BONHAM, Henry (1765-1830), of High Canons, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1806 - 1812
10 Feb. 1824 - 1826
1826 - Feb. 1830

Family and Education

b. 1765, 3rd s. of Samuel Bonham, London merchant and shipowner, of Great Warley Place, Essex by Sarah, da. of George Richardson, merchant, of London. m. 8 Dec. 1802, Charlotte Elizabeth, da. of Rev. James Morrice of Betteshanger House, Kent, 3s. 6da.

Offices Held

Dir. E.I. Dock Co. 1805-29, Albion Fire and Life Insurance 1808-d.

Vol. London and Westminster light horse 1798-1801.


Bonham’s family came from Essex, where he inherited property from an uncle and namesake.1 Like his father he entered the London business world. By 1793 he was a merchant and insurance broker at Lime Street, subscribing, £20,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797, and by 1803 a partner with Russell at Old South Sea House, Broad Street. He was also a partner in the East India house of David Scott*, Bonham, Hartwell and Innes, and an East India Company stockholder, entitled to two votes by 1806. By 1812 he owned nine ships, having the year before launched the Asia (975 tons) and the Prince Regent. That year he sold the Hertfordshire estate he had purchased in 1806 and thereafter resided chiefly in Essex.2

In 1802 Bonham unsuccessfully contested Newark against the Newcastle interest. In 1806 he came in unopposed for Leominster, where he faced no contest in 1807 either. His local agent claimed to have secured his return ‘on condition of never voting against the [Grenville] administration, in or out of office’, but he did not follow that line.3 No speech in the House is known. He voted with ministers on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, but against them on Lord Chatham’s conduct, 5 Mar. The Whigs ventured to list him ‘hopeful’ but he rallied to ministers at the conclusion of the Scheldt inquiry, 30 Mar., and opposed the release of the radical Gale Jones, 16 Apr. 1810. He also voted with ministers on the Regency question of 1 Jan. 1811. No further votes are known until 21 May 1812, when he voted in the majority for a stronger administration.4 He did not seek re-election in 1812.

Bonham was out of Parliament until 1824, when his daughter married George Canning the statesman’s cousin and namesake. He died 9 Apr. 1830.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. E. W. Bonham, Ped. Bonham of Essex, 38.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1811), ii. 479, 652; C. Hardy, Reg. E.I. Shipping; C. N. Parkinson, Trade in the Eastern Seas, 188; Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 484.
  • 3. Fortescue mss, H. Williams Wynn to Grenville, 29 Apr. 1807.
  • 4. Morning Chron. 29 May 1812.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. (1830), i. 381.