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Elliot, Hugh (1752–1830), diplomat and adventurer, was born on 6 April 1752, the second son of Sir Gilbert Elliot, third baronet (1722–1777), MP, and Agnes Dalrymple-Murray-Kynynmound (d. 1778). Born into a family of staunch but minor government supporters, he was one of a number of Scotsmen who carved out a career in second- and third-level posts in the British diplomatic service. On several occasions his bold personality and sharp tongue carried him further than discretion would have advised, though these episodes also provided the highlights of a career lacking in substantial achievements. Unusually tall and thin, ...

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Pamela Beryl Harriman (1920–1997) by Diana H. Walker, 1977 Getty Images – Diana H. Walker

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Harriman [née Digby; other married names Churchill, Hayward], Pamela Beryl (1920–1997), adventurer and diplomatist, was born on 20 March 1920 at Farnborough, Kent, the eldest of three daughters and oldest of the four children of Edward Kenelm Digby, eleventh Baron Digby...

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Horsey, Sir Jerome (d. 1626), traveller to Russia and diplomat, was the son of William Horsey and Elinor, daughter of William Peryam. He entered the service of the Muscovy Company as an apprentice clerk in Russia in 1572 and lived there until 1585, being employed by the Russians as emissary to ...

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Jones, Jezreel (d. 1731), traveller and diplomatist, is of unknown parentage, though he is known to have had a brother, John, for whom he provided in his will. In 1698 he was elected clerk to the Royal Society. This was one of the few salaried positions at the ...

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Kinneir, Sir John Macdonald (1782–1830), army officer, traveller, and diplomatist, born at Carnden, Linlithgow, on 3 February 1782, was the illegitimate son of John Macdonald, comptroller of customs at Bo'ness, and Mrs Cecilia Maria Kinneir. In 1802 he was nominated to a cadetship by ...

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Oliphant, Laurence (1829–1888), diplomatist, traveller, and mystic, the only child of Sir Anthony Oliphant (1793–1859) and his wife, Maria (d. 1881), daughter of Colonel Campbell of the 72nd highlanders, was born at Cape Town. Thomas Oliphant, the musician, was his uncle.

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Laurence Oliphant (1829–1888) by Thomas Rodger © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Palgrave, William Gifford (1826–1888), traveller and diplomatist, was born at 22 Parliament Street, Westminster, London, on 24 January 1826. He was the second son of Sir Francis Palgrave (1788–1861), founder of the Public Record Office, whose name had been Francis Cohen until in 1823 he converted to the ...

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William Gifford Palgrave (1826–1888) by Ernest Edwards © National Portrait Gallery, London

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H. M. Chichester

revised by Deborah Manley

Parsons, Abraham (d. 1785), traveller and commercial consul, was born probably in Bristol, the son of a merchant captain. In early life he visited many countries in command of merchant vessels, an occupation that suited a man 'naturally fond of novelty, and remarkably inquisitive' (...

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Sherley [Shirley], Anthony [known as Sir Anthony Sherley], Count Sherley in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1565–1636?), adventurer and diplomat in the Persian service, was born at the family estate of Wiston in Sussex, one of nine children of Sir Thomas Sherley (c. 1542–1612)...

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Anthony Sherley, Count Sherley in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1565–?1636) by Aegidius Sadeler, pubd 1612 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Standen, Sir Anthony (d. in or after 1615), adventurer and spy, was the eldest of (at least) four sons and four daughters of Edmund Standen, esquire (d. 1571), of East Molesey, Surrey, which lies adjacent to the royal palace of Hampton Court...

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Vernon, Francis (bap. 1637, d. 1677), traveller and diplomat, was born in London near Charing Cross and was baptized at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 18 January 1637, the elder son of Francis Vernon (d. 1647) and his wife, Anne (formerly Welby), daughter of ...

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See Henry, Prince, first duke of Gloucester