DANVERS, Joseph (1686-1753), of Swithland, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. 24 Dec. 1686, 1st s. of Samuel Danvers of Swithland by Elizabeth, o. da. of Joseph Morewood, merchant, of London and Overton, Derbys. educ. L. Inn 1709. m. 7 Dec. 1721 Frances, da. of Thomas Babington of Rothley Temple, Leics., 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1693; to Oxon. estates of his mother’s 2nd husband, John Danvers 1721. cr. Bt. 4 July 1746.
Sheriff, Leics. 1721; assistant, R. African Co. 1729-31.
Danvers was a Leicestershire country gentleman, whose family had been settled at Swithland since the fifteenth century. He was originally brought into Parliament by the Duke of Newcastle at the request of Lord Sunderland, who had been asked by the Duke of Rutland to find him a seat, apparently in return for his having stood down at the county election in favour of the Duke’s brother, Lord William Manners.1 His subsequent seats were provided by the Government.
Danvers was a frequent speaker, belonging to the group of independent Members who supported Walpole, but sometimes went against him. In his first Parliament he spoke against the vote of credit on 12 Apr. 1727, but in the debate of 3 July on the new King’s civil list, after Shippen had pronounced ‘a funeral oration’ on the ministry, Danvers foretold ‘a resurrection of the just’.2 In the next Parliament he spoke for the Address in January 1729, but on 3 Feb. he criticized Walpole’s financial policy, maintaining that the sinking fund should be applied to the current service of the year, that the reduction of the interest on the national debt from 6 to 4 per cent ‘was a great cause of the present poverty and decay of trade’ by reducing spending power, and concluding that a debt at a high rate of interest was ‘an advantage to the public’ - notions which the House is said to have received ‘with that slight they deserved’.3 In the same session he spoke and voted against the Government on the civil list arrears.4 In 1730 he supported the Address, but was absent from the division on the Hessians, and spoke against the Government on a bill for preventing loans to foreign powers without the King’s permission. In 1731 he spoke for an opposition bill excluding pensioners from Parliament, declaring that ‘it was certainly true that the country does believe we are a pensioned Parliament’ and ‘calls aloud for this bill’.5 In 1732 he regretted that the King’s speech contained nothing about reducing the army,6 for which he nevertheless voted. He also voted with the Government on the excise bill in 1733, and on the repeal of the Septennial Act in 1734. Thenceforth all his recorded votes and speeches on party issues were for the Government.
Edward Harley describes him in 1737 as ‘a dull joker’.7 At the opening of the 1741 Parliament, Horace Walpole quotes Danvers, ‘a rough rude beast, but now and then mouths out some humour’, as saying that Sir Robert and Pulteney were like ‘two old bawds debauching young Members’.8 In the Cockpit list of October 1742 his political allegiance is indicated as ‘Chelsea’, i.e. Walpole. He continued to support the Government till the end of the Parliament, when he retired with a baronetcy. He died 21 Oct. 1753.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. Duke of Rutland to Sunderland, 9 & 11 Apr. 1722, Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
- 2. Knatchbull Diary, 3 July 1727.
- 3. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 330, 343.
- 4. Knatchbull Diary, App. 132, 143.
- 5. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 51, 59-60, 133, 137.
- 6. Ibid. 215.
- 7. Harley Diary, 22 Feb. 1737.
- 8. To Mann, 10 Dec. 1741.