Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Draper, Edward Alured

DRAPER, EDWARD ALURED (1776–1841), colonel, a cousin of General Sir William Draper [q. v.], was born at Werton, Oxfordshire, 22 Oct. 1776, and was educated at Eton, where he displayed abilities. While at Eton he was made a page of honour to George III, and seems to have acquired the lasting friendship of the king's sons. He was appointed ensign in the 3rd foot guards in 1794, and became a lieutenant and captain in 1796. He served with his regiment in Holland and Egypt. As a brevet-major he accompanied Lieutenant-general Grinfield to the West Indies as military secretary in 1802, and brought home the despatches after the capture of St. Lucia in 1803, receiving the customary step and gratuity of 500l. Early in 1806 Sir Thomas Picton, then a brigadier-general, was brought to trial for acts of cruelty alleged to have been committed during his brief government of the island of Trinidad. Draper, who had known Picton in the West Indies, brought out an ‘Address to the British Public’ (London, 1806), in which, with much irrelevant detail, he broadly charged the commissioners of enquiry in Picton's case, Colonel Joseph Fullarton, F.R.S., and the Right Hon. John Sullivan, with wilful and corrupt misrepresentation, upon which the latter filed a criminal information against Draper for libel. Draper was convicted before the court of king's bench and was sentenced to and underwent three months' imprisonment, which drew forth much sympathy from his friends, the first to visit him after his arrival in Newgate being the Prince of Wales, attended by Sir Herbert Taylor. Draper served with his battalion in the Walcheren expedition, but was afterwards compelled by pecuniary difficulties to sell his commission, despite the efforts of his friends to save it. In 1813 he was appointed chief secretary in the island of Bourbon (Réunion), and virtually administered the government during the temporary suspension of the acting governor, Colonel Keating. When Bourbon reverted to France, Draper was removed to Mauritius, and held various posts, as chief commissioner of police, acting colonial secretary, acting collector of customs, civil engineer and surveyor-general, registrar of slaves, stipendiary magistrate of Port Louis, and treasurer and paymaster-general. On one occasion his independent line of action displeased the governor, General Hall, who suspended him, but on the case being referred home, Draper was reinstated and Hall recalled. In 1832, during the government of Sir Charles Colville, a new difficulty arose. The home government desired the appointment of Mr. Jeremie to the office of procureur-general. The appointment was repudiated by the whole of the inhabitants. A question then arose before the council, of which Draper was a member, whether Jeremie should be upheld in his appointment or sent home. Draper took the popular side, and became the leader of the opposition party, to which Governor Colville gave way, and ordered Jeremie home. Before the latter returned again, Draper had been ordered by the home government to be dismissed from his appointments. He returned to England, and after an interview with William IV was awarded a pension of 500l. a year until another appointment could be found for him in Mauritius. Soon after he was appointed joint stipendiary of Port Louis, and later colonial treasurer and paymaster-general, which post he held up to his death, 22 April 1841.

Draper was a man of agreeable manners, and, apart from the powerful interest he appears to have had at home, was a popular official. In his young days he was known in racing circles as a gentleman rider, and he inaugurated racing in Mauritius. In 1822 he married Mlle. Krivelt, a creole lady, by whom he had several children, two of whom, a son, afterwards in the colonial service, and a daughter, married to the late General Brooke, son of Sir Richard Brooke, bart., survived him.

[A very florid biographical notice of Draper appeared in Gent. Mag. new ser. xvi. 543; Draper's Address to the British Public (London, 1806), and some remarks on his case appended to the Case of P. Finnerty (London, 1811), may be consulted; also Parl. Papers, Reps. 1826, iii. 87, 1826–7, vi. 287, containing evidence on the state of affairs which led up to the Jeremie dispute. Some ex parte pamphlets relating to the latter are in Brit. Mus. Cat. under ‘Jeremie, John, the younger.’]

H. M. C.