Thomas Harley (of Kinsham)

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Thomas Harley (c.1667–1738) was a British politician, an ally of his cousin Robert Harley.

He was the eldest surviving son of Thomas Harley, of Kinsham Court, and his wife Abigail Saltonstall (the granddaughter of Sir Richard Saltonstall).

He was made a deputy lieutenant of Herefordshire in 1694, and was a commissioner for subscriptions to the land bank in 1696. He went abroad to Spain and Portugal in 1697, and observed the negotiations for the Treaty of Ryswick on the way home. With the support of his cousin Robert, he was returned as Member of Parliament for Radnorshire in 1698.

With the rest of his family, he was politically a Tory, and a loyal supporter of his cousin. After Robert's fall in 1708, his principles remained unchanged, and was appointed Junior Secretary to the Treasury (essentially, secretary to his cousin) in 1711. Harley seems to have been exceptionally tactful and well-spoken, and he was chosen envoy to Hanover in 1712 to soothe the Elector over Great Britain's willingness to negotiate a peace with France, ending the War of the Spanish Succession. While he was well received in Holland and in Hanover, his mission was ultimately unsuccessful. Sent on another embassy in 1714, he was again well-received but unsuccessful; the Elector was suspicious of him, and upon his ascent to the British throne in 1715, Harley was defeated in Radnorshire and was arrested for two months. He left politics and died in 1738, leaving most of his estate to Edward Harley, 3rd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer.

References[edit]

  • The House of Commons 1690-1715: Vol. 2, by Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley and D.W. Hayton (Cambridge University Press 2002), pp. 280–283, ISBN 978-0521772211
Parliament of England
Preceded by
John Jeffreys
Member of Parliament for Radnorshire
1698–1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Radnorshire
1707–1715
Succeeded by
Richard Fowler
Political offices
New office Junior Secretary to the Treasury
1711–1714
Succeeded by
John Taylor