FOLEY, Paul I (c.1645-99), of Stoke Edith, Herefs.

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



Mar. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1689 - 11 Nov. 1699

Family and Education

b. c.1645, 2nd s. of Thomas Foley† of Witley Court, Great Witley, Worcs. by Anne, da. and h. of John Browne, gunfounder, of Spelmonden, Kent; bro. of Philip Foley* and Thomas Foley I*.  educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. matric. 19 June 1662, aged 17; I. Temple 1662, called 1668, bencher 1687.  m. lic. 25 Mar. 1668 (aged about 23), Mary, da. of John Lane, Clothworker, of St. Lawrence Jewry, London, alderman of London 1668, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) ?2da. d.v.p.1

Offices Held

Member, Soc. of Mines Royal 1666, asst. 1667–78; member, Soc. of Mineral and Battery Works 1666, asst. 1673–87.

Freeman, Bewdley 1673.

Commr. public accts. 1691–7.

Speaker of House of Commons 14 Mar. 1695–7 July 1698.


Born into a wealthy Presbyterian family, self-made within two generations, Foley inherited a strong sense of moral purpose and public duty, together with considerable ambition and the resources to finance a serious political career. In religion he seems to have been more of a conformist than his father (a close friend of the Presbyterian divine Richard Baxter), but was himself on good terms with various ejected ministers, several of whom were employed in his family as tutors. His wife, moreover, was of solid Puritan stock, holding a simplistic view of politics as a conflict between ‘the people of God’ and the ungodly. Foley’s own understanding was more sophisticated, but in essence his outlook was much the same. Chief among his characteristics was self-conscious earnestness, which gave him the nickname of ‘heavy Paul’. This could make him awkward and opinionated, or as Bishop Burnet put it, ‘morose and wilful’. He became addicted to ‘particular notions’, such as the view he expressed early in his public career that ‘all foreign trade was loss, and ruinous to the nation’. Thoroughness became a hallmark: his application to his legal studies, for example, undertaken largely for their own sake and with no view towards a career at the bar, resulted in an impressive command of the law. He was particularly well versed in constitutional precedent, acquiring a sizable collection of books and pamphlets on the subject, and compiling a treatise which, he himself claimed, surpassed the work of previous scholars. He had contemplated standing for Parliament in 1675, but had to wait until the first Exclusion Parliament to be returned. He then quickly established himself as one of the more active Whigs in the Commons. He served his political apprenticeship in the struggle for Exclusion and by 1690 was placed among the leading Country Whigs, ‘a man of integrity’ with a reputation as a patriot, ‘zealous for the present government’ but ‘much dissatisfied with the administration’. Just as important to his development as a Parliamentarian was his long career as an industrialist. He had been left a substantial share in his father’s iron-manufacturing empire, which he was obliged to work in an uneasy conjunction with his brother Philip until 1692, when the two merged their holdings with others in a joint-stock company, ‘the ironworks in partnership’. Foley’s experience in managing a complex enterprise of foundries and forges, and in raising the capital to maintain them and eventually to float the company, stood him in good stead in Parliament during the detailed debates on governmental accounting and fiscal policy, mastery of which was to be his forte.2

At the 1690 general election Foley’s prospects for re-election at Hereford were for a while seriously in doubt, but in the event he was returned without opposition. Once in the House, he was his usual forthright self. Classed as a Whig in Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) list of the new Parliament, he made his first recorded speech of the session on 27 Mar. 1690, in the committee of supply, when he vigorously challenged a court motion ‘to settle the revenue’ on the King and Queen for life. In its determined scepticism of government estimates and its linking of questions of supply to the issue of liberty, this intervention set the tone for Foley’s contributions to the political debates of the ensuing sessions. ‘What you are now debating is of vast consequence’, he began,

to us, and to England, for ever. I would know what the revenue is, and what it is likely to prove, and not settle a revenue for life, as is necessary in war, but in time of peace. When Charles II returned, it was generally agreed that £1,200,000 p.a. was a sufficient revenue to support the government; in the next Parliament, it was not pretended that more was requisite, but that the revenue came not up to so much. I know not what the revenue is now, but I have heard that in Charles II’s time it was two millions, and more in King James’s time; therefore I would have you consider, and it is worth your while to consider: if you settle such a revenue, as that the King should have no need of a Parliament, I think we do not do our duty to them that sent us hither. Therefore, I would know what the revenue is.

Later in the same debate he repeated this call for further information, declaring that the House should not agree to give a supply until it had received an account of what had already been given, an interesting pointer to his future involvement with commissions of accounts, and ended with a denunciation of the Court managers’ assumption that the crown had a right to a supply, harking back to traditional parliamentary theory: ‘I do not think that a good argument to give because the King goes into Ireland . . . I would give this king money, but not by a rule, because we have given other kings.’ He reiterated these reservations in further debates in the committee. On 31 Mar., in response to his earlier request, the Treasury presented some accounts of revenue received. Prefacing his remarks with the reminder that although ‘it concerns us to give the King a supply . . . it concerns us as much not to give more than is necessary’, he proceeded to make his own calculations based on the Treasury papers. These he pronounced to be ‘strange’: ‘I hope our case is not so bad as is represented, and that we are not at a loss for so much money as is represented.’ What was needed was ‘a fair account’, including details of expenditure. Then on 2 Apr. he supported a motion to rule out a land tax, using his knowledge of precedent to refute Court objections against ‘putting negatives’. His attitude in the supply debates would make it likely that he actively opposed the bill for vesting the forfeited estates in the crown. A Foley appeared three times as a teller against it: on 9 May, for adjourning the report of the committee; the very next day, against engrossing; and on 15 May, against passing the bill. The survival of some of Foley’s old party animosities is shown by the vehemence of his opposition to attempts to restore to office the Tories in London. In the debate on 22 Apr. on the second reading of the bill to reverse the quo warranto against the City, he observed:

I suppose it is not the design of the House to restore those to their places who have lost them because they would not swear to the government. That is not for the King’s interest, nor the City’s. ’Tis intimated, that this bill will restore Sir Dudley North† and [Sir] Peter Rich† to be sheriffs. I know not how the House will come up to that . . . I would have them restored to the rights they had before the judgment against the charter.

Two days later, when the changes in the London lieutenancy came under the House’s scrutiny, he was even more outspoken:

I have seen a list, and I must observe many in the lieutenancy that have had their hands in blood several times over . . . Some are there that went to congratulate King James after his return and the landing of the Prince of Orange . . . They have chosen one for colonel who would not qualify himself to be an alderman, and has appeared, by force, to control elections in the City. I believe when you examine many things will be proved upon these persons, and I hope, when the House has a full information of these things, they will not think it for the interest of the King and kingdom, that these men should be continued.

Roger Morrice’s report of the debate on Sir Edward Seymour’s motion to remove Carmarthen from the Privy Council suggests that Foley was even by this stage accustomed to co-operate with the High Tories in opposition. While most Whigs ignored Seymour’s blustering, Foley anxiously ‘laboured to hinder it being put to a question, knowing it would not pass’. He spoke on 26 Apr. against the suspension of habeas corpus, while his speeches on the regency bill, in committee on 5 May and at the third reading on the 7th, show him deploying his legal expertise and mastery of detail to pick holes in the bill and eventually to propose ways in which these defects might be remedied, possibly to the embarrassment of ministers and certainly to the enhancement of his own reputation. Then on 14 May, in a committee of the whole to consider ways to preserve the peace and safety of the kingdom during the King’s absence in Ireland, he offered a proposal which both appealed to Country notions of accountability and presented a vague threat to those in power, calling for orders of the Privy Council to be ‘fairly entered’ and that all Councillors present be required to ‘notify their assent or dissent’, so that ‘we may know, for the time to come, who gives advice’. On 23 May he reported on a conference with the Lords over their message accompanying the bill of grace.3

Foley’s first committee nomination in the following session was one of the most significant: to draft the bill to establish a commission of public accounts (11 Oct. 1690). Because of his prominence in the debates on supply and the agitation for an accounts commission he is almost certain to have been the ‘Mr Foley’ who on 20 Dec. reported from the committee for examining the naval estimates. When the outcome of the ballot for accounts commissioners was announced, on 26 Dec., he was elected in joint second place behind the Court Whig who headed the poll. A token effort to excuse himself from serving was brushed aside by the House, and on 5 Jan. 1691 the bill embodying the commission received the Royal Assent. Business did not begin immediately, however, and Foley spent some time in Herefordshire in the early weeks of 1691 before the commission started its work in March. Meeting in the Speaker’s chambers on an almost daily basis, the commissioners soon developed a sense of comradeship which transcended party differences. This was most pronounced in the case of Foley’s nephew by marriage, Robert Harley*, who quickly formed friendships with Country Tory colleagues like Sir Thomas Clarges*. There are indications that Foley’s ‘morose’ temper made it harder for Tories to break the ice with him, and on one occasion Harley attributed some ‘hot words’ between commissioners to his uncle’s ‘tenacious humour’. But in due course these barriers too came down. The role of the commission has been the subject of debate among modern historians. The Treasury point of view, put by W. A. Shaw, was that the commissioners were prejudiced against government, that they made the most of any deficiencies in the accounts and ignored mitigating circumstances. An opposing interpretation, favourable to the commissioners, has stressed the obstructionism of officials and has depicted Foley and his colleagues as objective scrutineers whose shabby treatment at the hands of government aroused their resentment and sharpened their criticisms. The truth probably lies in between. Foley, for one, saw himself as open-minded, and there can be no doubt that some officials regarded the commissioners as enemies and treated them accordingly. Sir Robert Howard*, for example, warned the King in the summer of 1691 that the commissioners were ‘exceeding their power’ and aimed at securing control over the entire management of the war. But it is also clear from Foley’s speeches on supply and other issues in the first session of the Parliament that he was hostile to the administration and sought to place difficulties in its path.4

During the summer and autumn of 1691, as the accounts commissioners proceeded with their investigations, Foley became embroiled in a local political dispute which at one point even threatened to disturb his close friendship with the Harleys. His efforts to secure the election of his son Thomas (II*) at Weobley brought him up against a fellow Whig, John Birch II*, who himself had designs upon the seat. The dilemma of whether or not to persist with his son’s candidature exposed a streak of indecisiveness in Foley’s nature that was not usually visible. Robert Harley found him to be ‘uncertain and fickle’, and his reasonings ‘metaphysical’. Foley was inclined to blame the Harleys for a previous decision not to put up his son for Parliament, and Harley believed that he would be quick to blame them again for any ‘miscarriages’ that now transpired. In a revealing observation Harley wrote to his father that Foley had rejected all outside suggestions: ‘I suppose he thinks of some other way, which being his own invention will give more content.’ All attempts to head off a contest having failed, the election, in June, resulted in a victory for Thomas Foley over Birch, but the danger did not disappear, since Birch announced his intention to petition. It was then, in about August, that Foley buried his previous resentments towards the Harleys and appealed to them for help in bringing about a compromise which would persuade Birch to withdraw. Robert Harley and his father, Sir Edward*, were both enlisted to negotiate with Birch, and it was Robert who eventually, in October 1691, encompassed the treaty by which Birch dropped his petition. Having imposed some strains on the relationship between Foley and Robert Harley, the affair ended with the two men on more amicable terms than ever.5

With the report of the accounts commissioners to be made, the 1691–2 session promised to be an important one for Foley and he began it by opening the debate on 30 Oct. 1691 on the King’s speech. ‘It was expected that money should be immediately moved for’, but Foley argued that consideration be given first to ‘the state of the nation, specially in reference to abuses in the navy and army’, hinting at revelations to come over the accounts, and secured a priority for grievances over supply. Harley noted that the opposition’s attack had ‘a little opened the eyes of some gentlemen that came out of the country’. Foley returned to his main theme of scrutinizing accounts and estimates in a debate on 3 Nov. on the conduct of the war at sea, observing that ‘two mill[ions had been] misspent by false musters and warrants’. From the brief notes that were taken of this speech it is evident that he also adumbrated the minimalist view of war strategy that was to be a feature of his contributions to parliamentary discussions, declaring that ‘the F[rench] k[ing] makes the war defensive’. His frequent interventions in the committee of supply emphasized the advantages of a careful and detailed assessment of the government’s actual requirements, so that money should not be wasted (or misappropriated) and taxes raised unnecessarily. On 6 Nov., on a proposal to lay the army estimates before the House, he ‘moved to know what alliances we were in, what quota we were obliged to furnish, so that we may see what forces are necessary’. The previous year, he reminded the House, ‘we gave and neither considered the state of the nation nor the alliance, nor did we take any measure for what we gave; we lumped it, which cost us near five millions of money’. This was also a delaying tactic; witness his concluding remark that he ‘thought this enough at this time’. Three days later the estimates were brought in. He subjected them to withering criticism, claiming that too much money had been granted in previous years and recoiling at the prospect that even these exorbitant sums were to be increased. The amount estimated for each man might, he thought, be trimmed and he could ‘see no reason to maintain so many constantly, in summer and winter’, thus neatly raising by innuendo the issue of a standing army. Again his final proposition was a means of delay, a motion to refer the question ‘to a particular committee to inquire into it’. Further interventions on the subject of the naval estimates were followed on 18 Nov. by the repetition of his call for the committee to take its time in considering the numbers and dispositions of land forces before settling on a grant, with another motion for a ‘private committee’. His most important speech on the military estimates was given the following day in the committee, when he challenged Court policy head on. ‘You have now before you a great matter’, he began:

It is urged by some that it is necessary to have an army of 65,000 men, but I desire such to consider how they will raise money to pay them. The revenue is already so clogged that will arise thence; the nation is already two millions in debt. I must declare for my part I do not see any necessity for so many men.

By now perhaps over-filled with self-importance, he went on to dispute the strategic arguments which ministers had advanced, particularly that the provision of a large force would make for a speedy end to the war. But, Foley inquired, supposing this force should instead be defeated by the French, in what condition would that leave the war effort? ‘What hopes have we’, he added, ‘if the fleet be in no better hands?’ To attempt a landing in France would achieve nothing but the incurring of an unprofitable financial commitment, should a continental port be taken, while a smaller contingent of troops would be ample for a useful diversionary raid. Finally, there were difficulties in raising this revenue: ‘consider what our state is, besides land tax and excise, etc. If you find yourself at a loss for money, and must anticipate, you must double your land tax, and at last pay half your revenue.’ This was a powerful denunciation of the Court, but in bringing in the wider issues of military strategy Foley had laid himself open to the charge, promptly mounted by a Court Whig, that he himself knew nothing of such matters, and that his attitude to the threat of a French military victory in the Low Countries was altogether too cavalier. Indeed, the Court party proceeded to carry its point. The consciousness that he had made a false move did not, however, weigh heavily upon Foley, and he remained very active and prominent in the Commons’ deliberations on supply. He was named to the committees of 9 and 30 Nov. to inspect the navy and army estimates respectively, and spoke again on 25 Nov. in the committee of supply, on the subject of the armed forces in Ireland, which he considered might be supported by ‘a tax on that kingdom’. He moved that the cost of the Irish army be borne by the Irish, and was subsequently appointed to the committee to consider the matter. Later in the session he served on the committee to draft bills applying the forfeited estates in England and Ireland ‘to the use of the war’ (16 Jan. 1692) and was added (on 20 Jan.) to the committee receiving proposals for raising money on the Irish forfeitures. On 1 Jan. 1692, again in the committee of supply, he intervened twice to correct a Court spokesman on the expected yield from the Irish revenue, and on 2 Jan. he spoke in support of a resolution of the committee for the reduction of the Irish regiments. Earlier, in the committee, he had recovered his dignity sufficiently to denounce an attempt on 28 Nov. 1691 by the courtier Sir Henry Goodricke, 2nd Bt.*, to overawe opposition to the army estimates by means of a reference to the King’s displeasure. Foley stormed: ‘I never saw such things done in a House as has been done this day. To say if we do not comply we shall break the King’s measures, this is wholly irregular.’ Two days later he criticized the estimate for general officers, though on the relatively safe ground of financial precedent, which showed his capacity for preparation and command of detail:

Your land army has cost you these three last years as much again as your fleet. The war in general hath been very great and chargeable, occasioned by your great allowances to general officers – the establishments that are now being much advanced, and by comparing them with former you will find they are come to an exorbitant height. The House of Commons in 1677 thought it worth their while to settle an establishment. If you will do so now, money may be saved.

Further speeches in the committee of supply occurred on 15 Dec., when he seconded Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt., in opposing acceptance of the resolution of the select committee on the army estimates; and on 30 Dec., when, again in the company of Musgrave, he opposed any increase of pay to the army generals, exploiting dislike of ‘foreign’ officers to make his point. After the committee of supply became ways and means the House saw another side of Foley’s talents. Besides his forensic skill in probing for weaknesses in the Court’s presentation of its case, he now demonstrated a fertility in inventing expedients of his own. He began in ways and means on a destructive note, disputing government estimates of the likely yield of land tax, customs and excise. Deploying a barrage of statistics, he proved too strong for Court spokesmen like Sir Stephen Fox. Then on 12 Jan., after some sharp exchanges over the excise, he suddenly took a more positive approach, moving ‘to put an end to the debate’ with a proposal ‘that £200,000 be raised upon the revenue for carrying on the war this next year’. Later that day he unveiled his own scheme. He told the House that he was informed the London bankers would agree to lend the government a further £1 million at 5 per cent interest ‘if they may have their money now owing to them secured by a good fund to pay a perpetual interest’. Similarly, the East India Company, ‘whichsoever you establish by Act of Parliament’, would advance £200,000. Not surprisingly, he reported on 18 Jan. from the committee appointed to receive proposals for raising money ‘upon a fund of perpetual interest’. The idea showed Foley’s originality, his grasp of high finance, and his City connexions. It also revealed him to be no mere negative-minded critic of government but a constructive statesman in his own right; not a back-bench Cato but a professional politician with an alternative scheme of management to offer to the King. However, his last recorded contribution in ways and means this session, on 20 Jan., returned to a more negative approach, arguing against proposals to add a supplementary charge to the poll tax, payable by those liable to provide a horse for militia service.6

In the meantime the report of the commission of accounts, on which so many opposition hopes were pinned, had been presented to the Commons. Although the commission had no permanent chairman, its members taking the chair in rotation, nor indeed any gradations of seniority, Foley seems often to have been the principal spokesman. On 1 Dec. he laid before the Commons on behalf of the commissioners a general state of the public revenue since 1688, and two days later, in the debate on taking the report into consideration, he intervened several times to elucidate obscure points, among other things justifying, in the face of objections by courtiers, the inclusion of the secret service accounts in the report, and condemning the increase in the salaries of customs officials. He was again in action on 12 Dec. to explain the commissioners’ findings, and had earlier supported Clarges’ complaint of a breach of privilege against the commission as a whole perpetrated by the author and publisher of the tract Mercurius Reformatus, a satire against the commissioners. With his four oppositionist colleagues on the commission (Clarges, Musgrave, Robert Harley and Sir Peter Colleton*), he was named to the drafting committee on 3 Nov. for a bill to prevent false musters and to reform methods of payment in the army, one by-product of the report. Although the commission had, in fact, produced little else in the way of concrete achievement, it had proved a considerable embarrassment to government, and there was some ineffectual opposition towards the bill that renewed its powers for a second year. Even Foley’s two brothers voted against it, probably unhappy at Paul’s close co-operation with such High Tories and old enemies of the Presbyterian interest as Clarges, Musgrave and Seymour. But the opportunity for this co-operation constituted one of the greatest benefits Foley obtained from membership of the commission; that and the prominence his role gave him in the Country opposition. As the debates on supply amply demonstrated, the commissioners’ official status, their association, and the knowledge they had acquired of the workings of government made them in practice the leaders of the Country opposition on fiscal matters.7

While supply and government accounts represented Foley’s principal interests during this session, he made contributions on other subjects as well. He spoke on 30 Nov. in a debate on the Lords’ amendments to the Irish oaths bill, in favour of the clause allowing Catholic lawyers to practise without taking the oath of supremacy, and on 12 Dec. on an elections bill, he and Musgrave opposing the bill to prevent false and double returns even though the purification of the electoral process was a prime concern of ‘Country’ Members. More characteristic of the Country party were his speeches early in November about incompetence in the direction of the fleet, and on the 20th of that month on war strategy, when he decried what he claimed was the King’s intention to take personal command of a descent upon France, at the risk of capture and the imposition of heavy taxes on his subjects for the payment of a ransom. This argument allowed Foley to parade his knowledge of medieval history and the fates of kings held captive, but, as with his earlier ventures into military matters, it is doubtful whether he was able on this occasion to impress the House. His remaining speeches attracted briefer notice: on 25 Jan. 1692 he made a short contribution to the discussion on the treason trials bill; on 19 Feb. he spoke in favour of committing the bill to prevent correspondence with the King’s and Queen’s enemies; and on 22 Feb. he offered another comment on a point of detail over the bill to confirm the charter of Cambridge University.8

Although the investigations of the commissioners of accounts continued during 1692, their discoveries had been overshadowed by the news of military failures during the summer, or at least the lack of any substantial success, so that the dominant issue in the 1692–3 session of Parliament seemed certain to be the conduct of the war. In September 1692 Foley wrote to Robert Harley to request his presence in London to ‘consider’ various ‘matters’ and set out the prospects for what was to be a crucial session:

Every day brings to town some gent[lemen] but none able to advise what’s fit to do . . . As yet only three ways are thought on.
1. To reduce the army only, to a defensive at home, making our navy as strong as may be.
2. To make our army strong enough by itself to make a descent upon France, so as the command land officers may be by such [sic] as are likely to pursue it to effect.
3. The middle between these extremes, to keep off a general excise, and let the Court otherwise get what they can of supply and manage all themselves at their peril as hitherto.
The first will depend upon the confederacy standing or breaking, the second upon the terms which may be consented unto to encourage it, the third will be the effect of no agreement.

The tone of these remarks suggests that Foley envisaged an important consultative role – perhaps even a participatory one – for the Commons in the determination of war strategy, since everything depended on the size of subsidy, which Parliament would decide. He did not regard the devising of policy as the preserve of ministers, or the duty of those outside the ranks of the Court party as restricted to opposition. Ideally there would be discussion leading to ‘agreement’. But he also recognized the improbability of achieving consensus and the major political advantages to be secured by letting the courtiers make the running and making them bear responsibility for failure. Of course, the overall burden of taxation must remain relatively light and in particular a general excise, the bane of ‘Country’ Members fearful for their liberties, prevented. Further political complications arose from the divisions within the Court party. Ministerial Whigs were threatening some public manifestations of their discontent, and their motives aroused Foley’s suspicions. ‘Our affairs here make most men very grave and thoughtful’, he wrote to Harley’s father in October,

but few or none are able to fix on any resolution. Some, on pretence to please by change of faces, design to fix the foreign interest more completely. Others, who are not free of suspicion of playing a double game, by the like trick hope to get money for the present turn and better places for themselves. Many are very indifferent whether a great deal or a little money be given the next session, hoping for their end both ways; but very few incline to the only probable way, with God’s blessing, to save us, and fewer hope to effect it.9

On the first day of the new session (10 Nov. 1692), Foley spoke twice in support of Sir Thomas Clarges, who at this stage was heading the opposition’s attack, to request more time for the accounts commissioners to prepare and present their papers and, more significantly, to oppose a Court motion to include in the Address a promise to stand by the King in the vigorous prosecution of the war. This general challenge to royal policy was followed on 15 Nov. by the customary attempt on the part of opposition Members to postpone a vote of supply until grievances had been presented. Foley suggested a short adjournment of the committee of supply, effectively giving the House only a day to consider grievances but at least preserving the principle of grievances before supply; the motion was carried. He made a strong speech on 25 Nov. on the army and navy estimates. The sum demanded was, he said, ‘greater than ever was asked in this House’. More time was needed ‘to recollect what debates were last year’ and ‘to make just exceptions’. He was careful, however, to ensure that his remarks did not sound entirely negative, adding at the end, ‘this will expedite your business better’. The next day, in the committee of supply, the naval estimates were debated again. Foley opposed any augmentation:

I find the navy is a growing charge; it still increases on you every year, but I see no reason for it to increase now when you beat your enemy the last year, so that I think if you have as good a fleet as you had the last year it is sufficient.

In particular he and Clarges were against giving money to build the bomb vessels and fourth-rate ships the government wished for, and he repeated this opinion in committee again on 1 Dec. He intervened twice in the committee on 3 Dec., first to expose defects in the poll tax, and then to tackle the army estimates, when he returned to the themes he had pursued the year before, pressing for limited strategic objectives, and, as always, asking ministers to supply further details of their plans.

Further contributions in committee on 6 and 9 Dec. again sought to persuade the House to examine these estimates closely and critically. On the latter occasion Foley showed the extent to which he and his opposition colleagues, in particular the commissioners of accounts, were able to influence the direction of debates by proposing a question to resolve differences and carry forward business. He went even further on 15 Dec., in ways and means. He had already been successful in moving an amendment to the land tax – to extend the liability to personality and to income from offices (excluding the army and navy). He then unveiled a novel and ingenious loan scheme to raise £1 million by means of the sale of annuities with a tontine provision, secured in the first place upon ‘the hereditary excise’, and after three years upon an additional excise on beer. This was in opposition to a project for such a fund put forward by Thomas Neale*. Foley had dismissed the idea of such a fund, ‘for you can have no fruit of that unless you will force tallies or paper to go for ready money’. His own proposal did not share this defect, possessed the virtue that it laid no further burden on land, and was, he said, guaranteed to produce £70,000 a year. Despite its novelty, it was scarcely opposed and Foley was named to the committee to draft the bill which would embody both the scheme and the land tax bill. Later, on 8 Feb. 1693, he supported Clarges’ proposal to raise £500,000 on the credit of various duties, spread over three years. He liked this idea all the more, he said, because it was ‘upon credit’ and did not draw further on the limited stock of ready money available. Meanwhile, in the committee of the whole on the million fund bill, on 16 Jan., he found himself for once in tandem with the ministerial Whig Charles Montagu*, when both moved for an instruction to the committee. In all probability he was the Mr Foley who, on 23 Dec. 1692, acted as a teller on the Country side for a long adjournment of the committee on the land tax bill. He also spoke in the committee on 3 Jan. 1693, when he offered a clause to the effect that ‘no land should pay less than double what they did to the 2s. Act’. This was no doubt intended to prevent excessive increases in general, as well as limiting the yield from the tax and thus frustrating the Court, but it would also have perpetuated the injustices of the previous Act and for that reason it aroused the antagonism of Members from aggrieved counties, among them Sir Christopher Musgrave. More successful was Foley’s next proposal in the committee on the bill: to exempt ‘all companies and joint-stocks that shall be taxed by any Act of this sessions, to the end they might be taxed higher than 4s. in the pound, if thought necessary in any other Act this sessions’. Once this had been accepted, he moved in ways and means, on 3 Feb., for a tax of 10 per cent on the stock of the East India Company. Supporters of the company protested that such a punitive charge would ruin it, and bargained the level down to 5 per cent. Further rates were then agreed for the Royal African and Hudson’s Bay companies. To soak the great trading companies satisfied some of the resentments of the country gentlemen in the House against the princes of commerce, resentments which had been heightened by the heavy wartime taxation on land. It also attracted support from those interloping mercantile interests who were struggling against the privileged monopolies, especially in the East India trade. Nor should it be forgotten that the blanket exemption which preceded the application of duties had benefited, inter alios, Foley’s own joint-stock company, ‘the ironworks in partnership’. Among his other interventions in debates in ways and means, the following are of interest: on 10 Feb. he proposed a tax on shipping, ‘according to their tonnage’ and with varying rates for different ports of destination; on 13 Feb. he spoke in favour of ‘giving a clause of credit . . . in case the land tax and the review of the poll should fall short’; on 16 Feb. he assisted Charles Montagu again, and even more strangely perhaps the courtier Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II, in arguing against setting too high a sum to be raised ‘on the continued importations’; and finally, on 23 Feb., he opposed a motion of Sir Edward Seymour to go into committee the next day on the enlargement of the customs debt. Taken as a whole, his contributions to the proceedings on supply could be presented as cautious and constructive, although they cannot have made the job of the Court managers any easier. If an overall coherence can be discerned, Foley’s approach would appear to have followed the first of the options he had outlined in the preceding September, to retrench the army while concentrating resources on the navy. He had not so much left the Court to fend for itself as attempted to usurp its position. The commissioners of accounts had appeared less as back-bench auditors than rival front-bench managers. At the same time they had not forgotten their prime function. Foley in particular had twice acted as a spokesman on behalf of the commission, and on 14 Feb. defended its work when the bill to continue it in being a further year was under discussion. Moreover, he returned to an issue highlighted by his previous work as a commissioner on 22 Feb., when at the third reading of the mutiny bill he successfully tendered a rider ‘to prevent false rumours and to regulate the pay by the true musters’.10

It was in their inquiries into the conduct of the war that critics of the Court showed their teeth. The emphasis placed by Foley and his colleagues on the importance of the navy dictated a close pursuit of tales of maritime incompetence. This was also an issue on which the ministry, and especially Secretary of State Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), was peculiarly vulnerable. On 12 Nov. 1692 Foley opened one line of inquiry. During a debate on the naval expedition of the previous summer he observed: ‘How true it is I can’t tell, but there is a relation printed in France of the fight with Tourville wherein they lay a blame on Sir John Ashby and do in effect say that if he had done his duty their fleet must be ruined [sic].’ Then, on 21 Nov., in another debate on naval affairs, Foley widened the scope of the opposition’s criticism with an indirect attack on Nottingham:

I have seen many of your naval orders relating to the descent, and all come from one man and no more sign it. This, I think, is too much for one, for if the French can corrupt him it is in this man’s power to render your fleet ineffectual, and therefore I am for changing hands to see what success then you shall have.

Besides Nottingham, and individual naval officers, the members of the Admiralty Board were also under attack, and the opposition exploited on 26 Nov. a complaint brought by George Churchill* of breach of privilege against the lords of the Admiralty who had interrogated Churchill concerning a statement he had made in the House about ‘cowards’ in the fleet. Foley’s opinion was that this was certainly ‘a very great breach of privilege’. The various Commons inquiries came to a head on 5 Dec. in a debate on ‘advice’ to be given to the King. Foley raised the question of the summer’s expedition against France. He considered it to be ‘apparent’ from the report of the investigating committee that ‘things were not well managed about that matter’, and moved a resolution that ‘there hath been an apparent miscarriage in the management of the affairs relating to the descent last summer’. After the House had gone on to vote that one cause of this ‘miscarriage’ had been the lack of timely and necessary orders, Foley proposed to add a statement that it had been ‘the Council that had the management thereof’. Much later, on 3 Feb. 1693, he presented the complaint concerning Captain Robinson’s failure to intercept the French fleet. His interest in naval affairs also produced a speech on 28 Feb., in committee on the bill for the encouragement of privateers, when he put forward a clause ‘for the privateers to have all the goods taken in French prizes that were not of the growth of France’. As far as the army was concerned, the weight of the opposition’s censure fell upon the ‘foreign’ general officers, whose employment, as Foley claimed in a debate on 23 Nov. 1692, occasioned ‘many mischiefs’. He told the House that orders were sent down in Dutch or French, and frequently misunderstood. Furthermore, the very presence of these foreign generals spread ‘a great discontent through the army’. Appealing not just to the xenophobia of his audience but also to their distrust of professional soldiers, he went on: ‘for my part, I am for Englishmen who are men of estates; they will be for the interest of the nation because they have a stake in the hedge, and will be therefore willing to put an end to this war and make not a trade of war’. In contrast to his remarks during the supply debates, in which he had argued for a defensive military strategy, he now blamed the ‘foreign generals’ for the failure to put a speedy end to the war, presumably because of their vested interest in its continuance: ‘there will be no end of the war but pushing for it. If our men had been seconded last summer, there had been an end of the war, and no need of this debate.’ The two prongs of the Country attack, on naval mismanagements and on the inadequacies of the foreign generals, were fused together in Foley’s speech on 26 Nov. in the committee on advice, a powerful indictment of war policy since the beginning of the reign. ‘We have thought fit to advise as to admirals and generals’, he began, ‘and must go higher yet.’ This time the target was the Privy Council, and the burden of the speech was to move a resolution condemning the management of ‘the great affairs of the government, for the time past’ and advising the King ‘for the future, to employ men of known integrity and fidelity’. After recapitulating the circumstances in which England had entered the war, to assist the Dutch in opposing ‘a powerful enemy . . . the king of France’ who was on the point of ‘enslaving’ or indeed ‘swallowing up’ Europe, he asked his hearers to consider the balance of achievements. The English alone had kept to their determination not to trade with France, thereby impoverishing themselves while other countries (unnamed) had flourished. ‘England bears almost the charge of the war and others reap the benefit of it.’ Furthermore, prospects were bleak. Little could be accomplished by land campaigns on the Continent, where the French appeared to have the upper hand; and the recent naval victory at La Hogue had, he claimed, brought no advantage. On the contrary, there seemed every likelihood that Louis XIV would now try to mount an invasion of England. This was a gross exaggeration of King William’s military difficulties, but it served the purpose of enabling Foley to cast doubt on the loyalty, as well as the competence, of the ministers, which was his principal objective in the speech as it had been a hidden objective of the naval inquiries. He made no open allegation, but proceeded by innuendo; as one observer wrote, he ‘named no particular person, yet . . . did very broadly insinuate the Secretary of State [Nottingham] and the Cabinet Council’.

There must be something to encourage the French king to make a descent . . . ’Tis said, ‘the ministers serve you with the best of their skill’. You are the best judges of that; but as to treachery, no man is perfectly good, nor perfectly wicked. No man is so wicked as to bring in the French king; but your orders may be delayed, and intelligence sent him. None doubts but that he is designing a descent, and you are in the dark, and can judge of nothing but by the event. But the French king can take his measures; he knows who are treacherous to you. The last year you were like to have had a great loss by the Smyrna fleet being ordered to come to Ireland, but I observe the French fleet never came to sea till those orders went out. They sent word ‘that the French fleet was laid up, and therefore ours must be so’. We kept out, and lost many, though the fleet in pursuit was not windbound, it was order-bound. I know not why they were not at liberty to pursue their victory. From unavoidable evidence, the hands you are in are not safe hands; that is, that the French king should draw so great an army on his coasts, and have transport ships ready for his men, and we should have no notice, and not half forces enough left for our security. I desire you to consider, whether those who have suffered you to be so surprised, will not do it again. ’Tis strange, that we should not know the strength of the French fleet till we had fought them. We know that from all parts of England discontented persons flocked to London, with arms and horses seized, and not one man was discovered of the conspirators . . . A great many instances might be given more, and I might fly higher to take off heads.

His speech played to such effect on the fears of Members and their hostility to the chief ministers that the motion passed nem. con. As discussion moved towards the means of making the Privy Council accountable, Foley resurrected his proposal of three years earlier that ‘all persons who give any advice in matters of government may set their hands to it by way of assent or dissent’, but this did not appeal to ministerialists or would-be ministerialists of either party, and was dropped.11

Of Foley’s remaining parliamentary activity in this session, much was devoted to the advocacy of ‘Country’ measures designed to protect the political system from ‘corruption’. He was a strong supporter of both the place and triennial bills. At the third reading of the place bill, on 22 Dec. 1692, he spoke heartily in favour, declaring it to be ‘the only way to prevent corruption in this House’. He recalled that ‘it is no new thing to see a man incline one way and when he is once into place to go another way’. Even after the bill had failed he did not abandon the principle that lay behind it, and during a debate on the triennial bill on 7 Feb. 1693 produced a ‘place clause’ of his own that went further than the abortive bill had done, ‘that no one that was a Member of Parliament should have a place’. The extremism of this provision is typical both of Foley’s ‘wilfulness’ in pursuit of an idea, and of his rather simplistic views on constitutional questions, in contrast to the sophistication of his approach to matters of finance. No fewer than four speeches of his are recorded on the triennial bill. On 28 Jan. 1693, at the first reading, he argued straightforwardly in favour of its acceptance: ‘it is necessary for us to have frequent Parliaments, and to take care also that Parliaments be not corrupted, which frequent and fresh are less subject to’. He was also ‘for adding something further to it, to prevent corruption if possible, in this House’, probably the place clause that he proposed in committee. He spoke on 7 Feb. on behalf of the first clause in the bill, enacting that a Parliament should be held every year, and in a speech shortly afterwards answered Court critics of the bill by linking the issue of regular Parliaments to the wider question of the accountability of ministers:

Some have objected, what ill laws were made in that Parliament [1661–79] called ‘the pensioner Parliament’? What rights of the people gave they up? By the law of triennial Parliaments, as passed and confirmed, they, by implication, perpetuated themselves; by means whereof, the ill ministers of that time were perpetuated. I think it very fit that, if we cannot find out an ill ministry, others should come that may find them out.

Finally, he supported the bill vigorously at its third reading, telling the House point blank that ‘if you preserve this government [i.e. the Revolution settlement] you must pass this Act’. Not surprisingly, he then voted for it. Other interventions showed his animosity to the ministry: on 31 Dec. 1692 he denounced as ineffectual the bill to prevent the exportation of gold and silver; and on several occasions he spoke against the indemnity bill, which he considered ‘dangerous’ because it tampered with habeas corpus, eventually agreeing to vote for its committal ‘on condition it should extend to indemnify only such as had acted in the country and not our Privy Councillors here’. On 27 Feb. 1693 he raised popular grievances over impressment, and on 8 Mar. moved to adjourn debate on the expulsion of William Culliford* for abuses committed as an Irish revenue commissioner, for fear of losing the motion for expulsion by forcing it when ‘gentlemen’ were ‘not yet ripe’. Oddly, however, considering his previous interest in the Irish forfeitures, and his family’s Irish connexion, he does not seem to have taken any part in the inquiries into maladministration in Ireland. As the session progressed, his ties with Tory colleagues on the accounts commission and in the Country party generally became closer: on 14 Nov. 1692, for instance, he had spoken in support of the claim of breach of privilege made by Christopher Musgrave*, son of Sir Christopher, over Musgrave’s disfranchisement at Carlisle. Some vestiges of old Whig loyalties remained, as in his grudging support for the Earl of Pembroke’s (Hon. Thomas Herbert†) bill to reverse a judgment made against him before the Revolution in a legal dispute with the former Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys. And in an important debate over ‘Revolution principles’ Foley adhered to the traditional Whig line. On 20 and 21 Jan. 1693 he joined in Country party complaints against Charles Blount’s King William and Queen Mary Conquerors and Bishop Burnet’s Pastoral Letter, even moving that Burnet be impeached (a contribution which may account for the acerbity of Burnet’s later description of his character). In part this constituted an attack on Nottingham and, more directly, on the Tory licenser of the press, Edmund Bohun, for having permitted the two tracts to be published. In denying that William and Mary owed the crown to right of conquest Foley and others were also condemning Tory doctrines of non-resistance and passive obedience and reasserting what a modern historian has called ‘the ideological purity of old Whig principles’, possibly in the hope of attracting ‘old Whig’ adherents in the same way as they had done with the place and triennial bills. Rather more equivocal was Foley’s response to other issues involving traditional party divisions. Of the treason trials bill, which like other Country politicians he favoured, he remarked, ‘I am for preserving the government, but I am also for protecting the innocent’, and he was similarly concerned over the abjuration bill, which he took the considerable step (for a Whig) of opposing: ‘I am sorry to see we are making a law to catch little troublesome fellows’, he declared,

and yet the great ones will escape, and that this must be by putting honest men in danger. It is very unsafe to make words treason and put it in the power of your servants to ruin you. I am against committing this bill because I do not think it will help you.

Returning to the subject which was rapidly becoming his King Charles’s head, he concluded: ‘Your disease lies in another place. If you had good ministers, you have good laws enough already and would have no need of this bill.’ The unexpected rejection of the bill may have owed something to Foley’s stand, and certainly ‘some designing men’, presumably ministerial Whigs, ‘improved’ upon the fact to reproach Foley for deserting the Whig interest and endangering the security of the Williamite regime. There were bitter recriminations, even within Foley’s own family. Equally significant was the rather different reaction of the Earl of Sunderland, who was acting as a self-appointed broker between the King and those politicians who might be recruited into a reconstructed ministry. During June Robert Harley reported that Foley was ‘solicited to meet him’, but was confident, and rightly so as it turned out, that care would be taken as in the previous winter ‘not to involve us in the inconvenience’ of any formal connexion with the administration.12

Foley’s and Harley’s decision to resist the blandishments of the Court in the summer of 1693 possibly marks a turning point in the political history of the period, and certainly in their own fortunes. Only a year before, Foley had, so to speak, committed himself to a political career, or at least committed his energies to the public service, with the foundation of ‘the ironworks in partnership’ as a vehicle for the management of his industrial interests. And in the 1692–3 session he and his fellow accounts commissioners had taken a leading part in debates on supply. Yet by the 1693–4 session it was not Foley and his friends but the ministerial ‘Junto’ Whigs who were emerging as the successors to the old Tory Court party of Carmarthen and Nottingham. Foley remained aloof from the Court and seems in this session to have been more determinedly in opposition. Although henceforth the absence of Narcissus Luttrell’s* diary hampers generalization, it would appear that Foley’s approach became more critical and somewhat less constructive. He was more prominent in his role on the commission of accounts, presenting papers from the commission on six separate occasions, and in the ballot for commissioners under the new Act, announced on 12 Apr. 1694, he took second place, surpassed only by Robert Harley, who had long since advanced in status in their relationship, from protégé to equal. Foley also spoke up in a debate on 7 Dec. 1693 arising from the report of the commission, on a motion to censure Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*), a member of the Admiralty Board, for peculation. The money concerned, Foley was convinced, had been ‘put to an ill use’. In the debates on supply we hear of him supporting, perforce, a reintroduction of his own former proposal for a tax on shipping, and in February 1694 striving in vain to rescue a resolution of ways and means for a loan of £1 million at 8 per cent interest. But he had appeared on the Country side in a division on 20 Dec. 1693 in favour of a resolution of the committee of supply concerning the estimates for army pay and for military hospitals and contingencies, presumably to grant less than the Court required. Moreover, the tenor of his more important speeches on the prosecution of the war was for once wholly negative. In the debate on the King’s Speech, on 13 Nov., he moved as usual for grievances to be heard before a supply was voted. Citing both ‘the disadvantages our forces have had at land’ and ‘the miscarriages at sea’, he argued that priority be given to an inquiry into the failures of the navy, which had made England ‘a scorn and contempt to other nations’, and followed up this point with further speeches on 21, 22 and 29 Nov. Among other detailed criticisms, he complained of poor supplies of beer to the fleet, for which the victualling commissioners had been responsible. Later in the session he brought in a bill to improve the discipline of the navy. His more general criticisms of the way the war was being waged, however, developed an interpretation of events first aired in the preceding session, that England was bearing an unfair share of the burden. ‘Is England to carry on the war with an unusual proportion’, he asked in the committee of supply on 11 Dec., ‘and other allies not to come up to it? We ought to have a fair bargain.’ He was particularly active in pressing the case for the reintroduced triennial bill, speaking strongly in its favour on 18 Dec. When the royal veto was applied, he was not slow in protesting, and in the debate of 26 Jan. 1694 seconded Harley’s motion for an address to the King ‘to represent how few the instances have been to deny assent, when so much money has been given’. He served on the committee to draft the representation. The inadequacy of William’s reply, as he saw it, provoked Foley to deliver, in the ensuing debate, a broadside against the new style of kingship. ‘Since it can be no otherwise done’, he proclaimed,

we must tack our grievances to our money bills; for we have just fears and grievances as long as we have a standing army. The King tells us, ‘he has a great regard to our constitution’, but it appears not that he understands our constitution, which he takes to be to reject our bills of ever so just grievances.13

The vigour of Foley’s attacks on government, and his continued presence as a force to be reckoned with in the debates on supply, prompted overtures from Court Whigs like the Duke of Shrewsbury, who arranged a meeting during the summer of 1694 to reassure Foley and Harley of his own adherence to Whig principles. Further conferences followed, generally with Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) in attendance, the first lord of the Treasury, presumably to attempt a pre-sessional agreement over supply. Although no definite result was forthcoming, it is possible that the compromise over the triennial bill was at least an indirect outcome of these gatherings, and a temporary lessening of tension between Foley and Harley and the Court Whigs has been detected during the opening weeks of this session. Whether or not he had received the prior approval of the Court, or indeed any encouragement from King or ministers, Foley came up to Parliament for the 1694–5 session armed with another major project for raising revenue, which would help to finance the war while avoiding the hated excise, and also demonstrate his usefulness to the crown. It was once again a loan scheme, underwritten by taxation; in this case, £5 million to be raised on the security of a 1s. land tax voted for ten years. In addition, he proposed to relieve the shortage of specie by striking silver tallies, from the proceeds of the loan, ‘each of which should be made to pass for £5 current’. After some discussion, the Commons decided not to adopt the scheme. Moreover, early in December 1694 he made another constructive intervention in the committee of supply, putting forward a compromise (in which he ‘engaged for his friends’) for the sake of promptitude. Instead of the £2,700,000 the Court had demanded, he offered £2,500,000 and in return to forgo the detailed scrutiny of the estimates ‘article by article and regiment by regiment’ which had otherwise been intended. Courtiers were only too glad to accept. The rapprochement did not last long, however, possibly because of Foley’s and Harley’s dislike of the ways in which the Lancashire Plot was being pursued, and possibly because their connexions with Tories like Clarges and Musgrave were now too strong to be severed for promises as flimsy as those made by the Court. It is likely, too, that Foley felt the rejection of his fiscal scheme as a personal affront, and that he had already clashed with his rival as a financial strategist, Charles Montagu, now a Treasury lord, who was soon to become his bête noire. By January 1695 Foley was helping to organize a petition against the Bank of England, one of the major schemes with which Montagu was identified. Foley was particularly active in this session in his capacity as commissioner of accounts, presenting papers on behalf of the commissioners on 21 Nov. 1694 and on 15 and 25 Jan. 1695. He may also have demonstrated his loyalty to Country principles by acting as a teller for the place bill on 28 Nov., while a Foley told for the Country side on an adjournment motion on 12 Dec. The inquiries into corruption arising from allegations that the East India Company and the City of London had bribed Members to support legislation on their behalf naturally attracted Foley’s interest, because they promised to expose the kind of public immorality he detested, and to offer him an opportunity to pay off some old scores. He reported on 12 Mar. from the committee appointed to inspect the books of the East India Company, the object of his suspicion and dislike in previous sessions. The outcome of the inquiries, however, proved of unexpected advantage to him, for when the Speaker, Sir John Trevor, was expelled the House, Foley found himself nominated to succeed to the Chair. According to Burnet, Foley’s reputation as a ‘great patriot’, achieved by his ‘constant finding fault with the government, and keeping up an ill humour, and a bad opinion of the Court’, had secured him the support of a majority of back-benchers, who believed in his ‘integrity’. His proposer and seconders were all Tories – Sir Christopher Musgrave, Lord Digby (William) and Hon. John Granville – but some Whigs voted for him too, ‘the Herefordshire and Worcestershire men’, for reasons of local loyalty and personal friendship (including his brother Thomas, with whom he was now reconciled), and others, ‘purely upon opinion that he had . . . longer experience’ than his only rival, Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt. Another explanation, favoured by the Court Whigs, whose candidate Littleton was, blamed a mistake made by Hon. Thomas Wharton*, the comptroller of the Household, who had proposed Littleton at the same time as he delivered the King’s message commanding the election of a Speaker, and thereby had appeared to be seeking to influence Members’ choice improperly by implying a royal recommendation. After some debate, Foley’s election was voted, nem. con. by ‘a very full House’, the majority in his favour being estimated by one observer at around 35. Whatever may have been Foley’s feelings towards the Whig Junto before this incident, their vehement opposition to his candidacy for the Speakership confirmed his antipathy. Once elected, he set out to prove his credentials as an incorruptible patriot, declaring in his acceptance speech that in contrast to his predecessor, ‘whatever his failings might be, he would still preserve clean hands’. Shortly afterwards, in an interview with the King, with whom he had not hitherto been personally acquainted, he broke with tradition by refusing a place on the Privy Council, claiming that this would be incompatible with the Speakership. In this way, as one commentator noted, he demonstrated publicly his intention never to take anything from the court. When the elections for the new commission of accounts took place a fortnight later, he was chosen once again, but further down the list than previously. He had also to survive a challenge, presumably from the Court party, that membership of the commission was incompatible with his office as Speaker, an objection rebutted by the argument that although the Speakership was a place remunerated by the crown, the appointment was actually made by Parliament.14

Although Foley had been anxious to appear in public as untainted by any connexion with government, in private he lost no time in making contact with the King’s ‘undertakers’, Sunderland and Portland, through their intermediary Henry Guy*, whom he desired to meet on a weekly basis. Guy reported late in May that Foley ‘doth zealously profess his resolution of promoting everything for the public, and is considering of the best methods to effect it’. In a month or so he was to confer with Lords Sunderland and Godolphin ‘to debate everything’. During these discussions Foley made a highly favourable impression: ‘I find no person thinks so much of the means for money’, reported Guy to Portland. Foley had ‘drawn a scheme for seven or eight millions for the next year, because so much of it must go for bettering the coin of the nation. In my poor judgment it is not an ill one, and Godolphin thinks so too.’ One thing Foley would not do, however, was to co-operate with Charles Montagu and the other members of the Junto. From the first, Guy made it clear to Portland and Sunderland that Foley ‘in all his discourses declares a wonderful aversion to [Mr Montagu]; and that he neither can nor will communicate with him’. He lost no opportunity to blacken Montagu’s reputation, and, through their association with Montagu, to cast doubt on the reliability of Comptroller Wharton and Lord Keeper Somers (Sir John*). This personal enmity made it impossible for Foley to play the part in government to which he seems to have aspired. Guy summed up the situation in a letter to Portland in June 1695:

We must do as well with [Foley] as we can, and keep him easy in some points, since we cannot have him so in all. It will be a very hard matter, if at all possible, to get him ever to communicate with [Mr Montagu], for he says that he hath downright played him a trick twice, after a serious debate and a solemn promise passed between them; and therefore he will never more trust him.

Foley had even threatened, in an oblique way, to make difficulties if the King continued to place reliance on the Junto:

He says . . . that the most difficult point [the King] will have will be to have right persons for [management] in the [Parliament], because he believes that the former [insolence of Mr Montagu] will never be forgotten, and that behaviour made more uneasiness to several things than otherwise would have been; and that [Mr (Heneage) Finch (I*)] and [Sir Christopher Musgrave] and several others have often told him so. He says that [Mr Montagu] and [Mr Wharton] do go about to [the Tory party], and assure them that if they will follow their advice, they shall find many things they desire to have effect. He is likewise positive that by a little pains [the Whig party] will finally leave [Mr Wharton] and [Mr Montagu].15

The 1695–6 session and its aftermath thus became a prolonged struggle between Foley and Harley on the one side and Montagu and his allies on the other to convince the King and the undertakers as to which of the two political groupings could most effectually carry on the public business. In what was simultaneously a contest both for mastery in the Commons and for the King’s favour, Foley’s occupancy of the Chair conferred some tactical advantages, but insufficient to compensate for the weakness of his position outside the ministry, and the King’s aversion to his Tory friends. Before the Parliament met he had first to surmount some opposition at Hereford, where false rumours had been circulated that he had worked in the Commons against the Wye and Lugg navigation bill: in fact, a ‘Mr Foley’ had brought in the bill in November 1692. He had also to see off a subsequent challenge for the Speakership. Sir Thomas Littleton was busy soliciting support, only to find that the Court were happy to countenance Foley’s re-election. Some royal advisers hoped for his compliance over supply, and perhaps also there was an apprehension that he would be able to continue in the Chair irrespective of the King’s attitude. Foley had done well enough in his brief stint to merit another chance, and still carried with him his considerable reputation as a patriot. The Tories were sure to vote for him, and those Jacobite Members in touch with the exiled King James were instructed to ‘advance’ Foley’s election, although he himself is not known ever to have deviated from strict loyalty to King William and to the Revolution settlement. On 22 Nov. 1695 he was proposed by Secretary of State Sir William Trumbull, seconded by another courtier, Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones), and accepted by the House nem. con. As a quid pro quo, Foley’s ‘friends’ acquiesced in the election of a Court Whig to the chair of the committee of elections. In his acceptance speech, Foley recommended Members to be ‘prompt’ in their attendance upon parliamentary business, and, as befitted a student of constitutional law, urged them to pay proper attention to Standing Orders, ‘that were made by their predecessors, upon great experience and grounded upon great reason’. In what was a double-edged warning to unruly oppositionists he also pressed them to ‘consult’ the honour and dignity of the House, ‘whereof they owed very much of their liberties and properties in all times, lest by any misbehaviour of theirs they should bring the House into contempt, and thereby endanger the making a way for the overthrow of their constitution’. The deployment of this libertarian rhetoric, perhaps harking back to the controversy surrounding the royal veto of the triennial bill, hints at the constraints on Foley in his response to Court initiatives. He could not afford to alienate his erstwhile Country, in effect Tory, supporters, or to forfeit his standing as a patriot. Thus in the debate of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, which he had been forecast as likely to oppose, all the Foleys joined in voting against the imposition of an oath of abjuration on the councillors, and Paul, as Speaker, caused the defeated motion to be reported in the published Votes in an abbreviated form, so as to disguise the full extent of its anti-Jacobite sentiment and thus protect from Whig innuendo the Tories who had been largely responsible for its rejection. Earlier, the Speaker had also voted with the opposition in committee in favour of a resolution that the names of the members of the projected council be selected by Parliament. Moreover, he was active in at least a consultative capacity in the Country party campaign for electoral reform during the winter of 1695–6, submitting a series of detailed amendments to the Member responsible for drafting one such measure, the landed qualification bill. His success in retaining the respect of Country Members is shown by his re-election as a commissioner of accounts in February 1696. A regular attender at the commission even while occupying the Chair, Foley had remained committed to its work long after it had ceased to be the spearhead of opposition. On this occasion he came second in the poll, behind Robert Harley. At the same time as he maintained credibility with the Country party, however, Foley felt obliged, or more probably actively wished, to respond in a positive way to the overtures the Court had made to him. He distanced himself from High Tory oppositionists on the issue of the Association, to which he himself subscribed promptly, and although differing strongly from Charles Montagu and ministerial Whigs on a variety of questions, ensured that his criticism was of a constructive kind. Over the problem of the coinage, for example, he opposed Montagu’s determination to keep to the old standards, and other proposals for a recoinage, arguing at first the advantages of a natural inflation of the currency, and in the later stages of the controversy differed from Montagu on the new value for guineas. The issue which engaged most of his energies, and on which he staked much of his reputation, at court and in Parliament, was the scheme to establish a land bank. Although this was not a project of his own devising, and his name did not figure among the commissioners appointed to collect subscriptions, nor in the committee responsible for the negotiations with the Treasury, he was very busy behind the scenes in promoting the bank. It appealed to his ‘Country’ prejudices as a means of harnessing the real wealth of the kingdom, the land, and simultaneously of helping the country gentlemen, at risk of exploitation by the rising ‘moneyed interest’ of City financiers. More attractive still was the role the bank could play as a rival to the Bank of England, and thus as an instrument of Foley’s own rivalry with Montagu. Through the summer of 1696 he and Harley pressed upon the King, via Shrewsbury and Portland, the advantages their bank had to offer. Shrewsbury reported to William late in July that ‘some of those gentlemen who had procured money for shares in the land bank’, naming Foley and Harley in particular, ‘seem so convinced of the consequences if your army beyond seas should be reduced to extremity that they promise, and hope to engage others, to lend a considerable sum upon a good premium’. Among the Court’s ‘undertakers’ Sunderland showed a particular warmth towards the project. Foley’s identification with the bank, and the political uses to which it was to be put, were part of the common currency of political propaganda during the summer. One lampoon depicted Foley offering the King his service via Sunderland’s intermediary, Henry Guy, at the price of royal support for the land bank:

          If the King to my bank and me will be hearty,
          And to some other projects, which I can advance,
          Then I will come over, both I and my party,
          And (I conceive) we can stop the ambition of France.

The failure of the land bank, its backers outmanoeuvred by Bank of England interests, was therefore a serious blow to Foley’s reputation, in retrospect perhaps even a catastrophe for his career. ‘All that land bank is called a cheat’, wrote the Tory Francis Gwyn*, ‘that could not perform what they pretended to.’ Foley, who prided himself on his probity and personal credit, was said to be in despair. He had lost face in Parliament, lost the trust of Portland and the King, and been outwitted by his deadly rival, Montagu, who had displayed a degree of nimbleness that ‘heavy Paul’, shackled to an idée fixe, could not match. Significantly, too, it was Foley rather than the more adroit Harley who suffered the odium of association with the failure of the land bank.16

The debacle resulted in a hardening of Foley’s antagonism towards Montagu and the other Junto Whigs, though he did not abandon hopes of persuading the King of his own superiority as a parliamentary manager. It is probably to the end of 1696 that we should date some meditations on ‘faction’ in Foley’s hand. ‘In [the] state’, he wrote, faction was called ‘parties’. Its cause was ‘principally self-interest’: for ‘honour’, ‘riches’, ‘friendship’, ‘revenge’, ‘fear’, ‘security’ and ‘opposition, in the turbulent’. And its effects were ‘distraction in the state, weakening of the government’ and eventually ‘sowing the seeds of civil war’. The cure was ‘the prince’s equality’, especially in ‘preventing occasions’, distribution of ‘justice, rewards and punishments’, the ‘discountenancing flatterers and dilators, displacing the turbulent’ and ‘encouraging the virtuous’. The bitterness of these remarks did not, however, preclude any response at all to advances made by Sunderland and by the King himself before the opening of the following session. In mid-October 1696 Harley reported that ‘the Speaker and myself were unexpectedly sent for to the King and kept in discourse two hours and a half’. Some Whigs indeed were ‘uneasy about the measures that are like to be taken in Parliament, and at the courtship made to the Speaker and Mr Harley’. The effect of these discussions was evident when the session began. Foley ‘declared himself an open enemy of the Bank [of England] in a very long speech, and did not stick to lay the blame upon others that the land bank did not succeed’. He also ‘spoke very long’ in committee of supply against a proposal made by Montagu. But although to some degree there was a desire to pay off old scores and to confute his chief enemy, he tried to devise some alternative to offer the crown, albeit without the vigour and authority over the subject he had shown before. ‘He has a project in his head that is very inconceivable’, wrote James Vernon I*; ‘as yet I know not what it will appear upon his explaining it’. And Vernon added, significantly, ‘whatever he has to propose, he will do well to make the advantages of it very plain and practicable, for otherwise the last year’s experience has made men very sharp to distinguish chimeras from realities’. Over Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder, Foley was prepared to assist in the protection of some prominent ministers, especially Shrewsbury, with whom he had always enjoyed amicable relations. It was Sunderland who had advised that Foley and Harley be taken into the Court’s confidence, and Vernon was able to report more than once that ‘the Speaker . . . did his part’. At one point Foley even clashed with a Tory Member, Lord Norreys (Montagu Venables-Bertie), over a point of procedure, in which he himself turned out to be in the wrong. In January 1697 he antagonized other Country Members, in this case the more radical Country Whigs, by intervening to prevent a tack of the landed qualification bill (similar to the bill he had supported a year before) to the capitation bill. Vernon wrote: ‘Paul Foley did very good service today against the tacking clause . . . under pretence of speaking to order [he] answered all their precedents, and declared the like never was in Parliament.’ That Foley was seeking to present himself as well disposed to the King, if not to some of the ministers, is evident from a remark he made the following month to the Dutch envoy, L’Hermitage, forecasting a rapid conclusion of ‘the business of the supply’. Certainly those of his constituents involved in the leather industries regarded him as in some way responsible for the passage of the leather duty and at his return to Hereford in May 1697 paid him an unwelcome visit, abusing him and his family and threatening the ‘pulling down his house’. This was not an experience likely to encourage a long stay in the country, but Foley’s sojourns at Stoke Edith had in any case been becoming rarer and shorter as the decade had progressed, and a plaintive letter from the country to Under-Secretary John Ellis* shows the extent to which he had become a professional politician more at home in London society than in what he termed ‘a barren place which affords little company and no news’. The 1697–8 session followed a similar pattern. After a pre-sessional interview with King William, Foley continued to do what he could to make life difficult for the Junto (so much so that he was considered by a French diplomat to be one of the leaders of the Country opposition) while occasionally producing alternative expedients of his own to advance royal needs. For instance, having in December 1697 ‘put a rub in the way’ of the Junto’s plans to settle the civil list, ‘by referring . . . the account how the revenue stands charged to the select committee that hath the other accounts before them, and not to the committee of supply’, he subsequently ‘promoted’ a proposal ‘that the provision for the civil list may come out of the East India Company upon condition of their being established by Parliament’. In April 1698 his son Thomas even put forward a compromise motion on the issue of the resumption of crown grants that won backing from Charles Montagu. There were drawbacks to this strategy, however. Politically the most serious was that Foley was coming to be isolated from the more militant Country party men, most of them High Tories, who do not seem to have appreciated the subtlety of his approach. The Speakership may in fact have proved a hindrance to his political career, encouraging him to entertain notions of co-operation with sections of the ministry beyond the point at which these were valid. Furthermore, despite the influence he enjoyed, and sometimes exploited, over the business of the House, the Chair was not the best place in which to maintain a high profile as a critic of the Court. And there is some evidence that Foley’s tenure of the Speakership was progressively less successful. Symptomatic of his decline in prestige, and inability to exert himself sufficiently as Speaker, was an unsavoury incident in January 1698, in which he quarrelled with the Court Whig John Smith I. ‘A little impatient’ to put an end to the day’s proceedings, Foley had allowed himself a satirical inflexion when repeating the word ‘compromise’ which Smith had employed in an intervention designed to break a procedural deadlock. Smith took offence and threatened to pull the Speaker’s nose. Several Members were in turn outraged at this affront to the Chair but although he had clearly heard the remark Foley was insistent in pretending ignorance and allowing the insult to pass by, to the consternation of many of his friends.17

The dissolution of the 1698 Parliament seems to have marked an important final change in the course of Foley’s political career, for in the new Commons he was no longer Speaker, and together with Harley took up a stance of uncompromising opposition, even when this involved giving personal offence to the King. Although it was not until the outcome of the contest for the Speakership that he was set free from any connexion with the Court, prior events were already pushing him away. The departure of Shrewsbury and Sunderland from the ministry left few advocates of reconciliation with Foley and Harley in an administration now quite dominated by the Junto. Nevertheless, as the manoeuvring began over the Speakership, there were still some voices at Court willing to recommend Foley as an alternative to a High Tory like Sir Edward Seymour or John Granville, and it was thought that Foley himself might be prepared to stand with ministerial support. In the event his ill-health, against which he had to struggle throughout the session, and the knowledge that few Members had been satisfied with his performance in the Chair, deterred him from putting himself forward as a candidate. More significant still is the fact that the Country party men do not seem ever to have considered him as a possible choice, indicative of the ground he had lost over the preceding two sessions and now needed to make up. He began strongly, appointed to the committee of 17 Dec. 1698 to draft the disbanding bill, and subsequently pressed the resistance against a standing army with vigour. He may have been the Foley who on 23 Dec. joined in demands for a call of the House before the meeting of the committee on the disbanding bill, and on 4 Jan. 1699 he was positively identified as having spoken out against a Court-inspired motion for an instruction to the committee to increase the forces to be retained from 7,000 to 10,000 men: the additional number, he argued, would be of comparatively little importance in the event of an invasion, and in any case fears of such a threat to liberty and property were unduly alarmist – ‘there can be no apprehension, for the people are strong enough to defend their liberties and always will do it, though an army may give up our liberties’. Then on 12 Jan., in a committee of supply, he moved that the committee on the disbanding bill be empowered to draft a clause of credit to cover the cost of disbandment, a shrewd tactic since it had the effect of rendering the measure a money bill and inhibiting opposition to it in the Lords, or at the very least making amendment or rejection by the Upper House a major constitutional issue. The previous day in the supply committee he had queried the estimate for general officers, on the grounds that ‘[a] lesser sum [had been] allowed to general officers during the war as per divers instance[s]’. No doubt as a result of his work in committee, he was among the opposition leaders invited by Montagu to a meeting on the 14th to discuss questions of ways and means. The negotiations had little effect, however, and on 3 Feb. he spoke again in the committee of supply, this time against any increase in the naval estimates. On issues related to disbandment, he was probably the ‘Mr Foley’ who on 2 Mar. presented a bill for making the militia more useful, and he certainly took a prominent part in the inquiries into maladministration in the navy, which had obvious strategic implications for those opposed to a standing army, besides the party political advantage in exposing the corruption of Lord Orford (Edward Russell*). Foley and Harley together set the inquiries in motion on 20 Dec. 1698, and pursued them strongly throughout the following months. How active Foley was able to be in other respects during this session must be a matter for conjecture. Later in the year he recalled that in the winter his ill-health, from a chest complaint, had so alarmed friends that they had persuaded him to leave the town and spend some time in the cleaner air of Hampstead. Conceivably he was the recipient of a grant of leave of absence (for a fortnight) on 22 Mar.18

Foley’s health deteriorated as the year progressed. Late in October 1699 he told Harley that he was ‘not at present in a condition’ to attend the forthcoming session of Parliament. ‘I am daily followed with such a cough in my lungs as does often near st[r]angle me, and keeps me that I cannot in the least stir out.’ What killed him, however, was gangrene in a foot, after he had been blooded, or alternatively, according to some gossip, after he had ‘buckled his shoe too straight and worn it so’. The precise date of his death has been disputed. His monument declared it to have been on 11 Nov. 1699, but family papers, since disappeared, convinced one biographer that this statement had been an error for the 13th. He was buried at Stoke Edith.19

Foley’s death was a political loss felt keenly by his close friends. ‘This is a sore blow to Church and state, to Herefordshire and to all relations’, wrote Robert Harley. Robert’s brother Edward echoed him: ‘the death of so good a friend and person, whose worth and abilities render it a public loss, cannot but be very affecting’. In fact, Foley died at a time when Harley, his one-time political apprentice, was already outstripping him. It is tempting to over-emphasize the difference in generations between uncle and nephew and to contrast Harley’s suppler character with Foley’s greater solidity and more old-fashioned approach to politics. But this would be to misunderstand Foley’s character and thinking. Certainly he was deeper set in his Presbyterian background, and his experience in the Exclusion Parliaments bound him closer to the values of an earlier generation of Country Whigs. But his industrial experience had moulded him into a man of action rather than an armchair constitutionalist. His political principles, a belief in the liberty of the subject and in the right of Parliament to question and if necessary resist royal policy, together with a cynicism of party faction, were based upon commonly held assumptions, often rather simplistic, about the traditional strengths of the English system of government. In speaking on these themes he was short and to the point, as compared with his prolix criticisms of financial mismanagements or other maladministration, when he usually couched his speech in the language of constructive counsel. He was most comfortable in committees of supply and ways and means, devising fiscal expedients that often showed ingenuity and originality, although in the long run he lacked the connexions and the adaptability that made his hated rival Charles Montagu successful. A Treasury minister manqué, Foley may have been robbed by death of an eminent place in later Tory administrations, albeit in a subordinate position to Harley. His career must be judged in these terms as a failure. He was, however, a formidable Parliamentarian, who helped to preserve some of the values of the first Whigs and to translate them to the new circumstances of post-Revolution England. It was in one sense ironic that the monument erected by his son should declare the disbandment of much of the army in 1699 to have been Foley’s greatest achievement, since this was in essence a negative accomplishment. Yet it was also apt, since his parliamentary career had been spent largely in opposition, seeking to recall governments to what he perceived as traditional, minimalist policies and to the virtues exemplified by the godly and prudent landowner-industrialist.20

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 46–47; W. R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Worcs. 51; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 496; MI, Stoke Edith par. ch.; Add. 70225, Foley to Robert Harley, 9 Oct. 1688.
  • 2. D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parlty. Pol. 1661–89, p. 395; W. R. Urwick, Nonconformity in Worcester, 91; DNB (Oldfield, Joshua); A. G. Matthews, Calamy Revised, 373; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 105; Add. 70114, Mary Foley to Sir Edward Harley, 10 May 1689; Macaulay, Hist. Eng. v. 2410; R. North, Lives of the Norths ed. Jessop, i. 193; Burnet, iv. 197; Burnet, Supp. ed. Foxcroft, 402; Business Hist. xiii. 19–38; Econ. Hist. Rev. ser. 2, iv. 326–8; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. lxxii. 129–43.
  • 3. Add. 70014, ff. 296, 299; 29594, f. 196; 42592, f. 117; HMC Portland, iii. 444; Bodl. Ballard 35, f. 48; Grey, x. 9, 13, 28, 37, 60, 68–69, 117, 132–3, 142; Morrice ent’ring bk. 3, p. 146; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 57; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, ff. 83–84.
  • 4. Add. 70014, f. 391; 70015, ff. 1, 3, 19, 21, 203; HMC Portland, iii. 459; EHR, xci. 33–51; Horwitz, 69; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. pp. cli–clxxiv; xi. pp. clv–clxxxvi; D. Rubini, Court and Country, 69–74, 76; A. McInnes, Robert Harley, Puritan Politician, 40–45; B. W. Hill, Robert Harley, 26–28; CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 465.
  • 5. Add. 70015, ff. 55, 72–73, 104, 112, 150; HMC Portland, iii. 473–4, 478, 485; Trans. Woolhope Club, xxxix. 127–9.
  • 6. Add. 70015, f. 30; 42592, f. 175; Horwitz, 70–73; Luttrell Diary, 4, 9, 19–20, 26, 30, 39, 41, 48, 51, 80, 97, 101, 105–6, 113, 120–3, 144; Grey, 168, 175–6; Bodl. Carte 130, ff. 326–7; HMC 7th Rep. 207, 209.
  • 7. Luttrell Diary, 8, 26, 55, 60–61, 77; Grey, 198; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 670; Rubini, 76; McInnes, 42–43; EHR, xci. 43–44, 47–51; Add. 70016, f. 30; Horwitz, 77, 98, 100.
  • 8. Luttrell Diary, 50, 76, 153, 195, 200; HMC 7th Rep. 205, 208; Ranke, vi. 169.
  • 9. Add. 70225, Foley to Robert Harley, 17 Sept. 1692; HMC Portland, iii. 502.
  • 10. Luttrell Diary, 216, 229, 267, 269, 289, 297, 321–3, 349, 356, 368, 386, 400, 411, 417, 419, 421, 425, 438, 445; Rubini, 96–97; Grey, 280–1; Horwitz, 111.
  • 11. Luttrell Diary, 222, 247, 256–7, 261–3, 294, 399, 454; Grey, 245, 262–3, 274–6, 282; H. Horwitz, Revol. Politicks, 136; Cobbett, 721–2; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 2385, 2387, notes on debates, 23, 26 Nov. 1692; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Gurdon mss M142(1), p. 17, Sir William Cook, 2nd Bt.*, to Thornhagh Gurdon, 26 Nov. 1692.
  • 12. Luttrell Diary, 226, 237, 315, 336, 343, 377, 381, 392, 398, 406, 408, 415, 451, 455–6, 468, 471; Grey, 252, 297, 303, 307; Add. 70017, f. 22; 70016, f. 236; N. and Q. ccxxiii. 527–32; Cobbett, 714; Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 109; HMC Portland, iii. 528, 536.
  • 13. Grey, 311–12, 317, 320, 350, 362, 368, 378, 382; Horwitz, 130, 132; Add. 17677 NN, f. 354; Ranke, 238; Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxiii), 199.
  • 14. Horwitz, 135–8, 144, 149–50, 214; HMC Bath, i. 51–52; CSP Dom. 1695, pp. 292, 295; Ranke, 253; Burnet, iv. 197, 260; Burnet, Supp. 402; Cobbett, 907; Chandler, ii. 456; Lexington Pprs. 69; Macaulay, 490; Add. 70017, f. 321; 17677 PP, ff. 196, 201, 203; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 387; HMC 13th Rep VI, 36; Som. RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 290, Edward Clarke I* to Ld. Capell (Hon. Sir Henry Capel*), 23 Mar. 1695; J. P. Kenyon, Sunderland, 272.
  • 15. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 502, 505–6, Henry Guy to Ld. Portland, 31 May, 25 June, 5 July 1695; G. Holmes and W. A. Speck, Divided Soc. 14–15; Kenyon, 274–5; EHR, lxxi. 597–8; Horwitz, 155, 215–16.
  • 16. HMC Portland, iii. 570; CJ, x. 711; xi. 334–5, 429; Add. 70018, ff. 58, 79, 100, 107; 17677 QQ, f. 601; Horwitz, 156, 159, 165, 167–8, 182; Lexington Pprs. 148; Burnet, Supp. 413; Bodl. Locke c.8, f. 201; Cobbett, 963–4; Cal. Herbert Corresp. ed. W. J. Smith (Univ. of Wales Bd. of Celtic Stud. Hist. and Law ser. xxi), 43–44; S. B. Baxter, Wm. III, 338, 341, 343; HMC Kenyon, 398–9; HMC Hastings, ii. 251–2; NLW, Canon Trevor Owen mss 204, ‘Mr Foley’s amendments . . .’; EHR, lxxxv. 697–714; Shrewsbury Corresp. 130–1; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 296; Correspondentie ed. Japikse, i. 181; Burnet, iv. 308; Bodl. Rawl. D.174, f. 103; K. Feiling, Tory Party, 322; BL, Althorp mss, Francis Gwyn to Ld. Halifax (William Savile, Ld. Eland*), 3 Aug. 1696.
  • 17. Add. 70225, notes on ‘faction’ [?1696]; 70114, Foley to [Sir Edward Harley], 16 July 1697; 17677 QQ, f. 259; 28881, f. 221; Horwitz, 183, 189, 232; HMC Portland, iii. 580, 593, 596; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/7, 19, 72, 167, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 12 Oct., 10 Nov. 1696, 1 Mar. 1697[–8], 8 Dec. 1697; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 44, 48, 53, 83, 189; Kenyon, 285; Cobbett, 1007; Macaulay, 2661–2, 2689; HMC Downshire, i. 743; P. Grimblot, Letters of Wm. III and Louis XIV, i. 353–4; Rubini, 191–3; Jnl. Brit. Stud. v(2), p. 84; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 43.
  • 18. HMC Portland, iii. 608; Rubini, 193; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 148, 238–9, 251, 257, 271; CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 393, 413; Add. 30000 B, f. 251; 70019, f. 44; 70114, Foley to Robert Harley, 30 Oct. 1699; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/132, 138, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 14, 31 Jan. 1699; Cam. Misc. xxix. 380–1, 392–3; Horwitz, 251–2; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 26(1), James Brydges’ diary, 14 Mar. 1699.
  • 19. Add. 70114, Foley to Robert Harley, 30 Oct. 1699; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 583–4; Vernon Letters 18th Cent. i. 51; DNB.
  • 20. HMC Portland, iii. 611; MI, Stoke Edith par. ch.