MILLER, Sir Thomas, 5th Bt. (1731-1816), of Lavant, Suss. and Froyle, nr. Alton, Hants.
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Family and Education
bap. 5 May 1731, 1st s. of Sir John Miller, 4th Bt., of Lavant by Susan da. of Sir Matthew Combe, MD, of Winchester, Hants. educ. Corpus Christi, Camb. 1753. m. (1) 1 June 1762, Hannah, da. of John Black, alderman of Norwich, 2da.; (2) 29 June 1769, Elizabeth née Edwards of Marylebone, Mdx. 2s. 3da. suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 19 Apr. 1772.
Miller, who had voted with opposition as Member for Lewes on the Pelham interest in the Parliament of 1774, was out of the House for 26 years thereafter. It does not appear that he sought a seat, though he joined the Whig Club 4 Apr. 1785 and Brooks’s 20 May 1791, sponsored by Earl Fitzwilliam. To the latter he wrote, 14 Oct. 1794:
The commencement of the war upon the invasion of Holland I approved, but the prosecution of it without any endeavour to treat after the French were driven from that country I have always lamented, and very much the unhappy division among ourselves. I look forward with hope to a reunion with part of the opposition, but whatever may be the event, it will be impossible for me to withdraw from those with whom I have so long had the honour of acting ...1
Miller, who had moved from Sussex to Hampshire and, as ‘Fox’s old friend’, headed ‘the old Whig independent party’ in county politics,2 was 75 years old when he came in unopposed for Portsmouth on the interest of Sir John Carter in 1806. As expected, he supported the Grenville ministry, voting against their successors, 9 Apr. 1807. In the ensuing Parliament he voted silently but steadily with opposition, even on dissident motions, in the first three sessions. He was present at the party meeting to endorse Ponsonby’s leadership, 18 Jan. 1809. Listed ‘thick and thin’ by the Whigs in 1810, he paired with them on the Scheldt inquiry, and voted against Burdett’s imprisonment, 5 Apr., and for sinecure reform, 17 May 1810. He was steady with the Whigs on the Regency question and courted by the Friends of Constitutional Reform in 1811. No vote is known between 28 Mar. 1811 and 24 Feb. 1812, when he was in the opposition majority. He paired in favour of Catholic relief, 24 Apr., and voted for a more efficient government, 21 May 1812.
Miller’s last known vote was for Catholic relief, 24 May 1813. He took two leaves of absence for illness in the session of 1816 and paired against the property tax, 18 Mar. He died a ‘veteran Whig’, 4 Sept. 1816.3