HARLEY, Edward, Lord Harley (1726-90).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - 11 Apr. 1755

Family and Education

b. 2 Sept. 1726, 1st s. of Edward Harley of Eywood, Herefs., 3rd Earl of Oxford. educ. Westminster 1735-44; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1744; D.C.L. 1749. m. 11 July 1751 (with £50,000), Susanna, da. of William Archer of Welford, Berks., s.p. suc. fa. as 4th Earl 11 Apr. 1755.

Offices Held

Harleian trustee of British Museum 1755-d.; high steward, Hereford 1755-d.; ld. of the bedchamber to George III 1760-d.; ld lt. Rad. 1766-d.


In 1747 Harley was adopted as one of the Tory candidates for Herefordshire, though not yet 21. Shortly before the election, Lord Foley wrote to Lord Oxford:

As he is under age I am in great fear lest some trick should be played on him on the day of election ... which if it should happen I think would be of the most evil consequence to your family as well as to the interest of the county.1

Returned unopposed, he was put down in the same list as his father for a seat on the Treasury board. After the Prince’s death in March 1751 he ‘spoke prettily’ against a clause of the regency bill for continuing the sitting Parliament till the end of the minority, observing that ‘parliaments had originally been annual, then were stretched to triennial, then lengthened out to septennial, and now were going to be made perpetual’; in December 1751 he opposed Pelham’s proposal for a land tax at 3s. in the pound; in January 1752 he moved a resolution against subsidy treaties in time of peace; and in December 1753 he moved for the repeal of the Plantation Act, which allowed Jews to become naturalized in the colonies after seven years’ residence.2 He was one of the Tory peers appointed lords of the bedchamber on George III’s accession. He died 8 Oct. 1790.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. 25 June 1747, Portland mss.
  • 2. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 144-5, 218, 254, 364.