Sir Joseph Birch 1st Bart.

MP (Whig)


Declared himself an orthodox Whig. In favour of:

moderate parliamentary reform but not universal suffrage and annual parliaments; Catholic Emancipation; Emancipation of the Jews (1830); measures for the relief of distress; free trade but also retrenchment and reductions in taxation; repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828.

On slavery:

Voted to relieve Barbados and the Leeward Islands from taxes on their trade, 17 Mar., 9 June 1823.

Presenting constituents’ anti-slavery petition, 8 May 1823: ‘declared his support for any reasonable measure which might ameliorate the condition of colonial slaves, though he disagreed with their claim that no improvements had yet been made.’ [Fisher]

Added to the standing committee of the West India planters’ and merchants’ committee, 10 Feb. 1824. (The Times, 11 Feb. 1824; Inst. Commonwealth Stud. M915/4.)

Voted for Brougham’s motion condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824.

Voted in condemnation of the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. 1826

Attended MPs’ meeting interested in West Indian colonies, 2 June 1830 but voted for Brougham’s motion to end colonial slavery, 13 July 1830.

According to the Liverpool Mercury, he was a ‘steady and consistent Whig’, who ‘conciliated political hostility not by truckling to principle or party, but by an unswerving rectitude of conduct ... and by honest and independent votes in the senate’. Liverpool Mercury, 30 August 1833

D. R. Fisher (ed.), The House of Commons 1820-1832 (7 vols., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press for the History of Parliament Trust, 2009), vol. IV.

Elections / Constituences

Nottingham Nottinghamshire
1802 - 1803 
Ludgershall Wiltshire
1812 - 1818 
Nottingham Nottinghamshire
1818 - 1830