Harvey, Daniel Whittle (DNB00)

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HARVEY, DANIEL WHITTLE (1786–1863), politician, eldest son of Matthew Barnard Harvey of Witham, Essex, merchant, by a daughter of Major John M. Whittle of Feering House, Kelvedon, Essex, was born at Witham in 1786, and served his articles with Wimbourne, Collett, & Co., attorneys, 62 Chancery Lane, London. On coming of age he took possession of his maternal estate, Feering House, and commenced practice as a country solicitor in the neighbourhood. From 1808 till 1818 he was a member of the common council of the city of London for the ward of Bishopsgate. He was admitted a student of the Inner Temple on 7 Nov. 1810, and in Michaelmas term 1818 became a fellow of the society. He continued, however, to practise as an attorney at Colchester till Trinity term 1819, when at his own request his name was struck off the rolls. In Trinity term 1819 he applied to be called to the bar, but his application was refused. He was heard in his own defence before the masters of the bench on 5, 6, and 9 Nov. 1821, when it was stated (1) That he, being the plaintiff's attorney in a case Shelly v. Rudkin in January 1809, stole from the office of the attorney for the defendant a certain document. (2) That he sold an estate for John Wall Frost in October 1809 and kept back from him 500l., part of the purchase money. The benchers on 13 Nov. still refused to admit him. He then appealed to the judges as visitors of the inn, but they on 1 Feb. 1822 confirmed the decision of the benchers. At his request the case was reheard by the benchers, 19 Nov.–13 Dec. 1834, but with the same result. Later in 1834 a select committee of the House of Commons, of which Daniel O'Connell was chairman, inquired into the accusations and entirely exonerated Harvey. The benchers asserted their independence of the House of Commons, and nothing further was heard of the matter (Two Reports of Select Committee on the Inns of Courts, 1834).

On 12 Oct. 1812 he unsuccessfully contested Colchester, and at a by-election, 19 Feb. 1818, was again beaten, but at the general election on 22 June in the same year he was elected by a large majority in a fourteen days' contest, when his heavy expenses were paid by a rich relative. Two years later, on 14 July, he was re-elected for Colchester, but his election was declared void. He was again elected for Colchester on 14 July 1826, and continued to represent it till 29 Dec. 1834. From 1835 to January 1840 he sat for Southwark. The dissenters of Essex were his great supporters, and he was a prominent advocate of their claims. He was long recognised as a leading member of the radical party, and was an eloquent speaker in parliament and in public meetings. His love of company and his extravagance of living involved him in financial difficulties, and in February 1839 he was glad to accept the office of registrar of metropolitan public carriages.

The ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper was started by Harvey in 1822, and having worked it into a good circulation he sold it at a considerable profit. Early in 1833 he purchased the ‘True Sun,’ a daily paper, which had been commenced in the previous year by Patrick Grant; to accompany it he brought out the ‘Weekly True Sun,’ No. 1, 10 Feb. 1833, price 7d. The former came to an end with No. 442, new series, 23 Dec. 1837, and the latter with No. 331, 29 Dec. 1839. He then commenced the ‘Statesman, or the Weekly True Sun,’ No. 1, 5 Jan. 1840, but this, like its predecessors, although ably edited, was not a success, and a so-called No. 381, 27 Dec. 1840, was its last appearance.

By the act, 2 & 3 Vict. c. xciv. 17 Aug. 1839, the new metropolitan police regulations were extended to the city of London. Before the bill finally passed, Harvey was privately designated commissioner of the new force by Lord Melbourne's government, who, it is said, were so anxious to prevent his future presence in the House of Commons that they inserted a special clause in the act making it impossible for a police commissioner to be elected a member of parliament. He commenced his new duties in January 1840, and although often at variance with the corporation respecting his salary and his residence in the city, during the twenty-three years of his rule he never neglected his work, and created a well-disciplined body of men. He died at his official residence, 26 Old Jewry, city of London, 24 Feb. 1863, and was buried in the ground of the unitarian chapel at Hackney. A monument was erected over his grave at the cost of the city police force. He married, 23 May 1809, Mary, only daughter of Ebenezer Johnston of Bishopsgate Street and Stoke Newington, who is said to have brought him 30,000l.; she died 19 March 1864. Harvey was the writer of:

  1. ‘A Letter to the Burgesses of Colchester containing a statement of Proceedings upon his Application to be called to the Bar,’ 1822.
  2. ‘Inns of Court. The Speech and Reply of D. W. Harvey on moving for leave to bring in a Bill to regulate the admission of Students and Barristers; with Address to Electors of Colchester touching official appointment of Mr. Harvey under the Charities Commission,’ 1832.
  3. ‘Proceedings in a cause, Harvey v. Andrew, referred to in a Speech of D. W. Harvey on 14 June 1832 in the House of Commons,’ 1832.
  4. ‘A Letter from D. W. Harvey to his Constituents, a statement of the treatment he has received from members of His Majesty's Government,’ 1832.
  5. ‘Speech of D. W. Harvey at a meeting at Colchester in vindication of his conduct regarding the County and Borough of Essex,’ 1832.
  6. ‘Inns of Court. Case of D. W. Harvey,’ 1833.
  7. ‘To Sir T. Denman and the rest of the Judges, the Petition of D. W. Harvey,’ 1833.
  8. ‘Report of Proceedings before the Benchers upon the application of D. W. Harvey to be called to the Bar,’ 1834; 2nd edition, 1834.
  9. ‘An Address upon the Law of Railway Speculation, with hints for legislative interference,’ 1846.
  10. ‘Speech on moving for a Committee to inquire into the Crown Lands,’ 1849.
  11. ‘A Letter to Lord John Russell on the Benchers and the Bar,’ 1852; 2nd edition, 1862.

[Gent. Mag. May 1863, pp. 662–3; Times, 25 Feb. 1863, p. 5; City Press, 28 Feb. 1863, p. 5; Newspaper Press, 1 Sept. 1869, pp. 192–3, by Cyrus Redding; Law Times, 28 Feb. 1863, pp. 241–2; Illustrated London News, 7 March 1863, pp. 253, 254, with portrait; Weekly True Sun, 29 Dec. 1839, p. 4; Ainslie's Discourse on Death of D. W. Harvey, 1863; Grant's Newspaper Press, 1871, p. 342.]

G. C. B.