Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Bryan Edwards (politician)

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Name  Bryan Edwards

Role  English Politician
Bryan Edwards (politician)
Died  1800, The Polygon, Southampton, United Kingdom
Books  The History - Civil and, The History - Civil and, An Historical Survey of, Ultimate Anatomy, The History - Civil and

Bryan Edwards, FRS (21 May 1743 – 15/16 July 1800) was an English politician and historian born in Westbury, Wiltshire. Edwards supported the slave trade, and was described by abolitionist William Wilberforce as a powerful opponent.



Edwards' father died in 1758/8 (Will written 1758 and proved 1759), and his maintenance and education were undertaken by his maternal uncle, Zacchary Bayly, a wealthy merchant in Jamaica. About 1759 Edwards joined his uncle there and Bayly engaged a private tutor to complete the boy's education. When Bayly died Edwards inherited his wealth, including six plantations, and in 1773 also succeeded to the estate of another Jamaica resident named Hume.

Edwards soon became a leading member of the colonial assembly of Jamaica, but in a few years returned to England. In 1782 he tried and failed to secure a seat in parliament as member for Chichester. He was in Jamaica again from 1787 to 1792. He then settled in England as a West India merchant, making another futile attempt to enter Parliament in 1795, this time standing in Southampton. In 1796, however, he became Member of Parliament for Grampound, a notoriously corrupt Cornish borough. Edwards retained this seat until his death.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1794.

He died in Southampton in 1800. He had married Martha, the daughter of Thomas Phipps of Brook House, Westbury and had one surviving son and a daughter. He left the bulk of his estates to the son, Zacchary Hume Edwards.


In 1784 Edwards wrote Thoughts on the late Proceedings of Government respecting the Trade of the West India Islands with the United States of America, in which he attacked the restrictions placed by the government upon trade with the United States. In 1793 he published in two volumes the History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies, and in 1797 published his Historical Survey of the French Colony in the Island of St Domingo. The latter two titles were later republished, with some additional material, as the History of the British Colonies in the West Indies, in three volumes. This has been translated into German and, in part, into French and Spanish. A fifth edition was issued in 1819.

When Mungo Park returned in 1796 from his celebrated journey in Africa, Edwards drew up from Park's narrative an account of his travels. Edwards was secretary of the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa, which published this piece in their Proceedings. When Park wrote his own account of his journeys he availed himself of Edwards' assistance.

Edwards also wrote some poems and some other works relating to the history of the West Indies.


Bryan Edwards (politician) Wikipedia

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