CLARGES, Thomas (c.1618-95), of Westminster and Stoke Poges, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1618, o.s. of John Clargis, farrier, of Drury Lane, Westminster by Anne Leaver. m. by 1653, Mary, da. of George Procter, yeoman, of Norwell Woodhouse, Notts. and coh. to her bro. Edward, 1s. suc. fa. 1648; kntd. 8 May 1660.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Westminster 1657, 1661-3, 1664-80, Aberdeen 1657, Jan. 1660, Bucks. 1661-74, Mdx. 1663-9, Berks. 1664-74, Surr. 1673-4, Mdx. and London 1677-80, Southwark 1677-9, Berks. and Surr. 1679-80, Berks., Bucks., Mdx., London, Westminster and Oxf. Univ. 1689-90, sewers, Westminster Aug. 1660; dep. keeper, Hampton Court, Mdx. Aug. 1660-70; freeman, Preston 1662; j.p. Bucks. Mdx. and Westminster 1662-71, Surr. 1667-71, Mdx. 1689-d.; commr. for inquiry, Richmond Park, Surr. 1671, recusants, Mdx. and Surr. 1675; bailiff, Oxford 1687-Feb. 1688.2

Commissary-gen. of musters Feb. 1660-71; clerk of the hanaper Mar.-June 1660; commr. for maimed soldiers Dec. 1660-1; PC [I] 1663; commr. of public accounts 1691-d.3


Clarges, the son of an obscure London craftsman, was apprenticed (according to Anthony à Wood) to an Oxford apothecary, and served in the royalist army in that capacity ‘as long as any army was’. After his sister’s marriage to George Monck he became his principal agent in London, and as ‘Dr Clarges’ an active Member of the second Protectorate Parliament. His royalist sympathies were never in doubt, and he is credited by Burnet with winning his brother-in-law’s support for the Restoration. At the general election of 1660 he was rejected at Tamworth, and involved in a double return at Tregony which was decided against him, but he was successful at Westminster. In the Convention he was moderately active, being appointed to 30 committees, and making 26 recorded speeches. On 26 Apr. he was sent to ask Monck’s chaplain to preach to the House, and on 2 May given leave to carry a letter from Monck to the King. Edward Montagu I, also en route to The Hague, confided to Samuel Pepys his low opinion of Clarges’s intelligence. He was knighted at Breda, and confirmed as commissary-general of musters, although not altogether trusted. On his return to the House he took a generally moderate line over the indemnity bill, acting as teller against the exception of William Lenthall†, but speaking against Richard Deane, an Anabaptist who had distributed dangerous papers in Scotland. On 22 June he moved that the grant previously voted for Monck should be made effectual, and was sent to the Lords to ask their concurrence in ordering payment out of current taxation. He favoured hearing the petition from the intruded dons at Oxford. On 26 June he reported from the committee set up to recommend ways and means of paying Monck’s arrears. Three days later he proposed that the whole army should take the oaths. He was in favour of committing the complaint about unauthorized Anglican publications. He rebuked the clerk for reading without order a ‘most dangerous’ proviso drafted by William Prynne to disable abjurors under the indemnity bill. It was ‘an indulgence not to inquire who brought it in’, he said, ‘but [he] did deserve to be called to the bar’. He also urged the House to reject the proposal for the refunding of salaries received during the Interregnum. He defended William Boteler, the most unpopular of the major-generals, but moved against a preacher who had written a book to justify the execution of Charles I. On 23 Aug. he reminded the Commons of Monck’s promise to save the life of Sir Arthur Hesilrige, and spoke in conference to the same effect on the following day. Before the autumn recess he reported the Dunkirk establishment and a proviso to the college leases bill, and was appointed to the disbandment committee.4

When Parliament met again in November, Clarges said that he would not oppose reading the Book of Common Prayer in the House, though it had never yet been done. He wanted the Worcester House declaration for modified episcopacy to be confirmed by statute. He reported the Helston election case, and as chairman of the committee to estimate the debts of the army and navy presented Lockhart’s petition. He warned the House against the excise, which had caused Masaniello’s rebellion in Naples. He was teller against the proviso to exclude from benefit under the college leases bill those who had been purged in the royal visitation of the universities. He wanted to make provision for imposing the assessment on Scotland. He proposed fixing wine prices at a level which, he was assured by an eminent vintner, would still leave an ample profit margin. He concluded the session by recommending payment of Lockhart’s claim.5

Clarges was granted a lease of Reading Abbey in 1661 and a perpetual pension of £500 p.a. on the Newcastle coal duties, but he was defeated in the general election, and it was several years before he could find a seat in the Cavalier Parliament. A ‘busy gentleman’, he crossed over to Ireland in 1663 to look after some property in Galway which he had acquired during the Protectorate. He took the opportunity of opening a correspondence with Sir Henry Bennet, whose policy of toleration he endorsed; though his distaste for Papists in general and Irish Papists in particular was only increased by his experiences. He was alarmed to hear of a measure under discussion in the Commons which would have threatened his pension. When a vacancy occurred at Salisbury, Monck (now Duke of Albemarle) suggested that his brother-in-law could be very useful in Parliament over the bill for army discipline; but Clarendon, who wanted the seat for his son, ignored the suggestion. Clarges was wealthy enough to spend over £700 on a by-election at Southwark in 1666, according to his defeated opponent, and soon became a very active Member. He was appointed to 286 committees, presented 18 reports, acted as teller in five divisions, and made about 130 speeches. On 11 Dec. he was named by the House to the abortive public accounts commission. He acted as teller for a discriminatory tax on aliens on 5 Jan. 1667, and a week later reported reasons for a conference on the subject. Later in the month he was among those ordered to attend the King with a petition from the merchants trading to France, and he carried to the Upper House the bill to prevent disturbances among the seamen. He helped to draw up the address of thanks for the dismissal of Clarendon, and was appointed to the committees to inquire into the miscarriages of the war and the sale of Dunkirk. He was among those ordered to consult Albemarle about security against highway robbery. He drafted the bill against Popery which received a second reading on 30 Oct. He accused Sir William Batten of designing the discharge of seamen by ticket, and was sent, with other Members, to ask Lord Anglesey (Arthur Annesley) about it. He bore no grudge against the fallen minister, saying that words might be heresy, but not treason, and acting as teller for the motion to refer the charges to a committee. Nevertheless he was among those appointed to consider the banishment bill. He was one of the Members ordered to take the accounts of the indigent officers fund during the Christmas recess. When the investigation into the miscarriages of the war was resumed, he was reported to be particularly hot over the business of tickets, which compared unfavourably with his own administration of the army. He was teller for the motion, aimed principally at Bennet (now Lord Arlington), that the failure to send Albemarle and Rupert timely intelligence in 1666 was a miscarriage. He was chairman of the committee for the bill to prevent thefts and robberies. In the debate on the conduct of (Sir) William Penn on 14 Apr. 1668 he described the distribution of the prize-goods as ‘the most arrogant thing that was ever done’. On 23 Apr. he proposed stricter financial control of the indigent officers fund, of which Arlington’s brother Sir John Bennet was treasurer. In spite of Clarges’s attacks on the administration of the navy, Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members to be gained for the Court by the Duke of York.6

Clarges took the principal part in the enactment of the Highway Repair Act of 1670. As chairman of the committee appointed on the second reading he was entrusted with inserting the provisos agreed on the report stage and with carrying the bill to the House of Lords, and he was equally prominent as chairman in preparing for and reporting from the conferences which followed. On 29 Nov. he returned to the Upper House the estate bill introduced on behalf of his nephew, the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck). It was the assault on Sir John Coventry that brought Clarges into conflict with the Government. As a resident of Piccadilly, he was probably the nearest active j.p. to the scene of the outrage, and he took the depositions which showed that the culprits were guards officers. When Parliament reassembled he gave a narrative to the House, was appointed to the committee for the bill, and on 11 Feb. 1671 was sent to desire a conference with the Lords. Later in the session he reported the bills for continuing the powers of the London Fire Court and securing the stipends of City incumbents. But when Parliament rose Clarges, no longer protected by his brother-in-law, soon felt the weight of the King’s displeasure and was dismissed from all his offices.7

In the debate of 6 Feb. 1673 on the issue of election writs during the recess, Clarges pointed out that the real issue was whether the lord chancellor or the House of Commons was to decide when a seat was vacant. On the Declaration of Indulgence he considered that the King’s good intentions had been abused by the Papists. He was appointed to the committee for the test bill, although he was doubtful of its efficacy because of the Pope’s dispensing power. He led the attack on the Cabal’s handling of Irish affairs, notably the latitude accorded to the Roman Catholic swashbuckler, Colonel Talbot. In the autumn session, faced by the imminent marriage of the Duke of York to Mary of Modena, he reminded the House that Louis XIV’s brother had just married a Protestant princess, but she had been required to change her religion on her entry into France. He helped to draw up the addresses against the marriage and against the new-raised forces, which he considered another grievance. He also complained of large donations to the King’s mistresses. He was chairman of the committee which drafted the petition for a fast to reconcile differences and divisions ‘chiefly occasioned by the undermining contrivances of popish recusants’, and on 3 Nov. carried it to the Lords for their concurrence. In a major speech on 12 Jan. 1674 he mentioned the universal hatred felt for the French alliance, and attacked the evil counsellors who had persuaded the King to declare war on the Dutch without consulting Parliament. ‘The best thing to rivet the King and his people is mutual confidence’, he declared. He was chosen to ask Dr Lloyd (later one of the Seven Bishops) to preach to the House on the anniversary of Charles I’s execution. His appointment to the committee for the habeas corpus bill in this session began his association with the most important reform of the reign. In the course of several attacks on the Duke of Buckingham, he threw out the suggestion that ‘no Member for the future, whilst Parliaments sit, should have the temptation of offices’, and on 18 Feb. he reported from the committee which drafted a bill to improve attendance.8

It might have been expected that under the Danby administration, combining firm churchmanship at home with a patriotic anti-French policy in Europe, Clarges would have reverted to the Court. But he seems to have distrusted the new lord treasurer from the first. In the spring session of 1675 he took the chair for the first time on the habeas corpus bill. He described default in attendance by Members as a grave breach of trust, and proposed sending letters to their constituencies ‘to give them notice how they are represented’. He was the first Member named to the committee to draft the letters, and was also appointed to the committee on the bill for the suppression of Popery. He helped to prepare reasons for one conference on the dispute over the judicature of the Lords, and to manage two others, and had just reported to the House on precedents for writs of habeas corpus returnable to Parliament when the session was abruptly terminated. In the autumn he helped to prepare the bill imposing penalties on British subjects who remained in French service, to draw up the address on the failure to apprehend the Jesuit St. Germain and to manage a conference to avoid the revival of differences between the Houses. When Parliament reassembled in 1677 he was marked ‘thrice worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list, and at once reverted to the question of British subjects in French service. He was appointed to the committee for the revived bill, and also to those for securing the liberty of the subject and preventing the growth of Popery. On 6 Mar. he told the House:

I intended to have said something to you about the passes for ships, which is raising money by order of Council, of the judges being pensioned, and the like, but waive all for that of France. ... This grievance of France is a matter of so great consequence, that if there be no tendency of redressing it this day we are lost.

He helped to draw up the three addresses on foreign policy that followed.9

On 28 Jan. 1678 Clarges pungently criticized the conduct of Edward Seymour in the chair:

This adjourning the House has been usurped by you more than by any Speaker before you. Gentlemen stand up to speak, and you adjourn the House and will not hear them. ... ’Tis our birthright to speak, and we are not so much as a part of a Parliament if that be lost.

He helped to draw up the addresses for reducing France to her 1659 frontiers and for a declaration of war, though characteristically thinking that ‘we need not be at so vast an expense’. Clarges, who ‘had his whole estate almost on new foundations’, bitterly opposed the tax on new buildings, acting as teller for the unsuccessful motion of 23 Mar. to hear counsel for the Hon. William Russell plead at the bar of the House against taxing the development of the Bedford estate. ‘Why may not a man make the best of his own land?’ he asked. He was among those appointed on 29 Apr. to attend the lord chancellor about alterations in the commissions of the peace and to summarize foreign commitments. The lack of visible action against France provoked him to blunter criticism of ministers, some of whom, he believed, were in French pay:

I am of opinion ... that ’tis to no purpose to advise the King any further till we have assurance that the fruits of our former addresses are executed. This is strange to me, after the King lays the whole matter before us and calls for our advice, and tells us he would follow it; and I thought he would have done it because he had distrusted the advices of those who had plunged him into these inconveniences.

From the committee for the removal of counsellors he reported on 8 May an address asking the King to remove from his presence the Duke of Lauderdale, whose harshness seemed calculated to produce a rebellion in Scotland. He helped to draw up reasons for a conference on burial in woollen two days later, and took the chair on the bill for forming a separate parish of St. James Piccadilly. As the session drew to its close he acted as manager of conferences on disbanding the army, fixing the dimensions of colliers and requiring burial in woollen.10

The last session of the Cavalier Parliament confirmed Clarges in his worst suspicions, both of the Roman Catholics and of the ministry. He was appointed to the committees to inquire into the Popish Plot, to examine Coleman, and to translate his letters, and helped to draw up the resolution affirming belief in the ‘damnable and hellish plot’. He was concerned in the drafting of eight addresses, and proposed the impeachment of Secretary Williamson for signing commissions for Roman Catholic officers. Despite his habitual parsimony with public money, he declared that he would have £200,000 given to Titus Oates. ‘The saving the King’s life by the discovery of the plot’, he declared generously, ‘is above the restoration of the King; he cannot be too well rewarded.’ He was appointed to the committee to prepare instructions for disbandment. ‘If the King be not happy in this Parliament’, he remarked prophetically, ‘he will never be in any. Those that make a difference in this matter are no friends to the crown.’ He was appointed to the committee for the impeachment of Danby, and defended the conduct of its chairman, William Williams. He was among those ordered to draw up reasons for a conference on supply, and acted as teller against recommitting the articles of impeachment.11

Clarges sat for Christchurch in the Exclusion Parliaments on the interest of the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde), whose brother, Laurence Hyde, was his tenant in St. James’s Square. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’, and in 1679 he made 43 speeches, including four firm but moderate contributions to the debate on the choice of a Speaker. He was appointed to 40 committees, in five of which he took the chair, and had a hand in drafting six addresses, reporting on 21 Mar. that for a solemn day of humiliation, which he carried to the Lords for their concurrence. He expressed dismay at the issue of a pardon to Danby, and helped to draft the summons for him to surrender himself for trial, or face a bill of attainder. He was chairman of the committee for security against Popery, which produced a bill ‘of so prodigious a length’ that it never received a second reading. But he was more successful over habeas corpus, reporting the bill on 4 Apr. and carrying it to the Lords four days later. He helped to draw up reasons for a conference on the attainder of Danby, and on 25 Apr. was added to the secret committee to draw up articles against him. He was on the committees to consider the Lords’ amendments on the habeas corpus bill and to prepare for a conference on the disbandment bill. After reporting on the existence of precedents, he was assigned to the joint committee for the trials of the lords in the Tower. On 9 May he moved for a standing order to forbid the Speaker to carry up a money bill without consent of the House, and was again appointed to a committee to search for precedents. He reported the bill for the removal of Papists from the metropolitan area on 19 May, carrying it to the Lords two days later, and he also helped to prepare a message to the Lords asking for concurrence in a demand for the execution of two convicted priests. But he parted company with the opposition in ‘a long and considerate speech’ on exclusion:

I desire that there may be no further proceeding in this bill. If I did think that the person of the King, laws, or religion were in danger without this bill, I would give my consent to it with as great alacrity as anybody; but this bill seems to me to hazard the King’s life. Religion is of great moment to provide for hereafter, and to secure it by all means lawful and just; but I am taught to do no evil that good may come of it, and through the consequences of the bill I would not disgrace the Protestant religion. ... A certain unjust thing is not to be done for any just. No human policy can give you an absolute security of religion. Are we sure that the Lords will pass the bill? The King never will. If he does, when this law is passed, we must have a standing army to maintain it [against] a prince exasperated to the highest degree, ... and then what security can you have for your laws? ... If there be confusions and dislike of the Government, the King goes after the Duke, and all is confusion. ... Consider what condition you are in; you have passed a law to-day. against Popery, and another that all Papists shall be convicted by name, and if twenty be together, they may be knocked on the head; that no Papist shall sit in either House of Parliament; the habeas corpus bill; bill against illegal exactions; and will you, by this bill of incapacitating the Duke, lose all these good bills that could never yet be arrived at?

Clarges’s arguments were not answered, but the division, which followed immediately, showed that the House was unconvinced by them. He had not forfeited its respect, however, and was twice sent to the Lords to desire conferences on the habeas corpus bill, which at last received the royal assent.12

Clarges must have been well enough pleased with the results of this Parliament, but it was believed that, like other friends of Lord Halifax (Sir George Savile), he might not stand again. Like other Members formerly thought ‘warm enough’, he enjoyed ‘no vogue’ in the second Exclusion Parliament, and his activity declined perceptibly. He was appointed to 23 committees and made 12 speeches. He helped to draw up the addresses promising support for the King and the Protestant religion and asking for a pardon to be proclaimed for all informers about the Popish Plot. He was appointed to the committee to inquire into abhorring, but strove to avert the expulsion of Sir Robert Cann and Sir Francis Wythens. He seconded the motion of Sir Thomas Stringer for describing the Duke of York as heir presumptive in the exclusion bill. When John Trenchard reported the address for the removal of Halifax on 22 Nov., Clarges insisted on ‘free liberty to exercise my reason against it’. He commended Halifax’s services in the last Parliament in obtaining the King’s consent to the abolition of quartering and the reform of habeas corpus, and, despite calls of order, described it as unconstitutional in principle to forbid a man the King’s presence. He was eventually silenced by Silius Titus, who recalled the identical address for the removal of Lauderdale reported to the House in 1678 by Clarges himself. Nevertheless he acted as teller for the unsuccessful motion to recommit the address. He took little further part in the second Exclusion Parliament, except for a rather perfunctory defence of the position of Laurence Hyde on the Treasury board. Every endeavour, including the label of Papist, was made to hinder his re-election because he had opposed exclusion. Although he defeated his Whig opponents, there is no evidence that he attended the Oxford Parliament.13

Clarges was re-elected in 1685 and became a very active Member of James I I’s Parliament, in which he was appointed to 19 committees. According to Thomas Bruce, he was ‘discontented’ from the opening of Parliament, and was accordingly hissed by the loyal majority, but this is unlikely with Halifax in the Government. His principal concern in the first session was to establish St. James Piccadilly as a separate parish, for which purpose he was given leave to bring in a bill on 27 May. His name stands first on the committee for inspecting the disbandment accounts, and he was among those instructed to prepare bills for licensing hackney coaches and the general naturalization of Huguenot refugees. When, on the news of Monmouth’s invasion, Bruce revived the proposal for a tax on new buildings, Clarges called it ‘a very young notion’ and left the House ‘foaming at mouth’ to complain to Hyde, now Lord Treasurer Rochester, who persuaded the King that it was unsound. He reported the St. James Piccadilly bill on 20 June, carried it to the Lords three days later and returned it after amendment on the last day of the month. He went into open opposition in the second session after the dismissal of Halifax. Speaking with unwonted moderation he claimed that a further grant of supply was unnecessary; if his nephew Albemarle had been properly supported, Monmouth’s rebellion could have been suppressed by the militia. Confidence between King and people was essential, but it could not survive the intention announced in the speech from the throne of breaking the Test Act, which bore out the argument of the exclusionists that a Popish successor entailed a Popish army:

I am afflicted greatly at this breach of our liberties, and, seeing so great difference between this speech and those heretofore made, cannot but believe this was by some other advice. This struck at here is our all, and I wonder there have been any men so desperate as to take any employment not qualified for it; and I would therefore have the question: ‘That a standing army is destructive to the country’.

He was teller for the motion to discuss the Roman Catholic officers before supply, and was the first Member nominated to draw up the address for their dismissal.14

Clarges was described in the list of eminent parliamentarians in opposition as considerable for parts, but not to be trusted. He was present at the Bishop of London’s trial before the ecclesiastical commission in 1686, and helped in the defence of the Seven Bishops. He sent his son to attend William of Orange at Exeter, and was among those appointed to draw up the address of thanks of 26 Dec. 1688. He was returned for Oxford University, no doubt on the Hyde interest, in the abortive election held under James’s writ, and again in the following month. He was very active in the Convention, in which he was named to 108 committees and made about a hundred recorded speeches. He was again one of the Members entrusted with drafting an address of thanks on the first day of the session. He sought to embarrass the Whigs by reading William’s declaration. On the constitutional issue he defined his position in the following words:

To say that the crown is void is a consequence of an extraordinary nature. The consequence must be, we have power to fill it, and make it from a successive monarchy an elective; and whether a commonwealth, or alter the descent, is yet ambiguous.

He was appointed to the committee to bring in a list of the essentials for securing religion, laws and liberties. He hoped that in the interests of unity the House would agree with the Lords that the King had deserted the throne rather than abdicated; but he was appointed nevertheless to the committee to draw up reasons for adhering to the Commons resolution, and added to that to manage the conference of 5 Feb. 1689. He considered that the crown had devolved automatically on the next Protestant heir in succession, and therefore voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Nevertheless he accepted the majority decision: ‘since it has been voted here that the throne is vacant, I am satisfied, though I was then against it’. But he urged the House to maintain control of the new regime by granting revenue for no more than three years. In the debate of 5 Mar. he said: ‘I wish the committee after discovery of all these grievances had named the persons who occasioned them’. He was appointed to the committee for that purpose, and also to those for the bill to punish mutiny and desertion and the bill of rights and settlement. He failed to convince the House that the sovereign should swear to maintain the established Protestant religion, but helped to draft the coronation oath. Despite his defence of the sacramental test, he was the first Member nominated to the committee for the repeal of the Corporations Act. He attacked the professed Protestants who had collaborated with the Papists in the last reign; but he was named to the committee for the comprehension bill. On 8 Apr. he reported reasons for retaining the proviso about Queen Catherine of Braganza in the bill for the removal of Papists, and was sent to desire a conference. He seconded the motion for an address promising aid for a war with France, which he helped to draft. He desired toleration only as a temporary measure, till the nonconformists should be convinced of their errors, but his name stands first on the committee for the bill. He described the bill for the suspension of habeas corpus as ‘the most unreasonable and destructive that ever was made in Parliament. We have had a struggle for it these fourteen years, and now upon suggested necessities to dispense with this law!’ He was appointed to the committee of inquiry into the delays in relieving Londonderry. He was the only Member to defend Robert Wright, though he had himself no doubt of the illegality of the dispensing power, and was among those appointed to bring in an indemnity bill. He doubted whether the case presented to the House on 24 June against certain Jacobite propagandists were sufficient to satisfy a jury. Three days later he tabled the answers of Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch) about the arrest of Peregrine Osborne.15

After the recess Clarges was sent to ask Dr Peter Birch, a high church convert from Presbyterianism, to preach to the House on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. His activity in the second session of the Convention was chiefly directed towards exposing the failures of the war administration, especially in Ireland. He was appointed to the committee to inquire into the expenses of the war, and declared that the nation could not afford an army of 70,000. In the debate on 26 Nov. he blamed the failure to send baggage-horses and the negligence of the officers over clothing for the heavy loss of life in Ireland; but no improvement could be expected without a strong executive, and the lack of experience at the Treasury was particularly unfortunate, he thought, no doubt with Rochester in mind. He was appointed to the committee to draw up the address asking who had recommended Commissary Shales. He described the access of foreigners in the army as another great discouragement. But he agreed with William Sacheverell that the House should not nominate Members to the King for employment in Ireland. He favoured the grant of an independent income to Princess Anne. In the debate on restoring corporations he may have been responsible for the attempt to extend the disabling clause to the regulators; but on 10 Jan. 1690 he moved for its rejection as ‘destructive to the peace and quiet of the kingdom; instead of reconciliation it lays the foundation of perpetual division’. He opposed the bill to reverse the attainder of Sir Thomas Armstrong, though Morrice’s allegation that he described it as countenancing the Rye House Plot is not confirmed by Anchitell Grey, and he pointed out that (Sir) Thomas Pilkington could obtain relief by ordinary course of law.16

Clarges was re-elected in 1690, and sat until his death. Burnet described him as

an honest but haughty man, who valued himself upon opposing the Court, and on his frugality in managing the public money. ... Many thought he carried this too far, but it made him very popular. After he was become very rich himself by the public money, he seemed to take care that nobody else should grow as rich as he was in the same way.

He owed his wealth to the chance of his connexion with Monck; but his influence survived his brother-in-law’s death. His greatest achievement was habeas corpus, though Sir Robert Howard declared that he would always be honoured for his speech in 1685 exposing the contradictions in James II’s professions. Although in a minority in the Convention on most issues, his willingness to accept the decisions of the House secured its continued respect, shown by his nomination in 1691 to the public accounts committee, on which he served for the rest of his life. He died of apoplexy on 4 Oct. 1695, in the 78th year of his age, leaving an estate of about £5,000 p.a. to his son.17

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor


  • 1. IHR Bull. vi. 189
  • 2. Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 142; Mdx. RO, MJP/CP5a; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 1161; Oxf. Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 191, 196.
  • 3. CJ , vii. 828, 873; viii. 213; CSP Dom. (1660-1, p. 432; CSP Ire. 1663-5, p. 49.
  • 4. Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxi), 21