Harley ministry

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The Harley (or Oxford–Bolingbroke) ministry was the British government that existed between 1710 and 1714 in the reign of Queen Anne. It was headed by Robert Harley (from 1711, Earl of Oxford) and composed largely of Tories. Harley was a former Whig who had changed sides, bringing down the seemingly powerful Whig Junto. The ministry vigorously pushed for a peace to end the War of the Spanish Succession, leading to the Treaty of Utrecht. Foreign affairs were largely conducted by Viscount Bolingbroke. They were fiercely pressed by the Whig opposition, who used the rallying cry of No Peace Without Spain. The ministry successfully prosecuted Robert Walpole over charges of profiteering and had him imprisoned in the Tower of London.

The government fell following Anne's death in 1714. The new king, George I, was not comfortable with Harley or Bolingbroke, who he believed had opposed the Hanoverian Succession and instead supported the Jacobite pretenders. They were replaced by the first Townshend ministry, beginning the Whig Ascendancy, and it would be nearly fifty years before a Tory ministry gained office again in 1762. Both Harley and Bolingbroke were forced into exile, along with many of their followers after being accused of treason.

Principal ministers[1][edit]

Office Name Term
Lord Treasurer The Earl Poulett 1710–1711
The Earl of Oxford 1711–1714
The Duke of Shrewsbury 1714–1714
Chancellor of the Exchequer Robert Harley 1710–1711
Lord President of the Council The Earl of Rochester 1710–1711
The Duke of Buckingham 1711–1714
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Lord Berkeley 1710–1714
Master-General of the Ordnance The Duke of Marlborough 1702–1712
The Earl Rivers 1712–1712
The Duke of Hamilton 1712–1712
Secretary of State for the Southern Department The Lord Dartmouth (Earl of Dartmouth from 1711) 1710–1713
The Viscount Bolingbroke 1713–1714
Secretary of State for the Northern Department The Viscount Bolingbroke 1710–1713
William Bromley 1713–1714
Lord Privy Seal The Duke of Newcastle 1705–1711
The Bishop of Bristol 1711–1713
The Earl of Dartmouth 1713–1714
First Lord of Trade The Earl of Stamford 1707–1711
The Earl of Winchilsea 1711–1713
The Lord Guilford 1713–1714
First Lord of the Admiralty The Earl of Orford 1709–1710
Sir John Leake 1710–1712
The Earl of Strafford 1712–1714
Secretary at War George Granville 1710–1712
Sir William Wyndham 1712–1713
Francis Gwyn 1713–1714
Treasurer of the Navy Robert Walpole 1710–1711
Charles Caesar 1711–1714
Paymaster-General of the Forces[n 1] James Brydges 1707–1713
Thomas Moore 1713–1714
  1. ^ Cook and Stevenson also list Edward Nicholas as Paymaster-General in 1713, but his office was that of Paymaster of Pensions.[2]


  1. ^ Chris Cook and John Stevenson, British Historical Facts 1688–1760, Macmillan 1988, pp. 35–36.
  2. ^ J. C. Sainty, Paymaster of Pensions 1703-1782. Accessed 9 December 2018.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Godolphin–Marlborough ministry
Government of Great Britain
Succeeded by
First Townshend ministry