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The Eliot family were based in Cornwall from the 15th century. Edward was the only son of William Eliot, 2nd Earl of St Germans, of Port Eliot, Cornwall. He was styled Lord Eliot from 1823. The following year he was elected as the Tory M.P. for Liskeard, retaining this seat until the changes following the Reform Act in 1832.
In 1834 he was sent to Spain as envoy-extraordinary, and drew up the 'Eliot Convention' between the two sides in the Carlist War. He returned to Britain in 1837 and was elected as M.P. for East Cornwall.
In 1841 Lord Eliot was appointed by Sir Robert Peel as Chief Secretary to Ireland. In 1843 he introduced a bill limiting the carrying of arms in Ireland, and in 1845 he was the main proponent of the Maynooth Grant.
He resigned in 1845 when he succeeded his father as Earl of St Germans. Instead, he was appointed as Postmaster General, holding this position until 1852, when he returned to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant. Lord St Germans retired from politics in 1855 and served in the Royal Household.
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