BENNET, Henry (1618-85)

BENNET, Henry (1618–85)

cr. 14 Mar. 1665 Bar. ARLINGTON; cr. 22 Apr. 1672 earl of ARLINGTON

First sat 21 June 1665; last sat 1 July 1685

MP Callington June 1661-14 Mar. 1665

bap. 6 Sept. 1618, 2nd s. of Sir John Bennet of Dawley, Harlington, Mdx. and Dorothy, da. of Sir John Crofts of Little Saxham, Suff.; bro. of John Bennet, Bar. Ossulston. educ. Westminster; Christ Church, Oxf. 1635, BA 1639, MA 1642, DCL 1663; Camb. LLD. m. 16 or 17 Apr. 1666 (with at least £10,000),1 Isabella (d.1718), da. of Lodewyck (Ludwig) van Nassau, Bar. of Leck and Beverwaert, 1da. kntd. Mar. 1657;2 KG 15 June 1672. d. 28 July 1685; will 25 July, pr. 6 Nov. 1685.3

Sec. to James, duke of York, 1648-57; gent. of the privy chamber 1656-61; kpr. of the privy purse 1661-2; PC 15 Oct. 1662-d.; sec. of state (South) 1662-74; comptroller of prizes 1664-7; postmaster gen. (jt.) 1665-6 (sole) 1667-77;4 commr. trade 1668-72;5 Admiralty commr. 9 July 1673-14 May 1679; commr. Tangier 1673, 1680-4;6 ld. chamberlain 1674-d.; ld. steward to Queen Catharine of Braganza 1680-d.

Resident amb. Madrid 1657-61; amb. extraordinary France and Low Countries June-July 1672; special amb. (jt.) Low Countries 10 Nov. 1674-7 Jan. 1675.

Commr. assessment, Mdx. 1661-5, Westminster 1663-5, loyal and indigent officers, London and Westminster 1662; freeman, Portsmouth 1665; gov. Charterhouse 1667; steward, Norwich Cathedral 1668; gov. Deal castle 1668;7 alderman, Thetford by 1669-d.; steward of the manor of Higham Ferrers aft. Sept. 1669; high steward, Wallingford 1670-d.; Kingston-upon-Thames 1683-d.; custos. rot. and ld. lt. Suff. 1681-d.

Asst. Roy. Adventurers into Africa by 1664-7, 1669-71, Roy. Fishing Co. 1664, Roy. Africa Co. 1673; Grandmaster of freemasons, 1679-d.8

Associated with: Euston Hall, Suff. and Goring House (later Arlington House), Mdx.9

Likenesses: Oil on canvas by P. Lely, c.1655-70, NPG 1853; oil on canvas by P. Lely, c.1676, Christ Church, Oxf and National Trust, Kedleston Hall.

‘A subtle courtier’

Bennet was descended from solid gentry stock on his father’s side and was related to several peers on that of his mother.10 He nonetheless never quite shook off the reputation of being parvenu. His rival, George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, derided him as ‘an arrant fop’.11 Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, found other reasons to dislike him and claimed that he ‘knew no more of the constitution and laws of England than he did for China.’ Equally dismissively (and equally inaccurately) Clarendon wrote that Bennet ‘believed France was the best pattern in the world.’12

It was not to France but to Spain and the Dutch that Bennet looked principally for inspiration. Bennet’s early ambassadorial posting in Spain was to prove a crucial formative experience. The Spanish liking for ceremony appealed to him, and it was at the court in Madrid that he acquired his rather affected, grandiose manner and a lifelong interest in positioning England within a Spanish and (later) Hispano-Dutch sphere.13 He may also have privately committed himself to the Catholic religion. Samuel Pepys, for one, already thought in the 1660s that he was at least a crypto-Catholic.14 If this was so, Bennet nevertheless conformed outwardly to the Anglican Church, and it was not until his final moments that he may at last have revealed his true beliefs, though this was denied strenuously by his widow.15 He was also willing to act with a degree of circumspection about his foreign policy preferences and to assist the king with his entirely opposite agenda of a close alliance with France.16 Genuinely cultivated, he enjoyed the trappings of social eminence but (at the beginning of his career) lacked the foundations on which such a lifestyle was based. This has been pointed out as one of the most significant reasons for explaining his malleability and reluctance to join other courtiers in opposition when his own schemes went awry. Having said that, it is easy to underestimate his achievement in rising through the ranks of nobility and in establishing himself as such a prominent patron of the arts and as a courtier of real significance.17 As a minister he was more capable and influential than many of his better-known colleagues, particularly skilled at the art of collecting supporters through the exploitation of perks and offices. Pepys wrote in April 1667 of a conversation with John Evelyn, who told him (after they had discussed the apparently meteoric rise Thomas Clifford, later Baron Clifford) that ‘there is none that endeavours more to raise those that he takes into favour than my Lord Arlington’.18 Arlington’s development of a significant interest in the Commons and management of Parliament in some ways anticipated that of Thomas Osborne, later Viscount Latimer, earl of Danby and duke of Leeds. Although several of his clients later went their own way or took service with his rivals, at the height of his power he was able to command the allegiance of a significant bloc in the lower House. He was able to manage this group with the aid of his lieutenants Clifford and Joseph Williamson, as well as a number of kinsmen.19 Bennet’s marriage into a Dutch family later extended his interest beyond the confines of East Anglia and the court. It helped to cement his close relationship with Sir William Temple and others close to William of Orange as well as with members of the Butler family.

Pragmatic and efficient, Arlington gained considerable notoriety for his willingness to adapt himself to the times and forge alliances with any number of competing factions. It did not, however, prevent him from resenting those who stood in his way or crossed him: the French ambassador at one point suggested that Arlington ‘would join with the devil to ruin an enemy.’20 His power, though, rested on royal favour: John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham and Normanby, considered him to have been ‘rather a subtle courtier, than an able statesman; too much regarding every inclination of his master, and too little considering his true interest and that of the nation’.21 For all his avowed interest in furthering a Spanish alliance as the best means of advancing English trade, this statement may provide the key to Arlington’s motivation.

Bennet was the second son of a substantial gentleman with estates in Middlesex and Suffolk. His most significant association came to be with the latter. It was here that he built his country retreat and also where his kinsman, William Crofts, Baron Crofts, exercised his interest. Originally intended for the Church, Bennet soon found his métier in more political activities.22 The Civil War interrupted his studies at Oxford, but although he served George Digby, styled Lord Digby (later 2nd earl of Bristol), in a non-combatant role, he succeeded in acquiring a scar on the bridge of his nose while participating in a skirmish near Andover. He drew attention to the wound by sporting a black sticking plaster for the rest of his life.23 This appears to have been the limit of Bennet’s participation in the conflict though it is possible, if unlikely, that he was the Henry Bennet noted as a major in Colonel Boys’s regiment.24 Following the fall of Oxford, Bennet joined the royalist party overseas and by 1648 he was a significant figure in the court in exile, becoming secretary to James, duke of York. Despite this, he was never close to York and was from the outset considered very much the king’s man.25 As such he was despatched to Madrid at the close of 1656 to fulfil the post of royal agent to the court there. His status was later upgraded to that of ambassador and he remained in post in Spain until after the Restoration.26

Secretary of state, 1661-5

Bennet returned to England from Spain in the spring of 1661, too late to participate in the elections to the Cavalier Parliament. By this time he had aligned himself with his old patron, Bristol, against Clarendon. Clarendon was later to deride his young rival as being ‘without money, without friends, without industry or any one notable virtue.’27 For all these apparent limitations Bennet was able to make progress at court and pressure was placed upon Clarendon to provide him with a safe seat in the House of Commons as soon as one became available. Accordingly, in June Bennet was returned for Callington in Cornwall. More courtier than Parliament man, though, and more at home in the fusty ceremonial of the Spanish court than in the rough and tumble of English politics, Bennet found aspects of Parliament unnerving. In 1664 he wrote to James Butler, duke of Ormond (who then attended the House as earl of Brecknock), that ‘although there be safety (as Solomon says) in a multitude of counsellors, yet we cannot but think ourselves at ease when we are fairly rid of them’.28

When in August 1661 Bennet was appointed keeper of the privy purse, a post that had been expected to go to one of Clarendon’s creatures, it encouraged Bennet and Bristol to persist in their attacks on the lord chancellor.29 He was unsuccessful in his attempt to secure appointment as ambassador to France. His pretensions to that post appear to have been stymied in part by advice conveyed to Louis XIV by the French ambassador Estrades, who thought it inappropriate that someone he considered little more than a Spanish pensioner should be installed at the Paris embassy, and the post went to Denzil Holles, Baron Holles, who was generally assumed to be close to Clarendon.30 Bennet’s appointment as secretary of state in October 1662, replacing Sir Edward Nicholas, however, was generally regarded as a signal success for the opposing faction.31 By mid-October, Pepys noted that ‘none in court have more the king’s ear now’ than Bennet, Sir Charles Berkeley, later earl of Falmouth, and the king’s mistress, the countess of Castlemaine.32 Bennet’s and Bristol’s influence was recognized not only in the creation of the Declaration of Indulgence, published at the very end of 1662, but also in the bill presented in the House of Lords by John Robartes, 2nd Baron Robartes, later earl of Radnor, in February 1663 designed to give effect to the Indulgence.

The fall-out from Clarendon’s opposition to the Indulgence meant that Bristol and Bennet were reckoned to have virtually ousted Clarendon from Charles II’s favour, and by the early months of 1663 Pepys concluded that Bennet’s progress meant that things had ‘changed to the worse’. He noted that a number of other prominent courtiers were now ‘afeared of him’ and recorded that Edward Montagu, earl of Sandwich, had attempted to bribe him with a present of a gold cup, though Bennet had refused to be bought.33 But Bristol’s partnership with Bennet became unstuck as Bristol overreached himself, demanding a position in Charles II’s counsels which the king was reluctant to concede; well before the farce of Bristol’s attempt to impeach Clarendon, Bennet had been brought to a reconciliation with the lord chancellor and was seen to be operating in alliance with him against his former patron. Despite Bristol’s effective removal from the political scene, it was not a partnership to last, and by the close of the following year Bennet was said to be working closely with two other men hostile to the chancellor, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Baron Ashley (later earl of Shaftesbury), and John Maitland, duke of Lauderdale [S] (who sat in the House as earl of Guilford). With them he was at the forefront of those promoting a war against the Dutch in the expectation of acquiring easy spoils and in the hopes of gaining leverage over Clarendon.34

The fall of Clarendon, 1665-7

At the opening of March 1665, shortly after the declaration of war against the Dutch, Bennet was raised to the peerage. The choice of title caused Bennet some problems. Although the warrant for creating him a baron noted that he was to be created Baron Bennet of Arlington, this was not the style on which he settled. He appears early on to have rejected all thoughts of using his surname, perhaps fearing that any future wife would be forced to share the title Lady Bennet with a well-known brothel keeper of the same name. Certainly this was the tale recounted by Wood, who also recorded a ditty featuring ‘Lord Benet and Bawd Benet and Knight Benet and Shite Benet.’ Bennet’s first choice of title appears to have been Colnbrook, while advice from Sir Edward Walker, garter king of arms, suggested that he might reasonably assume the titles of Bradston or Ingoldsthorp. Walker also noted the availability of St Amand and Dunsmore. Failing these, Walker suggested that ‘he might take one from some place in his possession as Dawley … or be baron of the place near Andover where he received his honourable scar.’ Bennet toyed with the notion of taking the title of Lymington, and also considered Paddington before eventually settling on Cheney, to which he pretended a remote claim.35 A patent was drawn up accordingly creating Bennet Baron Cheney of Harlington in Middlesex.36 Although the barony of Cheney was extinct, the remaining members of the family protested and Bennet was compelled to withdraw his pretension to that title and settle instead on Arlington, from the village of Arlington (or Harlington) of which his brother was lord of the manor and where it had originally been intended he was to have been the incumbent. It is indicative of the confusion that surrounded Arlington’s selection of title that in mid-March he was still being referred to by the French ambassador as Cheney and by at least one other commentator as Lord Blandford.37

For all the confusion over his choice of title, Arlington’s promotion to the peerage served to underscore his continuing rise at court. In May it was reported that the king was to be seen each day supping with a cadre of close advisors, among them Lady Castlemaine, Arlington, Ashley and Lauderdale.38 On 21 June 1665 Arlington took his seat in the House for the first time, introduced between his cousin, Crofts, and William Brydges, 7th Baron Chandos. That summer, Arlington wrote to Richard Legh to assure him of having used his interest to secure the post of governor of Chester for Geoffrey Shakerley. This may have been indicative of his continuing effort to develop his party in the Commons, where he was also able to look to the helpful presence of his brother, John, and brother-in-law, Sir Robert Carr. Much of his contact with his various associates was coordinated by his secretary, Williamson.39

Arlington was a visitor at Ashley’s seat at St Giles in Dorset in mid-September.40 By the end of the month he was in Oxford for the meeting of Parliament that had been moved from London because of the plague. Although he was present in the city on 8 Oct. 1665 he failed to attend the opening day of the session on 9 Oct., waiting until the following day to take his place. He was then present on ten of the session’s 19 sitting days.41 The following day he wrote to Ormond advising him of the impracticality of attempting to repeal the 1663 act restricting the importation of Irish cattle into England. Rather, he warned him that the mood of Parliament was such that a bill for a complete ban on Irish cattle was likely to be warmly received, and recommended that the Irish find another market for their livestock. On 12 Oct. he was named to the committee for privileges, and on 16 Oct. he was entrusted with the proxy of John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester, which was vacated by the close. Two days later, Arlington wrote again to Ormond advising him to do what he could to gratify James Tuchet, 3rd earl of Castlehaven [I] (who sat in the House as 13th Baron Audley). On 21 Oct. he was entrusted with the proxy of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Cleveland, which was vacated by the close. By 25 Oct. Arlington was able to assure Ormond that the numerous interventions to be expected in the House combined with the king’s reluctance to pass the measure and the brevity of the session would prevent any progress being made in passing the bill prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle.42 Two days later he acquainted the House with the king’s resolution to prorogue the session by the following Wednesday at the latest. Named to two committees that day, Arlington was nominated to a further committee on 31 Oct. before the prorogation brought the session’s business to a close.

Arlington passed the Christmas holidays at the home of his kinsman, Crofts, in company with several other courtiers, including the man who would become a key rival, Buckingham.43 Despite the ongoing war with the Dutch, by the middle of January 1666 rumours began to circulate of an impending match between Arlington and a Dutch noblewoman, Isabella van Nassau. Arlington’s prospective bride was a relative of the king’s nephew, William of Orange (later King William III), and was sister-in-law to Ormond’s heir, Thomas Butler, earl of Ossory [I] (later a member of the Lords as Baron Butler of Moore Park) and, according to Sir Philip Frowde, ‘a fine discreet lady personable and well shaped.’ Ormond was said to have been instrumental in bringing the match about, through the medium of the duchess of York. The affair helped to feed general rumours that ‘the court inclines to thoughts of peace.’44

The plague was still rife in London in the middle of January 1666. At the beginning of the following month, though, Arlington returned to Whitehall, ‘whither the necessity of affairs brought his majesty’ and which was by then considered sufficiently free of disease for the court to be convinced of their safety.45 Early in March, it was reported that Ossory and his wife had arrived in England to help with finalizing arrangements for Arlington’s marriage, and on 4 Apr. Arlington was granted a special licence to enable him to marry during Lent.46 Andrew Marvell in his Second Advice to a Painter castigated the match as the only achievement of the war:

And with four millions vainly giv’n as spent,
And with five millions more of detriment,
Our sum amounts yet only to have won
A Bastard Orange for pimp Arlington.47

If Arlington was aware of such criticism it did not prevent him from spending the early part of the summer in ‘a jolly journey with his wife at my Lord Crofts’ house at Sarum’. Enjoyment of his new wife’s company may have been behind his remissness in watching over Ossory as Ormond had expected: in June he was upbraided by Ormond for having allowed Ossory to slip away to join the fleet.48 For this omission, Ormond took ‘the boldness to tell you, you govern not as is expected, or he (Ossory) has not that deference to your advice which I recommended to him.’ By August Arlington was fretting about the threat of a French descent on Ireland, while Ormond worried about the renewed efforts that would be made to pass the Irish cattle bill in the new session of Parliament.49 With such charged matters in prospect Arlington was said to be one of the ministers who had particular reason to fear the new session but the Great Fire of London (2-5 Sept.) forced the otherwise divided members of the council to put aside their differences for the while to respond to the crisis.50

Arlington reluctantly left Moor Park, where he had sought a few days’ respite from the problems in town, to resume his place in the House at the opening of the new session on 18 Sept., though he expected that ‘both Houses would be very thin’. He joined with Crofts to introduce Ossory as Baron Butler of Moore Park, a further indication of his close relations with the Butler family. With the House as empty as Arlington had foreseen, the king then determined to adjourn proceedings until the following Friday.51 Present on almost 87 per cent of all sitting days, on 24 Sept. Arlington was named to the committee for privileges, and he was thereafter named to a further five committees in the course of the session, including that for the bill for rebuilding the City of London. On 26 Sept. the House read Lady Arlington’s naturalization bill for the first time and, following its second reading the next day, it was passed on to a committee presided over by Richard Sackville, 5th earl of Dorset.52 The bill was passed and sent down to the Commons on 4 October.53 It returned to the Lords with the Commons’ concurrence on 10 November.

Besides personal business relating to his wife’s naturalization, Arlington’s attention during the session was dominated by three problems. The first related to the aftermath of the Great Fire. On 29 Sept. 1666 Arlington joined Arthur Annesley, earl of Anglesey, in taking a walk through the city ruins to see for themselves the extent of the devastation. The second concerned the proceedings surrounding the passage of the Irish cattle bill, which were overshadowed by the actions of Buckingham, and the third the usual preoccupation with persuading the Commons to vote adequate supply. Arlington was absent from the House for ten days in October, for which he had been granted leave by the king.54 During his absence he was kept informed by his protégé, Clifford, who reported to him the proceedings of 5 Oct. which revolved around Buckingham’s motion for preventing abuses in the revenue and the Commons’ early consideration of the Irish cattle bill.55 On 13 Oct., two days before he resumed his place, Arlington wrote to Ormond to advise him of the passage of the Irish cattle bill in the Commons. He took heart from the division, which saw the measure passed by 165 to 104 votes, ‘which I confess was a greater opposition than I thought it would have met with there, and such a one as perhaps will encourage the like in the House of Lords more successfully.’ Nevertheless, he wrote to Ormond a few days later to advise against ‘moving the king to improve supply to Ireland’ in order to compensate for the possible impact of the bill on Irish finances. He was embarrassed by the fact that one of those to carry the bill up to the Lords was his brother-in-law, Robert Carr, and was also forced to concede that the Lords appeared ‘as fond of’ the Irish cattle bill as the Commons had been.56 Debates in the House proved to be quite as spirited as they had been in the Commons and on 26 Oct. Arlington had to come to the defence of his brother-in-law, Ossory, following Buckingham’s verbal assault on the intelligence of the Irish. According to Anglesey, Arlington argued back at Buckingham ‘a little too warmly and with some reflection took up the bucklers for my lord of Ossory,’ such that it was only through the House’s interposition that Arlington and Buckingham were prevented from coming to blows.57

With Irish matters continuing to predominate in the session, Arlington hosted a dinner on 6 Nov. 1666 at which were, among others, Richard Boyle, earl of Burlington.58 On 10 Nov. he reported to Ormond that the Lords had all but resolved to pass the bill and that it was thus high time that Ormond ‘bethought yourself of what his majesty may do for that kingdom in recompense of such a damage’, noting also that he had dissuaded Anglesey from proposing a proviso relating to free trade in Ireland, thinking that the temper of the House would be against it. Three days later Arlington reported to Ormond the proceedings following the committee report on the bill, underscoring his hopes that the clause describing Irish cattle as a ‘nuisance’ might yet be excluded. Despite Arlington’s apparent efforts on behalf of Ormond and his associates, the same day, Edward Conway, Viscount (later Earl) Conway, reported to Ormond that he was ‘scandalized’ to discover that Arlington had acted against them with regard to the Scottish articles in the bill. By 20 Nov. Arlington admitted to Ormond that he had ‘but little comfort to send’ him concerning the bill.59

At a meeting at the lord chancellor’s on 13 Jan. 1667, Arlington persuaded the king and other key members of the government to drop the government’s objection to the retention of the term ‘nuisance’ within the Irish bill. Even so, two days later, Arlington complained that the ministry’s concessions appeared not to be sufficient. Conway reported that Clarendon had laid the blame of the government’s decision to permit the passage of the bill squarely at Arlington’s door. Arlington, it was thought, was eager to allow the measure through as part of his effort to maintain satisfactory relations with the Commons.60

Arlington’s eagerness to compromise over the cattle bill was the more understandable when set against his frustration at the slow progress made by the Commons over supply. Back in October 1666 he had complained to Sandwich how ‘our whole time and thoughts are taken up with the Parliament who have not yet agreed upon the way of levying the £1,800,000, it being not easy to do it without burdening the people over much.’ By the middle of November, with little more progress made, Arlington worried that the Commons appeared in too much of an ill temper to deliver what the ministry required in terms of supply.61 Arlington was entrusted with the proxy of his kinsman, Crofts, on 17 December. By the time it was vacated on 8 Feb. 1667 he had been able to inform Sandwich with relief that ‘all our business in Parliament is at an end.’ Happy to be able to turn his back on the chamber for a while he complained ‘the truth is the Parliament ever since it sat has taken up our time so entirely that we have had none left to make compliments.’62

Arlington was unsuccessful in his efforts to secure a seat in the Commons for his secretary Joseph Williamson at Dartmouth in January 1667. (The following year he was also frustrated in his efforts to create a vacancy for Williamson in Durham when the Commons rejected the bill for the county’s enfranchisement in March 1668. The failure was the more irritating as it had followed long and patient negotiation with John Cosin, bishop of Durham, to give way to the notion.63) Shortly after the end of the session, in February 1667, in response to Buckingham’s leadership of the disruption of the previous session and recognizing the danger the duke posed to his own position, Arlington tried to have Buckingham disgraced. Tales of the duke having resorted to fortune-tellers to cast the king’s horoscope, which was a treasonable offence, were seized on (and very possibly elaborated) by Arlington in an attempt to have Buckingham removed from the scene permanently. At first the strategy appeared to work and Buckingham took himself into hiding for the ensuing few months to allow the hue and cry to abate. With Buckingham temporarily out of the way, Arlington was free to progress at court unrestricted.

In the middle of February, it was rumoured that Arlington was employing his contacts at Amsterdam to manage the peace negotiations with the Dutch.64 At the same time he attempted to assure Ormond of his continued good intentions towards Ireland, undertaking to do what he could to promote a measure for the benefit of Ireland then before the council to compensate for the Irish Cattle Act.65 In March rumours circulated that Arlington was to replace the sick Thomas Wriothelesley, earl of Southampton, as lord treasurer, though Pepys dismissed them on the grounds that Arlington was ‘of too small an estate’. Such talk persisted, no doubt encouraged by Arlington’s own ill-disguised ambition to secure the place.66 Later that month Arlington was involved in quizzing witnesses about the whereabouts of the missing Buckingham. He was even said to have employed torture against John Heydon, the man responsible for casting the horoscope.67 The affair began to rebound against him, however, amid suggestions that he had suborned several people to testify against Buckingham. According to one witness, Arlington had paid £100 down with the promise of a further £500 to come.68

In April, Arlington was so ill that he was ‘not to be visited much less solicited about business’.69 By the middle of the month, however, he had recovered sufficiently to resume his correspondence with Ormond.70 The death of Southampton in May renewed expectations that Arlington might replace him as lord treasurer, but once again the expected promotion failed to transpire and the treasury was instead put into commission.71 The following month the Dutch raid on the Medway acted as a catalyst for the peace negotiations as support grew for bringing to a close what had proved to be a costly and unsuccessful conflict.

By the time the peace of Breda was signed in July 1667, Buckingham had re-emerged from hiding. He was subjected to a harsh interview by Arlington, but when he was brought before the council he was able to respond in kind by making a number of insinuations about the secretary to whom he was ‘most bitter and sharp, and very slighting.’ Buckingham’s rapid return to favour threatened Arlington, who was thereby compelled to patch up another hasty alliance with Clarendon and his associates.72 By the close of September, following the dismissal of Clarendon, it was speculated that the new session of Parliament, primed by Buckingham, would be likely to turn its fire on Arlington, Clarendon and Sir William Coventry, who were, unsurprisingly, all said to be ‘ill at ease’ at the prospect.73 Buckingham’s initial plan appears to have been to revenge himself on Arlington, and he was said to have had at least one meeting with Clarendon. In the end, however, perhaps because of Clarendon’s failure to co-operate, Buckingham decided on Clarendon’s destruction, and Arlington made little effort to prevent it. Ruvigny, concerned by Arlington’s close identification with the Spanish party, criticized him and Coventry roundly for their failure to back the chancellor, considering that they had ‘served their master badly in persuading him to please Parliament’ and also concluded that ‘the passion for bringing down the chancellor has blinded them to the extent that they have become dependent and their fortune is now ill-founded.’74

Arlington took his seat in the House almost a month into the new session on 6 November. He was then present on just over three-quarters of all sitting days. Non-attendance up until that point does not mean that Arlington had not been engaged with the affairs then in hand. Late in October he had been required to submit papers concerning the mishandled attack on the Dutch fleet the previous year, and on 4 Nov. he had written to Temple excusing his failure to write on account of his involvement with the parliamentary inquiries into the management of the war.75 A day after taking his seat he was named to the committee for the trial of peers bill. Named to a further five committees in the course of the session, on 9 Nov. he was entrusted with the proxy of John Frescheville, Baron Frescheville, which was vacated on 17 Feb. 1668. Later that month, on 28 Nov. 1667, he also received Crofts’ proxy, which was vacated by 11 Feb. 1668. On 20 Nov. Arlington voted in favour of agreeing with the Commons’ motion to commit Clarendon without a specific charge being assigned.76 He then subscribed the protest when the Lords resolved not to do so. On 26 Nov. he wrote to Ormond complaining that ‘we are not at all advanced in the parliament about the earl of Clarendon,’ but the following day he was able to report that he had it ‘from a very good friend’ that Clarendon was soon to put an end to the impasse by withdrawing. On 28 Nov. he wrote to Sandwich, reporting the debates on privilege relating to the Clarendon impeachment and predicted that ‘tomorrow it is likely either of the Houses will accommodate to the other’s opinion or so finally adhere as the impeachment will fall to the ground between them.’77 Following Clarendon’s flight, Arlington was nominated one of the managers of the conference concerning the paper presented to the House by Clarendon on 4 Dec. and five days later (9 Dec.), he acquainted the House with the king’s message concerning the adjournment.

The succession to Clarendon, 1668-71

Clarendon’s departure brought out into the open a struggle for succession to his position of dominance at court and in politics that had been latent for some years. Although the period has been referred to as ‘the ministry of Arlington’, with the king unwilling to place his complete confidence in any single minister the next few years were marked by an intense jockeying for position, in particular between Arlington and Buckingham. With Clarendon out of the way, at the beginning of 1668 Arlington was clearly unnerved by the prospect of attention turning once more in his direction, and perhaps troubled by rumours that he was one of a number of prominent individuals likely to be prosecuted for bribery over the importation of French wine.78 The French ambassador believed at the end of November that Arlington may have been involved in a new alignment headed by Ashley and Anglesey in the hopes that they would be able to counterbalance Buckingham.79 His advice to the king to order the enforcement of the penal laws against Catholics while showing a more lenient hand towards Protestant Dissenters indicated, however, a rejection of what was seen as the approach represented by Clarendon, shared by both factions.80

The struggle for power was closely related to recovering England’s position as an international power after the disastrous defeat of 1667. Arlington, seen with intense suspicion by the French ambassador Ruvigny, was believed to favour alignment with Spain and the Dutch. Nevertheless, he continued to work with Buckingham on the king’s favoured scheme of a French alliance over the winter, carrying out joint visits to the French ambassador to remove all possibility of misrepresentation. 81 Ruvigny complained of his determination to ‘introduce someone from the Spanish faction’ into the negotiations, either Charles Howard, then styled Lord Andover (later 2nd earl of Berkshire), or Sir Charles Littleton, ‘whom he has recently won over’.82 Arlington, though, pulled off a spectacular success in early 1668, wrong-footing Louis XIV, with the so-called Triple Alliance of England, the Dutch Republic and Spain, designed to bring the continental war to a close.

Alongside his foreign policy success, Arlington moved to consolidate his influence at home, joining Buckingham at the close of the year to request from the king the removal from court of several people who had been closely connected to Clarendon. Among them were the lord chancellor’s sons, Laurence Hyde, later earl of Rochester, and Henry Hyde, then styled Lord Cornbury and later 2nd earl of Clarendon. The request reflected a belief that Parliament and the court would prove more tractable once it was freed from Clarendonian influence.83 Arlington’s foreign policy success helped to encourage rumours that he was to be advanced in the peerage as earl of Cleveland.84 He was thwarted, though, in his efforts to replace Secretary Morrice with his own supporter, Sir John Trevor. Morrice proved unexpectedly unwilling to sell his place, an about-face that left Arlington ‘very surprised’.85 Arlington received Conway’s proxy in mid-January (though it was not registered formally until 14 February). It was vacated on 7 May. At the same time Conway advised Ormond to entrust his proxy to Arlington also, though Ormond appears not to have acted on this.86

The Triple Alliance had both confirmed French suspicions of Arlington and led to a considerable cooling in the relationship between England and France. In negotiations with the French ambassador in January both Arlington and Buckingham were reported to be exasperated with French dilatoriness. In court politics Arlington was understood to be intent on preventing an alliance between York and Buckingham. His efforts were facilitated by Buckingham’s duel with Francis Talbot, 11th earl of Shrewsbury, which left the duke once more in ill favour at court. Surprisingly, Arlington was said to have proposed Buckingham for the lieutenancy of Ireland, from which the king was eager to recall Ormond. This may well have been thought a useful way of both flattering and marginalizing the duke, though the report contradicts Arlington’s long-standing alliance with Ormond, suspicious though the latter may have been of the secretary’s commitment to it. The issue of Ormond’s future would hang in the air for the next year, and lead Ormond to question Arlington’s sincerity.87

By early February 1668 Conway was convinced that, although Arlington ‘labours with all art imaginable not to be thought a premier minister, yet he is either so, or a favourite, for he is the sole guide that the king relies upon.’88 If this was so, his position in no way protected him from the investigations in the Commons into the miscarriages of the war, particularly when they focused on poor intelligence-gathering. Unflattering comparisons were made between his information network and that of Morrice, not least as Arlington’s was known to cost considerably more to maintain.89 When reported in mid-February, the investigation provoked a ‘sharp speech’ against Arlington by Marvell criticizing the manner in which he had acquired his peerage, among other things.90 At the end of April, Arlington was involved in disputes with the northern magnates Charles Howard, earl of Carlisle, and Thomas Belasyse, Viscount (later earl of) Fauconberg, but the cause of the disagreement is not clear. They coincided with rumours that Parliament was preparing to bring charges against both Arlington and Sandwich although Ruvigny believed that it would be ‘a vain pursuit’.91 Arlington may have wanted to engineer a dissolution — Ruvigny thought that Arlington had done ‘all he could to oblige the king his master to break Parliament’, but that he had been prevented by the interposition of George Monck, duke of Albemarle.92

Arlington played host to the king at his as yet unfinished new seat, Euston Hall, during a royal progress through Suffolk in late May. The estate was perfectly situated close to the king’s preferred racing retreat at Newmarket. Despite his efforts, at the close of the month it was reported that the secretary was again fearful for his security amid rumours that the king intended to recall Clarendon.93 Concern over the possible return of the former lord chancellor also left Arlington’s relations with Ormond unsettled until the middle of the summer, by which time the two men appear to have convinced themselves of each other’s sincerity.94 Ossory declared himself pleased that his father, Ormond, had ‘so good an understanding with Lord Arlington’, which he begged him to maintain.95 The duke’s wish to do so was put to the test with Arlington’s appointment as one of the commissioners for investigating miscarriages of government in Ireland alongside a number of Ormond’s sworn enemies, among them Buckingham and Roger Boyle, earl of Orrery [I]. This left Ormond doubting once more how far he could trust his former ally.96 Arlington sought to reassure Ormond that he had no reason to question the king’s judgment and that he ‘should not oppose any way the king would take to be delivered out of his doubts concerning the administration of the revenue of Ireland.’97

In the summer of 1668 Ruvigny was replaced as the French representative by Colbert de Croissy. Colbert’s instructions warned him that the secretary was by no means sympathetic to the French and that Arlington was ‘not only a good Spaniard, having conceived a strong affection for that country in a sojourn of several years at Madrid … but he is still more a good Dutchman, since he has married a Dutchwoman who has great influence over his mind.’98 This being the case, Colbert was instructed to attempt to buy off Arlington with an offer of a pension of £2,500 as well as a down payment of £25,000, but the bribe was rejected, though whether out of care to avoid making himself vulnerable to attack or to avoid entanglement with France is uncertain.99

Arlington suffered from poor health towards the end of August, but he had rallied by 24 Aug. when he dined at Teddington with the lord keeper, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, and Clifford. The next day, he hosted a meeting of the committee for foreign affairs in his chamber, which was also attended by the king and York.100 The following month he was closely involved in discussions with Buckingham over whether or not to permit Parliament to resume as planned in November. According to Colbert, Arlington feared that Parliament, irritated by maladministration, ‘might take this pretext not just to grant nothing, but to press those who have the greatest part in government to make resolutions prejudicial to royal authority’, including insisting on the passage of a triennial bill.101 Despite such concerns, Pepys reckoned by then that either Buckingham, or Buckingham and Arlington together, ‘rule all’. Even so, Arlington prevented Buckingham from securing the secretaryship for Sir Robert Howard and ensured that the place went to his own follower Sir John Trevor instead.102 By the close of September Arlington had added to his own interest by purchasing the governorship of Deal Castle.103

By then, Buckingham and Arlington were once more at loggerheads; Lauderdale was also said to be on bad terms with Arlington.104 The split within the council centred on disagreements over management of the treasury (then held in a commission headed by Albemarle). Many assumed that Arlington would be appointed lord treasurer. He was adamant that such rumours had been put about by his enemies and in the event the commission remained unchanged for the time being.105 The dispute coincided with new moves against Ormond and Anglesey, with Arlington claiming to be eager to do all in his power to assist Ormond against the efforts being made by Buckingham to displace him as lord lieutenant.106 By the end of the month the stand-off appeared to have been settled temporarily, with Anglesey’s office of treasurer of the navy put into a commission divided between members of Arlington’s and Buckingham’s factions. It was also reported, however, that a resolution had been taken without Arlington’s knowledge to remove Ormond from his post.107 Although Arlington was not unaware of the speculation concerning Ormond’s removal, he was adamant when writing of it to Ossory that nothing was as yet ‘resolved in that point’. According to Colbert, however, by the beginning of November Arlington and Buckingham had both resolved to sacrifice both Ormond and Anglesey in order to maintain their own positions.108 Within a week it was reported by Colbert that Arlington and Buckingham’s co-operation would not last, though they worked together to secure the appointment of John Wilkins, as bishop of Chester, thereby thwarting the efforts of Gilbert Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, and Herbert Croft, bishop of Hereford, who had promoted the claims of William Sancroft, later archbishop of Canterbury.109

Colbert’s view that Arlington would abandon Ormond in order to maintain his alliance with Buckingham remained unaltered throughout November.110 By the close of 1668 Louis XIV thought Arlington ‘the absolute master of English affairs’; but Charles persisted in encouraging petty rivalries between Arlington and the other principal ministers and his determination to return to a French alliance coupled with Arlington’s anxiety not to be isolated, as well perhaps as genuine frustration with the progress of discussions with both the Dutch and Spanish to follow up the Triple Alliance, appears to have made him more willing to countenance French advances.111

On 25 Jan. 1669 he was said to have been one of those present at the legendary (perhaps mythical) meeting where the king reputedly announced his conversion to catholicism. Charles was said to have made known his intention of proceeding with a French alliance in return for a number of safeguards from Louis, not least the controversial payment of £200,000 in recognition of his announcement of his conversion.112 The French envoy’s concerns with his negotiations with other ministers led him more than ever to ‘cultivate this good disposition of milord Arlington, not only because I believe him to be more capable of bringing this matter to a good conclusion, but also because I do not see that all the fair hopes given me by Leighton [Buckingham’s factotum] are having any progress.’113

Ormond’s eventual dismissal, in mid-February 1669, may have been related to the new turn in English policy represented by the meeting on 25 Jan., and was not, in the end, regarded as a victory for Buckingham over Arlington because his replacement, Robartes, was not one of Buckingham’s allies. By mid-March, Arlington was once again said to be the subject of the duke’s profound suspicion following a series of meetings conducted at Hampton Court attended by Arlington, Lauderdale, Ashley and Ormond, though both rivals were intent on bringing down the king’s confidant and well-known opponent of France, Baptist May.114 Reports from the end of April suggested that the principal thing now uniting Arlington and Buckingham was their joint desire force the king to agree to a dissolution.115 This may have been connected to discussions in the foreign affairs committee of the council in April concerning action to be taken against conventicles (following the lapse of the Conventicle Act the previous month), in which both men were said to have tried to convince the king (unsuccessfully) against renewing persecution.116 In the middle of the summer it was suggested that both competing ministers ‘seem to be a little eclipsed and not so gracious as formerly’.117 This state of affairs may have been the reason for Arlington casting about once again for new allies and determining on ingratiating himself with the king’s sister, Henriette Anne, duchesse d’Orléans, though she was steadily becoming a more significant figure in the negotiations between Charles and Louis XIV.118

Arlington was confined to bed with an injured leg in August, though he had recovered by the end of the month. Arlington seems to have had renewed cause for concern about his position in the early autumn: he came under pressure to enter into an alliance with York and Lady Castlemaine, and William Denton thought that Arlington was now only kept in place through the interest of those opposed to seeing Roger Boyle, earl of Orrery [I], replace him.119 According to some it was Lauderdale that had intervened on Arlington’s behalf, being more fearful of Orrery’s potential influence as secretary than that of the current incumbent.120 By the beginning of October Colbert had convinced himself once more that Arlington’s credit was in decline, and that he was ‘leaving no stone unturned to make himself indispensable to the king his master’ in an effort to cling onto power.121 Another assessment, however, noted only that ‘some little cloud there was upon the Lord Arlington but it is said to be wholly blown over.’122 Buckingham and Arlington were eventually reconciled once more, on the king’s orders, shortly before the opening of the new session of Parliament. While Colbert continued to indulge himself with the belief that Arlington’s credit was ‘diminishing every day’ the reality was that Arlington’s knowledge of the king’s private intentions relating to France and Catholicism made him all but unassailable; Buckingham, by contrast, was unaware of them.123

Arlington took his seat at the opening of the new session on 19 Oct. 1669, after which he was present on just over 80 per cent of all sitting days. In advance of the session he had written to Lauderdale that all expected the divisions between the Houses to be ‘quickly awakened’: when he reported the opening manoeuvres to Temple, he noted the Commons’ intention of drawing up a bill to settle their differences, though he seemed doubtful of its success. He was also dubious about Lauderdale’s efforts to promote union with Scotland, suggesting that little progress was likely even though the only argument likely to be raised against the project was that ‘la mariée est trop belle’ (the bride is too beautiful). In the course of the session Arlington was named to just two committees, and it was rumoured that he would be despatched to Spain as ambassador to save him from the possibility of proceedings against him in Parliament.124 Although no such proceedings transpired and a series of libels that had been circulated concerning various members of the administration were suppressed, the course of the session was dominated by Arlington and Buckingham’s fractious relations. Towards the end of October Colbert again reported further difficulties between Arlington and Buckingham, causing the king to commission Bishop Wilkins of Chester to attempt (once more) to bring them together.125 On 10 Nov. William Denton noted the latest effort to make the two rivals friends, adding no doubt sarcastically, ‘and long it will last.’ Six days later, he recorded that they had fallen out again.126

Set against such tensions Arlington continued to fulfil his duties in the House as well as overseeing his local interests. On 1 Nov. he was entrusted with Frescheville’s proxy, which was vacated by the close. Later that month he was approached by the corporation of Thetford to use his interest to secure a warrant from the king to enable them to limit the number of public entertainments in the town, which distracted the population from their work and which the authorities thus considered to be ‘a vain expense of their time and money.’127

The closing months of the year found matters as fragmented as ever. Arlington joined with York and Ormond to put his support behind Sir George Carteret, accused in the Commons of maladministration in Ireland. It was later rumoured that Arlington might even replace Carteret as vice-treasurer of Ireland.128 His stance in support of Carteret once again set him at variance with Buckingham, whose supporters were suspected to be behind the allegations. Arlington meanwhile was behind an attempt to impeach Buckingham’s ally, Orrery, in the Commons. Orrery was able to swat away the charges brought against him, while Carteret was voted guilty of misdemeanours, although he escaped serious consequences and the king ultimately quashed further inquiry at the beginning of 1670.129 The loss of the stabilizing presence of Albemarle at the same time left Arlington hoping ‘we may not need the wishing him alive again.’130

By the close of January 1670 the court appeared deeply divided into two factions: one comprising York, Ormond, Arlington and their followers, and the other Buckingham, Orrery and those associated with them.131 Nevertheless, the king’s decisive intervention over the allegations about Carteret’s financial mismanagement and his acceptance of action against conventicles resulted in an unusually successful session. Arlington took his seat in the new session on 14 Feb., after which he was present on almost 82 per cent of all sitting days. He was named to 14 committees, including those concerning the treaty of Union with Scotland and the bill for preventing the growth of popery. Having survived what he and other members of the court considered a day of crisis shortly after the opening as members divided over the employment of funds that had been voted for the prosecution of the war, Arlington was able to report to Fauconberg on 21 Feb. that ‘the Parliament met in the best humour that could be, and have exceeded our expectations in their first votes for an addition of seven years more upon the wine act, which together with the peace for one year longer, will put his Majesty at much ease.’132 This optimistic appraisal continued through March, and when at the end of the month he wrote again to Fauconberg he told him ‘how happily the complexion of the Parliament is changed since your lordship left us, they having disposed themselves to do everything to his majesty’s mind and satisfaction.’133 On 6 Apr. 1670 he registered his proxy with Ossory, which was vacated by his resumption of his seat two days later. As soon as the session was adjourned on 11 Apr. he accompanied the king to Newmarket, not returning to the capital until the close of the month.134

Although at the close of March 1670 Buckingham was said to be more than ever Arlington’s enemy, by the end of the following month Arlington, malleable as ever, was reported once more to have realigned himself with the duke and his faction and to have cast off his friends, Ormond and Ossory.135 That summer Arlington was one of those to sign the secret treaty of Dover. As such he proved himself once again to be both more at the centre of things than his rival and considered by the king to be more trustworthy: full details of the treaty were hidden from Buckingham and the majority of the rest of the council. During the visit of the king’s sister to Dover in the middle of May, when the treaty was signed, yet another formal reconciliation between Arlington and Buckingham was effected.136 Remarking on the occasion to Temple, Arlington neatly avoided relating anything of consequence. He remarked disingenuously ‘I leave it to the gazettes and the common newsmongers to tell you how we passed our time at Dover; where the resort of so much company and so many nations cannot but furnish the world with relations of what passed.’137 Arlington’s motivation in distancing himself from Ormond and embracing an alliance he supposedly disapproved of is at best obscure. The most likely explanation is that he was willing to fulfil his master’s desires if it offered him the chance of continued prominence at court while also enjoying the distinction of being at the heart of the scheme while Buckingham was kept on the fringes. He may also have concluded that this, like so many other systems, would soon unravel.

Although the Treaty of Dover had been completed, negotiations continued with the Dutch on cementing the Triple Alliance. In July 1670 Arlington was one of the participants in a conference involving Buckingham, Clifford, Ashley, Trevor and the Dutch minister, Van Beuningen, which was overshadowed by the beginning of rumours of a realignment of English policy towards France.138 By the close of the month Arlington had retreated to the country, and he was still absent from town by the middle of the following month suffering from a ‘feverish distemper.’ His indisposition delayed a decision being taken about who was to succeed Fauconberg at Venice.139 At the beginning of September, Arlington’s recall of Temple from his embassy at the Hague, and his cold reception of him on the 16th was the first formal sign of the change in policy.140 Despite what must have been a preoccupation with preparations for war with the Dutch, as well as the enormous complication of the ‘catholicity’ clause in the Treaty of Dover (which necessitated discussions on the dispatch of an envoy to the Vatican) Arlington also participated in a meeting of the commissioners for the union of England and Scotland at Somerset House.141

Arlington returned to the House on 24 Oct., the first day it sat following the adjournment. On that day he introduced Henry Howard, later 6th duke of Norfolk, as Baron Howard of Castle Rising. The ensuing weeks were punctuated with events relating to his role in foreign affairs, in particular the signature of the traité simulé by Buckingham. The completion of it was, according to Colbert, greeted with joy by York, Arlington and Lauderdale.142 Arlington took his seat again following the Christmas recess on 4 Jan. 1671 and ten days later was one of those named to the committee investigating the assault on Ormond. He was again entrusted with Crofts’s proxy on 3 Mar., which was vacated on 17 Apr., and during the remainder of the session he was named to a further six committees. For all the ministers’ apparent delight at the signing of the treaty with France, Colbert advised that the sullen disposition of Parliament caused them considerable concern and made them reluctant to appear too overtly pro-French. Buckingham took the opportunity to redirect criticism of his actions towards Arlington.143 But apart from the loss of the bill authorizing increased customs duties as a result of a row between the Lords and the Commons (for which Buckingham was blamed), the session produced no major upsets.

Buckingham’s responsibility for the row in the Lords may have enhanced Arlington’s reputation, and shortly before the close of the session rumours began to circulate that he was to be promoted in the peerage as earl of Norwich; by the beginning of May it was speculated that he would also be created lord treasurer.144 But such apparent dominance at court did not go unchallenged and the same month Arlington’s late candidacy for the place of chancellor of Cambridge proved unsuccessful. The distinction was awarded to Buckingham instead.145 By the end of July Colbert related to Louis XIV that Buckingham and Arlington were ‘as well reconciled as your majesty could wish’. This did not prevent Arlington from continuing to champion the cause of his brother-in-law, Ossory, whom he recommended to Colbert for a command in France.146 And in the middle of September, reports were current once more of renewed fractures within the ministry, with Buckingham, Lauderdale and Ashley now believed to be pitted against Arlington and the duchess of Cleveland.147 Arlington’s prominent role in attempting to negotiate a new marriage for York may have been one of the reasons for subsequent reports that he and Buckingham were again engaged in bitter disputes, though Buckingham’s own explanation for their fractious relationship was Arlington’s opposition to the alliance with France, which Buckingham assured the French he (Buckingham) had always supported.148 Alongside his efforts to promote a new match for York, Arlington’s struggle to underpin his position by promoting Louise de Kéroualle as a new mistress for the king appeared initially to have blossomed when he played host to the couple at Euston in mid-October 1671. Among those taking part in the festivities was another of Arlington’s protégés, Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland. Arlington later found himself disappointed in his efforts to manipulate Kéroualle as she proved utterly unwilling to co-operate with a man whom she considered to be little better than a pimp.149

The collapse of the ‘Cabal’

Arlington persisted in his efforts to woo the factions at court by hosting a grand ball in London towards the close of the year, but he then promptly fell lame with gout and was confined to his bed for the following few weeks.150 On 21 Dec. 1671 he wrote to Sunderland, for whom he had acquired a diplomatic posting to Madrid, excusing his continued indisposition.151 He was nevertheless appointed at the end of the month as one of five commissioners named by the king to treat with the French as part of the final preparations for war against the Dutch.152 The commissioners—Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale—were, according to Sir Ralph Verney, ‘the junto about this grand affair’. They came increasingly to be known by their mnemonic: Cabal.153 Despite his prominent role in the negotiations at this time, Arlington was still suffering from gout, complaining to Sir William Godolphin, who had accompanied Sunderland to Spain and later succeeded him there as ambassador, that his sickness had ‘affected my head, though the gout has only been in my foot’.154 By the middle of January 1672 he appears finally to have recovered amid reports that he and Clifford were now pre-eminent among the other ministers.155 Arlington hosted the exchange of ratifications with the French in February in his lodgings.156 Arlington had been involved in discussions with Dissenters in December, and in mid-March, Arlington was party to the decision in the committee for foreign affairs to issue the Declaration of Indulgence for Dissenters the day before a declaration of war against the Dutch. Arlington’s own cautious contribution to the discussion (perhaps reflecting his previous experience in 1662) seems to have been to insist that there should be a clear inquiry into the extent of the king’s powers under existing law.157

Although Arlington remained unwilling to accept cash from the French in recompense for his services in bringing about the treaty, he was not so punctilious as not to allow his wife to accept gifts. Towards the end of March he waited on Colbert to let the ambassador know ‘how moved he is by the marks of esteem and distinction your majesty [Louis XIV] has shown him by the magnificent present you made to Madame Arlington.’158 He appears then to have retreated to Euston briefly before returning once more to Whitehall. From thence he wrote to Sunderland on 15 Apr. 1672 (by which time war had formally been declared) to give directions for Sunderland’s move from the embassy in Madrid to that in Paris.159

Having attended the prorogation day of 16 Apr., after which Parliament was further prorogued to October, Arlington was promoted in the peerage to an earldom. At the same time his former protégé, Clifford, was created Baron Clifford and Lord Ashley was promoted to the earldom of Shaftesbury. The French envoy reported that Arlington was now ‘all-powerful’. In mid-June Arlington was one of a small group of ministers to participate in negotiation with a Dutch delegation with peace terms at Hampton Court. Shortly afterwards he joined Buckingham on a diplomatic mission to France and Holland, in order to co-ordinate the allies’ response to the Dutch proposals.160 Colbert advised his master, Louis XIV, that in sending Arlington, the king of England was sending ‘if one may be permitted to say it, another self, for this minister knows his most secret intentions.’161 Arlington had returned to England by the beginning of August when his four-year-old daughter, Lady Isabella Bennet, was contracted to marry the king’s natural son, Henry Fitzroy, later duke of Grafton, who was created earl of Euston to mark the alliance.162 Later that month both Arlington and Buckingham were the recipients of further ‘magnificent’ gifts from the French.163

By the beginning of September 1672, York appears to have concluded that Parliament ought to be allowed to sit at the end of October. Arlington took the contrary view and was successful in persuading the king to postpone holding another session until the following year.164 In mid-October he joined the king at Newmarket, before returning to the capital to attend the prorogation day of 30 Oct., when he was introduced as earl of Arlington between John Sheffield, 3rd earl of Mulgrave (later duke of Buckingham and Normanby) and William Craven, earl of Craven. Parliament was then prorogued once again to the following February.165 In November rumours circulated of Arlington’s appointment as lord treasurer with Clifford succeeding him as secretary. The possible alterations kept the newsmongers guessing for the next few weeks. By the end of that month it was thought that Clifford rather than Arlington would be appointed to the treasury, though there were doubts as to whether Clifford would accept the post.166 By the close of the year, with Clifford confirmed in office as lord treasurer to Arlington’s ill-disguised annoyance, and Shaftesbury as lord chancellor, Arlington’s star appeared once again to be declining. This seemed to be underlined when he failed to secure further promotion in the peerage, it having been speculated that he was to be made duke of Bury.167 Arlington and the foreign affairs committee were preoccupied in late November with how to handle the forthcoming session of Parliament in February. At a meeting on 24 Nov. there was an extensive discussion of who should be put up for election as Speaker of the Commons, at which Arlington seems to have underlined the need for ‘honesty’ in a Speaker.168 He hosted a further meeting on 21 Dec. at which Sir Job Charlton was decided on as the court candidate for the speakership. Arlington reported to Colbert the ‘great conferences with the foremost members of Parliament’ that he had conducted and how as a result he was confident that the king would be able to secure his demands. His optimism seems not to have been shared by the French ambassador.169

The beginning of 1673 gave Colbert further grounds to be suspicious having heard rumours of a projected visit by William of Orange to seek terms with his uncle, the king, though Arlington attempted to assure him that he had put measures in place to dissuade Prince William from undertaking the journey.170 Arlington was appointed one of the commissioners for reviewing the settlement of Ireland at the close of January.171 He took his seat in the House at the opening of the new session on 4 Feb., after which he was present on 93 per cent of all sitting days and during which he was named to five committees. In advance of the session, he was entrusted with the proxy of Christopher Hatton, 2nd Baron (later Viscount) Hatton, and on 7 Feb. he also received that of Louis de Duras, earl of Feversham (both proxies were vacated by the close of the session). Arlington predicted that the session ‘would not pass without tribulation’ but that the king would ultimately ‘be satisfied with his parliament.’ His prediction proved to be far off the mark. The new Speaker of the Commons, Charlton, lasted only two weeks before retiring with ill health, in part the result of the lower House’s tempestuous response to the Declaration of Indulgence.172 Towards the end of the month Arlington was forced to admit to Colbert that ‘there was no expedient the king could bring to the conduct of parliament which would not be followed by great disadvantages.’ The withdrawal of the Declaration of Indulgence and the government’s perceived timidity in the face of spirited opposition to the king’s disinclination to adopt the Test was ascribed to Arlington’s counsel: Arlington was certainly much more cautious than others in the foreign affairs committee when it discussed trying to get the Lords to confront the Commons over its response to the Declaration: ‘w[ha]t if the H[ouse] of Lords should deceive expectations, and vote as the H[ouse] of Commons did?’—as indeed it did—he asked on 16 February. It was also by now well known that he and Clifford were no longer on friendly terms.173 By the end of March Arlington was forced to admit to Colbert:

that he could no longer guess what the outcome would be, that only two days ago he could have told his master the king that today he would have the act for the money which he has been promised, but at the moment tempers are so high that if the members of the two chambers do not find a way of appeasing the lower by passing the act against the Catholics in the terms it wants, he believed they would attack the treasurer next Monday, then the duke of Lauderdale and perhaps even all those who are privy to the secrets of their master the king.174

Besides these pressures, Arlington was also faced with the failure of his attempt to secure a match for York with the archduchess of Innsbruck.175

The end of the session saw the beginning of the government’s efforts to withdraw from the war, and it marked the end of the period in which Arlington—closely identified with the war—was clearly the dominant voice in the king’s counsels. It was rumoured in May that Buckingham’s client, Sir Thomas Osborne, was to be promoted to the treasurership following the Catholic Clifford’s resignation as a result of the Test Act. Arlington’s name was also put about as a possible replacement though without nearly as much force. Arlington confided to Colbert that he now saw himself as ‘entirely excluded.’176 By the close of June 1673 reports began to circulate of ‘stiff cabals in order to impeachments’ to be presented at the next session of Parliament. Arlington was thought to be at the head of the list of those expected to be attacked, though it was noted (with perhaps an implication that he was a crypto-Catholic) he had ‘the advantage of sticking close to the [Test] Act’ unlike Clifford. Information relayed to Hatton on the other hand suggested that Arlington was not in particular danger and that he ‘keeps his own very well.’177 Even so, Arlington and Lauderdale were said to be completely at variance.178

Clearly taken aback by the criticism directed against him and ‘weary of the fatigue of his place’, Arlington entered into negotiations with Henry Jermyn, earl of St Albans, to purchase the lord chamberlaincy from him so that he could withdraw from direct involvement in foreign affairs. This was expected to be just one of a number of alterations. Arlington was also said to be one of those in line to succeed Lauderdale in the bedchamber. Sir Joseph Williamson, it was assumed, would succeed his master, as secretary.179 Talk of such alterations continued over the next few months and in August, following a sumptuous banquet for the king and members of the court at Goring House, reports circulated (once again) that Arlington was to be promoted to a dukedom.180 For the time being, none of these changes came to pass. St Albans, for one, proved unwilling to relinquish his post.181 Complaints, however, persisted. Disappointment with the conduct of the war led to an outpouring of hostility against the French at the beginning of September and with it opprobrious comments against Arlington ‘for having been bribed to sell the interests of the king and country alike.’ In spite of his eagerness to shield himself from further insult, Arlington appears soon after to have succeeded in winning the king to his view that Parliament should be recalled in the face of opposition from York and Lauderdale, dismissing concerns that it would react against the planned York-Modena match, and insisting that it would be possible to persuade Parliament to grant further subsidies for the war effort. By the middle of October his confidence appears to have evaporated once more, and he fretted that a new session might demand unpalatable expedients such as York’s banishment and the king’s divorce and remarriage to a protestant.182

Arlington attended the House as one of the commissioners for proroguing Parliament on 20 October.183 He took his place at the opening of the brief session of 27 Oct., on which day he was named to the standing committees for privileges and petitions. He was then present on each of its four sitting days. In advance of the session he had been entrusted with the proxy of Henry Pierrepont, earl of Dorchester, which was vacated by the close. Colbert noted the bad-tempered opening of the session and the abortive attempt driven by Sir Charles Littleton (one of Arlington’s supporters) to force the removal of Sir Edward Seymour (an associate of Osborne) from the Speakership.184 The court also came under close scrutiny. After Sir Thomas Clarges raised the question of the sums of money that had found its way into the hands of the duchesses of Cleveland and Portsmouth, it was expected that the House would turn its attention to the causes of the war and fall ‘severely’ on Lauderdale and Arlington. The sudden prorogation nipped any such plan in the bud.185

Arlington was left despondent by the brief session, and troubled a return of ill health later in November.186 The duke of York described him to Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury, around this time as ‘almost dead with fear’.187 There was speculation about both his own and York’s political survival. Early the following month Conway suggested that Latimer (as Osborne had since become) had now eclipsed Arlington in his standing with the king. Another observer assessed that the court was clearly divided into two factions. One comprised Ormond, Arlington, Shaftesbury and Secretary Coventry; the other involved Buckingham and Lauderdale, and was buoyed by the emergence of the new ministerial cadre dominated by Latimer, Seymour and Heneage Finch, later earl of Nottingham.188 Such pressures appear to have persuaded Arlington to distance himself once more from the French alliance and to seek to realign himself with the Dutch and Spanish, a policy to which Colbert believed the king had also resigned himself.189 It was also rumoured that Arlington was to go to Spain as ambassador to avoid the new session of Parliament.190

Arlington was again entrusted with Hatton’s proxy early in December 1673, presumably in anticipation of the new session the following month. The proxy was again vacated by the close of the session. By the beginning of the year it was speculated that he and Ormond had forged an alliance with York. Arlington and Ormond were the only members of the council to raise objections to the king’s projected speech to the Parliament outlined in council the day before the opening of the new session. Arlington’s disquiet may well have been caused by the king’s (false) declaration denying the existence of a secret treaty with France. York soon came to the conclusion that he had ‘been abused by these men who had strongly assured him that Parliament had begun to soften towards him.’191

Arlington took his seat in the House on 7 Jan. 1674. He was present on two-thirds of all sitting days in the session but was named to just two committees. Shortly after the opening he found himself the subject of investigation by the Commons along with Buckingham and Lauderdale. Addresses were voted requesting the king to remove both Buckingham and Lauderdale from his counsels on 13 and 14 January. Articles against Arlington, complaining of a series of abuses, including the encouragement of popery and of embezzlement, were presented to the Commons on the following day, 15 Jan., by Sir Gilbert Gerrard and Sir Charles Wheeler (who had been set to bring forward charges during the previous session). Unlike Buckingham, Arlington won praise for his handling of the situation. He was assisted in this by Gerrard failing to present the articles effectively but also by vigorous support from Members including Sir Robert Holte; Henry Capel and William Harbord (both attached to Arthur Capel, earl of Essex) as well as Ossory. Essex had only a few weeks previously been described by Latimer of being ‘locked up in a box’ with Arlington. Certainly Essex accounted Arlington one of his friends at this point. On 15 Jan., the day on which the Commons considered the charges against him, Arlington sought the House of Lords’ permission (as well as that of the king) to offer to appear before the Commons to defend himself. After being made to wait for an hour in the Commons’ lobby he made ‘a very handsome speech in his defence’, which lasted an hour and a quarter.192 Denying that he had been the author of the Declaration of Indulgence, he stressed that he had assumed at the time that it was in the king’s power to grant it, but that once he had been advised to the contrary, ‘I was the first man that persuaded the king against it.’ He rejected the accusation that he had worked to undermine the Triple Alliance and dismissed the suggestion that he was over-familiar with the French ambassador, insisting that he ‘only received him with good manners, and have used the same some time to Spain, some time to Holland, and they have all been angry enough with me since to have declared it if I had any pension from them long before now.’ He also neatly shifted the blame for the war onto Buckingham. Finally, he responded to the accusation that he had been in receipt of vast sums from the Crown. Admitting that he had ‘a very indulgent master’ he countered that ‘what I have is not half enough to support the honour and dignity the king has given me.’193

Although most conceded that Arlington had acquitted himself very convincingly, the following day Coventry considered that Arlington was not yet secure.194 Over the next few days the Commons continued to debate the matter but on 19 Jan. his supporters, now sure of victory, pressed for the projected articles of impeachment to be presented. They then carried a vote not to call for candles (thus refusing to continue their deliberations into the evening) by a margin of 197 to 97. The following day the motion to remove him from the king’s presence was defeated by 166 to 127 (not far off de Ruvigny’s report that the margin had been just 30 votes).195 One of those most vigorous in pressing the prosecution was Clarendon’s heir, Cornbury, who acted as a teller for the ayes in the second division.196 According to John Wynne, Arlington’s escape was owing to the presence of ‘many friends in the House else it had gone as hard with him as with the two dukes before him.’197 Wynne’s assessment pointed to Arlington’s continued success in cultivating a following in the Commons. Sir Ralph Verney, however, attributed Arlington’s deliverance more to the divisions among his enemies than the strength of his friends, that he had ‘made a shift to divide the Presbyterian party and by that means got off.’ Whatever the reason, Walter Overbury writing to Williamson concluded that the future looked promising for Arlington. Buckingham and Lauderdale, on the other hand, were ‘defunct’. Nevertheless, some of those most determined to bring Arlington down persisted with their enquiries well into February. It was not until the middle of the month, coinciding with Arlington’s recovery from his latest attack of gout, that the diplomat Sir Peter Wyche reckoned that Arlington’s pursuers had at last been stymied by a ‘dry scent’.198 In spite of his success in avoiding a censure by Parliament, some observers believed the affair indicated the end of Arlington’s influence.199

Early in February 1674 Arlington advised de Ruvigny that the English could no longer delay making a settlement with the Dutch and that as a consequence Temple was on the point of being sent to The Hague to sign a peace treaty.200 On 5 Feb. delegates from both Houses attended the king to proffer their advice for a swift conclusion to hostilities.201 Such eagerness to see the war concluded no doubt encouraged Arlington’s assessment that it was the Dutch party in Parliament that now held the upper hand, and on 9 Feb. he joined with Finch, Latimer, Ormond and Coventry in signing the treaty bringing the war to a close.202 Arlington was away from the House briefly early that month, but he covered his absence by registering his proxy on 5 Feb. with Ossory. The proxy was vacated by Arlington’s resumption of his seat six days later. By the middle of the month the council was said to be undecided on whether or not Parliament should continue to sit. Commentators were also divided on which ministers favoured which policy. According to one, Latimer, Finch and York were in favour of a prorogation while Ormond and Arlington preferred the session’s continuation; Arlington’s enemies, on the other hand, were eager to stress his role in arguing for an early close. Ruvigny considered that the resulting prorogation was designed to protect Arlington from further attacks in Parliament, though Sir Gilbert Talbot regretted that Arlington’s friends had not been given more time to clear him (as he was sure they would have done). Moreover, he feared that the same charges would now be revived in a future session strengthened by the imputation that Arlington had been responsible for the early prorogation.203

Arlington’s experience of another turbulent session gave rise to renewed reports that he was to part with the secretaryship in return for appointment to the office of lord chamberlain. This it was hoped would enable him to remove himself ‘a little further from affairs or at least to put himself in a place which exposes him less when Parliament returns’.204 Until such a place could be procured, he remained pivotal. This certainly appears to have been Ruvigny’s assessment, for though he was convinced that Arlington was committed to working with the Dutch and Spanish, Ruvigny resolved to persist in courting him as ‘we can only accomplish things by dealing with him’.205 As further evidence of Arlington’s commitment to closer ties with the Dutch, both he and Ormond were said to be working hard to press forward the match between William of Orange and Princess Mary. York was resistant to the notion and opened negotiations with the French for a match between his daughter and the dauphin. William of Orange was similarly unconvinced at first. Ruvigny (reciting a by now familiar theme) considered that Arlington hoped that the marriage would serve to weaken York’s importance.206

Arlington’s troubled relations at court in the spring of 1674 may have been reflected in reports that he had been involved in ‘a cruel dispute’ with Anglesey towards the close of March. Anglesey recorded in his diary the following day (28 Mar.) that he had informed York about Arlington during a meeting of the admiralty commissioners, which presumably referred to this episode.207 More importantly, although the proceedings in the Commons in January had damaged his older rivals Lauderdale and Buckingham, Arlington now faced in Latimer a much more potent new rival, as well as in York a more assertive influence on the king who may have seen Arlington as too much in favour of the Dutch.208 Absent from town through the late spring of 1674, by early May Arlington’s extended sojourn in the country was beginning to excite adverse comment, and it was thought that ‘foreign affairs are languishing and suspended by his absence.’ Arlington returned to London by the close of the month when he was again engaged in negotiations with the Dutch.209

By the beginning of July 1674 it was expected that Arlington would be handed the lord chamberlain’s white staff imminently, but it was a further two months before he was finally confirmed in post.210 By the middle of the summer, Ruvigny noted, ‘it should not be doubted that the earl of Arlington acts entirely in the interests of the prince of Orange, not only against those of France, but also against those of his master’ and that he was in frequent contact with ‘several rebels in Parliament of the intelligence he has with the Prince of Orange.’211 Conflicting reports that Arlington had already received the white staff as lord chamberlain or that he was to take up the office as soon as agreement could be reached with the current holder (St Albans) circulated in August.212 By the beginning of September he was once more prostrated with gout.213 Shortly after, it was reported that he was travelling to Bath for his health. On 11 Sept. he was at last confirmed in post as lord chamberlain and succeeded in his former office by Williamson.214

During his absence at Bath, Arlington suffered the loss of his London residence, Goring House, in a blaze that left little worth salvaging. One report estimated the loss at between £40,000 and £50,000, while Ossory commented how ‘all the furniture and rarities he has been these 14 years collecting’ had been destroyed. Later estimates set the losses at nearer £20,000. In spite of the extent of his misfortune, Arlington was said to have borne the loss of his home ‘with great evenness’. He remained away from the capital for the meantime and at the beginning of October retreated from Bath to his seat at Euston.215

Lord chamberlain 1674-9

It would be a mistake to assume that Arlington’s translation from secretary to chamberlain spelled retirement for him. Rather, it offered him a more appropriate position at court from which he continued to exert his influence. In his new role he made a significant impact in refashioning the royal image at court but he also continued to exert his interest in more overtly political areas.216 He remained closely involved in foreign affairs. His continuing influence caused some disquiet to the now Catholic earl of Berkshire (as Andover had since become), who wrote to York’s secretary, Edward Coleman, that if Arlington was among those selected to negotiate the peace, ‘then a rope for the Pope and long live the house of Nassau.’217 The following month, Arlington and Ossory were commissioned to travel to Holland to engage in negotiations with William of Orange, though the purpose of their trip was officially said to be a private one and they were joined by their wives, who, it was put about, intended to visit their relatives in Holland.218 Even so, Danby (as Latimer had since become) insisted that his son, Edward Osborne (now styled Viscount Latimer) accompany the party, while others, among them York and Lauderdale, were said to ‘envy him (Arlington) the honour of this journey and do believe his lordship will carry himself so warily and honestly in this business that he will make himself the darling and favourite of the Parliament and kingdom.’219 For all this, the mission proved to be unsuccessful. Ossory, charged with discussing the match between Prince William and Princess Mary, made little progress, while Arlington irritated his host by subjecting him to lengthy lectures and interrogating him about the source of his parliamentary intelligence.220 By 20 Dec. the party’s imminent return from Holland was daily anticipated, but unfavourable winds kept them in Holland until the beginning of the following year.221

Early in 1675 it was reported that Arlington was to be appointed to the lord lieutenancy of Ireland and replaced as lord chamberlain by Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke. It is possible that the rumour arose out of the perception that the Holland trip had gone badly, but nothing came of it. Arlington returned to England in the first week of January.222 The remainder of the month was dominated by discussion at court concerning the summoning of Parliament, which the French ambassador was eager to see delayed.223 Some thought that a dissolution would make it impossible for Arlington to challenge the duke of York’s advice: the former would ‘dare not contest with the duke without that support.’224

Besides involvement in the preparations for Parliament Arlington was also engaged in planning with Sir Christopher Wren the arrangements for the interment in Westminster Abbey of the newly discovered remains of two children in the Tower of London, popularly believed to be those of the murdered princes, Edward V and Richard of York. It was not the only way in which Arlington employed his new office to develop a sense of royal heritage and the court’s artistic patronage. Extensive remodelling was undertaken at Windsor, in particular, where overt references were made to other medieval predecessors such as the Black Prince.225

Towards the close of February 1675 it was rumoured that Arlington had altered his mind about the meeting of Parliament and that he had now joined with Danby and Lauderdale in supporting a further prorogation, even though it was considered that this course of action would ‘much displease the public’.226 Aside from their agreement on this matter, Arlington, Danby and Lauderdale were said to be irreconcilably divided: Arlington was said to fear that the other two were working for his destruction.227 Danby was said to have advised the king that ridding himself of Arlington would ensure a compliant Parliament.228

Parliament did meet in April 1675, and Arlington took his seat on the first day, the 13th, after which he continued to attend on just over half of all sitting days. At the opening, Arlington and Ormond caused consternation by proposing that rather than thanking the king for his speech, the House ought rather merely to present an address thanking the king for the ‘gracious expressions’ within it.229 By the middle of the following month Arlington’s credit at court was in severe decline. The king, it was perceived, paid him scant attention, irritated by his behaviour over the negotiations with William of Orange and suspecting him, according to de Ruvigny, of co-operating with dissident members of the Lords in combination with Ormond.230

Arlington’s loss of interest with the king may have been reflected in his inability to prevail on Charles II to accede to a request by William Sancroft, now dean of St Paul’s, for permission to erect a temporary church until the cathedral, devastated by the Fire of London, could be rebuilt.231 By the middle of June 1675 Arlington was reported to have all but retired from court, leaving the field to his rival, Danby.232 He returned to the House at the opening of the new session on 13 Oct., but he attended on just four days (19 per cent of the whole) before absenting himself for the remainder of the session. On 10 Nov. he was excused at a call of the House and on 12 Nov. he registered his proxy with James Scott, duke of Monmouth.

At the time of the handover to a new French representative the following spring there was little perceived change in Arlington’s circumstances. The advice offered to the new ambassador, Courtin, indicated that Arlington’s interest remained on the wane. He was said to have distanced himself from the French ‘and that his own inclination as much as the alliance he has through his wife with the Prince of Orange, pushes him towards Holland.’233 A few months earlier, in December 1675, Temple reported to Danby Arlington’s role in having Sir Gabriel Sylvius sent to Holland to continue negotiations for the Orange marriage, though Temple was dismissive of Sylvius’s ability to make more progress with the prince than either he or Arlington had managed.234 Alongside this, Arlington was said to be renewing his efforts to build up his interest in Parliament among those sympathetic to an alliance with the Dutch and Spanish. According to Ruvigny, his aim was then ‘to govern this court from Holland.’235 Challenging this assessment, towards the end of May 1676, Arlington called on the new French representative to assure him that his interests remained those of the king and that he would consequently do all in his power to further his master’s wishes. It was also reported, contrary to claims that he was keen to work with the existing Parliament that both he and York desired to see it ‘broken up’.236

At the close of June 1676 Arlington voted with the majority in finding Charles Cornwallis, 3rd Baron Cornwallis, not guilty of murder.237 The occasion precipitated a dispute between Arlington as lord chamberlain and Robert Bertie, 3rd earl of Lindsey, as lord great chamberlain, over which officer possessed the responsibility for issuing out orders for preparing for peers’ trials. The dispute between the two men persisted into September, when Lindsey (who had voted with the minority in finding Cornwallis guilty of manslaughter) was ordered to come up to town along with his evidence to present his case.238 At the beginning of July it was put about (once again) that Arlington was ‘making a retreat from court’, but there was little indication of this when he played host to the queen at Euston in September.239 However uncertain his position at court, his reputation as a master of etiquette remained undiminished, and when Essex wrote to congratulate the duchess of York, who had recently given birth to a daughter, Isabella, he deliberately left the packet open so that his kinsman, Capel, could confer with Arlington ‘who understands these niceties of ceremony better than myself.’240

Arlington was absent from the opening of the new session, though he ensured his proxy was again registered with Monmouth on 15 Feb. 1677. Arlington’s relations with the duke had only recently been decidedly cool following a dispute concerning two trumpeters formerly attached to the king’s horse (under the jurisdiction of the lord chamberlain) who had been transferred to the king’s guards (answerable to Monmouth as the unit’s captain). The ‘weighty controversy’ was referred to the king’s adjudication but had presumably been settled by the time Arlington made out the proxy.241 Noted as being abroad at a call of the House on 9 Mar. he returned from his travels soon after and the proxy was vacated by his return to the House on 26 Mar. after which he proceeded to attend on 59 days in the session (approximately half of the whole). On 14 Apr. he was one of nine senior peers nominated to consider the case Sir Scrope Howe v. earl of Rutland (John Manners, 8th earl of Rutland). In May Arlington was listed as doubly vile by Shaftesbury.

Arlington returned to the House following the adjournment on 15 Jan. 1678. Excused at a call on 16 Feb., in April he joined the lord chancellor (Finch) and Danby at a meeting at the Guildhall, which resulted in the securing of a loan of £100,000 from the City authorities.242 On 4 Apr. he attended the trial of Thomas Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, to vote him not guilty. Following the brief prorogation in May, Arlington took his seat once again at the outset of the new session on 23 May, after which he was present on just under 70 per cent of all sitting days. Named to three committees in the course of the session, on 21 June he hosted Anglesey at a dinner at his London home.243 Arlington’s diminishing interest may have been one of the factors in persuading the duchess of Cleveland to put an end to the match between her son, Grafton, and Arlington’s daughter earlier that year, though personal antagonism may also have been behind her decision. As early as January 1678 it was rumoured that Cleveland was on the point of coming to England from France ‘to break the match’ and by June reports were circulating of the duke and duchess of Grafton being ‘divorced’ and of the duke being married to one of Louis XIV’s bastards instead.244

The new session of October 1678 found Arlington once again present in the House. Having taken his seat on 21 Oct., he proceeded to attend on 77 per cent of all sitting days during which he was named to three committees. Even so, he seems to have lost much of his former enthusiasm and have been suffering from poor health. Early in November Ormond was encouraged to come over from Ireland to assist as Arlington’s ‘relish to business is wonderfully blunted and his distemper lies heavily upon him.’ On 14 and 15 Nov. Arlington undertook routine duties in the House informing the Lords about the presentation of seven addresses to the king. On 15 Nov. he voted against disabling papists from sitting in Parliament in the division held in a committee of the whole. The following month, on 26 Dec., Arlington voted in favour of insisting on the Lords’ amendment to the supply bill relating to the payment of money into the exchequer. The next day, in spite of his poor relations with the lord treasurer, he voted against committing Danby, perhaps all too aware of how narrowly he had avoided a similar fate.245 At least one member of Arlington’s household, however, seems to have resolved to protect his position by dealing with the other side. At the beginning of 1679 Arlington’s secretary, Cooling, was identified as ‘one of the greatest intelligencers’ Shaftesbury possessed.246

Arlington failed to make much impression in the elections for the new Parliament. Although by the end of January 1679, it was reported that he was ‘very earnest’ in employing ‘all his interest’ on behalf of Sir Allen Apsley at Thetford, Apsley (who had represented the seat since 1661) was defeated at the poll by Arlington’s erstwhile supporter, William Harbord.247 In February Arlington’s apparently weakening interest was further hinted at by rumours that he was to be put out as lord chamberlain and replaced by Sunderland.248 It is indicative of quite how difficult Arlington often was to pin down that in advance of the new Parliament, Danby assessed him variously as a likely supporter who should be spoken to by the king, a probable supporter to be contacted by his son, Latimer, and as an unreliable supporter. In a further forecast of 3 Mar. Danby again reckoned Arlington as being likely to vote in his favour in the proceedings against him. Arlington attended four days of the abortive session of 6 Mar. 1679, during which no business was transacted. He then resumed his seat once more on 17 Mar. and was thereafter present on 62 per cent of all sitting days in the session. On 30 Apr. he was one of the peers nominated to wait on the king with the House’s thanks. On 2 May he reported that he had waited on the king with the address concerning Edmund Warcupp, and on 8 May he entered his dissent at the resolution not to agree to the Commons’ request for a committee of both Houses to be established to consider the manner of proceeding with the impeached lords. Two days later he voted in favour once more of appointing a joint committee with the Commons to consider the issue and dissented again when the motion was carried in the negative. On 23 May he dissented once more at the resolution to inform the Commons of the Lords’ resolution to proceed with the trials of the five peers in the Tower before that of Danby. On 27 May he probably voted for the right of the bishops to stay in the House during capital cases.

Arlington was one of a number of notables to attend a dinner hosted by Anglesey on 14 June 1679, among the other guests being his daughter and her half-brother-in-law, Charles Beauclerk, earl of Burford (later duke of St Albans). On 6 July he was present at the council meeting at which he, Anglesey and the lord chancellor all argued against dissolving Parliament, in opposition to his former associate, Essex, and George Savile, earl (later marquess) of Halifax. By the middle of the summer it was reported that the duchess of Cleveland had altered her previous opposition to the marriage of Bennet’s daughter Isabella with her son, and that she had summoned Grafton home to see it consummated (a formal confirmation of their ‘marriage’ which had been contracted when the pair had been significantly underage).249 In November Grafton and Isabella Bennet took part in a marriage ceremony at Arlington House presided over by John Dolben, bishop of Rochester.250 By the close of the year Arlington was said to be suffering from gout in the hand.251 He also continued to labour under the difficulty of poor relations with the duchess of Portsmouth. In September, although it was reported that the king had wished to see Arlington appointed to the new treasury commission, Portsmouth prevailed on him to appoint Essex in his stead.252

Final years 1680-5

In spite of the duchess of Portsmouth’s interventions, Arlington enjoyed a gradual return to favour in the final years of his life. In February 1680 he was made steward to Queen Catherine, an office left vacant by the demise of Denzil Holles, Baron Holles.253 Three months later rumours circulated once more that Sunderland would replace Arlington as lord chamberlain, though it was said that Arlington would have £10,000 to pay off his debts.254 The rumour proved to be inaccurate and evidence of his continuing good standing with the king is suggested by Charles’s decision to dine at Arlington’s country seat during one of his progresses towards the end of May.255

Arlington had returned to London by the middle of June 1680 following a summons for him to be present at a case heard in chancery.256 The death of his brother-in-law and close friend, Ossory, soon after seems not to have weakened Arlington’s association with Ormond; instead he found himself active in assisting with planning the education of Ossory’s heir.257 Towards the end of August he proposed to the king a number of bills to be presented to the Irish parliament, but was taken aback to discover that the king demonstrated no inclination to call one (even though there had been no Irish parliament called for almost 20 years).258 Between May and August Arlington attended four of the prorogation days before taking his seat in the new Parliament on 21 October. He proceeded to attend on 80 per cent of all sitting days, but although he undertook an active role in conveying reports to and from the king, he was named to just one committee concerning abuses in the post office. On 15 Nov. he voted in favour of putting the question that the exclusion bill should be rejected at first reading.259 He then voted in favour of rejecting the bill at first reading and on 23 Nov. voted against establishing a joint committee of both Houses to consider the state of the kingdom. A fortnight later he found William Howard, Viscount Stafford, not guilty of treason.

Far from stepping back from his responsibilities, Arlington and his family continued to acquire offices. In February he was appointed lord lieutenant of Suffolk in place of James Howard, 3rd earl of Suffolk (who had voted for the exclusion bill in November), for the duration of Grafton’s minority. The following month, it was reported that Lady Arlington was to replace Lady Suffolk as the queen’s groom of the stole.260 Although Lady Suffolk was ostensibly removed on the grounds of her poor health and was compensated with a pension, it was reported that the move had been made in opposition to the queen’s wishes and at the king’s express order.261

Arlington’s ambiguous attitude with regard to Danby persisted into the new year. In advance of the Parliament at Oxford, Danby assessed Arlington as one of those who would remain neutral if they did not vote for him. Arlington took his seat in the House on 21 Mar. 1681 and was then present on six of the session’s seven days during which he was named to the committee for receiving information concerning the Plot. According to Narcissus Luttrell‡, Arlington was one of only a handful of councillors to have been aware of the king’s intention of ending the session so suddenly.262 While in Oxford, the king was said to have proposed holding a conference with Shaftesbury in the hopes of settling matters between them. Shaftesbury was reported to have agreed to the offer and to have suggested that they use Arlington’s lodgings as a venue, reasoning ‘first, that it was the most indifferent place in the world, because my lord chamberlain was neither good Protestant nor good Catholic; and next, because there was the best wine, which was the only good thing that could be had from their meeting.’263

Following the session’s close, Arlington retreated to Euston once more, where he played host to the king in June.264 On 2 July he was one of those to sign the warrant for committing Shaftesbury.265 Later the same month he played host to the prince of Orange (though it was reported that the cost of the entertainment was charged to the king).266 In early August Arlington and Grafton were among those present at the apprentices’ feast held in Sadlers’ Hall.267 Arlington later wrote to recommend Stephen Upman, who had accompanied Grafton as tutor during his foreign tour, to be the new provost of King’s College, Cambridge. Upman was unsuccessful on this occasion. He was nominated to the place again after the Revolution by the king, but the college objected and Upman was forced to give way.268 In spite of their long and by no means friendly rivalry, Shaftesbury turned to Arlington to present his petition to the king for his release from the Tower, writing in mid-October with an offer to retire to his plantation in Carolina.269 Although Arlington agreed to present the request, the petition was initially brought before the council at the close of the month and Arlington advised that they should not meddle in it but refer it to the king.270

The remaining few years found Arlington active in seeking suitable candidates to tutor Ormond’s grandson, James Butler, styled earl of Ossory [I] (later 2nd duke of Ormond), as well as in employing his interest on behalf of the Suffolk-born diplomat, Edmund Poley.271 At the close of the year he also intervened on behalf of Matthew Bankes, who was ‘personally employed in the king’s service’, to secure his exemption from being required to undertake duties in the city of London.272 Arlington was actively engaged, too, in seeking to further the alliance between his family and that of Ormond by brokering a marriage between Ossory and Frances Bennet, daughter of his kinsman, Simon Bennet. Negotiations had been in train since at least May of 1681, but although by February 1682 an agreement appeared to be on the point of being reached, Arlington was clearly frustrated by the slow progress, which he seems to have blamed on his cousin. Complaining to Ormond of ‘the irresolution of the poor man’, Arlington resolved to take command of events at his end and to see ‘how high we can screw him as to the portion and your grace’s [role] must be to bethink yourself how you will have the marriage treated which is not a small affair, nor fit to be trusted but to well-chosen people.’ Although troubled by poor health at the beginning of March, which kept him from travelling with the court to Newmarket, Arlington remained eager to see the alliance completed and maintained a correspondence with Ormond informing him of the progress of the marriage treaty. In spite of all of Arlington’s efforts to keep negotiations on course, by May Ormond had lost patience with the proposal. He declared himself to be ‘quite off with Bennet’ and intent on looking elsewhere for a match for his grandson.273

Arlington was again to the fore in council following rioting in the city of London in the late autumn of 1682, taking to task the city authorities and warning the lord mayor against allowing any further trouble.274 In the spring of the following year he was engaged in a dispute over precedence at court after having been refused admission to the bedchamber ‘in a very rude manner’ by one of the officials of John Granville, earl of Bath, the king’s groom of the stole.275 It was perhaps as a result of his annoyance at this latest sign of disfavour that it was believed Arlington was looking to rid himself of the lord chamberlaincy, but rumours that he was to sell it to Feversham proved misplaced. Conway expressed the hope that Arlington would get the better of Bath in the dispute, ‘though I never expect to make my fortune by my pretences.’276 The case persisted into the summer.

The winter of 1683 brought Arlington good news with the birth of a grandchild. He was said to be ‘so joyed’ with the infant that it was feared he would ‘smother it with kisses’. Meanwhile, his own health began to decline during the late autumn of the following year.277 At the end of November 1684 Edmund Poley was informed that his patron had rallied sufficiently ‘to walk in his chamber, but does not yet go abroad.’278 Following York’s accession as king, Arlington was confirmed in office as lord chamberlain, and he proved well enough to take his seat four days after the opening of Parliament on 23 May, after which he attended 19 of its 43 sitting days.279 Named again to just one committee, he sat for the last time on 1 July. Six days later he submitted a list of disaffected inhabitants in his lieutenancy who had fled to the neighbouring county of Norfolk in the wake of Monmouth’s rebellion. Arlington’s health took a sudden turn for the worse towards the end of the month and, having lain speechless for two days, he finally succumbed on 28 July at his London residence, Arlington House.280

Shortly after his death rumours circulated that Arlington had died a Catholic and that he had summoned a priest to his deathbed. These reports were dismissed angrily by Arlington’s widow and daughter; some speculated that Arlington had not been in his right mind at the end and that it was in this weakened condition that he had been prevailed upon to admit the priest. According to other reports the duchess of Grafton was later overheard confessing to the queen that her father had indeed recently converted. Throughout his career at court Arlington had been looked upon by some as a Catholic sympathizer, and many believed that he had converted while resident in Spain; although his long-term involvement with the Dutch aristocracy seemed to tell a different story.281 Although he had been careful throughout his career to conform to the Anglican faith, like his former master, the king, he may have taken advantage of his final moments to embrace a religion to which he had long been drawn. It might be said to have been appropriate for a man who had built his career as both a minister and a diplomat on such flexible ground and who had made and broken so many alliances that even at the close it was impossible to know what his true beliefs had been.

In his will Arlington bequeathed the majority of his possessions to his daughter and son-in-law. He appears to have conveyed his London residence to Grafton some years before. In addition, Arlington left to his nephew, Henry Bennet, his remaining interest in various offices including that of clerk of the signet as well as the sum of £1,250 owed him by Richard Jones, earl of Ranelagh [I]. He named his son-in-law, Grafton, as sole executor and requested that he should be buried ‘forbearing all pomp and ostentation’ in the vault he had had built in the parish church at Euston. Arlington left his estates in some disorder, amid rumours that he had left numerous debts unpaid in both England and Holland. In the absence of a son, his peerage descended, by special remainder, to his daughter and became subsumed within the dukedom of Grafton.


  • 1 Bodl. Carte 34, f. 673; Carte 222, f. 81.
  • 2 Shaw, Knights, ii. 225.
  • 3 TNA, PROB 11/381.
  • 4 V. Barbour, Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington Secretary of State to Charles II, 101; CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 5.
  • 5 Bodl. Carte 72, f. 615.
  • 6 Williamson Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. viii. ix) i. 149.
  • 7 CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 593.
  • 8 M.K. Schuchard, Restoring the Temple of Vision, 722, 746.
  • 9 Bodl. Carte 72, f. 194; Old and New London, iv. 61-74; HMC Le Fleming, 65; HMC Portland, iii. 306.
  • 10 This biography draws on V. Barbour, Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington and HJ, lii. 295-317.
  • 11 Plays, Poems and Miscellaneous Writings associated with George Villiers, Second Duke of Buckingham ed. R. Hume and H. Love, ii. 15.
  • 12 Clarendon, Life, i. 204.
  • 13 JBS, i. 59.
  • 14 Pepys Diary, iv. 48, 224.
  • 15 Verney ms mic. M636/40, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 4 Aug. 1685.
  • 16 JBS, i. 60; Barbour, 155; Marshall, Age of Faction, 95.
  • 17 HJ, lii. 295-7.
  • 18 Pepys Diary, viii. 185.
  • 19 Seaward, Cavalier Parlt. 91, 299; HP Commons 1660-90, i. 332-3, 342, 621, 623-4, 673-4, 756-7; ii. 7, 21, 91-93, 246, 405, 407.
  • 20 JBS, i. 61.
  • 21 Mulgrave, Works (1729 edn.), ii. 87.
  • 22 VCH Middlesex, iii. 270-3.
  • 23 Barbour, 11; POAS, i. 80-81.
  • 24 Newman, Royalist Officers, 23.
  • 25 Barbour, 20.
  • 26 British Dip. Reps. 1509-1688, p. 204.
  • 27 Clarendon’s Four Portraits ed. R. Ollard, 48, 132.
  • 28 Pepys Diary, viii. 186n.; Seaward, 77, 84.
  • 29 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 621; Barbour, 53.
  • 30 TNA, PRO 31/3/110, pp. 53-58; JBS, i. 61.
  • 31 Bodl. Carte 47, f. 371.
  • 32 Pepys Diary, iii. 227.
  • 33 Ibid. iv. 47-48, 115.
  • 34 TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 8.
  • 35 CSP Dom. 1664-5, pp. 242, 246, 247, 257; Wood, Life, ii. 7.
  • 36 Eg. 2543, f. 142.
  • 37 Clarendon, i. 358-9; TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 172; HEHL, HA 10664.
  • 38 TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 302.
  • 39 JRL, Legh of Lyme mss, Arlington to Richard Legh, 22 Aug. 1665; Seaward, 87-91.
  • 40 Bodl. Carte 223, f. 291.
  • 41 Arlington’s Letters to Temple ed. Bebington, 31-32, 33.
  • 42 Bodl. Carte 46, ff. 209, 211-12, 217; CSP Ire. 1663-5, p. 652; Trans. Am. Phil. Soc. n.s. lx. 6.
  • 43 Bodl. Carte 46, f. 235; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 5, box 2, folder 30, Arlington to Carlingford, 11 Jan. 1666.
  • 44 Bodl. Carte 222, ff. 66, 81.
  • 45 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 5, box 2, folder 30, Arlington to Carlingford, 18 Jan., 2 Feb. 1666.
  • 46 Ibid. folder 65, Sir William Temple to Carlingford, 6 Mar. 1666; Bodl. ms Add. C 302, f. 43.
  • 47 POAS, i. 51.
  • 48 Bodl. Carte 47, f. 113.
  • 49 Ibid. 51, ff. 180, 208.
  • 50 Pepys Diary, vii. 260-1, 287; CSP Dom. 1666-7, p. 99.
  • 51 Bodl. Carte 46, f. 371.
  • 52 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, p. 94.
  • 53 Milward Diary, 14.
  • 54 Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 99.
  • 55 CSP Dom. 1666-7, pp. 185-6.
  • 56 Bodl. Carte 46, ff. 385-6, 389; Trans. Am. Phil. Soc. n.s. lx. 26, 27-28.
  • 57 Bodl. Carte 217, f. 348; LJ, xii. 18-19.
  • 58 Chatsworth, Cork mss, misc. box 2, Burlington diary.
  • 59 Bodl. Carte 46, ff. 396, 398, 402; Carte 35, f. 126.
  • 60 Bodl. Carte 35, f. 259.
  • 61 NMM, SAN/A/1, ff. 198, 205.
  • 62 NMM, SAN/A/2, f. 21.
  • 63 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 196, 225.
  • 64 Pepys Diary, viii. 68-70.
  • 65 Bodl. Carte 46, f. 452.
  • 66 Pepys Diary, viii. 96, 118-19, 120, 195.
  • 67 Schuchard, 653.
  • 68 Add. 27872, ff. 8-9, 12.
  • 69 Add. 75354, Lady Ranelagh to Burlington, 13 Apr. 1667.
  • 70 Bodl. Carte 221, ff. 109-10.
  • 71 Ibid. 46, ff. 476-9.
  • 72 Pepys Diary, viii. 330, 342; TNA, PRO 31/3/116, Ruvigny to Lionne, 19/29 Sept. 1667.
  • 73 TNA, PRO 31/3/116, pp. 95-97.
  • 74 TNA, PRO 31/3/117, pp. 1-2, 18, 20; PRO 31/3/116, pp. 126-30.
  • 75 Milward Diary, 98, 105; Bodl. Carte 222, ff. 168-9; Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 188.
  • 76 Bodl. Clarendon 85, f. 434.
  • 77 Bodl. Carte 46, ff. 573, 575; Carte 75, f. 587.
  • 78 Verney ms mic. M636/22, Sir R. to E. Verney, 21 Nov. 1667.
  • 79 TNA, PRO 31/3/117, pp. 39-41.
  • 80 J. Miller, Charles II, 134-5.
  • 81 TNA, PRO 31/3/117, pp. 39-41, 56-59.
  • 82 Ibid. 61-62.
  • 83 Bodl. Carte 220, ff. 326-8; Miller, Charles II, 140-1.
  • 84 Add. 36916, f. 56.
  • 85 TNA, PRO 31/3/118, pp. 17-18.
  • 86 Bodl. Carte 36, f. 104.
  • 87 TNA, PRO 31/3/118, pp. 33-37, 75-76; Bodl. Carte 220, ff. 344-6.
  • 88 CSP Dom. 1667-8, pp. 258-9.
  • 89 Pepys Diary, ix. 74.
  • 90 Milward Diary, 185; Grey, i. 70-1.
  • 91 TNA, PRO 31/3/118, pp. 84, 108; PRO 31/3/119, pp. 1, 4.
  • 92 TNA, PRO 31/3/118, pp. 119-20.
  • 93 Verney ms mic. M636/22, Sir R. to E. Verney, 21 May 1668; HJ, lii. 307; TNA, PRO 31/3/119, p. 25; Bodl. Carte 48, f. 268.
  • 94 Bodl. Carte 48, f. 262; Carte 147, p. 80.
  • 95 Bodl. Carte 220, ff. 406-7.
  • 96 Add. 36916, f. 111; Bodl. Carte 51, f. 427; Carte. 48, f. 286.
  • 97 Bodl. Carte 46, ff. 631-2.
  • 98 Barbour, 144.
  • 99 M. Lee, Cabal, 100.
  • 100 CSP Dom. 1667-8, pp. 549, 551-2.
  • 101 TNA, PRO 31/3/119, pp. 91-93.
  • 102 Pepys Diary, ix. 302; Add. 36916, f. 114.
  • 103 CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 593.
  • 104 TNA, PRO 31/3/120, pp. 3-4.
  • 105 Add. 36916, f. 115; S.B. Baxter, Development of the Treasury, 266-7.
  • 106 TNA, PRO 31/3/120, pp. 10-11.
  • 107 Pepys Diary, ix. 340-1; TNA, PRO 31/3/120, p. 24.
  • 108 Bodl. Carte 221, ff. 116-17; TNA, PRO 31/3/120, pp. 26-27.
  • 109 TNA, PRO 31/3/120, pp. 40-42; Add. 36916, f. 120.
  • 110 TNA, PRO 31/3/120, p. 57.
  • 111 HJ, xxix. 307.
  • 112 Barbour, 154; HJ, xxix. 311.
  • 113 TNA, PRO 31/3/121, pp. 26-29.
  • 114 Ibid. 41, 47-48, 63, 64, 81-3; Add. 36916, f. 125; Verney ms mic. M636/23, M. Elmes to Sir R. Verney, 17 Mar. 1669; Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 400-1.
  • 115 TNA, PRO 31/3/121, p. 100, PRO 31/3/122, p. 5.
  • 116 Miller, Charles II, 155-6.
  • 117 Verney ms mic. M636/23, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 28 July 1669.
  • 118 Barbour, 160.
  • 119 HMC Var. Coll. ii. 129; TNA, PRO 31/3/122, pp. 109-10; HMC Bath, ii. 437; Add. 32499, f. 25; Durham UL, Cosin letter book 5a, 37; Verney ms mic. M636/23, Dr. W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 20 Sept. 1669.
  • 120 TNA, PRO 31/3/123, p. 9.
  • 121 Ibid. 13.
  • 122 Add. 36196, f. 143.
  • 123 TNA, PRO 31/3/123, pp. 20, 23-24.
  • 124 Lauderdale Pprs. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxxvi) ii. 139, 147; Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 419; LJ, xii. 254-5, 261-2; CSP Ven. 1669-70, p. 121.
  • 125 TNA, PRO 31/3/123, pp. 29, 30-31; Barbour, 163.
  • 126 Verney ms mic. M636/23, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 10 and 16 Nov. 1669.
  • 127 Corresp. of Thomas Corie, Town Clerk of Norwich, 1664-87 ed. R.H. Hill, 28-29.
  • 128 Bodl. Carte 76, f. 19.
  • 129 TNA, PRO 31/3/124, p. 114; Barbour, 163-4; HP Commons 1660-90, i. 702-3; ii. 30.
  • 130 Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 422.
  • 131 TNA, PRO 31/3/124, pp. 92-93.
  • 132 HMC Var. Coll. ii. 133.
  • 133 Ibid. 134.
  • 134 Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 432.
  • 135 TNA, PRO 31/3/124, pp. 157-8; Bodl. Carte 37, f. 572.
  • 136 Verney ms mic. M636/23, Sir R. to E. Verney, 4 June 1670.
  • 137 Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 435.
  • 138 TNA, PRO 31/3/125, pp. 225-6; K. Haley, An English Diplomat in the Low Countries, 271.
  • 139 Arlington’s Letters to Temple, 450; Bodl. Tanner 314, f. 54; CSP Ven. 1669-70, p. 245.
  • 140 Haley, An English Diplomat in the Low Countries, 271-4.
  • 141 Miller, Charles II, 179-80; NLS, ms 7004, f. 155.
  • 142 TNA, PRO 31/3/125, p. 299.
  • 143 Ibid. 31/3/126, pp. 23-24.
  • 144 Add. 36916, ff. 219, 221.
  • 145 Bodl. Tanner 44, f. 256.
  • 146 TNA, PRO 31/3/126, pp. 65, 67, 74-75.
  • 147 Verney ms mic. M636/24, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 14 Sept. 1671.
  • 148 TNA, PRO 31/3/126, pp. 110, 119.
  • 149 Kenyon, Sunderland, 11; Verney ms mic. M636/24, Dr. W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 19 Oct. 1671.
  • 150 Add. 61486, f. 19.
  • 151 Kenyon, 11; Add. 61486, f. 23.
  • 152 Add. 36916, f. 235.
  • 153 Verney ms mic. M636/24, Sir R. to E. Verney, 28 Dec. 1671.
  • 154 Add. 61486, ff. 35-36.
  • 155 Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxii), 76.
  • 156 CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 608.
  • 157 Miller, Charles II, 188-9; TNA SP 104/177, f. 12; Haley, Shaftesbury, 296-7.
  • 158 TNA, PRO 31/3/127, pp. 55-56.
  • 159 Add. 61486, f. 135.
  • 160 Verney ms mic. M636/25, Sir R. to E. Verney, 22 June 1672; Add. 28040, f. 6; NLS, ms 7005, f. 157.
  • 161 Barbour, 191.
  • 162 Morgan Lib. Rulers of England Box 9, no. 75, Arlington to ?Danby, 3 Aug. 1672; Verney ms mic. M636/25, Dr. W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 1 Aug. 1672; Add. 25117, f. 13.
  • 163 TNA, PRO 31/3/127, p. 93.
  • 164 Ibid. 98, 101.
  • 165 Add. 25117, f. 43.
  • 166 Verney ms mic. M636/25, Sir R. to E. Verney, 18 Nov. 1672; Add. 21948, ff. 427-8.
  • 167 Barbour, 205; Verney ms mic. M636/25, Sir R. Verney to E. Verney, 18 Nov. 1672; C.H. Hartmann, Clifford of the Cabal, 251.
  • 168 TNA SP 104/177 f. 107.
  • 169 CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 630; HP Commons 1660-90, ii. 45; TNA, PRO 31/3/128, p. 2.
  • 170 TNA SP 104/177 f. 146v; TNA, PRO 31/3/128, p. 6.
  • 171 Add. 28085, ff. 21-24.
  • 172 HP Commons 1660-90, ii. 45.
  • 173 TNA, PRO 31/3/128, pp. 23-24, 33, 37-38, 39-41.
  • 174 Ibid. 46-48.
  • 175 Ibid. 65-66.
  • 176 Williamson Letters, i. 6; TNA, PRO 31/3/128, pp. 76-77.
  • 177 Williamson Letters, i. (Cam. Soc. n.s. viii), 58; Hatton Corresp. i.107.
  • 178 TNA, PRO 31/3/128, pp. 88-90, 102-7.
  • 179 Williamson Letters, i. 73, 77, 79-81, 88; CSP Ven. 1673-5, pp. 101, 114.
  • 180 Williamson Letters, i. 112, 159, 165, 176.
  • 181 Essex Pprs. (Cam. Soc. ser. 3, xxiv), 133.
  • 182 TNA, PRO 31/3/129, ff. 24, 31-33, 40-44, 46-47.
  • 183 Bodl. Carte 77, f. 638.
  • 184 TNA, PRO 31/3/129, ff. 59-61.
  • 185 Williamson Letters, ii. (Cam. Soc. n.s., ix), 62.
  • 186 TNA, PRO 31/3/129, ff. 62-5; Williamson Letters, ii. 81.
  • 187 Burnet, History (1897), ii. 37.
  • 188 Essex Pprs. 141-2, 150; Williamson Letters, ii. 92; Browning, Danby, i. 119.
  • 189 TNA, PRO 31/3/129, ff. 74-75, 92-96.
  • 190 Ibid, 30/53/7/115; Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 8 Dec. 1673.
  • 191 TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 21-22, 31-36.
  • 192 Bodl. ms film 293, FSL, Newdigate newsletters, I. L.C. 2, 15 Jan. 1674, I. L.C. 3, 17 Jan. 1674; Bodl. Tanner 42, f. 74; Bodl. Carte 77, ff. 640-1; Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 15 Jan. 1674; TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 38-40; Essex Pprs. 140, 143; D.T. Witcombe, Charles II and the Cavalier House of Commons 1663-74, pp. 154-5; Williamson Letters, ii. 113, 115, 118.
  • 193 Barbour, 231-2.
  • 194 Add. 25117, f. 166.
  • 195 Haley, 357; Williamson Letters, ii. 120-22; Add. 70012, f. 115; Bodl. Carte 76, ff. 17-18; TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 44-48.
  • 196 Williamson Letters, ii. 131; CJ, ix. 293-6.
  • 197 NLW, Wynn of Gwydir, 2677.
  • 198 Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 22 Jan. 1674; Williamson Letters, ii. 118, 141, 150, 156.
  • 199 TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 41-43.
  • 200 Ibid. ff. 65-66.
  • 201 Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 5 Feb. 1674.
  • 202 Add. 28040, f. 9.
  • 203 TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 88-91, 101-5; Williamson Letters, ii. 156, 158.
  • 204 TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 118-20; Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 5 Mar. 1674.
  • 205 TNA, PRO 31/3/130, ff. 124-7.
  • 206 Miller, James II, 83; TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 17-20.
  • 207 Essex Pprs. 197; Add. 40860, f. 66.
  • 208 Miller, James II, 76-77.
  • 209 TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 31-32, 49-50.
  • 210 Bodl. Carte 38, f. 96.
  • 211 TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 85-89.
  • 212 Bodl. Carte 243, f. 130; ms film 293 (Newdigate) L.C. 72.
  • 213 Bodl. Carte 220, f. 468.
  • 214 Bodl. ms film 293 (Newdigate) L.C. 81, 82; Bodl. Carte 220, f. 462; Add. 40860, f. 77.
  • 215 Add. 40860, f. 78; Verney ms mic. M636/28, Dr. W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 24 Sept. 1674; Bodl. Carte 220, f. 460; Carte 72, f. 194; HMC Rutland, ii. 27.
  • 216 HJ, lii. 298, 312-13.
  • 217 G. Treby, A Collection of Letters and Other Writings Relating to the Horrid Popish Plot (1681), 97.
  • 218 Add. 70124, [R. Strettell] to E. Harley, 5 Nov. 1674; Bodl. Carte 243, f. 163; TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 109-112; Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney, 16 Nov. 1674.
  • 219 Bodl. Carte 38, ff. 177, 179; TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 113-15.
  • 220 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 6-8.
  • 221 Bodl. Carte 38, ff. 14, 219.
  • 222 NAS, GD 406/1/2921; Verney ms mic. M636/28, Sir R. to E. Verney, 4 and 7 Jan. 1675; J. to E. Verney, 7 Jan. 1675.
  • 223 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 11-12.
  • 224 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 374.
  • 225 Morgan Lib. misc. English MA 3609, Arlington to Sir C. Wren, 18 Feb. 1675; HJ, lii. 314-15.
  • 226 NLS, ms 7007, f. 25.
  • 227 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 19-24.
  • 228 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 27-29.
  • 229 Bulstrode Pprs. 284.
  • 230 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 27-29.
  • 231 Bodl. Tanner 145, f. 207.
  • 232 TNA, PRO 31/3/132, ff. 33-36.
  • 233 Ibid. ff. 61-74.
  • 234 Browning, ii. 470.
  • 235 TNA, PRO 31/3/131, ff. 10-12.
  • 236 Ibid. 31/3/132, ff. 98-100, 103-6.
  • 237 HEHL, EL 8419; State Trials, vii. 157-8.
  • 238 PA, LGC/5/1, f. 70.
  • 239 Add. 70120, [A. Marvell] to Sir E. Harley, 1 July 1676; TNA, PRO 31/3/133, ff. 87-93.
  • 240 Essex Pprs. 73.
  • 241 Ibid. 91.
  • 242 Verney ms mic. M636/31, W. Fall to Sir R. Verney, 11 Apr. 1678.
  • 243 Add. 18730, f. 40.
  • 244 Verney ms mic. M636/31, Sir R. to E. Verney, 3 Jan. 1678; J. to E. Verney, 6 June 1678; Add. 28053, f. 120.
  • 245 Bodl. Carte 38, f. 653, Carte 81, ff. 380, 405; ms Eng. lett. c. 210, f. 243.
  • 246 Add. 28047, ff. 47-48.
  • 247 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 541-2.
  • 248 Verney ms mic. M636/32, Sir R. to E. Verney, 27 Feb. 1679.
  • 249 Chatsworth, Devonshire collection group 1/F, newsletter, 12 Aug. 1679.
  • 250 Verney ms mic. M636/33, Dr. W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 6 Nov. 1679; Chatsworth, Devonshire collection group 1/B, newsletter, 8 Nov. 1679.
  • 251 Bodl. Tanner 38, f. 112.
  • 252 Bodl. Carte 232, f. 145.
  • 253 Cornw. RO, AR/25/39.
  • 254 Bodl. Carte 243, f. 473.
  • 255 Add. 75360, Sir W. Hickman to Halifax, 29 May 1680.
  • 256 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 505.
  • 257 Bodl. Carte 128, f. 337.
  • 258 Bodl. Carte 232, ff. 77-78.
  • 259 Add. 36988, f. 159.
  • 260 CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 173, 185; Bodl. Carte 222, ff. 264, 268-9.
  • 261 Verney ms mic. M636/35, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 14 Mar. 1681.
  • 262 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 72.
  • 263 Haley, 635; HMC Ormond, n.s. vi. 6-7.
  • 264 Verney ms mic. M636/35, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 9 June 1681.
  • 265 Morrice, Entring Bk. ii. 283.
  • 266 Castle Ashby ms, 1092, newsletter, 4 Aug. 1681; London Gazette, 28 July-1 Aug. 1681.
  • 267 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 114.
  • 268 Bodl. Tanner 155, f. 178; King’s Coll. Camb. Keynes ms 117a.
  • 269 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 136.
  • 270 NAS, GD 157/2681/41.
  • 271 HMC Ormond, n.s. vi. 243.
  • 272 Morgan Lib. LHMS Rulers of England box 9, Arlington to Sir J. More, 29 Dec. 1681.
  • 273 HMC Ormond, n.s. vi. 59, 308-9, 310, 334, 378.
  • 274 NAS, GD 157/2681/10.
  • 275 CSP Dom. 1683 Jan.-June, 90-92; HMC Ormond, n.s. vii. 27-32.
  • 276 Add. 37990, f. 34.
  • 277 HMC Rutland, ii. 81.
  • 278 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, box 1, folder 57, Yard to Poley, 24 Nov. 1684.
  • 279 Evelyn Diary, iv. 416-17; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 330.
  • 280 Verney ms mic. M636/40, J. Stewkeley to Sir R. Verney, 28 July 1685; JRL, Legh of Lyme mss, newsletter, 28 July 1685; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 355.
  • 281 Verney ms mic. M636/40, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 4 Aug. 1685; Bodl. ms Eng. lett. c. 144, ff. 227-8, 229.