HALES, Sir Thomas, 2nd Bt. (1666-1748), of Bekesbourne, nr. Canterbury, Kent.
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Family and Education
bap. 1 Mar. 1666,1 1st surv. s. of Thomas Hales (d.v.p.), by Mary, da. and h. of Richard Wood of Abbots Langley, Herts., and gd.-s. of Sir Robert Hales, 1st Bt., M.P. educ. I. Temple. m. (lic. 14 Nov. 1688), Mary, da. of Sir Charles Pym, 1st Bt., M.P., of Brymore, Som. (s. of the famous John Pym, M.P.), sis. and h. of Sir Charles Pym, 2nd Bt., 6s. 4da. suc. fa. 1692 and gd.-fa. as 2nd Bt. Dec. 1693.
Commr. for forfeited estates 1716-25.
Hales was the head of the junior branch of a Jacobite family, but he himself was a staunch Whig. After representing his county from 1701-5, he declined an invitation from the Kent Whigs to contest it again in 1715, thenceforth sitting for Canterbury, near which he had an estate. Appointed one of the commissioners for forfeited estates, with a salary of £1,000 a year, he consistently supported the Administration, except in 1719, when he voted against the peerage bill.
In 1732 Hales, as a former commissioner for forfeited estates, became involved in the Derwentwater scandal.2 His name had been affixed to the contract for a fraudulent sale, under standing instructions which he had left with the secretary to sign for him in his absence when necessary. A motion was introduced that any commissioner empowering the secretary to set his name to contracts was guilty of a violation of the Act under which he had been appointed and of a high breach of trust. As, however, Hales was ‘a constant friend to the Revolution and the present Government, and besides this a worthy man in his private character’,3 the ministry opposed the motion and he escaped without even a reprimand.
In 1734 Hales, who had voted for the excise bill despite representations made to him by the Canterbury corporation, was defeated at the poll but was seated on petition. He was again defeated in 1741, remaining out of Parliament till 1746, when he was returned at a by-election, again supporting the Administration. Defeated for the last time in 1747, he died 7 Jan. 1748.