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Harvey was born in Croydon, the fourth son of Daniel Harvey, a grocer and merchant of London and Combe Nevill Surrey, and his wife Elizabeth Kinnersley. His uncle was the doctor William Harvey, who first described the circulation of the blood. Harvey was educated at Croydon under Mr Webb and was admitted at Pembroke College, Oxford on 3 March 1643. He was admitted at Caius College, Cambridge on 12 November 1646 and was awarded BA in 1647. He was a director of the East India Company and a member of the Levant Company. He was appointed Sheriff of Surrey for 1654.
In 1660, Harvey was elected Member of Parliament for Surrey in the Convention Parliament. He was knighted by King Charles II on 27 May 1660  and in the same year was appointed custodian of Richmond Park. He gave a home to Lady Castlemaine during her quarrel with the king. This is turn led to a noisy public feud between Lady Castlemaine and Harvey's wife, which persisted until the Harveys went to Constantinople.
Harvey was nominated by the King to the Levant Company as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire on 2 January 1668. The King's Instructions arrived dated on 3 August. He arrived by ship on 20 December. His secretary in the Company was the Restoration playwright George Etherege. Harvey died in Constantinople on 26 August 1672 at the age of 40 and was buried at Hempstead, Essex.
Harvey married Elizabeth Montagu, sister of Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu, and through her Harvey was related to the diarist Samuel Pepys and John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Elizabeth herself was famous for her sexual appetite and was mentioned in the court satire Colin. She was also a figure of some political importance in her own right, being noted for her influence over Queen Catherine of Braganza. Harvey's daughter Elizabeth was briefly married to Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford but this ended in divorce amid accusations of adultery. Another daughter became the composer Lady Mary Dering.
Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea
|British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
Sir John Finch