GRAHAM, Richard (d.1691), of Clifford's Inn, London.

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

m. by 1663, Elizabeth (bur. 4 Dec. 1669), 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.1

Offices Held

Principal, Clifford’s Inn 1677-d.; commr. for encroachments, Tower liberties 1686, perambulation, New Forest 1686.2

Gent. of the privy chamber 1682-5; commr. of excise and hearth-tax 1684-9; asst. solicitor to the Treasury 1685-9.3


Graham was described by Lord Preston (Sir Richard Graham) as his cousin, but his pedigree and education are alike obscure. In 1663 he had chambers in Clifford’s Inn and was living in Fetter Lane. He acted as solicitor to the Earl of Burlington, whose son-in-law, Laurence Hyde, is credited with bringing him to the notice of the Duke of York. He acted for the crown at the trial of Stephen College, the Protestant joiner, and helped to draw up the case against Shaftesbury. He and Philip Burton, whom he succeeded as assistant solicitor to the Treasury, were said by Burnet to be ‘fitter men to have served in a court of inquisition than in a legal government’.4

Graham’s career reached its peak in the next reign. His close connexion with the King by virtue of his office earned him a bad reputation. Luttrell calls him ‘the famous Mr Graham, the tool in King James’s time’; but Roger North declared that he was well suited to the post of crown solicitor, except for ‘a little north-country flattery and desire to oblige all that he could ... and if he went too far in anything, it was not out of bad principle, but obedience and complaisance’. On royal recommendation, Graham was elected for Windsor in 1685. He was probably moderately active in James II’s Parliament, being appointed by full name to the committees for prohibiting the import of gunpowder and for estimating the yield of a tax on new buildings, and he may have served on three others where he cannot be distinguished from James Grahme. In 1686 he was granted a pension of £250 p.a. out of the Post Office. Sunderland recommended him for re-election as court candidate in 1688. At the Revolution he attempted to escape overseas with Burton and Sir Thomas Jenner, but was captured and thrown into the Tower. He was released on bail by the King’s bench on 25 Oct. 1689, but immediately ordered into custody by the Commons. Among other charges he and Burton, whom Burnet calls ‘the wicked solicitors in the former reigns’, were said to have

practised packing and embracery of juries, as in the cases of the late Lord Russell [Hon. William Russell], Algernon Sidney esq. and others; and that they had divided amongst the juries of Middlesex in criminal cases, contrary to the law, several sums of money, and given them great entertainments. ... By their malicious indictments, informations and prosecutions of quo warrantos, [they had] openly endeavoured the subversion of the Protestant religion and the government of this realm.

He was released on the prorogation of Parliament, but excepted from the Act of Indemnity. ‘He never joyed after, and languished in his mind’ till his death on 8 Dec. 1691. He was buried at St. Dunstan in the West.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Guildhall RO, St. Dunstan in the West par. reg.; PCC 227 Vere.
  • 2. Cal. I. T. Recs. iii. 114; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 533, 995.
  • 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 195; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 1316-17; viii. 173-4; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 102; Luttrell, i. 450.
  • 4. HMC 7th Rep. 308; CSP Ire. 1663-5, pp. 166, 398; North, Lives, iii. 126; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 13; CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 387, 401, 442, 506; Burnet, ii. 293.
  • 5. Luttrell, i. 493, 595-6; ii. 311; North, iii. 126-7; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 948-9; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 276; 1689-90, p. 76; Burnet, iv. 26; CJ, x. 274; HMC Hastings, ii. 335; St. Dunstan in the West par. reg.