MACKWORTH PRAED, Humphrey (?1718-1803), of Trevethoe, nr. St. Ives, Cornw.

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



1761 - 1768
16 Dec. 1772 - 1774

Family and Education

b. ?1718, 1st s. of William Mackworth Praed, M.P., by Martha, da. and h. of John Praed, M.P., of Trevethoe, Cornw.  educ. ?Trinity Hall, Camb. 1741; M. Temple 1739.  m. 1 Jan. 1746, Mary, da. of William Forester, wid. of Sir Brian Broughton Delves, 4th Bt., M.P., 2s. 4da.  suc. fa. 1752.

Offices Held


William Mackworth Praed was a brother of Herbert Mackworth senior, and took the name of Praed when he inherited the Praed estates. Both his father-in-law and he sat for St. Ives, and it was on the family interest and by agreement with Lord Buckinghamshire that Humphrey Mackworth Praed was returned in 1761. The political managers did not know what to make of him. In Bute’s list he was first classed ‘Lord Buckingham’ and ‘Tory’—designations crossed out subsequently. In Newcastle’s list of 13 Nov. 1762 he appears as a supporter of the court—but on 9 Dec. he voted against the peace preliminaries when so many on whom Newcastle had counted, left him. He was classed as ‘doubtful’ by Jenkinson in the autumn of 1763; voted again with Opposition on general warrants, 6, 18 Feb. 1764; and was therefore listed as a ‘sure friend’ by Newcastle on 10 May. Rockingham classed him as ‘doubtful’ in the summer of 1765, and as ‘Tory’ in November 1766. He voted with Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767; and was listed as ‘doubtful or absent’ by Newcastle, 2 Mar. 1767. He did not stand in 1768.

In January 1771 he started together with Francis Basset and Sir William Lemon the Copper Miners’ Bank at Truro, but left it within six months, and in June 1771 founded together with Sir John Molesworth and Edward Eliot the Cornish Bank, also at Truro.1 In December 1772, with Molesworth’s support, he defeated William Lemon in the by-election for Cornwall—his friends are stated to have subscribed £5,600 towards his election expenses.2 He voted with Opposition on the Middlesex election resolution, 26 Apr. 1773, and again on Grenville’s Act, 25 Feb. 1774, but is marked in the King’s list as one of those who ‘generally vote with [the Government] and are friends’, and in Robinson’s survey at the end of the Parliament as ‘pro’. At the county meeting at Truro, 27 Sept. 1774, held to select candidates for the general election, 231 voted for Molesworth and Lemon, and only 163 for Molesworth and Praed; but though all three had engaged ‘to be decided by the sense of the meeting’, Praed persisted, contending apparently that the weight of supporters as well as their number should be considered, and had Molesworth’s support, but was defeated, and did not stand again. He is not known to have spoken in the House.

Praed was a banker and mining adventurer rather than a politician; his bank, which in 1800 became Praed Co., was ‘a successful bank comparatively well-managed by contemporary standards’.3 Thus Matthew Boulton, writing to James Watt, 3 July 1778, described Eliot and Praed as ‘remarkably cautious’, and not likely to accept ‘any security we have to offer’.4

Praed died 6 Mar. 1803, aged 84.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. J. A. Shearme, ‘Cornish Banks and Bankers’ (unprinted monograph), 6.
  • 2. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 465.
  • 3. L. S. Pressnell, Country Banking in Industrial Rev. 309.
  • 4. E. Roll, Early Experiment in Industrial Organization, 101.