James Evan Baillie

MP (Whig)


In favour of Catholic relief: 1815, 1816, 1817.

Voted against suspension of civil liberties in 1817 and 1818; for Burdett's motion in favour of parliamentary reform, 20 May 1817.

On 3 Feb. 1818, admitted to the Whig sanctuary of Brooks's Club.

Attended meetings of West India planters and merchants committee in London between 1822 and 1824.

1830: nominated as candidate of the West India Whig interest at Bristol “and was returned in second place, ahead of an anti-slavery Whig and a radical, after a tumultuous contest in which he declared his support for the ‘ultimate extinction’ of slavery, retrenchment, reductions in the assessed taxes, repeal of the corn laws and abolition of the East India Company’s monopoly of the China trade.” (Fisher)

On slavery, abolition and sugar

Supported Bristol anti-slavery petition, 20 Dec. 1830, maintaining that once the principle of compensation had been ‘fairly admitted’ he would ‘as a West India proprietor … be most happy to give my cordial concurrence to every measure that can promote the emancipation of the slaves and further the wishes of the people of this country’.

Presented petitions from Bristol political union for repeal of the corn laws and the chamber of commerce for repeal of the excise duty on calicoes and reduction of the sugar duties, 14 Mar. 1831.

Presented petition from Bristol West India interest against renewal of the Sugar Refinery Act, 18 Aug., 1831

On Parliamentary Reform

Attended meeting, Bristol, 21 Jan. 1831: would not support the ballot but in favour of moderate reform

Feb-March 1831: approved disfranchisement of rotten boroughs and transfer of seats to ‘opulent and new communities’; but against the ‘monstrous’ plan to disfranchise freemen and the increase in the county representation, which would give ‘the landed interest a complete preponderance over every other’.

May 1831 general election: returned unopposed for Bristol

1832: general election: returned for Bristol in second place, behind a Conservative but ahead of two advanced Liberals. Sat as advocate of ‘Whig principles’ until his defeat in 1835.

R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., London, Secker & Warburg for the History of Parliament Trust, 1986), vol. 3; D. R. Fisher (ed.), The House of Commons 1820-1832 (7 vols., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press for the History of Parliament Trust, 2009), vol. 4

Elections / Constituences

Tralee Kerry
1813 - 1818 
Bristol Somerset
1830 - 1835 

Parliamentary Notes

Slavery in the West Indies House of Commons 20/12/1830

Spoke in support of petition for abolition of slavery presented by Richard Davis, also a Bristol MP:

' . . .  the principle of compensation should be admitted in justice to the West-India proprietors. Representing the city of Bristol, whose inhabitants were deeply interested in this question, he thought it his duty to give his most cordial support to the hon. and learned member for Weymouth [Mr Davis], and every other hon. Member who should assist in carrying into effect what he believed to be the wish of the people of this country generally, and the expressed wish of the House — the abolition of negro slavery. The principle of compensation being once fairly admitted, he should, as a West-India proprietor, and as a member for Bristol, be most happy to give his cordial support to every measure that could promote the emancipation of the slaves, and further the wishes of the people. And in case that the period at which the abolition of slavery might take place should be more distant than some hon. Members expected, he should be happy to give his most cordial support to any measure which might tend to advance the period at which so desirable an object could be obtained. He was as anxious to attain that object as any of the hon. Gentlemen who were the warmest advocates for the complete abolition. He was a Member of the House fifteen years before, when the Slave Registry Act was passed, he had given his support to that measure, and had always been happy in reflecting; that he did so.'