Harley, Robert, Earl of Oxford (16611724)

Harley, Robert, Earl of Oxford, a celebrated English politician, born of good family; entered Parliament shortly after the Revolution (1688) as a Whig, but after a period of vacillation threw in his lot with Tories and in 1701 became Speaker of the House; in 1704 he was associated with St. John (Bolingbroke) in the Cabinet as Secretary of State, and set about undermining the influence of Godolphin and Marlborough; he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and head of the Government; was created Earl of Oxford and Lord High Treasurer; from this point his power began to wane; was displaced by Bolingbroke at last in 1715; was impeached for intriguing with the Jacobites and sent to the Tower; two years later he was released, and the remainder of his life was spent in the pursuit of letters and in the building up of his famous collection of MSS., now deposited in the British Museum (16611724).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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Harley, Robert, Earl of Oxford
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