Thomas Thornton (1762–1814) was a British merchant in the Near East and writer on Turkey.
Thornton was born in London, the eldest child of Thomas (1738–1769) and Dorothy Thornton (died 1769). Because his parents died when he was seven years old, a family friend ensured the education at Christ's Hospital for Thornton and his four brothers. Thomas's education prepared him for a career in one of the most important English trading houses of the time. In 1790, at only 28 years old, he became consul of the Levant Company. In about 1793 he was sent to the British factory at Constantinople, where he resided fourteen years, making a stay of fifteen months at Odessa, and paying frequent visits to Asia Minor and the islands of the Archipelago. During that period he gathered information that would be used in the writing of The Present State of Turkey. While at Constantinople he married Sophie Zohrab, the daughter of a Greek merchant, by whom he had a large family.
About the end of 1813 Thornton was appointed consul to the Levant Company, but when on the eve of setting out for Alexandria he died at Burnham, Buckinghamshire, on 28 March 1814. His youngest son was William Thomas Thornton.
After his return to England Thornton published in 1807 The Present State of Turkey (London; 2nd edit. 1809), in which, after a summary of Ottoman history, he gave an account of the political and social institutions of the Turkish empire. Thornton is favourable to the Turks, protesting against criticism related to their friendship with France. He attacked William Eton's Survey of the Turkish Empire (1798), and drew from Eton in reply ‘A Letter to the Earl of D … on the Political Relations of Russia in regard to Turkey, Greece, and France’ (1807).
William Lithgow (c.1585–c.1645) was a Scottish traveller, writer and alleged spy. He claimed at the end of his various peregrinations to have tramped 36,000 miles (57,936km) on foot.
The Levant Company was an English chartered company formed in 1592. Elizabeth I of England approved its initial charter on 11 September 1581 when the Venice Company (1583) and the Turkey Company (1581) merged, because their charters had expired, as she was anxious to maintain trade and political alliances with the Ottoman Empire. Its initial charter was good for seven years and was granted to Edward Osborne, Richard Staper, Thomas Smith and William Garret with the purpose of regulating English trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Levant. The company remained in continuous existence until being superseded in 1825. A member of the company was known as a Turkey Merchant.
Sir James William Redhouse authored the original and authoritative Ottoman - English dictionary. He was commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for his dictionary. His work was later used as the basis for many Turkish - English dictionaries.
Thomas Smith was an English scholar, expelled Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and non-juring divine.
Philip Mansel is a historian of courts and cities, and the author of a number of books about the history of France and the Ottoman Empire. He was born in London in 1951 and educated at Eton College, Balliol College, Oxford, and obtained a doctorate at University College London in 1978.
William Carey (1769–1846) was an English churchman and headmaster, Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of St Asaph.
Thomas Hoy (1659-1718) was an English physician and poet.
James Lewis Farley, was an Irish banker, diplomat and writer on Eastern affairs.
William Burckhardt Barker (1810?–1856) was an English orientalist.
The Rt Rev William Dickson (1745–1804) was Bishop of Down and Connor from 1784 to 1804. He was educated at Eton and Hertford College, Oxford and died in post on 19 September 1804.
William Turner was a British diplomat and author.
Andrew Snape (1675–1742) was an English cleric, academic and headmaster, provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1719.
William George was an English churchman and academic, Provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1743 and Dean of Lincoln from 1748.
Thomas Jenkinson Woodward (1745–1820) was an English botanist.
William Selwyn (1775–1855) was an English lawyer, known as a legal author.
David Richard Morier (1784–1877) was an English diplomat.
The Tweddell remains affair was a British scandal that came to a head in the years 1815–7. It was a controversy over the papers, paintings and other possessions of John Tweddell, a young barrister and scholar who had died in 1799 in Athens. It was conducted mostly by publications in periodicals and a book by Robert Tweddell, who directed animus for the apparent neglect of the remains at Lord Elgin. William St Clair calls the affair a "first-class scandal". In the background, the Levant Company had felt that their monopoly on trade around the Aegean Sea had been threatened by Elgin as ambassador in Constantinople, and wished to undermine further such appointments.
John Paradise (1743–1795) was an Anglo-Greek linguist, known as a friend of Samuel Johnson and Fellow of the Royal Society.
Sir (Alexander) Telford Waugh was a British diplomat who experienced at first hand the final days of the Ottoman Empire.