Samuel Carter (Tavistock MP)

Samuel Carter (11 November 1814 – 30 December 1903)[1][2] was a British Radical politician and lawyer.

Samuel Carter

Member of Parliament
for Tavistock
In office
28 April 1852  21 February 1853
Serving with George Byng (July 1852–1853)
Edward Russell (April 1852July 1852)
Preceded byEdward Russell
John Salusbury-Trelawny
Succeeded byGeorge Byng
Robert Phillimore
Personal details
Born11 November 1814
Died30 December 1903(1903-12-30) (aged 89)
Political partyRadical
Caroline Bennison (m. 1858)
ParentsJohn Carter
Sarah Green

Early life and career

Carter was the only son of John Carter and Sarah Green, daughter of John Laimbeer.[3] He began his career in his family tannery business, but in 1844 quit to pursue a legal career, entering Middle Temple as a student in 1844, and being called to the bar in 1847. He practiced on the Western Circuit, where he often acted as defence counsel.[2]

Political career

He first stood for election Tavistock, seeking election on both a Radical and Chartist platform, as well as seeking the extension of the franchise including to women, in 1847 but was not elected until a by-election in April 1852. He campaigned on the grounds of judicial scrutiny, using his legal background. Yet, within nine weeks of his election, parliament was dissolved before he had even taken his seat.[2]

While he was also returned at the general election in July[4] of the same year, this was declared void on 21 February 1853 as he was "not duly qualified".[5] A House of Commons select committee found that, despite Carter owning a home, a tannery, and shares in the local gas company, as well as a bank balance of £47 12s and 8d, he did not meet the property qualification and was unseated.[2] Instead, Robert Phillimore was elected in his place.

Nevertheless, during this brief period of his career, Carter did cause furore in the Commons, after this time being able to take his seat. On 16 November 1852, he complained of the £80,000 cost for the funeral of the Duke of Wellington, five times more than to bury Lord Nelson.[2]

Five years after his unseating, Parliament removed the property qualification for MPs.[2]

Later life

Carter, having been unseated, resumed his legal career, becoming a revising barrister - involving checking electoral rolls - before losing that job in 1894 after causing offence to too many people.[2]

He married to Caroline Bennison, daughter of John W Bennison, in 1858, and together they had one child: Reginald Llewellyn Bennison.[3]


  1. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "T" (part 1)
  2. Crail, Mark. "Samuel Carter, Chartist MP, 1814 - 1903". Chartist Ancestors. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  3. Walford, Edward (1869). The County Families of the United Kingdom Or, Royal Manual of the Titled and Untitled Aristocracy of Great Britain and Ireland (5th ed.). R Hardwicke. p. 181. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  4. Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book)|format= requires |url= (help) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  5. "Tavistock. Mr Carter Unseated. Mr Phillimore Elected". Morning Advertiser. 22 February 1853. p. 6. Retrieved 6 February 2018 via British Newspaper Archive.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edward Russell
John Salusbury-Trelawny
Member of Parliament for Tavistock
1852 – 1853
With: George Byng (July 1852–1853)
Edward Russell (April 1852July 1852)
Succeeded by
George Byng
Robert Phillimore
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