William Manning

MP (Tory)


Manning a staunch advocate through both the West India merchants’ and planters’ committee and the House of Commons of the West India interest. He was also a strong supporter of Tory governments.
1820s: Manning an ‘assiduous attender’ (Fisher) of West India merchants’ and planters’ committee meetings and his Commons career much concerned with his WI interests.
Sought to protect the West Indians’ positions on sugar especially through advocating reductions on WI sugar duties through out the 1820s:

See his speeches in the Commons:
24 Jan. 1822; 25 March 1823; 8 March, 1824 (having been appointed to a sub-committee of West India planters on the sugar duties, 21 January 1824); 8 February 1828; 30 March 1830 (and on rum imports, 29 April 1830); 14, 21 and 30 June 1830.

Manning also complained frequently of the conditions of the planters and merchants of the WI while also claiming that the conditions of the enslaved were not as bad as those like the abolitionists said. For instance, he said, while seeking relief for the WI interest, that the agriculturalist interest’s problems ‘paled into insignificance in comparison with the sufferings of those connected with the West Indies’ (Fisher) (17 May 1822).

On the other hand, he claimed that West India slaves were ‘a contented and happy people ... much better off than the lower class in England’ (cited in Fisher) though in support of a gradual extension of their rights. (16 March 1824) as he was to also claim that if Henry Brougham go the West Indies he would see ‘the comforts which the negro population enjoy and the protection that is afforded to their persons and property’. (13 July 1830).

During the 1820s he supported modest measures of amelioration while continuing a vigorous defence of WI interests against any attempts to reform colonial government as well as abolition itself.
He was also active in urging compensation for slave owners though he claimed that he was not oppose to abolition.

He had been particularly active in the campaign for a West India dock: submitted petition for the bill to build the dock in 1796 (and £800,000 subscribed to a company to construct the proposed dock).

Instrumental in appointment of a select committee against the opposition of the City corporation, 'which feared a threat to its income from the quays on the Thames'. (Daunton) The bill failed; reintroduced in 1797; finally approved 1799.

As an MP, Manning was also much preoccupied with the Bank of England.

On other issues, he was staunchly conservative, voting for suppression of the Catholic Association and against Catholic relief, 1825 and again in 1827-1828, though he was to vote with the government for Catholic emancipation March 1829.

He voted against the repeal of the Test Acts in February 1828 and in February 1830 was opposed to parliamentary reform and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

From 1826 he was mired in accusations of corruption in Penryn, a notoriously venal borough: see Fisher.


Sources: Fisher (ed.), House of Commons 1820-1832, vol. VI; see also Daunton, Oxford DNB entry.

Elections / Constituences

Plympton Erle Devon
1794 - 1796 
Lymington Hampshire
1796 - 1806 
Evesham Worcestershire
1806 - 1818 
Lymington Hampshire
1818 - 1820 
Lymington Hampshire
1821 - 1826 
Penryn Cornwall
1826 - 1830