John Smith MP

MP (Whig)


Pittite until 1806; subsequently a strong Whig and patron of the Midhurst seat.

On slavery and the slave trade

His cousin was William Wilberforce, whom he admired and Smith was among the 'staunch friends' of the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. He favoured the abolition of the slave trade internationally, 1814, and in 1830 was presenting anti-slavery petitions from Dissenting congregations.

Religion: Catholics, Dissenters and Jews

An invariable supporter of Catholic relief from 1810, speaking and voting for relief on many occasions until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.

He was also a strong supporter of the rights of Dissenters, and regarded his part in the campaign to repeal the Test & Corporation Acts as among the proudest achievements of his career.

He also supported rights for Jews.

Parliamentary Reform: he supported Parliamentary Reform from 1810 onwards.

He was generally opposed to the repressive measures directed by the government against political radicals: for example, he opposed the suspension of habeas corpus in February 1817. He was also broadly sympathetic to the poor, for instance, advocating public relief for the distressed manufacturing districts in 1818. (He was also an admirer of Robert Own’s New Lanark experiment.)

Thorne (ed.), House of Commons, 1790-1820, vol. V; Fisher (ed.), House of Commons 1820-1832, vol. 7.

Elections / Constituences

Wendover Buckinghamshire
1802 - 1806 
Nottingham Nottinghamshire
1806 - 1818 
Midhurst Sussex
1818 - 1830 
Chichester Sussex
1830 - 1831 
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire
1831 - 1834