BROMLEY, William II (1663-1732), of Baginton, Warws. and St. James’s, Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - 1698
21 Mar. 1701 - 13 Feb. 1732

Family and Education

bap. 31 Aug. 1663, 1st s. of Sir William Bromley KB of Baginton by Ursula, da. of Thomas Leigh†, 1st Baron Leigh, of Stoneleigh, Warws.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 1679, BA 1681, DCL 1702; M. Temple 1683; travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1688.  m. (1) by 1685 Catherine (d. 1688), da. and coh. of Sir John Cloberry† of Westminster, and King’s Somborne, Hants, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 21 Nov. 1689, Trevor [or Trever] (d. c.1691), da. of Samuel Fortrey of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Mdx., s.p.; (3) by 1692, Cecilia (d. bef. 1698), da. of Sir William Swan, 1st Bt., of Southfleet, Kent, 1s. d.v.p.; (4) lic. 12 Jan. 1698, Elizabeth, da. of Ralph Stawell†, 1st Baron Stawell, of Low Ham, Som. 2s. 3da (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1682.1

Offices Held

Commr. for rebuilding Warwick 1695.2

Commr. public accts. 1702–4; chmn. cttee. of privileges and elections 1702–5; Speaker of the House of Commons 1710–13.

PC 23 June 1711; Sec. of state 1713–14.3

Commr. building 50 new churches 1711–15, taking subscriptions to S. Sea Co. 1711; trustee, Radcliffe Lib. 1714–d.4

Freeman, Portsmouth 1711.5


Bromley stands out as one of the paladins of Toryism in the reign of Queen Anne. Widely respected among his party brethren for his ‘great honour and integrity’, he was a ‘grave’ man of exemplary piety, morals and public spirit. He was an unwavering and unflagging proponent of High Church principles, though as one contemporary observed he was ‘perhaps of no very shining parts’. His lack of originality was amply compensated for by a rigidity of purpose which made him an ideal party leader. One of his chief political assets was a ‘short and clear manner of speaking’ and this directness of approach enabled him to sustain his authority among the Tory squires. A leading historian has pointed out that the essence of Bromley’s influence in the party had little to do with ‘ties of blood and marriage’, but was based almost entirely on ‘comradeships forged through years of fighting common parliamentary campaigns’. As he made his way to the forefront of politics it became his abiding preoccupation to maintain Tory unity in the face of ministerial factionalism and exploitation. The fissiparous nature of the Tory party after 1710 made this task complicated in the extreme, but in his capacity, first as Speaker, and then briefly as secretary of state, he shouldered much of the burden of inspiring back-bench loyalty and support for an administration whose attitudes and policies often diverged from party zeal.6

Bromley was descended from a Staffordshire family whose ancestry could be traced back to the time of King John. In 1618 his grandfather had moved to Warwickshire, having purchased Sir Henry Goodere’s† seat at Baginton. There seems little doubt that Bromley’s ardent Toryism was inherited from his father, a Royalist commander in the Civil War who had been held captive for 15 months and forced to compound for £10,000. Bromley succeeded his father at the end of 1682, and in 1685, a year after coming of age, was added to the magisterial bench. His rise in the county elite was further underwritten in July 1686 when he was appointed to the lieutenancy. The death of his first wife in 1688 seems to have encouraged him to undertake a tour through France and Italy. While in Rome he was said to have ‘heard there of the Prince of Orange’s invasion before it was heard of in England’. He had returned, however, before January 1689, by which time he was once more engrossed in magisterial duties.7

In the approach to the 1690 general election Bromley emerged as a Tory candidate for knight of the shire. Although inexperienced in public affairs, he had already acquired the reputation of ‘a very good man’, and his recent spell of foreign travel had marked him as one whose horizons and interests extended beyond the parochial. Bromley won his seat, and Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), in noting him as a Tory, felt he might be counted upon to support the Court. He took time to gain his footing as an MP and was largely inactive during the first three sessions of the 1690 Parliament. Evidently he did not fulfil Carmarthen’s expectations, as in April 1691 Robert Harley* saw him as a supporter of the Country party. Though he was not elected for Oxford University until 1701, his concern for its interests and privileges appeared in January 1692 when he commiserated with one college principal over a draconian clause in the land tax bill requiring all dons to take the oaths of allegiance on pain of a hefty imposition on their salaries and stipends. The publication of Bromley’s travel memoirs in February (Remarks on the Grand Tour of France and Italy) provoked so much speculation about his loyalty to William III that he was quickly forced to withdraw all unsold copies. The space and attention he gave to descriptions of Catholic institutions and places of worship, the hospitality shown him by the English Cardinal Howard, and his having been admitted to kiss the Pope’s slipper, were regarded by some as indicating a distinct preference for the Roman faith. Most damningly of all, he referred to William and Mary by their non-regal title as ‘the Prince and Princess of Orange’ while the exiled Stuarts were styled as ‘King James and his queen’. By the end of the year stories were circulating that Bromley had even dined with the exiled king. Doubts about his loyalty to the new monarchs cannot have been allayed by the tone of his comments in the House on 14 Dec. 1692, when, in his first recorded intervention, he joined other Churchmen in opposing a bill ‘for the preservation of their Majesties’ sacred persons and government’ on the grounds that the new oath to be imposed on office-holders ‘would only prove to catch good, conscientious men and will not hold the bad’. He was teller, for the first time, on 9 Jan. 1693 in favour of exempting university property from the land tax bill. His attack later in the month on Bishop Burnet’s Pastoral Letter as a ‘dangerous’ example of several recent tracts which sought to justify William III’s title by right of conquest, seems to have been motivated by general Tory malice towards the bishop. His vigorous demands that the book be publicly burnt led to his acting as teller on this question on 23 Jan.; while the opportunity to exercise his views further came two days later when participating in conference proceedings with the Lords on Charles Blount’s King William and Queen Mary Conquerors, which had declared the conquest argument to be ‘inconsistent’ with the principles of the Revolution settlement.8

From the 1693–4 session onwards Bromley acquired a higher profile in the Commons, a fact reflected in his nomination to an increased number of select committees. Although there is the possibility of confusion with William Bromley I, it can be assumed that most references in the Journals are to the Warwickshire Member on the strength of his election in 1696 to the commission of accounts, for which a necessary prerequisite was a track-record of work on major committees. In November he helped sponsor bills concerning the encouragement of the clothing trade and the registration of deeds, and on two later occasions was a teller on supply questions. On 7 Feb. in the debate on the Worcester election he was teller in favour of the sitting Tory Member. His attachment to ‘Country’ principles, and thus his disposition to oppose the government, was demonstrated during the debate on 7 Dec. concerning a grant of £2,000 to Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*), one of the Admiralty commissioners. He warned the House that if they accepted the ministry’s defence that payments to individuals by way of pensions were the norm, ‘you must never expect discoveries’; and, while loath to commit Falkland to the Tower, was willing to see him expelled the House. Similarly, on 26 Jan. 1694 he was outspoken on the King’s veto of the place bill. While careful not to reflect directly upon the King’s right to exercise his prerogative powers, he maintained that the need to eradicate corruption provided a powerful case for such legislation: ‘the bill offers remedy, but we are denied it, which speaks this language, “that the King will have us still corrupt”’. Concluding his speech, he declared: ‘we have done well for religion, but all in vain if we enjoy not our liberties’.9

Bromley’s ‘Country’ objections to the financial burdens of a standing army were apparent early in the 1694–5 session when he acted on 23 Nov. as teller against proceeding with the customary address for the army estimates. He was teller on two further occasions late in the session regarding a supply bill, and participated in several conferences with the Lords. Among other items of business, the bill for rebuilding Warwick in the aftermath of the devastating fire there in September 1694 almost certainly engaged much of his attention. His efforts on behalf of the town were acknowledged in his being named in the bill as one of the commissioners to oversee the rebuilding works. He was particularly active during the commissioners’ most important work in the months immediately following the bill’s enactment, and even as late as 1704 he was instrumental in obtaining a grant of £1,000 from the government ‘towards finishing the church and relieving the sufferers’. Already, Bromley could be seen emerging as an energetic backbencher with wide-ranging interests.10

Though faced with a contest in Warwickshire in 1695, Bromley retained his seat with little difficulty. The worsening coinage crisis was one of the first matters the new House considered when it met in November. Bromley’s involvement in issues relating to the coinage can be traced back to 1693 when his concern over the great quantities of farthings in circulation in his native county, and the local tax collectors’ refusal to accept them in payment, induced him to take the problem to the Privy Council. Since then he had been nominated to committees on the export of coin and coin clipping. In the debates on the crisis towards the end of 1695, Bromley was one of several Churchmen who opposed the government’s proposals for a recoinage of silver money as likely to prove too damaging to trade in the present circumstances of war. He was a member of the Commons’ delegation which conferred with the Lords on 5 Dec. 1695 over the drafting of a joint address pressing for a speedy resolution of the situation. With the new year, Bromley’s attention moved to issues with a stronger ‘Country’ focus. On 14 Jan. 1696 he capitalized on the unpopularity of the King’s intended grant of several Welsh estates to the Earl of Portland by presenting a petition against it from representatives of the Welsh gentry. This bold solo initiative prompted the appointment of a committee to address William not to proceed, which Bromley himself reported on the 17th. Later in the month he was forecast as likely to oppose the Court on the proposed council of trade. He made detailed reports from a committee, to which he had been appointed in December, to investigate areas of uncertainty in the levy of certain duties specified in a supply measure enacted the previous session. The estimation in which Bromley was by this time held by both the Church Tories and the Foley–Harley connexion was apparent in his inclusion on the ‘Country’ list for the ballot on the new commission of accounts, which, when declared on 5 Feb., placed him fifth with 200 votes. On the 24th, following disclosure of the Assassination Plot, he was appointed to a committee to confer with the Lords in drafting a joint address congratulating the King on his safe deliverance, but was one of the 80 or so Churchmen who subsequently refused to subscribe to the Association on the grounds that it was a ‘Whig trick’. The following month Bromley was involved in the proceedings to establish a price level for the guinea. On 20 Mar. he was teller in favour of fixing it at 25s., and afterwards voted a further reduction to 22s. as preferred by the King. During February and March he took responsibility for two local bills, one relating to the estates of his Warwickshire neighbour Sir Thomas Wagstaffe*. In two election cases earlier in the session he had acted as teller in favour of Tories, and on 14 Apr. at the conclusion of one of the debates on the royal veto of the qualifications bill, he was a teller in favour of the motion that whoever had advised such a course was ‘an enemy to the King and kingdom’.11

The Association presented a serious dilemma for Bromley, not least since his refusal to sign meant that he could not serve on the commission of accounts, and since three other recently balloted commissioners also withheld their signatures, the commission was rendered inquorate, thus jeopardizing the Country party’s plans to exploit the commission in its forthcoming assaults on the ministry. In a letter of 25 Apr., Bromley told Robert Harley, the leader of the Country alliance, that he would be ‘very glad’ to meet the other commissioners in view of ‘the greatest satisfaction I had in the honours the House did me to that employment, being in the company they joined me with’, but could not comply with ‘the terms since imposed’. Harley responded almost immediately with a carefully couched appeal, the crux of which was that many non-Associators had decided to comply with the law, having shown their principles by not signing voluntarily, and that the oath therefore had only a limited legal importance. After summarizing the legal authorities on this point, Harley begged ‘pardon for all this stuff to a person of so great reading, good sense and well poised judgement as Mr Bromley, whose love for his country and the public good . . . supersedes all the arguments of just resentments’, and ended with a plea:

I am sure you will sacrifice more than that to the preserving the whole and keeping the nation from the power of a party who can have no strength but what is given them by such a refusal. Therefore I hope we shall be preserved by you from having stripes by scourges cut out of our own skins.

The urgency behind Harley’s entreaty demonstrates Bromley’s perceived importance as a rising Tory leader. Initially it seemed to one of the other non-subscribing commissioners, Francis Gwyn*, that Bromley might relent, but it was Gwyn himself who signed the Association, thereby establishing the necessary quorum for the commission to begin business. Although Bromley did eventually sign the Association, he did not participate in the accounts commission’s proceedings. Towards the end of July he resigned his place on the Warwickshire lieutenancy, possibly in anticipation of his removal by the Privy Council, but remained a j.p. The reason for Bromley’s reluctance to fall in with Harley’s designs at this point is not exactly clear, but it raised his prominence among the Churchmen, his personal resistance to the Association giving him the character of a ‘violent’ Tory.12

The attainder proceedings against Sir John Fenwick† dominated the opening month or so of the 1696–7 session. On 9 Nov. Bromley was a teller against the motion to give a second reading to the attainder bill, and at the third reading on the 25th spoke at length against the measure. He added his voice to the assertions of other Tories that, though the power of Parliament was ‘so transcendent and absolute’, it ought to follow ‘the rules of Westminster Hall, especially when they are founded upon common justice’. In Fenwick’s case the government’s use of defective evidence deviated from principles which he felt ‘ought to be universal’. He dismissed ministerial apprehensions that Fenwick would constitute a danger to the government if allowed to go unpunished, and asked why it was that nothing had been done to attaint those whom the Declaration of Rights described as James II’s ‘evil counsellors’. In the division at the end of the debate he duly voted against passing the bill. Bromley’s refusal to act as a commissioner of public accounts seems to have had a marked effect on the pattern of his activity during this session, and, more important, accentuated his standing as a party figure. By refusing to act on the commission of accounts, he appears to have forfeited his usual place on the kinds of select committees to which he had usually been nominated. He was, however, much more frequently called upon to serve as a teller. After the Fenwick bill, he performed the task on 11 subsequent occasions, the majority of which dealt with politically orientated questions. On 27 Nov. he was teller against a Court-inspired amendment which sought to tone down a motion for a committee of the whole ‘to consider the grievances of the nation’ to one with the more temperate instruction to consider ‘the state of the nation’. In proceedings on the Aldborough election on 27 Jan. 1697 he was teller against the issue of a writ for a by-election, presumably on account of the borough’s reputation for venality. His Tory prejudices against a bill ‘to secure debts and establish credit’ were registered on 10 Feb. when he told against its committal. He told twice against the Whig-sponsored general naturalization bill, and on other occasions in relation to economic or supply questions.13

During the 1697–8 session the pattern of Bromley’s recorded activity was much more along the lines seen during the 1695–6 session. His legislative concerns were restricted to a bill for the regulation of the militia, being appointed on 17 Dec. 1697 to its drafting committee, and two personal estate bills which absorbed much of his attention later in the session. He was teller on five occasions. On 19 Apr. he told in favour of adding to the elections bill a clause requiring all ‘honorary freemen’ of boroughs to be elected by vote in open court. Three more tellerships undertaken towards the end of the session show his dislike for the proposed new East India Company: on 26 May he was teller against a resolution from ways and means for conferring exclusive trading privileges on the new company; on 23 June, in favour of a clause offered to the ‘two million fund’ bill’ restricting the East India trade to those already entitled under the bill’s provisions; and on the 25th against the motion for it to pass. At the 1698 election Bromley declined to stand, having in effect been precluded by his conduct in 1696. Many years later, in 1726, when he came to devise an account of his career for a memorial to be erected in Baginton church after his death, he chose to gloss over the circumstances, simply stating that ‘I declined to serve any longer though it was unanimously desired at a meeting of the lords and gentlemen’. A two-year interlude ensued in his political career during which he was able to devote himself more fully to his scholarly interests. He had already contributed to an English version of Tacitus’ Annals, begun in 1693 and published in 1698. It was a project which chimed in well with Bromley’s Country notions, given Tacitus’ obsessions with deceit and dishonesty in the political arena and his warnings about arbitrary power.14

In the weeks prior to the January election of 1701 it was expected that Bromley, ‘who would not stand in the last Parliament because of the Association’, would return to the Commons. However, Bromley’s intentions were otherwise. On congratulating Harley on his election as Speaker, he wrote from Baginton on 17 Feb., ‘I have never till now had any reason to regret my being out of the House . . . We that are in the country look upon your having the chair as a very good omen in this critical juncture.’ Early in March, however, one of the Oxford University seats was declared vacant, and Bromley seems to have been easily prevailed upon to stand by the University’s leading fixer in parliamentary matters, Dr Arthur Charlett. A good deal of support for Bromley was generated around the colleges, not least in Christ Church where he had been a student, but collegial in-fighting saw a rival candidate enter the lists in the form of another Midland Tory, Sir George Beaumont, 4th Bt.*, and there followed some scurrilous campaigning in which doubt was poured on Bromley’s High Church credentials. None the less, at the poll on the 21st Bromley succeeded in defeating Beaumont, though not as overwhelmingly as Charlett had hoped.15

Once back in the House, Bromley quickly recovered his former standing as a Tory activist, becoming almost immediately immersed in the partisan attacks on the ministry. He was actively involved in his party’s drive to impeach Lord Portland and the Junto lords, Somers (Sir John*), Orford (Hon. Edward Russell*) and Halifax (Charles Montagu*), for their role in the first Partition Treaty. On 14 Apr. he was a teller in favour of the motion declaring Orford guilty of advising the King to accede to the treaty, and on the 15th was added to the committee for preparing the articles of impeachment against all four lords. The next day he reported the terms of the same committee’s address requesting the lords’ removal ‘for ever’ from the King’s counsels, and over the next fortnight or so was active in the committee’s work of finalizing the impeachment articles. Bromley also seems to have played an active part in the Commons’ inquiry into the despoliation of Enfield Chase, which was intended as the pretext for an attack on the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, the Whig Earl of Stamford. In the report which Bromley made to the House on 26 May, the Earl was found guilty of dereliction of duty, but though the matter was ordered to be referred to the King, no further action was taken. On the 28th, in proceedings on the disputed Winchester election, Bromley was a teller against a resolution in favour of the Junto supporter Lord William Powlett*. In the midst of these preoccupations, Bromley was forced to monitor the progress of a bill to establish the Cottonian Library at Westminster, in which Dr Charlett had requested him to insert an additional clause ‘for regulating printing’. However, owing to the limited scope of the bill there was little Bromley could do to accommodate Charlett’s desire for a ‘general saving of the university privileges’ and he advised that the best alternative ‘was to watch for and get particular savings as there shall be occasion’. Following the hostilities between the Tories and the ministry, there ensued a four-week respite from the end of April in which no further progress was made with the Whig impeachments. Towards the end of May, however, the Whigs in the Lords began to pressurize the Commons into proceeding, in order to clear the names of Orford and Somers, and it was Bromley who conveyed the Commons’ dismissive response to the Upper House. In a further debate touching these exchanges with the Lords on 4 June, he joined the many MPs to speak in defence of Commons privileges in impeachment proceedings; and was subsequently a teller against giving immediate approval to the Commons ‘replication’ to Somers concerning the impeachment articles against him. On 12 June he reported the terms of an address to thank the King for his recent speech requesting support for his alliances and promising assistance therein. Some time before the 1702 election, however, he was blacklisted as having in this session opposed preparations for war with France. Acknowledgment of Bromley’s energies was made in the ballot for new commissioners of public accounts, declared on 17 June, in which he achieved third place with 168 votes. The bill for establishing a new commission failed, however, when Parliament was prorogued a few days later.16

In the second election of 1701 Bromley was returned for Oxford University unopposed. He was teller on 5 Jan. 1702 against appointing a day for hearing the Whig petitioners in the disputed Norwich election. During the opening month of business he was involved in several legislative initiatives, one for setting up a new commission of public accounts, another against bribery and corruption at elections, and a third, of importance to his academic constituents, to enforce existing laws vesting in the universities the presentation of benefices belonging to Catholics. On 7 Feb. he successfully proposed to the House an address urging on the King the expedient of employing half-pay officers in recruiting the new army. On the 17th the House engaged in a major debate instigated by Hon. Heneage Finch I, one of Bromley’s High Tory compatriots, concerning the ‘rights, liberties and privileges of the Commons’, issues lately provoked by the Kentish Petition. Three resolutions protective of Commons’ rights put forward by the Tories excited very little debate, but a fourth proposed by Bromley stating that to address for a dissolution was ‘tending to sedition’ produced long and heated exchanges which ended in confusion. Following the report on the Coventry election on the 24th he moved to have the Whig sheriff taken into custody for gross partiality. Two days later he voted in favour of the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings during the previous Parliament in the impeachments of William III’s ministers. On 5 Mar. he was teller in favour of alleviating the ‘malt rent’ paid by university colleges. Two days later, he was among the main supporters, all Tories, of a motion to adjourn the House in view of the King’s deteriorating condition, and on William’s death the next day he was appointed to draft an address of condolence and congratulation to Queen Anne. On the 9th Bromley was involved in an incident in the Commons, which though unseemly, indicated his rising stature. In the absence of John Conyers a stand-in was sought for the chair of the ways and means committee. Upon MPs severally calling for both Bromley and Hon. Henry Boyle, Bromley went down to take the chair before it had been properly offered, and when the question for him was subsequently put, he lost to Boyle, quitting the chamber, shamefaced and ‘baffled’. In another dispute over the chair on the 13th, Bromley was a teller in favour of John Granville, another staunch Churchman. He obtained second place in the ballot for the new commission of accounts, its thorough Tory membership having been preconcerted at a private meeting of Tory MPs. His work with the commission began on 6 Apr. and continued until it was wound up in April 1704. During March and April he took responsibility for a private Irish forfeitures bill and a bill for improving the ‘government’ of the hospital at Balsall in Warwickshire. On the penultimate day of the session, 23 May, he was teller in favour of an address recommending the chaplain of the House, Dr Francis Gastrell, for an ecclesiastical place.17

The new era of Toryism heralded by Queen Anne’s accession soon drew Bromley into playing a more central role in a House of Commons now dominated by the Tories. As Tory hopes were raised, his position as a representative of the chief seminary of Anglicanism naturally placed him at the forefront of his High Church colleagues. In the 1702 general election he and Heneage Finch, the brother of Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), received the approbation of Lord Rochester (Laurence Hyde†), one of the principal Anglican leaders recently appointed to the ministry. He was, of course, conspicuous during the Queen’s visit to the university in August when a doctorate of civil law was conferred on him. Before the opening of the new Parliament Lord Nottingham procured the Queen’s approval for the introduction of a bill to outlaw the practice of ‘occasional communion’ by Dissenters, and prevailed on Bromley to steer the measure through the Lower House. Bromley was enthusiastic about the prospect of putting a stop to what he described to Dr Charlett on 22 Oct. as ‘that abominable hypocrisy, that inexcusable immorality of occasional conformity’; if the bill could be obtained ‘it will probably cure most of the evils we labour under’. As the session began, he reported on the 26th from the Address committee and was teller against a Whig motion designed to remove a calculated slur upon the late King’s name. Evidence suggests that Bromley took the lead in this committee, a university don who encountered him a day or two later being shown the original draft of the address ‘in his own handwriting’. In the evening, at the first meeting of the committee of privileges and elections, Bromley was chosen its chairman, a position he retained for the duration of the Parliament. Over the next three months he presided over and reported on 19 disputed election cases. On 11 Nov. he read a report from the commission of accounts relating evidence of gross financial malpractice by Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones*) as paymaster of the forces, which led to Ranelagh’s resignation early the next month. Bromley presented the first bill against occasional conformity on 14 Nov., having moved for its introduction on the 4th. Backed by the Queen, the bill seems to have encountered little resistance during its passage through the Commons. He reported its committee stage on the 25th, and carried it to the Lords on 2 Dec. Almost immediately, however, the measure became heavily ensnared by wrecking amendments orchestrated by Lord Somers. From mid-December Bromley was deeply involved in efforts to resolve the deadlock, and was a leading participant in conferences with the Upper House on 17 Dec., 9 and 16 Jan. and 1 Feb. 1703. As these proceedings dragged on, however, prospects of the bill reaching the statute book began to fade, not helped by Tory attitudes on other matters such as the Queen’s request for a £5,000 annuity for Marlborough (John Churchill†) which Bromley and fellow High Churchmen took a leading part in opposing on 15 Dec. He joined other Tories on 13 Feb. 1703 in voting against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time allowed for taking the oath of abjuration. At the end of the month, however, he was forced to abandon his political activities as he recovered from a life-threatening fever to which the strains of his parliamentary work during the session may well have contributed.18

Bromley and his associates had been sorely provoked by the mauling given the occasional conformity bill in the Lords and strongly suspected the ministers of complicity in its failure. Robert Harley spent most of the summer recess doing what he could to secure Tory support for the forthcoming session, but knowing that the angry High Tories would be most difficult of all to placate. In September he consulted Bromley with a view to obtaining his acquiescence in a ‘scheme’ for raising the supply in the coming session. Bromley’s response that ‘it is you only can raise a building suitable to this foundation’, indicated that support would be forthcoming if Harley backed a new occasional conformity bill. In any event, Bromley was already set upon bringing in a new bill. By the time the session opened it was apparent to Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) that ‘the matter is too far engaged’ and that Bromley ‘is obstinate to the last degree’. On 25 Nov. Bromley successfully moved to reintroduce the occasional conformity bill, his oratory receiving particular acclaim. After presenting the bill two days later, he managed it through the House, chairing the committee of the whole on 2 Dec. and reporting on the 3rd. However, so rapid had been the bill’s progress that many Tory peers had yet to arrive in town and it raised the possibility that the temporary Whig majority would throw it out. Bromley endeavoured to forestall this threat by feigning illness on 8 Dec., when he was due to carry the bill to the Lords, and he did not deliver it until the 13th. Two days later it was rejected outright on the motion for a second reading. Bromley was one of the chief movers behind an address ordered on 17 Dec. (which he reported next day) implicitly expressing the Commons’ confidence in Secretary Nottingham, then under attack over his handling of the Scotch Plot.19

Since there were only five election cases and two privilege complaints in 1704, Bromley was left with a freer hand to deal with other legislative interests. One of these originated in the Queen’s message of 7 Feb. promising provision for increasing the stipends of the poorer clergy. The establishment of what became known as Queen Anne’s Bounty was Harley’s way of mollifying Tory MPs, following the loss of the second occasional conformity bill. The measure, which Bromley took through all its Commons stages, enabled the crown to surrender to the Church its traditional income from first fruits and tenths, thereby providing a fund of £17,000 from which clerical incomes could be supplemented. Bromley likewise dealt with a private bill confirming a property agreement entered into by the authorities at Christ Church, Oxford, although the measure failed after its report stage. On 25 Feb. he came third in the ballot for a new commission of accounts with 195 votes. However, at the end of March, when the bill for appointing the new commission was sent up to the Lords, both Bromley and St. John asked to be left out ‘that they might be capable of better employments, as is supposed’. To Dr Charlett, two days later, Bromley expressed pleasure at being relieved from the burdens of the commission and at the prospect of a long summer away from London, especially since ‘too constant an application’ had once again impaired his health.20

In October, as the new session approached, there was considerable speculation that the Tories would attempt to displace Harley as Speaker on the premise that this office and his secretaryship were wholly incompatible. Bromley had been touted as a likely successor as early as May and had remained a favourite choice throughout the summer months. A large meeting of Tory MPs, of which Bromley was a chief convenor, was planned to take place a week before the session opened, fuelling the likelihood of an all-out parliamentary attack on Harley, but in the event the expected attack failed to materialize, possibly because of an insufficient Tory attendance. To onlookers, it seemed for a short while that Bromley had been bought off by the ministry, it being reported at the beginning of November that he had accepted a clerkship of the Green Cloth. In fact, he was proceeding with plans to confront the ministry with a third bill against occasional conformity and, if necessary, to ‘tack’ it to a money bill to guarantee its passage through the Lords. His Oxford University constituents had urged him in the strongest terms to reintroduce the measure. Bromley successfully moved for the bill on 14 Nov. The crucial stage in its progress was reached on 28 Nov. when he moved for it to be tacked to the land tax bill. Introducing this motion, Bromley described occasional conformity as a ‘scandalous hypocrisy . . . no way to be excused upon any pretence whatsoever’. He maintained that the practice was condemned even by ‘the better sort of Dissenters’, and that no ‘wise government’ countenanced the employment of persons in public offices whose religion differed from that established by law, and that this was not even allowed in Holland. Further, the Established Church now stood as much in danger from Dissenters as from papists. He then sought to justify the ‘ancient practice’ of tacking, saying

that the great necessity there was for the money bill’s passing was rather an argument for than against this proceeding. For what danger could there be that the Lords, who pretended to be such great patriots, should rather lose the necessary supplies, than pass an act so requisite for the preservation of the Church?

The tacking motion was lost however, Bromley himself serving as a teller for the minority in a division which saw over 100 Tories desert the High Church cause. In forcing the issue Bromley and his associates had taken the amazingly shortsighted course of requiring their prospective supporters among the office-holding and moderate Tories to put supply measures at risk, and to endorse the constitutionally dubious device of tacking. Under his supervision the occasional conformity bill continued its passage through the House, which was completed on 15 Dec. when Bromley carried it to the Lords, who rejected it later the same day. Opinion at Oxford was outraged, but when the House adjourned for the Christmas recess Bromley could do little more than express himself ‘satisfied, after the disappointments we have met with, to find my endeavours to serve the Church and religion, are acceptable to those I have the honour to represent’. His continuing interest in ‘Country’ measures was signified in the support he gave for the introduction of two place bills on 13 Jan. 1705. In the remainder of the session his recorded activities were confined mainly to steering two private estate bills through the Commons and to proceedings relating to the Aylesbury case in which he reported the outcome of several conferences with the Lords. However, the burdens of the session again told on his health, leading in April to a serious fever which brought him close to death. The anonymous author of a newsletter commented that ‘the death of this gentleman would have been a great loss to the Church party, he being one of the chief propagators for them in the House of Commons’.21

At Oxford Bromley was now very much the champion of the Anglican cause and in a three-cornered contest in the 1705 election received the first votes of every MA. As thoughts turned to the new Parliament during the summer Bromley was proposed by his Tory brethren as a candidate for the Speakership. Even some of the ‘warm Whigs’ were inclined towards him ‘as the fittest man to pursue the sentiments of the House’ instead of Harley, whom they could no longer endure. Throughout August Bromley was engaged in ‘frequent meetings’ with Rochester and Nottingham, and the forthcoming contest for the Chair was high on the agenda. In the early autumn his supporters spoke and wrote optimistically, although some shrewd Whigs, such as James Craggs II*, felt that the promises claimed by Bromley’s ‘cocksure’ campaigners, claimed to be around 250, could not be put ‘above 200’ and that the Court candidate, John Smith I, would obtain the lion’s share of votes from the Queen’s servants. Harley, according to the historian John Oldmixon, was the instigator of a dirty tricks campaign against Bromley in which a republished version of Bromley’s Grand Tour of France and Italy, highlighting passages that suggested the author’s Jacobite and pro-Catholic leanings, was distributed among MPs. On his own copy of the work Bromley noted: ‘this edition is a specimen of the good nature and good manners of the Whigs, and, I have reason to believe, of one of the ministry, very conversant in this sort of calumny’. He felt that if anything had been ‘improper’ and any ‘observations trifling or impertinent’, allowance ought to have been made for his being ‘very young’ at the time. Against his own account of this episode, Bishop Burnet described Bromley as ‘a great favourer of Jacobites’. When the Commons assembled on 25 Oct. Bromley was proposed for the Chair by Lord Dysart (Lionel Tollemache) and seconded by (Sir) Thomas Hanmer II, both of whom had been active supporters of the occasional conformity bill, but Smith was elected by 248 votes to 205. Bromley cast his own vote politely for the Court candidate.22

As age and death removed older High Tory leaders from the parliamentary scene, so their places were taken by younger men, of whom Bromley was one of the most prominent by 1705. The set-backs of recent years at ministerial hands had embittered him to a degree which was now particularly noticeable. His sense of exasperation found an outlet in November during the committee proceedings on the disputed St. Albans election. When it emerged that the Duchess of Marlborough, an owner of property in the town, had written to the corporation recommending the Whig candidate Admiral Henry Killigrew*, several Tories ‘reflected very indecently against her’, but none more so than Bromley, who compared her to Edward III’s mistress, Alice Perrers. On 4 Dec. he assisted Hanmer in a preconcerted manoeuvre against the ministry over the agitated question of the Scottish succession. Aware that Hanmer was ready to trip up the ministry with an unwelcome motion to invite the Electress Sophia of Hanover to reside in England (a similar motion having been made in the Lords on 15 Nov.), Bromley neatly cleared the way by moving the scheduled second reading of the ‘Scotch bill’, repealing the Alien Act that had been passed at Westminster in retaliation for the Scots’ earlier intransigence over the succession. Thus, when the House in committee began to consider the Scottish parliament’s most recent proceedings, Hanmer was able to launch his motion concerning the Electress Sophia. Bromley gave his support with a key speech pointing out that the proposal had in fact been necessitated by the advice Godolphin had given the Queen in August 1704 to approve the Scottish Act of Security whereby the Scottish parliament undertook to choose their own successor to the Scottish throne. During the debate on the 8th on the Lords’ resolution that the Church was ‘in danger’, he gave a wide-ranging speech delineating the many fronts on which the Anglican Church stood exposed, some of which had been aired in the debate on the 4th: the power of the Presbyterians in Scotland; the absence of the next Protestant heir should the Queen die; the failure to legislate against occasional conformity; the proliferation of Dissenting schools and seminaries; the prevalence of profaneness, immorality and irreligion; the threat posed by the Scottish Act of Security; and the abuses already apparent in the administration of Queen Anne’s bounty. It seems to have been during this debate, too, that he aspersed Godolphin as a crypto-Jacobite, accusing him of having been a signatory to the warrant for the imprisonment of the Seven Bishops, and adding ‘that he had been named in all the plots etc. since the Revolution’. Bromley was fortunate to have had no action taken against him: a fellow Tory, Charles Caesar, was sent to the Tower for making similar insinuations against the Treasurer on the 19th. On 11 Dec. Bromley spoke again in favour of the ministry’s bill for repealing the Alien Act as a necessary prelude to ministerial negotiations for a treaty of union with Scotland, though in committee proceedings on the 15th he and the rest of his party ‘sat mute’. As a riposte to the Tory ‘Hanover motion’ the ministry initiated in the Lords a regency bill to safeguard the succession. At second reading in the Commons on the 19th Bromley opposed the proposal of a regency council to govern after the Queen’s death until the arrival of her successor, arguing that the bill, while having a laudable purpose, was at the same time ‘dangerous to the succession’ on the premise that it would be possible for ministers to dictate the composition of the regency group. Tory efforts to stifle the bill continued during the committee stage: on 12 Jan. 1706 Bromley appears to have backed the Whig-sponsored ‘whimsical’ clause safeguarding the provision in the Act of Settlement which excluded all placemen from the Commons upon the Queen’s death. Further, on the 15th, he stressed the necessity of making adequate provision for convening Parliament during a regency as a vital ‘check’ on the lords justices of whom ‘none [could] have a worse opinion . . . than himself’. He returned to this theme in committee on the 19th in discussions on the composition of the regency, exposing the possibility that the new prince might be ‘ruined by treacherous ministers’ riven ‘by animosities against one another’.23

During the summer the position of the Harley–St. John group of Court Tories began to weaken as differences over foreign policy arose between them and the Junto, and as the latter began to push for additional appointments in recognition of the parliamentary support they had lately given to the ministry. In consequence, Harley, St. John and their confrères began to look for a resumption of contact with the Tory leaders, particularly with Bromley and Hanmer, whom they regarded as leaders of the Tory rank and file, and several meetings were apparently held during the month or so before the 1706–7 session. Nothing seems to have come of these negotiations, however, the Tories continuing their usual course in opposition, and the Harleyites continuing their working relationship with Marlborough and Godolphin. When the session opened on 3 Dec. Bromley was named to the Address committee. Personal disaster struck towards the end of the month when fire gutted his seat at Baginton, destroying most of its contents including his ‘large library of books and manuscripts’. During one of the committee sittings on the articles of Union in February 1707 Bromley opposed the 1st article stipulating that the Union was to take effect from 1 May 1707. On 22 Feb., as the House was about to go into committee on the bill to ratify the Union, Bromley, mindful of his constituents’ interests, moved that consideration be given to an additional clause protecting Oxford and Cambridge universities, that they ‘may continue for ever, as they are now by law established’. In March, at the request of Dr Charlett, he monitored the progress of a bill for regulating the printing of books, ensuring that ‘sufficient care’ was taken to see that the university libraries received copies of all new and reprinted volumes. The bill was to fail, however, before reaching the Lords. The same month he promoted a private estate bill on behalf of the Duke of Beaufort, a leading Tory peer.24

Despite the complaints he heard from country gentlemen about the burdens of war, Bromley saw that backbenchers had little alternative but to acquiesce in the financial demands for the coming year. Shortly after the new session began on 10 Nov. Bromley caused offence to the Court and most Whigs by proposing that the House, in accordance with directions in the Queen’s speech, should give priority to measures to ensure ‘the completion of the Union’. Godolphin was anxious to avoid adjustments to the Union that would upset ministerial ability to command the support of the Scots Members, but had to accede to discussions. At the report of the committee of the whole on 11 Dec. the resolution to standardize the powers of English and Scots j.p.s, favoured by the Squadrone, proved particularly contentious and received ‘a broadside’ from the Court. The resolution was passed when Bromley, followed by other principal Tories, joined the debate and helped to defeat the ministry’s amendment allowing a different magisterial system north of the border. By mid-December it was clear that Bromley and other Tory activists had been preparing the groundwork for a major attack on the ministry over its conduct of the war in Spain. On the 18th, after the House had approved James Grahme’s motion for a full-scale inquiry into the state of the war in Spain, Bromley, assisted by Ralph Freman II, moved for papers relating to the alleged deficiency of English forces at the battle of Almanza. On 21 Jan. 1708 he was among the leading Tory obstructors of the ministry’s bill to step up conscription, taking notice of the ‘abuses and hardships’ mentioned in previous debates on army affairs and proposing a clause to prevent the selling of army commissions. He was subsequently named among the group of MPs directed to draft the bill. Harley’s resignation from the administration on 11 Feb. made no immediate difference to the position of Bromley and his supporters, who continued to oppose Godolphin in the Commons. He took notice on 19 Feb. of the ministry’s failure to present the papers he had asked for on 18 Dec., and moved for them again. On the 24th he took his party line in opposition to the government-sponsored bill to establish the validity of the Henrician statutes of cathedral and collegiate churches, opposing the measure again in committee of the whole on 9 Mar.25

The Whig victory at the polls in 1708, coupled with the Whigs’ increased pressure on the duumvirs for more places, prompted Godolphin to seek support from the Tories in the coming session. However, Bromley adamantly refused to enter any arrangement with the lord treasurer when the latter made approaches in mid-July. Godolphin’s suggestion that Harley be Speaker in the new Parliament was too much for Bromley to contemplate, since if put into effect it would immediately give Harley an advantageous position within the government, but by the later weeks of August contacts between Bromley and Harley were beginning to develop. On 20 Aug. Harley fulsomely addressed himself to Bromley: ‘I can assure you, sir, that those who you conversed with last winter are resolved most heartily to enter into measures with you.’ Initially, Harley’s long disquisition on the need for political unification and renewal met with a polite but censorious response on 18 Sept. Bromley brushed aside Harley’s contention that ‘present difficulties’ could be imputed to ‘the mistakes of others’ and made no bones about the fact that much of the blame rested with Harley himself. He also expressed his belief that the former secretary had been far too general about the ‘public points’ which they would pursue. He did not, however, rule out the possibility of further ‘discourse’ before Parliament convened, ‘which will be necessary to unite us, and to create that confidence that I desire may be among us’. Late in September Bromley took a leading part in a series of Tory meetings, the outcome of which he reported to his mentor Lord Nottingham. It was agreed ‘to get a full appearance’ in time for the beginning of the new session and to push for a Tory Speaker. It was soon suggested that Bromley himself might stand for the Chair, a scheme which Harley readily embraced. As Harley wrote to Dr William Stratford of Christ Church on 10 Oct.: ‘there can remain no room for doubt but that I will most readily and heartily espouse his interest, and particularly upon this occasion I will do my utmost to show him the regard I have for his person’. Two days later Bromley assured Harley ‘that I truly value your friendship and . . . on all occasions [will] use my utmost endeavours to disappoint all arts that may be used to prevent our coming to a good understanding’. Bromley’s main anxiety was the lack of wholehearted support shown at this juncture by Lord Nottingham who refused to appear in town to rally hesitant friends. In the event, however, the Speakership issue was resolved by the admission of the Junto lords Somers and Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) to the ministry, thereby guaranteeing Whig support for the Court candidate, Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt. Though Bromley did not contest the Chair, it remained to be seen how fruitful his new rapport with Harley would be. On the eve of the new Parliament, Nottingham wrote to him sounding a cautionary note: ‘As much as I wish an increase in our number by any just ways and would not therefore refuse the concurrence of Mr H[arley], yet to deal freely I do not expect any assistance from him; il y a something of a mystery in that affair and I can’t help my jealousy.’26

On 22 Nov. 1708, a week after the new Parliament commenced, Bromley was chosen in first place on 22 Nov. to a committee to draw up the condolences of the House on the death of Prince George. This he reported the following day. On 13 Dec. he reflected damningly against the Duke of Marlborough following a vote of thanks to General John Richmond Webb* for his victory at Wynendael. He told the House that he did not disapprove the custom of thanking commanders who had performed eminent services, especially when such compliments were ‘modestly’ received. But he grieved the fact that ‘a certain commander, on whom not only the thanks of the House, but also great rewards had been bestowed, appeared yet unsatisfied’. This thinly veiled attack on Marlborough ‘scandalously surprised’ the ministry for its ‘malice’ and was a topic of conversation for several weeks afterwards. In the meantime, Bromley was expressing doubts about Harley’s reliability as an ally. On 7 Dec. he confided in a letter to Nottingham that Harley ‘proposes schemes which, if they are pursued, may perhaps save a penny’, but which were largely ineffectual. It was certainly within Harley’s powers to propose ‘more material and serviceable’ ones, but if he did not soon do so, ‘I think he may be justly suspected for the future’. Nottingham replied on the 20th: ‘what you say of Mr H[arley] confirms me in my opinion . . . He is indeed in appearance more modest, humble and affable; but he steadily prosecutes his ends, which are plain set (though he be very reserved) to show him to be very ambitious and implacable.’ Writing at the end of December, Bromley could see little prospect of a change in the current political situation despite intimations of the Queen’s ‘fixed resolution of changing the present measures, notwithstanding the greater difficulties that are now to be struggled with’, and admitted that ‘I do not build upon such an expectation’. While privately expressing these innermost doubts and apprehensions to Nottingham, and seeking the Earl’s approval and guidance on issues such as the recent ‘invasion’ scare, Bromley none the less collaborated closely with Harley, asking him early in January 1709 for a briefing on the foreign situation and the invasion crisis ‘and your instructions how to treat them and manage both to our common interest’. Even so, their plans, when carried into effect, made limited impact. On 12 Jan. Bromley seconded Harley’s motion for accounts of army and navy expenditure for the war in Spain and Portugal, but the implied threat of a major inquiry failed to materialize. By early February it was reported that the ‘Church side’ had fallen into lassitude and that ‘neither Bromley nor Hanmer open their mouths’. It may well have been at Bromley’s instigation that a committee was formed on 16 Feb. to investigate the problem of land tax arrears, he being the first-named appointee. Reporting the committee’s findings on the 26th, he was critical of receivers who retained in their hands considerable sums and thus burdened the public with the interest due on them. He was afterwards teller for the Tory minority in favour of a strongly worded address condemning these practices. During February he had also joined in opposing proposals for a bill removing the ancient requirement that fellows of Oxford and Cambridge take holy orders. On 5 Mar. he frustrated the ministry’s expressed disinclination to proceed further on the ‘Gregg case’, which early in 1708 had implicated Harley in treasonous activity, by insisting that ‘since those papers were brought in as reflecting upon an honourable Member of the House’ they merited the due consideration of the House. Five days later the ‘show’ he had concerted ‘with three or four others’ for the proceedings on the recent invasion scare came to nothing owing to the thinness of the House.27

The ministers’ determination to impeach Dr Sacheverell in the next session proved a turning point in Tory fortunes. Bromley’s championship of the doctor’s cause was distinctly ironic given his refusal earlier in the year to support Sacheverell for a chaplaincy at St. Saviour’s, Southwark. At Oxford Sacheverell was much disliked owing to his extremism and maliciousness, and was particularly antagonistic towards Bromley’s old college, Christ Church. Despite his personal feelings, however, Bromley quickly recognized the enormous political capital to be gained from taking on the doctor’s defence. When the House was formally notified on 13 Dec. 1709 of the seditious content of Sacheverell’s two contentious sermons, the Tory response was somewhat muted, Bromley being among several who spoke, ‘but very sparingly’. Later, however, when the vote of censure passed and the cry of ‘impeach’ went up from the Whigs, he took the lead in securing a ‘respite’ in the proceedings until Sacheverell could be brought to the bar of the House. In the following day’s debate, Bromley’s arguments that the case should be heard before either a church court or the Queen’s bench made no headway, and it was eventually resolved to proceed by impeachment. He also opposed a motion afterwards offered by the Whigs to address the Queen recommending ecclesiastical preferment for Benjamin Hoadly, the outspoken Low Church polemicist, in recognition of a recent sermon against Bishop Blackall of Exeter who had preached on passive obedience and non-resistance in the presence of the Queen. Bromley could not but see ‘that it might be looked upon as an affront to the Queen, to desire her to prefer him for writing against a sermon which she had ordered to be printed’. On 22 Dec. Bromley was a teller in favour of admitting Sacheverell to bail. On 9 Jan. 1710 he was driven to complain of the ministry’s delay in laying the impeachment articles before the House. Two days later, after these had been presented, he and other prominent Church Tories spoke ‘very well’ in support of Harley’s criticism of the articles as loosely conceived and requiring further detailed consideration. A motion for recommitment was eventually lost, however. At the beginning of February the House received and considered Sacheverell’s ‘answer’ to the impeachment articles, and on the 2nd Bromley told for the Tory minority against the proposed statement of reply. When the Commons received the Lords’ message two days later appointing the trial to be heard at the bar of their House on 9 Feb., Bromley caught the ministry entirely off-guard with a proposal that swung the whole course of the Sacheverell episode decisively to the Tories’ great advantage. No special provision had been made for MPs to attend the proceedings apart from the Commons’ managers. However, Bromley moved that the Commons should attend the trial ‘in a body’ as a committee of the whole on the premise that the usual impeachment procedure allowed MPs to vote on whether to demand judgment, thus giving them a right to hear the the case in full. The motion was put to a division, Bromley serving as as teller, and narrowly passed. Thereupon, he was ordered to request the Lords to ensure ‘convenient accommodation’ for MPs, with Westminster Hall the obvious venue for the trial. The trial was consequently transformed into a great public spectacle. The Sacheverell proceedings had the effect of generating Tory obstructionism on other issues. On 15 Feb. Bromley helped lead the barrage of criticism ‘fired’ at a Whig motion to send the Duke of Marlborough to assist at the peace negotiations at Gertruydenberg. Bromley took grave exception to the fact that news of the negotiations had filtered through to the House via one of its merchant Members and not through proper ministerial channels. He sparked another major debate on 24 Mar. with a motion to address the Queen to appoint a day of public fasting ‘to deprecate the divine vengeance . . . on account of those horrid blasphemies which have been vented, published and printed in this kingdom’. However, the ministerial side succeeded in carrying a wrecking amendment referring specifically to the ‘blasphemies’ lately disseminated by Sacheverell.28

In the months of June and July, as the fate of Godolphin’s ministry hung in the balance, Bromley went about his social and magisterial duties in Warwickshire. Towards the end of June he and other members of the county elite played host to Sacheverell. The doctor, Bromley informed Dr Charlett, ‘was very welcome to us in Warwickshire. The prosecution of him has taken such a turn as must be of great service to our common interest if those that have it in their power will make the right use of it.’ Paying careful attention to opinion among his wide Tory acquaintance, Bromley found expectations of a general election running high by the beginning of July. It was widely rumoured during these weeks that senior Tory MPs were to be drafted into the ministry, with Bromley either as treasurer of the navy or in the more exalted position of chancellor of the Exchequer. Once Godolphin had resigned on 8 Aug. Bromley could only assume that Parliament would be dissolved as a matter of course. He confessed to Charlett that ‘dilatory proceedings have given some strength as well as courage to our enemies, and have wearied and disheartened our friends’, and hoped that the appointment of a Harleyite Treasury Board would facilitate a recovery of lost ground: ‘it is a juncture that concerns us all to be active’. Bromley resisted the urgings of many friends to go to London, a step which he felt would be highly indecent in view of persistent reports that he was about to be given high office. By the beginning of September, however, the summer impasse appeared to be drawing to a close as Bromley received ‘repeated assurances’, quite possibly from Harley himself, that ‘no interest will be considered but the Church’s’. He was also informed that the new ministers were anxious ‘to make their bottom as wide as they can and to receive those who are of distinction, and have no blemish, provided they will come in on the same interest’. Bromley was now at least able to reassure restive Tory friends of a satisfactory outcome to the prolonged intrigues which had preceded, and for some weeks followed, the downfall of Godolphin’s ministry. He was still in Warwickshire later in September when news reached him of the dissolution. Though this gave him great satisfaction, Harley’s neglect of the Tory faithful still rankled, while the fact that many Whigs remained in the lieutenancies and commissions of the peace gave him cause to ponder the new chancellor’s future intentions.29

Until the election it was widely assumed that Bromley would replace Robert Walpole II* as treasurer of the navy. As the extent of the Tory victory became clear, however, he emerged overnight as the principal contender for the Chair. Late in October and early November he was in London to concert tactics with other senior High Church colleagues, among them Hanmer, John Ward III, and Lord Anglesey (Hon. Arthur Annesley*). Despite the Whigs’ talk of setting up their own candidate, the huge Tory majority guaranteed Bromley’s success. When Parliament met on 25 Nov. he was proposed by Hanmer, who told the House:

it was necessary to choose a man who had given signal proofs of his abilities and willingness to serve his country; one who had given evident proof of his affection to the constitution and goverment of the nation, who had been earnest in the prosecution of the war, and who would contribute to the support of the public credit; one who had distinguished himself for his zeal for the Protestant succession and was hearty for establishing the same in the illustrious House of Hanover and who would contribute to do everything for extinguishing all the hopes of the Pretender; and lastly who was well-affected to the Church of England.

Bromley was chosen ‘without a negative’. He was nationally known and respected as a resolute leader of the Church party, a reputation consolidated by memories of his stubborn crusade against occasional conformity earlier in the Queen’s reign. Indeed, to the many Tory newcomers in the House he was a much revered figure. Behind him he had many years’ experience of parliamentary procedure which in recent years had included the chairmanship of the privileges and elections committee. Harley must have surmised that in the Chair he could be depended on to exercise a disciplining influence over the Tory ranks and help contain the extremism of which Harley was so apprehensive. He was an essential line of communication with the more responsible element of the High Church Tories. His connexions in the Commons were based largely upon bonds of friendship forged in political campaigns of former years, and embraced key Tory figures in many counties, not least the midland shires surrounding his native Warwickshire. One of Bromley’s first acts was to appoint as his chaplain Dr Jonathan Kimberley, the rector of St. Michael’s in Coventry, who according to Defoe was the author of a piece of ‘High Church poison’ and was one of the originators of the movement against occasional conformity.30

Bromley appears to have largely convinced himself that Harley was probably the best man to lead the Tories in power, even though Lord Nottingham clearly did not. As Bromley wrote to the chancellor on 14 Nov.: ‘I had rather our friends at this time had obligations to you for what favours they receive than to any one else.’ He was also ready to concede the need for moderate measures, but only as long as the members of the ‘honest party’ received their due share of favour and place. There was still a strong need, as he saw it, for encouragement to be given to those ‘who by principle have the greatest zeal and affection for the establishment in Church and state’. Bromley trod a wary course as Speaker during the 1710–11 session, not least since there were so many new Tory Members of whom he had no personal knowledge or acquaintanceship. Though he was not at this stage hand in glove with Harley in managing the House, he did assist the chancellor’s need for ‘diversionary’ measures in the Commons during sensitive proceedings on taxation, while at the same time continuing to serve his party’s cause. His conduct in this latter respect is particularly well illustrated by the way he promoted the High Tory concern for the provision of churches in London. Bromley had become a willing accessory to the scheme elaborated by his friend Francis Atterbury for a working relationship between the Commons and the lower house of Convocation, of which Atterbury was prolocutor, that would inaugurate a programme of Anglican ‘reformation’, and thus lay the foundations for a new era of High Church endeavour. However, the ambitious scheme to provide London with additional churches was the only legislative venture which emerged. He secured the appointment on 14 Feb. 1711 of a Commons committee to investigate the shortage of churches in London and its suburbs, and despite his preoccupations as Speaker, appears to have taken considerable interest in its proceedings. On 1 Mar. he received a delegation of London clergy to thank him for his initiative; and on the 9th Atterbury provided him with ‘a scheme’ showing where new churches were most needed. Bromley presented this to the House next day. At the end of the month the Queen commended the project to the Commons and a bill for the building of 50 new churches in the metropolis passed soon afterwards. Bromley was temporarily incapacitated from taking the Chair following the death on 20 Mar. of his eldest son Clobery*. On thanking the House that day ‘for their great kindness’ in agreeing to adjourn until the 26th he broke down and had to be led away, unable to finish his speech. But to cynical minds, the adjournment was merely a tactic to create further delays following Guiscard’s attempt on Harley’s life on 8 Mar.31

As the 1710–11 session wore on, High Church Tories became increasingly impatient with Harley’s constant hedging and his efforts to thwart their schemes. Amid financial crisis, supply business ran into trouble in February and by late March senior Tory MPs were concerting plans for disruptive action in the Commons. Bromley was very much at the centre of this activity, the impetus for which came in the first instance from Lord Nottingham who was still trying to put himself at the head of the High Church malcontents with Bromley in tow. Bromley appears to have been the convenor of a crucial meeting held on 2 Apr. to decide on tactics for the remainder of the session. In a letter which clearly indicates the depth of backbench Tory discontent, one Tory activist, John Ward III, informed Nottingham of the proceedings:

Last night some of us met with the Speaker and came to a resolution to bring on the notice of the invasion, to force on the account of the customs and stamp office and what other mismanagements the Court can lay open without tedious inquiry and to make two representations, the one of the money matters, the other of the Church and State, and in the latter to expose the mask of moderation by which we have so much suffered and the trimming measures we fear and this in the boldest lively colours.

Harley’s inability to supervise the House personally during his recuperation from Guiscard’s attack enabled Tory activists to carry out much of this programme, evidently with Bromley’s tacit support. However, the approbation which greeted Harley’s much-awaited scheme to restore public credit, which he had unveiled at the beginning of May, effectively prevented Tory back-benchers from pushing to further extremes. It would appear that Harley at this point saw more clearly the pressing need to exercise greater discipline over the Church Tories. Thus signs of a closer relationship between Bromley and the ministry were apparent early in May when it was reported that Bromley had ‘absolutely refused’ membership of the October Club. And as the session drew to a close Harley took care to sound Bromley about the content and form of the Queen’s closing speech. Bromley, as his summer correspondence shows, seems to have realized that it was now necessary to swim with the tide of Tory aspirations; the scenes of Tory consensus during the last month or so of the session had convinced him at last of Harley’s probity.32

After the prorogation Harley (now Earl of Oxford and lord high treasurer) carried out a series of ministerial changes among which were a number of High Church appointments. Oxford chose to use Bromley as a go-between in his offer of the chancellorship of the Exchequer to Hanmer, though Hanmer was far too wary to take it. On the disposition of the senior ministerial offices it remained a matter of great personal regret to Bromley that Lord Nottingham was kept from public service. Yet the summer months saw Bromley on far better terms with Oxford than ever before. His attitudes to Oxford’s policies had been transformed to the point of complete devotion, so much so that at the end of July he sharply chastised those Tories who remained critical of the lord treasurer. And when Oxford confided in him his hope that a ‘good peace’ would result from the preliminaries currently under negotiation, Bromley responded effusively on 18 Aug.:

When I consider what you have done, I conclude nothing is impossible to your lordship; and I shall be heartily glad to see this effected, because as nothing is more wanted so nothing can be more acceptable to the people who now languish under the pressure of this heavy war, and consequently nothing can tend more to the establishment of your lordship’s ministry.

He took care to announce his new-found optimism to his constituents. In a letter clearly meant for wide circulation he wrote: ‘I shall be very glad to have Lord Treasurer think rightly of me. I look upon it we are embarked upon the same bottom, engaged in the same interests, and I am therefore very sincerely and unfeignedly his humble servant.’ He briefed Lord Oxford at length on 25 Nov. on the problems he anticipated in managing Tory Members during the approaching session. Confident that they could be assuaged with respect to the ongoing peace negotiations, Bromley felt that a far greater cause of ‘uneasiness’ would arise from

the expectations of those that sent them thither, to act as becomes a House of Commons chosen by a spirit raised from an opinion of great corruption in the late administration, that it would now be detected and punished, and that something would be done to secure our constitution in Church and state against the vile principles and practices that had been countenanced to the endangering of both.

As Bromley perceived it, the task of overcoming Tory obstreperousness would be exacting:

The commission of accounts, I take it, will produce what will for the present entertain and satisfy them in the one, but the other is only to be done by putting the power into the hands of our friends, and by wholesome laws, if any are wanting and can be framed, that will be proper. The first is entirely in your lordship’s province; the last too many think themselves proficient for, and will be prescribing those remedies, and no one can tell how far their well-meant zeal may carry them within those bounds which is truly my concern they should not exceed. I should be sorry to have anything peevishly said or attempted by our friends, and will not fail using my utmost endeavours to prevent it, but all I can do will be ineffectual without your assistance. They were pretty quiet last session, expecting great advantages from the representation [of grievances against the old ministry], which they now complain has been so little regarded that it only truly serves to bring them and their proceedings into contempt. I hear so much of this that I think I should not deserve any the least of those favours I receive from you if I did not plainly lay it before you; and there is nothing can give me greater pleasure than to be instrumental in any degree in preserving among our friends the esteem and confidence, nay the gratitude, due to your lordship from them.

Oxford took seriously Bromley’s advice to strengthen his relationship with the High Churchmen. Early in December, on the eve of the 1711–12 session, he held talks, arranged by Bromley, with senior Tories apparently to indicate his willingness to accept legislation against occasional conformity. At the end of the month Bromley was again deputed to coax Hanmer into accepting high office, but again without success. On 17 Jan. 1712 Bromley was forced to rally faint-hearted Tories during the committee proceedings on the peculation offences alleged against Robert Walpole II, declaring to those who could find little evidence of Walpole’s guilt that his expulsion was an ‘unum necessarium’ and that business could not be carried on if he remained in the House. Greater difficulties materialized in connexion with the charges against the Duke of Marlborough due for consideration on the 25th. Bromley had to forewarn Oxford that the Duke’s sympathizers were liable to outnumber his enemies in a vote of censure, whereupon the lord treasurer signified his intention of pursuing the matter no further. Towards the end of April pressure from Bromley’s university constituents concerning a disadvantageous supply measure levying a duty on paper used for books obliged him to urge Oxford to modify the proposal. As he explained to the treasurer on 29 Apr., his being Speaker and his close association with the ministry imposed a strain on his relationship with the university authorities:

they think they shall have cause to be more concerned for any hardship brought upon them while I have the honour to be in the Chair and under your lordship’s ministry, whom they look upon as the patron of learning and their best friend and protector than at another time; and therefore I must beg your assistance to make this matter easy, but by allowing them a certain quantity of paper yearly free from the duty, and that one thousand reams will answer their ordinary expense.

At the same time he was also apprehensive about the effects of a bill to establish the value of crown grants made since 1688, a ‘Country’ project sponsored by the October Club. Bromley cautioned Oxford to take special care over this potentially divisive issue for the Tories and agree to allow the valuation to be undertaken by a commission of MPs: ‘if they [the bill’s supporters] can attain their end, it is certainly more desirable to attain it in a manner that will not distress and discompose affairs at this juncture’. For all his professions of loyalty, Bromley was dissatisfied with Oxford’s languorous progress in ‘serving and establishing our common interest’ and warned him that ‘there only wants a confidence which will unavoidably increase, the longer the making those thorough changes is delayed’. By early June the imminence of peace began to work euphoric effects on the backbenches. On 6 June when the peace terms were communicated Bromley witnessed an attendance of over 400 Members agree unanimously to a loyal address, a spectacle which he described as ‘wonderful’. In July he and Oxford parted on excellent terms, Bromley convinced ‘that your lordship is pursuing the interest of our country in Church and state . . . you have the hearts of the people at home.’33

The next parliamentary session was delayed until the signing of the peace treaties at the end of March 1713. By February, as Bromley alerted Oxford, Tory annoyance at being kept in ‘uncertain attendance’ was increasing. He himself was irritated by the ‘unprecedented delays’ in disposing ecclesiastical vacancies and at the neglect shown towards his recommendations of various university dons for preferment. Late in May, as the session progressed, Bromley, Hanmer and several other senior Tories failed in an attempt to halt George Lockhart’s scheme to push for the dissolution of the Union with Scotland. Bromley, according to Lockhart, declared at their meeting that ‘he was not very fond of the Union in all respects, but since there were some advantages to England from it, and that they had catched hold of Scotland, they would keep her fast’. It was inevitable that Bromley’s combination of the Speakership with his management of the Tory back-benchers should provoke outbursts of Whig fury. On one such occasion during a debate on the bill of commerce on 9 June ‘artful and unjust insinuations’ were hurled at him by the Whig General James Stanhope, but as one Tory MP marvelled, ‘our worthy Speaker . . . behaved himself answerable to his character, showing a warm and becoming resentment with (I think) more good nature than the party desired.’ Bromley played a vital role in reconciling those Tories, including Hanmer, who had ensured the defeat of the French commerce bill on 18 June, and was no doubt influential in urging Oxford to recast the ministry on strictly Tory lines in order to satisfy the diehard critics of ‘moderation’.34

Bromley was an obvious choice for promotion in Oxford’s subsequent plans. By the end of July he was pressed by the treasurer to accept a secretaryship of state. Although his incorporation into the administration at almost the highest level was a concession to the Church party, Bromley was also regarded as one of the few who might help to conciliate the ‘whimsicals’. Furthermore, the presence of a secretary in the Commons would help to alleviate some of the recent difficulties of controlling the House. Bromley felt very strongly that it was Hanmer’s inclusion in the ministry that was most needed, and tried to persuade Hanmer to accept the secretaryship instead, but without success. Thus Bromley was sworn in on 17 Aug., and shortly afterwards left for Baginton ‘to settle his private affairs’, returning early in September. He was gratified to see that the new House would contain ‘a vast majority of gentlemen of the same principles as in the last’. In view of the administration’s indecision over policy the ministers delayed the opening of Parliament until the new year. The Queen’s near-fatal illness during December renewed the struggle between Oxford, himself in ill-health and unable to see the Queen, and Bolingbroke. Early in the new year, Bromley’s name was being linked with Bolingbroke and Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Bt.*, in projections for a possible new administration, and not surprisingly, despite Bromley’s official links with Hanover as secretary of state for the ‘northern department’, the elector’s envoy Schütz was left wondering about Bromley’s true commitment to the Hanoverian succession. According to his own account, Schütz got an acquaintance to ask Hanmer ‘to sound’ Bromley about his ‘intentions’:

He [Hanmer] did so; and Bromley protested to him that he had it as much in his heart as he was against the Pretender. He went still further and discovered his suspicions against some of the ministry; but Bromley affirmed he was not just to them; at least, he assured them, that he did not observe any such thing in their words or actions. This, together with his sending his son to Hanover, may be a reason for believing what he says, at least with regard to himself.

On the eve of the opening of Parliament Bromley appeared to be associated with Oxford’s ‘safe’ if unfriendly adherence to Hanover. One report in mid-February had him supporting Oxford’s view that an invitation to the electoral prince to take his seat in the Lords ‘would be liable to a thousand inconveniencies’. However, Kreienberg was informed soon after that not only had the Queen authorized an invitation but that Bromley would propose it in the Commons and deliver the Queen’s message in person at Hanover. But at a pre-sessional meeting of Tory MPs to discuss the content of the Address, at which Hanmer proposed the inclusion of a request to invite either the Electress Sophia or the electoral prince to England, Bromley dismissed the suggestion in ‘plain terms’, leading Hanmer to complain that he had been ‘duped’.35

On the 16th, Bromley spoke handsomely in favour of Hanmer’s nomination to the Chair. The occasion was marred, however, when Whig MPs accused Bromley of partiality, though he showed statesmanlike restraint in calming the Tory hotheads who leaped to his defence. (Not that all critics of Bromley’s Speakership were Whigs: the Jacobite MP George Lockhart claimed in his memoirs that Bromley had regularly obstructed Scottish business and showed ‘an unwillingness’ in allowing Scots Members to speak.) When proceedings began properly on 2 Mar. Bromley obtained his usual place on the Address committee. The same month he supported the Court in the question of expelling Richard Steele*. As the conflict between Oxford and Bolingbroke continued during the spring, Bromley avoided taking sides. Amid rumours of Oxford’s intention to resign, Schütz described his conduct as ‘neuter’. By mid-March, according to another account, Oxford no longer consulted him. Bromley’s prime concern in the midst of these ministerial feuds was to ensure that the ministry retained sufficient backing in the Commons. On his initiative Oxford, Bolingbroke, Speaker Hanmer and Lord Chancellor Harcourt (Simon I*) conferred on 4 Apr. with some 30 leading Tory MPs, when it was agreed ‘that we should exert ourselves and not let a majority in Parliament slip through our hands, and that we should meet twice a week for a mutual confidence’. However, Bromley’s efforts to maintain Tory unity had only limited success. On 15 Apr. the House in a committee on the state of the nation debated the Whig motion that the Hanoverian succession was ‘in danger’ under the present government. Bromley had the unenviable task of defending the ministry’s recent record, and in particular of explaining the diplomatic problems entailed in forcing the Pretender’s removal from Lorraine. He assured the House that ‘our whole kingdom is an army against him’. Although the motion was defeated, over 50 Hanoverian Tory followers voted with the Whigs. Bromley convened another meeting on the evening of 21 Apr., preparing the ground for the following day’s debate on the proposition (set out in a joint address) that the peace was ‘safe, honourable and advantageous’. In the debate on the 22nd he answered criticisms of the ministry’s ‘narrative’ of the peace negotiations and justified the superiority of the terms recently signed over those negotiated by the Whig administration in 1709. In May an intimation by Bromley that the electoral prince would not be sent to England was said to have ‘thrown the Pretender’s faction into transports of joy, and the friends of Hanover, both Whigs and Tories, into the utmost despair’. Over the next few weeks he appears to have identified himself more openly with Bolingbroke. He no doubt sensed that the treasurer’s remaining days in office were numbered and that the Tory party was no longer safe while Oxford remained at the head of the ministry. Even so, on Swift’s testimony he was one of the last of Oxford’s ministerial followers to desert him: sometime earlier in the year, Swift had noted that with the exception of the Duke of Ormond, Lord Trevor (Sir Thomas*) and Bromley, the lord treasurer had not one friend ‘of any consequence’ in the administration. On 12 May Bromley supported Sir William Wyndham’s motion seeking leave to introduce the so-called ‘schism’ bill, it being Bolingbroke’s intention to rally the Tories in a way that would ruin the treasurer’s remaining credit with the Church party. He also opposed a Whig wrecking ploy to extend the bill to include Catholic seminaries, and was subsequently among those named to prepare the bill. At the third reading on 1 June, he declared that he was prepared to let the bill drop if another was introduced to disenfranchise the Dissenters. Further confirmation of Bromley’s alignment with Bolingbroke appeared on 24 June in the debate on the proposal to increase the reward for apprehending the Pretender from £5,000 to the prodigious sum of £100,000. Observers noted that he spoke as one of ‘Bolingbroke’s party’ against the resolution as distinct from ‘the lord treasurer’s friends’ who supported it. As well as causing a large shortfall in the sum voted for the supply, Bromley argued, it was an insult to the Queen to tell her ‘that she did not take care enough of her people’. In the final month of the Queen’s life there was some uncertainty about Bromley’s ministerial future. Bolingbroke, it seems, did not want him in a senior capacity in any ministry of which he was the head, and had plans to replace him as secretary of state with Wyndham. On the other hand, it was thought that if the Duke of Ormond and Lord Anglesey were brought into a Bolingbroke government, Bromley might also be induced to join. He remained aloof, however, from the crisis leading up to and following Oxford’s fall at the end of July.36

On 1 Aug., after the Queen’s demise, Bromley was among the Privy Councillors who signed the proclamation of her successor. When on the same day the Commons met briefly, he moved to adjourn until Speaker Hanmer arrived in London. Bromley was particularly embittered by the reports that he was ‘one who endeavoured to make the administration difficult by insinuating to all people that the Protestant succession was in danger’. On the 5th he moved an Address to King George, the text of which he reported the next day. Bromley did not necessarily accept, at least at first, that the Queen’s death and the Hanoverian succession had put paid to Tory prospects. In the days ahead, the Tories appeared ‘most forward to do the King’s business’, Bromley and Wyndham taking the lead in proposing a generous civil list. ‘God be thanked,’ he wrote to James Grahme on the 10th, ‘all things are quiet . . . and there is not the least appearance they will be otherwise.’ Towards the end of August he appears to have featured in a fanciful scheme of Lord Oxford’s for a ‘moderate’ coalition involving the Whigs. But as the summer weeks passed it become more obvious to Bromley that the future did not favour his party, and at the end of September he was relieved of his office. Having been complimented by the King on his ‘fidelity’ as secretary of state, he turned down the accompanying offer of a teller’s place in the Exchequer which he regarded as a demotion, particularly as it meant subordination to the Whigs. At first he and Hanmer ‘were prevailed on by the tempting ambition of appearing generals of their party’. But other senior Tories felt ‘that he did well in refusing a mark of favour unequal to what he had deserved at a time when his friends for no better reason are laid aside with him’. One consideration which doubtless weighed with him was the certainty that he would ‘lose his reputation’ with his university constituents if he accepted a place associated more with profit than with public service. By January 1715 his interest in politics had reached a low point. From Baginton he wrote to Grahme: ‘I have been so long here and the dissolution of the Parliament so long delayed that I began to hope it would have died a natural death, and no other called at present. A year’s intermission of a session of Parliament would be very welcome to the country.’37

Bromley remained one of Oxford University’s MPs until his death in 1732. A significant new area of his involvement with the university began in November 1714 when, under the will of his friend Dr John Radcliffe*, he became a member of the trust set up to administer the doctor’s magnificent benefaction to the university. Until the early 1720s he maintained his position among the leaders of a Tory party which he saw dwindle to fewer than 130 by 1727. Thereafter, his importance gradually faded, though he continued to be vigilant and active in debates and proceedings. His reputed inclination towards the Jacobite cause after the Hanoverian succession must be questioned. He is alleged to have had a minor part in the Jacobite ‘Swedish Plot’ of 1716, but the assertion rests on spurious evidence. He considered Jacobite intrigue harmful to the unity of his party and in 1717 was reported by Lord Harcourt to have persuaded many Tory MPs of the pointlessness of such subterfuge. Moreover, he was subsequently never among the Tory MPs whose names featured in correspondence with the Stuart court. He died ‘unexpectedly’ at his New Bond Street lodgings on 13 Feb. 1732. In his will he had requested burial at Baginton ‘without any funeral pomp which I have never approved of, it not benefitting the dead and disturbing the living’. He was buried in his Speaker’s robes. Having settled his ‘real estate’ on his eldest surviving son William† on his marriage, he left portions to his younger children amounting to £18,000, and spoke of the poor relationship which had existed for many years between himself and his wife.38

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Procs. in Quarter Sessions (Warwick County Recs. viii), p. xxiii; (ix), p. xxxvii; Hearne Colls. i. 144; Vis. Warwicks. (Harl. Soc. lxii), 11–12; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 201; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 191; R. E. C. Waters, Genealogical Memoirs of Chester Families, 48–9; PCC 33 Bedford.
  • 2. Great Fire of Warwick 1694 (Dugdale Soc. xxxvi), 121.
  • 3. Boyer, Pol. State, ii. 445.
  • 4. E. G. W. Bill, Q. Anne Churches, p. xxiii; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxv. 321; Pittis, Present Parl. 347; I. Guest, Dr John Radcliffe and his Trust, 482.
  • 5. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 375.
  • 6. HMC Portland, v. 651; Burnet, v. 228; Cunningham, Hist. GB, ii. 135; Hearne Colls. i. 232; Wentworth Pprs. 429; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 277.
  • 7. Dugdale, Warws. i. 233; VCH Warws. vi. 23; Hearne, i. 140; Procs. in Quarter Sessions (Warwick County Recs. viii), pp. xxiii, 249; CSP Dom. 1686–7, p. 203; Wood, Athenae, iv. 664–5.
  • 8. Bodl. Ballard 35, f. 48; Wood, Life and Times, iii. 380–1; [W. Bromley], Remarks on the Grand Tour. . . (1692), 140, 158, 219 and passim; A. L. Manning, Lives of the Speakers, 419–20; Nichols, Lit. Hist. iii. 242; Luttrell Diary, 314, 380, 381–2.
  • 9. Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 805, 829.
  • 10. Procs. in Quarter Sessions (Warwick County Recs. ix), p. xxvi; Great Fire of Warwick of 1694 (Dugdale Soc. xxxvi), pp. xxviii–xxix, 121.
  • 11. Halifax, Life, 30; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 164, 166.
  • 12. Add. 70018, ff. 119, 120, 125; 29578, f.579; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 74; Cal. Treas. Bks. xv. 304–5; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 122.
  • 13. Cobbett, v. 1134.
  • 14. PCC 33 Bedford; Huntington Lib. Q. lii. 319, 322–3; Hearne, ii. 193.
  • 15. SRO, Hamilton mss GD/406/1/4657, Gawin Mason to Duke of Hamilton, 2 Jan. 1700[-1]; HMC Portland, iv. 15; Hist. Oxf. Univ. ed. Sutherland and Mitchell, 59.
  • 16. Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 26(2), James Brydges* diary, 26 Apr. 1701; Ballard 38, f. 131; Cocks Diary, 160, 162; Add. 70044, f.186.
  • 17. Cocks Diary, 179; Horwitz, 302; Lambeth Palace Lib. mss 2564, p. 407; Brydges diary, 4 Mar. 1702; Add. 36859, f. 3.
  • 18. Hist. Oxf. Univ. 62; Boyer, Anne Annals, i. 77; Burnet, v. 49; H. Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 186; Ballard 38, f. 137; 21, f. 29; Luttrell, v. 229, 234; Nicolson Diaries, ed. Jones and Holmes, 137, 146; Add. 42176, f. 11; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. iv. 381.
  • 19. HMC Portland, iv. 67; Bath mss at Longleat House, Portland misc. pprs., ff. 209–10, Godolphin to Harley, 9 Nov. [1703]; Luttrell, v. 362; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. iii. 140; G. Holmes and W. A. Speck, Div. Soc. 162; 31/3/191, f. 16; G. V. Bennett, Tory Crisis 1688–1730, 71.
  • 20. Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, John Methuen* to Sir William Simpson, 28 Mar. 1704; Ballard 38, ff. 140, 153–4.
  • 21. Methuen–Simpson corresp. Methuen to Simpson, 3, 10, 24 Oct. 1704; BL, Trumbull Alphab. mss 50, Thomas Bateman to Sir William Trumbull*, 23 May 1704; Bagot mss at Levens Hall, John Ward to James Grahme, 3 Oct. 1704, 12 Apr. 1705; Camb. Univ. Lib., Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss 358, 359, Spencer Compton* to Robert Walpole II, 12 Oct. 1704; Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 2 Nov. 1704; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 275; Add. 17677 ZZ, f. 497; Hist. Oxf. Univ. 74, 75; Cobbett, vi. 359, 386, 402; Speck thesis, 134; Nicolson Diaries, 253; Luttrell, v. 529, 530; Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle, box 72, bdle. 3, newsletter 14 Apr. 1705.
  • 22. Hist. Oxf. Univ. 76; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 410, [–] to Portland, 27 July 1705; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 481, 502; Bagot mss, Ld. Thanet to Grahme, 11 Sept. [1705]; Anglesey mss at Plas Newydd, box 16c, John Turton to [Ld. Paget], 10 Oct. 1705; Methuen–Simpson corresp., Methuen to Simpson, 16 Oct. 1705; Add. 61164, f. 169; Burnet, v. 228–9; Manning, Speakers, 420; Hearne, i. 69; Trumbull Alphab. mss 53, John Bridges to Trumbull, 26 Oct. 1705.
  • 23. Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 268–9; Add. 61474, ff. 131–2; Burnet, v. 230; Duchess of Marlborough Corresp. ii. 221; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 31, 39, 41, 49–50, 61, 70, 72; Cobbett, vi. 473, 508; Methuen–Simpson corresp. Methuen to Simpson, 11 Dec. 1705; SRO, Mar and Kellie mss GD 124/15/259/4, William Cleland to James Erskine, 18 Dec. 1705.
  • 24. HMC Bath, i. 121; Burnet, v. 340; H. T. Dickinson, Bolingbroke, 53; Luttrell, v. 121; Dugdale, Warws. i. 233; Nicolson Diaries, 393; Chandler, iv. 57; Hearne Colls. i. 340, ii. 1.
  • 25. Bagot mss, Bromley to Grahme, 11 Oct. 1707; Cunningham, Hist. GB, ii. 135; Roxburghe mss at Floors Castle, bdle. 739, William Bennet* to [Countess of Roxburghe], 16 Dec. 1707; P. W. J. Riley, Eng. Ministers and Scotland, 91; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 298, 320, 352; Nicolson Diaries, 461.
  • 26. Speck thesis, 239; Add. 70214, Harley to Bromley [draft], 20 Aug. 1708, Bromley to Harley, 12 Oct. 1708; 70419, Harley to Stratford, 10 Oct. 1708; HMC Portland, iv. 504–5; Leics. RO, Finch mss box 6, bdle. 23, Bromley to Nottingham, 2, 23 Oct., 11 Nov. 1708, Nottingham to Bromley, 15 Nov. 1708; Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 215; HMC Bath, i. 192–3, 194.
  • 27. Cobbett, vi. 761; Trumbull Misc. mss 53, James Johnston* to Trumbull, 24 Dec. 1708, 4 [Feb.], 18 Mar. 1708–9; Addison Letters, 123–4; Stowe mss 57(3), p. 139, Brydges to Marlborough, 2 Jan. 1708–9; Wentworth Pprs. 69; Add. 33225, f. 13; 70214, Bromley to Harley, 5 Jan. 1708[–9]; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 1185, 1201–2; Finch mss, box 6, bdle. 23, Bromley to Nottingham, 7, 31 Dec. 1708, Nottingham to Bromley [draft], 20 Dec. 1708; W. R. Ward, Georgian Oxf., 33; Ballard 7, f.31; HMC Portland, iv. 521.
  • 28. Hist. Oxf. Univ. 83; G. Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 57, 90, 111–12; Trumbull Alphab. mss 53, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 14 Dec. 1709; 54, same to same, 9, 13 Jan., 28 Mar. 1710; Wentworth Pprs. 99, 110; HMC Portland, iv. 531; Boyer, Anne Annals, viii. 256; Stowe mss 58(5), Robert Walpole II to Brydges, 15 Feb. 1709–10; Wodrow, Analecta, i. 259–60.
  • 29. Warws. RO, Mordaunt mss C1368/iii/10, Bromley to Sir John Mordaunt, 5th Bt.*, 12 June 1710; Ballard 38, ff.147, 150–1; Div. Soc. 175–6; Add. 70421, newsletter 11 July 1710; Luttrell, v. 604; Wentworth Pprs. 128; Bagot mss, Bromley to Grahme, 13 Aug., 1 Sept. 1710; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. i. 26.
  • 30. Luttrell, v. 633, 659; Add. 38501, f. 114; 31143, f. 571; Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 223; Stowe mss 57(4), p. 178, Brydges to [–], 12 Oct. 1710; Trumbull Alphab. mss 54, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 13 Nov. 1710; SRO, Montrose mss GD 220/5/807/2, Mungo Graham* to Duke of Montrose, 25 Nov. 1710; Boyer, Pol. State, i. 29; Defoe Letters, 129.
  • 31. Add. 70281, Bromley to Harley, 14 Nov. 1710; HMC Portland, iv. 696, v. 116; Bennett, 133; Trumbull Alphab. mss 54, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 20 Mar. 1710–11.
  • 32. Finch mss, box 6, bdle. 24, John Ward [III] to Nottingham, 3 Apr. 1711; Trumbull Alphab. mss 54, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 9 May 1711.
  • 33. Add. 70214, Bromley to Harley, [June], 18 Aug., 3 Dec. 1711, 30 July 1712; 70395, Stratford to Edward Harley*, 20 July 1712; HMC Portland, v. 116, 133, 139, 167–8, vii. 40, 50; Finch mss, box 6, bdle. 24, Bromley to Nottingham, 27 Aug. 1711; Cobbett, vi. 1070; Mordaunt mss C1368/iii/15, Bromley to Mordaunt, 7 June 1712.
  • 34. HMC Portland, v. 267; Lockhart Pprs. i. 426–7; Bodl., Rawl. lett. 92, f. 563.
  • 35. Hanmer Corresp. 145–6, 150; HMC Portland, v. 321, 660–1; Boyer, Pol. State, vi. 123; Bolingbroke Corresp. iv. 239; Bagot mss, Bromley to Grahme, 8 Sept. 1713; Cobbett, vi. 1238; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 552, 564, 565, 577.
  • 36. Cobbett, vi. 1254, 1346, 1350, 1358; Kreienberg despatch 19 Feb. 1714; Lockhart, i. 544–5; Div. Soc. 76, 112; Add. 47087, ff. 61–62; 47027, f. 133; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Wodrow pprs. letters Quarto 8, ff. 60, 118, 139; Bull. IHR, xxxiv. 213; Douglas diary (Hist. of Parl. trans.), 15, 22 Apr. 1714; Trumbull Alphab. mss 54, Ralph Bridges to Trumbull, 23 Apr., 14 May 1714; 52, Thomas Bateman to same, 21 Apr. 1714; Swift Works ed. Davis, vii. 156; Orig. Pprs. ii. 631, 634; Wentworth Pprs. 392; K. Feiling, Tory Party, 473.
  • 37. Boyer, Pol. State, viii. 114; Coxe, Walpole, ii. 58; HMC Portland, vii. 198, v. 484; Add. 22221, f. 127; 47027, ff. 171–9; Bagot mss, Bromley to Grahme, 10 Aug. 1714, 26 Jan. 1714[–15]; Feiling, 478; Leics. RO, Braye mss 2890, Sir George Beaumont, 4th Bt.*, to Sir Thomas Cave, 3rd Bt.*, Oct. 1714; Ballard 31, f. 129.
  • 38. L. Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy, 189; HMC Popham, 289; PCC 33 Bedford; ex inf. Dr Kenneth Milne.