BASTARD, Edmund (1758-1816), of Sharpham House, nr. Totnes, Devon

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



5 Oct. 1787 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 7 Feb. 1758, 2nd s. of William Bastard of Kitley, Devon, and bro. of John Pollexfen Bastard. educ. Eton. 1766-74; M. Temple 1775. m. Jane, da. and h. of Capt. Philemon Pownall, R.N., of Sharpham, 3s. suc. bro. 4 Apr. 1816.

Offices Held


On 26 Aug. 1787, a few weeks before the by-election at Dartmouth, George Rose wrote to William Pitt to know the ‘determination’ to be taken ‘about the patronage of the borough, and the line you will follow with respet to the Bastards’.1 Any position to Edmund Bastard ‘would be fruitless’:

It is therefore to be considered whether you will have him as a cool, doubtful friend, for the sake of recommending to the offices, or drive him at once, and his brother to be determied enemies; I am strongly inclined to wish for the latter as least mischievous to you.

Bastard was elected, as Rose had foreseen, without a contest.

Only two speeches by him are recorded before 1790: 26 and 28 May 1788, on a bill to regulate the Newfoundland fisheries (a matter which specially interested Dartmouth, one of the chief ports for the Newfoundland trade). The second, described in Stockdale’s Debates (xv. 135-6) as ‘a masterly detail of the nature of the fisheries at Newfoundland’, concluded

with repeating the grounds of the anxiety felt by his constituents lest the bill should very materially affect the trade of the country; declaring, at the same time, that his constituents had nevertheless great confidence in the care and prudence of his Majesty’s ministers.

He signed the third party circular of May 1788 and voted with Pitt on the Regency.  He died June 1816.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Chatham mss.