Daniel Harvey (diplomat)

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Sir Daniel Harvey (10 November 1631 August 1672) was a British merchant and diplomat who was English Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1668 to 1672.



Harvey was born in Croydon on 10 November 1631, the first surviving son of Daniel and Elizabeth Harvey. His grandfather Thomas was a wealthy merchant and former Mayor of Folkestone who had nine children, the eldest of which was the anatomist William Harvey. [1]

Harvey was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford and Caius College, Cambridge, graduating in 1647; [lower-alpha 1] [2] Like his father, he was a member of the Turkey or Levant Company whose main source of profits was the lucrative trade in dried currants. [lower-alpha 2] In 1651, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Montagu, Baron Montagu of Boughton and shortly afterwards purchased an estate at Coombe, Surrey.


Sun-drying currants; the Levant Company was built on trade in this product Zante currant drying in Tsilivi.jpg
Sun-drying currants; the Levant Company was built on trade in this product

The Harveys were Royalist sympathisers during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms while the Montagus had been prominent supporters of Parliament. This made Daniel's marriage to Elizabeth an important connection and in 1654 he was made Sheriff of Surrey. [3] The Montagus were also closely involved in the negotiations leading to the 1660 Restoration of Charles II. [4] Harvey was elected Member of Parliament for Surrey in the Convention Parliament, knighted in May 1660 and appointed custodian of Richmond Park. [2] Most importantly, Charles renewed the Levant Company's monopolistic charter in 1661.

Ambassadors presenting their credentials at the Topkapi Palace in Constantinople Jean Baptiste Vanmour - Dinner at the Palace in Honour of an Ambassador - Google Art Project.jpg
Ambassadors presenting their credentials at the Topkapı Palace in Constantinople

Harvey's wife Elizabeth was a significant figure in her own right and a renowned society hostess; she was a close friend of Charles' mistress Lady Castlemaine who stayed with her in 1667 during her quarrel with Charles, although they later fell out. One suggestion is Harvey's appointment as Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire was to remove an inconvenient husband. [5]

The Levant Company charter of 1585 required it to maintain an agent in Constantinople, which looked after English trading privileges within the Ottoman Empire. Since the expenses associated with the Embassy were so high and increasingly covered more than just commercial dealings, the position of 'Agent' was later converted into Ambassador, normally held by a Levant Company member. [6] Harvey was appointed in January 1668 and arrived in December accompanied by his secretary the playwright George Etherege. His predecessor was Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea; Harvey's sister Elizabeth was married to his cousin Heneage Finch, Earl of Nottingham.

Harvey died in Constantinople on 26 August 1672 at the age of 40 and was later buried at Hempstead, Essex. [2]


Daniel and Elizabeth had four children;

His sisters also married well-connected and influential husbands;


  1. Oxford became the Royalist capital during the First English Civil War 1642-46, which may explain the transfer to Cambridge.
  2. Its full title being 'The Governor & Company of Merchants of England trading into the Levant Seas.'

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  1. Sakula, Alex (1980). "The Betchworth Portraits; Members of the Family of William Harvey". Medical History. 24: 333–341. doi:10.1017/S0025727300040357. PMC   1082658 . PMID   6997657.
  2. 1 2 3 "Harvey, Daniel (HRVY646D)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. "HARVEY, Daniel (1631-72), of Coombe, Surr". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  4. Dewar, David, Funnel. Warwick (2016). The Pursuit of Accountability: A History of the National Audit Office. OUP Oxford. p. 44. ISBN   0198790317 . Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  5. Jordan, Dan, Walsh, Michael (2016). The King's Bed: Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II. Abacus. p. 161. ISBN   1408704900.
  6. Devecka, Martin. The Levant Company Between Trade and Politics: (PDF). University of Warwick. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Richard Onslow
Arthur Onslow
Member of Parliament for Surrey
With: Francis Aungier
Succeeded by
Adam Browne
Sir Edmund Bowyer
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea
English Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
Succeeded by
Sir John Finch