MORRIS, Robert (d.1816), of Barnwood Court, nr. Gloucester.
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Family and Education
1st s. of John Morris of the Upper Sheephouse, Glos. by w. Sarah. m. c.1785, Mary, sis. of Joseph Pierce, supt. of Ordnance, Wilts., 2s. 7da.1 suc. fa. 1788.
Sheriff, Gloucester 1791-2.
Capt. commdt. Gloucester vol. cav. 1797, 1803-d.; capt. Glos. yeomanry 1806.
Little is known of Morris’s antecedents. His father served as sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1781 and the following year bought the Barnwood estate from the Johnson family. By the time he made his will, 29 Mar. 1788, Robert was in possession of Barnwood. In addition, his father, who died 5 June 1788, left him a freehold estate at Quedgley, also near Gloucester, while a recently purchased property in the parish of Standish went to his younger brother William.2
Morris was active in the civic affairs of Gloucester by the early 1790s and became a partner in the local banking house of Turner & Co. When a vacancy occurred for the city in July 1805 he stood, stressing his local connexions, as a self-styled ‘independent’ candidate, against Lord Arthur Somerset*, son of the Pittite Duke of Beaufort. He had a comfortable victory, having enjoyed the discreet support of the Whig corporation, though Lord Ellenborough told Lord Sidmouth, 13 Aug., that he believed Morris would ‘vote in general on the same side’ as the Somersets.3 He was returned unopposed at the next three general elections.
He is not known to have opposed the ‘Talents’, but neither did he vote for the motions regretting their dismissal in April 1807, when he had a month’s leave of absence.4 He voted against the Portland ministry on the Duke of York scandal, 15 and 17 Mar. 1809, but with their successors on the address, 23 Jan., and the Scheldt question, 26 Jan. 1810. On 3 Feb. 1810 Robert Ward* told Lord Lonsdale that Morris was one of ‘the calculating and trading politicians’ who, after voting with ministers in the first division of 31 Jan. on the composition of the finance committee, ‘left us’ on the next two ‘upon finding us in a minority’.5 The Whigs nevertheless listed him as a supporter of the government of the day in March 1810 and he voted with ministers on the Scheldt on the 5th and 30th. His only other known votes in the 1807 Parliament were against the gold coin bill, 10 Apr., and against Catholic relief, 22 June 1812, which he again opposed on 1 Mar., 11 and 24 May 1813. The Liverpool ministry expected his support and received it in the divisions on the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May 1815, and the property tax, 15 Mar. 1816. Morris, who was a steward at the Pitt Club triennial commemoration in 1814, is not known to have spoken in the House. He died 6 Sept. 1816.