MARTIN, John (1774-1832), of Overbury, Worcs. and 68 Lombard Street, London.

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



1812 - 4 Jan. 1832

Family and Education

b. 27 Nov. 1774, 1st s. of James Martin*. m. 5 Mar. 1803, Frances, da. of Richard Stone, banker, of Lombard Street and Chislehurst, Kent, 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 1810.

Offices Held


Martin was involved in the family banking business by the end of 1793 and was admitted to a partnership about two years later. When his father retired from Parliament in 1807 after 31 years as Member for Tewkesbury, John stood in his place, but he was beaten into third place in the ensuing contest. He succeeded his father as senior partner in the bank at about this time and as head of the family in 1810.1 He tried again at Tewkesbury in 1812, was returned unopposed and retained the seat until his death. In his election address of 1 June 1818 he described himself as a supporter of civil and religious freedom, peace and economy, a claim amply substantiated by his voting behaviour in this period.2 He clearly inherited a full measure of his father’s celebrated independence, for not one of his many recorded votes was with government, though he never joined Brooks’s and did not sign the requisition calling on Tierney to take the Whig leadership in 1818.

He was in the opposition minorities on the gold coin bill, 8 and 11 Dec. 1812; the vice-chancellor bill, 11 Feb.; the Regency, 23 Feb.; the sinecure bill, 29 Mar., and Indian trade, 16 June 1813. He voted for Catholic relief, 2 Mar., 13 and 24 May 1813 and again 30 May 1815, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817. In 1814 he voted against government on the Speaker’s prorogation speech, 22 Apr.; the Treason Laws, 25 Apr.; the blockade of Norway, 12 May; the Corn Laws, 16 May; East India Company pensions, 17 May; the expulsion of Lord Cochrane, 5 July, and the aliens bill, 15 July. He did likewise on the peacetime militia, 28 Feb.; Spanish Liberal refugees, 1 Mar.; the Bank, 2 Mar.; the corn bill, 10 Mar.; the new taxes, 13 Mar., and the property tax, 19, 20 Apr., 1 and 5 May 1815. He voted against the renewal of war, 7 and 28 Apr., 25 May, for receipt of the City petition, 1 May, and against the Allied subsidy, 26 May 1815.

He was in the opposition minorities on the peace treaties, 9, 15 and 20 Feb. 1816, and went on to vote regularly in support of the Whig campaign for economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation. He opposed the suspension of habeas corpus in February 1817, the seditious meetings bill, 14 Mar., the renewed suspension of habeas corpus in June and the domestic espionage system and the indemnity bill in February and March 1818. A supporter of parliamentary reform, he voted for receipt of the Lymington petition, 11 Feb. 1817; Burdett’s reform motions of 20 May 1817 and 1 July 1819; for repeal of the Septennial Act, 19 May 1818, and for Scottish burgh reform, 1 Apr. 1819. In the debate on reform petitions, 12 Mar. 1817, he observed that ‘the less offensive mode would be, not to reject the petitions, but to vote that they could not be received on account of their irregularity’. He voted for Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. On the cash payments bill, 14 June 1819, he suggested that if the Bank were to sell Exchequer bills at those periods when they had just paid dividends, their own notes would flow back in and enable them to regulate the currency. He voted against the address, 24 Nov., and for inquiry into the state of the nation, 30 Nov., and was one of the diehard opponents of the subsequent coercive measures. He denounced the night searches provisions of the seizure of arms bill, 15 Dec. 1819. Martin died 4 Jan.1832.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. J. B. Martin, ‘The Grasshopper’ in Lombard Street, 97-101; Hilton Price, London Bankers, 112.
  • 2. Gloucester Jnl. 8 June 1818.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1832), i. 80, 650.