COOTE, Eyre (1726-83), of West Park, nr. Rockbourn, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. 1726, 4th s. of Rev. Chidley Coote of Ash Hill, co. Limerick by Jane, da. of George Evans of Bulgaden Hall, co. Limerick. m. 6 July 1763, a da. of Charles Hutchinson, gov. of St. Helena, s.p. K.B. 28 June 1770.
Went out to India 1754; capt. 39 Ft. 1755; lt.-col. 84 Ft. 1759; col. 1765; col. 27 Ft. 1771-3; col. 37 Ft. 1773- d.; maj.-gen. 1775; lt.-gen. 1777; c.-in-c. Madras 1769-70, Bengal 1777- d.
In 1762 Coote, after having served under Clive at Plassey and gained a considerable reputation by his own victories at Wandewash and Pondicherry, returned to England and bought the estate of West Park in Hampshire. Before the general election of 1768 he was encouraged by his friend Welbore Ellis 1 to stand at Aylesbury, but finding that he was to be opposed by John Durand, who was ‘determined to get into the House at any rate provided money can effect it’, withdrew before an open declaration of his candidature was made.2 Finally he successfully contested the expensive borough of Leicester jointly with Booth Grey, whose father Lord Stamford had an interest in that borough but was anxious to find a wealthy candidate to share the expenses. In November 1767 Lord Stamford’s agent had approached Clive3 about recommending one of his friends; whether Coote was his nominee is not certain.
No vote of Coote’s appears in the year he had in Parliament before his departure to take up the appointment as commander-in-chief in Madras. Back in England again in 1771, he was classed in Robinson’s surveys of March 1772 on the royal marriage bill as ‘pro, present’, but no vote of his was reported before 26 Apr. 1773 when he voted with Administration on the Middlesex election; his only other recorded vote was with Administration on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774. His only reported speech in the House was on 30 Mar. 1772 on a motion for an East India bill, when he declared that ‘three times the number of troops now in India might be paid with the same money, but that the contractors and the canaille spent all the money’.4
In 1774 Coote successfully contested Poole. No vote or speech of his is reported before he left England to take up his post in Bengal. He did not stand again in 1780. He died at Madras on 26 Apr. 1783.