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Mr Thomas Whateley

Thomas Whately was an influential British politician and writer during the 18th century. Born in 1726, Whately was the son of a prominent English clergyman and was educated at Oxford University. He began his political career as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Castle Rising in 1756 and later served as the MP for Ludgershall from 1761 to 1768.

Whately is best known for his political writings and his association with the administration of George Grenville, particularly as Grenville's private secretary when Grenville became Prime Minister in 1763. During his tenure, Whately gained recognition for his expertise in financial matters and contributed significantly to the formulation of economic policies.

One of his notable works, "Thoughts on the Present State of Public Affairs," published anonymously in 1761, discussed issues related to taxation, trade, and colonial policies. This publication showcased Whately's ideas on the economic challenges faced by Britain at that time and proposed solutions for their resolution. He was the author of Observations on Modern Gardening, published in 1770. The book contained descriptions of Hagley Hall, The Leasowes, Painshill, Woburn Farm and Stowe.

Whately's writings often reflected his support for British policies toward its American colonies, advocating for measures such as the Stamp Act of 1765. However, these policies eventually led to heightened tensions between Britain and the American colonies, contributing to the events that culminated in the American Revolutionary War.

Despite his contributions to political thought and policy formulation, Thomas Whately remains a relatively understudied figure in history. His writings and role in British politics during a crucial period, especially regarding colonial policies and financial matters, make him an intriguing figure for scholars interested in the political and economic landscape of 18th-century Britain.


  • Knollenberg, Bernhard. "Origins of the American Revolution: 1759-1765." New York: Free Press, 1989.
  • Ransom, Harry Howe. "Thomas Whately: The Mind behind the Stamp Act." Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 4, 1943, pp. 379–408.
  • Thorne, Roland. "Whately, Thomas (1726–1772), politician and author." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009.