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Thomas Osborne Danby, earl of

Danby, Thomas Osborne, earl of, 1631–1712, English statesman. Under the patronage of the 2d duke of Buckingham, he was appointed treasurer of the navy (1668), a privy councilor (1672), and lord treasurer (1673–78). A staunch royalist, he was also a fervent Anglican and thus opposed to alliance with France. He ended (1674) England's participation in the third Dutch War and arranged (1677) the marriage of Princess Mary to the Dutch William of Orange. However, while telling Parliament that he was raising money for war with France, he was at the same time negotiating reluctantly at Charles II's behest for a French alliance (1677). Impeached for treasonable communications with the French (1678), he was imprisoned (1679–84). Danby's firm Protestantism led him to support the opposition to James II, and he was a signatory of the request (1688) to William and Mary to intervene in English affairs. Despite his suspected Jacobite sympathies, he continued to be influential under the new monarchs; in 1690 he was made president of the council. Impeached again (1695), in connection with a bribe from the East India Company, he resigned. Although exonerated and restored to royal favor, he did not return to office. He was created marquis of Carmarthen in 1689 and duke of Leeds in 1694.

See biography by A. Browning (3 vol., 1944–51).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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