HARLEY, Robert (?1706-74), of Eywood, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1734 - 1741
29 Mar. 1742 - 1747
1754 - 15 Mar. 1774

Family and Education

b. ?1706, 2nd s. of Edward Harley, M.P., of Eywood by Sarah, da. of Thomas Foley, M.P., of Witley, Worcs.; nephew of Robert, 1st Earl of Oxford and bro. of Edward, 3rd Earl.  educ. Westminster c.1715-19; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 5 Mar. 1723, aged 16; L. Inn 1724, called 1730. unm.

Offices Held

Recorder, Leominster 1732- d.; bencher L. Inn 1751; recorder, Tewkesbury 1756-60 and 1764- d.


Harley was returned for Droitwich in 1754 on the Foley interest, and was classed by Dupplin as a Tory. He was not sent Newcastle’s whip in 1761, but on 1 Nov. was recommended to Newcastle by Barrington for the commission of accounts as an ‘unexceptionable man’ who would do Newcastle ‘no harm’.1 In Bute’s list he was also classed ‘Tory’, and in November 1762 was suggested by Bute to Fox as suitable to second the address of thanks for the peace preliminaries. Fox replied on 23 Nov.:2

Mr. Harley has been here; I never saw a more sensible behaviour or a more obliging one. He thinks he can be of more use where he lives and that he has been of use by declaring himself unengaged. The seconding this motion he thought an honour, it was unexceptionable, that he wished to do all the service he could, and really did not think this the likeliest way to do it, and that was his only objection.

On 15 Feb. 1764 he voted against Grenville’s Administration—his only known vote in the divisions over Wilkes and general warrants. Rockingham in July 1765 classed him as ‘doubtful’, and he voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. In November 1766 Rockingham classed him ‘Tory—Bute’, and Newcastle in March 1767 ‘Tory’; yet he voted against Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and the nullum tempus bill, 17 Feb. 1768—measures on which the general opinion of the country gentlemen was against Administration. After 1768 he voted regularly with Administration. He is not known to have spoken in the House.  He died 15 Mar. 1774.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Add. 32930, f. 257.
  • 2. Bute mss.