HOWE, John Grobham (1657-1722), of Stowell, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. 9 Feb. 1657, 2nd s. of John Grobham Howe† of Langar, Notts. and bro. of Emanuel Scrope Howe* and Sir Scrope Howe*. m. lic. 30 Apr. 1683, Mary (d. 1699), da. and coh. of Humphrey Baskerville of Pontrilas, Herefs., wid. of Sir Edward Morgan, 3rd Bt.†, 1s. 1da.1
Vice-chamberlain to the Queen 1689–92; PC 21 Apr. 1702–14; jt. paymaster-gen. 1702–14; treasurer and commr. for Chelsea Hosp. 1702–14.2
Keeper of Pall Mall 1689–92; v.-adm. Glos. 1702–?14.3
‘Jack’ Howe reached the peak of his political fame in the later years of William III’s reign as one of the government’s most inveterate opponents. His capacity for ‘boldness’ in debate knew almost no bounds, and not infrequently his ‘indecent reflections’ on the King caused shock and dismay. Of unprepossessing appearance, Macky’s pen-portrait has him as ‘a tall, thin, pale-faced man, with a very wild look; brave in his person, bold in expressing himself, a violent enemy, a sure friend and seems always to be in a hurry’. Burnet saw him as ‘a man of some wit, but of little judgment and of small principles of religion’. But it is Macaulay’s words which most perfectly evoke the impact that Howe made in the Commons: ‘his volubility, his asperity, his pertinacity . . . made him conspicuous. Quickness, energy and audacity, united, soon raised him to the rank of a privileged man . . . No decencies restrained him.’ He first came to notice as a minor satirist and versifier, becoming more generally known as a rake and wit. As a Whig supporter of William of Orange in 1688, he had been rewarded with court office in 1689, entering Parliament the same year for Cirencester. The younger son of a Nottinghamshire gentleman, he married advantageously, acquiring estates in the counties of Glamorgan, Monmouth and Hereford. It is not clear how his electoral interest in Cirencester originated, though soon after his election he acquired from Lord Strafford a modest estate at Stowell, eight miles from the town. In the Convention, he rapidly came to the fore as a prolific and forceful speaker.4
Despite obtaining first place in the 1690 contest at Cirencester, Howe was victim in a fierce row with senior Tory townsmen over the validity of a large portion of his votes and was not returned. His complaint received no attention in the short opening session of the Parliament, but it quickly developed into a cause célèbre in the elections committee early in the next. Howe fought vigorously for a favourable outcome, lobbying Members with a handbill showing that even taking into account votes acknowledged by both sides to be ‘bad’, he was still the overall winner. On 25 Nov., after further delays and a recommittal, he was declared elected, although it must have done little for his maverick reputation that the process resulted in the displacement of the former Speaker Henry Powle, a fellow Court Whig. The following month he was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Court supporter. Yet Howe’s position at Court did not prevent him from joining with others who, disliking the mixed administration, did their best to discredit the Tory ministers. Such attitudes and behaviour had led Robert Harley* to class him as inclined to the ‘Country party’ in April 1691. He was a willing accomplice in the Whig campaign against Carmarthen and Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) begun in the next session, and in the debates on naval miscarriages early in November he denounced the ‘Cabinet council’ as a secret and unconstitutional body, many of whose members were unfit for their places. Severely reprimanded by the Speaker, he withdrew his remarks on 6 Nov., however, claiming that he had been referring to conditions under Charles II and James II. Further stages in the attack were pre-empted by the King’s intervention, so that when the scheduled proceedings on Admiral Edward Russell’s* conduct opened on 7 Nov. a long silence ensued, forcing Howe to move that since no one had anything to say, it should be resolved that no miscarriages had occurred. In supply matters he dutifully supported the Court. On 14 Nov. he and other courtiers supported the proposal to build four new frigates at a cost of £28,864, and on the 25th he spoke against opposition attempts to lessen the number of officers in the army, arguing a few days later for the need to ‘come up to what is necessary’. He proclaimed his enthusiasm for the Lords’ amendment of the bill abrogating the oath of supremacy in Ireland, requiring Catholic lawyers to take only the oath of allegiance. Having participated in the conference with the Upper House, he told MPs: ‘If they will be faithful to the government I care not what religion they are of . . . I am not for taking from these gentlemen the opportunity of getting their bread.’ On 12 Dec., he avoided giving wholehearted support to Russell’s mischief-making motion that office-holders with profits over £500 should surrender these to the war effort, observing that the profits of some offices were poor recompense for the demands often made upon their holders. In the drawn-out proceedings on the East India trade he was a doughty champion of the company. His proposal on 27 Nov. of a bill for its regulation was superseded by moves to set up a joint-stock company, an arrangement which he condemned as monopolistic. Thus on 6 Feb. 1692, with a bill for a new company pending, he urged ‘that the House would keep their words . . . and pass an Act to confirm the old company’. In the debates on the Lords’ controversial amendments to the treason trials bill Howe gave short shrift to courtiers, including several fellow Whigs, who endeavoured to obstruct its passage. On 31 Dec. 1691 he defended the highly contentious clause removing the crown’s power of selecting juries in the trial of peers in the lord steward’s court. ‘I have been grumbling for this clause for these dozen years’, he told the House, expounding his view that ‘we shall lose nothing by this advantage that we give the Lords’. He saw the assembled body of peers as a last bastion of an Englishman’s liberties, a theme which he enlarged upon in further proceedings on the disputed clauses on 10 Jan. 1692:
Power ill-used becomes very often its own executioner. If my best friend will keep a pistol cocked at my nose, I should desire him to spare the compliment; army and arbitrary power are not of English manufacture. I own them and fear them especially if too near to me. If there be an original compact between the King and the people, there is so between the people and their representatives and therefore ought not to leave any law slip that may be for the public good and safety. Would the people thank us for losing this bill and to tell the Lords we will rather lose it than to come to any accommodation with the Lords? I think the bill and clause amended are good laws.
Among other issues, the bill to prevent false and double election returns drew his approbation on 12 Dec. presumably on account of his own experiences at Cirencester, while on 8 Jan. 1692 his antipathy towards the monied interests enjoined him to support legislation to restrain interest rates. He was likewise sensitive about additional fiscal burdens upon land, arguing in the committee of ways and means on 12 Jan. against proposals from the financier Thomas Neale* for an excise on salt.5
In March 1692, as soon as the session was over, Howe was dismissed from his court offices. Theories abounded as to why he had been discarded, although there was little sense of surprise. One story was that he considered the Queen to be in love with him and had made unwelcome advances to her. It was suggested in a pamphlet that his addiction to ‘whoring, swearing and ridiculing religion’ had proved too much for Queen Mary, and that his habit of singing ‘bawdy songs behind her closet at chapel in time of divine service’ was the last straw. Indeed the comment of one government official that ‘his carriage and way of talking was insupportable’ would confirm this particular version of events, though in some quarters it was alleged that the story was in fact a cover for the real reason, that he had held meetings with Jacobites in his apartments at Whitehall. Certainly, his lack of commitment to the Court in the Commons had given the King ample cause to remove him. But it was understood, according to the historian James Ralph, that Howe had only begun to lean towards ‘patriotism’ when William refused his application for a grant of waste land in Soho valued at £1,000 and instead gave it to his favourite, Lord Portland. Whatever the reason for his loss of royal favour, Howe’s sense of vengefulness towards the King never expired. He went into opposition, passing eventually from Whiggery to Toryism, but emerging primarily as a strongly principled Country spokesman in the course of the mid-1690s. Howe’s reputation for hard-hitting rhetoric left no doubt about his future course in parliamentary politics. As one prominent Tory, Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt.*, observed at the time: ‘Jack Howe’s loss of his key will not spoil his eloquence.’6
Howe maintained a low profile during the opening months of the 1692–3 session. This may have been due to an indictment brought against him in the Court of Verge early in November 1692 for wounding two persons, one of them a constable, the other a former servant, within the confines of Whitehall. He pleaded guilty, but through the offices of the Earl of Devonshire (William Cavendish†) was pardoned by the King on 15 Dec. and thus saved from the penalty of having his right hand amputated. Having defended the East India Company on 17 Nov., his next recorded intervention was not until 12 Dec. when he moved for a committee to investigate MPs’ privileges in relation to private lawsuits against them. He urged that unless something was done ‘to make our subjects easier’, the House was in danger of becoming ‘the greatest grievance of this kingdom’. Named to the investigating committee in first place, he took an active part and reported from it on 28 Dec. However, consideration of the matter was many times postponed and then forgotten until the tail end of the session when an effort to resurrect it, which Howe supported, ran aground for want of time. At this stage he was still inclined towards a Whiggish perspective, supporting on 3 Jan. 1693 in committee on the land tax a move to end the double taxing of Catholics, while on the 9th he was teller against exempting university colleges. Moreover, a week later he exonerated the Whig-dominated Admiralty Board from culpability in the failure of the planned ‘descent’ on France the previous summer, though his remarks none the less rang with spite: ‘now they have gained experience at our cost, I would not lose their service’. Accordingly, he opposed, next day, the resolution advising the King to reconstitute the board with men experienced in maritime affairs. On 20 Jan. the complaint against Edmund Bohun’s King William and Queen Mary Conquerors allowed him the opportunity to initiate a similar attack on Bishop Burnet’s Pastoral Letter (1689), and he was among those who unsuccessfully pressed for a committee to examine both publications. Howe’s motives were said to be personal, arising from suspicions that Burnet had been responsible for his dismissal from office. On the 21st when the Pastoral Letter was debated more fully he ‘inveighed much against it and the author, with some severe reflections on him’ in a long set speech which condemned clerical intervention in law and politics and in particular Burnet’s declaration that the clergy should acquiesce in William’s right of conquest even though the title was demonstrably poor. Significantly, it was the first occasion on which Howe appeared at the forefront of the ‘Country’ opposition. On the 23rd he spoke and acted as a teller in favour of a motion to have the Letter burnt by the common hangman, and on the 25th was named to a conference committee to hear the Lords’ censure of Bohun’s libel. His support for the triennial bill in February also identified him more closely with the Country party, and on the 10th he exposed the speciousness of counter-arguments that it would promote divisiveness and insecurity. The same day his proposal in ways and means for a tax on hackney carriages, which he thought would raise £100,000, was warmly greeted by Sir Thomas Clarges, one of the father-figures of Country Toryism. Howe’s purpose in opposing renewal of the commission of public accounts on the 14th is not clear, though it is possible that he preferred the commission to be a non-parliamentary body as he was to advocate in a later session. During the debates on the Irish administration towards the end of February he expressed himself satisfied with Lord Coningsby’s (Thomas) self-vindication regarding his management of the Irish revenues, but urged the expulsion from the House of revenue commissioner William Culliford, for using his privilege as an English MP to avoid inquiry into his alleged misdemeanours. Nothing was done on this occasion, but on 8 Mar. when a committee reported on the question of precedents for MPs’ absences on foreign service, Howe seconded Hon. Goodwin Wharton’s motion for Culliford’s expulsion. On 23 Feb. he supported an amendment to the game bill allowing any Protestant to retain a musket which he saw as essential ‘for the security of the government’. He was a strong advocate for the bill to prevent legal action against persons who had served the government in time of threat, and on the 9th chaired its committee of the whole, conveying it to the Lords next day.7
Early in the 1693–4 session Howe adopted a superior patriotic stand over the loss of the Smyrna convoy and refrained from laying blame squarely upon Nottingham and the Tory admirals. He prefaced an equivocal speech on 13 Nov. with the comment that he thought ‘none so simple as to think an English Parliament will not support an English government’. In so doing he did not eschew the value of party combat to the governmental process, saying that ‘the opposition of the two violent parties is equally honest and equally well intended to the government’, but admitting in the next breath that narrow preoccupation with party advantage was a root cause of ‘all our misfortunes’. Later, on 29 Nov., he threw some doubt on the credibility of the evidence produced against the admirals. In the debate of 5 Dec. on the army estimates he stated his expectation that in return for generous supplies, the King would ‘see his promises kept to us’. But he also pointed out that it was inappropriate for the Commons to debate the efficacy of maintaining an army in Flanders when their prime concern was to ensure that the army there was of sufficient strength. After exhorting the Commons to ‘do what you please’ on the 7th over allegations of malversation against Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*), a spell of ill-health, for which he was granted leave on the 23rd, affected his attendance for a time. The King’s refusal to accept the place bill provoked him to a tirade on 26 Jan. 1694 against the workings of ministerial faction:
I believe our mischief arises from . . . parties in council, who raise themselves upon one another. I have never changed party. If others have left me, let them answer for it. Why should we meet here, if what we do for the good of our country be to no purpose? I was for deposing King James and for setting up King William: but we have committed a great villainy if we settle not our liberties on a true foundation; but if we do that we have done a glorious work.
He supported moves to prevent the ministry raising imposts on land over and above the 4s. land tax, acting as teller against the Court on 28 Feb.8
During the 1694–5 session Howe became bolder and blunter in his opposition diatribes, and henceforward his speeches became the subject of regular comment by ministerial henchmen. His enemies referred to him as ‘Jack the Grumbletonian’, attributing his ire to the loss of his Court post. On the opening day of the new session, 12 Nov. 1694, he opposed Clarges’ motion for a week’s adjournment, insisting that fundamental grievances bearing upon ‘the lives and liberty of the subject’ needed immediate attention, and took the ministry up on the severity of its handling of the Lancashire Plot. In what one MP described as a ‘sharp speech and full of anger’, he berated the Privy Council for not sending sooner for the King from Flanders to deal with the crisis in person. On 29 Nov. he spoke at length about the failures of the post-Revolutionary order and the King’s failure to remedy grievances ‘even to the denial of redress when this Parliament advised these and such bills for the public good’. He then went on to outline ‘every branch of the grievances and maladministration’. This concern with governmental and administrative shortcoming is reflected in the increasing number of investigative committees to which he was now being nominated. Since the other Howe MPs (his cousins) were men of low profile in the House, it can be assumed that most, if not all, nominations of ‘Mr Howe’ recorded in the Journals are references to Jack Howe. On 2 Feb. 1695 he advised, in relation to Princess Anne’s request for financial support, that she should avoid taking counsel from those who had been obnoxious to her father. But, as the Dutch resident L’Hermitage observed, Howe’s harangue, as so often happened, fell flat. On 20 Feb. he was teller in favour of passing the place bill. He departed from his usual bombast about governmental wrongdoing on 16 Mar. when a motion was put for the expulsion of the recently displaced Speaker Sir John Trevor, and spoke on his behalf.9
The timing of Howe’s metamorphosis into a Tory is difficult to pinpoint. It would appear fairly certain, however, that following his rejection by the Court, Tory leaders such as Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., and Sir Christopher Musgrave were quick to befriend him on account of his gifts as a forceful speaker, but his relationship with the higher echelons of the party was never easy. By the summer of 1695 he featured as a prominent member of a select ‘association’ of senior Tories who, according to the Earl of Ailesbury (Thomas Bruce†), had dedicated themselves ‘to stick close together and not to give subsidies to carry on the war’, and that if any of them were committed to the Tower, ‘they would all share the same fate’. Yet despite his close connexions with leading Tories, Howe thought nothing of instigating an appeal to Dissenters when he contested at Cirencester in the autumn general election, leaning on Speaker Foley to intercede with Robert Harley to obtain the co-operation of the Presbyterian minister in the town. Moreover, his success in securing a large portion of the Dissenting vote proved instrumental to his electoral victory. On 26 Nov., early in the new Parliament, he presented a fresh bill to regulate trials for treason, and the following day moved for a committee to consider the ‘state of the nation’. In the committee’s opening debate on 29 Nov. he compared the nation to a man being bled to death who nevertheless refused to give up the fight. On 12 Dec., when it was announced that the King had formed a royal commission of trade, Howe urged the House to pursue its own initiative for establishing such a body with commissioners nominated by themselves. When the Court managers claimed that such a move would infringe the King’s prerogative, Howe answered: ‘we might be without a King, but not without a trade, and when they talked of the government, he told them he knew no other than the King, Lords and Commons, and though the executive part was in the King, yet they were to see what was fit to be done if he failed’. At the end of the debate he was a teller against the ministerialists’ motion to adjourn. In intervening discussions on supply, he and the other Tory chiefs, notably Musgrave, Seymour and Hon. Heneage Finch I, pressed vigorously for reductions in the army, but their interventions were not popular with the generality of country gentlemen. At the resumption of proceedings on the council of trade on 2 Jan. 1696 he and his usual fellow spokesmen were foremost in appealing for wider Country support, advocating that membership of the council be decided by Parliament, which was eventually resolved by a majority of just one. He was later forecast as likely to oppose the Court when final resolutions on the council were debated on 31 Jan., but may have been absent from the division itself, a fortnight’s leave of absence having been granted him on the 14th. In the key debate on 13 Feb. to decide the price of guineas, Howe and the Tory group opposed taking action and stressed the ill-effects which the landed interest could expect if a reduction was insisted upon; in further discussion in March he voted against the Court in setting the price at 22s. Towards the close of February he refused to sign the Association, and on the 26th lectured the House for an hour on the ‘reasonableness of his refusal’. In due course his continued obduracy on this point cost him his place on the Gloucestershire bench and his colonelcy in the militia. Ill-health plagued him before the session was over, and on 2 Apr. he was once more granted leave.10
Howe was by now a fully-fledged partner in the small coterie of active Tory malcontents who regularly assailed the ministry, although it was frequently apparent that their taste for outspokenness seriously limited their capacity to stir up support on the backbenches. He appears to have had none of Seymour’s burning sense of disappointed ambition, but drew genuine satisfaction from his role as one of the sharpest critics of government in the House, and often enjoyed the relish of striking out on his own. Once the formalities of the new session had been completed, it was Howe in the main who tried to exploit excitement over the impending trial of Sir John Fenwick† as a stimulus for fresh assaults on the government. He moved on 28 Oct. for a committee to consider the state of the nation with the evident intention, as L’Hermitage noted, of obstructing supply proceedings. But Howe’s gloomy prognosis, based on observations in his own county, of a kingdom on the verge of tumult, was easily ridiculed with reports from other Members of contrasting circumstances everywhere else. The inquiry went ahead, but Howe’s aim of subjecting the ministry’s supply demands to rigorous attention was poorly supported and marginalized by the Fenwick trial. More direct tactics also foundered such as the motion on 4 Nov. to agree upon the figure of 87,440 men as necessary for the army, in which he was teller for the dismally low minority. On 30 Oct. he had moved for the burning of a pamphlet listing Members who had refused the Association, but the House merely passed an anodyne resolution that the publication of proceedings constituted a breach of privilege. Evidently smarting from this rub, he ‘peevishly’ insinuated on 3 Nov. that Secretary Shrewsbury was in treasonous correspondence with the French king, though made amends some days later when he uttered words which the Duke’s under-secretary, James Vernon I* remarked, ‘showed an esteem which was much for him, who sets himself to oppose whatever he thinks the Court is for’. During the attainder proceedings against Fenwick, which began on 13 Nov., Howe made several impassioned speeches condemning the ‘hearsay’ evidence against Fenwick and the fact that it was based on the testimony of only one witness rather than two as required by the recent Treason Trials Act, initiated by Howe himself in the preceding session. He duly voted against the government in the division on Fenwick’s attainder on the 25th. On 14 Nov. Howe had stated the case of a German living in London who earlier in the year had been taken up on suspicion of treason, held in custody for two weeks, and then peremptorily bundled out of the country. In Howe’s words the man had been ‘kidnapped by authority’, but though he threatened ‘dismal menaces’ against the secretary of state responsible, Sir William Trumbull*, the impact of the affair was soon lost amid a tortuous investigation which did nothing to harm the ministry. Howe was in fact preoccupied at this time with a matter much closer to heart, a bill to regulate Members’ qualifications which the King had vetoed in April. He had moved for a new bill on 28 Oct., being first-named to the drafting committee, and presented it on 12 Nov. He was a teller for its second reading on the 23rd, but in the committee of the whole on the 28th he was thought by Vernon to have
overslipt himself, and happened to open the design further than he should have done, saying this bill was but the first step to a good Parliament, and he hoped they should advance it a little further hereafter. So that it is visibly intended they will qualify their Members hereafter, that the choice shall lie in a very narrow compass, and we are to have a senate of patricians.
When the subject of the King’s veto of the previous qualifications bill was raised on 3 Dec., Howe ‘talked how he would push the ministers if that happened again’. On the 8th he made a ‘strange’ motion which, as Vernon informed Shrewsbury, was calculated ‘to throw the army and country into the last discontent, one against the other . . . but it was treated as it deserved’. Soon afterwards ill-health forced Howe to retire to his country estate, leave of absence being granted on the 16th. He appears not to have returned to the House until February 1697, but was granted leave again on 6 Mar.11
When Parliament reassembled in December 1697 Howe resumed his role as hammer of the Court. In the debate on the King’s speech, 10 Dec., he spoke in support of Harley’s motion to reduce the land force to its level in 1680, ‘inveighing much against our army, exalting liberty and law, and depending on our fleet as our only security’. He made similar interventions over the next few days, but on 21 Dec. he endeavoured to open the simmering question of grants, and in particular ‘the unreasonable grants made in Ireland’, arguing that time was ripe for a general act of resumption. Failing on this occasion to gain sufficient backing, he would return to this theme with contrasting effect in future sessions. Amid the gathering attack on Lord Sunderland, to which Howe contributed, he was forced to obtain a month’s leave. His early departure may well have been occasioned by his wife’s deteriorating health, but less charitable commentators attributed it to an anonymous letter he had received which threatened reprisals for his attacks on the army. He was back in the House early in February 1698, supporting Seymour’s bill for the resumption of Irish grants, and on the 9th spoke in favour of the suppression of profanity, debauchery and blasphemy, being appointed to the committee to address for a proclamation. Hardly surprisingly, however, his sudden fixation upon moral issues was disparaged by those who knew of his own irreligious attitudes and personal immorality, and he was mockingly described as one of several such ‘pious’ MPs. His wife’s illness drew him homewards several times over the rest of the session. He was able to present on 14 Mar. a Gloucestershire road bill which he had helped to draft, and briefly reappeared in the House on 24 May to speak on behalf of the East India Company, but his lack of zeal on this occasion led Vernon to suspect that he was holding fire for an attack on the slowness in disbanding the forces. Within a few days, however, Howe was forced to leave London once more to attend his ailing wife.12
In the election held in the summer of 1698, Howe stood for both Cirencester and Gloucestershire. He had become deeply unpopular in Cirencester and suffered a humiliating defeat there, but shortly afterwards achieved first place in the poll for the county. In a parliamentary analysis compiled in September or thereabouts he was classed as a Country supporter. On 14 Dec. he was ordered to bring in a new bill to lay down MPs’ qualifications for election. He created a mild spectacle in the House on 16 Dec., just after the vote in committee to reduce the army to a peace-time level of 7,000 men. Hurrying into the chamber, he declared somewhat disingenuously that he had just come from the provinces where it was still uncertain if there was to be peace or war as the towns were still swarming with troops and everyone plagued with taxes. When told of the resolution to reduce the army to 7,000, he loudly rejoiced, pretending not to have known of it. In his enthusiasm he moved that all 7,000 should be natural-born British subjects, a proposal accepted by the House the following day. He quickly turned his attention to the navy, disclosing to the House on the 19th that there had been ‘diverse mismanagements’ requiring investigation by a ‘private committee’. However, upon Robert Harley’s intervention, the matter was earmarked for a committee of the whole. Proceedings on the disputed Westminster election on the 22nd afforded him an opportunity to ridicule the Court over its desire to humiliate the Whig petitioner, Sir Henry Dutton Colt, 1st Bt.*, who had been one of the Court’s most ardent supporters. On the disbandment issue, he reacted angrily to ministerial back-tracking to maintain a force of 10,000 rather than 7,000 as originally agreed, arguing on 4 Jan. 1699 that standing armies were not necessary either for defence or for the protection of religion because ‘no prince that governs well wants them, if ill, his fate will be like King James’s’. He was a teller next day in favour of a bill to suppress vice and immorality. A few days later he was summoned back to Gloucestershire on account of his wife’s death, remaining there until the end of January. On the 31st, he was first-named to bring in a bill to qualify voters in borough elections. The disbanding bill received the Royal Assent on 1 Feb., but Howe took grave exception to the King’s speech on that occasion wherein William, with barely disguised annoyance, stated that he had been ‘unkindly used’ by Parliament, particularly in being forced to send home his Dutch regiments. When the House debated their address in reply on 3 Feb., Howe, who had been nominated to the drafting team, proposed an additional clause asking that the King dismiss from his counsels whoever had advised these provocative words. After some debate, however, Howe’s amendment was dropped. The same day, on the naval estimates, he moved for a reduction in the proposed number of seamen from 15,000 to 12,000, and when this failed, argued, though again in vain, that the resolution should specify ‘seamen’ rather than ‘men’ in order that additional numbers of troops could not be comprehended within the naval budget. The Commons’ decision concerning the King’s Dutch guards led to a ‘Country’ initiative on the 6th for a bill ‘to make the militia more useful’ and Howe was duly named to its drafting committee. Furthermore, in the wake of the recent attacks on ‘men in employments’ he supported a motion on the 10th for a bill to limit their number in the Commons. On 16 Feb., when naval supplies were discussed, he was at first inclined to go along with Harley and Musgrave’s proposal to treat the various heads as one, but then supported Seymour’s demand for inquiry into certain ‘particulars’, typically preferring, as Vernon noted, this ‘more waspish thing’. The previous day in a committee of the whole to consider the price of gold, he tangled dramatically with his fellow knight of the shire, Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt., a Country Whig. Cocks took offence at Howe’s presumption to know the opinions of Gloucestershire’s tenants with respect to the adverse effects of a lowering of guinea prices, especially since Howe’s own estate in the county was inconsiderable, which in Cocks’ eyes made him wholly unqualified to speak for the county’s tenantry. Thus provoked, Howe appears to have silenced Cocks by reminding him of his own superior showing at the last election. In the supply committee on 21 Feb. Howe and Seymour were reproached for declaring their tactics to refuse assistance to the government in meeting ‘deficiencies’, and in proceedings on army expenditure on 2 Mar. Howe complained that the designated number of officers was ‘dangerous to the constitution as well as burthensome’, and that generally the estimate of £312,000 was too much for a standing army. On 5 Mar. he opposed a bill appointing commissioners to negotiate a union with Scotland which he said ‘looked like an artifice to bring 30 or 40 Scotchmen into the House to supply the places of so many revenue officers that were to be dismissed’. Due to his wife’s recent death he had missed the January committee debates on the Admiralty mismanagements which he himself had initiated, but their resumption on 10 Mar. allowed him to censure the board’s conduct in relation to a recent operation in African waters and to condemn as ‘abominable’ its general lack of experience in naval affairs. The King’s request on 18 Mar. 1699 for a last-minute reprieve for his Dutch guards obliged Howe to stand his ground on the issue. He argued that polite reasoning for its ‘impracticableness’ should be set aside and the King plainly told that a preference for foreigners over native subjects contributed, as had been demonstrated in the case of James II, to a sense of alienation between King and people. He was duly nominated to the committee to draw up the address refusing the King’s request. On the 21st, when the House returned to the question of financial ‘deficiencies’, Howe attacked the need to raise additional revenue for this purpose, stating that ‘a good Parliament was not obliged to maintain the credit of a bad one’. He later intervened, standing ‘till there was a profound silence’, to pursue his differences with Sir Richard Cocks, claiming to have been misrepresented by him earlier in the debate. The same day Howe was accorded leave of the House on health grounds, though according to Vernon, did not intend to leave until the Commons had concluded its investigation of ‘the Admiralty business’.13
Howe’s domestic concerns had circumscribed his involvement in opposition machinations during the previous two sessions. But his wife’s demise at the beginning of 1699 now allowed him to indulge his anti-ministerial passions with even greater vigour than before. Moreover, the stand taken by Country Members against the ministry over the Dutch guards encouraged his belief that more could be achieved in the new session, and in his maverick way he sought to establish his own platform in the Country opposition. He almost certainly had a hand in the hatching of pre-sessional plans to target the Junto ministers, particularly Lord Somers (Sir John*). On 27 Nov. 1699 he ‘anatomized’ the King’s speech, railing against ‘the luxury, the vices, the debauchery of the Court’, the recent purges of the commission of the peace, and against drunkenness and gaming. He complained of the misrepresentations fomented by Junto ministers and supporters concerning the delays last session in considering supply, pointing out that the aim had not been to dishonour the King, ‘but to put things in their ancient channel’. The next day he was for the first time appointed to the Address committee, and to investigations into borough charters granted during the present reign, and more pointedly into changes made in the county commissions since Somers became lord chancellor. With regard to the latter, he stated that it was imperative ‘to know how so many gentlemen came to be turned out’. He was also first-named to prepare a bill against gambling and duelling. On 2 Dec. the Tory chiefs focused their attack on the commission granted under the great seal to Captain William Kidd for the safeguarding of merchant ships against piracy in the Indian Ocean. Under its terms Orford (Edward Russell), Shrewsbury and Somers (whose identities were disguised by the use of their servants’ names) were to enjoy a large share of Kidd’s captures, but the venture had backfired when Kidd himself turned to piracy. Howe took the lead in agitating the affair and reviled the ministers, asking ‘what would become of this nation, if those in authority were not content to plunder and sweep away by grants all that could be got here, but likewise sent out their thieves to rifle whatever was to be met with elsewhere?’ The relevant papers were laid before the House on 4 Dec. when he tried to force the issue with ‘a warming speech’ and a motion that the grant had no basis in law. But although he was supported by Harley, Musgrave and Seymour, the Members refused to be rushed, demanding time to examine the papers before reaching a conclusion. The matter was subjected to a full-scale debate on the 6th, but his elaborate strictures on ‘the avarice of the great ones’ were not enough to prevent a large incidence of defection; some 60 left the chamber before the vote was taken, enabling the Court to win comfortably. Howe’s strong sense of hurt and betrayal by Country Members was visible on 9 Dec. when, by supporting the government’s proposals for the repayment of the debt to Prince George, he hinted at an intention of renouncing opposition in the next reign. During further discussion of the issue on the 12th he supported an attack on the unfitness of Bishop Burnet as preceptor to the Prince’s son the Duke of Gloucester. In anticipation of the commissioners’ report on Irish forfeitures he and Lord Cheyne (Hon. William) secured leave on the 14th to introduce a pre-emptive bill to prevent the alienation of crown lands, forfeitures and other properties, but when the report was presented the following day, his main complaint was ‘the neglect of gentlemen in attending and avoiding questions’. The ministry, however, acceded to a bill to resume grants of forfeited estates made since 1698 and apply them to ‘public use’ in order to avoid further confrontation in the Commons, and Howe was one of the select contingent of Tory chiefs included on the drafting committee. Ministerial observers felt that the heat of the session was now safely over and that Howe’s credit with the Country party had been seriously undermined by his seemingly wrong-headed and misjudged attempt to persecute the ministry over Captain Kidd’s commission. As Robert Yard* told Lord Manchester early in the Christmas recess:
it has opened the eyes of a great many well-meaning gentlemen of the Country party, who by this infamous prosecution, account they ought to look upon him more as a discontented courtier than a patriot, and as in this vote they left him, so abundance of ’em, now they are ashamed of him, as he declares he is of them, swearing there never was before such a crew of rogues as this Parliament. He had great hopes of ’em last sessions, he says, but now he gives ’em over.
On 18 Jan. 1700, when the Irish bill received its second reading, the two provocative resolutions which he offered in response to the ministerial amendment allowing the crown to retain a third of the estates, were accepted without challenge. They condemned the grants as having increased the nation’s debts, and that the ministers involved in them had dishonoured the King and failed in their public trust and duty. Howe was careful at this stage to avoid extremes, advising that while ‘notice’ should be taken of those instrumental in passing the grants, it should be done ‘in a gentle way’. It had every appearance of being a clever ruse to taunt Country MPs into a more combative stance. In the meantime, Howe obtained a fortnight’s leave of the House and took himself away from the political scene. The trick worked. On the day of his return to the House, 6 Feb., Vernon noted that the Country Members were anxious to move an address against Somers, but would not do so until he reappeared. ‘He has no personal dislike to my lord chancellor’, Vernon wrote, ‘but the applause he has from his party will lead him in anything they are fond of.’ He moved on 7 Feb. for a day to consider the state of the nation, and on 13 Feb. opened the debate with a long discourse on the ‘general mismanagement in all offices and officers about the court, in his usual style’ before homing in on the ill-effects of the grants upon the government of the nation. This paved the way for James Brydges’ censure motion aimed more specifically at the chancellor. During the later stages of the debate, Howe’s ‘impudence’ on the subject of grants was widely reflected upon, it being no secret that he himself was the holder of one, or had at least ‘been in the field’ with an application for one earlier in the King’s reign, but he insisted that ‘no dirt would stick on him’. Howe’s willingness to acknowledge Somers’ personal virtues, and that he has ‘no fault but keeping ill company’, was decidedly ill-judged and ran directly counter to the hard line expected of him by the Tory rank-and-file. In the division, the Country Whigs, who might have tipped the balance of votes against Somers, rallied to him and the motion was defeated. After the division, Howe opposed the motion by Sir Richard Onslow, 3rd Bt., for resumption of all English grants since 1685 on the grounds that this date extended back too far. He then moved that the committee sit again, but when it did so on 15 Feb., he was unable to find his footing and ‘talked at random . . . without aiming at anything particularly’, while his later intervention on the subject of ministerial ‘corruption’ and the servitude of j.p.s ran aground. The proceedings closed somewhat inconclusively with Harley seeming to override Howe, and declaring that it was not his intention to bring down the ministry, though it was agreed to lay before the King the resolutions passed on 18 Jan. condemning the grants and the ministers known to have advised them. The King’s terse answer to this came on the 26th and was discussed next day. Howe began by speaking briefly, ‘as [if] doubting whether he should be supported or not, and desired to be satisfied whether he was to be the cat’s foot that day before he would proceed’. After Musgrave and Harley had acquitted the King, Howe analysed the royal reply, blaming it upon the King’s ‘evil councillors’. His concluding motion criticizing its author as an enemy to King and kingdom was passed. Harley, whose aim was to hold together both Whig and Tory opponents of the ministry in a moderate campaign to oust the Junto ministers, had evidently come to regard Howe as something of a liability and to be handled with caution and care. As his general demeanour in the debates on the grants had shown, and as Vernon had noted, Howe was now untrusting of Country Members and their whims, and was less prepared to take initiatives on their behalf. Rather than involve himself in constructive opposition tactics, his sole concern, as Vernon observed at this juncture, was ‘to load the administration with faults and . . . affect a show of justice and good nature in all other particulars’. He took greater satisfaction in overseeing a bill to arrest the growth of popery. He had been appointed on 7 Feb. to a committee to investigate the enforcement of laws against Catholics, and a week later was reported by Vernon to have ‘got into the chair of the committee’. The report which Howe presented on the 21st exposed the lenience with which the government had treated papists, and remedial legislation was ordered. In the meantime a letter came to light in which a Gloucestershire Catholic reflected against Howe as chairman of the committee and so enraged him that Seymour, on his behalf, brought it to the attention of the House on the 27th, the day Howe presented his papists’ bill. On Harley’s initiative it was decided to prosecute the libeller rather than bring him to the bar where it was thought he might have provoked Howe’s wrath to even greater heights. The episode would seem to hint at Harley’s awareness of Howe’s growing unpredictability and the need for its careful containment for the general good of the opposition. A committee, which included Howe, was also ordered to discover the printer. Howe’s differences with the other Tory chiefs became increasingly obvious during the rest of the session. On 4 Mar. he opposed Musgrave’s motion to consider the resumption bill (since tacked to the land tax); and on the 8th he differed with Harley and Musgrave over repayment of the government’s debt to the bankers, seeing no reason to forestall on ‘a just debt’ when large war-time subsidies had been handed out to foreign princes. As the committee of the whole moved slowly through the combined land tax and resumption bill, disagreement arose between Howe and Sir Bartholomew Shower on the one hand, and Harley and Musgrave on the other over the number of forfeiture commissioners to be appointed to adjudicate in forfeiture claims. Moreover, as Vernon informed Shrewsbury on 16 Mar., this discord was also apparent in other issues. Whereas Harley, Seymour and Musgrave preferred the moderate option of a commission of 13 MPs and excluding the four former commissioners who had produced the report, Howe and ‘his party’ took the more extreme position of wishing to exclude MPs altogether but to include the former commissioners. It was also noted that despite his impassioned opposition to grants, ‘he was as forward as anybody for relieving in compassionate and reasonable cases’. His support on 22 Mar. for the clause preserving the grant to the children of the late lord chancellor of Ireland, Sir Charles Porter*, led to ‘severe repartees’ between Howe and Musgrave, wherein Howe was described as a ‘proselyte’ for altering his ‘first notions about the bill, and promoting grants to be made by the House when it is taken from the crown to whom it more properly belonged’. In an angry sideswipe at Harley, Howe declared that ‘there was a party who pretended to govern the House, but they would find themselves mistaken’. He was no doubt gratified on the 26th to find that ‘the party’ was hostile to employing MPs on the commission was too strong to be opposed. In discussions on the 27th, however, regarding the proposed commission to examine the army and navy debt, his expressed desire to serve with several other Members without salary or reward was blocked by Harley and Musgrave with their successful proposal that the commission exclude MPs, arguing in a retaliative vein that there was ‘as much reason for excluding Members of the House out of this commission as from being trustees for the Irish forfeitures’. Within the next week or so, however, there was a closing of ranks as conflict broke out with the Upper House over the peers’ introduction of drastic amendments to the resumption bill, which included the deletion of a key clause excluding excise officials from the Commons. In the Commons on 6 Apr. Howe threatened the Earl of Albemarle, the King’s favourite, with impeachment, and on several other days spoke in unison with the Tory chiefs with whom he had lately clashed. On the 8th he was named a member of the conference committee on the forfeitures bill. Two days later, when news reached the Lower House of the Lords’ insistence upon their amendments, he followed Harley in calling MPs ‘to lay aside all animosities among themselves, whatever fault they found . . . They should now remember we were all Englishmen, and in a common calamity. Everybody would exert themselves for preserving their liberty and their country, if there was any way left for it.’ Tempers only cooled when it was learned that the Lords had relented and passed the bill.14
During the summer of 1700 Howe was restored to the Gloucestershire bench, but was not given back his colonel’s rank in the militia. He could reflect with satisfaction that his parliamentary assaults on Lord Somers had contributed in no small way to the lord chancellor’s dismissal, while the appointment of the Tory Sir Nathan Wright ensured the the restoration of many of his party’s gentry activists. Under-secretary Vernon, looking back on the session, felt there was ‘nobody now in the House that delights more in these scuffles than Mr Howe, and I imagine he will blow the coals both ways. If either side come into him, then there will be no end of the wrangle; and if neither side applauds him, his eloquence will dry up.’ There was no denying Howe’s capacity to make trouble, or his love of doing so; but this, as Vernon saw, was the limit of his abilities. He was otherwise too untamed to be of real use to the Harleyites who were prone to view him increasingly as an object of caution. Howe’s kinsman Viscount Weymouth (Thomas Thynne†) was just one who understood and appreciated Harley’s exercise of ‘great temper and discretion’ in his dealings with Howe. Towards the end of the year, the King’s reshaping of his ministry along Tory lines led to misinformed speculation that Howe would be among those appointed to office. In the election of January 1701 he retained his seat as knight of the shire, but despite the new Tory majority in the Commons, he and his fellow protagonists remained outside the ministry and considered themselves at liberty to upset the new ministerial equilibrium. In the Address debate on 14 Feb., following Harley’s installation as Speaker, he opposed the inclusion of assurances of ‘effectual measures’ to maintain peace as tantamount to a declaration of war, before launching into a bitter attack on the ministers. His name was included in a subsequently published ‘black list’ of MPs opposed to the preparations for war with France. At this particular time Howe was in close contact with the French ambassador, Tallard, from whom he obtained briefings on diplomatic developments and to whom he supplied his own, inevitably coloured interpretations of events in Parliament. There was an irony in this regard in his being first-named on the 18th to a committee to investigate current laws against the spreading of ‘false news and reports’. Two days later he led the way in initiating a bill to qualify those standing for election to Parliament. In proceedings on the bill of settlement on 5 Mar. he remarked upon the selfishness of those who in drafting the Bill of Rights in 1689 had perpetrated important omissions, and won general Country approbation for his ‘good arguments’ in support of the proposed bar on foreigners from office and the receipt of grants, and urged that policy should be openly debated ‘in council’ and that ministers’ views be properly recorded, thus avoiding the kind of ‘heartburnings towards the King when anything was done amiss’. On the 8th he moved that the bill proposed by Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt., to prevent the translation of bishops, should include provision to prevent occasional conformity, but when this was approved and the question was put that Howe and Pakington bring in the bill, Howe, whose county contained large numbers of Dissenters, ‘frighted and turned his body like an eel’, to the merriment of MPs, and desired to be excused. Amused as anybody, Speaker Harley ensured that only Pakington’s name appeared in the Votes. A few days later, during proceedings on a disputed election, Howe took exception to the way in which Sir John Trevor, the disgraced former Speaker, was regularly held up as an exemplar of corrupt behaviour. He was appointed on 20 Mar. to the drafting committee of a bill to prevent bribery and corruption at elections, and on the 21st to an address committee to advise the King of the ‘ill consequences’ of the Partition Treaty. On 24 Mar. his criticism of the treaty far exceeded the bounds of decency and was long remembered as one of the most scurrilous and outrageous reflections against the King ever heard in the House. ‘I cannot call this a treaty’, Cocks reported him as saying,
but a combination of three robbers to rob the fourth . . .; it is as if three men with a felonious intention should agree to break open the house of another person that was sick when he died and one of the other three was to have all the goods; the sick man dies and gives all his goods to one of them; he that is executor will no longer consent to the robbery.
It was, as one MP put it, ‘the grandest reflection upon the King imaginable’, especially since, with the Lords’ recent acquittal of those former ministers accused of negotiating the treaty, it appeared that England’s accession to it had been ‘the pure action of his Majesty’. In calling Howe to order, Goodwin Wharton, protested that ‘such words as these were never given nor used in an ale house, bawdy house or tavern’. Speaker Harley claimed not to have heard them, however, because Howe ‘had a low voice, he was ill and at a distance’ and could not, therefore, be called up to the bar to be formally reprimanded. Howe weakly attempted to explain that his meaning had been that ‘kings can do no harm and that he reflected only upon the ministry’. The King’s anger, according to one account, was such that he would have demanded ‘satisfaction’ from Howe but for their difference in rank. Howe’s unfortunate outburst was reported far and wide; in England over the next few months he became an object of popular hatred, while at Paris and St. Germain his open denunciation of his monarch gave rise to toasts ‘à la santé de Monsieur Jack Howe’. On 29 Mar., when no Member was prepared to defend the Earl of Portland, Howe caused ‘some heats and reflections’ with his comment that such was
the instability of human affairs that that great lord that so lately had so many obeisances from the gentlemen of the House, so many respects paid him, that even gentlemen of good quality thought it an high honour to drink chocolate with his footman, and that now, this great man had not one friend to speak for him.
He was appointed on 1 Apr. to the committee to draw up Portland’s impeachment, and on the 12th to the committee to translate the correspondence which incriminated Portland in the negotiation of the treaty. On 14 Apr., after Somers’ defence in the debate on his impeachment, Howe rather pointedly condemned ministers who were ‘so base and ungrateful’ as to cast blame for their bad advice upon the King. Next day, after the House was notified of the formal commencement of impeachment proceedings, Howe stated that Somers’ correspondence with the King in August 1698 showed that the ministers acted as ‘the advisers of the treaty and demonstrates that the King to his honour had acted by English councils[;] and [he] exclaimed against the vileness of the Lords in endeavouring to make the King the author of their faults’. Moving to have the most incriminating letter read, he and a fellow Tory, James Brydges, were ordered to translate it into English. He also made the opening move in a projected attack on the Earl of Tankerville, lately first lord of the Treasury, by securing the appointment of a select committee to investigate accusations of corruption against John Dutton Colt* while collector of customs at Bristol; the Treasury commissioners were believed to have shielded Colt from dismissal. On the 16th Howe uttered, in Cocks’s opinion, ‘more worse words than sense’ in pledging his support for an address calling for Somers and the other impeached lords to be banished for ever from royal counsels and promising support in the event of war. However, the King’s reply on the 24th had such a calming effect that Howe himself moved for a message of thanks. In supply proceedings Howe put forward several expedients designed as much to retrench as to raise revenue. On 8 Apr., complaining of the ‘miserable state we are in’, he promised schemes for selling royal forests, and for cutting down on the number of grants and placemen, and on the 23rd proposed raising money by taxing officials who had not followed proper procedures in passing their accounts, and by reducing the number of Exchequer officials. Cocks observed, however, that ‘Mr Howe’s notions were all loose’ and none of his suggestions were taken seriously. He had also had the opportunity to air his views on particular aspects of public finance and the national debt in a number of committees to which he had been appointed, and had become quite determined to leave his own distinctive mark in the matter of public saving. In the committee of supply on 2 May he ruminated on the grim prospect of an additional 12d. on the land tax, suggesting instead the taxation of places and grants, and when the subsequent drift of the debate inclined towards his opinion he intervened again, hoping that gentlemen ‘would help him in abating the extravagance, luxuries and debaucheries of the court by abating their pensions and salaries’, and outlined a proposal to reduce the civil list by £100,000. His justification for this cutback had instant appeal among back-benchers, for it was obvious that neither the £50,000 intended for Mary of Modena nor the charges for the household of the late Duke of Gloucester were any longer necessary. Howe’s prior canvassing of this proposal with MPs had brought it to the attention of Seymour, Simon Harcourt I, and Speaker Harley, who had in recent months thrown their support behind the new ministry, and it was with some desperation that during the debate they laboured to prevent a resolution for its implementation. However, they were unable to subdue the enthusiasm of many Whigs, as well as Tory back-benchers, and the committee instructed its chairman to move the House to adopt it. Howe brought the measure in on 5 May, and in what Cocks described as ‘the oddest division that ever was’ it passed the House, though some of Howe’s Tory supporters judged it to be ‘ill-timed’. Howe’s proposal disconcerted the ministry, for not only was it supported by Tories who had recently become pro-Court, but also by Whigs angered at the King’s failure to defend Lord Somers from parliamentary onslaught. His pleasure at this outcome was apparent next day in a debate on the non-payment of seamen’s wages. The disclosure that the navy treasurer had nothing but Exchequer bills in hand prompted Howe to remark that ‘he was glad to see the House in this temper, that all were prepared to find faults’ and to condemn Exchequer bills as a source of trouble to future ministries.15
Other events soon intervened, enabling the ministry to regain its composure. The presentation of the ‘Kentish Petition’ to the Commons on 8 May marked the climax of the extra-parliamentary agitation for war. Howe, after initially condemning the audacity of the Petition and its authors, subsequently moved that if they could be brought to acknowledge their error they should receive a reprimand from the Speaker and be discharged. But on the Petitioners’ refusal to recant, he withdrew his motion and supported their confinement in custody. The following day, the 9th, Howe himself made a significant contribution to the recovery of the ministerial position in the Commons when, in line with ministerial thinking, he acknowledged the necessity of a positive response to the Dutch call for assistance against the French. In opening the debate, he told MPs that
now there was occasion we should show the world that we were misrepresented and demonstrate to them that we were neither to be affrighted nor bribed, but that we would manage things so that we would not be principals and yet not neglect anything that was necessary for our safety; that the breach of our original treaties with the Emperor was a great occasion of our present misfortunes: that the States were not yet formally attacked but that they were in that condition that they must attack or be overwhelmed; that the liberties of Europe were in danger from France; that it was a just quarrel to defend our injured neighbours: . . . that he was for a general resolution that we should be unanimous.
Towards the end of the debate he clashed angrily with two Whigs, John Smith I and Sir William Strickland, 3rd Bt., on points of procedure. It was evident from his remarks a few days later, however, that Howe’s stance was calculated not so much to improve his rapport with the ministry as to pander to popular feeling on the subject of war. Such an interpretation was purveyed in a satirical piece against him entitled A New Dialogue between Mr Shacoo, alias Jack Howe, the Scandal of Parliament and the Poussin Dr, while L’Hermitage reported that he had received a letter from his Gloucestershire constituents urging him to support war. On the 12th, when the supply committee considered the question of how the Dutch were to be assisted, he took the more popular line, differing with pro-Court Tories, notably Harley, Musgrave and Harcourt, and arguing in favour of sending men rather than money. In the remainder of the session it was the late Whig ministers who were the main focus of his spleen. On 13 May he accused the Kentish Petitioners, in the course of ‘a long, historical oration’, of being the ‘instruments’ of the impeached lords who, he observed, were still members of the Privy Council. He was no doubt mindful of the contents of a public letter to the Speaker, the so-called ‘Legion Letter’, in which well-wishers of the Kentish men pilloried him for his recent attacks on the Partition Treaty and called for his expulsion from the House. When Seymour complained of the letter on the 14th, Howe observed that ‘he took it to be an honour to him to have these men think ill of him’, and was afterwards the first nominee to a committee to address the King on the need for action against the fomenters of ‘tumults and sedition’. However, matters became heated when Sir William Strickland, 3rd Bt., reacted angrily to an intemperate remark of Howe’s that the Petitioners were ‘no more to be regarded than barking cur dogs’, and the House intervened to prevent the quarrel proceeding to a duel. On 16th he inveighed yet again against Somers; on 17th he spoke for the Old East India Company, castigating the New Company as ‘tools of the late ministry’, and on the 19th he warmly defended Seymour from charges of bribery in the Totnes election. He spoke on 20 May against exempting parsons of small vicarages from being rated for the land tax, saying that it was the payment of tithes that turned many Anglicans into Dissenters, and that this exemption ‘would occasion more ill blood and make more Dissenters since the parishioners must pay it’. In the subsequent division, however, he voted in favour of the clause. Cocks could not forbear telling him ‘that he had the advantage of me for he might tell the freeholders that he spoke against the clause and might tell the clergy that he voted for it’. On 21 May the ministry finally returned to the civil list question. Ill from his bronchial condition, Howe opened the debate in the supply committee with ‘a low voice . . . [and] spoke long with little spirit’, recapitulating his original proposal for a £100,000 reduction. Cocks was suitably unimpressed by what appeared to be yet another volte-face:
it was to me very remarkable to see a man that had broke through all the rules of justice and moral honesty in order to impeach and sacrifice the old ministry to the new, so abandon the new as to break all their measures and sacrifice those he had so lately exalted and in whose interest he was.
However, when Howe had done, Seymour proposed a more attractive scheme, which had evidently been preconcerted with, or at least been endorsed by the ministry beforehand, to subtract £3,000 a week from the civil list revenues and on this security raise £700,000 over three or four years which could be applied to the national debt. At the report on 23 May, having been persuaded in private that insistence on his original demand for a £100,000 reduction ‘would advance the interest of his enemies and ruin his friends’, he declared his acceptance of an amended version of Seymour’s scheme. Howe’s speech was, in Cocks’s words, a long ‘Canterbury story incoherent’, which included reference to reports of his celebrity status in France. He criticized the ‘unjust’ method of raising the civil list though was ‘not for lessening the King’s income’, and took pleasure from the fact that his earlier initiative had successfully ‘confounded’ the old civil list arrangements. He essayed further obstruction, however, on 27 May with a motion that the committee of ways and means consider reducing the salaries of ‘the great places that managed the revenue’, his professed intention being to lessen Lord Halifax’s (Charles Montagu*) £7,000 salary as auditor of the Exchequer. But Seymour and Musgrave succeeded in adroitly manoeuvring him into accepting a more anodyne formula. He had returned unwell to his Gloucestershire estate when three weeks later he received the unwelcome news that he had achieved second place in the ballot for the new commission of public accounts. In a revealing letter to Harley he denied having deliberately sought a place, though admitted that in the previous session he had offered to serve without salary.
But since that I have been seized by a very troublesome disease almost continually upon me which makes me wish myself at liberty from any sort of attendance, being very uneasy to be forced from my duty by frequent fits of the gout which I must expect henceforth both sudden and tedious. Before I left London I had some discourse with Mr Hammond [Anthony*] and others about this matter who seemed to desire me to undertake that employment. I told him I was much more willing to do it gratis than for a salary, but that I would not live constantly in town for so many thousand pounds, and that in general I could not possibly attend as I ought without ruin to my health as well as prejudice to my small affairs, which though they are such as I thank God I am well contented with, will not admit of either extraordinary expense or neglect. I am very sensible that I have the good fortune to have procured many bitter and violent enemies . . . whose peculiar principle it is, not to care what they say or do to blast my reputation, what I have always valued above all things in this world, this with some little notice I have had of the turn they already give this matter makes me desirous to set it in a true light, and to beg the favour of you to communicate this either generally and publicly to the House, if the lot fall upon me, or otherwise as you find more proper.
In the event, however, the bill establishing the commission failed to complete its passage.16
In October 1701, Howe caused ripples of annoyance at court with the wording of an address to the King which he had prevailed upon his grand jury to endorse. In the opinion of Vernon the phraseology was acceptable enough on the subject of France and the Pretender, but veered towards disrespect to the King in praising the Commons’ recent critical stance over the the Partition Treaty. Even so, many Gloucestershire gentry were losing patience with Howe’s embarrassing tactlessness in Parliament and questioned his continued value as their representative. A week or so after the dissolution of Parliament in November, with his interest in the county visibly in decline, he had a meeting with the King during which he made ‘many excuses for some things he may have said or done’. It was inaccurately reported that immediately afterwards Howe had been nominated for the shrievalty of Gloucestershire, being so unlikely to retain his seat. Howe’s desperate battle to remain a knight of his shire excited national interest, and a flood of pamphlets denounced him as a Jacobite and criticized his outspokenness against the King. His candidacy in Gloucestershire inspired one of the most vigorous Whig campaigns in the election, and his defeat early in December was no surprise, least of all to himself. His old friend Hammond lamented to an acquaintance ‘that Mr Howe was not secured in some other place: but I look upon that to proceed from the relics of former grudges’. The accession of Queen Anne in March 1702, however, bringing the promise of reward and recognition to stalwart Tories like himself, revived his political spirits and mischievousness. Within days of the King’s death he teased the judges attending the Gloucestershire assizes with an exposé of ‘the last ministry, judges, partition treaty, libel and some other touches of the secret history of the last reign’, and, fully aware that their patents had just expired, found them willing to accept whatever he said. He also claimed to have seen papers showing that had he lived, the late King intended to commit Princess Anne to the Tower. The group of peers directed by the Queen to examine the late King’s papers reported on 4 May that they had found no substantiating evidence for the report. In the meantime he caused a stir with another address he presented from the Gloucestershire grand jury. The address, which he himself had drafted, contained ‘matters different from the common sort’ in emphasizing the ill-treatment the new Queen had received in the previous reign. Howe assured one disbelieving Whig that the Queen ‘had been much slighted, in so much that at court the very servants were ordered not to keep off their hats before her, and that she was represented to the King to have a design of bringing in the Prince of Wales, or to bring in her father, and that there was a design to put her by’. Moreover, the Queen’s initial reception of it ‘in so particular a manner’, as Burnet wrote, ‘looked like owning that the contents of it were true’. The Whig gentry, however, were so incensed by the liberty taken that they sent up a more conventionally worded address which was presented by the lord lieutenant, the Earl of Berkeley (Charles Berkeley†), to which the Queen accorded a gracious reply. On 21 Apr. Howe was sworn a Privy Councillor, but he was disappointed not to be offered anything more substantial. In the final week of April it was widely speculated that he was to be appointed postmaster-general, but there came an announcement that he had refused to accept an office of profit, thus silencing his enemies’ jibe that his longstanding ‘peevishness’ in Parliament ‘was for want of preferment’. He declared his candidacy in the forthcoming election both for the county and the city of Gloucester. However, the neglect shown by the Court towards his own loyal address perplexed him a good deal, and as he confided on 6 May to Lord Nottingham, he considered that such ill-treatment from the Court was bound to have repercussions on his electoral campaign in the county. As his apprehensions about the address subsided so his agitation grew about Lord Berkeley’s continuing refusal to comply with government instructions to restore him to his militia colonelcy, believing, not improperly, that it was done purposely to damage his election prospects. In the meantime, Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) got nowhere in his efforts in July to attach him to the Court with an offer of the clerkship of the pipe, with a salary of £600. ‘Perhaps he thinks it good enough for me’, Howe told Nottingham: ‘I confess I do not.’ Although he had been highly critical of Exchequer sinecures, he was reluctant to seem ungrateful a second time, and informed Godolphin that he was prepared to accept it for his son. He was enraged, however, when this was abruptly refused on the grounds of his son’s minority, and more so when he found that the clerkship was worth considerably more than £600 p.a. He none the less accepted a pension shortly afterwards. Eventually Lord Berkeley, who had come out openly against him in the election, did restore him to his militia commission, but only after the musters had been held, and too late to assist him in the county election. Howe took extra precautions against defeat. In addition to the city and county of Gloucester, he stood for Bodmin, on the interest of Bishop Trelawny of Exeter, and for Newton, through the offices of Lord Nottingham with Peter Legh†. His return for all four constituencies was seen as a public demonstration of his return to respectability after the chastening experience of odium and defeat the previous year. One clergyman commented that ‘his election for so many distant places at once is an instance of greater interest and authority, and of more diffusive reputation than ever any commoner of England . . . could boast before’. To add to his victory, he shortly afterwards obtained £400 damages at the assizes in an action for slander against a Gloucestershire Whig who had branded him as a Jacobite in the previous election. The judgment was later upheld by the Lords.17
In September 1702, Godolphin encountered Howe at Bath in company with several other leading Tories, and was evidently disturbed to find them of opinion that the naval expedition on its way to Cadiz was ‘ridiculous and impossible to succeed’. As the beginning of the new Parliament drew near, Godolphin became almost desperate that Howe should accept a suitable office and not be given an excuse to resume his habits of opposition. At the beginning of October Howe was ‘very angry’ that Godolphin had passed him over for the comptrollership of the Household in favour of Seymour, yet at the same time his conscience was racked over the question of whether he should accept anything from the government at all. On 18 Oct. he saw Lord Godolphin in order that he might renounce his pension: the treasurer reported that day to Lady Marlborough that
it was an uneasiness upon him which he could not bear, now the Parliament was come; that my Lord Marlborough [John Churchill†] had made him accept it, by telling him it would be easier to the Queen at the time than to put him into an employment, though he found others who had been his friends and companions, and whose pretensions perhaps were no better than his, had had more favours in that matter . . . I believe this is occasioned partly by the unsteadiness of his temper and partly by his vanity that cannot suffer Sir Christopher Musgrave or Mr Vernon should be in the teller’s office before him.
On the 20th Godolphin found Howe in ‘better humour’ having disposed of his pension; ‘I can’t say he is in the wrong to quit it, but then why was he so fond of taking it, and how is that matter altered, because another man has a place? In short, he is vain and whimsical and incoherent, with a good deal of wit and humour.’ Howe nevertheless became a Court supporter in Parliament. At the first day’s proceedings, 23 Oct., he presented himself as a zealous defender of the Church, a guise in which he had rarely appeared in the last reign. Both he and Seymour ‘fell upon . . . persons who set up very much for a reformation grounded upon hypocrisy (such they called) who could come to Church in a morning to qualify themselves for places, but returned again in the afternoon to their conventicles’. According to Burnet, Howe went so far as to move for a bill ‘to prevent hypocrisy in religion, without further design as he told me, than to expose the Dissenters and show what rogues they were’. Though the suggestion was not immediately taken up in the House, it evidently encouraged William Bromley II to proceed on 4 Nov. with Lord Nottingham’s plan for an occasional conformity bill. In consequence of his contributions to the opening debate, and also of his by now obvious seniority among the large Tory rank-and-file, he was among the first three Members to be nominated to prepare the Address. Other quasi-ceremonial tasks also helped to enhance his status as a Tory elder. On 10 Nov. he was one of a small committee ordered to convey the thanks of the House to the Duke of Ormond, Lord Marlborough and Sir George Rooke* for their recent services to the nation, while three days later he and Hon. John Granville were ordered to thank Bishop Trelawny for his recent thanksgiving sermon at St. Paul’s. On the 24th, in a committee of the whole to consider provision for Prince George should the Queen predecease him, Howe respectfully moved for the generous annual sum of £100,000. He handled the initial stages of a bill for establishing a workhouse at Gloucester from late November, and was first-named to its second-reading committee on 7 Jan. 1703. His continuing interest in the occasional conformity issue at this time is indicated by his appointment on 10 Dec. 1702 to a committee to redraft an amendment to the bill. Howe was at last brought into office in mid-December with the lucrative post of joint-paymaster of the forces with a salary of £1,500. It had been decided to split the full paymaster’s office formerly held by Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones*), and Howe was given responsibility for the funding of guards and garrisons at home. In the weeks that followed, his Whig detractors took great delight in exposing Howe’s hypocrisy in the light of his well-known objections to the presence of office-holders in Parliament. But his light-hearted riposte to the jibes of one Whig was that he had not behaved inconsistently at all since he had ‘but half a place’. Despite the news of his appointment, however, it was noted that Howe’s speech in the proceedings on 15 Dec. regarding the £5,000 pension proposed for Marlborough, was ‘not without reflections’, although it was understandable given that the two men had heartily detested each other since 1695. A bill moved for on the 23rd to exclude all placemen from the Commons may well have been prompted in part by Howe’s recent appointment, but he was prominent alongside Seymour and Musgrave in blocking its introduction. Instead they successfully sought leave for a bill to qualify candidates in parliamentary elections, a less contentious but favourite Tory measure for which Howe had frequently pressed on previous occasions. He presented it on 4 Jan. 1703, supervised all its stages, and carried it to the Lords on 8 Feb. where it was later rejected. Now in the role of a dutiful Court Tory, Howe conducted himself with a gravity and decorum that contrasted sharply with his behaviour under William III, and his detachment from senior Tory figures was ever more apparent. On 15 Jan. when Seymour, Musgrave and others tried to obstruct the passage of the malt bill, Howe ‘spoke handsomely . . . and wondered the gentlemen should oppose the carrying a money bill up to the Lords; he thought it was a distrusting her Majesty’. It was Howe who presented the Queen with the Commons’ request that the army in the Low Countries be supplied with home-produced goods and materials, and who reported the Queen’s assurances to the House on 21 Jan. On 13 Feb., he took his party’s line in voting against agreement with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for prolonging the time for taking the abjuration oath. But although he showed his old party colours from time to time, Howe’s absorption into the new ministry was so thorough as to give some the impression that he had deserted his old party instincts. On Church issues he had in any case never been zealous. As one observer at this time wrote: ‘he agrees to a hair with the doctrine of the Church of England, and conforms to all her rites and ceremonies; and yet his zeal for the Church (whatever the Dissenters may say of it) has nothing of the frenzy and passion in it’.18
One of Godolphin’s chief concerns on the eve of the next session was the disrupting effects of another bill to outlaw occasional conformity. Godolphin himself personally canvassed Howe’s views and found him convinced of the ‘unreasonableness’ of the bill but also ‘apprehensive that the matter is too far engaged’. It was nevertheless observed that he voted for it. His interventions in the House became noticeably fewer. His nephew, Sir John Guise, 3rd Bt.*, recalled that in Queen Anne’s reign Howe ‘began to change his style from satire to eulogy, which as it is less agreeable to mankind, so was he infinitely less a master in it, and began to lose his reputation as an orator, to receive in exchange that of a pretty good courtier’. The performance of his administrative duties became an important priority with him in the sense that having so often and so vehemently traduced notions of office-holding, he was now determined to shine in the role of a public servant. One commentator observed that he ‘discharges his high post with great justice, honour, and conscience’, while Guise recalled that he executed his office ‘with such exactness and justice as got him no small honour with those who had dealings with him’. On the first day of the 1703–4 session, 9 Nov., he was accorded a place on the Address committee. In a debate on 4 Dec. on naval manning he advocated the most drastic recruiting measures, and after suggesting the naturalizing of foreigners and employment of ‘idle people such as gamesters’, asked ‘why should gentlemen have six footmen hanging behind their coaches when two may do?’ In relation to proceedings on the Scotch Plot in December he was appointed to several committees, and voted in support of Lord Nottingham on 21 Dec. in a motion condemning the secretary’s handling of the plot. He angrily rebuked Seymour on 3 Jan. 1704 for attempting to obstruct progress on a money bill, telling him that ‘business required despatch and if Sir Edward did not think his reasons for delaying it fit to be published, he thought himself at liberty to believe they were of no great weight’. Seymour thundered back, ‘by God, I always expected as much from that dog’, words which indicated the full extent of the breach now subsisting between them. On 5 and 7 Jan. Howe was appointed, presumably by virtue of his office, to assist in drafting the recruiting and mutiny bills, and presented a private bill on a small military matter on 29 Feb.19
Early in November 1704, a few weeks after the opening of the session, it was reported by one source that Howe intended to take a vigorous part in the promotion of a new occasional conformity bill, and that its introduction had been purposely deferred to enable him to do so. He accordingly featured as one of the bill’s supporters when it was introduced on 15 Nov. As a ministerialist, however, he had been forecast the previous month as a probable opponent of the Tack, and when this was put to a division on 28 Nov., Howe stayed away. There are no reports of any further speeches by him during his remaining months in Parliament although his continued involvement in routine business is evident from the Journals. He presented papers on army officers’ pay on 11 Nov., and on 14 Feb. 1705 moved to schedule a second reading for the mutiny bill. Among the several important committees to which he was appointed during the session, he was first-named to that for punishing those who had applied for writs of habeas corpus on behalf of the ‘men of Aylesbury’ (24 Feb.); and on the 28th was among the appointees to confer with the Lords on the matter. Also in February he was active in proceedings that brought to light a major commercial fraud involving a linen-draper named Pitkin who had cheated large numbers of tradesmen and dealers into advancing him credit amounting to £70,000. Howe’s concern with this case presumably arose from his responsibilities for contracts to army suppliers in the woollen industry.20
At the general election in May 1705 Howe was narrowly defeated in Gloucestershire. His subsequent quest for another seat also failed. As an army administrator he held out some hope of assistance from Marlborough to whom he wrote on 23 May desiring him to intercede with Godolphin for the seat at Truro vacated by Godolphin’s nephew Hugh Boscawen II. However, Marlborough’s dislike of Howe had not abated and he delayed writing to the treasurer on the subject until 30 July. While admitting ‘that a man in his place would be useful in the House’, he left Howe’s case to Godolphin to ‘do just what you please’; accordingly the seat was given to a Whig. Howe afterwards made no further attempt to re-enter the House. There were rumours of his impending dismissal from office in June 1706, while further such reports in January 1709 did not blow over until March. It was probably his absence from the Commons and usefulness as an administrator which preserved him from removal. He suffered increasingly long bouts of ill-health, apparently the bronchial condition which had dogged him since the mid-1690s. In June 1710, while he was at Bath, death was reported to be close at hand, and during another visit to the resort in April 1711 he was seen to resemble ‘a mere walking ghost’ who, if lucky, might ‘linger some weeks’. It was about this time that he was struck down with an incapacitating ‘dead palsy’. He was finally relieved of all his local and public offices in September 1714. He died on 11 June 1722 at Stowell where he was buried on the 14th. His only son, John†, succeeded to an estate comprising Stowell and other family manors in Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Glamorgan, his consistent support of the Walpole administration being rewarded with a barony in 1741.21
Contemporaries could not deny that Howe had ‘made a great figure in Parliament’, a fearless and indefatigable speaker who never flinched from his purpose and frequently roused or attracted controversy. But it was also a generally held view that his undoubted talents were clouded by weaknesses of temperament. His way of ‘talking freely’, ‘his observations upon everything’, his strong prejudices and his unpredictability bespoke a want of judgment and a shallowness which did him much harm. He gave every impression of being the discontented courtier biding his time, whose attachment to Country views was selfish and ungenuine, and seemed amply confirmed by his acceptance of office under Queen Anne. With stories about his sexual profligacy, and his indifference to religion so well known, his outlook seemed to lack moral foundation or substance. His gifts of oratory ‘and daring to say what he pleases’, not to mention his bombast, won him a temporary footing in the leadership of the new Tory party soon after his dismissal in 1692; but though he always fought keenly over particular causes and issues, his approach to opposition remained largely undisciplined and idiosyncratic, and with little care to larger considerations of strategy. Beneath this exterior, one nevertheless catches occasional glimpses of a man who in later years felt keenly the ill-effects of misrepresentation and the charges of hypocrisy. It was the formidable streak of rectitude in his personality which gave rise to the vehemence, and as some saw it, the sheer venom, behind his attacks on ‘courtiers’, their ‘luxury’ and ‘corruption’. It also gave rise to his protracted agonizing in the first months of the new reign over the offers of office. Susbsequently, as a ministerialist, he took satisfaction in his office and drew praise for his integrity, but seems never to have redeemed himself with his Whig colleagues. When he lost his seat in 1705, Godolphin and Marlborough were quite unconcerned. As late as 1708, Lord Somers, when reappointed to the Privy Council, told the Queen frankly that he could not bear to sit with ‘one who had behaved himself so undutifully to King William’. Towards the end of Anne’s reign, however, he was perceived in favourable terms. Sir Robert Atkyns†, in his State of Gloucestershire published in 1712, praised Howe as an ornament of his times, pointing out that he had acquired preferment ‘not by flattery, but by freedom of speech in Parliament, where, as a true patriot, he always showed his love to his country’. Some years after Howe’s death, his Whig nephew Sir John Guise, surveying his career from a longer perspective, recognized that Howe had ‘acted a part which will always gain the applause of the people of England, while they maintain their liberty’, and as ‘time, reflection and disappointment had made him look into himself and sit looser to the things of this world, I verily think he became a true and sincere Christian’.22
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Vis. Notts. (Thoroton Soc. Rec. Ser. xiii), 77; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, xiii. 94–106.
- 2. Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 390, v. 165, 247; Cal. Treas. Bks. xviii. 6, 120, xxix. 99; Boyer, Anne Annals, i. 162.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 335; Boyer, i. 23–24.
- 4. Macky Mems. (1733), 117–18; Burnet, v. 47; Macaulay, Hist. Eng. iii. 1336; Atkyns, State of Glos. 367.
- 5. L. Inn Lib. MP100/159; Bodl. Carte 130, ff. 326, 335–6; Luttrell Diary, 4, 5, 19, 41, 44, 50, 51, 56, 74–76, 91, 117, 123, 148, 173–4; Grey, x. 162, 190, 216, 219–20.
- 6. Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 390; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/059/2, Robert Yard to Alexander Stanhope, 28 Mar. 1692; Hopkins thesis, 285; Ralph, Hist. Eng. ii. 336–7; HMC Portland, iii. 460.
- 7. CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 500; HMC Portland, iii. 506; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 611, 614, 641; Luttrell Diary, 234, 309, 338, 348, 363, 376, 380–1, 398, 406, 417, 421, 434, 439, 444, 447, 455–6, 471, 475; Grey, 295, 297, 306.
- 8. Grey, 316, 336, 344, 351, 378.
- 9. Add. 46527, f. 22; 17677 PP, f. 145; Lexington Pprs. 15; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 135; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/48, John Verney* (Ld. Fermanagh) to Sir Ralph Verney†, 21 Nov. 1694; Carte 76, f. 531; HMC Astley, 83.
- 10. Ailesbury Mems. 359; Add. 70018, f. 70; 17677 PP, ff. 438, 441, 445; HMC Downshire, i. 597; Stanhope mss U1590/059/4, Yard to Stanhope, 17 Dec. 1695, 6 Jan. 1696; HLRO, MS 12, f. 115; HMC Hastings, ii. 259.
- 11. Add. 17677 QQ, f. 582; 46525, f. 69; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 34, 53, 73, 86, 110–11, 144; Stanhope mss U1590/059/5, Yard to Stanhope, 3 Nov. 1696; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/16, 22, 24, 32, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 3, 14, 19 Nov., 3 Dec. 1696; Cobbett, v. 1008–9, 1020–1, 1026, 1035, 1043, 1079–83.
- 12. CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 506, 512, 522, 534; Add. 17677 RR, f. 528; 30000 A, f. 414; 30000 B, f. 43; Carte 130, f. 389; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 85, 91.
- 13. CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 370, 428; 1699–1700, pp. 40, 64; Add. 30000 B, ff. 284–5; Cam. Misc. xxix. 368–9, 378, 382, 388, 391, 397; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/140, 145, 147, 159, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 4, 16, 21 Feb., 21 Mar. 1698[–9]; Cocks Diary, 16–17; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 268, 270.
- 14. Cocks Diary, 35–36, 42, 44, 49–50, 52, 54, 57; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 372, 375, 382–3, 386–7, 412, 425, 427, 431, 446, 455; iii. 2, 8, 12, 21; Yale Univ. Beinecke Lib. Manchester mss 1987.1.7, Yard to Ld. Manchester, 28 Dec. 1699, 18 Feb. 1699–1700; Somerset RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 4107(a), ‘notes of debate . . . 15 [sic 13] Feb. 1699[–1700]’; Montagu (Boughton) mss 48/39, 41, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 27 Feb., 5, 9, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30 Mar. 1700; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 618.
- 15. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 112; HMC Portland, iii. 243; SRO, Hamilton mss GD406/1/4667, Gawin Mason to Duke of Hamilton, 10 Dec. 1700; Ralph, Hist. Eng. ii. 911; Cocks Diary, 67, 69, 70–71, 72, 77, 81, 85, 94, 96–97, 98, 100, 102–5, 107–8; Add. 17677 WW, ff. 163, 167–8, 200, 213, 224, 245, 246, 260, 264; Devon RO, Seymour mss 1392/17/L18/01/1, Sir T. Aleyne to his sis., 29 Mar. 1701; Tindal, i. 452; Cobbett, v. p. clxxvi; HMC Rutland, ii. 167; Hereford and Worcester RO (Hereford), Brydges mss A81/IV/23/a, William to Francis Brydges, 6 May 1701.
- 16. Cocks Diary, 115, 117, 120, 122, 125, 127–9, 132, 136, 138–40, 144–7, 150–2; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 50; Add. 70056, Howe to Harley, June 1701.
- 17. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 158; Add. 70148, Edward Popham to Abigail Harley, 22 Nov. 1701; 70254, Robert Price* to Harley, 30 Mar. 1702; 29588, ff. 26, 33, 68, 74, 76, 81, 89, 100, 109, 140; 7078, f. 93; 27440, f. 135; HMC Cowper, ii. 443; iii. 14; LJ, xvii. 635; Burnet, iv. 554; v. 47; Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle, box 70, folder 1, bdl. 3, newsletter 9 Apr. 1702; bdle. 4, newsletter 7 May 1702; Surrey RO (Kingston), Somers mss 371/14/D8, Thomas Stephens* to Bp. Fowler, 18 Apr. 1702; W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Temple Newsam mss TN/C9/241, Christopher Stockdale to Visct. Irwin (Arthur Ingram*), 28 Apr. 1702; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 203, 513.
- 18. HMC Portland, iv. 46; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 125, 133; Bodl. Ballard 38, f. 187; Burnet, v. 49, 55; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/5, James* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 8 Dec. 1702; Cal. Treas. Bks. xviii. 120; Add. 47130A, ff.20–21; Herts RO, Panshanger mss D/EP/F29, Lady Cowper’s commonplace bk., p. 320; Norris Pprs. (Chetham Soc. ix), 107, 123; HMC Bathurst, 3–4; Tindal, i. 587; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 173; Boyer, i. 203; Trinity, Dublin, King letterbks. MS 1489/2, Abp. King to Francis Annesley*, 23 Mar. 1702–3; Dunton, Life and Errors, 350.
- 19. Bath mss at Longleat House, Portland misc. pprs., Godolphin to Harley, 9 Nov. ; Guise Mems. (Cam. Soc. ser. 3, xxviii), 146; Dunton, 350; NMM, Sergison mss Ser/103, ff. 454–6; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. iii. 154; Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Methuen–Simpson corresp. MS. C163, Paul Methuen* to Sir William Simpson, 4 Jan. 1703[–4].
- 20. Bodl. Rawl. lett. 92, f. 268; Bull. IHR, xli. 179.
- 21. Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 469; HMC Kenyon, 437; Wentworth Pprs. 69, 78, 117; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(4), pp. 30–31; HMC Portland, iv. 671; Add. 47126, ff. 73–74; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxix. 99; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes, 103; PCC 157 Marlbro’.
- 22. BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 53, James Johnston* to Trumbull, 24 Nov. 1708; Atkyns, 367; Guise Mems. 146–7.