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Eliot Sir John

Eliot, Sir John (1592-1632), a champion of freedom of speech in Parliament, was born in Cornwall, and educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He entered at one of the Inns of Court, and made the Continental tour, in the course of which he made the acquaintance of Villiers, afterwards Duke of Buckingham. In 1614 he entered Parliament, and, owing to the good offices of Villiers, he was knighted in 1618, and the next year was appointed Vice-Admiral of Devon. In 1623 he got into difficulties with the Court over a question concerning his office, and in 1624 he was in Parliament as member for Newport. The next year saw the end of his friendship with Buckingham. In 1626 he represented St. Germans in Parliament, and, as leader of the House, headed the attack upon Buckingham, and was sent to the Tower for his pains. In 1628 he represented the county of Cornwall, and was a great supporter of the Petition of Right. In 1629, on the memorable occasion when the Speaker was held in the chair, Eliot proposed the resolutions. He was sent to the Tower and fined £2,000. He wrote much in prison, and there he died. He was not a republican in principle, though his fate put him into the forefront of the battle for privilege of Parliament.