Frederick Rutherfoord Harris
Harris was born in Madras, India, where his father, George Anstruther Harris, was a Supreme Court Judge, and was educated at Leatherhead Grammar School, in Baden, and at Edinburgh University where he studied medicine.
In 1882 he began practising as a doctor in Kimberley, South Africa. He got to know Cecil Rhodes, who appointed him secretary of the British South Africa Company when it was set up. He became a member of the Cape Province House of Assembly, sitting for the Kimberley constituency. In 1895 he was involved in the controversy over the Jameson Raid, when on Rhodes' instructions he forwarded to the Times newspaper a message from the Reform Committee dated in such a way as to falsely suggest that Jameson was responding to an immediate request for help. "The cloud of this act of deception," the Times later wrote, "was heavy over Harris for the rest of his life".
Moving to England, he was first elected as MP for Monmouth Boroughs in the 1900 general election, winning the seat from the Liberal party, but was unseated after a lawsuit alleging electoral irregularities. Although he was disqualified by the court from standing again in the constituency for seven years, the judges insisted that no blame should attach to Harris personally. A local committee subsequently raised nearly a thousand pounds for a gift on his behalf.
He was a descendant of General George Harris, victor of the Battle of Seringapatam, and a cousin of Lord Harris, the cricketer. In 1900 he married Florence Ling. She hanged herself three months after his death, apparently overcome by grief.
- The Times, 3 September 1920
- The Times, 12 December 1903
- The Times, 22 December 1920
- The Times, 16 December 1903
- Obituary, The Times, 3 September 1920
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Frederick Rutherfoord Harris
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
1900 – 1901
John Blundell Maple
|Member of Parliament for Dulwich
1903 – 1906
Andrew Bonar Law