John Eliot 1592-1632
Sir John ELIOT 1592-1632
Born at Cuddenbeak, Cornwall, son of Richard Eliot of Port Eliot. Matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford 1607, but did not graduate. MP for St Germans, Cornwall 1614; knighted 1618. JP for Cornwall 1621, vice-admiral of Devon 1622. The key events in Eliot’s career took place through his membership of successive parliaments in the 1620s, where he was an active and frequently controversial speaker. Initially a supporter of the Duke of Buckingham, he became a vigorous opponent. He was briefly imprisoned in 1627 for refusing to pay the King’s enforced loan for war with Spain. He was actively involved in the petition of right forced by the 1628 parliament on Charles II, in exchange for the voting of funds. His outspoken opposition to the tonnage and poundage proposals in the parliament of 1629 led to his arrest and he died in the Tower of London. During his imprisonment he wrote a partial autobiography, Negotium posterorum, and two books of political theory, The monarchie of man and De jure maiestatis, which were left in manuscript at his death and first published in the 19th century.
Eliot’s probate inventory lists books, in the study, valued at £40. In his will, he bequeathed all his books and papers (together with his best horse and arms and his best silver basin and ewer) to his eldest son John.
None of Eliot’s books have been identified.
- Hulme, H. (ed), A probate inventory of … Sir John Eliot, 1936.
- Russell, Conrad. "Eliot, Sir John (1592–1632), politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.