RASHLEIGH, Jonathan II (1642-1702), of Menabilly, nr. Fowey, Cornw.
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Family and Education
bap. 24 July 1642, 1st s. of John Rashleigh (d.1651) of Menabilly by Joan, da. of John Pollexfen of Mothecombe, Devon. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1659; I. Temple 1662. m. (1) 11 Mar. 1672, Anne (d.1677), da. of Sir Peter Courtney of Trethurfe, Ladock, Cornw., s.p.; (2) 12 Dec. 1681, Sarah, da. of Sir John Carew, 3rd Bt., of Antony, Cornw., 2s. 4da. suc. gdfa. Jonathan Rashleigh I 1675.1
Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1664-80, 1689-90, Devon 1679-80; capt. of militia ft. Cornw. by 1679-85, j.p. and dep. lt. by 1680-5, by 1701-d.; freeman, Bodmin and Fowey 1685-June 1688; stannator, Blackmore 1686; sheriff, Cornw. 1686-7; recorder, Fowey 1690-?d. 2
Rashleigh inherited the extensive family estates and business interests, and a seat at Fowey, on the death of his grandfather in 1675. An inactive Member he probably served on 11 committees in the Cavalier Parliament, including those appointed to consider the export of coal, the recall of British subjects in the service of the French King and defects in the law concerning the import of French goods. When he first entered the House Danby hoped to manage him on behalf of the Court through the Earl of Bath and Lord Arundell of Trerice (Richard Arundell). But these hopes were not fulfilled. In 1676 Sir Richard Wiseman listed Rashleigh among the 19 Cornish Members of whom he could say little and in 1677 Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly worthy’. In 1678 he twice acted as a teller against the Court, on 8 May against a bill to enable the King to lease duchy of Cornwall estates and on 8 June against accepting an obligation to repay the King the £200,000 charged on the credit of the Additional Excise Act.3
Rashleigh was again returned for Fowey in the exclusion elections, when he was classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury; but he voted against the first exclusion bill, and remained on the commission of the peace. He was otherwise inactive, though in 1681 he joined the syndicate of ‘the knights and burgesses of the present Parliament for Cornwall’ which applied for the Tangier victualling contract. He fell out with the Earl of Bath, who became recorder of Fowey under the new charter, and nominated his nephew Bevil Granville for James II’s Parliament. Later in the year Rashleigh was removed from the lieutenancy, despite evidence of loyalty. Bishop Trelawny, who organized the defence of the county during the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion, found the deputy lieutenants unco-operative and legalistic:
but singly Mr Rashleigh dissented from them and told them that since the rebels had appeared openly in the field that they ought not to be scrupulous, for in such cases the laws ought to be supposed to give way to the safety of the King: and according to this sense of his duty he showed himself the whole time of the rebellion, for he not only joined with me in signing all commissions, but went day and night through the whole country to view each regiment and their arms, and to dispose them into those places which we thought of the greatest importance for the King and his interest; and while we daily expected, upon Monmouth moving eastward, orders to follow him, no man showed a greater cheerfulness or readiness to go; but notwithstanding all these expressions of his loyalty, just after the beheading the late Duke of Monmouth, the lord lieutenant coming into the country, he was dismissed (to the wonder of all people who had observed his forwardness) from the lieutenancy; but how far such things conduce to the King’s service your lordship can best judge.
This letter was dated 14 June 1686 and does not seem to have had the desired effect. Rashleigh seems to have been turned off the commission of the peace, presumably by Bath, before 1688, as he was neither a justice nor a deputy lieutenant in that year, and consequently made no replies to the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. Nevertheless Bath recommended him as court candidate in 1688, and he was returned to the Convention. According to Anthony Rowe he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. An inactive Member, he was appointed to three committees, including that for the estate bill promoted by the 2nd Earl of Radnor (Charles Bodvile Robartes). He was buried at Fowey on 11 Sept. 1702. His son sat for Fowey as a Tory from 1727 to 1764.4