GRAHAM, Thomas II (1752-1819), of Kinross House, Kinross.

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

Constituency

Dates

25 June 1811 - 1812
1818 - 28 July 1819

Family and Education

b. 5 Oct. 1752, 4th s. of John Graham, merchant in Edinburgh, of Kernock by 2nd w. Helen, da. of William Mayne of Powislogie, Clackmannan, sis. of Sir William Mayne, cr. Baron Newhaven [I]; half-bro. of George Graham*. m. 22 Dec. 1783, at Calcutta, Anne, da. of Henry Paul, 1s. d.v.p. 2 da.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1768; factor 1774, sen. merchant 1780; resident at Benares 1777-80; partner in bank of Graham, Mowbray and Skirrow of Calcutta; member of supreme council 1793, 1801; sen. member, board of revenue 1793-c.1809.

Biography

Like his elder brothers John and Robert and half-brother George, Graham prospered in India, assisted by their connexion with the banking house of their uncle Sir William Mayne. He became one of Warren Hastings’s most trusted subordinates and acted as his Persian translator. As resident at Benares, he was charged with irregularities which culminated in his removal in 1780 at the instance of Hastings’s foe Philip Francis. Graham complained to Hastings: ‘I do not suppose that the annals of the Company’s service can furnish an instance of such wanton injustice as I am now in proof of’. He subsequently advised Hastings of the progress of the Mahrattas campaign against Hyder Ali. On Hastings’s departure in 1785, Graham joined his brother Robert as a partner in the Calcutta bank, the failure of which in 1791 involved him in considerable debt. In January 1793 he realized his ambition of being appointed to the supreme council by Lord Cornwallis, only to be removed by the court of directors in London, who feared that he would be biased towards his creditors. He was compensated with a place on the board of revenue which he retained until his return to Scotland by 1809. He had bombarded Henry Dundas with applications for retention of his salary and reinstatement on the supreme council, which he actually achieved early in 1801, only to be displaced again.1 He was an East India Company stockholder.

Owing to the non-fulfilment of the condition under his half-brother George’s will whereby the latter’s estate, carrying a powerful interest in Kinross-shire, passed to an illegitimate son James who was bound to marry Thomas Graham’s daughter Anne Maria, Graham, who compensated James Graham, became possessed of that estate in addition to his own purchase of Burleigh Manor. His relations had unsuccessfully attempted to procure the return of one of themselves in 1807, ostensibly as locum tenens for Graham. On his return his interest was strengthened by fresh enrolments, and on a vacancy in 1811 he was returned unopposed on the understanding that he would not create any further new votes.2

Graham made it clear that he considered his Indian services to have been inadequately rewarded. He nevertheless gave an inconspicuous support to ministers during the remainder of that Parliament,3 as well as in that of 1818, when he was again returned unopposed. He played no part in debate, but on 1 and 2 Apr. 1813 gave evidence at the bar of the House on East Indian affairs. He had voted with the government minority against sinecure reform, 4 May 1812, after apparently voting the other way on 21 Feb. On 28 Apr. and 7 June 1819 he took sick leave. He died 28 July 1819, leaving his estate to whichever of his two coheiresses first produced a son, a feat accomplished by his younger daughter Helen, second wife of (Sir) James Montgomery*.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. W. Anderson

Notes

  • 1. L. G. Graeme, Or and Sable, 598-9; Add. 29138, f. 494; 29141, f. 528; 29145, f. 63; 29154, ff. 220, 236; Hickey Mems. ed. Spencer, iv. 57-8, 77; Cornwallis mss, Graham to Cornwallis, 25 Feb. 1792; SRO GD51/3/39/1, 2; 51/3/78/1; 51/3/205/19, 27; 51/3/215,