Edmonstone, Neil Benjamin, 1765-1841 (East India Company civil servant and director)
- Existence: 1765 - 1841
Neil Benjamin Edmonstone was the fifth son of Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath Castle, Stirlingshire, and his first wife Susanna née Harenc. Sir Archibald was MP for Dunbartonshire and for the Ayr burghs between 1761 and 1795, was created a baronet in 1774, and died aged eighty nine. Of Sir Archibald's other sons, Archibald (the eldest, and the apple of his father's eye) became a lieutenant in the 1st Foot Guards, and died in July 1780; William Archibald joined the East India Company's service (apparently before the death of his elder brother), and remained in India until his own death in September 1803; Charles succeeded to his father's baronetcy and the headship of the family in 1807, and sat as MP for Dunbartonshire (1806-07) and for Stirlingshire from 1812; and George entered the Church, becoming Vicar of Potterne, Wiltshire from 1807 to 1855, and living to be ninety. Neil Edmonstone followed William to India in 1783, beginning his career as a writer on the Company's commercial side, but soon transferring to the Government's secretariat at Calcutta. He became deputy Persian translator in 1789, Persian translator in 1794, and private secretary to the new Governor-General, Lord Mornington (afterwards Marquess Wellesley) in 1798 (in which post he exercised major influence in the formation and implementation of policy towards the native states, influence which was maintained under Mornington's successors). He accompanied Mornington when the Governor-General temporarily transferred the seat of government to Madras in 1799 during the war against Tipu Sultan. In 1801 he was promoted Secretary to the Foreign, Political and Secret Department, and in 1809 Chief Secretary to the Government. In October 1812 he was appointed to the Supreme Council, of which he was a member for five years. He returned to England in 1818, and in October 1820 was elected to the East India Company's court of directors, on which he served until his death. In December 1803 Edmonstone married Charlotte Anne Friell, by whom he had a large family, and who died in 1838; but he had earlier formed a connection with an Indian woman, which produced at least three sons and one daughter. The sons were known by the surname Elmore, and were educated in Britain.
Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:
Letters, mostly from Neil Edmondstone to family members, amnay from India. Also includes some other family correspondence, other papers and a copy of an autobiography of Sir Archibald Edmondstone.
Letters from Neil Benjamin Edmonstone (1765-1841) to his brother William Archibald Edmonstone (ca.1758-1803)
[All letters are originals, and many have been docketed by W.A. Edmonstone or a clerk.]