 22, against the additional churches bill, 14 June 1824. He presented a Monk Wearmouth petition for the abolition of slavery, 4 May 1824.3 He divided against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 21, 25 Feb. 1825. A defaulter on a call of the House, 28 Feb., he attended and was excused next day, when he voted for Catholic relief, as he did on 21 Apr., 10 May. He divided against the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 2, 10 June 1825. No votes have been found for 1826, when he came in again unopposed for Wendover; ‘indisposition’ kept him away from the formalities and his eldest son stood proxy for him.4
Smith paired for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, and was present to vote for it, 12 May 1828. He divided for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He put a question to a witness in the East Retford bribery inquiry, 7 Mar. 1828. He divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. On the presentation of a petition from London East India merchants for a reduction in the duties on the importation of Indian silk goods, 13 Apr., 1829, he said there was no strong feeling on the issue in India. He voted for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., and paired for it, 17 May 1830. In early April 1830 Carrington informed the duke of Wellington that he, George and Samuel intended to support his ministry ‘without asking for anything’.5 He duly voted with them for the grant for South American missions and against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. At the general election that summer Smith transferred to Carrington’s borough of Midhurst. Listed by ministers among the ‘good doubtfuls’, but reckoned to be in essence a ‘friend’, he was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. Illness kept him away from that on the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar. 1831, but he made it known that, unlike Samuel, and contrary to Carrington’s wishes, he would have voted for it if present.6 He paired against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the measure, 19 Apr. 1831, and retired from Parliament at the ensuing dissolution.
Smith, who left the East India Company direction in 1833, died at his Surrey residence at Selsdon in December 1836.7 By his will, dated 23 Apr. 1834 and proved under £200,000, he provided handsomely for his many children, directed his sons and executors George Robert, Oswald and John Henry to sell his Midhurst property, divided residue of £79,178 between them and devised Seldson to George Robert.8