BOTELER, John (aft.1668-1746), of Teston, Kent
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1668, 2nd s. of Sir Oliver Boteler, 2nd Bt., of Teston, by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Sir Robert Austen, of Bexley, Kent, sis. of Sir John Austen, 2nd Bt.*, and Robert Austen I*; bro. of Sir Philip Boteler, 3rd Bt.* educ. M. Temple, 1685. ?unm.1
Cornet of drag. and horse, Col. John Berkeley’s regt. 1685, Princess Anne’s regt. 1687–92, Col. Francis Langston’s regt. 1693–by 1702.
Lt-gov. of Tilbury and Gravesend, 1702–?1715.2
Jurat, Hythe 1713–d.3
John Boteler’s early life is rather more obscure than that of his younger brother, Sir Philip. He may have been the John Boteler who joined Colonel Berkeley’s regiment as a cornet in 1685. Although it seems unlikely that he would have remained at this rank for so many years, a John Boteler appears in the lists as a cornet until about 1702. While in the army Boteler saw active service at the battle of Steenkerk in 1692.
Boteler’s parliamentary career began in 1701 when he and his brother were elected for Hythe. He was classed as a Tory by Robert Harley* in December 1701. In May 1702 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tilbury and Gravesend. Almost immediately he became embroiled in a dispute with the governor, Major-General Hon. George Cholmondeley*. Sir Philip Boteler evidently wrote to the secretary of state on the matter and received the rather curt reply that he would sort it out on his return from Bath but meanwhile, ‘I think Mr. Boteler ought not to oppose the orders of the governor, but, if injured, ought to complain in the proper manner’. The dispute, over the perquisites of the governor and his lieutenant, was eventually decided in Boteler’s favour.4
In 1704, Boteler was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, and the name Boteler (probably indicating both John and his brother) appears on Harley’s lobbying list for the Tack, to be approached through Sir Thomas Hales, 2nd Bt.* Boteler did not vote for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. Re-elected in 1705, he was classed as a ‘Churchman’ in a list of the new Parliament. Although Boteler’s name is missing from the division list of 25 Oct. 1705 over the Speakership, it seems likely that his omission was an oversight by the compiler because although only four Members are listed for the Cinque Ports as voting against John Smith I, the total at the bottom of the page is given as five. Moreover, Boteler was mentioned in a letter by John Bridges as one of a number of placemen voting against Smith. Surprisingly, a list of early 1708 classed Boteler as a Whig, but another list of early 1708 with the returns added marked him as a Tory. Boteler does not appear to have been an active Member, although he did vote against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. A John Boteler is also listed as holding stock in the Bank of England in 1710. Defeated in the election of 1710, Boteler was seated on 27 Jan. 1711 after a petition. He was listed as a ‘worthy patriot’ who in the 1710–11 session had helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous ministry, and as a member of the October Club in a Tory pamphlet of the same year. Boyer also listed him as a member of the club.5
Boteler’s Toryism was confirmed by his appointment as a justice for Kent in 1711, a position he held until his death. His dispute with Cholmondeley flared up again in 1711 when, after Parliament had risen, Cholmondeley had Boteler arrested and imprisoned. He was still in prison in December 1711 when Parliament resumed, whereupon he complained to the House on the 10th of a breach of privilege, which led to his release. Finally, the Worsley list of the 1713 Parliament classed Boteler as a Tory. Having lost the 1715 election, he voted for the Tory candidates in the Kent county election, but then appears to have given up involvement in politics. At some point Boteler moved to St. James’s parish, Westminster, where he wrote his will on 18 June 1745, naming as his main beneficiary his cousin John Austen of Bexley, who proved the will on 26 Feb. 1746.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Sonya Wynne
- 1. Burke, Ext. and Dorm. Baronetcies (1838), 76; PCC 39 Edmunds.
- 2. Info. from Prof. R. Walcott.
- 3. Hythe Town Council, Hythe corporation mss, draft minutes of assembly, 1213–15.
- 4. CSP. Dom, 1702–3, pp. 239, 367; HMC Portland, x. 70.
- 5. Bull. IHR, xxxvii. 24, 36; Egerton 3359, unfol; Boyer, Pol. State. iii. 117.
- 6. Info. from Prof. N. Landau; HMC Portland, x. 70; Cal. Treas. Bks, xxvi. 345; Hist. Jnl. xxii. 572; G. Wilks, Barons of the Cinque Ports, 94; PCC 39 Edmunds.