The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Braddon, Sir Edward Nicholas Coventry

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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography by Philip Mennell
Braddon, Sir Edward Nicholas Coventry

Braddon, Sir Edward Nicholas Coventry, K.C.M.G., born June 11th, 1829, is the son of Henry Braddon, of Skisdon, and member of the junior branch of the Braddons of Treglith and Treworgye, who temp. Elizabeth sent representatives of Liskeard to the British House of Commons. He went to India in 1847 to join his cousin's mercantile house in Calcutta. After varied experience, he accepted an appointment in the Government service as Assistant Commissioner in Santhalia; served in the Santhal rebellion with favourable mention; after the suppression of the Santhal outbreak, raised a regiment of Santhals, for which he was specially thanked by the Lieut.-Governor of Bengal; and then served with Sir George Yule's Volunteer force in the Indian mutiny (medal and favourable mention). In 1862 he was appointed Commissioner of Excise and Stamps, and, subsequently, Inspector-General of Registration and Superintendent of Trade Statistics in that province. During eighteen months he acted also as Secretary to the Chief Commissioner in the Revenue Departments. In 1870 he was specially deputed to inquire into and report upon the operation of the salt tax in Oudh and the north-west provinces, and, as one result of his labours, obtained a considerable relaxation of the law in respect of the illicit manufacture of salt, which had been exceedingly harsh and oppressive. In 1878 he retired on pension, and went to Tasmania. In July 1879 he was elected to the House of Assembly as member for West Devon, and held that seat continuously (being twice elected against opposition and twice unopposed) until Oct. 29th, 1888, when he was appointed Agent-General for the Colony in London. Mr. Braddon is a staunch Free Trader, and was a prominent Oppositionist until he carried his party into power. When in March 1887 he was called upon to form an Administration, Mr. Braddon resigned the Premiership to the Hon. P. O. Fysh, a colonist of longer standing, and took the leadership of the Assembly as Minister of Lands and Works, holding also the portfolio of Minister of Education. He was sworn of the Executive Council, on March 29th, 1887, and was one of the representatives of Tasmania at the second session of the Federal Council of Australia, held at Hobart in Jan. 1888. As Agent-General Mr. Braddon was instrumental in the successful notation of the first Three-and-a-half per Cent. Tasmanian Loan. He has also devoted much attention to the promotion of Tasmanian industries, notably the fruit and timber trades and mining. He read a paper on "Tasmania, its Resources and Products," before the Royal Colonial Institute, session 1888-9. Mr. Braddon, who is a brother of Miss Braddon, the well-known authoress, was created K.C.M.G. on Jan. 1st, 1891.