MORLAND, William (1739-1815), of 56 Pall Mall, Mdx. and Lee House, Kent.

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



1796 - 1806

Family and Education

b. Apr.-July 1739, 1st surv. s. of John Morland of Woolwich, Kent by w. Elizabeth née Pratt. m. 29 Apr. 1762, Mary Ann, da. of Austin Mills, merchant, of Greenwich, Kent, 1da. suc. gdfa. 1755.

Offices Held

Dir. British Fire Office 1802, chairman 1812, 1815; dir. Westminster Life Insurance Office 1805, chairman 1808, 1812-d.


Having lost his father at a tender age, Morland was brought up by his grandparents William Morland, a master shipwright of Sheerness, and Alice née Leving, the daughter of another: they left him well provided for. He was trained to be a surgeon, being apprenticed in 1754 to Austin Mills for that purpose and, according to his granddaughter, ‘he had travelled in France, Italy and Germany, and was reckoned one of the most accomplished gentlemen of his time’. He formed a collection of pictures and curios. When he became a banker is not known, but from 1784 he was a partner in the house of Ransom, Morland and Hammersley at 57 Pall Mall. His co-partner was the 7th Baron Kinnaird, who had married Ransom’s daughter. The Prince of Wales patronized them for several years. He was therefore appointed joint receiver of the duchy of Cornwall in 1789 and 1790. On 10 Oct. 1795 he and his partner opened a new banking house.1 In 1802 they branched out with the New Dundee Bank.

His only child Harriet married Scrope Bernard, who was already in Parliament as a junior member of administration. On 2 Oct. 1792 Morland was granted a state pension of £554 p.a. for his daughter’s life. He had unsuccessfully contested Taunton in 1790. He was ‘an attached friend to Whiggism’, as he conceded. He seems to have concentrated on controlling the moribund corporation and also founded a Taunton branch of his bank. In 1796 he was returned unopposed. He had requested the Duke of Portland to prevent ministerial opposition. On 31 May 1797 he advocated remuneration for subscribers to the loyalty loan, in which he admitted to having a ‘small share’ (it was £6,000); he had previously corresponded with Pitt on the subject.2 He voted for Pitt’s assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798. Only one other speech is known, in defence of the St. James’s workhouse bill, 21 June 1803.

Morland was clearly less satisfied with Addington than with Pitt and voted with the minority on Manners Sutton’s motion for an inquiry into the revenues of the duchy of Cornwall, 31 Mar. 1802, for Pitt’s question of 3 June 1803 and on the three major defence motions that led to the fall of that administration, 15 Mar., 23, 25 Apr. 1804. As anticipated, he supported Pitt’s second administration, adhering to them on the critical question of Melville’s case, 8 Apr. 1805, and voted against the Grenville ministry on 3 Mar. and 30 Apr. 1806. In the ensuing election he was defeated by a friend of theirs and did not return to Parliament, though he continued to commute between his residence at Lee and his bank, of which his son-in-law became head on Morland’s death, 14 July 1815, aged 76 and worth £100,000. In 1819 his grandson, the main beneficiary, set up a bank of his own, but it failed in 1832.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. PCC 168 Paul (his gdfa.’s will); S. E. Higgins, The Bernards of Abington and Nether Wichenden, iii. 77-79; Hilton Price, London Bankers, 135; Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1540-1, 1584; Geo. IV Letters, i. 8; Oracle, 9 Oct. 1795.
  • 2. Add. 53805, f. 53; PRO 30/8/161, f. 118.
  • 3. F. M. Hart, Lee, 13; Gent. Mag. (1815), ii. 94; PCC 455 Pakenham; Hilton Price, loc. cit.