HARVEY, Sir Eliab (1635-99), of Cokayne House, Broad Street, London, and Rolls Park, Chigwell, Essex

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



c. Oct. 1669 - Jan. 1679
Mar. - July 1679
Oct. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
7 Dec. 1693 - 20 Feb. 1699

Family and Education

b. 3 June 1635, 1st s. of Eliab Harvey, merchant, of Lawrence Pountney Hill, London, and Hempstead, Essex, by Mary, da. of Francis West of London, merchant, lt. of the Tower 1645–52; cos. of Michael Harvey*.  educ. Merchant Taylors’ 1643; Padua Univ. 1656.  m. 7 Dec. 1658, Dorothy (d. 1726), da. of Sir Thomas Whitmore, 1st Bt.†, of Apley Park, Salop and sis. of Sir William Whitmore, 2nd Bt.*, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 4 da.  Kntd. 27 May 1660; suc. fa. 1661.1

Offices Held

Asst. Levant Co. 1670–1.2

Freeman, Salisbury 1679; lt. Waltham Forest by 1681–d.; gov. Chigwell sch. 1669–d.; commr. charitable uses, Essex 1698.3


Harvey’s sober godliness and anti-popery had made him an active Country member and supporter of Exclusion in the reign of Charles II, but he seems to have been won over during James II’s campaign to enlist the support of Dissenters or their allies, hosting a dinner for the King in June 1688. In 1689 he was listed among other former Country party MPs as one of those ‘eminent in Parliament, useful men, but not to be trusted’, although he did not sit in the Convention. Perhaps believing that the reduced threat from Catholicism and the toleration of Protestant Dissenters allowed him to steer a more strictly Anglican course, or simply continuing to view politics through a Country perspective of criticism of government, Harvey allied himself to the Church party at the 1690 Essex election, with the bishop of London personally appearing on his behalf. Although one pamphlet noted that the voters ‘had no quarrel against Sir Eliab’, his candidature was seen as a direct challenge to the election of Colonel Henry Mildmay*, from whom Harvey had parted company at the second county contest in 1679. He and his partner, Sir Anthony Abdy, were defeated, and twice petitioned the House in vain. Harvey also failed in January 1692 to be chosen as one of the four non-Members to be added to the commission of accounts, though his nomination indicates his passion for financial regularity as well as his ambition. On Mildmay’s death, Harvey contested the by-election in January 1693 against his former adversary, John Lamotte Honywood*. This element of personal rivalry pushed Harvey further into the arms of the Church party, although the Tory squire Sir John Marshall believed that at least one Nonconformist preacher and his flock would support Sir Eliab, perhaps in recognition of the prominent part he had taken in promoting the bill of indulgence for Protestant Dissenters in 1680. Harvey secured a delay in the election ‘for near a month’ in order to strengthen his interest, but Honywood was returned at the poll, and Harvey’s petition on 17 Jan. 1693, on the grounds that ‘some hundreds’ of his voters had not been counted, was unsuccessful. Although the elections committee resolved that the return of both candidates was void, the House overthrew this verdict on 14 Feb., thereby confirming Harvey’s exclusion from Westminster.4 Somewhat chastened by these two rebuffs, he retired to Maldon, where, with the support of Arthur Moore* and Sir John Bramston†, he was successfully returned at a by-election, defeating Richard Hutchinson, who was strongly sympathetic to Dissent. He survived Hutchinson’s petition to unseat him, and soon showed his Country allegiance and experience as a Levant merchant. He acted as teller on 28 Feb. 1694 against a motion barring the taxation of land above the rate of 4s., and was instructed on 14 Apr. to bring in a clause to prevent the Bank of England engaging in any trade. On 3 Apr. he was the first to be named to the committee established to prevent the counterfeiting and clipping of coin, and on 16 Apr. acted as teller in favour of making the receivers of the militia account for the last three years of trophy money. Three days later he twice performed the same function to block debate on supply. Perhaps scandalized by Sir Thomas Cooke’s* bribery and abuse of East India Company privileges, Harvey took a message six days later to the Lords that the Commons had appointed 24 of its Members to the committee set up by the Act granting Cooke’s indemnity, though he was not himself appointed to the investigating panel. His other activity during this Parliament included contributing to the debate on the triennial bill on 18 Dec. 1693 by referring to the unhappy experience of the Cavalier Parliament in pushing through legislation in a thin House, and acting as a teller on 6 Mar. 1694 to prevent the further consideration of a claim of breach of privilege by his rival at the 1690 election, Sir Francis Masham, 3rd Bt.*5

In 1695 Harvey successfully contested Maldon, having arranged an electoral pact with Charles Montagu*, and having stood again on the Bramston interest. Montagu’s subsequent decision to set up his brother, Colonel Irby Montagu*, prompted George Bramston to offer himself in competition, but Sir John Bramston drew the unhappy conclusion from his nephew’s defeat that he had ‘to lay at Sir Eliab’s charge underhand and double dealing, by engaging with Mr. Montagu as he did’. In Parliament Harvey brought in a bill on 20 Dec. 1695 for the encouragement of privateers, and both presented and reported a bill for improving the highway in Essex. But his attitude on national issues proved to be unaffected by his temporary electoral understanding with Montagu. He was listed as a probable opponent of the government on the proposed council of trade in January 1696, and refused to sign the Association the following month, though if this obstinacy is to be construed as evidence of Jacobite sympathies it is worth noting that he was not deprived of his ‘very considerable command’ as lieutenant of Waltham Forest, and that his third son, Matthew, was first page of honour to William III and served his master at the battle of the Boyne as well as in three succeeding campaigns in Flanders. On 20 Mar. 1696 Harvey continued his vigilance against financial malpractice by both acting as teller and voting against the government on the price of guineas, and on 25 Nov. he voted against Fenwick’s attainder. He was teller on three more occasions during the 1695 Parliament: on 28 Mar. 1696 on a motion relating to the East Indies trade; on 9 Mar. 1698 against committing the bill to prevent abuses in weights and measures; and three days later in favour of a bill for the suppression of blasphemy and profaneness.6

Thereafter Harvey’s activity declined, possibly because of advancing age. In the last session of the 1695 Parliament, on 8 Jan. 1698, he raised the matter of the civil list during a debate on garrisons, and on 5 Apr. reported from the committee on a private estate bill relating to Sir Edward Turnor, one of his most active supporters during the county contests in the early 1690s. Returned again for Maldon in July 1698, with what Sir John Bramston later described as his own ‘help and folly’, he was classed as a supporter of the Country party in about September, and in November put his west-country electoral interest at the disposal of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt.* He died on 20 Feb. 1699, and was buried in the family vault at Hempstead, ‘much lamented, being a gentleman of an extraordinary good character’. His piety is evident in his charitable settlement at Folkestone, Kent, by his place on the Essex commission for charitable uses, and in his will, in which he fervently prayed that at his death he would ‘be in a readiness to depart and joyfully say, come Lord Jesus receive my soul into the hands of thy mercy, Amen, Amen’. Having stated that it was only through the ‘moderation and intercession’ of Christ that his spirit looked for ‘everlasting salvation’, he added the singular request that his body ‘may not be cut or opened’ after his death. He left his estate in London and Essex to his son, William*, on whom he had settled the property in 1695, and gave a token of £10 to his cousin Michael*.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Mark Knights


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 2. i. 359; iii. 333–4.
  • 2. Info. from Prof. H. G. Horwitz.
  • 3. Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 477; CSP Dom. 1680–1, p. 310; G. Stott, Hist. Chigwell Sch. 185; Essex Rev. xxxviii. 69.
  • 4. Ellis Corresp. i. 380; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 385; Morrice ent’ring bk. 3, p. 123; Camb. Univ. Lib. Add. mss 5, ff. 184, 193, Bishop of London to John Strype, [1690], 22 Dec. 1692; Tryal of Skill (1690); CJ, x. 350, 430; HMC Lords iv 50; Case of Richard Hutchinson (L. Inn Lib. tracts 100/171); W. Suss. RO, Shillinglee (Winterton) mss Ac.454/552, Marshall to Sir Edward Turnor*, 29 Dec. 1692.
  • 5. Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Moore mss 143 Db, Harvey to Moore, 15 Sept. 1693; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 374–5; Grey, x. 368.
  • 6. Bramston Autobiog. 390–1; Post Boy, 28 Feb.–2 Mar. 1699; Misc. Gen. et Her. iii. 334.
  • 7. Cam. Misc. xxix. 358; BL, Althorp mss, box 7, Nottingham to Halifax, 19 Nov. 1698; Bramston Autobiog. 404; Misc. Gen. et Her. iii. 333; Post Boy, 23–25 Feb. 1699; Contents of the Deed of Settlement . . . Given to the Town of Folkestone; PCC 42 Pett.