Whately, Thomas (c. 1728-1772)

Member of Parliament and associate of George Grenville.

Barrister on the home circuit (1751-60). M.P. for Ludgershall (1761-68) and Castle Rising (1768-72). Secretary to George Grenville (1762-63). Secretary to the Treasury (1763-65). Gathered information about taxation and economic life in the American colonies and prepared the Stamp Act, which he viewed as a necessary law that would ultimately benefit the colonies as well as Britain. Lost office at the fall of the Grenville ministry (July 1765) but continued to act as Grenville’s deputy, whip, and strategist. Recipient of the notorious “Hutchinson letters,” which later came into Franklin’s possession and precipitated a scandal. Member of the Board of Trade (1771-72). Under-secretary of state (1771-72). Published a book on gardening (1770) and began a critical commentary on Shakespeare’s principal characters.

Son of Thomas Whately of Epsom, Surrey. Educated at Clare College, Cambridge and the Middle Temple. Never married.