ELIOT, Hon. Edward James (1758-97), of Port Eliot, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1780 - 1784
1784 - 20 Sept. 1797

Family and Education

b. 24 Aug. 1758, 1st surv. s. of Edward Eliot, and bro. of Hon. John Eliot. educ. Pembroke, Camb. 1775. m. 24 Sept. 1785, Lady Harriet Pitt, da. of William, 1st Earl of Chatham, 1da.

Offices Held

Ld. of Treasury July 1782-Apr. 1783, Dec. 1783-1793; commr. of Board of Control 1793- d.; King’s remembrancer 1785- d.


Edward James, following his father’s lead, voted with Opposition till the fall of North, and in July 1782 adhered to Shelburne. Gibbon, ill-disposed to the Eliot family, criticized his early promotion to a seat at the Treasury Board, describing him to Dorothea Gibbon, 10 Aug. 1782, as ‘a very unmeaning youth’. Eliot acted as teller against Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. In December, Pitt, a close friend of his, restored him to his Treasury post, and on the eve of his marriage with Pitt’s sister Harriet, appointed him King’s remembrancer. Thomas Orde wrote to the Duke of Rutland, 23 Sept. 1785: ‘The office ... is given to Lady Harriet Pitt as her portion upon her marriage to-morrow with Mr. Eliot. It is worth £1,500 p.a. net. Old Lord Eliot will, it is hoped, be softened by this accession of income'.1 Similarly Mrs. Edward Boscawen, the admiral’s widow, to Mrs. Chase Price, hinting at the father’s supposed parsimony:2 ‘Lady Harriet Pitt if she goes on as she begins will be a fine fortune, and Lord Eliot who I hear has not taken out his purse upon this occasion will soon swear “there is no need”.’ But Edward James's ‘first act on his appointment to that lucrative place was to restore to its regular course the succession to the places of the sworn-clerks, which, before, was open to be purchased by a fixed premium’.3 In the House Eliot followed Pitt, and acted as teller for his proposals for parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785. Only two unimportant interventions in debate by him are reproted before 1790.4

He died v.p. 20 Sept. 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. HMC Rutland, iii. 224.
  • 2. Chase Price mss.
  • 3. Gent. Mag., 1797, ii. 896.
  • 4. 6 Mar. 1783 and 14 Feb. 1785.