HARRIS, John (?1690-1767), of Hayne, Devon
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Family and Education
b. ?1690, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Christopher Harris by his w. Jane. educ. L. Inn 1706, called 1713. m. (1) Margaret (d. 13 Mar. 1754), da. of Roger Tuckfield of Raddon, Devon, wid. of Samuel Rolle of Heanton Satchville, Devon, s.p.; (2) 10 Mar. 1755, Anne, da. of Francis Seymour Conway, 1st Baron Conway, and sis. of Henry Seymour Conway, s.p.
Paymaster of the Board of Works by June 1738-Sept. 1740; master of the Household 1741- d.
Harris, through his first marriage, obtained control of Ashburton, where he was returned unopposed in 1754; and after his wife’s death shared the borough interest with his step-daughter Lady Orford. When before the general election of 1761 an opposition was threatened by Nathaniel Newnham, Harris wrote to Newcastle asking him to prevent Newnham from standing:1
’Twould be very hard upon me, an old servant of the Crown, to be opposed in a place where I have for three Parliaments brought in myself and my friend without a shilling expense to the Government, and a trifle to those I recommended. I must beg your Grace to rank me among the number of your best friends.
Newnham withdrew, but Laurence Sulivan forced a contest in which Harris was returned second at the poll. Newcastle wrote to Charles Yorke on 14 Feb. 1762 that Sulivan had petitioned, whereupon ‘the Duke of Devonshire’s whole family, and all the old friends of Sir Robert Walpole ... pressed me so strongly in favour of Mr. Harris that it has been absolutely impossible for me to avoid declaring for him’.2 In Parliament Harris steadily supported each successive Administration till his death on 5 Oct. 1767, aged 77. No speech of his is recorded 1754-67.