NAPIER, Nathaniel (c.1668-1728), of More Critchell, Dorset
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Family and Education
b. c.1668, o. surv. s. of Sir Nathaniel Napier, 2nd Bt.* educ. L. Inn 1683; Trinity, Oxf. matric. 10 Apr. 1685, aged 16. m. (1) July 1691, Jane (d. 1692), da. of Sir Robert Worsley, 3rd Bt.†, of Appuldurcombe, I.o.W., s.p.; (2) 28 Aug. 1694, Catherine, da. of William Alington†, 1st Baron Alington of Wymondley, sis. and coh. of Giles, 2nd Baron, 5s. 3da. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 21 Jan. 1709.
Freeman, Salisbury 1683–4, Oct. 1688–d.1
A Tory like his father, Napier was returned for Dorchester in 1695 on his family’s interest. He was listed in January 1696 as a probable opponent of the Court over the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association in February. He obtained leave of absence, owing to his wife’s ill-health and other unspecified causes, on 7 Nov. 1696, 11 Mar. 1697 and 7 Apr. 1698. In September 1698 he was classed as a member of the Country party, and was forecast as likely to oppose the standing army. On 3 Feb. 1699 he sought further leave, and on 11 Dec. was a defaulter from a call of the House. In the first 1701 Parliament Napier was listed as a probable supporter of the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and appeared on the subsequent black list of those opposed to preparations for war with France. Robert Harley* classed him as a Tory in the second 1701 Parliament, and on 26 Feb. 1702 Napier voted for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers. On 8 Apr. he presented the Dorchester workhouse bill.
Napier continued to sit for Dorchester in Anne’s first two Parliaments. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted against agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration, and in March 1704 Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) forecast his support concerning the Scotch Plot. He did not vote for the Tack on 28 Nov., and was subsequently noted as a ‘sneaker’. In the new Parliament, he voted on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker. Although he did not stand in 1708, one pre-election analysis listed him as a Tory and, afterwards, another list classed him as a Court Tory. He was returned again for Dorchester in 1710, when he was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, and his name also appeared on a list of ‘worthy patriots’ who in the 1710–11 session assisted in exposing the mismanagements of the previous administration. Nothing more is known of his political activities until the 1713 session, when he supported the Court on 18 June on the French commerce bill. He was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list. Napier retired from the Commons in 1722, and died at More Critchell on 24 Feb. 1728.2