Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of (15931641)

Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of, English statesman, born in London, of an old Yorkshire family; studied at Cambridge; after some months' travel on the Continent entered Parliament in 1614, but took no active part in affairs till 1621; he took sides at first with the party for freedom, but in 1622 felt compelled to side with the king, to his elevation of greater and greater influence as his counsellor; his policy, named “Thorough,” was to establish a strong Government with the king at the head, and to put down with a strong hand all opposition to the royal authority; appointed Lord-Deputy in Ireland in 1633, he did all he could to increase the royal resources, and was at length, in 1640, exalted to the Lord-Lieutenancy, being at the same time created Earl of Strafford; he had risen by this time to be the chief adviser of the king, and was held responsible for his arbitrary policy; after the meeting of the Long Parliament he was impeached for high treason; the impeachment seemed likely to fail, when a Bill of Attainder was produced; to this the king refused his assent, but he had to yield to the excitement his refusal produced, and as the result Strafford was beheaded on Tower Hill (15931641).

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

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