Strachey, Henry (DNB01)

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STRACHEY, Sir HENRY, first baronet (1736–1810), politician, born at Edinburgh on 23 May 1736, was the eldest surviving son of Henry Strachey (1706–1765) of Sutton Court in Somerset, by his first wife Helen, daughter of Robert Clerk of Listonfield, Midlothian, and Edinburgh, physician.

His grandfather, John Strachey (1671–1743), geologist, was the only son of John Strachey (d. 4 Feb. 1674), the friend of Locke (cf. Fox Bourne, Life of John Locke, 1876). He was the author of 'Observations on the different Strata of Earths and Minerals' (London, 1727, 8vo), which, according to Sir Charles Lyell [q. v.], was the first treatise in which the theory of stratification was suggested. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 5 Nov. 1719, and died on 11 June 1743. He was twice married first to Elizabeth, daughter of William Elletson; and secondly to Christiana, daughter of Richard Staveley. He had issue by both marriages.

His grandson Henry, on the recommendation of George Grenville [q. v.], was appointed private secretary to Lord Olive during his last visit to India in 1764. Olive afterwards spoke of his abilities in the highest terms in the House of Commons on 30 March 1772. On 5 Dec. 1768 he was returned to parliament for Pontefract, and on 10 Oct. 1774 for Bishop's Castle in Shropshire, one of Olive's boroughs. This seat he vacated in 1778 on being appointed clerk of deliveries of ordnance, and was returned on 1 Oct. for Saltash. In 1780 he accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and on 26 June was again returned for Bishop's Castle in place of Alexander Wedderburn (afterwards first Earl of Rosslyn) [q. v.] This seat he retained until 1802, when he was returned on 7 July for the Sussex borough of East Grinstead, which he represented until his retirement in 1807.

In 1774 Strachey was appointed secretary to the commission for restoring peace to America, and from October 1780 to April 1782 he was principal storekeeper of the ordnance. From 29 March to 15 July 1782 he was joint secretary of the treasury. In the same year he became joint under-secretary of state for the home department, and in the negotiations for peace with the American colonies at Paris in 1783 he assisted the king's commissioners (see Hodgins, British and American Diplomacy affecting Canada, 1900). In that year he was again storekeeper of the ordnance from 12 April to December, and in 1794 master of the king's household. In 1801 he was created a baronet. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He died in London on 1 Jan. 1810 in Hill Street, Berkeley Square. On 23 May 1770 he married Jane, only daughter of John Kelsall of Greenwich, and widow of Thomas Latham, captain in the royal navy. She died on 12 Feb. 1824, leaving three sons and a daughter. The second son, Edward (1774-1832), and his wife Julia (d. 20 Nov. 1847), youngest daughter of Major-general William Kirkpatrick [q. v.], were friends of Thomas Carlyle (Froude, Life of Carlyle; Carlyle, Reminiscences, ed. Froude).

[Gent. Mag. 1810, i. 93; Official Ret. Memb. of Parl.; Burke's Peerage; Sir A. J. Arbuthnot's Lord Clive, 1900 (Builders of Greater Britain).]

E. I. C.