HARRISON, Edward (1674-1732), of Balls Park, nr. Hertford.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



2 Mar. 1717 - 1722
1722 - 10 Aug. 1726

Family and Education

b. 3 Dec. 1674, 1st surv. s. of Richard Harrison, M.P. Lancaster 1669-79, by Audrey, da. of George Villiers, 4th Visct. Grandison [I]; bro. of George and Thomas Harrison. m. bef. 1708, Frances, da. of Reginald Bray of Great Barrington, Glos., sis. of Edmund and William Bray, 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1726.

Offices Held

Capt. of East Indiaman Gosfright 1701, Kent 1709; gov. and c.-in.-c. Madras 1711-17; director, E.I. Co. 1718-31, dep. chairman 1723, 1728, 1731, chairman 1729; postmaster gen. 1726-d.


Under Charles I, Harrison’s grandfather, a court official and financier, of a Lancashire family, settled in Hertfordshire, where his son Richard, Harrison’s father, became for many years a notable figure in local politics. Going to India as a purser, Harrison became a captain in the China trade. Between 1703 and 1709 he corresponded with Governor Pitt, whose son Robert married Harrison’s cousin, the daughter of Lord Grandison.1 Appointed governor of Madras, during his period of office he largely rebuilt the settlement, put down a minor revolt, and was presented with a sword of honour by the Company.2 Returning with a fortune, he entered Parliament for Weymouth, voted for the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts, but did not vote on the peerage bill in 1719, though listed as a supporter. In 1722 he successfully contested Hertford, giving up his seat in 1726 to become postmaster general. A leading figure in the East India Company, he corresponded with Newcastle (4 Sept. 1727, Jan. 1732) on the Company’s behalf over the attempts by the Emperor to set up the Ostend and Hamburg Companies.3 He died 28 Nov. 1732. His daughter, who married the 3rd Viscount Townshend, was the mother of George and Charles Townshend.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. Add. 22852, ff. 73-83; HMC Fortescue, i. 28-31.
  • 2. H. D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras, ii. 131.
  • 3. Add. 32751, f. 488; 32687, f. 445.