SIR EDWARD BRADDON (1829 - 1904)
By
Jennifer Carnell

Edward Braddon when he was Prime Minister of Tasmania.

Edward Nicholas Coventry Braddon (1829-1904) was the older brother of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. A clever boy, adept at winning competitions in the Family Herald magazine, he attended a prep school on the Fulham Road, London and divided his school holidays between the homes of his separated parents.

Edward Braddon spent a brief time studying at University College London and then went to work for his uncle William, a merchant, in Calcutta in 1847. His next career was an estate manager, working on several large estates in India. In the early 1850s he was in charge of a part of the East India Railway, and in 1857 he became the government magistrate for the Deoghur district of Santhalia. In the same year he served under Sir George Yule during the Mutiny. Further appointments in India followed: from 1862 until his retirement from India, he was the Commissioner of Excise and Stamps at Oudh, and for almost two years was the Financial Secretary in Oudh.

Braddon moved to Tasmania in 1878, becoming a member of parliament for West Devon in July 1879. He was appointed Agent-General to London in 1888, a position he held until 1893, and eventually became Prime Minister in 1894. In 1897 his carriage, as one of the Colonial Premiers, was in the grand procession marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Braddon's relationship with her brother veered between bitter estrangement (due to his horror at her relationship with John Maxwell), to great admiration at his achievements (they were reconciled after her marriage) and he visited her at Lichfield House.

Edward Braddon with other colonial ministers and Joseph Chamberlain at the time of Queen Victoria's 1897 Jubilee.
As well as Edward Braddon representing Tasmania, there was Sir George Turner the Prime Minister of Victoria in Australia, Sir William Whiteway the Prime Minister of Newfoundland, Richard John Seddon the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir Wilfred Laurier the Prime Minister of Canada, G.H. Reid and Sir John Gordon Sprigg of the Cape Colony.

Portrait of Edward Braddon.

Bibliography and Recommended Reading:
Jennifer Carnell, The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Sensation Press, 2000).
Robert Lee Wolff, Sensational Victorian: The Life and Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (New York: Garland, 1979).

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