MILLER, Patrick (d.1845), of Dalswinton, Dumfries.

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



1790 - 1796

Family and Education

1st. s. of Patrick Miller of Dalswinton, banker in Edinburgh, by his w. née Lindsay; nephew of Sir Thomas Miller, 1st Bt., of Glenlee, Kirkcudbright and cos. german of William Miller of Glenlee. m. 9 Oct. 1804, Matilda, da. of Thomas Cuming, banker, of Edinburgh, issue. suc. fa. 1815.

Offices Held

Capt. 14 Drag. 1789, off list 1791.


Miller, whose uncle had represented Dumfries Burghs on the Duke of Queensberry’s interest 1761-6, was the successful candidate on the same interest in the contest of 1790. He survived a petition against the return, his father pointing out that he could have had no part in any bribery or corruption, as he was ‘with his regiment in Ireland during the time of the contest’. In 1788 Miller senior was thought ‘not averse to opposition’ by Lawrence Hill, who added, ‘Would be a respectable Member of Parliament, and it is thought, through his friend and partner, Mr Ramsay of Barnton, could sway the city of Edinburgh at an election’.

Miller gave up the army. On 12 Apr. 1791, after a visit to France, he voted with opposition on the Oczakov question, and on 10 May, had he been present, opposition supposed he would have voted with them for the exemption of Scotland from the Test Act. Subsequently Miller, who made no certain speech, did not vote with the minority until 1796. His patron’s vacillating politics was the explanation. On 2 June 1795 he was given three weeks’ leave of absence for private business. On 10 May 1796 he appeared in the minority for Fox’s motion against the war. On 7 June he joined the Whig Club. He did not seek re-election in 1796. His father took a dim view of his extravagance. An advantageous match with Lady Malet Vaughan, daughter of the Earl of Lisburne, did not come off that year.

On 28 Mar. 1806 Miller wrote to Fox hoping ‘that my conduct while I was in Parliament is neither entirely unknown to you nor completely forgot in which case I trust I may flatter the belief that it may in some measure have received your approbation’. He added:

as no person connected with administration has as yet as far as I am aware appeared for Dumfriesshire where I reside I have conceived the desire of offering myself if I shall be fortunate enough to meet with your support and approbation.

He relied on Fox to obtain for him the interest of the Duke of Queensberry:

His Grace may perhaps however remember that when he was conducive to my coming into Parliament formerly that it was political principles and not his silly and selfish views that I was guided by and therefore he may object to me but I think his scruples will not be insurmountable and that he will feel himself as much inclined to attend to your wishes now as he was zealous in using his efforts to try to prevail on me to act in opposition to you when otherwise situated.

Nothing came of this project and Miller never reentered Parliament. He died 26 Feb. 1845.

Blair Adam mss, Miller to Adam, 14 Dec. 1790; Pol. State of Scotland 1788, p. 103; CJ, l. 568; R. C. Reid, ‘Some Letters of Patrick Miller’, Trans. Dumfries and Galloway Antiq. Soc. (ser. 3), ix. 125; Add. 51469, f. 110; Gent. Mag. (1845), i. 565.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne