BANNERMAN, John Alexander (1759-1819), of Lethendy, Perth.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



21 Jan. 1807 - 1807

Family and Education

b. 5 June 1759, 2nd s. of Rev. David Bannerman, minister of St. Martin’s, Perth (d. 2 June 1810, aged 991) by Janet, da. of Rev. John Turing, minister of Drumblade, Aberdeen. m. 8 Sept. 1789, Ann, da. of James West, Madras army, 2s. at least 2da.

Offices Held

Cadet, E.I. Co. (Madras) 1776, ensign 1778, lt. 1782, capt. 1794, maj. 1798, lt. col. 1800, ret. 1803.

Dir. E.I. Co. 1808-17.

Gov. Prince of Wales Island 1817-d.


Bannerman’s service in the Madras army brought him into contact with the Marquess Wellesley during the Mysore campaign.2 On his return from India he regarded himself as Wellesley’s adherent. He was prepared to contribute £2,000 towards the cost of a seat in Parliament at the general election of 1806 but, like others of Wellesley’s friends, failed to find one.3 In January 1807, however, an opening was found for him when Josias Du Pré Porcher vacated Bletchingley, at the instance of Lord Grenville the prime minister, Wellesley’s friend.4 The patron, the Rev. Jarvis Kenrick, usually took paying guests.

Bannerman made no mark in the House, except that he was a teller on Wellesley’s side on an Indian question on 23 Mar. 1807. An East India Company stockholder entitled to three votes, he was then a candidate for the Company directorate and came second among the unsuccessful candidates.5 The Wellesley party hoped to accommodate him with a Treasury borough at the general election of 1807, but no seat materialized.6 He was in the running for the next vacancy in the court of directors and was recommended to the prime minister for government support by Robert Saunders Dundas:

Colonel Bannerman, who had the greatest number of votes among the unsuccessful candidates in the late contest, and who, besides being a perfectly respectable man, I understand from Mr Huskisson, has very strong claims on the present government, appears to me, for all these reasons, to be the candidate whom we should prefer and support.7

He was duly elected a director in April 1808. No longer qualified to remain one in 1817, he secured the government of Prince of Wales Island (Penang), where he died 8 Aug. 1819.8

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. G. Hinton


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1810), i. 670; Fasti Eccles. Scot. iv. 249.
  • 2. Iris Butler, The Eldest Brother, 183.
  • 3. Add. 37415, f. 21.
  • 4. Fortescue mss, Grenville to Porcher, 12 Jan. 1807.
  • 5. Morning Post, 17 Apr. 1807.
  • 6. Kent AO, Harris mss C67/38.
  • 7. Perceval (Holland) mss 21, f. 22b.
  • 8. Gent. Mag. (1820), i. 186.