HENLEY, Anthony (?1704-48), of the Grange, nr. Alresford, Hants.
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Family and Education
b. ?1704, 1st s. of Anthony Henley, M.P., of the Grange, Northington, Hants by Mary, da. and coh. of Hon. Peregrine Bertie of Waldershare, Kent; bro. of Robert Henley. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 21 Mar. 1720, aged 15. m. 11 Feb. 1728, Lady Elizabeth Berkeley, da. of James, 3rd Earl of Berkeley, s.p. suc. fa. 1711.
Anthony Henley inherited as a minor the manors of Northington and Swarraton, known as the Grange, which had belonged to his family since 1665. Soon after coming of age he was returned for Southampton in 1727. On his marriage next year Mrs. Delany wrote:
Lady Betty Berkeley, daughter to the Earl of that name, being almost 15 has thought it time to be married and ran away last week with Mr. Henley, a man noted for his impudence and immorality but a good estate and a beau.1
No votes of his are recorded till 1733, when the Southampton corporation asked their representatives to oppose the excise bill. Shortly before the bill was introduced the Weekly Register of 31 Mar. printed a letter purporting to be the answer returned by Henley to the corporation. The letter ran:
I received yours and am surprised at your insolence in troubling me about the excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you. And I know what perhaps you think I don’t know, you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know what you don’t know, that I am buying another borough. May God’s curse light on you all. May your houses be as open and as common to all excise officers as your wives and daughters were to me when I stood for your scoundrel corporation.2
The letter appears to have been composed by Henley as a joke; his real letter, which is described as ‘short and extremely proper’, was immediately published by the mayor of Southampton. He voted against the excise bill, telling John Conduitt, a prospective opponent at Southampton, who had voted for the bill, that by so voting he had saved him £1,500 in election expenses.3 He subsequently voted against the Administration on the repeal of the Septennial Act. At the general election there was a double return for Southampton, on which the House of Commons awarded the seat to Conduitt. Henley did not stand again, dying 24 Dec. 1748.