GRANT, John (c.1720-1804), of Waltham Place, Berks.

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



1784 - Feb. 1786

Family and Education

b. c.1720, 3rd s. of Rev. John Grant, rector of Nolton, Pemb. m. (1) 1767, Alicia (d. 16 Nov. 1785), da. of Dr. Robert Gilbert, canon of Salisbury, 1s.; (2) 30 June 1788, Hon. Charlotte Bouverie, da. of Jacob, 1st Visct. Folkestone, sis. of William and Edward Bouverie, s.p.

Offices Held


According to an obituary note in the Gentleman’s Magazine (1804, p. 91) Grant was ‘a native of Scotland’; went out as a regimental surgeon in the service of the East India Company; rose to the rank of major; and made a fortune in India. A correspondent, ‘M.S.’, claiming to correct the note (ibid. p. 104), states his parentage as given above; and says that Grant ‘accompanied Sir Eyre Coote, in 1739 [should be 1759], in the 84th regiment to India; and in 1762, under Major Adams, was greatly instrumental to the re-establishment of Jaffier Ali Cawn ... in Bengal’. But his name does not appear in the army list among the officers of the 84th regiment nor in Hodson’s Officers of the Bengal Army, 1758-1834. Still, in Parliament he was usually referred to as Major Grant. Speaking in the House, 4 Aug. 1784, he claimed to have been ‘almost the only officer who served the Company, and gained nothing by it’.1 He became a partner in Pybus Co., bankers, of Old Bond Street, London; and in 1776 purchased Waltham Place, in Berks.2

In 1780 Grant nibbled at Cricklade, for which Robert Fletcher, another East India officer (married to Ann Pybus), had sat 1768-74. In 1784 he was returned to Parliament as Government candidate on the Edgcumbe interest at Fowey, his seat being listed by Robinson in December 1783 among the six to be obtained from Lord Edgcumbe at £3,000 each.3 He voted for Pitt’s parliamentary reform proposals, 18 Apr. 1785; and intervened in four debates: in three on Pitt’s East India bill (19 July, and 2 and 4 Aug. 1784), and in one on the budget, 9 May 1785.4 Whether his vacating his seat when Lord Edgcumbe’s eldest son came of age was pre-arranged is unascertained, and so are its financial terms.

He died 8 Jan. 1804.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Debrett, xvi. 341.
  • 2. VCH Berks. iii. 174.
  • 3. Laprade, 108.
  • 4. Debrett, xvi. 132, 133, 136, 319, 341; xviii. 230.