COOPER, Anthony Ashley (1621-83)

COOPER (ASHLEY COOPER), Anthony Ashley (1621–83)

cr. 20 Apr. 1661 Bar. ASHLEY; cr. 23 Apr. 1672 earl of SHAFTESBURY

First sat 8 May 1661; last sat 23 Mar. 1681

MP Tewkesbury, 1640 (Apr.), Wiltshire 1653, 1654, 1656, 1659, Downton, 7 Jan. 1660, Wiltshire 1660

b. 22 July 1621, 1st s. of Sir John Cooper, 1st bt., of Rockbourne, Hants, and Anne, da. and h. of Sir Anthony Ashley, 1st bt., of Wimborne St Giles; bro. of George Cooper. educ. privately (Aaron Guerdon) 1627-37, Exeter Coll., Oxf., 1637; L. Inn, 1638. m. (1) 25 Feb. 1639, Margaret (d. 11 July 1649), da. of Thomas Coventry, 1st Bar. Coventry of Aylesborough, s.p.; (2) 15 Apr. 1650, Lady Frances Cecil (d. 31 Dec. 1652), da. of David Cecil, 3rd earl of Exeter, 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (3) 30 Aug. 1655, Margaret, da. of William Spencer, 2nd Bar. Spencer, s.p. suc. fa. 23 Mar. 1631. d. 21 Jan. 1683.

Dep. lt. Dorset, 1642-4, 26 July 1660-72; sheriff, Dorset 1643, Wilts. 1 Dec. 1646-11 Feb. 1648; v.-adm. Hants Apr. 1660-1; ld. lt. Dorset, 1672-4.

Col. of ft. and capt. of horse (royalist), 1643-4; gov. Weymouth 1643; field-marshal-gen., Dorset c. Aug. 1644-Apr. 1646; col. of horse, 11 Jan.-Nov. 1660; gov. I.o.W. Feb. 1660-1.

Freeman, Poole, 1651, Salisbury 29 June 1654; gov. Charterhouse Hospital, 1662;1 high steward, Salisbury, 1672-d.; mbr., Skinners’ Co. 1681-d.

Commr. law reform Jan. 1652-Apr. 1653; judge of probate 8 Apr. 1653-4; cllr. of state 14 July 1653-Dec. 1654, 19 May-Oct. 1659, 2 Jan.-31 May 1660; commr. for army (acting) Dec. 1659-Jan. 1660; PC 31 May 1660-19 May 1674; ld. pres. Apr.-Oct. 1679; commr. trade, Nov. 1660-72; chanc. Exchequer May 1661-Nov. 1672; treas. prizes, 1664-7; ld. of treasury 1667-72; commr. affairs of Tangier, 1669, 1673.2 commr. union with Scotland, 1670; pres. trade and plantations 1672-4; ld. chanc. 1672-3; Commission for the review of the settlement of Ireland, 16733; commr. of prize appeals, 1672.4

Mbr., cttee. Virginia and cttee. Barbados, 29 Dec. 1654-?Jan. 1655; mbr., soc. mines royal and mineral and battery works 1662, gov. 1663-d.; asst. Royal adventurers into Africa by 1664-71; ld. prop. Carolina 1663-d.; mbr., Hudson’s Bay Co. 1668-73, dep. gov. 1673-4, cttee. 1674-5; sub-gov. Royal Africa Co. 1672-3, asst. 1674-7.

Bencher, L. Inn, 28 Jan. 1673.

FRS 1663.

Associated with: Wimborne St Giles, Dorset.

Likenesses: oil on canvas, aft. John Greenhill, c.1672-3, NPG 3893; line engraving, by B. Baron, aft. S. Cooper, NPG D 16246; oil on canvas, circle of A. Hanneman, St John's, Camb.

‘The little man’: Cooper before the Restoration

A man of little stature, in his youth well enough shaped, of countenance agreeable; grace he had in all his manners of application, which were to every body soft and plausible. He was very well learn’d, and particularly understood the laws; he was exceeding eloquent, a great master he was of words, and the language, and knew powerfully to apply them to every purpose. His voice was harmonious, and of the sweetness thereof he did likewise make use, in his intent to charm the auditors, when he intended to cast false colours upon any thing. But with this he was proud as Lucifer, and ambitious beyond what ever enter’d into the designs of any man; impatient of every power but his own, of any man’s reputation; false to that degree, as he did not esteem any promise, any engagement, any oath, of other use than to serve a purpose, and none of these of consequence to bind a man further than it was his interest: and for religion, of which, for a tool, he made most use, he had never any, as appear’d by the private practices of his whole life… And for his cruelty, it was never less to those he hated, than intentions of total ruin, and extirpation, in which he was inexorable; and it was never known he forgave, or was reconcil’d to any man.5

For Tories like Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, there was something of the night about Anthony Ashley Cooper, the ‘false Achitophel... a name to all succeeding ages curst’ of Dryden’s epic poem of the 1678-83 crisis, Absalom and Achitophel. To a degree, their hatred of ‘the little man’ was formed in the years when he led the charge against James Stuart, duke of York, Peterborough’s patron, at the beginning of the 1680s, and Peterborough’s vitriol was partly inspired by the occasion when he crossed swords with him himself in 1681. But royalists had long been deeply suspicious of a man who had begun as one of them in the 1640s before swapping sides. (The Strangways family had cause for lasting enmity for his destruction of their house in Dorset in 1644.)

Ashley Cooper rose to prominence with his service on the law reform commission in 1652-4, in Barebone’s Parliament and the council of state, formative experiences which gave him a lifelong interest in the promotion of trade, the impact of law on society and the intricacies of matters as various as probate, chancery and commercial law. Sufficiently closely allied to Cromwell to be involved in the proposal to make him king in late 1654, his divergence from the Protector from 1655 onwards, as well as his marriage into the Spencer family, tying him into a series of family alliances involving the Coventrys, Wriothesleys and Saviles, made Royalists think that they might be able to reclaim him. Instead, Ashley Cooper accepted a place on the council of state established by the revived Rump Parliament in 1659 and was cleared of allegations of his involvement in Booth’s rebellion in September.6 His moment came with the confrontation between the council and Parliament with the Army that unfolded in late October and November. Much later, a story was told about meetings between Presbyterians including Denzil Holles, later Baron Holles, Arthur Annesley, later earl of Anglesey, and Ashley Cooper at the house of John Crew, later Baron Crew, together with Sir Henry Vane and other republicans, to discuss placing limitations on the crown before the Restoration.7 Certainly Ashley Cooper was close to the Republicans in 1659, and was generally regarded later as having betrayed them.8 He did not become a member of the Rump until January 1660, when the House finally made a decision on the twenty-year old dispute over his election for Downton in 1640. He swiftly moved to consolidate an alliance with George Monck, later duke of Albemarle, calling for the readmission of the secluded members, and acting as a key influence in the crisis which resulted in their return to the House on 21 Feb.9

Royalists remained uncertain whose side he was on until very late in the day. John Mordaunt, later Viscount Mordaunt, the agent of Sir Edward Hyde, later earl of Clarendon, was sceptical, believing that Ashley Cooper, together with Holles and others, had been ‘debauched’ by Algernon Percy, 4th earl of Northumberland and Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester ‘to prevent the General’s designs’ and to insist on conditions for the king’s restoration.10 He was said to have acted as an intermediary with key royalists, especially Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Sir Orlando Bridgeman, demanding comprehension and ‘that popery be discountenanced’ as a quid pro quo for the king’s restoration.11 But while Mordaunt remained wary of a man ‘too full of tricks’, he seems to have been reasonably satisfied by 7 May that Ashley Cooper would not be an obstacle to the Restoration.12

By then Ashley Cooper had been elected to the Convention Parliament, and on 8 May he was appointed one of the House of Commons’ twelve commissioners to the king at The Hague. On the return of the king, he was sworn a member of the Privy Council, one of those particularly recommended by Monck: a recommendation more willingly accepted, Clarendon wrote later, ‘because having lately married the niece of the earl of Southampton… it was believed that his slippery humour would be easily restrained and fixed by the uncle’.13 The relationship with Thomas Wriothesley, 4th earl of Southampton, would be crucial to his place in the new regime, although Ashley Cooper’s activity in the Convention suggests both his capacity and his determination. Although he was not formally appointed chancellor of the exchequer until May 1661, Hyde gave up the position in September 1660, when the treasury commission created in June had been terminated and replaced by Southampton as lord treasurer. Many of Ashley Cooper’s contributions in the Commons during the Convention related to treasury business, and Southampton had probably already engaged him in the exchequer. Clarendon wrote that it was at Southampton’s instance that Ashley Cooper was made chancellor.14 His peerage, as Lord Ashley, just before the coronation on 20 Apr. 1661, preceded his formal appointment to the chancellorship.

Lord Ashley, 1661-5

Ashley’s estate was based on the amalgamation of the estates of his Ashley and Cooper grandfathers in North Dorset, around Wimborne St Giles, and West Hampshire, at Rockbourne, and in Wiltshire, around Purton, and in Holborn in London. Depleted by sales to pay his father’s debts and litigation in the court of wards, rentals in the 1670s suggest that his income from land was around £3,000 a year, augmented by his salary and fees from 1660 to his loss of office in 1674. Shaftesbury made extensive commercial investments in whaling, silk, and mining, and put money into a range of colonial projects: he owned a plantation in Barbados in the late 1640s and early 1650s and in the 1660s and 1670s his activity expanded considerably, with interests in the Bahamas and Bermudas and Carolina, and money invested in the Royal Africa and Hudson’s Bay Companies.15

The new Lord Ashley was introduced into the House of Lords on 11 May between Thomas Windsor, 7th Baron Windsor, later earl of Plymouth, and Christopher Hatton, Baron Hatton, and was added to the committees for the customs and orders of the House and privileges of the peers, and to consider petitions. One of the most assiduous members of the House, he was present on almost every one of the 65 sitting days of the first session of the Cavalier Parliament up to the summer adjournment in July. He was a member of committees on most of the bills and other business which would occupy the bulk of the peers’ time, including the corporation bill (which Shaftesbury’s eighteenth century biographer suggested that he had opposed, although there is no contemporary evidence for this), and on those exempted from the Act of Indemnity.16 He reported from the latter committee on 27 July and with the lord treasurer, lord privy seal (John Robartes, Baron Robartes, later earl of Radnor) and lord chamberlain (the earl of Manchester) managed a conference with the Commons on it. He served too on the committee for the licensing bill. Again with the lord treasurer, the lord privy seal and lord chamberlain, he was one of the reporters of a conference on the Lords’ attempt to exempt peers’ houses from being searched, which resulted in the bill being ‘left on the table in the painted chamber’.17 He was on the committee for the Charing Cross paving bill, also rejected because of peers’ privilege. He served on the committees for four estate bills, as well as one to consider the petition of Robert Pory concerning the body of Matthew Parker.

On 28 June he was appointed to a committee following a debate on the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, to consider the laws against Roman Catholic priests. According to William Howard, Viscount Stafford, at his trial in 1680, Ashley, in his capacity of chancellor of the exchequer, had given the nod soon after the Restoration to Stafford’s proposal for the removal of the laws against Catholic worship in exchange for a levy of £100,000, although Stafford did not suggest that he had any further involvement in the discussions led by George Digby, earl of Bristol, which issued in the debates in the Lords in the summer of 1661.18 No doubt the reference was motivated by the then earl of Shaftesbury’s prominence in the movement against the duke of York, rather than his significance in the debates of 1661; however it does echo a confused story in Clarendon’s Life – in part mixed up with his account of the 1662 Declaration of Indulgence and its aftermath – which explains how Ashley, together with Sir Henry Bennet, later earl of Arlington (who was in fact still abroad in 1661) and Lord Robartes had proposed to the king a liberty of conscience and had tried to calculate ‘what every Roman catholic would be willing to pay yearly for the exercise of his religion, and so of every other sect’. 19 Ashley was certainly appointed to the committee appointed on 16 July to prepare a bill concerning the penal laws against Catholics.

After the summer adjournment, Ashley was present in the Lords for all but five sitting days and he missed (as did many others) the fast sermons on 15 Jan. and 30 Jan 1662, an attendance record of about 94 per cent. He was enormously busy with exchequer business, which accounted for many of the committees to which he was appointed, including one on collectors of taxes, which he reported on 28 Apr. 1662. He was closely involved in the bill about sheriffs’ accounts, which he reported on 28 Apr., and again on 15 May, and reported the effect of a conference on what was probably the same bill on 17 May. Beside such official activity, he was appointed to committees on most of the key issues of the session, as well as a wide range of economic issues. He reported a bill prohibiting importation of foreign bone lace; was appointed to the committee for another bill to do with repairing highways and sewers in London and Westminster, and later on helped to manage a conference about it, and he was appointed to committees concerning ten local, private or naturalization bills. He reported on the naturalization bill on 14 May, and later managed a conference with the Commons on the subject. Ashley was among the signatories of the protest against Charles Stanley, 8th earl of Derby’s highly controversial bill on 6 Feb. 1662, although he is not included in the list in the printed Journal.20

A number of Ashley’s interventions related to the privilege of peerage, particularly when it came to the intensive inter-house conferencing in May, towards the end of the session. They included the Irish peerage, on 25 Feb. 1662, and disputes over the militia bill in May about rating peers and about the status of the lieutenancy on 14, 16 and 17 May.21 He was heavily involved in the rush of business at the end of the session, reporting conferences on bills about accountants, sheriffs, former officers, on accounts, on the highways, and on poor relief on 17 and 19 May. On the latter bill, while the Lords abandoned its amendments concerning charges for the repair of bridges on the ground of financial privilege, they determined to assert their privileges at a conference. Unlike a number of his colleagues, Ashley did not protest at the decision to give in on financial privilege, and reported the text of the salvo for Lords’ privilege that was to be delivered to the Commons. Ashley was also appointed to manage a conference on the printing bill. Given his activity in the exchequer and on committees of the Privy Council as well, Ashley was extremely busy: with Lords Robartes, Anglesey, Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, Southampton and John Egerton, 2nd earl of Bridgwater, he was one of the key figures on whom much of the business in the House depended.

Clarendon attributed to Ashley and the new secretary of state, Bennet, the initiative to produce the Declaration of Indulgence in December 1662: Ashley and Robartes were present, he wrote, when it was discussed at a meeting at Clarendon’s Worcester House.22 Their leading advocacy of the measure would be confirmed when the bill for enacting a liberty of conscience was introduced into the Lords shortly after the new session of Parliament was opened in February 1663. Present on all but 15 days of the 1663 session, an attendance record of 82 per cent, he was appointed to the privileges and petitions committees.23 Clarendon’s account of the debates on the indulgence bill, presented by Robartes on 23 Feb., emphasizes Ashley’s role once Robartes had given up the struggle on the much-criticized measure:

the Lord Ashley adhered firmly to his point, spake often and with great sharpness of wit, and had a cadence in his words and pronunciation that drew attention. He said, it was the king’s misfortune that a matter of so great concernment to him, and such a prerogative as it may be would be found to be inherent in him without any declaration of Parliament, should be supported only by such weak men as himself, who served his majesty at a distance, whilst the great officers of the crown thought fit to oppose it.

Clarendon described how Ashley had provoked him into an ill-advised response, which had infuriated the king.24 The exchange probably occurred on 12 Mar., the first day after a few days’ adjournment, and the first day on which Clarendon attended that session.25 The main result of the row was a further hounding of Catholic priests. Ashley served as a member of the committee appointed on 23 Mar. to prepare a draft of a petition concerning Jesuits and priests.

Apart from the controversy over the indulgence bill, Ashley’s frenetic level of activity continued, though there was less exchequer business than in the previous session. He reported on arrears in peers’ benevolence payments on 31 Mar., he served on a committee on a bill for vesting alum-making in the king, and he asked the House on 18 June for a decision on whether peers who had to account for monies to the exchequer should deliver their accounts on their honour or upon oath. He was one of the committee for the subsidy bill, and one of the commissioners appointed to assess the peers.26 Right at the end of the session, he served on a committee for an additional act on the collection of the excise and on 23 July he was appointed to manage a conference on the same bill with the lord privy seal. On 24 July he was on the committee for the additional bill on hearth money, on which he reported the following afternoon.

Other than departmental matters, he continued to be appointed to the committees dealing with the major bills of the session.27 He was again concerned with economic development and business matters, including the encouragement of trade, fisheries, the manufacture of linen cloth and tapestry (on which he reported) and Bedford Level, as initiatives concerned with highway improvement, and bills on ecclesiastical or moral issues (tithes, the lord’s day, select vestries, and excessive gaming), and recording the genealogy of the nobility and gentry.28 On 1 June 1663 Ashley was expected to bring in a motion about Wildmore Fen ‘tomorrow’ to overcome rioting against the improvement plans of Montagu Bertie, 2nd earl of Lindsey, Theophilus Clinton [460]*, 4th earl of Lincoln and others.29 An order on the subject is recorded in the Journal for 3 June. Apart from serving on three estate bills, he reported on 15 June from the committee on a bill concerning John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester and his son, Charles Powlett, Lord St John, later 6th marquess of Winchester. He acted with Robartes, James Compton, 3rd earl of Northampton and John Lovelace, 2nd Baron Lovelace to try to resolve the differences between George Neville, Baron Abergavenny, and his brother’s wife, and reported on the affair after hearings on the penultimate day of the session. When the earl of Bridgwater and Lionel Cranfield, 3rd earl of Middlesex, had a row in the House over Middlesex’s niece, whom Bridgwater hoped to marry to his son, John Egerton, Lord Brackley, later 3rd earl of Bridgwater, Ashley was one of those appointed to draw up forms of reprehension and submission for them both.30 Ashley may have had an interest in the affair: his second wife’s mother had been Bridgwater’s sister, and he later objected to the terms of the marriage settlement of Brackley and Lady Elizabeth Cranfield when it was under negotiation in 1664.31 Ashley received the proxy of Philip Herbert, 5th earl of Pembroke, on 12 May, which was vacated at the end of the session; on 1 July he also received that of Edward Herbert, 3rd Baron Herbert of Chirbury. Both were vacated at the end of the session. A proxy from the duke of George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, given on 6 March, has been crossed out, but without a date when it was vacated.

The indulgence affair was regarded as having enhanced Ashley’s standing with the king. The French ambassador wrote in April that he was ‘in my opinion the only man who can match [Clarendon] in intellect and resolve, does not refrain from freely expressing his sentiments, and contradicting him to his face’.32 In mid-May, Pepys spoke of Ashley being one of ‘the present favourites’, and enemies of Clarendon, along with Bristol, Bennet, Buckingham, and Sir Charles Berkeley, later earl of Falmouth. Ashley was said to owe his favour largely to Bristol and his support of ‘the Catholic party against the bishops, whom he hates to the death and publicly rails against them; not that he is become a Catholic, but merely opposes the bishops’. Ashley, he thought, in the first appearance of a frequent rumour, was likely to succeed Southampton in the treasurership.3334

Ashley’s alliance with Bristol created a problem for him when the court conflict reached a crisis in late June, as Bennet abandoned the latter and accepted a working alliance with Clarendon. According to the French ambassador Ruvigny, Bristol demanded the admission of himself and his friends – Robartes and Ashley were particularly mentioned – to the king’s inner councils.35 Ashley was said to be the ‘chief’ of Bristol’s ‘party’. He acted as a go-between when Robert Spencer, the earl of Sunderland (his brother-in-law) broke off his match with Bristol’s daughter in June.36 After Bristol introduced his charges against Clarendon and the judges had reported their opinion that they did not amount to treason, Ashley seems to have spoken on 13 July to support the motion that they should bring in their reasons.37 Several years later, Pepys was impressed by Ashley’s table talk about the subsequent debate. Ashley argued that the Lords was the court of last appeal on points of interpretation, ‘and that therein they are above the judges’; so the opinion of the judges ‘was nothing in the presence of their lordships, but only as far as they were the properest men to bring precedents; but not to interpret the law to their lordships, but only the inducements of their persuasions’.38 This intervention was probably in the debate on 14 July following the judges’ presentation of their reasons.39

After Bristol’s hasty departure at the end of the session, the opposition to Clarendon lacked a leader, although Ashley was still routinely mentioned as among its principals.40 During the 1664 session Ashley maintained his usual rate of activity. Present for 90 per cent of the short session (all but three-and-a-half days), he was appointed, as usual, to the committee of privileges, and for the first time to the subcommittee for the Journal as well.41 He navigated the awkward moment at the beginning of the session at which Bristol petitioned the House, apparently supporting the court’s demand that Bristol’s letter to the House should be passed on to the king.42

An annotated list of the House of Commons in Ashley’s papers dating probably to before the 1664 session suggests an interest in political management, though it is far from clear what it means.43 It may have been to do with the resolution initiated in the Commons about the impediments to trade, which would become a key step towards the renewal of war with the Dutch republic. Ashley was involved in the creation of the resolution, reporting the conference with the Commons on 22 April. As before, he served on committees on bills relevant to the exchequer, and on one concerned with reform of petty larceny.44 In a debate on this bill on 3 Apr., his dislike of placing power in the hands of judges emerged again, as he complained about the discretionary power it gave them, and moved for the bill to be recommitted.45 The incident suggested (as others did around this time) the worsening relationship between Ashley and Southampton, who had supported the bill. Other bills in which Ashley was involved included, as in the previous session, one against gambling, and the perennial committee to consider how to get legislation about the poor, highways, streets and carriages enforced.46 As in the previous session he was appointed to a committee on a bill concerning Sir John Pakington, and on two other private bills.47 Closely concerned in the discussions on the conventicle bill, he was one of a sub-committee appointed on 6 May to consider parts of the bill, and in a debate on 10 May he offered a proviso described as ‘for reparation without just cause’; but it received no support.48 At the end of the session he was added to the managers of a conference on it which ended up with a row about a lost proviso on 16 May, the penultimate day of the session. Ashley held the proxy of Lord Herbert of Chirbury from 12 Mar., and that of George Booth, Baron Delamer, from the 23rd, both of them vacated at the end of the session.

Ashley’s name was linked with those of Robartes and John Maitland, earl of Lauderdale [S], over the summer.49 He attended for the prorogation meeting on 20 Aug. 1664, and was present on the opening day of the next session on 24 November. As usual, he was appointed to the committee of privileges, the petitions committee and the Journal sub-committee. Absent for 16 days of the session (an attendance of 69 per cent), he was less active than he had been previously, particularly at the end of the session. He continued to be appointed to committees on bills of concern to the exchequer, on duchy of Cornwall lands and the excise, bills on legal reform.50 He was appointed to committees on eight private bills, two of which he reported to the House (those on the estates of Francis Leigh, perhaps a relation of Southampton’s, and Sir Hugh Cholmley), and a bill concerning Wildmore Fen (in which he had also been involved back in 1663).51 For the third time he held Lord Herbert of Chirbury’s proxy, given on 4 Dec., and vacated at the end of the session.

On 24 Dec. Ashley was appointed treasurer of prize goods, in anticipation of the forthcoming war. The position created a separate fund outside the exchequer, to which Clarendon objected, complaining to Ashley that no court of law would approve of its exemption from the normal principles of exchequer accounting.52 The French ambassadors saw the prize commission as a vehicle of a Bennet-Lauderdale-Ashley faction, with lucrative appointments for their associates.53 The war gave new impetus to the coalition against the chancellor. In early January Ashley and Lauderdale were said to be eclipsing him in the king’s favour.54 A bone of contention was the reward to be given to Sir Robert Paston, who had successfully proposed in the Commons supply of £2,500,000 for the war with the Dutch. In Feb. 1665 Paston wrote to his wife that ‘a back friend of mine that loves not the chancellor, my Lord Ashley by name, told the king this morning he would give me four thousand pound a year for my bill’: the meaning is obscure, but presumably related to Paston’s bill concerning improvements to the port of Yarmouth, which would have returned him a considerable profit.55

The French ambassadors became particularly fixated with the group of Bennet (now Lord Arlington), Ashley and Lauderdale, whom they thought constituted an anti-French faction. They were reporting in May 1665 that the three were spending every evening at supper with the king’s mistress, the countess of Castlemaine.56 They thought that Ashley and Lauderdale, of this triumvirate, had less knowledge and interest in foreign affairs, with Ashley trying to pick an argument with them over prizes, and obstructing peace moves.57 The king paid one ‘surprise’ visit to Ashley at Wimborne St Giles on 10 Aug. and another in September.58 While the court was in Salisbury, with the duke and duchess of York in the North, a row erupted over the succession to the position of master of the horse to the queen: Southampton and Ashley’s advocacy of the claims of Robert Spencer (Ashley’s brother in law) was unsuccessful because the duke and duchess had advanced the interest of Ralph Montagu, later duke of Montagu, the previous incumbent’s brother.59 Clarendon’s account suggests that the incident was used to try to drive a wedge between himself and Southampton.60

Ashley was not present at the prorogations in June, August and early October. He missed seven days altogether of the very short Oxford session, lowering his attendance record further to 56 per cent, though he was appointed as usual to the committee of privileges and the sub-committee for the journal. He served on the committee on the five mile bill: the account written ten years later in A Letter from a Person of Quality says that Ashley opposed the bill together with Southampton and Wharton, though a contemporary account refers to opposition from Southampton, Manchester, Wharton and John Lucas, Baron Lucas of Shenfield, during the debate on the 30th, but not from Ashley – indeed, Ashley was apparently absent.61 Ashley did oppose the amendments proposed by Sir George Downing, introduced late in the discussion of the £1.25 million addition to the assessment voted in November 1664, to reform the way the government secured credit by creating a basic bond market. According to Clarendon’s account of the discussions at court Ashley supported his own objections because of the scheme’s impact on the crown’s relationship with the handful of bankers who usually lent to the government. Downing’s amendments, however, were allowed to remain, in order not to jeopardize the bill’s passage altogether.62

A member of the committee on the plague bill, Ashley was one of those appointed to manage a conference on it on 31 October. Sir Allan Brodrick, a partisan of the chancellor, blamed the Lords – especially York, Robartes, George Monck, duke of Albemarle, and Ashley – for the failure of the bill because, ‘ridiculously tender of their privileges’, they insisted on exempting the peerage.63 Among the other committees to which he was appointed was one discussing imports of foreign cattle and fish, largely concerned with Irish imports, which would become the greatest cause of conflict in the following session.64 Ashley was present at the prorogation on 20 Feb. 1666, but not at that on 23 Apr. He served on the lord steward’s court for the trial of Thomas Parker, 15th Baron Morley and 7th Baron Monteagle in April 1666; with Wharton, he found Morley guilty of murder (rather than manslaughter, for which most other peers opted).65 For much of the first half of 1666, however, Ashley was ill with the disorder which would nearly kill him two years later.66

War and Irish cattle: 1666-7

Ashley missed the first two days of the session of 1666-7, but was appointed to the committee of privileges on the first day he attended, 24 Sept. 1666. His attendance record recovered: absent on a further four days throughout the session, he was present for 95 per cent of its sittings. A major preoccupation was the prospect of the French entering the war. Ashley was one of those appointed to draw up reasons for a conference with the House of Commons concerning a vote on imports from France on 12 Oct. 1666; with Anglesey he was appointed on 29 Oct. to draw up an addition extending the bill to all of the king’s dominions, and was one of the members appointed to present the address against French imports to the king. As treasurer of prize goods, he was one of those appointed to examine the merchants following a Commons vote concerning the confiscated goods of some French merchants.67 He received again the proxy of Lord Delamer on 22 Nov., vacated on 29 Dec., and that of the earl of Pembroke on 16 Jan. 1667, vacated at the end of the session.

Most of Ashley’s energies were taken up, however, with the drive to ban imports of Irish cattle, the bill for which arrived in the Lords on 19 Oct. 1667. Ashley was said to be, apart from Buckingham, the bill’s most prominent advocate in the Lords.68 Edward Conway, 3rd Viscount Conway, told James Butler, earl of Brecknock and duke of Ormond [I], on 13 November, just after the bill had emerged from committee of the whole House, that the bill was the result of the ‘implacable hatred’ towards Ormond of Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale, and a scheme of Ashley and Lauderdale to ‘engross and monopolize… the trade of cattle between England and Scotland’. Conway added that Ashley was conducting a determined campaign in the committee of privileges to have all Irish nobility disabled from ‘taking any place in England’, and was also planning to force the Irish to receive all foreign commodities via England.69 Clarendon later recalled Ashley’s claim that if the bill did not pass ‘all the rents in Ireland would rise in a vast proportion, and those in England fall as much; so that in a year or two the duke of Ormond would have a greater revenue than the earl of Northumberland’.70

The debates in the Lords between the report and the third reading on 23 Nov. focused on three points. One was a proviso exempting Scottish cattle, which the committee had already left out, and which Conway thought had been part of a plan to create a monopoly and share the profits with James Scott [700]*, duke of Monmouth; the second was the removal of the word ‘nuisance’, which would enable the king to dispense with the effective parts of the act; and the third was a provision to permit Irish cattle to be exported to help supply London following the fire, proposed in response to a petition from the City of London. On 17 Nov. Ashley was appointed to a committee to draft the proviso to give effect to the latter measure.71 The result was discussed in the House on 19 Nov. in a widely-reported debate. According to Anglesey, Ashley had been arguing ‘very freely’ that the scheme was ‘a pretence of charity’, designed to disadvantage England. But the drafting of the proviso was principally the work of Buckingham, Ashley and Lucas, and by allowing insufficient time for slaughtering and transportation of the cattle it had been calculated to frustrate the idea. When Anglesey made this point in the House, he wrote, Ashley ‘fell to his wonted politics’, provoking Ormond’s son, Thomas Butler, Baron Butler and earl of Ossory [I], into a furious remark that the bill had emerged from former Cromwellian councillors. Ashley took the remark as referring to himself, as did most of the House; Buckingham weighed in, provoking Ossory some more; Anglesey himself tried to explain Ossory’s remarks, which ‘grated so near upon my Lord Ashley that he let go his former game and crave[d] justice against me but he was therein single in opinion’.72 Ossory, however, was forced to beg the pardon of the House.

The court was equally troubled by the accounts bill. Clarendon in his memoir suggested that Ashley himself had something to fear from an inquiry into the public accounts because of the lack of accountability for the treasurership of prize goods.73 The Commons’ request for a joint committee to examine the public accounts was rejected by the Lords on 22 Nov., and Ashley was appointed to manage the subsequent conference with the Commons. The Commons responded by sending an accounts bill, creating a statutory commission, up to the Lords on 14 Dec., along with their poll bill. Clarendon persuaded the Lords to abandon the bill in favour of petitioning the king for a royal commission. On 19 Dec. the chancellor, the lord chamberlain, Anglesey, Lucas and Ashley were appointed to draft a petition. But when the details of the alternative commission were given to the House on 29 Dec., Ashley, Buckingham, Northampton ‘and other confederates’ were said to have determined to reject it, and to obstruct further supply.74 Ashley was one of the managers appointed that day for the conferences on Irish cattle, the poll bill and the public accounts.

In the meantime, the Irish cattle bill had returned to the Lords. On 17 Dec. the House took into consideration the rejection by the Commons of the removal of the word ‘nuisance’ from the bill. Ashley was presumably in agreement with Buckingham and Lucas, who argued for acceptance of the Commons’ line, but was (with them) appointed to the committee to prepare reasons for adhering to the removal of the word from the bill. 75 The reasons were finally discussed at an argumentative committee meeting on 21 Dec., which Ashley must have attended, given the voting figures, but which was not reported to the House until 29 Dec.76 Ashley, according to Lord Conway, ‘seemingly to compose the difference’, proposed to change ‘nuisance’ to felony or praemunire. Clarendon quipped that ‘it might as reasonably be called adultery’.77 Ashley was among those appointed to manage the subsequent conference with the Commons.

At the beginning of 1667 Lord Conway was pleased with his riposte to Ashley when there was a scare about the invasion of Ireland by France. Ashley asked how Ireland would defend itself: Conway responded that since Ashley was helping to render her incapable of doing so through the Irish cattle bill it was up to him to work it out. He replied ‘very superciliously’, that the blame for the problems of Ireland lay ‘upon those lords, that have driven the English out of the sea ports, and corporate towns, and filled them up with Irish’.78 On 14 Jan., after the court finally gave way over the word ‘nuisance’ in the Irish cattle bill, Ashley, with Buckingham and Lucas, managed the subsequent conference with the Commons. In a letter of 19 Jan. Conway reported a further exchange with Ashley ‘about two days since’. Conway had reproached Ashley with his actions against Ireland, ‘seeing that no man in the kingdom was so likely in a short time to be lord lieutenant of Ireland as himself’: Ashley replied that:

’Twas true they had done an unnatural Act, but the fault was in our present governors who by the settlement of Ireland, the book of rates, and other principles of government did endeavour to divide the interest of the two kingdoms, whereas he desired they should be united, and sit in one Parliament and then all these Acts would fall to the ground.

Anglesey described their subsequent conversation, in which Ashley promised to support proposals for the relief of Ireland: Anglesey referred to ‘having heard him at Oxford exclaim against granting us liberty of conscience’, and told him that ‘in my own opinion I knew nothing would do us more good than that’. Ashley said that he would ‘particularly befriend us in this, and further it to the utmost of his power’, though it is far from clear whether liberty of conscience for Catholics or for Presbyterians was meant.79

Ashley and his allies followed up their success on Irish cattle with pressure on other issues. An attempt to impeach William Willoughby, 5th (CP 6th) Baron Willoughby of Parham, shortly to be appointed governor of Barbados, may have had something to do with Ashley, and a speech on the Canary patent, perhaps delivered during the debates in December and January on the monopoly, mischievously copying arguments Clarendon had used against the 1663 ecclesiastical jurisdiction bill, was probably his.80 Ashley was involved too in the discussions on the impeachment of Viscount Mordaunt, participating in conferences with the Commons on the issue on 4 and 7 February.

Meanwhile, exchequer business continued to occupy Ashley’s time, including a bill for encouraging coinage, on which he conveyed the king’s consent, was appointed to the committee, and reported two conferences with the Commons (3 and 10 Jan. 1667), and a bill on accounts.81 There were the usual committees on trade and legal reform: bills to deal with people who died overseas, for price controls on foodstuffs, to confirm enclosures made by decrees in courts of equity, for plague victims (he later reported a conference on it), and for burying in woollen only, and committees for Bedford level and for rebuilding the city of London.82 Ashley’s membership of the committee on a bill for punishing and suppressing atheism and profaneness should be assumed to involve his opposition.83

Ashley also served on the committee on the bill establishing a court to deal with the Fire of London cases: a debate on 23 Jan. over whether to add a clause providing for an appeal to the king and the House of Lords from the sentence of the judges displayed Ashley’s dislike of judicial discretion. The amendment was rejected, and Ashley with many others (including the Robartes, Buckingham and Lucas) protested. He also protested against the passage of the bill – although he entered no reason himself, John Carey, 2nd earl of Dover, explained his own protest as an objection to the unlimited power it gave to the judges without an appeal.84

Ashley continued to be heavily involved in private bills: he was appointed to the committees for seven estate bills including those involving Sir Charles Stanley, in which he had been concerned before, and Lord Abergavenny (he acted as chairman on this committee, and his presence on it was clearly regarded as critical to Lady Abergavenny).85 He was involved in personal bills for illegitimating Lady Anne Roos’s children, naturalizing the wife of the earl of Arlington, and for restoring Francis Scawen in blood.86 There were also committees concerning the uniting of churches in Southampton and the improvement of lead mines in County Durham (which perhaps related to his mining interests).87

The prorogation on 8 Feb. was followed a few weeks later by an order for the arrest of the duke of Buckingham. No action was taken against Ashley, but his chances of succeeding Southampton as treasurer had been entirely sunk by his actions during the session. When Southampton died on 16 May 1667, the king decided to create a treasury commission. Clarendon wrote that he had objected to the omission of Ashley from the proposals agreed by the king and duke of York for the commission. The king reluctantly agreed to include him, but with a quorum of three, Ashley would not be taking a leading role as was customary for the chancellor of the exchequer. Ashley, wrote Clarendon, ‘rather chose to be degraded than to dispute it’.88 The Commission was dated 22 May.89 Ashley was certainly irritated, making clear his dim view of his colleagues.90

After Clarendon: 1667-9

Ashley adopted a cautious approach to the political crisis caused by the defeat of the English fleet which ended with the dismissal of Clarendon at the end of August.91 In the brief meeting of Parliament in July he was not listed as present on the 25th, but was on the 29th. Pepys was flattered to dine with him and his wife at the end of September, and was impressed by what he thought was Ashley’s deftness in asking the right questions to advance a business in which (Pepys believed) Ashley had a financial interest.92 The end of the war, the death of Southampton and the sacking of Clarendon were factors in a rash of new initiatives, in many of which Ashley was involved. He was included on a Privy Council committee established in September to discuss trade barriers between England and Scotland.93

Present for the opening of Parliament on 10 Oct., Ashley attended around 80 per cent of the session’s sittings. As before, he was appointed to the committee of privileges and the subcommittee on the journals, and the committee of petitions.94 He received, as before, the proxy of Lord Herbert of Chirbury on 25 Oct., vacated on 10 Feb. 1668. He was heavily involved in the debates on the Clarendon impeachment, serving on the committee for the bill for regulating the trial of peers on 7 Nov. 1667.95 In the long debate on commitment on 12 Nov., both he and the earl of Bristol, no friends of Clarendon, were said to have ‘reasoned much’ against it: it is far from clear why. Ashley’s eighteenth century biographer recorded Clarendon’s son Laurence Hyde, later earl of Rochester acknowledging that Ashley had opposed it.96 On 15 Nov. Ashley was among those appointed to manage a conference on the subject. Unlike Buckingham and Bristol, he did not dissent from the Lords vote refusing to commit Clarendon on 20 Nov. but he was one of the Lords’ representatives at the conference with the Commons on the following day, against which some of Clarendon’s key supporters dissented. On 22 Nov. he reported from it, and was appointed to a committee, with Buckingham, Manchester, Bridgwater, Holles, Bristol and Anglesey, to draw up reasons on the Lords’ votes against the Commons. He managed two subsequent conferences with the Commons on the subject, on 25 and 27 November.

Ashley was also involved in the proceedings following Clarendon’s flight from London at the beginning of December. He was a manager of the conference on Clarendon’s petition on 4 Dec., was appointed to the committee on the bill for his banishment on 7 Dec., and was among those appointed to draw up reasons for dissenting from the vote of the Commons about the banishment on 14 December. He was also among those appointed to report a conference with the Commons on freedom of speech (concerning the 1630 judgment against Sir John Eliot and Denzil Holles) on 10 Dec., and reported from it the following day.

The subtleties of Ashley’s position on Clarendon may have signalled an attempt to occupy a specific place in English politics. The French ambassador Ruvigny explained on 22 Nov. that Ashley and Anglesey, and possibly Arlington as well, were trying to form an alliance, hoping to persuade Northumberland to act as its figurehead.97 Ashley and Buckingham’s clash over the public accounts bill, presumably on 18 or 19 Dec. at the second or third reading of the bill (Ashley was appointed to the committee on the bill), may have indicated a more strategic falling out – Ashley had apparently explained to the House that the bill was ‘a foolish and simple act’, eliciting a sarcastic response from the duke. Nevertheless both men were concurrently interested in gathering information against Ormond, supporting an appeal from Dublin against the lord lieutenant and the Irish Privy Council.98 Pepys picked up a rumour of mass sackings from the council at the end of December of those who had opposed the king’s will on the impeachment of Clarendon, including Ashley, although on 4 Jan. Ossory suggested that Ashley and Anglesey would survive.99

As previously, Ashley was involved in much other business. He was appointed to the committee to consider trade with Scotland on 14 October. On 26 Oct. he was present at one of its meetings at which a report was presented from a committee of the council and Lauderdale gave evidence. Ashley proposed that all acts (presumably impositions on Scottish commodities including the Navigation Acts) be suspended until midsummer and in the meantime a commission of both kingdoms should meet. Buckingham (perhaps another sign of distance between them) argued instead that the committee should take nothing on trust from the council but hear the whole business.100 Ashley missed another meeting on 8 Nov. at which the idea that impositions could be suspended without parliamentary approval was rejected.101

Departmental business during the session included a bill on exchequer procedure, and another on the collection of the hearth tax.102 His other activities for the most part concerned business in which he had previously taken an interest: atheism, the wine trade, bills of Middlesex and certiorari, colliers, woodmongers and butchers, woollen manufacture, the Great Level of the Fens, the promotion of foreign and domestic trade, highways, promotion of English manufactures, duelling, a rebuilding London, Irish cattle. 103 He reported from a committee on a bill on silk throwing.104 As before he was involved in plenty of private business: estate bills concerning Horatio Townshend, Viscount Townshend, Sir William Juxon, the bishop of Durham’s lead mines (as in the previous session), Sir Richard Wiseman, Ashdown Forest (as in 1663), and William Paston. He reported from committees considering the cases of William Herbert and Sir Charles Lloyd, the children of Richard Taylor, the estate of Sir Kingsmill Lucy, and timber within the forest of Dean.105 Ashley promised to be a ‘friend’ to Sir Edward Nicholas in business pending in the Lords on Lady Dacre’s bill concerning Sutton Court.106

Immersed in such detail, Ashley, perhaps already affected by the illness which would take hold of him later in the year, may have conceded political leadership to Buckingham. In the high-level politics of the court he was not very visible in the first months of 1668. He was reappointed to the trade and plantations committee in the reorganization of council committees in Jan., and would become a member of the council of trade formed in Oct.107 His former brother-in-law Sir William Coventry told Pepys on 19 May that Ashley was ‘a man obnoxious to most’, but thought that the absence of complaints about the treasury must mean that it was well managed.108 Ashley reported a conference on the impeachment of Sir William Penn on 24 April. He was also involved in the debates on Skinner’s case, though his role at this stage was marginal. The significance of a payment to Ashley of £1,782 made on 11 Mar. 1668 by the East India Company’s court of directors is unknown: it seems unlikely to concern Skinner.109 Ashley and others were appointed on 5 May to report a conference with House of Commons, in which the Commons communicated the petition received from the East India Company concerning Skinner’s action in the House of Lords against them, and their votes on the subject.110 The Lords’ committee of privileges on the next day, 6 May, attacked the Company’s petitions and the arguments of the Commons. Ashley was involved in the discussion of precedents in the committee of privileges on 6 Apr., but the notes made by Heneage Finch, later earl of Nottingham, of the events on 8 and 9 May noted that Ashley ‘had no part in this service, though he were present all the while, ’tis said he excused himself’.111 Given his responsibility for the compromise that ended the affair and his statements on other occasions, Ashley may have felt doubtful about the Lords acting as a court of first instance; he may also have been compromised by his friendship with Sir Samuel Barnardiston, whom the Lords charged with the breach of their own privileges.

On the other hand, Ashley may have already been unwell. In late May 1668 he became seriously ill as a result of complications of the hydatid cyst that had troubled him since at least 1656, if not since 1639. An operation was performed on 12 June in order to remove a tumour, and Ashley remained in danger for at least a month; there was a serious relapse in mid-September, and the doctors kept him under close observation until early November. Ashley was left with the famous silver pipe in his side – on which he extensively canvassed medical opinion – in order to continue to drain the abscess.112

The Cabal, 1669-72

By 1669, Ashley may have recovered enough to regain some ground in court politics. It was said in January that he was taking a more active role in appointments in the court of exchequer, traditionally the preserve of the lord treasurer.113 The following month, after a discussion in the treasury commission about the management of the navy office in which Sir Thomas Clifford, later Baron Clifford of Chudleigh, and Ashley joined forces to attack it, Pepys remarked that Ashley was becoming closer to the duke of Buckingham ‘being in danger, it seems, of being otherwise out of play’.114 Buckingham claimed that Ashley and most of the rest of the Privy Council were his supporters against Arlington.115 By mid-March, though, there were suggestions of a possible alliance between Arlington, Ormond, Lauderdale and Ashley, though a rumour that Arlington would become treasurer with Clifford as secretary of state can hardly have delighted the chancellor of the exchequer.116

Ashley attended the prorogation on 1 Mar. 1669, when Parliament was postponed to the following October. He was involved in the discussions in the foreign committee of the Privy Council (the first time he is recorded as attending such a meeting) in June 1669 over union with Scotland. A strong advocate of the scheme, he argued (unsuccessfully) that the king should nominate commissioners himself, rather than waiting for Parliament to do so.117 In the late summer of 1669, a month or so before the opening of Parliament, Ashley attended the king in a progress to the southern counties. The king’s plans to call in at Wimborne St Giles were prevented by the news of the death of the queen mother (Ashley attended a meeting of the foreign committee at Southampton to discuss the implications). A letter from John Stewkeley on 20 Sept. recounted his invitation to Wimborne to eat up the food that had been provided, boasting that he ‘was the only Hampshire gentleman there, which made him use me with more than ordinary civility’.118 Ashley went on via the earl of Sunderland’s to Belvoir Castle to celebrate the marriage of his son to Dorothy Manners, one of the daughters of the John Manners, 8th earl of Rutland.119 He wrote to fomer secretary of state, Sir William Morrice, at the end of October that his son had ‘married to my great content, a virtuous, discreet, well-humoured lady’.120 In the same letter Ashley also referred cryptically to ‘horrid storms’: ‘those that hunted together now hunt one another, and at horse play the master of the horse [Buckingham] must have the better. The division about Skinner’s business of the two Houses is by the state chemists like to be improved into a new Parliament. No man of our age has seen a time of more expectation, which is the next step to confusion’.121 Buckingham seems certainly to have been engaged in a good deal of briefing around the beginning of the new session: the French ambassador wrote in late October of libels circulating against Arlington, Ashley, and their associates, with the implication that they originated from Buckingham.122

Ashley was present on first day of the new session on 19 Oct., when he was appointed to the committees of privileges, petitions and the sub-committee for the Journal. Although absent on the following day and on 30 Oct. and 23 Nov., he attended on all other sitting days, a 94 per cent attendance rate. He was nominated to committees considering the report of the commissioners of accounts (whose investigations had proved largely inconclusive), and a bill concerning wool exports, but little business reached committee stage by the time the king prorogued Parliament on 11 December.123 Ashley’s main energies in the session were concentrated on the committee to consider the causes and ground of the fall of rents and decay of trade, to which he was appointed on 25 October. The debates on its report on 26 Nov. and 1 Dec. ended with votes that Anglesey, George Savile, Viscount Halifax (later marquess of Halifax), George Berkeley, 9th Baron Berkeley of Berkeley (later earl of Berkeley), Lucas and Ashley should choose some experts to debate the issue in committee of the whole House. Ashley was not prominent in the festering controversy over Skinner’s case and the jurisdiction of the Lords, though he was involved in it. After the Lords’ rejection (on its first reading) of the Commons’ bill on the Lords’ judicial powers on 10 Nov., the committee of privileges met the following day and discussed the duke of Buckingham’s proposed bill asserting first instance jurisdiction over cases which could not be tried elsewhere. Ashley was one of the subcommittee to draw up the bill and reported it to the committee on 13 November.124

Following the Skinner-provoked prorogation in December, and Robartes’s resignation from the post of lord privy seal in January 1670, it was rumoured that Ashley might succeed him, though nothing came of this.125 Instead he was heavily engaged in the new session which began on 14 Feb.: though he was absent that day, he attended on 90 per cent of sitting days up to the April adjournment. He was appointed to the committees for privileges and petitions.126 He was provided with proxies from Henry Grey, earl of Stamford, and Baptist Noel, 3rd Viscount Campden on two successive days, 4 and 5 Mar., both of them vacated at the end of the session. According to the extracts taken in the eighteenth century from James II’s memoirs, it was Ashley who suggested the solution to the Skinner affair that the king proposed to both Houses at a meeting in the Banqueting House on 22 Feb., that they remove all reference to the case from their journals, and delete the record in the exchequer.127 Ashley supported it by explaining the significance of removing the record from the file, and assuring the House that Skinner should be paid and satisfied the full amount that he had been awarded by the Lords’ original judgment.128

Much of his other business involved government finance. He was appointed on 18 Mar. to the committee for the bill for sale of fee farm rents, and chaired the meetings of the committee on 23 and 29 March. On 21 Mar., when the House adjourned into committee on a bill for granting an imposition on wines and vinegar, Ashley reported back to the House. With Oliver St John, 2nd earl of Bolingbroke, and Anglesey he was charged with preparing a request to the king to preserve the ancient freedom for peers from duties on wine. Ashley reported from committees for bills to enable the king to make leases in the Duchy of Cornwall and on brandy duties.129 He was nominated to the revived committee for considering the fall of rents and the decay of trade.130 Given his association with the proposals of the committee for liberty of conscience, it is surprising that he appears not to have deeply involved in the opposition to the conventicle bill which was brought up from the Commons on 10 Mar. Although 13 peers protested against its passage on 26 Mar., Ashley was not one of them. He was appointed on 30 Mar., along with Buckingham and eleven others to report a conference with the Commons about the bill. He may well have supported the proviso added to the bill in the Lords which emphasized to an unusual degree the royal supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs; at the conference on 4 Apr. at which the Lords accepted the Commons’ amendments watering down the proviso Ashley said that the lower House had ‘done very well in their amendments’, probably an agreed government line signalling a graceful retreat from the more extreme version of the proviso.131

Other public business reflected his usual interests: legal procedure, benefit of clergy, arson, the reconstruction of the city of London, highways and bridges (he later reported to the House from conferences on the bill), Great Yarmouth harbour, and piracy (on which he was one of the managers on a conference).132 Among the private bills dealt with by the House in the session was one to enable Anthony Ashley, Ashley’s son, to acknowledge fines and suffer recoveries of certain lands while under 21 (the bill was reported from committee by the earl of Bridgwater on 21 Mar. and given a third reading on the same day). Other bills concerned the heirs of Margaret Strode (which involved the countess of Southampton), Lady Elizabeth Lee, the London residence of the dean of St Pauls and the estate of Thomas Davison.133 Ashley strongly supported the bill to enable John Manners, Lord Roos, later 9th earl and duke of Rutland, already divorced, to remarry: Marvell remarked on the fact that Ashley and Anglesey, whose sons were both married to Lord Roos’s sisters and stood to inherit if Roos had no children and ‘who study and know their interests as well as any gentlemen at court’, nevertheless were supporters of the bill. On 17 Mar. he spoke in favour of the second reading, and was appointed to the committee for the bill two days later.134 Edward Montagu, earl of Sandwich, noted down Ashley’s speech on the third reading on Monday 28 Mar. in which he emphasized the civil origins of marriage, before the Council of Trent had made it into a sacrament.135

On 22 Mar. Lauderdale wrote that the bill for a treaty of union between England and Scotland had been ‘finished’ by himself with Ashley, the lord keeper, and the secretary of state, Sir John Trevor.136 Ashley was appointed to the committee on the bill, and would serve in the autumn on the commission that it authorized.137 During the debates in the joint Anglo-Scottish commission in September and October Ashley would disagree with Buckingham on making a concession to the Scots that no appeal should lie from the Scottish courts to a new British Parliament.138

By the time the king adjourned Parliament on 11 Apr. 1670 Ashley had established himself as one of the most significant figures in royal government – one of the ‘Cabal’. Charles II told the French ambassador two days after he did so that the only people who knew about his decision to attend the House of Lords had been York, Buckingham, Arlington, and Ashley.139 A week after the close of the session Ashley began to attend the foreign affairs committee on a regular basis.140 In May it was again thought (wrongly) that he might take the position of lord privy seal. 141

A consequence of his new prominence was that he was drawn into the planning for a renewal of war against the Dutch, following the signing, behind his and other councillors’ backs, of the notorious Catholic treaty on 1 June. Ashley was said to be ‘not against’ a treaty with France, but reluctant to rush into one.142 Nevertheless, on 21 Dec. he signed the so-called traité simulé, along with Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham and Lauderdale.143

During the autumn, Ashley had been closely involved in the discussions in the Foreign Committee in the run-up to the meeting of Parliament.144 He was absent on the first day of new session on 24 Oct., but overall he attended 91 per cent of sittings. He was as usual prominent in business connected with government revenue: it included bills to ban imports of brandy, which had already occupied a good deal of time earlier in the year; to restore the power of granting wine licenses (formerly granted to the duke of York) to the king; and relating to the grant of the profits of the post office to the duke of York (Ashley presided over committee meetings on 1 April).145 Ashley chaired the first meeting of the committee on fee farm rents, and was subsequently manager of conference on the bill, 20 April.146 He also chaired early meetings of the committee on the bill for exporting beer, ale and mum, which heard extensively from the brewers and the farmers of the excise.147 He was one of the committee appointed on 2 Mar. to report a conference about amendments in the subsidy bill.

The enormous amount of other public business in which he was engaged included many familiar interests and some new ones: for example he helped to manage a conference on buying and selling cattle on 18 Apr.; he later reported the effect of a conference on the wool exports bill, especially concerning the Lords amendments for leaving out Ireland on 22 Apr., before it was interrupted by the prorogation.148 Appointed to numerous committees on local and private bills, he reported a conference on a bill for improving navigation between Boston and the River Trent, and with Lords Anglesey and Holles he was deputed to recommend the case of the dowager marchioness of Worcester to the King.149 Ashley’s views on the judicial role of the Lords (perhaps of relevance to the Skinner affair) were displayed in an intervention in a debate on 1 Dec. 1670 on a case concerning the grandchildren of Mountjoy Blount, earl of Newport, in which he insisted that the House’s role was ‘not to judge out of primary equity, but to judge whether the courts below have judged well or not’.150 Ashley was appointed on 14 Jan. 1671 to the committee to investigate the assault on the duke of Ormond that had taken place in December. He was also involved in the fallout from another outrage, the attack on Sir John Coventry (his own nephew) in late December, reporting on 18 Jan. from the committee of the whole House on the bill to prevent malicious maiming and wounding. He was one of the Lords managers at conferences on the bill on 6 and 9 February.151

In the midst of the speculation about the conversion of the duke and duchess of York in the winter of 1670-71, Ashley was closely involved in discussions about the growth of popery. At the end of the debate on 1 Mar. concerning a petition on the subject brought from the Commons, Ashley was one of those appointed to consider the difficult points of the Commons draft – ambassadorial chapels, St James’s Palace, and Ireland -- and was manager of a subsequent conference on 3 Mar. with Ormond, Arthur Capell, earl of Essex, Anglesey, Henry Somerset, 3rd marquess of Worcester (later duke of Beaufort), and George Morley, bishop of Winchester.152 On 24 Mar. he was appointed to the committee for the bill to prevent the growth of popery, and on 13 Apr. was one of a subcommittee to draw up a ‘test or oath’ which convicted recusants could take to mitigate the penalties against them.153

Ashley was deeply implicated in the row that precipitated the prorogation of the session, the dispute over the Commons’ foreign commodities bill, given a second reading in the Lords on 29 March. The Commons’ bill imposed increased duties on refined sugar, making it less profitable for planters to refine their own, as well as on imported tobacco and silk, and it provoked a vigorous lobbying campaign in the Lords. Ashley chaired a series of meetings of the committee from 29 Mar. to 8 Apr., and invited the prominent Barbados planter Sir Peter Colleton, son of Ashley’s former partner and, like him, one of the proprietors of Carolina, to put his case against the new duties. The committee also heard from Patience Ward, the outspoken City sheriff, nonconformist and merchant, as well as many others. Ashley reported the bill with amendments on 8 Apr., plus a proposed resolution to ask the king to encourage the native clothing industry by wearing its products himself – compensating for the Lords’ advocacy of the interests of importers. He was manager of the conference at which the bill was (eventually) delivered to the Commons on 12 April. Sandwich took the responsibility for initiating the Lords’ evisceration of the bill, though he wrote in his journal that ‘my Lord Ashley was fully of the same mind and did a good part therein’, and that the king had also approved.154 Ashley took part in the subsequent conference on the details of the Lords’ amendments on the sugar duties, though he confined himself to making a point about the preservation of the Lords’ right to contribute to the debate, and it was Anglesey who reported reasons for, and the outcome of, subsequent conferences.155 Sandwich thought that it was Arlington’s followers who had stoked up the dispute in order to blame the duke of Buckingham for the loss of the bill by encouraging the Commons to fear that ‘if the House of peers had been suffered to control them, the peerage would have lessened their power and interest, and Buckingham and Ashley and the nobles would have grown most in the king’s esteem’.156 It is as likely, however, that the king was quite happy to use the dispute to suppress a bill that would have caused him some embarrassment for uncertain actual gain.

The War and the Indulgence, 1671-73

The 1670-71 session had seen Ashley becoming one of Charles II’s most important ministers, overcoming the erratic dominance previously enjoyed by Buckingham, and establishing an uneasy equilibrium with Arlington and his increasingly significant protégé, Clifford; though still not privy to the great secret of the original treaty with Louis XIV, he was fully involved in the preparations for war with the Dutch republic over the summer and autumn of 1671. He was a member of the council commission on the settlement of Ireland initially appointed in February.157 Ashley’s personal relationship with Buckingham continued: he was said to be one of the godfathers to the countess of Shrewsbury’s son by Buckingham, born in February 1671, and Anglesey’s diary reveals Ashley arriving for dinner at Anglesey’s house in Buckingham’s company in June. Both men were flattering Anglesey with suggestions of high office over the summer; though in September Anglesey heard that Ashley was nosing around to find out how he had benefited from the Irish settlement: ‘God forgive this false man and pretended friend!’ he wrote in his diary.158 There was fresh talk in May and again in September about Ashley becoming lord treasurer, though by January 1672 the rumours had it that Ashley was destined to be lord privy seal and Clifford treasurer. 159 The idea may have been the result of the decision to default on the accumulated government debt, the Stop of the Exchequer, announced in council on 2 Jan., which Ashley claimed had been proposed by Clifford (his colleague on the treasury commission) over his own objections. In a letter to Locke in late 1674 Ashley said that he and Sir John Duncombe had washed their hands of ‘all paying and borrowing of money, and the whole transaction of that part of the affair’.160 Ashley was present, with Lauderdale, Arlington and Clifford, at the ratification of the treaty with France on 29 Jan., and involved in the decision to attack the Dutch Smyrna fleet which started the war. 161

Ashley, along with Clifford and Arlington, was involved in contacts with various nonconformists in the autumn of 1671, of which the only evidence is a series of poorly legible notes by Sir Joseph Williamson, some of them of interviews with Thomas Blood. They associate Ashley with a man named James Ennis or Innes, and reflect the belief that Ashley and Arlington were competing for the king’s attention and favour.162 During the discussions on the Declaration of Indulgence in the foreign affairs committee in March 1672, Ashley was strongly supportive of the scheme, in particular emphasizing the existing powers of the king under the royal supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs.163

Ashley had attended Parliament at the prorogation on 16 April. Only on the following day were the warrants signed for his creation as earl of Shaftesbury, and it was therefore only on the day of the next prorogation, 30 Oct., that he was introduced between the earls of Bridgwater and Dover, paying fees of £15.10s.164 The decision to prorogue in October had been taken at the foreign affairs committee in mid-September, when Shaftesbury had been firmly of the opinion that a sitting of Parliament should be postponed to February, to avoid disturbing peace negotiations and in the hope that their conclusion might encourage it to vote money.165 Shaftesbury was made lord chancellor on 17 Nov., displacing Sir Orlando Bridgeman. One story attributed the change to Shaftesbury informing the king of Bridgeman’s refusal to seal a commission for martial law relating to the troops assembled for an assault on Holland. 166 Other reasons were suggested, including Bridgeman’s continued refusal to seal the Declaration of Indulgence, or to agree to an injunction to protect some of the bankers affected by the Stop of the Exchequer from proceedings for debt, as well as the official reason, illness.167 Shaftesbury’s was an odd appointment, for though he frequently spoke on legal matters, and his legal learning was respected, he had never gone on from brief attendance at Lincoln’s Inn to qualifying as a barrister. His appointment may have reflected a view that he was less likely to raise legal quibbles about the exercise of prerogative power. It was reported on 4 Dec. that he had granted an injunction to stop proceedings at law against the bankers, though only with temporary effect ‘which gave opportunity in the interim to observe the complexion of the House of Commons’.168 An order for sealing the Indulgence was given on 9 December. Roger North expressed a hostile view about Shaftesbury’s reforming approach to the role:

after he was possessed of the great seal, he was, in appearance, the gloriousest man alive: and no man’s discourse, in his place, ever flew so high as his did, not only against the House of Commons, where, perhaps, he expected a party to sustain him; but against the tribe of the court of chancery, officers and counsel, and their methods of ordering the business of the court. As for the Commons, he did not scruple to declare openly, that he did not understand by what reason or right men should sit and vote themselves privileges. And for the chancery, he would teach the bar that a man of sense was above all their forms. He laboured hard and stuck at nothing to get men of his confidence into the House of Commons, and so, with all the gaiety de coeur imaginable, and a world of pleasant of wit in his conversation, as he had indeed a very great share, and shewed it upon all occasions, he composed himself to perform the duties of his place.169

He adopted an unusually high-profile approach to the office, attempting to revive an old practice of riding to Westminster Hall on the first day of the new term, and ensuring that his speeches on the swearing-in of two lord treasurers and one of the barons of the exchequer were printed.170 In the latter he emphasized the burdens that small claims pursued in the court by the king’s officers imposed on ‘the industrious part of the nation’. The clergy perhaps had cause to be suspicious: the bishop of Exeter complained in 1674 about Shaftesbury protecting a nonconformist in his diocese, though the complaint of the new dean of Canterbury, John Tillotson, in the late summer of 1674 about a commission being delayed at Exeter House seems to have stemmed from Shaftesbury’s purse bearer, ‘Mr Sherwin, a precise formal starched person’.171 The earl of Lindsey’s grumble in Aug. 1674 to his sister, Sir Thomas Osborne’s wife, about the failure of the lord chancellor to consult him about the appointment of new justices of the peace in Lincolnshire and its impact on parliamentary elections, may have been a response to Shaftesbury’s politics, though Lindsey said that Shaftesbury’s predecessor, Bridgeman, had done the same.172 Shaftesbury was well aware that he had many enemies. When he wrote to Essex (now lord lieutenant of Ireland) on 13 Dec. 1673 to respond to his congratulations with strong professions of friendship, he was forced to deny a rumour that he had spoken ill of him and hinted darkly that a number of such rumours had been deliberately circulated ‘by some worthy persons here, that are exceeding skilful in these lesser arts, but can do no business’. He admitted that his ‘stars have not been very propitious as to Irish affairs, or governors.’173

Discussions on preparations for the new session had begun in November 1672, when the foreign committee chewed over whom to promote to the speakership. Shaftesbury was not enthusiastic about the decision to invite Serjeant Job Charlton to take up the post on account of his likely opposition to the Declaration, though he recognized that his own candidate, Sir Robert Howard, could not easily leave his position as secretary of the treasury.174 The decision to issue writs for by-elections without the Speaker’s warrant was taken early in January 1673, and a number of elections were held at the end of the month and in the few days in Feb. before Parliament met. It had been challenged already by 30 Jan., when it was discussed in the foreign committee, the king opening a discussion by referring to the ‘great noise’ the issue had made; Shaftesbury responded by referring to precedents from the Interregnum and the reign of James I, presumably drawn from notes put together by Locke.175 The decision to issue the writs early may have been in part intended to assist some specific candidates: Shaftesbury’s brother George Cooper at Poole, against Thomas Strangways; John Man at Weymouth and Melcombe Regis against the same man; Edward Backwell, a key figure in government finance, whose election at Wendover would have helped to secure him against legal action; and several servants of the duke of York. On the other hand, not all of the elections were completed before Parliament sat, and the court’s efforts at influencing most of them were fairly feeble. Two of those who were associated with Shaftesbury – William Williams and Thomas Papillon – received however either no support or active discouragement from the chancellor.176 Shaftesbury’s attempt to have Newark enfranchized to provide a seat for his business partner Sir Paul Neile, possibly intended to be in time for the same group of elections, failed – the election did not take place until the summer.177

On 28 Jan. the foreign affairs committee convened to hear the chancellor’s proposed speech, which was ‘allowed with one or two alterations’.178 Another meeting was held on 2 Feb. to discuss the practical arrangements. That same day, Shaftesbury was with Anglesey at the Candlemas festivities at Lincoln’s Inn: he dined with Anglesey again on 6 February. 179 Shaftesbury was present and presiding for every day of the 1673 session. At the opening of Parliament on 4 Feb., he spoke to instruct the Commons to elect a new Speaker, and it was on 5 Feb., in response to the Speaker-elect’s speech, that he delivered a long oration which would be famous for its use of Cato’s phrase, delenda est Carthago. It would later be claimed that the speech had been substantially rewritten in the foreign affairs committee.180 Shaftesbury said that the United Provinces were ‘the common enemies to all monarchies’; only England stood in their way ‘to an universal empire as great as Rome’. This had been Parliament’s view too in 1664, and the king might reasonably request financial assistance given that he had merely followed Parliament’s own policies. The Stop of the Exchequer he attributed to the failure of Parliament in the last session to deal with the king’s debts, and ‘though he hath put a stop to the trade and gain of the bankers, yet he would be unwilling to ruin them’. He defended the Declaration of Indulgence, and vindicated the king’s commitment to the Church of England. After dismissing rumours that the troops that had been raised were intended for internal use, Shaftesbury praised the relationship between the king and Parliament as a ‘happy marriage’, and ‘though this marriage be according to Moses’ law, where the husband can give a bill of divorce, put her away, and take another, yet, I can assure you, it is as impossible for the king to part with this Parliament, as it is for you to depart from that loyalty, affection, and dutiful behaviour, you have hitherto shewed towards him’ – a curious formulation, given the current talk of Charles II’s intentions towards his wife, and the ever-present question of the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament. 181 On 18 Feb., less than two weeks later, after Job Charlton’s abrupt departure from the speakership, Shaftesbury was forced to make another speech responding to the petitions for the House’s privileges from the new Speaker, Edward Seymour.

Shaftesbury’s election writs came under early fire in the Commons from Giles Strangways, Sir Thomas Meres, and Henry Powle, and were voided on 6 February.182 (The memoir written much later by Shaftesbury’s secretary, Thomas Stringer, refers to a visit to Shaftesbury at Exeter House by Lord St John, later 6th marquess of Winchester, Lord Russell, Sir Thomas Littleton, Henry Powle and others days before Parliament sat, at which Shaftesbury attempted to divert them from the writs by egging on their worries about Catholicism.)183 The onslaught against the Declaration in the Commons commenced on Monday 10 Feb., with the same voices in the lead against it, Strangways adding some pointed remarks about the chancellorship: ‘In point of law’, he remarked, he ‘would have the king advised by those that profess the law’.184 With the Commons adjourned to Thursday 13th having commissioned a committee to draw up an address to the king, the foreign affairs committee reviewed options on Wednesday evening. Shaftesbury agreed with the duke of York and a consensus in the committee that the Commons should be persuaded to seek the consent of the Lords to their address – where, they reckoned, it would be rejected – and that the government should try to promote a bill to carry forward the policy in the Declaration. When this strategy failed, on 14 Feb., the committee met again. Shaftesbury, spoiling for a fight with the Commons, was inclined to risk the loss of supply: ‘rather lose money than lose rights: make the point to the House of Lords, and engage them in it, who will certainly determine otherwise’. In a further discussion on 16 Feb. Shaftesbury, Lauderdale and Clifford all counselled that the Lords should be encouraged to confront the Commons.185 Over the next week the dispute escalated with the presentation of the Commons’ address on 19 Feb., the king’s response on the 24th, and the Commons’ second address on 27 February.

In pursuit of the strategy to provoke a dispute between the two Houses, on 1 Mar. the king made a formal complaint to the Lords about the Commons’ addresses, and requested their advice. He was followed by Shaftesbury, who read out the exchanges with the Commons, and two days later thanked the Lords on behalf of the king for their address in response to the initiative. Shaftesbury chaired the committee appointed on 5 Mar. to draw up a ‘bill of advice’ to the king, to give effect to the Declaration. On the 6th it discussed heads of bills brought in by Clifford and by Anglesey.186 Shaftesbury was involved in a series of conferences with the Commons on the proposed address to the king concerning the removal of Catholic officers from the navy.187 On the 7th, when the Lords accepted the Commons’ insistence on the point, a decision may already have been taken to give in on the Declaration of Indulgence. Its abandonment was announced by Shaftesbury on Saturday the 8th. The following Monday, 10 Mar., Shaftesbury reported the delivery of the thanks of both Houses.

The government hoped that this would produce progress on supply. Instead, on 13 Mar. the test bill arrived in the Lords. The French ambassador wrote that Shaftesbury had questioned the Commons’ messengers about the supply bill, which he had expected to arrive with it. On the 15th the bill was debated in committee, with Shaftesbury chairing a sub-committee to draw up amendments saving the privileges of the peerage, and providing for a pension enjoyed by the earl of Bristol.188 The Commons responded to these moves by delaying the third reading of the supply bill until Friday 21 Mar., after the third reading of the test bill in the Lords.189 On the third reading of the test, on 20 Mar., Clifford attacked the bill, arguing that it had dangerous consequences for the authority of the Lords, and blurred the boundaries between church and state.190 Accounts by Burnet and others of Shaftesbury’s response are confused, though Shaftesbury no doubt indicated government support for the bill, and perhaps attempted to neutralize the effect of Clifford’s outburst (frequently referred to in the discussions in the Commons the following day). Whether it irritated the king or not (as Clifford’s speech almost certainly did) is unclear.191 Shaftesbury was involved with the bill again on 24 Mar., when he, Anglesey and Holles were set to prepare reasons for their insistence on amendments concerning the queen’s servants and the crown’s power to grant a stay of prosecution. Shaftesbury the following day reported from the committee and from the conference.

An amendment to the protestant dissenters’ bill made in the Lords providing the king with a power to bring it into effect was seen in the Commons as another way of achieving the policy of the Declaration.192 At a conference on the morning of the 29th, managed for the Lords by Shaftesbury and others, the Commons registered their dissent to the Lords’ amendments. The Lords indicated their decision to stand by them at a further conference the same day, at which Shaftesbury and Anglesey defended the proclamation power.193 With no hope of achieving a satisfactory result, the king abandoned the bill, though by adjourning Parliament, rather than proroguing it, he made it conceivable that the bill could be continued with when it reconvened in October. 

Given his position and the major issues that dominated the session, Shaftesbury was involved in little other business, other than formal interventions, dealing with the duel of John Wilmot, earl of Rochester and Robert Constable, 3rd Viscount Dunbar [S] on 22 Mar., and reporting the king’s signature of a general pardon on 27 March. He was, though, on 22 Mar. one of the committee on the case of Dr Salmon v. the Hamburg company ‘and to consider the relief to be given to the creditors by the judicial power of the House’. A committee to enable Robert Bellamy to sell lands was set to meet in the lord chancellor’s lodgings on 26 Feb., his only apparent involvement in any private bill activity. During the session he held the proxy of John Cecil, 4th earl of Exeter, given on 4 Feb., and vacated at the end of the session.

Following the adjournment on 29 Mar., and in the aftermath of York’s failure to take communion at Easter, French ambassador Colbert reported on 7 Apr. that Shaftesbury was one of those who had taken up the idea that the king should seek a divorce. York had told him that Shaftesbury wanted the king to marry again, to a Protestant princess, and to abandon the alliance with Louis XIV.194 On 24 Apr. Anglesey dined at the lord chancellor’s with William Craven, earl Craven (a fellow Carolina proprietor), Richard Vaughan, Baron Vaughan and 2nd earl of Carbery [I], Charles Mohun, 3rd Baron Mohun, ‘Lord Power’ (presumably, and surprisingly, Richard Power, Baron Le Power [I], the recently created earl of Tyrone [I], and Shaftesbury’s physician, Sir Edward Sydenham.195 After Clifford’s resignation from office, on 26 June Shaftesbury presided at the swearing in of the new treasurer, Thomas Osborne, Viscount Oseburne [S], who was advanced two months later to the English peerage as Viscount Latimer (and would become earl of Danby in 1674). Latimer later realized that his speech, published eventually in the same format as those in December, was a subtle insult.196

The king himself regarded Shaftesbury with considerable suspicion by the end of June. Colbert wrote on 30 June of the king telling him that Shaftesbury’s protestations of friendship to Colbert ‘were nothing but deceit, like all the actions of this minister, who he says is the weakest and most ill-intentioned of all men’.197 The king may have been irritated by Shaftesbury’s opposition to York’s attempts to evade the effect of the test act by appointment as commander of an expeditionary force in the Netherlands, on the grounds that the act did not apply outside England: Sir Robert Moray wrote on 19 June that Shaftesbury had told the king that he would have to seal the commission himself if he wanted the appointment to go ahead.198 On 1 July he referred to a row in the foreign affairs committee between Shaftesbury and Lauderdale over replacing York in the admiralty commission. Shaftesbury snapped back to the king when Lauderdale intervened on the legality of part of the commission that ‘that he hoped his commissioner for Scotland would not be allowed to teach the chancellor the laws of England’.199

Moray’s report probably originated with Shaftesbury, as Moray was said to be dining a number of times with him over summer (he died three days after writing the above letter after one such occasion). They were suspected of plotting against Lauderdale, perhaps to replace him with Monmouth as Scottish lord commissioner.200 Monmouth was at Exeter House on 29 July, when Anglesey visited.201 Shaftesbury had a long interview with the Spanish envoy bearing a message from William of Orange to the king at the beginning of August, and there was some evidence that he was seeking an alliance with Prince Rupert, duke of Cumberland (though this may also have had to do with their collaboration on a business scheme relating to the manufacture of guns). 202 Rumours about changes at court in July suggested that Shaftesbury was a marked man, and they became more intense in October with the approach of Parliament.203 Shaftesbury was still in office on 20 Oct. when Parliament was prorogued to the 27th partly in order to prevent protests against James’s marriage to Mary of Modena. In the event the time taken up by the introduction of new peers on the 20th – which James had asked Shaftesbury to put off – enabled the Commons to pass a resolution for an address before they were summoned to the Lords. James and the king concluded that Shaftesbury had arranged it deliberately.204 On the 27th Shaftesbury delivered the opening speech of the new session. His account of the peace negotiations suggested that the Dutch had been negotiating in bad faith, backed up the king’s demand for further supply to continue the war and concluded with a plea for the honouring of the debt due to the goldsmiths. Shaftesbury was given the proxy of the earl of Exeter again on 28 Oct., vacated at the end of the session. He was present for all four days of the session, which ended on 4 Nov., when with attacks on the French alliance and the duke of York’s marriage quickly developing in the Commons, the king determined to prorogue again, to January. Five days later, the king took the great seal from Shaftesbury and gave it to Heneage Finch, arranging for it to be collected on 9 Nov., following his ostentatiously friendly meeting with the chancellor that morning.205 The French ambassador noted the dismay of Rupert and Ormond and ‘all their cabal’.206 Though the extent of Shaftesbury’s complicity in what had been going on in the Commons is unclear, he had clearly been sailing very close to the wind: it has been argued that Sir Robert Howard’s interventions in the Commons against Catholicism and James were probably co-ordinated with the chancellor.207

Shaftesbury and Danby, 1674-6

Despite the dismissal, Shaftesbury was in touch with both the court and the French before the resumption of Parliament in January. The French offered him £10,000, which he politely declined; according to the Venetian ambassador writing on 28 Nov., he was now offering himself to the court as the advocate of a Spanish alliance and peace, supply and the king’s remarriage to exclude the duke of York from the throne.208 Nevertheless, Colbert, writing on the day Parliament opened, 7 Jan. 1674, reported the Buckingham’s and Latimer’s assurances that Parliament could be managed, with Buckingham claiming that he had ‘attracted milord Shaftesbury and all his cabal to his party’.209

Present at the opening of Parliament and for every day of the short session, Shaftesbury was once more appointed to the committee of privileges and the sub-committee for petitions. He took the oath of allegiance on 14 January. He again received the proxy of the earl of Exeter on 27 Dec., vacated at the end of the session. That he was not working with Buckingham was suggested by his apparent support for the petition of Francis Brudenell, Lord Brudenell and members of the Talbot family, presented on the first day of the session, against Buckingham’s killing of Francis Talbot, 11th earl of Shrewsbury and his cohabitation with the countess.210 However, by the end of January, Francis Aungier, Baron Aungier [I], was talking about their reconciliation and Shaftesbury’s support for Buckingham’s efforts to ‘get him fairly quit of my Lady Shrewsbury’s business.’211 Shaftesbury was a member of the committee established to advise on the details when, on 6 Feb., the Lords voted that the duke should enter into security to the king not to cohabit with the countess of Shrewsbury.

On 8 Jan. (with the Commons adjourned until 12 Jan.) Shaftesbury made an incendiary speech in the Lords, about the presence of 16,000 Catholics around London ‘resolved to commit an atrocity’.212 The result was an address requesting the king to order that all Catholics ‘or reputed papists’ to go ten miles outside London. When the peers discussed enforcement of the requirement to take the oaths of allegiance, probably on 12 and 13 Jan., and York argued that as heir apparent he should not be required to take it, Shaftesbury and Holles pointed out that he was not heir apparent, but heir presumptive, and for good measure, Shaftesbury questioned the duke’s right to sit in the place reserved for the prince of Wales.213

Shaftesbury escaped the inquisition held in the House of Commons into the actions of ministers, which resulted in addresses against Lauderdale and Buckingham: Buckingham’s attempt in his defence to associate himself with Shaftesbury suggested that the latter was seen as safe.214 Ruvigny wrote on 22 Jan. that York had told him that Shaftesbury, Charles Howard, earl of Carlisle, James Cecil, 3rd earl of Salisbury, and Thomas Belasyse, 2nd Visct. Fauconberg and others were routinely meeting at Lord Holles’s, ‘where they agree together the things that should be proposed in the lower chamber’.215 Shaftesbury was referred to by Sir Gilbert Talbot a month later as one of the most forward of the ‘hotspurs’ in the Lords conspiring with elements in the Commons – the others including Halifax, Salisbury and Gilbert Holles, 3rd earl of Clare.216 Shaftesbury was one of nine appointed on 3 Feb. to report a conference concerning the treaty with the States General for peace.217 He did not play a foreground role in the Lords debate on 24 Jan., when the House agreed the heads for a bill concerning the securing of the Protestant religion, but may have been active in the debates in committee.218 On 10 Feb., during discussion on a proposal that anyone of royal blood should not be able to marry a Catholic without parliamentary consent, a ‘strange motion… that none should be capable to succeed to the crown that were of the popish religion’ was said to have been moved by the earl of Carlisle, seconded by Halifax and supported by Shaftesbury (whom the Venetian ambassador reported was its strongest proponent), though it was vigorously opposed and not pressed to a vote.219 James later remembered in his memoirs that his ally, Peterborough, called it ‘a horrid notion’, but was contradicted by Shaftesbury.220 Shaftesbury was appointed to a sub-committee appointed to draw up a bill, and took the major role in preparing it. It was presented to the committee of the whole House on 21 February.221 Shaftesbury was regarded as one of the most radical of the government’s opponents, and one of York’s strongest enemies. If it was not simply a misunderstanding, the odd incident in which a number of members close to Shaftesbury (Sir Robert Thomas, James Herbert and Lord St John) accused Samuel Pepys of being a Catholic and cited information from the earl, may have had its origins in an attempt to build a case concerning York’s promotion of Catholic officers in the navy.222 James later referred to Shaftesbury and Carlisle planning to propose the disbandment of the duke of York’s regiment; the Venetian ambassador thought that the king believed that Shaftesbury and the ‘malcontent lords’ intended to accuse York of treason, and that they were planning to overthrow both of them and to set up a republic. It was this, he claimed, that precipitated the hasty prorogation on 24 February.223

The brevity of the session prevented many bills reaching committee stage, though Shaftesbury was appointed to committees on bills about supplies of wood, apprentices and servants (also charged with considering how ‘non-Christian slaves may be used in England’), illegal imprisonment (the habeas corpus bill), and fraud.224 He was a member of committees on private bills affecting the estates of Lord Cornwallis and Sir Francis Rhodes, and as in the previous year, he participated in a committee to mediate between the Hamburg company and its creditors.225

The rumours after the prorogation that Shaftesbury and several others would be dismissed from the council were realized, despite a meeting between Shaftesbury and the king in late April, on 19 May.226 He was also replaced as lord lieutenant of Dorset and ordered to leave London, apparently in order to stop him cooperating with the Dutch ambassadors, whom he had established in Exeter House.227 Over the next year, Shaftesbury remained for the most part in enforced retirement in the country, with occasional visits to London, spending some of his energy on plantation business.228 He was absent from the Lords on 10 Nov. when Parliament was again prorogued until May the following year.

As the question of whether Parliament should meet in May, or perhaps be dissolved, was hotly debated at court, Lord Mordaunt’s visit to Shaftesbury in January 1675 prompted much speculation. Sir Robert Southwell wondered on 16 Jan. whether Mordaunt’s mission had been at the instance of the king or the duke, either in order to gain ‘a better understanding with that little lord before the Parliament met’, or to offer him another post, either lord lieutenant of Ireland, or a ‘more extraordinary one here at home under the title of vicar general’. Another theory was that Mordaunt had been sent by ‘some other lords, with whom his Lordship did use here to consult, in order to communicate with him, to know upon what measures, and with what temper he would appear if the Parliament should meet’.229 By the end of January, although he had no better information about the reasons, he was expecting Shaftesbury to come up to London and to be well received at court.230 The Venetian ambassador had a much more complex explanation, involving Fauconberg and Carlisle in an approach to Shaftesbury on behalf of the court, to the alarm of Holles and William Russell, 5th earl of Bedford. Shaftesbury’s open letter to Carlisle, dated 3 Feb. 1675, suggests that this may have been correct.231 He approved in principle of an attempt to create ‘a good correspondence or understanding between the royal family and the people’, and supported the idea that ‘the most considerable, and active of the nobility that were within distance though they were not of the ordinary Privy Council might privately advise the king’ in the absence of a great council, or a Parliament. The only advice, however, which was at present ‘truly serviceable to the king, affectionate to the duke, or sincere unto the country’, was to dissolve the current one and call a new Parliament. He very publicly rejected any offer of a position, especially ‘a great office with a strange name’:

I assure your Lordship there is no place or condition will invite me to Court during this Parliament; nor until I see the king thinketh frequent new Parliaments as much his interest as they are the people’s rights, for until then I can never serve the King as well as I would, nor think a great place safe enough for a second adventure.

Warning that ‘it would not be unwise for the men in great office, that are at ease, and where they would be, to be ordinarily civil to a man in my condition’, he asked Carlisle to pass on his letter to Salisbury, Fauconberg, and Holles. When they four told him to come up to London he would do so. He finished with a sarcastic reference to the unsuccessful efforts of Halifax and Sir William Coventry to obtain office.232

Shaftesbury’s letter, dated the same day as Danby's (the former Latimer) proclamation for the enforcement of the penal laws against the Catholics and the suppression of conventicles, appears to have been common knowledge by 20 February.233 Shaftesbury’s declaration that he would argue for a new Parliament (and the fact that he said little concerning the duke of York) may in part have been an implied offer of an alliance to York: there were rumours before the opening of the new session of contacts between them.234 At the opening of Parliament on 13 Apr. 1675 the strong support expressed in the speeches of the king and the lord keeper for the laws against Catholic and Protestant nonconformity drew clear battle lines for the session. In the subsequent debate in the Lords, Shaftesbury was even said to have fished for the support of the Catholic lords to reject an address of thanks. Shaftesbury and nine others protested against the thanks of the House being presented to the king for his speech ‘because of the ill consequence we apprehend may be from it, and that we think this manner of proceeding not so suitable with the liberty of debate necessary to this House’.235 The protest was treated as provocative: on 16 Apr. the House ordered that the matter of entering reasons with dissents should be taken into consideration, and referred to the committee for privileges the minuting of the debate. Shaftesbury was appointed to committees for privileges and petitions, and the sub-committee for the Journal. He was present every day for the session except 8 May. He was appointed to a much smaller number of committees on ordinary bills than usual, and only three private bills.236 He protested against the reversal of a decree of 1642, which itself reversed an Irish council decree of 1637 in the case of Dacre Barret v. Viscount Loftus. Shaftesbury argued that it was a dangerous precedent to reverse a thirty-three-year-old judgment.237 He received on 29 Apr. the proxy of Henry Sandys, 7th Baron Sandys, which was vacated at the end of the session.

Despite their determination to secure a dissolution, the group becoming known as the ‘country lords’ were keen to promote the agenda of the previous session, including the bill for securing the Protestant religion and the bill for explanation of an act for preventing dangers which may happen from popish recusants (Shaftesbury was appointed to the committee for the latter on 21 April). Their aims were overtaken, though, by Danby’s bill to prevent the dangers which may arise from persons disaffected to the government (the second test bill). The pamphlet written shortly after the session by John Locke, perhaps with input from Shaftesbury himself, A Letter from a Person of Quality, gave the resistance of Shaftesbury and his allies to the bill an epic quality, and in Shaftesbury’s own household his steward’s account of the long and desperate debates was retold well into the eighteenth century.238 The second reading debates took place on 20 and 21 April. The bill’s opponents’ first strategy was to stress its impact on the privileges of the House – peers’ freedom of speech. The protest against the failure of their motion was signed by Shaftesbury and 22 others:

Any bill which imposeth an oath upon the peers with a penalty, as this doth, that, upon the refusal of that oath, they shall be made uncapable of sitting and voting in this House, as it is a thing unprecedented in former times, so is it, in our humble opinion, the highest invasion of the liberties and privileges of the peerage that possibly may be, and most destructive of the freedom which they ought to enjoy as members of Parliament, because the privilege of sitting and voting in Parliament is an honour they have by birth and a right so inherent in them, and inseparable from them, as that nothing can take it away, but what by the law of the land must withal take away their lives, and corrupt their blood.239

On 26 April, Shaftesbury and 11 peers protested bitterly against the bill’s committal. Three days later they were themselves attacked for their new tactic of entering protests: each of them denied that they had had any ‘intention to reflect upon any members, much less upon the whole House’, but the House voted that the reasons given in the protest reflected on the House and ‘are of dangerous consequence’. Shaftesbury and 20 others defiantly entered a third protest defending the ‘liberty of protesting’.240 Despite concessions on the first two days in committee, which were supposed to limit the bill’s effect on the freedom of debate, on the third, 4 May, the committee and the House amended the bill to ensure that it encompassed members of either House of Parliament in the obligation to take the oath, provoking another protest from Shaftesbury and 14 others.

The account in the Letter from a Person of Quality of the ensuing debates (once the committee had ceased to report its votes individually, preventing further multiple protests) on 7, 10, 12, 14, 21, 28, and 31 May, divides the bill into a number of separate issues, attributing opposition to each to an individual peer. It singles out Shaftesbury as having the key role in arguing against the oath, particularly after it was revised to refer to the Protestant religion. In response to ridicule from the lord keeper and the bishops when he affected not to understand what was comprehended in the Protestant religion, he picked apart apparent contradictions in the Thirty-Nine Articles.241 A text of the speech, or part of it, was in circulation, and formed the basis of the Letter.242 Other, later, sources make Shaftesbury into the central figure, rather than one among many: Burnet (with the benefit of hindsight) wrote that he

distinguished himself more in this session than ever he had done before. He spoke once a whole hour, to show the inconvenience of condemning all resistance upon any pretence whatsoever. He said it might be proper to lay such ties upon those who served in the militia, and in corporations, because there was still a superior power in the Parliament to declare the extent of the oath. But it might be of very ill consequence to lay it on a Parliament: since there might be cases, though far out of view, so that it was hard to suppose them, in which he believed no man would say it was not lawful to resist. If a king would make us a province, and tributary to France, and subdue the nation by a French army to the French or the papal authority, must we be bound in that case tamely to submit? Upon which he said many things that did cut to the quick: and yet, though his words were watched, so that it was resolved to have sent him to the Tower if any one word had fallen from him that had made him liable to such a censure, he spoke both with so much boldness and so much caution, that, though he provoked the court extremely, no advantage could be taken against him.243

It has been argued that a document which exists in several versions, called ‘Reasons against the bill for the test’, may have been ‘based on’ the speech Burnet describes. It covers, however, ground attributed to a number of speakers in the Letter, and one copy of the ‘Reasons’ is annotated by Finch that ‘they are rather a collection of all the arguments that were used by several lords that spoke against the test, and here put together in one entire discourse’.244

The slow progress of the bill in the Lords was attributable not just to the extended filibuster of Shaftesbury and his colleagues, but also to the Lords-Commons dispute over Sherley v. Fagg, preoccupying both Houses from early May. On 6 May, the Lords declared that it was the right of the Lords to determine appeals from inferior courts even if a member of either House was involved, though it decided not to incorporate the declaration into the message sent to the Commons. Shaftesbury, along with eight others, recorded a protest, arguing that the weaker message eventually sent ‘may seem in some measure to acknowledge that the House of Commons have a claim to some privilege in judicature which is a thing that we conceive belongs solely to this House’. Burnet wrote that Shaftesbury claimed that he had set up the dispute, ‘but others assured me it happened in course’.245 On 14 May Shaftesbury’s ally Lord Mohun interrupted a committee of the whole House on the test bill by announcing the arrest of Dr Sherley by the Speaker’s warrant. Shaftesbury was one of those to whom the drafting of a message to the Commons was committed, and was among eight reporters of a conference on the affair on 17 May; he perhaps was involved in the other conferences that ensued.246 Two other privilege cases raised similar issues. Although he did not join with a number of other frequent protestors in a dissent against decision of the House on 27 May to turn down a conference on the case of Mr Onslow, Shaftesbury was involved in conferences on 31 May and 2 June on the case. In the Crispe v. Dalmahoy case, heard by the Lords on 28 May, Shaftesbury joined with Stafford in registering a dissent against its dismissal, and was one of the committee appointed to prepare for a conference on Crispe’s counsel, after his arrest by the Commons.

The king abandoned the session and prorogued Parliament on 9 June. Although Shaftesbury bore a large part of the responsibility for wrecking it, he was seen at court on 13 June with the 6th marquess of Winchester and ‘attended the king to sermon and back again’.247 The meeting may have been related to discussions initiated by York about a dissolution and the dismissal of Danby, although within two weeks Shaftesbury was said to have been banished from the court again along with Lord Cavendish and other members of the House of Commons.248

Shaftesbury’s summer in Dorset was dominated by the preparations for the Dorset by-election necessitated by the death of Giles Strangways. In a long letter written probably to his close ally and Member of the Commons for Shaftesbury John Bennett on 28 Aug., Shaftesbury laid out his own account of the affair. Initially inclined to support the candidacy of the son of the earl of Bristol, John, Lord Digby, later 3rd earl of Bristol, who had marched with the opposition in April and May, Shaftesbury had changed his mind when he heard that Digby ‘would not prove as some of us expected’. Shaftesbury had perhaps heard of Bristol’s reconciliation with the court. Shaftesbury persuaded Thomas Moore, a former member of the Long Parliament, to stand instead. Digby expressed his fury in a chance encounter on 27 Aug., publicly telling Shaftesbury that he was ‘against the king, and for seditions and factions, and for a Commonwealth, and I will prove it, and by God we will have your head next Parliament’. The outburst was witnessed by a large number of people, including Lord Mohun.249 The election was not held until 18 Oct., after Parliament sat again. In the event, Digby won easily, helped by Guy Carleton, bishop of Bristol, who referred to Moore’s ‘dissenting principles’ being ‘as evident as the other’s loyalty’, and the threat to ‘the interest of our king and church (considering his interest made by the earl of Shafton)’.250 Shaftesbury’s case for scandalum magnatum against Digby would be a cause célèbre in the first half of the following year. His letter to Bennett might have been intended for wider circulation: a draft response to another of his letters of around this time, commenting on ‘this course which is so much used by his lordship of divulging his mind so openly by letters’ and expressing surprise that Parliament had not called him to account for his letter to Carlisle, suggests that Shaftesbury’s manuscript letters to Bennett were seen as a way of publicizing his own case.251

The new session had begun on 13 October. Shaftesbury was present on all days but one. He was, as usual, appointed on the first day to the committee for privileges and its sub-committee, and to the committee for petitions. He and his friends resumed their campaign. On 14 Oct. he was appointed to the committee for the revived bill for explanation of the act for preventing the dangers which may happen by Popish recusants. On the next sitting day, 19 Oct., Sherley’s petition for a hearing of his case was presented; a debate on 20 Oct. about whether to read it was the occasion for a major speech by Shaftesbury, circulated in manuscript and later printed along with a speech of the duke of Buckingham made on 16 November.252 The printed version begins dramatically with ‘our all is at stake, and therefore you must give me leave to speak freely before we part with it’. Shaftesbury referred to attempts by Seth Ward, bishop of Salisbury and the lord keeper (‘for I may name them at a committee of the whole House’) to suppress the issue and to the lord keeper’s claim that it was beyond the powers of the Lords to entertain the case. He argued that this would be to prejudge the issue. If the doctrine of the Commons – that no appeal from any court of equity was cognizable by the House of Lords – were to stand, he insisted, it might lead to cases coming to be judged and estates disposed of ‘as great men at court please’ (an implied slur on Finch’s impartiality). He contested Ward’s claim that there were more important issues to discuss. ‘This matter is no less than your whole judicature and your judicature is the life and soul of the dignity of the peerage of England’, he told the House: ‘you will quickly grow burdensome, if you grow useless: you have now the greatest and most useful end of parliaments principally in you, which is not to make new laws, but to redress grievances and to maintain the old landmarks’. He rejected the claim that the case did not affect the judicature of the Lords, adding some critical remarks about the abuse by members of the Commons of their privilege of not being sued. He complained that the government was planning that the Lords should put off all private business for six weeks in order to avoid upsetting the Commons while they passed the money bill ‘and other acceptable bills that his Majesty thinks of importance’. He urged the Lords not to abandon a point they had argued for so strongly in the previous session. They needed to maintain their rights against the Commons:

for let the House of Commons, and gentry of England, think what they please, there is no prince that ever govern’d without nobility or an army: if you will not have one you must have t’other, or the monarchy can no longer support, or keep itself from tumbling into a democratical republic. Your lordships and the people have the same cause, and the same enemies. 

The Lords’ jurisdiction was not perfect, he conceded – committee dinners, the use of attractive young women to present petitions, had been abuses – but it had rarely been faulted. Finally he turned to an attack on the bishops, who, he suggested, did not share the view of other peers ‘that the king is king by law, and by the same law that the poor man enjoys his cottage’. Instead, the bishops were committed to a view that monarchy was by divine right. This ‘Laudian doctrine’ which lurked behind the previous session’s test bill, would mean that monarchy could not be limited by law and ‘all the properties and liberties of the people, are to give way, not only to the interest, but the will and pleasure of the crown’. He concluded by urging the appointment of a date for the hearing of Sherley’s petition, in three weeks’ time. On 4 Nov. the House finally agreed to set a date for hearing the case on the 20th.

In the period before returning to Sherley v. Fagg, Shaftesbury was appointed to three private and three public bill committees, and A Letter to a Person of Quality had appeared in print, incorporating some passages that also appeared in the circulated version of Shaftesbury’s 20 Oct. speech, and a powerful analysis of the strategy of Danby and the bishops of making a ‘distinct party from the rest of the nation of the high episcopal man, and the Old Cavalier’. The scheme, it claimed, was to make the government absolute and jure divino, and to raise a standing army.253 Copies had been mysteriously distributed on Saturday 30 Oct., with elaborate precautions against the discovery of those responsible.254 On 8 Nov. (on which Shaftesbury was, perhaps significantly, absent for the only time this session), the House ordered that the book be burnt, and set up a committee to investigate the identity of the publisher. It was reported on the 9th that there had been criticism in the Lords of the lord privy seal, the chairman of the committee ‘for not being severe enough upon it’. The House that day voted that the Letter was a ‘lying, scandalous, and seditious book’. Patrick Murray’s slightly confused account of the debate has Shaftesbury saying ‘he knew no reason for burning it, but that it had the test, that was voted last session, in it’.255

Murray also referred to a further discussion of Sherley v. Fagg, apparently on Tuesday 9 Mar., in which the lord keeper proposed that the business be put off until the following day. Shaftesbury responded that the delay was in order to secure supply from the Commons – that the Commons ‘would buy their privileges from them this night with a sum of money’.256 In fact the Sherley hearing had already been set for the 20th, and there is no record in the Journal of a debate on the subject on the 9th, although there were certainly efforts the following week to prevent the hearing scheduled for the 20th from going ahead. The level of tension is perhaps indicated by the circulation of a rumour about an apparent assassination attempt on Shaftesbury in his coach, which was later discounted as an accident (‘but wonder how the story was made’, mused a letter writer, and others were still claiming the truth of the story a few days later).257 The Commons passed a vote on the 15th declaring the appeal to be a breach of privilege; Shaftesbury was among those nominated to attend a conference on 19 Nov. at which another plea was made to put off the hearing.

Though the Lords decided to go ahead as planned, the Commons’ threat to begin breach of privilege proceedings against any counsel appearing in the case forced the hearing in the end to be postponed. The only one of the counsel assigned for Sherley by the Lords who turned up, Richard Wallop, would act later for Shaftesbury and Fitzharris and may have been a kinsman of Shaftesbury.258 One of the country lords, Charles North, Baron Grey of Rolleston and later 5th Baron North, complained about the Commons’ resolution, fixed onto the door of Westminster Hall. The sequence of events described in the Journal and in other accounts differs, but according to the most circumstantial of them, the House had voted by 2pm that the Commons’ action was illegal and unparliamentary, and ‘tending to the dissolution of the government’ (echoing language used by Shaftesbury in his 20 Oct. speech). Then, taking advantage of the fact that many of the bishops and court peers left shortly afterwards, Lord Mohun moved for an address to the king to dissolve Parliament, backed by Shaftesbury and Buckingham, in a move that onlookers, especially Bristol, concluded had been premeditated. Danby and his colleagues made strenuous efforts to play out the debate until they could retrieve their majority: the bitter row that ensued between Bristol and Shaftesbury, for which both men were forced to apologize to the House, may have been manufactured as part of that effort. Shaftesbury’s row with Bristol drew in Mohun, and Shaftesbury also clashed with Richard Arundell, Baron Arundell of Trerice. The lord keeper was again required to intervene by direction of the House to order them to take no further action. Finally, at around 8pm, the proposal was rejected, but by a mere two votes – those of Lauderdale and William Maynard, 2nd Baron Maynard, who had managed to get back to the House just as the question was being put.259

Playing again on the technique developed in the previous session, the minority peers entered a protest in the Journal two days later, signed by Shaftesbury and 21 others, reiterating their arguments for a dissolution (‘it seems not reasonable, that any particular number of men should for many years engross so great a trust of the people, as to be their representatives in the House of Commons’).260 The arguments used by the country peers in the debate on 20 November were summarized in a publication dated 1675 called Two Seasonable Discourses concerning this present Parliament, in similar fashion to the summary of the arguments used in the Test bill debate in A Letter from a Person of Quality (although no speech is attributed to any particular speaker). It uses many of the same arguments of the speech of 20 October, and plays on Shaftesburian themes (including the abuse of privilege, and the role of the Lords as a balance in the constitution) and may be as much Shaftesbury’s as was the Letter. On 22 Nov. Parliament was, once again, prorogued, for 15 months until February 1677. The division list and the protest were subsequently circulated in manuscript, and both were published in Two Seasonable Discourses, and in the pamphlet containing Shaftesbury’s speech of 20 October.261

Shaftesbury made further attempts after the end of the session to divide the court. Noting that York had voted for a dissolution on 20 Nov. he sent him a message through Lord Stafford, according to Burnet.262 Shaftesbury did not leave London after the session closed: his action of scandalum magnatum against Lord Digby may have been the reason, but the government suspected him of remaining in order to stir up trouble. On 16 Feb. Williamson visited him on the instructions of the king. Finding him at home with Sir Edward Harley, he conveyed the message that (according to Williamson’s careful minute) the king was aware that Shaftesbury was ‘very busy here in town, in matters that he ought not’, and to advise him to leave for the country. Shaftesbury denied meddling in public business, claiming that he was in town dealing with decisions on whether to let or to sell Exeter House or to pull it down and develop the site, the disposal of his interests in the African company, and his share in ‘the Carolina business’.263 A note of the same encounter from the other side exists in the papers of Lord Wharton, which broadly corroborates Williamson’s account, though suggests that Shaftesbury emphasized that anyone who imprisoned him would have to answer for it.264 A couple of days later Henry O’Brien, Lord Ibrackan [I] told Williamson that he had visited Shaftesbury the day after Williamson had. He found with him the earl of Salisbury, Sir Thomas Littleton, Sir Samuel Barnadiston and Thomas Papillon, discussing Williamson’s message. O’Brien also reported people in the city, including the bankers Edward Nelthorpe and Richard Thompson (Shaftesbury was said to have £8,000 on deposit with them), and Sir Thomas Player, talking about the news, and complaining about the interference with business and its impact on trade. 265 O’Brien returned via Shaftesbury’s again, finding there this time Sir Robert Clayton and Sir Robert Peyton. Williamson took down more intelligence from O’Brien on 18 Feb., including that Shaftesbury would customarily ‘vent out all his thoughts and designs’ in John’s coffee house in Birchin Lane, and that there had been a ‘great meeting’ the previous night at Shaftesbury’s house. Shaftesbury’s friends may have thought he went too far in making an implied threat to impeach any councillor who signed a warrant for his arrest, but O’Brien’s information suggested that he and his allies were confident and organized. They included the attorney general, Sir William Jones, and many of the most significant people in the city, and were ‘only waiting to have us be the aggressors, being assured of a sufficient number to stand by them in any hard point put upon them’.266 It was said that Danby had urged Charles to have Shaftesbury arrested, and only Williamson’s reluctance to sign the warrant had prevented it.267

Shaftesbury remained, therefore, in London, occupied with his removal from Exeter House, now destined for demolition.268 Despite his professions to Williamson, he was clearly deeply concerned in politics, including, apparently, making an approach to Lauderdale, albeit an unsuccessful one.269 At the end of April Shaftesbury’s scandalum magnatum case came to trial: though the foreman of the Jury, Sir George Howe, was said to be a friend of Digby’s, the verdict was given for Shaftesbury, with £1,000 in damages (which he planned to donate to the fire-devastated town of Northampton). He threw a party for the jury while Digby’s attempts to overturn the judgment on a technicality were thrown out. Digby’s allies in Dorset clubbed together to pay the fine.270

Francis Jenks’s bold and electrifying speech advocating an address to the king for a new Parliament, made during the proceedings on the election of the new sheriffs on 24 June was, according to the French ambassador, openly regarded by Shaftesbury as inopportune. He was annoyed with Buckingham for supporting it.271 Soon afterwards (after attending the trial of the young Charles Cornwallis, 3rd Baron Cornwallis, where he was spotted in a huddle with Lords Wharton and Mohun), he left for Dorset, returning to London in November to Thanet House in Aldersgate, which he had rented from Nicholas Tufton, 3rd earl of Thanet. 

The Tower, 1677-8

Over the summer, autumn and winter, Shaftesbury made plans for the meeting of Parliament in February 1677. Despite his disapproval of Jenks’s initiative, he ‘laid hold… with great joy’ (according to Burnet) of Jenks’s argument that the fifteen months’ prorogation contravened the provisions in the statutes of Edward III’s reign stating that Parliament should be held every year.272 Buckingham was equally an advocate of the idea, though over the winter there were reports of disagreements, apparently caused by mutual jealousy over contacts with the duke of York, which Sir Robert Peyton attempted to resolve in January 1677; a reconciliation was reported at the end of the month.273 Burnet wrote that Salisbury and Wharton were also supporters of the argument, and Robert Murray had been providing a link between Wharton and Shaftesbury. Holles was also on Burnet’s list of supporters, though ‘a fit of the gout kept him out of the way’. 274 Both Shaftesbury and Holles contacted Horatio Townshend, Baron Townshend in January, but he gave a convoluted response, paying lip service to Shaftesbury’s ‘noble and public designs’, though he did offer his proxy towards the cause (it was registered, in favour of Shaftesbury, on 13 Feb. and not vacated until the end of the session).275 The serious wound Lord Mohun received in a duel put him out of action for much of the session (and eventually caused his death in September), and also seems to have caused a row between Shaftesbury and Anglesey, Mohun’s father-in-law.276 Shaftesbury received Mohun’s proxy on 15 Feb., vacated on 26 Mar., when Mohun appeared in the House.

Just before the Parliament opened both the country conspirators and the government attempted to influence opinion through a series of pamphlets. Published on behalf of Shaftesbury and his associates were Some Considerations upon the Question whether the Parliament is dissolved, The Long Parliament dissolved and The Grand Question concerning the Prorogation of this Parliament.277 The government-sponsored A Pacquet of Advices and Animadversions to the Men of Shaftesbury by Marchamont Nedham identified Shaftesbury as the architect of the country strategy, though one who preferred to remain in the shadows. It said that Buckingham had likened him to ‘Will-with-the-Wisp, that uses to lead men out of the way; then leaves them at last in a ditch and darkness, and nimbly retreats for self-security’.278 It was highly effective: Shaftesbury dispatched Stringer and John Harrington on 7 Feb. to the Stationer’s Company to try to prevent it from being distributed, and it was rumoured that Shaftesbury was contemplating another scandalum magnatum action against Roger L’Estrange for permitting its unlicensed publication. 279

In the few days before Parliament sat, Shaftesbury, according to James II’s recollection, had ‘had the confidence to send to the duke to know if he had read and consider’d any of the papers about the dissolution of this present Parliament’. Shaftesbury and his allies had worried, he wrote, about a throwaway remark made in Some Considerations that Parliament had the power to alter the succession. Shaftesbury, Wharton and Buckingham all subsequently disavowed the point (Buckingham said that Shaftesbury had put it in without his consent).280 Shaftesbury may have worried that his campaign was running out of steam: he initiated a meeting with Lemuel Kingdon on 13 Feb., offering Danby his support against what he claimed was a conspiracy to destroy him, planned by the duke of Ormond, Sir William Coventry, Halifax and Winchester.281

Parliament was opened on 15 Feb. 1677. Shaftesbury was again appointed to the privileges committee and sub-committee and the committee for petitions. He attended on the first two days: for almost all of the remainder of a long session punctuated by a series of adjournments he was incarcerated in the Tower of London. On the 15th, immediately after the House began business following the king’s and chancellor’s speeches, Buckingham (in a move coordinated with confederates in the Commons) claimed that Parliament had been automatically dissolved by the long prorogation. A motion made by John Frescheville, Baron Freschville, to call him to the bar for the speech was seconded by Lord Arundel of Trerice. It was opposed by Salisbury, Halifax, and then Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury attacked it as an assault on freedom of speech in Parliament (expanding on the analysis in the Letter from a Person of Quality); on the issue itself he argued that Parliaments ‘were annual by common law before the statutes, that it was dangerous to remove old landmarks, & there had always been inconveniences from long Parliaments’. There were many more contributions, but support for Buckingham’s motion was generally weak, and the decision around 8 o’clock to lay the debate aside was achieved without much apparent difficulty. Danby immediately moved to consider action against the peers who had argued that Parliament be dissolved. Ormond moved that Buckingham be questioned, and Danby added Salisbury, Shaftesbury and Wharton. After two more hours’ debate, with Lord Anglesey vigorously opposing the move, the House was adjourned to the following day.282

On the 16th, the motion that the four lords should withdraw was carried on a division at about 4 o’clock by 53 votes to 30. Buckingham was said to have slunk away into hiding before the vote, to the irritation of the other three, according to one observer, who also noted that ‘my Lord Salisbury had a behaviour, look, & discourse becoming a resolute person, but the other two seem’d more apprehensive of their condition’.283 The House required Shaftesbury and Buckingham to beg pardon of the House and the king on their knees; the other two only to ask pardon standing in their places. The three who were present refused to acknowledge fault, reasserted their claims about the dissolution and were sent to the Tower. Salisbury and Shaftesbury asked to have their own cooks with them in the Tower, intending to imply that they might otherwise be poisoned. An observer reported Shaftesbury’s remarks in the lobby afterwards, that ‘the House suffered them to run on in this debate, but not approving of it, did resolve to condemn them for it’, and (perhaps reflecting his resentment at the votes of the bishops) that ‘when he lay a-dying, possibly he might send for such honest friends as Sir John Coventry, & Sir Ralph Bankes (both there present & very fit persons for that occasion) but resolved never to send for priest, or parson, renouncing all persons who had ever taken orders’.284

Buckingham gave himself up the next day and was also consigned to the Tower. On the 17th the Lords ordered that the four be kept apart, except at church, and that they be allowed no visitors (except their servants) without the express permission of the House.285 The four met together at a service on Sunday the 18th and were noted in discussion. It was subsequently reported that they planned to petition for their release.286 A few days later an oblique approach was made to Shaftesbury via an old acquaintance, Edmund Warcup, who suggested to his countess that Danby would ‘mediate’ for his release and favour, and perhaps even reappointment to the chancellorship in return for assurances of his ‘true loyalty’ and service to the king. Shaftesbury insisted on his loyalty but politely refused to negotiate before his release.287 Notes in the Danby papers suggest that there may have been a more complex negotiation, in which the initiative was taken by Shaftesbury.288

At the same time the House of Lords was reviewing the evidence concerning the publication of the three pamphlets arguing that Parliament had been dissolved, looking for evidence to associate them with the four peers. They only succeeded in establishing that The Grand Question had been written by Holles.289 There was a flurry of approvals for visits in March: the earl of Bedford, Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, Charles Howard, 2nd earl of Berkshire, Lord Grey of Rolleston, Sir Joseph Jordan, Henry Ubank, Mr Brouncker and the earl of Rochester (in each case limited to single instance).290 It was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the release of the four by Lord Delamer on 20 Mar., backed by Clarendon, Halifax and Berkshire.291 John Belasyse, Baron Belasyse, curiously, was given permission to visit on 11 Apr., and another Catholic peer close to York, Viscount Stafford, was said to have visited Shaftesbury in July.292 The activities of Shaftesbury’s relation John Harrington and his and Wharton’s associate Robert Murray in passing on Spanish propaganda concerning the recruitment of Scottish troops for the French service probably contributed to the government’s determination not to release the prisoners even though there was no evidence of Shaftesbury’s direct involvement. The decision to adjourn, rather than prorogue, Parliament was perhaps in order to prevent the natural expiry of their incarceration.293 Just before the adjournment, the House agreed to free Wharton for a time on health grounds. The other three offered the king a joint petition for their freedom, though avoiding an acknowledgement of their fault. He rejected it, hinting that individual petitions might be received more favourably. Shaftesbury therefore sent one in via secretary of state Sir Henry Coventry; it was also dismissed.294 The king’s adjournment of the House at the end of May until the winter indicated that the peers’ imprisonment would last at least as long again. Salisbury and Buckingham were allowed temporary release from the Tower; Shaftesbury was not.

Shaftesbury’s next move was to apply for a writ of habeas corpus.295 There was a huge demand for seats at the hearing at king’s bench on 29 June. The case was debated all morning, with Shaftesbury speaking as well as his counsel, William Williams and Richard Wallop, to respond to points made by the attorney general and solicitor general.296 Williams’s notes suggest that he argued that the return in Shaftesbury’s case was too vague and general: if it had been returned by any other court than the Lords it would be quashed. He insisted that the court had jurisdiction, even though it concerned the actions of the House of Lords, and the fact that Parliament had been adjourned, rather than prorogued, should make no difference: this was a modern distinction.297

Shaftesbury himself said he spoke only to rebut claims by the attorney and solicitor that his counsel had argued that the court was above the House of Lords. They had said only that the court was the proper place to resort to in cases where the liberty of the subject was concerned: ‘the Lords’ house is the supreme court of judicature in the kingdom; but yet there is a jurisdiction which the Lords’ House do not meddle with’. The Lords, he argued, ‘claim not to meddle’ in original cases (arguably, given that this was the point at issue in Skinner v. the East India Company), and were not themselves above the law. The court should, he suggested, judge an act of Parliament null and void if it were against Magna Carta, and should annul an order of the House to deprive any subject of his liberty.298 Unsurprisingly, the judges rejected the application.

The reckoning for Shaftesbury was to have some of his privileges removed, with the restrictions on his visitors renewed.299 Shaftesbury’s wife presented another petition on 2 Aug., which failed again. Lord Stafford was said to have visited him on York’s behalf and suggested (unbelievably) that he turn catholic ‘to get his liberty’. Shaftesbury was reported by one of his allies, Sir Edward Harley, to have said of York that ‘he has done his worst to me yet would do worse if it were in his power. He would have my head, but I shall yet wear it in despite of him, and live perhaps to come betwixt him and his great hopes’.300

Shaftesbury was allowed visitors in September, October and November, including Michael Mallet, the violently anti-Catholic Member, Sir Paul Neile, his business partner and most frequent visitor, Sir Peter Colleton, Thomas Duppa, Thomas Stringer, Lancelot Sedgwick, Francis Charlton (his second most frequent visitor, who would become Shaftesbury’s political factotum), and the marquess of Winchester.301 It appears to have been over the summer and autumn that Shaftesbury compiled his list of Members of the Lords and Commons, annotating them according to whether (and to what degree) they were either ‘vile’ or ‘worthy’: the Lords list has been regarded as an estimate of support for Shaftesbury’s release; the Commons list appears to be a more general estimate of attitude.302 There was another attempt at a petition to the king in late December, which met with the same fate as previous ones; but the expectation that Parliament would meet at the end of January to agree funding for action against France created a new situation that Shaftesbury might be able to exploit.303 The clandestine publication of Marvell’s An Account of the Growth of Popery around the beginning of 1678 provided ‘the fullest synthesis yet of the Shaftesburian analysis of the history of the last decade’ – so much so that Thomas Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, attributed it to Shaftesbury himself.304

Once Parliament reopened, Shaftesbury’s own submission and readmission to the House of Lords followed those of Buckingham on 28 Jan., of Salisbury on 4 Feb. and Wharton on 7 Feb. Shaftesbury’s petition was brought in by Halifax on 14 Feb. and supported by Clarendon and Essex (‘and faintly by the duke of Buckingham’) but was vigorously and successfully resisted by York, Danby and others, who argued that the habeas corpus appeal of the summer amounted to a further contempt of the House. The petition was rejected.305 Shaftesbury made a second application on 20 Feb., this time presented by the marquess of Winchester. The government again turned the debate onto the propriety of Shaftesbury’s habeas corpus appeal; the Lords resolved (on a vote carried, on one account, by 33 votes, on another by four) not to make an address to the king for Shaftesbury’s release; on the following day they decided that it was a breach of privilege for any peer committed by the House to bring a suit of habeas corpus, and ordered that Shaftesbury be summoned to defend himself at the bar on 25 Feb. It was widely expected, however, that this would lead to his release.306 In preparation for the encounter on the 25th, Shaftesbury solicited Salisbury’s proxy for Halifax.307

On the day, 25 Feb., Shaftesbury was brought to kneel at the bar. The lord chancellor demanded his response to the Lords’ resolution. Shaftesbury gave an apparently fulsome acknowledgement of his offence and error in his habeas corpus application: ‘I would have perished, rather than have brought my habeas corpus, had I then apprehended or been informed that it had been a breach of the privileges of this honourable House. It is my duty, it is my interest, to support your privileges. I shall never oppose them’.308 Lord Arundel of Trerice claimed that at his habeas corpus hearing, Shaftesbury had said words ‘of a dangerous nature’; he was supported by Danby and York, but the shorthand writers, John Rushworth and Robert Blaney, told the House that they could not guarantee the exactness of their account of Shaftesbury’s words.309 The debate lasted for five hours. At the end of it Shaftesbury made a formal submission at the bar, and the House ordered an address to the king requesting his release.310 Shaftesbury was back in the House on the following day.311 Marchamont Nedham shortly afterwards triumphantly published Shaftesbury’s admission and the proceedings on it.312

In early April, John Hay, earl of Tweeddale [S] was told of a story ‘commonly discoursed’ (though there seems to be no other account of it) of a challenge sent by the earl of Carlisle to Shaftesbury via Sir John Fenwick: it was claimed that Carlisle had offered to procure Shaftesbury his freedom while in the Tower, on the condition that he would then retire into the country. Shaftesbury’s failure to leave London after his release was taken by Carlisle as breaking that commitment. Shaftesbury denied that he had made any such promise, and refused the challenge, telling Fenwick that ‘it was not unlikely but my Lord Carlisle would be pardoned if he killed him, but if it was his fortune to kill the earl of Carlisle he was sure not to receive mercy’.313

The Plot: 1678-81

Having missed the first 20 sitting days since Parliament had resumed in January, Shaftesbury was present every remaining day of the session but six. Shortly after his return (on a day when he was not present) a complaint about the arrest of his servant (and probably relation) John Cooper was raised and referred to the committee of privileges.314 Investigations into the publication of the 1675 pamphlets continued without directly implicating Shaftesbury, although Aaron Smith, the publisher and probably part of the Shaftesbury household, was hauled before the Lords and sent to the custody of black rod on 5 Mar. for supporting the case for dissolution in the Tower of London, perhaps during a visit to Shaftesbury.315

Shaftesbury resumed some of his previous activity. He was placed on committees on bills concerning fines and recoveries, burying in wool, charitable uses, pedlars, hawkers and petty chapmen, and relief for protestant refugees.316 He was appointed to two private bill committees.317 During the preparations for the trial of Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, in Westminster Hall, Shaftesbury entered a dissent concerning the inclusion of the spiritual peers in the arrangements.318 The session was dominated by discussion of French action on the continent, but Shaftesbury kept a relatively low profile in March and April, although on 16 and 18 Mar., when the House debated the Commons’ proposal for an address to the king for an immediate declaration of war and recall of ambassadors, Shaftesbury spoke in favour along with Essex, Halifax, Buckingham, Holles, Clarendon and Wharton, wrong-footing Danby concerning the Spanish ambassador’s opposition to an immediate declaration of war.319 Shaftesbury was probably not involved in the meetings between country leaders, particularly Lord William Russell, and the French ambassadors Ruvigny and Barillon, in March and April.320 On 4 Apr. he found Pembroke not guilty.

After a break for Easter and the Pembroke trial, Parliament resumed in earnest on 29 April. The Lords on 30 Apr. attended a conference with the Commons on the growth of popery: Shaftesbury was one of the managers. He may have been ill, for he was said to be ‘recovering’ on 2 May, although he was said to have spoken in a debate on the Commons’ request for action against the growth of popery, claiming that the main threat came not from rural Catholicism, but from Catholics who lived in London, ‘and apply themselves to an arbitrary government and to introduce the Catholic religion entirely’.321 Haley has suggested that Shaftesbury (through Lord Russell) was behind the attack on Lauderdale in the Commons on 7 May, a little before the short prorogation from 13 to 23 May.322

In the new session that lasted until July, Shaftesbury missed only two sittings, the fast day on 29 May and the afternoon sitting on 12 July, a 95 per cent attendance rate. He was appointed to the committee of privileges, the subcommittee and the committee on petitions on the first day of the session. During late May and early June he was appointed to a number of committees including those concerning relief for protestant refugees and burying in woollen (on which he managed a conference on 11 July). 323 Shaftesbury intervened in the Goldsmiths’ bill (a bill for confirming letters patents for Vyner and Backwell and others) on behalf of John Lindsay as administrator of the estate of John Colvile, one of the king’s creditors.324 He was on the committee for the frequently debated bill concerning the role of the college of arms in registering deaths among the nobility and gentry.325 He continued to be appointed to a number of committees on private bills, reporting from one, that concerning John Weld, on 8 June.326 During the discussions of the Purbeck peerage case, Shaftesbury protested on 7 June, along with Anglesey, Winchester, Bedford, Clare, Bridgwater and others on the decision not to split the issue into separate points (illegitimacy, the existence of a ‘patent of honour’, and whether an honour could be extinguished by a fine) the first two being points of fact, the last a matter of law of which Shaftesbury and his colleagues disapproved. The exact reasons are unknown for Shaftesbury’s dissent ten days later from the dismissal of Charles Cottington’s appeal to the Lords concerning his prosecution in the court of delegates: the committee of privileges was still considering a petition from him, but the underlying issue was one about the jurisdiction of the Lords over a spiritual cause.327

Shaftesbury seems, however, not to have been particularly visible in the debates about the peace and the army during the early summer, although he was one of the peers appointed to manage a conference with the Commons on 19 June about the international situation. He joined Winchester, Essex, Wharton and Charles Dormer, 2nd earl of Caernarvon in dissenting on 25 June from the rejection of the Commons’ proviso to the supply bill to require a speedy disbandment of the troops. He dined twice in June with the earl of Anglesey, mixing with the countess of Peterborough, Lord and Lady Arundel (though it is not clear which ones), Lady Stanhope, and Sir John Thomson, among others.328 He continued a high level of activity on private and public bill committees throughout late June and July. Public bill committees to which he was appointed included ones dealing with the right to work of protestant immigrants, the coastal coal trade (evidently related to his Newcastle coal interests), and the relief of poor petitioners.329 He reported the bill concerning the town of Kelshall on 2 July. On 5 July Shaftesbury, together with Winchester, Halifax, Essex ‘and the rest of that gang’ – though also with York, Finch and the earl of Clarendon – entered his protest against the decision to afford the petitioner, Darrell, relief in the long-running case of Marmaduke Darrell v. Sir Paul Whichcot concerning the Newcastle sea-coal farm.330 When the Feversham inheritance case was heard in early July, Shaftesbury, along with Halifax, Holles and Fauconberg, argued against reversing the chancery decision to dismiss the claim of the 2nd earl against Lewis Watson and Katherine Sondes his wife. The debate became plainly political – Feversham was one of the closest allies of the duke of York in the Lords, and an instrument in the alliance between Charles II and Louis XIV. But it was also another example of Shaftesbury’s concerns about abuse of the Lords’ judicature. Finch’s account of his speech has him saying that: ‘we must do here as they ought to do below else this court is legislative and the very government is altered… If the lord chancellor can give relief by mending or altering the nature of contracts, then he is arbitrary’. When Danby argued that ‘the petition is an appeal from the king’s conscience limited to rules, to his conscience here administered with more latitude’, Shaftesbury’s response insinuated that Danby was claiming that equity was ‘unbounded’ in the House of Lords. Nottingham wrote that ‘this was said with a design to fasten that upon my lord treasurer which had been said without reproof by all that spoke before’.331 Shaftesbury, along with Anglesey, Clare and Halifax dissented from the decision for Feversham.332 Right at the end of the session Shaftesbury was one of the peers appointed to report two conferences with the Commons on the methods of Parliament in passing bills.333

Shaftesbury was in Dorset from the end of July. He appears to have acted together with Halifax and Lord Russell as peacemaker between William Cavendish, 3rd earl of Devonshire and his son William Cavendish, Lord Cavendish, later duke of Devonshire, in July and August.334 At some point he suffered an acute attack of the gout, joking in a letter of 8 Sept. to Sir William Cowper about its effects:

if my lord duke of Lauderdale and the treasurer should have been both disgraced on a sudden I should not have been able to have made one step towards being their successor but however it was a great comfort to me to hear that his grace the duke of Buckingham was in England and not in France; for his grace (I can assure you) would have supplied their places with the good advice of Major Wildman so that neither court nor country should find the least miss of them.335

He was recovered, however, by the opening sitting of the last session of the Cavalier Parliament, on 21 Oct. 1678, following the revelations about the Popish Plot. Appointed to the committees for privileges, for the Journal, and for petitions, his presence was recorded every day except for the fast days on 5, 13 Nov., on 14 Dec., and on the last day of the session, 30 Dec., an attendance record of 93 per cent. Shaftesbury received the proxies of Ford Grey, 3rd Baron Grey of Warke, registered to him on 15 Nov. and Benjamin Mildmay, 17th Baron Fitzwalter, registered on 18 Nov. (Fitzwalter’s son seems to have attended the same dissenting academy in Clapham as Shaftesbury’s grandsons). Both were noted down in a list of proxies in the papers of Lord Wharton.336

On 23 Oct. Shaftesbury was appointed to the committee to examine the papers concerning the discovery of the Popish Plot, and was one of those (with allies Winchester, Bridgwater, Halifax and Essex) appointed to draw up an address for banishing Catholics from London and Westminster. It was presumably in this debate that he moved that the regiment commanded by George Douglas, earl of Dumbarton [S], formerly in the French service, whose officers were assumed to be Catholics, should be sent well away from London: this and a reference to Wentworth Dillon, 4th earl of Roscommon [I] (master of the horse to the duchess) were perhaps intended to insult York.337 On 24 Oct. Shaftesbury was appointed to the committee investigating whether any of the constables in London and Westminster were Catholics. Two days later, with Danby, Essex, Clarendon and Henry Compton, bishop of London, he was entrusted with examining Edward Coleman in Newgate. Danby reported back to the House on 29 Oct. on Coleman’s interrogation. It was said that Shaftesbury, supported by Halifax and Compton, successfully insisted (over York’s protests) that the House should have read to it all of Coleman’s correspondence, including letters sent on behalf of the duke of York. Shaftesbury’s motion to communicate the letters to the Commons was narrowly defeated; Shaftesbury entered a protest against the decision, along with Essex.338

Shaftesbury now entered an intense period of activity: together with Buckingham, Halifax and the bishop of London, he was seen as leading the pack against York.339 On 1 Nov. he was one of the committee to investigate the claims of strange digging and knocking noises emanating from inside the Palace of Westminster. That afternoon, he was one of the reporters of a conference with the Commons on the preservation of the king’s person, after which the Lords agreed with the Commons’ resolution asserting the reality of the Plot. On the afternoon of the 2nd, Shaftesbury moved that the duke be removed from the king’s council and from his presence; he was supported by Winchester, Essex, Halifax, Charles Gerard, Baron Gerard of Brandon (later earl of Macclesfield) and five bishops, though the motion was not pressed to a division.340 Shaftesbury responded to James’s announcement on 4 Nov. that he would cease to attend the council by proposing (unsuccessfully) that the announcement be published, Lord Russell introducing on the same day in the Commons a motion to address the king to banish the duke from his counsels and person.341

The remit of the committee set up to examine Coleman was extended on 2 Nov. to interrogate the Catholic peers who had been sent to the Tower, and on the 4th to other prisoners too. Shaftesbury was also a leading member of the committee set up on 23 Oct. to examine the papers relating to the Plot, and of its sub-committee to consider the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. The committee’s secretary was Shaftesbury’s steward Thomas Stringer. A number of allegations were made later by hostile sources of Shaftesbury’s bullying behaviour towards witnesses: Mary Gibbon in 1683 told the secretary of state, Sir Leoline Jenkins, how when she gave evidence (which she did on 9 Nov.) Shaftesbury had been rude to her and threatened her ‘that if she would not confess that Sir John Banks, Mr Pepys and M. de Pieu contrived the matter in it, she would be thrown into prison for her life or torn to pieces by the rabble or worried as the dogs worry the cats’.342 A determined attempt to get Samuel Pepys’s clerk to testify against him (and by implication, the duke of York) may not, however, be directly attributable to Shaftesbury.343

In the wake of the king’s speech of 9 Nov. offering to accept legislation guaranteeing Protestant safety in the reign of his successor, Shaftesbury’s popularity may have been increased by information about threats to his and Monmouth’s lives, and a rumour that he was to be sent to the Tower.344 On 16 Nov. healths were said to have been drunk to him, Monmouth and the king ‘as the only three pillars of all safety’.345 Meanwhile, he was appointed to more committees of investigation: one concerning cartridges found in a house at the Savoy on 11 Nov., and another to gather information for the prosecution of Coleman on 16 November. Surprisingly he was not on a committee to organize the printing of Coleman’s letters.346 It was also his colleague, the marquess of Winchester, who was by now usually reporting from the committee for examinations, and the earl of Essex who normally chaired it. Shaftesbury nevertheless chaired the committee on 12, 14, 15 Nov. and Dec. 3, and reported from it on 20 Dec., and his agent Stringer continued to be closely involved with the committee.347 On Shaftesbury’s suggestion, he, Essex and Halifax visited Newgate on 16 Dec. to see Richard Langhorne, who it was hoped – unfruitfully – would unravel the whole plot.348 On 23 Dec., Shaftesbury, Buckingham, Winchester and Grey of Warke were deputed to ask the king to provide Miles Prance, who was promising further revelations about the plot, with a pardon.349 Shaftesbury was said by Sir Robert Southwell, himself examined twice by the committee, to be ‘the great giant that speaks to all, and they say with strange freedom, and admirable eloquence. My Lord Halifax is his second, and so is my Lord Winchester; but none so close, so constant, and so relied on by him as the earl of Essex’.350 Burnet told a story showing Shaftesbury insisting that no-one should question the evidence brought out: ‘all those who undermined the credit of the witnesses were to be looked on as public enemies’.351

Two key bills occupied the House in November. Shaftesbury was appointed on 26 Nov. to the committee on the militia bill, which the king vetoed on 30 November. The test bill was received from the Commons on 28 October. Roger North, writing much later, said it was ‘promoted by’ Shaftesbury. Catholic peers were said to have pointed to the order made by the House in 1675 with Shaftesbury’s support, that no oaths should be imposed on peers which would have the effect of them losing their seats in the House: North recorded that ‘his lordship smiled, and said, the House was master of their own orders, and leges posteriores priores abrogant’.352 A few days after the court had succeeded in getting the Commons to accept a proviso exempting York from the bill, Oates’s incrimination of the queen and her physician, Wakeman, in the plot to kill the king on 24 Nov. was seen by the court as connected to Shaftesbury.353 Shaftesbury was one of the managers of a conference on 28 Nov. at which the Commons delivered their address requesting the removal of the queen from Whitehall, and was listed as one of the lords who voted (unsuccessfully) on 29 Nov. for the address – with Clare, William Fiennes, 3rd Viscount Say and Sele, Halifax, Edward Clinton, 5th earl of Lincoln, and Aubrey de Vere, 20th earl of Oxford, Lord de Gray (probably Lord Grey of Warke), Ralph Eure, 7th Baron Eure, Wharton, William Paget, 7th Baron Paget, and Thomas Lamplugh, bishop of Exeter.354 He, Clare and Paget were the only ones to dissent from the decision.355

Shaftesbury took the oaths under the new Test Act on 2 Dec., teasing Lord Wharton about his scruples about kissing the bible (‘he hoped that kissing was no idolatry for if ‘twere then they must forbear kissing their wives’ – though one report, touching on Shaftesbury’s reputation for promiscuity, suggested he should have referred to mistresses).356 He was appointed to committees on the bill to exclude Catholics from certain trades and occupations on 7 Dec., and on the bill for preventing the sending or going of children of popish recusants overseas on the 12th.

A letter to the duke of Ormond of 14 Dec. 1678 suggests that Shaftesbury and some others proposed an address to urge the king to become ‘the head and protector of the Protestant party in Europe’.357 After Danby’s impeachment arrived in the Lords on 23 Dec., Shaftesbury, along with Danby’s other opponents, dissented from the vote against forcing him to withdraw from the House. He dissented again from the decision not to commit Danby on 27 Dec. At the same time he was working to remove from the government control over the money paid on the supply bill, dissenting on 21 Dec. against amendments to the bill removing the provision for money to be paid into the chamber of the City of London, rather than into the Exchequer. He dissented again against the decision to adhere to the amendment following a conference with the Commons on the 26th.

Following the king’s decision to prorogue Parliament on 30 Dec., and the announcement of a dissolution on 24 Jan. with a new Parliament to meet on 6 March, French ambassador Barillon reported Shaftesbury and Buckingham’s satisfaction at the final end of the Cavalier Parliament.358 Following the prorogation there were the usual rumours about Shaftesbury accepting a ministerial position, and about a plot to kill him.359 James Netterville, one of Danby’s agents, reported on Christmas Eve that Danby’s enemies were trying to persuade York to abandon the treasurer, and a month later it was said that ‘my Lord Shaftesbury and that party’ were engaged in the same task.360 On 23 Jan. Thomas Knox, another of Danby’s agents, described intense activity focused around Shaftesbury, with a stream of messages between him, Monmouth and Buckingham. ‘Mr Cooling my Lord Arlington’s secretary’, he added, ‘is one of the greatest intelligencers my Lord Shaftesbury has’.361 If Shaftesbury had no role in the deal brokered between Holles and Danby which had made it possible to call the new Parliament, he was willing to negotiate concerning what might happen thereafter. Monmouth told Lord Conway on 30 Jan. that he and Shaftesbury ‘were willing to save Danby’s life and estate, but could not be for supporting the pardon’.362

Although there is not much evidence of his systematic involvement in the elections, Shaftesbury paid close attention to the results as they came in, compiling an estimate of those who had sat before, and those he regarded as ‘worthy’, ‘vile’, ‘honest’ or ‘bad’.363 Shaftesbury was not listed as present on the first day the new Parliament sat, 6 Mar., but he took the oaths on the 8th, and was present for all remaining sitting days in the brief first session. He was reappointed to the committee of privileges, the petitions committee, the sub-committee for the Journal, and the examinations committee, as well as a committee to consider whether the impeachments started in the previous Parliament could stand. He reported from the latter on 12 Mar., when the matter was referred to the committee of privileges.364 He was reappointed to all of these committees on 17 Mar., two days after the start of the second session of the Parliament, which followed the brief prorogation caused by the dispute in the Commons over the speakership. On 22 Mar. he received the proxy of Lord Lovelace, which was vacated on 5 April. On the 17th, Shaftesbury objected to the speech made by the lord chancellor on the presentation of the new Commons Speaker; later he and Halifax raised the rumours of the package – a pension and marquessate – to be offered to Danby.365 When the House debated Essex’s report from the committee of privileges on the carrying over of impeachments, Shaftesbury insisted that if they were not carried over, the consequent outrage from the Commons would result in a backlash against the Lords’ role in impeachments.366 The debate continued on the following day: some sketchy notes of Shaftesbury’s contributions suggest that he argued that criminal judicial cases should be carried over just as civil ones could be, reiterated the point about undermining the Lords’ judicature, and later argued over precedents with the lord chancellor. Later he warned of the political dangers that might follow if the Lords refused to entertain the impeachment after the Commons revived it.367

On 20 Mar. Shaftesbury was appointed to a committee on a bill to require members of Convocation to take the oaths and declaration in the test act; the same day the report of Peter Mews, bishop of Bath and Wells, report of the examination of Miles Prance revealed allegations about plans to kill Shaftesbury by associates of Richard Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour. It was reported by Ossory that on the same day, at the committee of examinations, Shaftesbury ‘in his ingenuous manner shook his head’ and had remarked that he ‘did not like the management of affairs’ in Ireland. Ossory warily wrote to Ormond he would now attend the committee regularly.368

On the following day Lord Cavendish brought up a reminder from the Commons of the articles of high treason against Danby and a request that he be committed to custody. Shaftesbury is reported to have rebutted Lord Arundel’s objections to Danby’s commitment, and claimed that Arundel himself had pressed in similar circumstances for Clarendon’s commitment in 1667. Shaftesbury spoke later to comment on the parallels (or lack of them) with Clarendon’s case, and moved for Danby’s immediate commitment to the custody of black rod. Eventually he and other supporters of the impeachment (Halifax and Winchester) had to settle for an adjournment to the following day.369 The king then attended and announced that Danby would be pardoned, as Shaftesbury had been in 1673, he said, though the parallel was scarcely exact. The subsequent proposal to ban Danby from the king’s presence, from all offices and employments, from receiving grants or gifts from the crown and sitting in the House of Lords was, according to the Dutch ambassador, Shaftesbury’s: he was a member of the committee to draft a bill, along with Winchester, Essex, Halifax, Wharton, Holles and Grey of Warke.370 Shaftesbury was also one of the managers of a conference at which the Lords’ intentions were put to the Commons the same day.371 The Commons ignored the proposal and the pardon, and conveyed their determination to press ahead with a prosecution on Monday the 24th. On the same day Shaftesbury reported from the committee for examinations a pamphlet published in French about the Plot, together with a version in translation (this was the Lettre éscrite de Mons à un Amy à Paris, touchant la Conspiration d’Angleterre, exposing the dubious past of Titus Oates); the House ordered that the Lords in the Tower be examined concerning their knowledge of the publication.372 Three alleged plotters who were supposed to have said that Shaftesbury should be killed, were brought to the bar.373 On the following day, the 25th, Miles Prance’s claim that Benedict Prosser had been hired to kill Shaftesbury was reported to the committee by the bishop of Bath and Wells.374

On that day, amid the reports of the examinations of the Catholic peers in the Tower, the second reading of a bill to disable Danby, and other business, Shaftesbury delivered a ‘long speech representing the dangerous condition of the kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland’, on a motion that the state of the nation be considered (in the Journal the motion is described as for an inquiry into Ireland).375 Shaftesbury’s speech was apparently sent directly for printing in London, Norwich and Scotland: Roger North believed that the debate had been planned for a post day in order to ensure maximum circulation. There are, however, no contemporary printed copies known to exist. The copy printed later in Somers’ Tracts together with the Nov. 1675 speech and wrongly attributed to November 1678, bore the imprint of The Hague in 1680.376 In the speech Shaftesbury referred extravagantly to the ‘several little sisters without breasts’ – the foreign protestant churches, and Ireland and Scotland:

The protection of the Protestants abroad is the greatest power and security the crown of England can attain to, and which can only help us to give a check to the growing greatness of France. Scotland and Ireland are two doors, either to let in good or mischief upon us: they are much weakened by the artifice of our cunning enemies, and we ought to enclose them with boards of cedar. Popery and slavery, like two sisters, go hand-in-hand. Sometimes one goes first and sometimes the other, in a doors; but wherever the one enters, the other is always following close at hand.

There followed an attack on the Scottish government, and briefer reference to worrying developments in Ireland: the papists had had their arms restored, and the Protestants were still ‘the suspected party’.377 Ossory interpreted the speech as an attack on Ormond designed to ease the way for Essex to succeed him.378 On Monday 31 Mar., the state of Ireland was formally debated. Ossory had prepared a detailed paper setting out the Irish government’s actions in response to the news of the plot. Alluding to Ormond’s services in The Civil War, he tartly pointed out what he had not been responsible for a list of policies with which Shaftesbury was associated: ‘I beg your lordships will be so just, as to judge of my Father, and of all men, according to their actions and counsels’.379

Shaftesbury claimed afterwards that his own comments on the Irish government had not been aimed at Ormond, but at Col. John Fitzpatrick, Ormond’s Catholic brother-in-law. Indeed, the House passed a motion to address the king that Fitzpatrick leave Dublin.380 The debate continued on 1 April, with a series of votes on securing the country. A few days later Ossory was sending his father intelligence about Shaftesbury’s informants on Irish affairs.381 On 15 Apr. Shaftesbury brought into the Commons a copy of Fitzpatrick’s grant of the Irish quit rents, ‘casting many reflections upon it and upon the person, all which were seconded very vigorously by my Lord of Essex’.382 Ossory reported to his mother on 19 Apr. that he was unable to defend Fitzpatrick in the Lords, though he and Shaftesbury had had a long conversation clearing the air: Ossory had told him that there were papers relating to the Fitzpatrick case which Shaftesbury himself had signed when a commissioner of the treasury, implying that if Shaftesbury wanted to make a fuss about it, he would be implicated as well.383 Sir Robert Southwell also wrote that Shaftesbury had told the lord chancellor that he had no personal animus against Ormond, while he observed that Shaftesbury’s ‘business is to make as many places void as may gratify those that concur to gratify him’: he thought that he aimed to place Essex in the lord lieutenancy.384

This was just one of a series of attacks on Catholics in government by Shaftesbury and his allies. On 26 Mar. he was said to have raised the leniency of the lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Robinson, to the Catholic peers in his custody and the presence of Catholics in the fleet and garrisons.385 The committee of examinations on 27 Mar. asked for a fund in order to give rewards for informants, a measure of the effort that was going in to maintaining the flow of information. On 1 Apr. Shaftesbury reported from the committee of privileges on the case of the Catholic Lady Abergavenny, that the servants of peers or peeresses should not be able to claim privilege ‘in the case of recusancy’.

On the following day the Lords debated the Commons’ bill for the attainder of the earl of Danby, their alternative to the Lords’ proposal for his banishment. It may have been Shaftesbury who argued that ‘we have now shot one rook, but there are a whole flock that will still endanger devouring our corn; therefore I am for hanging them up to affright others’; Northampton’s reference to a ‘little grub that devoured more than the rooks had done’ was probably aimed at him.386 In a speech late in the debate, Shaftesbury compared Danby to ‘Sampson now grasping the pillars of this house that his death may exceed all the mischiefs of his life’.387 Shaftesbury’s speech seems again to have been freely distributed, though a full text is not known to have survived.388 Following the third reading of the bill, with amendments, Shaftesbury was one of those appointed to manage a conference with the Commons explaining the amendments on 4 April.

Shaftesbury may have planned also to incriminate the bishops. On 5 Apr. John Sidway was heard at the committee of examinations alleging that several, including Peter Gunning, bishop of Ely, John Pritchett, bishop of Gloucester, and Peter Mews, bishop of Bath and Wells were secret Catholics. Sidway though failed to identify Ely when Shaftesbury asked him to, the bishop complained to the House, and the business was taken out of the committee’s hands. Sidway was ordered to attend the House on the following Monday, the 7th.389 When he did, he was ‘ushered in by an eloquent earl’, Edward Cooke’s euphemism for Shaftesbury. The House voted on a division to commit him to the Gatehouse: Shaftesbury with eight others, including Halifax, dissented from the decision.390 Shaftesbury’s role as one of the chief investigators of the plot was not affected: on 10 Apr. the House agreed to the issuing of a blank warrant by the clerk of the parliaments permitting searches and arrests, with Shaftesbury and the bishop of London authorized to insert the details.

Following the arrival of the articles of impeachment of the Catholic peers from the Commons on 7 Apr., Shaftesbury reported from the committee of privileges on 8 Apr. concerning the arrangements for the trial. On the same day he was appointed to a committee to draw up arguments to be used at a conference with the Commons over Danby; he and others were also added to a committee for ‘clearing London from papists’. On the 7th he was also appointed to the committee for a bill making a settlement of the estates of his deceased lieutenant, Lord Mohun. On 12 Apr. Shaftesbury was one of those managing, and later reporting from, a conference on Danby, at which he asserted the Lords’ wish to banish, rather than attaint, the former treasurer.391 Despite this, and although he voted for the attainder, Shaftesbury seems not to have (overtly anyway) tried to force the issue in the Lords, or through his associates in the Commons: it is possible that he saw no particular advantage in mounting a trial for Danby.392 On 14 Apr., the Lords considered the Commons’ insistence on attainder: Shaftesbury argued that the bishops should withdraw. The division for agreeing with the Commons was won by just three votes.393

Since the removal of Danby extensive changes in office were expected. The earl of Essex had been appointed one of the commissioners of the Treasury on 29 Mar.: on 7 Apr. he proposed ‘a self-denying motion’ that all future lord treasurers or commissioners of the treasury should not have any greater profit from their office than their salaries. Shaftesbury was said to have ‘diverted’ it by instead suggesting a bill to abolish the office of lord treasurer, ‘it being of too great an importance and influence for any one subject’. He said that when the post had commonly been expected to go to him ‘in the misjudging eye of others, tho not in his own thoughts’, he found himself treated with ‘an unexpected reverencing behaviour’ to his amazement until Lord Clifford explained.394 Essex’s bill was read a first time on the following day; Shaftesbury was on the committee when it was nominated on 10 April. Shaftesbury was also on the committee appointed to consider the ‘coherence’ of the liberty of the subject bill – the habeas corpus bill – on 17 April.

Lord President, 1679-80

In Sir William Temple’s account of the new modelling of the Privy Council in April 1679 the choice of Shaftesbury as its lord president is its most controversial aspect. Temple described the debates among himself, the lord chancellor, Sunderland and Essex and the king on his proposal for a completely new council incorporating key government opponents. Having persuaded Temple that Halifax be included on the council, the king suggested Shaftesbury, very much to Temple’s chagrin. The king’s view was that were he to be left out, he ‘might do as much mischief as any’: the other three agreed. They also thought that he would not be content with being simply a counsellor, so it was decided, over Temple’s vigorous protests, to make him president of the council.395

The new council took effect on 21 April. York wrote to William Legge in early May, asking him to make a wary approach to Shaftesbury through Lord Townshend or George Pitt, the Wareham Member, since he could not bring myself to write to him himself.396 In the Lords on the 23rd, Shaftesbury reassured Lord Clare that he would not change his views because of his new position: ‘his conscience should always guide his tongue’.397 Indeed, there is some evidence that Shaftesbury and his allies, especially in the Commons, were stepping up their campaign in late April, as the impeachment of the Catholic peers proceeded alongside the early stages of the prosecution of Danby, and was accompanied by a continual flow of information about the Plot. Shaftesbury may have been cooperating with members of the Commons’ committee of secrecy (though James II’s memory of ‘Lady Shaftesbury’s butler’ as a key informant was a misremembering or mistranscription of ‘Lady Shrewsbury’s butler’).398 The attacks by Thomas Bennett on Lauderdale in the Commons on 26 Apr., and on Pepys on 28 Apr. reflected Shaftesbury’s interests.399 Algernon Sydney reported on 28 Apr. that Shaftesbury and Halifax had both been at the forefront of the campaign against the Catholics, and that Shaftesbury had said ‘the other day’ that he ‘neither could live with or under a Papist’.400 In the crisis debate in the Commons on Sunday 27 Apr. on the Catholic threat, Bennett talked vaguely about ways of blocking York from the throne; the House’s vote that York’s faith was ‘the greatest countenance and encouragement to the present conspiracies and designs of the papists against the king and the Protestant religion’ was brought up to the Lords by Lord Russell.401 Further debate in the Lords was put off to the following Wednesday, 30 Apr., when the House had also scheduled their debate on the Commons resolution.

The council held a long meeting on the day before the debate was due to take place. There is no substantial contemporary account of this crucial meeting, at which it seems the council decided on the king’s speech to both Houses, and its offer of limitations on the powers of a Catholic successor. The fullest is in Temple’s memoir, which claims that Shaftesbury was determined on York’s exclusion, and that ‘there could be no security against the duke, if once in possession of the crown’.402 The view that this meeting marked a decisive shift in Shaftesbury’s views towards exclusion and the beginnings of a complete breach with Halifax has been questioned, with a strong case made that Shaftesbury was playing a more complex game at the time in order to force his way into the inner circle of advisers, and that it was the pressure of more radical forces from the City of London that pushed him into adopting exclusion.403 His actions were certainly highly ambiguous. Daniel Finch, in a letter to his uncle written at the beginning of June (and therefore after the introduction of the exclusion bill), said that Shaftesbury was opposed to limitations on the grounds that they were ‘too like a republic, but I believe he rather feared it would prevent the bill for the succession at that time upon the anvil’.404 At the same time, the lord chancellor was telling Henry Sydney that Shaftesbury had persuaded members of the Commons to believe that ‘he was for those things which everybody knows he is utterly against (meaning the excluding the duke from the succession)’.405 The evidence of the Commons’ debates over the next two weeks is also ambiguous. The king’s and lord chancellor’s speeches of 30 Apr. failed to produce the desired breakthrough: though it has been argued that Thomas Bennett’s early proposal to give thanks for the king’s speech indicated Shaftesbury’s involvement in a delicate agreement between the parties backing limitations, there are many other interpretations of his briefly reported speech. Temple’s account of a set of increasingly frustrating negotiations over two weeks between Essex, Sunderland and Halifax on the one hand and Shaftesbury and Monmouth on the other might be attributed to this period and might explain the failure to revive the debate on the king’s message until Sunday 11 May. Bennett’s motion then to banish (rather than exclude) York was possibly the compromise that Temple says was proposed—‘the banishment of the duke, either for a certain term, or during the king’s life’.406 But if Bennett was outmanoeuvred in the debate by a group of radical Members of the Commons including Sir Thomas Player, the fact that he was first appointed to the committee to prepare an exclusion bill at the end of the debate suggests that he, and Shaftesbury, were very quick to jump on the bandwagon.

Shaftesbury was fighting other battles in the House of Lords at the same time. On 2 May he was one of those who dissented against the third reading of the bill for freeing the City of London and parts adjacent from popish inhabitants on the grounds that it targeted Protestant dissenters as well as papists, which might make the Protestants ‘think themselves in interest obliged to take the papists’ parts against us’. Shaftesbury’s appointment to a private bill committee on 2 May concerning Sir Francis Drake (from which he reported on 6 May) may have been supportive of a sympathetic and prominent figure in the Commons. His appointment to the committee on 15 May for the bill vesting the lands of Henry Howard, 6th duke of Norfolk and his son Henry Howard, Baron Mowbray (later 7th duke of Norfolk) in trustees—an attempt by Mowbray to settle the estate of his Catholic father while the latter was abroad—was perhaps also related to his anti-Catholic crusade.

Meanwhile the debate about proceedings against the earl of Danby and the Catholic peers had moved on to the question of the participation of the bishops in them. When the issue was raised by Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon, on 6 May, Shaftesbury, finding the bishops’ case strongly supported, moved for the debate to be adjourned.407 He was one of the peers managing a conference on 8 May at which the Commons complained about the Lords’ decision to address the king to appoint a lord high steward to hear both Danby plead his pardon and the impeachment against the five Catholic peers. They instead proposed a joint committee to consider how to proceed on impeachments. Shaftesbury (along with many other of the senior figures of the council, including the lord chancellor, Arlington, Essex and Halifax) dissented from the decision to reject this request. He managed and reported on a conference the same day concerning the supply bill, which was finally passed and received the royal assent on 9 May.408 On 10 May, he was one of the managers for a conference about the impeachments at which the Commons complained about the Lords’ reaction to their joint committee proposal. Afterwards, the Lords again voted on the proposal: after a narrow vote Shaftesbury was one of 50 peers, just about all of those on the losing side and including, again, all of the prominent members of the council, to dissent against the decision.409 The Lords agreed to initiate a free conference with the Commons the following day (the 11th, the day intended in the Commons for taking into consideration the king’s and lord chancellor’s speeches). Shaftesbury reported from this and from a subsequent conference. The Lords’ decision after this to reverse their vote and appoint members to a joint committee (Shaftesbury was one) reflects the narrow balance within the Lords on the issue (and perhaps also the distraction of the vote on exclusion). Shaftesbury reported from the joint committee on both following days, 12 and 13 May. On 13 May there ensued a debate on whether bishops should be allowed to take part in proceedings before judgment of death was pronounced. Shaftesbury, with twenty others, entered a dissent against the decision that they should. Shaftesbury reported again on 14 May from the joint committee that the Commons had taken exception to the decision, which they alleged would in effect give the bishops a vote in the judgment itself. The Lords clarified their vote, indicating that the bishops had the right to sit and vote until the court proceeded to the decision on guilt. Shaftesbury reported again the following morning, 15 May, from another joint committee meeting (which he chaired on this day and several subsequent ones) that the Commons were still concerned about the bishops’ role in the decision on Danby’s pardon.410 The lord privy seal (Anglesey) argued in the subsequent debate that there was no prospect of agreement, and proposed that a date be set for the trial of the Catholic peers. Shaftesbury ‘after he had magnified the greatness of that lord’s parts, his courage, and zeal for justice, craved leave at this trial to differ, considering how important it was to settle that doubt of the validity of invalidity of the pardon’.411 On 16 May Shaftesbury reported the Commons’ insistence that the Lords spiritual could have no vote in any of the proceedings on the impeachments. Amid further sparring between Shaftesbury and Anglesey, with Shaftesbury accused of having cast aspersions on the king by referring to Danby’s continuing influence (though he was cleared by notes taken by Robert Bruce, earl of Ailesbury) the Lords set a date for the trial of the Catholic peers, and the bishops announced that they wished to take no part in the trials.412 The next day Shaftesbury was reporting the reaction of the Commons members of the joint committee: that the bishops’ statement did not refer to the proceedings relating to Danby, their key concern. When the joint committee met again, on Monday 19 May, the Commons repeated their dissatisfaction (adding that it was not clear either what attitude the Lords had taken to the bishops’ promise), and their refusal to go ahead with the trials until the point was settled. In the following debate in the Lords, Buckingham, Shaftesbury and Halifax were said to have spoken lengthily against the bishops’ right to vote, opposed by the lord chancellor, the lord privy seal, Lord Ailesbury and Lord Robartes, as well as the bishops themselves.413 Shaftesbury was clearly in the centre of all of these debates: a speech of his is recorded from the debates on 6, 7 or 20 May about whether bishops may vote in cases of blood, emphasizing that bishops did not possess the rights of peers, and were not tried as peers: ‘if bishops be not tried by the peers why should peers be tried by bishops?’.414

An order to consider the state of Ireland on 6 May was probably the result of a motion from Shaftesbury (attributed by Col. Cooke to 7 May).415 Ossory thought Shaftesbury was still digging for dirt about the affairs of Ireland.416 On 22 May the House embarked on a discussion provoked by a message from the Commons calling for the execution of condemned Catholic priests. The executions had been delayed for them to be questioned by the Lords’ committee of examinations. According to one report, Shaftesbury, speaking on the dangers of reprieving them, found himself embarrassed in the discussion by a plainly irritated fellow member of the committee, the earl of Clarendon, who pointed out that the delay had been moved by Shaftesbury himself, ‘whose authority was so great that, because he moved it, it was ordered, without any reason asked or given’. Shaftesbury was said to have admitted to ‘tender-heartedness, an infirmity he could not help’.417 That debate was interrupted by a message from the Commons about the habeas corpus bill. Shaftesbury managed the subsequent conference and another on 27 May, which was agreed to following a vote with which the story about Lord Grey of Warke counting a fat peer as ten in order to secure the vote—and Shaftesbury speaking immediately after the vote was announced to prevent the mistake being spotted—is associated.418

On the 23rd Shaftesbury was once more reporting from the morning meeting of the joint committee, at which the Commons had reiterated their previous objections. When the Lords voted to stick by their previous answers, Shaftesbury, with 23 others, dissented from the decision, and dissented as well from an affirmation that the Lords would proceed to the trial of the Catholic peers ahead of the trial of Danby. Shaftesbury reported again on Monday 26th two further meetings which had not resolved the deadlock, and later that day he reported a conference at which the Commons delivered a lengthy complaint. Two days of debate followed, with a vote on Tuesday 27th to insist on the votes of 13 and 14 May. Shaftesbury, with 27 others, protested against it. The same day, the king prorogued Parliament to 14 Aug.

Shaftesbury’s opponents saw him as one of the architects, if not the architect of the crisis into which the session had descended. Temple’s distaste was reflected on every page of his memoirs: refusing to have anything to do with the negotiations between Halifax, Sunderland and Essex on the one side and Shaftesbury and Monmouth on the other, he was unsurprised when they were abandoned. Danby wrote to the king on 21 May about efforts by Shaftesbury’s agent Francis Charlton, and Sir Thomas Player and Thomas Pilkington to promote an address from the City to Parliament praising their efforts against popery and promising to stand by them. Danby added a tart comment about ‘the villainy of my Lord Shaftesbury and the weakness of those he makes his instruments’. 419 Temple wrote about a proposed remonstrance in the House of Commons ‘to inflame the city and nation upon the points of plot and popery’.420 Lord Chancellor Finch told Henry Sydney that Shaftesbury and his alliance with Monmouth was the chief cause of the trouble. With Temple, Finch believed that Shaftesbury’s standing was buoyed up by his position in the council, and he thought the king should remove him as soon as possible. Sir John Baber blamed Shaftesbury for causing the ‘Presbyterians’ to ‘behave themselves ill’ in the last session.421 On the other hand, Sir Robert Southwell told Ormond on 24 May that Danby’s continuing influence at court meant that Shaftesbury was weary of his position. He expected the marquess of Winchester (he wrote Worcester, but Winchester must have been meant) to follow him if he left the council.422

By all accounts Shaftesbury was furious at the sudden prorogation, which displayed very clearly his actual lack of influence. According to Temple, he said in the Lords ‘that he would have the heads of those who were the advisers of this prorogation’.423 One story had it that at the prorogation he told the king that ‘there was no need of holding a candle to the king’s face, for his intent was visible by his actions’. Shaftesbury may have tried to resign from the council, but his resignation was refused by the king.424 The prorogation set the seal on his falling-out with Halifax, and spelt the end of any influence Shaftesbury could bring to bear on government actions. The purge of local magistrates that Shaftesbury had helped to set off in mid-May soon petered out.425

The news of the Scottish rebellion arriving in the first two weeks of June offered an opportunity to revive a sense of crisis. Shaftesbury (as well as Halifax and Temple) argued that Lauderdale should be removed: Charles ignored them.426 Shaftesbury’s preference for a negotiated settlement was similarly ignored: Monmouth—inconveniently preferring action to prolonging the crisis—was sent to confront and defeat the rebels.427 Shaftesbury demanded a recall of Parliament. It was reported on 17 June that during the long and heated discussions in the council on using English forces in Scotland, Shaftesbury had been the only one who continued to reject the option, at least without explicit approval by the Parliaments of both countries. The correspondent quoted what were alleged to be Shaftesbury’s words at the meeting, his source being a member of the House of Commons who had it ‘from Lord Shaftesbury’s own mouth’: ‘if the king so governed as that his estate might with safety be transmitted to his son, as it was by his father to him, and he might enjoy the known rights and liberties of the subjects, he would rather be under kingly government, but if he would not be satisfied of that he declared he was for a commonwealth’.428

During the prorogation Shaftesbury continued to try to uncover further details of the Plot, though informers had possibly become more nervous: Danby was told by Thomas Culpeper that Tongue on 3 June had admitted that Shaftesbury had tried to get him to bear false witness against Danby.429 He continued to search for information on the continent and in Ireland, while attempting to secure further confessions from the Jesuit priests due to be executed on 20 June, and from Richard Langhorne, the Catholic lawyer implicated in the plot, before his execution on 14 July. 430

Shaftesbury remained on speaking terms with other members of the council, at least until news of the defeat of the Scottish rebellion. On 25 June he was said to have made ‘great profession of kindness to my Lord Sunderland’; and on 26 June he dined with Anglesey.431 Sunderland planned to send word to William of Orange (Henry Sydney, later Viscount Sydney and earl of Romney, wrote a couple of days later) that ‘the Lord Shaftesbury is not of our party, but that he is a good tool to work with, and that there is nothing to be done in a Parliament without him. He makes the fairest promises that can be, and confesses that there were faults committed in the last session which he hopes will be repaired in the next’.432 The French ambassador Barillon’s analysis of court politics on 3 July described two factions at court: Shaftesbury and Monmouth on the one side and Sunderland and the duchess of Portsmouth on the other, with Presbyterians, led by Holles, holding the balance. Shaftesbury, he wrote, was feared, despite Sunderland’s confidence, particularly because of his credit within London, and because he was regarded as being ‘à la teste des affaires’ in Parliament. Shaftesbury saw the Plot, he went on, as a means of keeping the court continually in fear, and of holding onto the credit of the people. Some of that credit, he pointed out, would be lost after the trials and executions of the Catholic peers.433

Barillon’s analysis was written on the same day as Charles broached in the council the idea of a dissolution—a proposal according to Temple’s memoirs motivated largely by the concern that ‘the duke of Monmouth was greater than ever: Lord Shaftesbury reckoned upon being so too, upon the next meeting of Parliament, and at the cost of those whom he took to be the authors of the last prorogation’. Shaftesbury naturally spoke against the idea on the 3rd, along with many others; at a further meeting a week later, the king determined on the dissolution and the second set of new elections that year. Southwell wrote that Shaftesbury had told the king that it would be contrary to his declaration of April, in which he had promised to do nothing without the advice of the council.434 Sidney suspected that in the intervening week Shaftesbury had had ‘the greatest hand’ in making ‘cabals and intrigues’ against the dissolution—he had already heard that Shaftesbury had been telling people that the advisers of the dissolution deserved to lose their heads.435 Shaftesbury was reported to complain bitterly that even Danby had been better than the triumvirate of Halifax, Sunderland and Essex.436 Nevertheless, speaking to Henry Sydney on 17 July he ‘commended Lord Sunderland, but spoke slightly of Essex and Halifax’. Sidney subsequently went to see Halifax, who said ‘there never would be any good done with that man’.437 Nevertheless, Shaftesbury was still on sufficiently good terms to dine with Anglesey, Halifax and Fauconberg at Weybridge with the marquess of Worcester on 24 July. Anglesey was invited to dinner at Shaftesbury’s on the following day. 438

The acquittal of Sir George Wakeman on 18 July was a blow to the credibility of the plot, and Shaftesbury at a council meeting in early August criticized the trial judge, Sir William Scroggs: Southwell thought more of the same was likely to be heard when Parliament met.439 On 12 Aug. Conway wrote that Shaftesbury was not coming to court, but meeting frequently with Monmouth. Southwell reported on 20 Aug. that Shaftesbury had pleaded illness for a failure to appear at Windsor: expecting to be sacked, he ‘would affect to be discharged harshly as the way to enhance him elsewhere’; the earl was working ‘openly in the new elections to have them men of his own mind’, and had spoken bitterly and threateningly about Halifax and the Wakeman judgment.440 There is not a great deal of evidence, however, of Shaftesbury’s direct involvement in the elections of the later summer of 1679. In the middle of them, on 19 Aug., he left London for Dorset, where he was when the king was taken ill and James hurried back to England from his exile in Brussels. He did not begin his return to London until 26 Sept., a day after both James and Monmouth had again departed, following the king’s recovery.441 Shaftesbury’s absence makes unlikely a rumour given out on 13 Sept. that Buckingham, Shaftesbury and Lord Robartes were conspiring to set up Monmouth against York during the king’s illness and had sought to draw in the earl of Oxford via Sir Thomas Armstrong, and that Shaftesbury and Robartes were to be banished as well as Monmouth.442 Nevertheless, Southwell told Ormond on 22 Sept. that the king certainly did regard Monmouth’s departure as pulling the rug from underneath Shaftesbury, hoping that it would restore equilibrium to the Privy Council.443

As soon as he returned to London, Shaftesbury was busy meeting Warcup, Oates and others associated with the Plot, telling Oates on the 28th that he was planning to impeach York as soon as Parliament sat.444 Southwell, who thought it was planned to impeach the queen as well, believed that the further prorogation of Parliament was intended to disrupt his plans.445 Shaftesbury found occasion to generate a new crisis with the news of York moving to Scotland, on 4 Oct. calling a meeting of the council for the following day, a Sunday.446 At the meeting Shaftesbury made claims about an alliance between Presbyterians and Catholics.447 During the council meeting on 10 Oct. Shaftesbury declared that the dissolution had been ‘the worst counsel that ever was given His Majesty’, and complained about the lack of consultation: ‘he was sorry they were made so useless and to remember that it was otherwise promised in the late declaration touching the council’.448

The Second Exclusion Parliament,1679-80

On 14 Oct. Sunderland (‘extremely sorry to be obliged to write you this’) passed on the command from the king that Shaftesbury would no longer be welcome at the council.449 It was widely reported that it was Sunderland’s account to the king of what Shaftesbury had said at the council on the 10th that had finally triggered his dismissal, though Southwell provided a catalogue of recent provocative actions by Shaftesbury.450 The king followed it up on the next day by announcing in council the further prorogation of Parliament to January. Southwell described the widespread popularity that his dismissal had brought Shaftesbury, and the new crisis that it helped to provoke.451

Shaftesbury’s popularity was further enhanced by the so-called Meal-Tub plot, allegations of treason brought to the attention of the duke of York and the king in September by the earl of Peterborough and the wife of William Herbert, earl of Powis. By the beginning of November the main agent of the plot, Thomas Dangerfield, had turned round, now claiming there was a plot to kill the king and Shaftesbury hatched by Lords Arundell and Powis with the enthusiastic assistance of Lady Powis.452 Shaftesbury was said to have complained in council of Peterborough as instigator of the plot: Peterborough bitterly recalled later how he had been summoned to defend himself before the council.453

The subsequent contacts between the court and Shaftesbury may indicate that the king, or certainly Sunderland, was prepared to negotiate, possibly in order to keep alive the prospect of an alliance with the United Provinces, which Sidney was in the Netherlands to achieve.454 Warcup’s journal suggests that Shaftesbury responded on 3 Nov. to his efforts to initiate a dialogue between him and the king that he would be willing to accept the banishment of Danby, and thought a solution to the bishops’ involvement in criminal trials could be found. Warcup and Sir Paul Neile had conversations with the king on the 4th, and preparations were made for a royal interview with Shaftesbury on the 6th. After Sunderland visited Shaftesbury that morning, however, Shaftesbury told Warcup that he had ‘found no disposition in the court to take his counsel’;455 Sunderland told Sidney that ‘he could do no good with him; he saith it will not be in his power to do the king any service’.456 On 8 Nov. Southwell reported that Shaftesbury had met the king, and insisted that he divorce the queen, although subsequent accounts indicated that the meeting had not in fact taken place.457 There was another rumour, subsequently dismissed, about a meeting two days later.458 However, there may have been further contacts around the 10th, when Sunderland offered him the treasurership ‘and to make all other the great officers such as he should like’: Shaftesbury was supposed to have insisted that ‘he would never more enter the list at Whitehall till it were resolved there should be excluded from thence the queen, the duke, the duchess of Portsmouth and every other papist that were but an inch long’.459

Shaftesbury was seen as the impresario of a series of remarkable coups designed to maintain pressure on the government. Although the pope burning procession in London on 17 Nov. was co-ordinated by the Green Ribbon Club, of which Shaftesbury was not a member, Southwell reported the following day that meetings of the nobility and the London grand jury to plan addresses to the king had all originated with him. 460 On 24 and 25 Nov. he turned up with William Howard*, 3rd Baron Howard of Escrick, Lord Grey of Warke, the earl of Huntingdon, Anthony Grey, 11th earl of Kent, and James Brydges, 8th Baron Chandos, Lord North (Grey of Rolleston) and Lord Herbert (Charles Somerset, Lord Herbert of Raglan), to support Oates in his trial for buggery; Southwell noted that ‘these lords dined together, and there is to be a weekly meeting of the Lords who will associate for ends and purposes of the public good’. Dining together at the Swan in Fish Street in the City, the same peers were actively planning an address to the king for Parliament to be allowed to sit in January, to which it was prorogued.461 The same group dined with the lord mayor on 1 Dec., where their fellow guests included the lord chief justice, Sir William Scroggs, and the entertainment included an unseemly altercation over Scroggs’ behaviour in the Wakeman trial.462

The return of Monmouth to London on 27 Nov. was thought by Halifax to be ‘such a morris-dance as that none but Shaftesbury could have been adviser in it’: it was said that Monmouth left the Netherlands soon after he had received letters from Shaftesbury, and Shaftesbury visited him (along with many others, including Halifax) on the day after his return. Shaftesbury’s actual intentions were particularly difficult to penetrate at this time. Barillon discussed them in a dispatch of 3 Dec. in which he considered whether it was worth offering him money, speculating that the earl might be aiming to establish a commonwealth with himself at its head.463 The City dinner on 1 Dec. had been largely intended to discuss the coordination of the planned petition to allow Parliament to sit, but Sir Robert Clayton had been reluctant to get involved. The petition was nevertheless being circulated by 6 Dec. in the country, and Southwell was expecting it to be presented by ‘the confederate lords under the character of councillors by birth’, apparently with the support of Monmouth and William of Orange.464 On Sunday 7 Dec. the petition, signed by Shaftesbury, Bedford, Say and Sele, Huntingdon, Clare, Kent, Eure, Holles, North and Grey, Chandos, Grey, Howard of Escrick, Herbert, Townshend, Delamer, Thomas Grey, earl of Stamford, and Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham, was presented to the king. (Holles, Delamer, Townshend, Saye and Sele, Rockingham, and Kent were not there to present it: nor was Bedford, prevented from joining them by ‘a sudden indisposition’). 465 Southwell related how Shaftesbury, in good humour, had told the courtiers who crowded around that the petition would be to their advantage, ‘for whereas they had now neither meat nor money they were to have both, and even new wenches too, in case the old ones would but give them leave’.466

The presentation may have helped to kill off the limitations scheme that was being circulated in early December. In a letter of 7 Dec. James commented that Shaftesbury’s opposition to limitations did not come ‘out of good will’ (presumably to preserve the powers of the monarchy).467 James wrote again on 13 Dec. that

I never could understand his politics, and am sure they were never calculated for the meridian of a monarchy, and though he be such a hero in a House of Lords, and has a tongue which makes him considered there, he is less than other men out of his sphere, and will I doubt run the king into those inconveniences that I fear will be fatal to the crown, and even to his Lordship too.468

Shaftesbury was said to have been having very private discussions with the king in early January 1680, in which he again pressed the idea of a divorce and remarriage. The presentation of further ‘monster’ petitions from 13 Jan. onwards may have cut off these discussions, but they were probably doomed anyway.469

Two days later, on 26 Jan., Parliament was prorogued (formally to 15 Apr., but it was clear that a further prorogation to Nov. was expected) and the king announced that he was summoning James to return from Scotland. Shaftesbury, who was briefly reported as having made common cause with Lauderdale against York, discussed with his remaining allies in the council how they should react. A copy of a letter dated Jan. 30 1680 and ostensibly written to them states that he had changed his view since the previous evening and now thought they should resign. Claiming that James’s return was linked to a scheme to ‘alter the religion and government by the assistance of the French, whose forces and provisions are ready upon the coast next us’, he urged that it was necessary for ‘the weight of the nation’ to ‘compel us to take right counsels’. ‘To this end’, he went on, ‘your Lordships’ going out together at this time extremely serves; and the sense of the body of the Protestants and sober men, made known to his Majesty by their addresses and petitions through the whole nation, will not a little contribute’. 470 The letter was probably intended for publication, and may have been designed to open up a sharp division between those who stayed and those who went. Russell, Lord Cavendish, Powle and Sir Henry Capell resigned from the council; Essex, Halifax, Winchester and Fauconberg, among others, stayed.

Over the next few months, however, Shaftesbury found it hard to rekindle the sense of purpose built up at the end of the previous year, with the reconstruction of a much more effective ministry around Sunderland, Hyde and Godolphin, the pursuit of a Dutch alliance, and the caution of the City of London. York was eased back into London society, and the administration was able to contemplate a session of Parliament through negotiations with the Presbyterian leader who had succeeded Holles, Lord Townshend.471 A meeting of the ‘malcontent lords’ at Lord Wharton’s on 17 Mar. showed up the tensions among them, particularly with Lord North, who had kissed the duke of York’s hand, was engaged in a lawsuit with Lord Grey of Warke and was angling for the ancient earldom that went with it. Shaftesbury told him that ‘there were other ways of getting of an earldom’; North retorted that ‘his Lordship had found out such, but he could not’. The peers agreed to meet weekly; but their attempts to revive their contacts with the City (they sent a message via Francis Charlton to the lord mayor proposing to bring Monmouth to dine with him) were rebuffed.472

Shaftesbury sought to recreate a crisis with the information he dramatically supplied to the Privy Council on 24 Mar. about an Irish plot, bringing an informer, Murphy, with him.473 The news briefly revived the febrile atmosphere in London; a planned loyalist counter-demonstration by apprentices was used as evidence of a plot to murder Shaftesbury and other associates, including Sir William Waller, who took a leading role in examinations about the proposed demonstration.474 Shaftesbury may also have been trying to push Clayton into greater activity, and renewed speculation about Monmouth’s paternity may or may not have been linked to him.475 There was a sense of desperation to these efforts. William Coventry observed to Halifax on 20 Apr. that ‘the little man you mention grows every day less, even amongst those from whom he hopes his greatness should spring’.476 He was not without influence though: Sir Thomas Thynne, who was meeting him in early April, and who told Sir William Coventry that Shaftesbury ‘hoped to see me when I came to town, so that I think I cannot decline it’, attributed his own failure to become ambassador for the Turkey Company to ‘the kindness of our little friend’, whose agents had lobbied against him. (Lord Chandos, who did get the post, had often been associated with Shaftesbury in the past.)477

The king’s illness on 13 May, combined with the possibility of a meeting of Parliament on 17 May for a further prorogation created a temporary excitement. At the time, it was said that if the king had continued to be ill, members of the Commons planned to assemble anyway. The later confession of Lord Grey of Warke about an agreement among Shaftesbury, Russell, Sir Thomas Armstrong, Monmouth and Grey himself to mount an uprising against the accession of James in the case of the death of the king has been linked to this episode, though it may in fact relate to 1682.478 The publication on 15 May of a pamphlet by Robert Ferguson, a close associate and acolyte of Shaftesbury, asserting Monmouth’s legitimacy, York’s treason and the ability of Parliament to control the succession, could also have been related to contingency planning for Charles’s death.479

Though the emergency was short-lived and Charles scotched the claim of Monmouth’s legitimacy with a declaration of 2 June, Shaftesbury had a new scheme up his sleeve: a presentment of York for recusancy by the grand jury of Middlesex. This was possibly why Shaftesbury was dining with Monmouth and his other associates at Essex Street, at ‘one Mr Thomson’s, a lawyer’.480 On 26 June Shaftesbury, with his allies Grey of Warke, Howard of Escrick, Huntingdon, Viscount Brandon (Charles Gerard*, later 2nd earl of Macclesfield), and the Members of the Commons Lord Russell, Lord Cavendish, Thomas Wharton, later 5th Baron, Earl and marquess of Wharton, Thomas Thynne, Sir Edward Hungerford, Sir Gilbert Gerard, Henry Caverley, Sir William Cowper, Trenchard (perhaps William Trenchard), and Forster (perhaps Sir Humphrey Forster), met the grand jury. The attempt was frustrated by the lord chief justice, Sir William Scroggs.481 A second attempt was made on 30 June with 26 or 27 of Shaftesbury’s allies in attendance, including John Hampden, Sir John Cope and Sir Rowland Gwynne. It, too, was dismissed by the judge, Sir Thomas Raymond.482 The publication of the case for the indictment, a Shaftesburian touch, helped to turn the failure to good use.483 The indictment probably helped to cement Shaftesbury’s role at the head of the government’s most uncompromising opponents. Dorothy Spencer, countess of Sunderland wrote to Halifax on 1 July that ‘all the several parties of this kind are by all called, but my Lord Shaftesbury’s followers’, and referred in subsequent letters to his ‘blind followers’.484 Reports of his language at this time suggest that he no longer considered negotiations an option.485 He quarrelled with Algernon Sidney in early July (Shaftesbury accused Sidney of being a French pensioner), but while Sidney told the countess of Sunderland that he refused to visit Shaftesbury ‘because he tells lies of him and his friends’, nevertheless messages were passing between the two via Hampden.486 Around the same time Lady Orrery was believed to be providing a meeting place for Shaftesbury, Monmouth, Lord Cavendish and Nell Gwyn to meet (the king had forbidden Monmouth to visit Gwyn).487 Shaftesbury was said to have dined with Monmouth and Ralph Montagu, later duke of Montagu, following the election of Bethel and Cornish as sheriffs of London, leaving for the country shortly afterwards.488

The king’s decision to allow Parliament to meet on 21 Oct., announced on 26 Aug., made Shaftesbury’s stay in the country a relatively short one, and he had returned to London by 11 September. Illness may have hampered preparations for Parliament, especially meetings with Irish informers, although he was well enough to see one of them on 27 September.489 ‘Lord Shaftesbury’s club’ was engaged in further schemes to indict the duke of York at the end of September, and Shaftesbury was said by the secretary of state Sir Leoline Jenkins to ‘be amazed why the Parliament should be called to sit at this time, there being not, as he says, the least probability of their doing good to the king’.490 Discussions were underway between the duchess of Portsmouth, Sunderland and Shaftesbury’s associates; the French ambassador caught a rumour that a deal had been done between them for an alteration of the succession in return for supply. Shaftesbury was said to have decided to proceed with an exclusion bill in the new Parliament, rather than (as others, including Russell, were proposing) to initiate an impeachment.491 The council’s decision on 16 Oct. to send James away encouraged speculation that the king was unlikely to stand by the duke if push came to shove.

On 20 Oct., the day before Parliament was finally due to sit, Shaftesbury, Monmouth and Oates dined with ‘above 100 Parliament men’ in the Sun Tavern behind the Old Exchange.492 Shaftesbury missed the first two sitting days in the Lords, turning up on the 23rd to take the oaths and the declaration, and to be appointed to the committee of privileges, the Journal committee (which was given the power to review the prorogations), and the committee of petitions. After that, he attended on all but five days, including two fast days, a day on which the House was engaged in writs of error and the last two days of the session, an attendance record of 89 per cent. He moved for a committee to receive information tending to the discovery of the plot, and was nominated to it.493 As before, Shaftesbury shared its chairmanship with the earl of Clarendon. Shaftesbury, Grey of Warke and Lovelace were asked to review a ‘great bag of papers’ on 25 Oct., though Shaftesbury reported that they found nothing material in them.494 On 28 Oct. he reported evidence from the committee concerning the Irish Catholic peers Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine and Richard Power, first earl of Tyrone (Anglesey’s son-in-law), and an alleged plot to kill Shaftesbury involving the Portuguese Francisco de Feria, Sir George Wakeman and the Portuguese ambassador that raised the possibility of drawing the queen back into the conspiracy.495 Two days later, he was reporting progress on an order of the House for examining all Irish Westminster residents; he also reported an allegation that Roger L’Estrange had been seen at Mass. L’Estrange had been summoned by the committee, but had failed to appear.

On 2 Nov. Lord Russell moved a motion to bring in an exclusion bill in the Commons. Two days later, Shaftesbury brought forward detailed information about Ireland in the Lords. He expanded on it on 6 Nov., the day the exclusion bill had its second reading in the Commons, primed by evidence about York’s involvement in the conspiracy to kill the king. On the 8th, Shaftesbury was one of the managers (with the chancellor, lord privy seal (John Robartes, now earl of Radnor), Monmouth, Salisbury, Huntingdon, Bridgwater and Clarendon) for a conference with the Commons to give them the evidence collected about the Irish plot, and was appointed to a committee to consider the recent purges of the commissions of the peace, and to prepare an address on the subject. On the 9th he was again reporting from the investigations committee, this time giving information collected by Warcupp, whom he moved should be commended to the king for a reward, and proposing a fund ‘to reward poor discoverers of the plot’.

Around 7 Nov. Shaftesbury and Monmouth rebuffed an approach from Danby via Lord Conway seeking their assistance in presenting a petition to the Lords: Conway overheard Shaftesbury telling Lord Berkeley that ‘he would not abate you [Danby] an ace’, though he supposed that ‘it was in heat, because my Lord Berkeley was stiff and tenacious against raising [erasing] the proceedings against him and the other 3 lords that were sent to the Tower.’496 On 13 Nov. the House ordered that the 1677 proceedings against Buckingham, Shaftesbury, Salisbury and Wharton should be vacated, as ‘of evil example and precedent to posterity’.

It was reported on 10 Nov. that Clarendon had whispered to Shaftesbury in the House of Lords a request for assistance with the removal of the duchess of Portsmouth: Shaftesbury responded that ‘we are now hunting tigers and bears and birds of prey and now you would be a cony catching.’497 The exclusion bill, passed in the Commons on 11 Nov., was not brought to the Lords until 15 Nov., though it was generally expected that it would be rejected, especially because the king had made plain his continued refusal to accept any change to the succession. The debate, preceded by a ‘great shout’ at the bar as the bill was brought up, lasted from 3 o’clock to 9, and was famous for its epic confrontation between Shaftesbury and Halifax – which many sources, hostile to Shaftesbury, regarded as having been won by Halifax. After the vote was taken and the bill defeated by 30 votes to 63, he protested along with 24 others.498

On the day following, the 16th, the Lords debated the alternatives for exclusion – ‘expedients’, including an association (advocated by Essex), limitations (by Halifax) and a divorce (by Shaftesbury, seconded by Salisbury, Howard of Escrick, and Essex).499 The House agreed to proposals for a bill of association. Shaftesbury was a member of the sub-committee of seven appointed to draw up heads for the bill, which met on the 17th and 23rd and commissioned a draft of the bill, though seems never to have considered the result.500 The House met in committee again on the 17th and 19th, when it agreed to debate the marriage of the king and queen on the following Monday, the 23rd, and established a committee to look at the abuses of the post office under the duke of York, of which Shaftesbury was a member. Shaftesbury vigorously advanced the divorce proposal in these debates, but he also continued to support exclusion. Salisbury’s suggestion, made in the Lords on the 19th, for a prorogation to allow the exclusion bill to be reintroduced may have been related to the intense discussions going on between Shaftesbury and his associates.501 On the 23rd, though Shaftesbury was listed as present in the morning sitting, the lord privy seal reported that the House decided to postpone its debate on the succession issue ‘in regard a lord that is now absent pretends he hath somewhat to offer in the business’. Said to have ‘gout in his shoulder’, Shaftesbury and some of his key lieutenants were also absent from the list of peers protesting against the House’s rejection of Buckingham’s proposal for a joint committee on the state of the nation.502 On the following day, the 24th, Shaftesbury, to general surprise, moved the adjournment of the House during a discussion of expedients.503 York referred to Shaftesbury’s opposition to the bill for securing the protestant Religion – effectively a bill for limitations – that had emerged from the committee of the whole on 23 Nov. and was read for a first time on the 29th.504

Shaftesbury was a member of the committee established on the 24th to consider fines imposed on the publisher Benjamin Harris. He reported from the committee of examinations on the 25th. On 27th Nov., Shaftesbury excused himself from being appointed to the joint committee appointed to organize Lord Stafford’s trial, to begin the following week.505 Shaftesbury and Ralph Montagu were said to have singled out Halifax as a key opponent, and planned to demand his removal from the king’s counsels, though Shaftesbury disowned involvement in the address to this end in the Commons in mid-November, and there is no evidence of Lord Russell’s involvement in it either. The dowager countess of Sunderland remarked that Shaftesbury was losing his influence in the lower House – she quoted him as saying ‘he does no more understand the House of Commons than he does the court’.506

Shaftesbury was not closely involved in Stafford’s trial, which opened in Westminster Hall on 30 Nov. Early on he suggested to the lord high steward that Stafford might be offered a short delay, for which the lord steward, the lord chancellor, Lord Finch, received some criticism until Shaftesbury ‘owned the crime, and then it ceased to be one’.507 He contributed to the debates on carrying over the impeachment from one Parliament to another, probably on 4 December.508 On 7 Dec. Shaftesbury voted Stafford guilty.509 Stafford’s request to be heard after his conviction to make fresh revelations about the plot was accepted on 18 December. He alleged that shortly before the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament Shaftesbury tried to do a deal with York over toleration. Shaftesbury, having insisted that Stafford withdraw, persuaded the House that his revelations were of no consequence.510

Still fully engaged in stoking up the plot, on 25 Nov. Shaftesbury reported from the committee of examinations about the evidence concerning Mrs Cellier, and on 2 Dec. he informed the House of a titular bishop in Ireland and other Catholics ‘that would make great discoveries’: claiming to be the only one who knew who they were, he requested the leave of the House to give their names only to the earls of Salisbury and Essex, which the House agreed.511 A few days later, Shaftesbury used the same technique again in relation to concealed arms. The House authorized Salisbury and Shaftesbury jointly to commission a search of the house of the unnamed person concerned.512

Shaftesbury was also concerned with the protection of Protestant dissenters from prosecution under the recusancy laws. On 20 Nov., he was one of those appointed to the committee to consider the issue. It is not clear whether this was the same as the committee to deal with the question of Protestant dissenters (both are referred to on 22 Nov.), but Buckingham’s report on 27 Nov. appears to cover both subjects, recommending an address to the king that Protestant dissenters should not be proceeded against under the statutes; on 9 Dec. Shaftesbury reported again from the committee ‘many difficulties’ in preparing an address to the king: it had decided instead to prepare a bill, which was produced and read a first time. He was appointed on 20 Dec. to a committee on a bill designed to encourage Protestant immigration.

Shaftesbury was appointed on 18 Nov. to the committee on a private bill, although since it concerned Catholics – Hugh Smithson and his wife, the daughter of the Catholic peer Marmaduke Langdale, 2nd Baron Langdale – it was probably related to his other campaigns. He was concerned in the bill to regulate the trial of peers, dissenting on 18 Dec. with nine others from the rejection of a Commons amendment designed to exclude impeachments from the bill. In late December, however, the main effort of Shaftesbury and his associates was directed towards exclusion, despite the king’s speech of 15 Dec. in which he reiterated his willingness to consider expedients as long as they did not affect the succession. With the Commons agreeing an address offering supply in exchange for exclusion and the absorption of York’s opponents into the administration, on 21 Dec. Shaftesbury, supported by Monmouth, Essex and Salisbury, attacked a number of York’s closest associates – Shaftesbury went particularly for Louis Duras, 2nd earl of Feversham, though other targets were George Legge, later Baron Dartmouth and Laurence Hyde, later earl of Rochester. Shaftesbury, Salisbury and Essex made a more direct attack on York on 23 Dec., in a debate on the king’s speech. Shaftesbury’s speech on the occasion appeared in print as A Speech lately made by a Noble Peer of the Realm. He demanded that ‘there must be, (in plain English) my lords, a change; we must neither have popish wife, nor popish favourite, nor popish mistress, nor popish counsellor at court, or any new convert’. Insinuating that (probably) Sunderland had indicated that the king might accept exclusion in return for supply, Shaftesbury carefully handled the difficulty of offering criticism of the king:

My lords, ’tis a very hard thing to say that we cannot trust the king; and that we have already been deceived so often, that we see plainly the apprehensions of discontent in the people, is no argument at court. And though our prince be in himself an excellent person, that the people have the greatest inclinations imaginable to love; yet we must say he is such an one as no story affords us a parallel of: how plain and how many are the proofs of the design to murther him? How little is he apprehensive of it?

With the king in the chamber, he sketched the ambition of the duke of York, a prince who ‘changes his religion to make himself a party, and such a party that his brother must be sure to die and be made away, to make room for him’. He castigated the conduct of court policy since the discovery of the plot, especially the prorogation and dissolution of Parliaments, and the efforts to tar dissenters with the brush of conspiracy.513 Shaftesbury disowned the published version when it was complained of in the Lords on the first sitting day after the Christmas adjournment on 3 Jan. It was ordered to be burnt, and the publisher, Shaftesbury’s associate Francis Smith, was ordered to attend the House the following day, when the House ordered the Attorney general to proceed against him according to law.514

Over Christmas negotiations between Sunderland and some of the more prominent opposition figures in the Commons are referred to in a number of sources, though Shaftesbury ‘was left out, which made him arraign and protest against the whole business’.515 Sir Edward Harley pointed out that Shaftesbury’s speech, available by 1 Jan., ‘smells not of a bargain.’516 In the new year, with the king refusing to move on exclusion, the Commons turned their attention to attacks on the ministers and judges regarded as supporting the current regime. On 9 Jan. 1681, Shaftesbury protested, along with 21 others against the decision of the Lords not to commit Scroggs on his impeachment by the Commons.517 Shaftesbury did not attend on the last day of the session. The dissolution, and summons of a new Parliament to Oxford in March was announced on 18 Jan.518 The dismissals or resignations of Salisbury, Essex, Temple and Sunderland from office and the council followed shortly afterwards.

The Oxford Parliament of 1681 and its aftermath

Shaftesbury was one of the peers petitioning the king on 25 Jan. that the next Parliament be held at Westminster, rather than Oxford, along with fifteen of his usual allies.519 There is unreliable evidence from Warcup’s informers and from the 1685 confessions of Lord Grey that in January and February Shaftesbury was discussing with his closest allies the possibility that they might be arrested in Oxford, and considered seizing London with the help of ‘several thousand’ of the notorious ‘brisk boys’. If there were military or paramilitary preparations in London they seem to have been largely defensive in intention, associated as much with city chamberlain Sir Thomas Player, sheriff Slingsby Bethel and the duke of Buckingham as with Shaftesbury.520 Shaftesbury continued to meet with Warcup and gather evidence of Irish plotting, though he was increasingly suspicious of him, and described one of the chief informants, John Fitzgerald, as a rogue.521

Shaftesbury’s own known direct interventions in the elections of 1681 were not conspicuously successful. In Gloucestershire he was said to be rooting for Edward Smyth, described as his lawyer and a ‘mighty man with Dr Oates’.522 Shaftesbury sought Locke’s help in mid Feb. to prevent a division of the vote in Oxfordshire, and to persuade Sir Philip Harcourt and Sir John Norris to stand down: ‘those that deserved well in the last Parliament ought in right to have the preference’.523 He made an unsuccessful intervention at Christchurch to prevent the election of Sir Thomas Clarges and George Fulford in favour of Thomas Hooper and John Ayloffe.524 Shaftesbury’s interest at Downton was not effective in overturning the sitting interest, and even in Shaftesbury itself he was unable to secure victory for a second candidate along with his close associate Thomas Bennet.525

Preparing for the Oxford Parliament, John Locke and young James Vernon, the duke of Monmouth’s secretary, made arrangements for Shaftesbury to stay at the house of John Wallis, Savilian Professor of Geometry and a fellow of Balliol, with Lord Grey of Warke lodging in the same house.526 It was round the corner from Lord Wharton’s lodgings at Hart Hall ‘so near together that you might even have looked into and call’d to one another out of each others’ chambers’. Locke mentioned that Shaftesbury might prefer to sleep on the ground floor because of his gout, and that he might want to have with him Sir William Cowper, Mr Hoskins his lawyer, and Col. Rumsey, later implicated in plotting.527 The impressive cavalcade of around 200 horse that accompanied Shaftesbury’s departure from London on 18 Mar. along with Lord Salisbury was widely reported; he spent the night close to High Wycombe, apparently at the house of a Quaker, arriving in Oxford the following day with his well-armed retinue to ‘show his readiness to serve the public’.528 On the following day, Monday 21 Mar., Shaftesbury and Essex waited on the king, raising with him the case of Edward Fitzharris, currently incarcerated in the Tower, and the information he claimed to have about the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey.529

Parliament was opened the same day. Shaftesbury was present. He took the oaths and declaration and was appointed to the committees for privileges and for petitions and the sub-committee for the Journal. He attended every sitting of the short Parliament. He moved on 22 Mar. for an investigation into the reasons why the bill repealing the Elizabethan conventicle act was not presented for royal assent at the end of the 1680 Parliament. Hoskins, the lawyer, who wrote to Stringer giving an account of the events of the week on 26th Mar., presumably meant Shaftesbury when he referred to ‘a lord (a friend of yours)’ who said that the previous bill had been lost ‘by a court trick, to bring in a new way of a negative’, accusing the bishops of preferring to let ‘such a weapon to fall into popish hands than the Church should lose it’.530 On the 24th James Bertie, Baron Norreys (later earl of Abingdon) presented a petition from the earl of Danby requesting bail. Howard of Escrick, Shaftesbury, Halifax, Salisbury, Grey of Warke, Essex, and Bridgwater all opposed it. Shaftesbury suggesting that it could lead to a breach between the two Houses.531

On the same day (if the statement that ‘this was done yesterday in the House of Lords’ can be relied on) Shaftesbury had an encounter with the king, published the following day in a pamphlet dripping with sarcasm:

the great patriot, and next under God and Dr Oates, the supreme saviour and defender of the nation, the earl of Shaftesbury, received, or pretended that he received, a letter written in an unknown hand, containing an expedient for the settling and composing the differences between the king and Parliament. With this he made a great noise, and bustling about as fast as his legs, and man, and stick could carry him.

Lord Feversham offered to show him in to the king, ‘the busy earl told him, he was willing to be conducted by so honest a man as his lordship, drolling and thinking himself guilty of a very shrewd irony’. (Another version of the story has the marquess of Worcester conducting Shaftesbury to the king.) The expedient was a proposal for settling the crown on Monmouth. The result was a sharp exchange with the king, in which, if the pamphlet can be believed, the king wiped the floor with the earl.532 Shaftesbury’s open advocacy of Monmouth’s claim, and the king’s forceful put-down, were no doubt the point of its publication, which seemed to give no hope for any successful conclusion to the session.533 In a further exchange, perhaps on the 26th, Shaftesbury’s response to the king’s suggestion of a private discussion between them was to joke that it should be at Arlington’s lodgings because it was neutral, Arlington being neither a good Catholic nor a good Protestant, and because Arlington had the best wine ‘which was the only good thing that could be had from their meeting’.534

On the 25th Shaftesbury had been appointed to the committee to investigate the plot; on the 26th he was one of the reporters for a conference requested by the Commons on the loss last session of the bill to repeal the Conventicle Act. The same day the Commons’ impeachment of Edward Fitzharris was brought up to the Lords. The Lords’ decision not to entertain an impeachment, but to leave Fitzharris to be dealt with according to the common law elicited a protest signed by Shaftesbury and nineteen others, claiming that the impeachment should not be rejected because it ‘is at the suit of the people, and they have an interest in it’: by refusing an impeachment, the House was denying justice to the people.

According to Lord Grey’s later confession, on the day before the dissolution Shaftesbury told him that the rejection of Fitzharris’s impeachment and the likelihood that the Lords would abandon the attempt to try Danby would infuriate the House of Commons. If there were a dissolution, ‘there were’, he thought, ‘enough in their House would sit, if but a small number of the lords would do the like’. Grey reported a second discussion between Monmouth, Essex, Shaftesbury and Salisbury the same afternoon on the same subject. In the end the sudden dissolution on Monday 28 Mar. defeated the plan, although, Grey claimed, several lords hung around in the House ‘under the pretence of signing’ the protestation about Fitzharris while they sent messengers to the Commons to try to get them to continue sitting, without success.535 In July 1682 an informer told the government of a visit of Shaftesbury to John Scudamore, 2nd Viscount Scudamore [I] at his lodgings in Oxford shortly after the dissolution, ‘where all or most of the knights and burgesses of Herefordshire were present to wait on Shaftesbury’. He had told them to

make haste every man to his own home and to acquaint all poor countrymen what a sad condition they were in, if they did not stand up for such a Parliament as this was, who had so vigorously stood up for them with their lives and fortunes, and he further said that he thought there would be something to do in England before another Parliament sat and that those members, though dissolved, should take on them the peace and government of their several counties.

It was said that he nominated Scudamore, Col. Birch and Sir Edward Harley as colonels and Thomas Coningsby, Paul Foley and John Dutton Colt as captains.536 There is some evidence that Shaftesbury was compiling details of the gentry of other counties at the same time, perhaps in order similarly to identify suitable local leaders.537

Shaftesbury left Oxford on 1 April. His admission as a freeman of the Skinners’ company on 4 May was connected to the contest between the Whig-backed petition to the crown from the City requesting a new Parliament and the Tory-backed address welcoming the king’s declaration of 8 Apr., culminating in the election of Whig sheriffs on 24 June.538 Whig success in London was counterbalanced by the government’s efforts to pick off Shaftesbury’s confederates. Macclesfield ‘made his peace’ with the king, and Howard of Escrick and Shaftesbury were reported to have fallen out.539 Howard of Escrick was said in a newsletter of 12 May to have sent him a message that he now realized that Shaftesbury ‘was playing his old tricks (such as in Oliver’s time) he was a villain, and a traitor, and [he] would never have more to do with him’.540 Oates’s brother claimed around June 1682 that there were two great ‘interests’ among the Whigs: Shaftesbury’s, which had been based around the Angel and Queen’s Arms club, but had now removed to the Nag’s head, Cheapside, and Buckingham’s, which was based at the Salutation in Lombard Street.541

During the early summer of 1681 Shaftesbury was offering money to some of the witnesses to the Irish plot who had come to London.542 ‘Attended by the Whigs’ (including Essex, Salisbury and Grey of Warke), he was present at the beginning of committal proceedings for Fitzharris’s trial on 4 May. Fitzharris attempted to secure a meeting with him and other Whig peers, though this was refused. They were there again on 7 May for further legal argument.543 Shaftesbury attempted to forestall the trial, attending the proceedings of the Middlesex Grand Jury on 16 May to argue that Fitzharris would be a witness to allegations about the fire of 1666. He brought forward a new witness, seeking to persuade the crown to pardon the man before his identity was revealed. It turned out to be an already discredited Irishman. On 8 June, Kent, Salisbury, Essex and Shaftesbury tried to persuade the king to see them so that they could solicit the pardon.544 Fitzharris was found guilty the following day, the trial attended by Shaftesbury and many other Whigs.

In a last-ditch attempt to seek a pardon, Fitzharris implicated Howard of Escrick, who was arrested shortly afterwards.545 The government moved more cautiously against Shaftesbury. It collected evidence from the Irish informers via Warcup and arrested one of them, Bryan Haines (Danby wrote to the king that ‘there is no one man of whom my Lord Shaftesbury is so much afraid as of Haines’), and men named by Haines, including Stephen College.546 Fitzharris and Plunkett were executed on 1 July. On the following day Shaftesbury was dramatically arrested at Thanet House, brought before the council, and committed to the Tower (Prince Rupert, Radnor and Fauconberg avoided signing the order for his committal).547 After initial visits by Monmouth and Montagu, the king refused permission for him to have visitors other than his servants.

Shaftesbury’s and Howard of Escrick’s habeas corpus petition, presented on 6 July, was heard on 8 July, and turned down: Salisbury, Clare, Essex, Macclesfield, Grey, Lord Russell, Ralph Montagu and Sir Scrope Howe offered, equally unsuccessfully, to stand bail.548 It was heard immediately after the Whig grand jury (eleven of whom lived close to Shaftesbury in Aldersgate) presented its ignoramus verdict on the charge against Stephen College, in a case that (because it rested on the same witnesses) had obvious implications for any prospects of success in the charges against Shaftesbury.549 After the government’s success in transferring the proceedings against College to Oxford, it contemplated doing the same with Shaftesbury’s trial.550 In the course of July there were several rumours of ‘wonderful materials’ to promote the conviction of Shaftesbury and Howard of Escrick, including evidence from the Prince of Orange and other peers.551 Efforts were made after College’s trial and conviction on 17/18 Aug. to secure a confession from him that would incriminate Shaftesbury.552

The two peers made a second habeas corpus application when the Old Bailey sessions began on 31 Aug., though they were referred back to the king’s bench, where proceedings would not begin for another two months.553 Shaftesbury was reported on 10 Sept. as making fun of the judges, implying that they would be at risk when a new Parliament sat.554 While further evidence was sought against him, involving the arrests of his secretary, Wilson, and his ‘comrade’ Edward Clarkein mid-Sept., and there was talk of a new Parliament which would banish Shaftesbury, Howard of Escrick and Danby as well, Shaftesbury was also prepared to negotiate. 555 In a note delivered to Arlington on 28 Sept. he offered to go into internal exile in Dorset or to his plantation in Carolina in exchange for a pardon, though in typically Shaftesburian fashion he also asked for £3000 which the king had promised him years before. The king dismissed the proposal. 556

There was much speculation on whether the approach was a sign of the strength or weakness of Shaftesbury’s case.557 Francis Charlton (already impaneled as foreman of the grand jury nominated by sheriffs Pilkington and Shute at the beginning of October), told Russell on 12 Oct. that Shaftesbury would be tried in Oxford and described the debate among the judges over the propriety of holding a treason trial outside London.558 Shaftesbury and Howard of Escrick, along with Wilson, the Whig solicitor Edward Whittaker and foreman of the College jury John Wilmore, made renewed habeas corpus applications to the Old Bailey on 17 Oct. Shaftesbury received advice on his petition from William Williams.559 It was again rejected – the petitioners were told to apply to king’s bench at the beginning of the next term on 24 Oct. Good news for Shaftesbury, however, was that the grand jury (despite successful challenges by the government to two of its members, including Charlton) returned ignoramus verdicts on a treason charge against John Rouse, one of Shaftesbury’s instruments in gathering evidence about the Irish plot.560 A pamphlet published in October, No Protestant Plot, comprehensively rubbished the evidence for Shaftesbury’s guilt. Although the earl of Huntingdon’s decision to make his peace with the king was thought by some to involve the provision of more evidence against Shaftesbury, by the time of the opening of the term the attorney general was said to be dubious about the prospects of getting a committal. The response to their new habeas corpus petition was that they would be freed if no indictment had been made against them by the end of the term. The government had still not overcome the legal obstacles to transferring the trial from London, though speculation on the subject continued well into November.561 Not until the middle of the month was a commission of oyer and terminer issued, to be held on 24 Nov. The government seems largely to have given up hope that the grand jury would return a true bill, though it planned to extract some propaganda advantage from the exposure of the evidence: in the meantime, Shaftesbury’s allies published information concerning the arrest and interrogation of Capt. Henry Wilkinson showing how the government’s agents had tried to get him to provide false evidence against Shaftesbury.562

With some of the most prominent city Whigs and dissenters, including Sir Samuel Barnardiston, John Dubois and Thomas Papillon, represented on the jury impanelled by the City sheriffs, the prospects for a true bill were negligible.563 Monmouth, Essex, Russell, Montagu, Sir Thomas Armstrong and ‘many more of that party’ turned up to the trial on the 24th. Large crowds, encouraged by Oates, intimidated the witnesses as they made their way to the court. One of them (Dugdale) made himself scarce. The trial turned into a circus, with the foreman of the jury and Papillon requesting that the evidence be heard in private, and protesting when the lord chief justice turned them down. The indictment claimed that on 18 Mar. 1681, in advance of the sitting of the Oxford Parliament, Shaftesbury had planned an insurrection and had talked about deposing the king. The evidence included a draft bill for association found among Shaftesbury’s papers, and a series of largely dubious witnesses. The ignoramus verdict, widely anticipated, was greeted with loud enthusiasm in the courtroom and outside it: the celebrations that followed – bonfires, the ringing of bells, demands that the occupants of coaches should drink Shaftesbury’s health – were threatening and violent.564

Shaftesbury was not released immediately. On 28 Nov. he and his fellow prisoners appeared at king’s bench – crowded as usual, the audience including Monmouth, the recent Member of the House of Commons Richard Savage, Lord Colchester (later 4th earl Rivers), and Lord O’Brien as well as the men whom he named as his sureties – demanding to be discharged from the Tower. Although he was represented by William Williams, Shaftesbury himself spoke to comment on the quality of the evidence against him, though he was cut short by the lord chief justice, who reminded him that College had been successfully prosecuted even after a London ignoramus verdict. The court agreed only to release them on bail, and Shaftesbury nominated Monmouth, Sir William Cowper, Sir John Sydenham and Francis Charlton as his sureties (some sources add Montagu as well). On his release measures were taken to prevent further demonstrations in the City. Shaftesbury left for Lord Paget’s house.565

Shaftesbury was said to have entered actions of £80,000 against Richard Graham, principal of Clifford’s Inn and solicitor to the Treasury, a Mr Marriott, the queen’s solicitor, and David Fitzgerald for suborning witnesses against him.566 He followed with an action for scandalum magnatum for £15,000 against a London mercer named Craddock, who had said he was a traitor, and there were actions against other of his accusers, Booth and Baines.567 He celebrated his legal victory and release with a dinner at Skinners’ Hall on 14 Dec., and a medal struck in his honour (the occasion for Dryden’s satire The Medal) though as the reaction gathered pace with legal moves against dissenters and the charter of the City of London and with a newly energized government propaganda machine galvanized into action there was little else to celebrate.568

The Rye House Plot

There is little evidence of Shaftesbury’s activities in the months after his release until his and Howard of Escrick’s formal discharge from bail on 13 Feb. 1682.569 There may have been a meeting with the fugitive Archibald Campbell, earl of Argyll [S] in the early months of 1682 (Grey’s evidence of 1685 said that Argyll had asked him for a large sum of money), and Shaftesbury was probably closely involved in the production of Whig responses to the Tory addresses sparked by the government’s publication of the association scheme found among Shaftesbury’s papers.570 It was assumed, at least by some of those who responded to it, that A Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend, about Abhorrers and Addressors, etc. was the work of Shaftesbury himself.571 James’s return to England on 10 Mar. sparked off new activity on the part of the Whigs. On 17 Mar. Monmouth, Shaftesbury, Essex, Howard of Escrick and Grey of Warke and others dined with Sheriff Pilkington, and a little while later with Sheriff Shute, possibly beginning to plan for the midsummer shrievalty elections. The king commanded the Tory lord mayor not to dine with the Whig peers.572 The earl of Anglesey dined with Shaftesbury on 21 Mar.573 On 28 Mar. Shaftesbury, with business partners including the earl of Craven and the earl of Bath, held a well-publicized meeting concerning a scheme to encourage settlers in Carolina.574 The return of York to the capital on 8 Apr. was marked by loyalist demonstrations including the burning of Shaftesbury in effigy. York was the guest of honour at the annual dinner of the Artillery Company on 20 Apr.; the Whigs planned a rival public event with Monmouth, Shaftesbury, Essex and others, originally for the same date, but it was cancelled at the king’s insistence. Shaftesbury wanted to go ahead; his colleagues thought better of it, though they nevertheless organized a private party at Lord Colchester’s house accompanied by public demonstrations.575

In early May, Shaftesbury was forced to withdraw his scandalum magnatum actions against Craddock, Graham, Warcup and others when Craddock persuaded the lord chief justice that the case could not be fairly heard in London. Shaftesbury seems to have cherished hopes of prosecuting Warcup in London for a while.576 Later evidence suggests that his plans were beginning to go much further. According to a late 1685 confession of Nathaniel Wade, during the brief illness of the king at the end of May, he and John Ayloffe were summoned by Shaftesbury to Sir William Cowper’s house and told about plans for an insurrection in London. The plans were abandoned on the king’s recovery, to Shaftesbury’s annoyance.577 In the course of the turbulent proceedings surrounding the shrieval election from 24 June to 15 July, the resignation of one of those elected, and the further election on 19 Sept., there was some evidence of a weakening of Whig resolve. Various of Shaftesbury’s allies, including Salisbury, Winchester and Monmouth, either made their peace with the court, or made arrangements to go into voluntary exile. Ormond on 25 Aug. wrote of his impression that Monmouth appeared to have broken off his correspondence with Shaftesbury and Montagu.578 Shaftesbury himself may (as before) have been prepared to negotiate: John Nalson was told in mid-September of information from Danby that Shaftesbury had contacted York ‘for a reconciliation’. York had referred him to the king.579

All this was possibly misinformation. At the same time, Monmouth was making preparations for his visit to the west Midlands, and Robert Murray was alleged to be in Paris on Shaftesbury’s business.580 Most of the evidence collected by the government about the Rye House Plot dates its origins to the height of the shrieval elections. Grey of Warke’s 1685 written confession stated that the project was initiated in late June at Thanet House between him, Monmouth, Russell and Shaftesbury, and it was Shaftesbury who first proposed a rising; after ‘tedious discussions’ they decided to foment unrest in London, Cheshire and the West. Grey recounted how Armstrong came to London – probably on 22 Sept. – following Monmouth’s apprehension on his way back from Cheshire. They went to seek Shaftesbury’s advice on Monmouth’s behalf, and found him in the garden of Thanet House with Col. Rumsey. Having consulted with others in the City, Shaftesbury met Armstrong again at Southampton House with Lord Russell, and advised him to tell Monmouth to return to Cheshire and start an uprising. Shaftesbury claimed to have supporters at Wapping ready to rise. Russell protested that they were unprepared, and argued about the aims of a rising: Russell thought that Shaftesbury’s allies were ‘for a common-wealth’.581 When Monmouth himself arrived in London on 23 Sept., Shaftesbury, with Herbert, Russell, Charlton, possibly Essex and others visited him.582 According, again, to Grey’s confession, a few days later, after Monmouth had been released, he, Grey, and Russell visited Shaftesbury, who bitterly complained about Monmouth’s failure to return to Cheshire. He insisted on a rising in London, responding to Russell’s objections ‘in the greatest passion I ever saw’, that ‘patience would be our destruction, and that if we did not rise in a week at farthest, we were all undone, for he had made such preparation for a rising in London, as would infallibly be discovered if time were lost’. They all considered Shaftesbury to be ‘half distracted’, and left him: it was, wrote Grey, the last time he saw the earl. Other accounts, deriving from Russell and Essex, suggest the essential truth of Grey’s version of this meeting.583

At the very end of September, after the new Tory sheriffs were sworn in, Shaftesbury went into hiding, amid rumours of new evidence being collected against him.584 According to the unreliable evidence of Lord Howard of Escrick at his trial, he saw Shaftesbury on 1 Oct. in London, who talked to him again of his plans for a rising, complaining bitterly of Monmouth and Russell. When Howard conveyed this to Monmouth, the duke was appalled; Howard, however, could not persuade Shaftesbury to abandon his plans. Evidence that Shaftesbury met Monmouth or went to Cassiobury House for a meeting around 8 Oct. is difficult to corroborate, and seems unlikely. The equally unreliable post-1685 evidence of Robert Ferguson suggests that during October Shaftesbury, abandoning any prospect of working with Monmouth, decided to work for a republic, through the assassination of the king and York. According to Grey and other sources, a further meeting was initiated by Monmouth around the beginning of November, at which Ferguson, as Shaftesbury’s representative, again urged a rising, and talked up the forces he could raise in the city. But no arrangements appear to have been made, and Shaftesbury must have made up his mind to leave the country. On 11 Nov. he transferred property to trustees (Sir William Cowper, John Hoskins, Edward Clarke and Thomas Stringer) for the benefit of his wife. Before he left he met Essex and Salisbury, Essex observing to Burnet that ‘fear, anger and disappointment had wrought so much on him that… he was much broke in his thoughts: his notions were wild and impracticable’. 585


Shaftesbury sailed for Holland around 19 Nov., landing at Brill and moving on to Rotterdam, and then Amsterdam, where he stayed for a while with the merchant Abraham Kick. At the end of December he became ill. He died on 21/31 Jan. 1683, having made a will on the 17th, making his wife his executrix and with small bequests to Robert Ferguson and to his servants.586 The body was returned to Wimborne in accordance with his wishes, and buried on 25 Feb., dressed smartly with a new wig, in a coffin that made the face visible.587

Well before his death Shaftesbury had become a demon of Tory mythology, ‘Achitophel’ in Dryden’s epic poem of the crisis, Absalom and Achitophel. He continued to be so after it. Effigies of Oates and him were burnt at Temple Bar on 5 Nov. 1683 in a counterpart to the usual anti-popery demonstrations.588 Ormond, though, reflected that Shaftesbury’s death was ‘neither lamented by his friends nor rejoiced at by his enemies’.589 The remark is indicative of Shaftesbury’s equivocal position in the leadership of the Whigs. Mark Knights has argued that many of the comments magnifying Shaftesbury’s power were made after the earl’s trial in 1681 and the reality of his power is difficult to extricate from the propaganda version peddled by the Tories.590 Yet a narrative about Shaftesbury’s ambition, untrustworthiness and the danger that he posed was established long before 1681. It was perhaps based as much on an unparalleled gift for self-publicity as on the revulsion of Tories. It was certainly the case that Shaftesbury’s claim to be sole leader of a party was weak. Shaftesbury was an improbable party leader: slyly arrogant, secretive and often impossible to read, he could be an infuriating and an uneasy colleague, who elicited little trust from other politicians who worked with him, other than a small coterie of acolytes, often young and relatively unimportant peers like Howard of Escrick or Grey of Warke. His exact position on many issues – most notably the exclusion of the duke of York – remains mired in ambiguity and the stuff of historiographical controversy.591

Shaftesbury’s ambiguity, which enabled him to sail so close to the wind for so long without actually capsizing, seems to have been lost at the end. His anti-catholicism was perhaps stronger than that of any of his colleagues at court in the 1660s and 1670s, and it seems likely that he genuinely believed in the existence of the Plot which he pursued with an almost fanatical determination: Grey’s account of the conversation they had in 1681 implies not cynical manipulation but a conviction both of the reality of the Plot and of the king’s own involvement, as well as an increasing frustration with the compromising behavior of his colleagues.592

Despite this, for most of his career Shaftesbury was clearly not only an eloquent and forceful speaker, particularly in the House of Lords, but also an astonishingly successful political strategist and organizer, with an exceptional talent for making the political weather. There can be little doubt that Shaftesbury orchestrated much of the business of the Plot, arranging for Oates to be supported and devoting enormous efforts to uncovering conspiracy in Ireland and elsewhere.593 Perhaps most remarkable was his inventive and unrelenting use of the Lords as a platform during the later 1670s: he pioneered the use of the protest as a propaganda weapon and coordinated protests, speeches and publications to maximize the impact of his statements in the House. Though he was not the only one who did this, certainly contemporaries singled him out for it: one of them, Lord Keeper Guilford commented on how he and others arranged to print their protests, ‘and so had a good handle of moving seditious matter with authority’, as well as impunity.594

Shaftesbury was adept at reaching a popular audience and had a large and significant following both in the Commons and in the City, but the House of Lords was central to his politics. He spent a huge amount of time there, both in the chamber and in its committees, through which he pursued a series of interests, from the encouragement of domestic and foreign trade and barriers to foreign imports, to the wool trade (it is notable that a pamphlet on improving wool manufacture published in 1669 was published by Shaftesbury’s favourite publisher, Francis Smith), to legal reform and the registration of the gentry.595 But more specifically, along with Buckingham, Holles and others, Shaftesbury was one of a number of peers who were assertive about the privileges of the peerage and the position of the House as the fulcrum of the constitution, a position most fully defined in A Letter from a Person of Quality and by Shaftesbury himself in his speech of 20 Oct. 1675. Shaftesbury’s aristocratic biases seemed to grow as he became more dismissive of a House of Commons open to manipulation by the court and prone to corruption in its claims of privilege. He may, ultimately, have changed his mind with the Lords’ (and especially the bishops’) obstruction of a settlement of the crisis during the Parliaments of 1679, 1680 and 1681. Lord Grey of Warke in his confession recalls him saying:

That we had committed a great error in being so long a screen between the king and the House of Commons, who once were ready and willing to have laid him open to his people, and had done it, if they had not been prevented, and that chiefly by himself (of which he heartily repented).596

Indeed, Shaftesbury’s rather surprising weakness as a leader of the movement against the duke of York may well have been a failure both to understand the House of Commons, as he confessed, and to accord it sufficient importance. Widely distrusted as a result of his changes of allegiance from the 1640s to the 1660s and beyond, believed to be a master of dissimulation, Shaftesbury was the easiest figure among the Whigs to hate; for the same reasons, he was among the men least able to lead them.


  • 1 G.S. Davies, Charterhouse in London, app. D (p. 354).
  • 2 Bodl. Clarendon 87, ff. 22-23; HEHL, EL 8456.
  • 3 Add. 28085, ff. 21-4.
  • 4 Haley, Shaftesbury, 300.
  • 5 R. Halstead (earl of Peterborough), Succinct Genealogies, 432. The principal biographies of Shaftesbury are B. Martyn and A. Kippis, The Life of the first Earl of Shaftesbury (1836), W.D. Christie A Life of Anthony Ashley Cooper (1871), L.F. Brown The First Earl of Shaftesbury (1933), K.H.D. Haley The First Earl of Shaftesbury (1968), and J. Spurr (ed.) Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury (2011). This account is largely based on Haley’s, but is indebted to Christie, and to the essays in the volume edited by Spurr. The early biographies of Shaftesbury are described by J.R. Milton in ‘Benjamin Martyn, the Shaftesbury Family, and the reputation of the first earl of Shaftesbury’, HJ, li (2008), 315-35. This account of Shaftesbury concentrates on his activities in domestic politics and especially the House of Lords. The 2011 volume deals at length with his colonial interests.
  • 6 CCSP, iv. 209; Letter Book of John Viscount Mordaunt 1658-1660, ed. M. Coate (Cam. Soc., 3rd ser. lxix), 21-3; CJ, vii. 778.
  • 7 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 201-2.
  • 8 Patrick Little, ‘Cooper, Sir Anthony Ashley’, in HP Commons 1640-60 (forthcoming).
  • 9 Christie, i. 204-12; Haley, Shaftesbury, 127-31.
  • 10 CCSP, iv. 600, 666, v. 16-17.
  • 11 Morrice, Ent’ring Book, iv. 156-7.
  • 12 Bodl. Clarendon 72, ff. 19-20, 234.
  • 13 Clarendon, Life (1857), i. 278.
  • 14 Haley, Shaftesbury, 149; HP Commons 1660-90, ii. 121-2; Clarendon, Life (1857), i. 315.
  • 15 Haley, Shaftesbury, 15-20, 208, 228-35.
  • 16 Ibid. 161.
  • 17 LJ, xi. 327.
  • 18 Staffs RO D641/3/P/4/13/4.
  • 19 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 93.
  • 20 PA, BRY/27; Add. 33589, ff. 220-1.
  • 21 Chatsworth, Cork mss Misc. Box 1.
  • 22 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 93-4.
  • 23 LJ, xi. 479, 484.
  • 24 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 96-7.
  • 25 Seaward, Cavalier Parlt. 183.
  • 26 LJ, xi. 563, 564.
  • 27 Ibid. 495, 572.
  • 28 Ibid. 489, 493, 521, 522, 535, 541, 542, 543, 560, 561, 572.
  • 29 CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 160.
  • 30 LJ, xi. 544.
  • 31 Herts ALS, Ashridge MSS AH 1086.
  • 32 TNA, PRO 31/3/111, pp. 106-7.
  • 33 Pepys Diary, iv. 37.
  • 34 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 100.
  • 35 TNA, PRO 31/3/112, pp. 29-31.
  • 36 Bodl. Carte 32, ff. 625, 708; Carte 77, f. 524.
  • 37 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 226.
  • 38 Pepys Diary, viii. 445.
  • 39 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 226v.
  • 40 TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 24; Pepys Diary, v. 34.
  • 41 LJ, xi. 583.
  • 42 Bodl. Rawlinson A 130, f. 5.
  • 43 BIHR, xxxiv, 81-91.
  • 44 LJ, xi. 584, 588.
  • 45 Verney ms mic. M636/19, Sir N. Hobart to Sir R. Verney, 3 Apr. 1664.
  • 46 LJ, xi. 588, 597.
  • 47 Ibid. 602, 610, 614.
  • 48 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1, 6 May 1664, HL/PO/CO/1/1, 10 May 1664.
  • 49 TNA, PRO 31/3/113 p. 188v.
  • 50 LJ, xi. 645, 669, 671.
  • 51 Ibid. 641, 647, 649, 642, 664, 666, 667, 668.
  • 52 CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 122; Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 88-91.
  • 53 TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 245.
  • 54 HEHL, HA 10663.
  • 55 Add. 27447, f. 334-5; HP Commons 1660-90, iii. 211; Seaward, Cavalier Parlt. 234.
  • 56 TNA, PRO 31/3/114, p. 302.
  • 57 Ibid. 296.
  • 58 HMC Graham, p. 336; Bodl. Carte 223, f. 291; Haley, Shaftesbury, 179.
  • 59 Bodl. Carte 34, f. 431.
  • 60 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 176-85.
  • 61 LJ, xi. 691; J. Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration and other writings, ed. J.R. and P. Milton (2006), 339; Bodl. Rawlinson A130, f. 56.
  • 62 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 224.
  • 63 Bodl. Carte ms 34, f. 468.
  • 64 LJ, xi. 684, 694, 695.
  • 65 HEHL, EL 8398, 30 Apr. 1666.
  • 66 Haley, Shaftesbury, 186.
  • 67 LJ, xii. 90.
  • 68 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 332.
  • 69 Bodl. Carte 35, f. 126.
  • 70 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 332.
  • 71 LJ, xii. 30.
  • 72 Bodl. Carte 217, f. 354; LJ, xii.31; Pepys Diary, vii. 376; Bodl. Rawlinson A130, f. 67.
  • 73 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 319-20.
  • 74 Bodl. Carte 35, f. 197-8.
  • 75 Bodl. Rawlinson A 130, f. 71; LJ, xii. 48-50.
  • 76 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, 21 Dec. 1666.
  • 77 Bodl. Carte 35, f. 197-8.
  • 78 Ibid. 240.
  • 79 Ibid. 259.
  • 80 Haley, Shaftesbury, 185-6, 237-8; Seaward, Cavalier Parliament, 284.
  • 81 LJ, xii. 32, 33, 35, 60, 69.
  • 82 Ibid. 11, 25, 28, 68, 98, 70, 103, 104.
  • 83 Ibid. 98.
  • 84 Ibid. 60, 86, 87.
  • 85 LJ, xii. 10, 17, 41, 51, 87, 95, 101; WSHC, mss 1300/553.
  • 86 LJ, xii. 7, 59, 28.
  • 87 Ibid. 37, 48.
  • 88 Clarendon, Life (1857), ii. 409-14.
  • 89 CSP Dom. 1667, p. 115.
  • 90 Pepys Diary, viii. 244.
  • 91 Haley, Shaftesbury, 196.
  • 92 Pepys Diary, viii. 445-6.
  • 93 NLS Yester Papers, ms 7023, letter 90.
  • 94 LJ, xii. 117.
  • 95 Ibid. 130.
  • 96 NLS Yester Papers ms 7024, ff. 62-63; Benjamin Martyn, Life of the first earl of Shaftesbury, i. 329; Haley, Shaftesbury, 197.
  • 97 TNA, PRO 31/3/117, pp. 39-41.
  • 98 Pepys Diary, ix. 8-9. Haley, Shaftesbury, 199.
  • 99 Pepys Diary, viii. 596; Bodl. Carte 220, ff. 326-8.
  • 100 NLS Yester Papers ms 7024 ff. 47-48.
  • 101 Ibid. f. 61.
  • 102 LJ, xii. 142, 222.
  • 103 Ibid. 118, 119, 120, 128, 125, 132, 162, 190, 228, 229, 232, 245, 133.
  • 104 Ibid. 246.
  • 105 Ibid. 128, 133, 138, 161, 196, 219, 228, 230, 236.
  • 106 Eg. 2539, f. 137.
  • 107 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 112-16.
  • 108 Pepys Diary, ix. 205.
  • 109 BL, OIOC, B/30 Court of Directors’ Minutes, Apr. 1667-Apr. 1670, p. 225.
  • 110 Stowe 303, ff. 22-31; PA, HL/PO/JO/5/F/7/1, ms minutes, 5 May 1668.
  • 111 PA, HL/PO/DC/CP/1/2, ff. 52-4; Leics. RO DG7, Box 4956 PP 18(i), pp. 33-36.
  • 112 Early Science and Medicine, xvi, 379-503.
  • 113 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 280.
  • 114 Pepys Diary, ix. 444-5.
  • 115 TNA, PRO 31/3/121 pp. 47-48.
  • 116 Ibid. 81-83.
  • 117 Haley, Shaftesbury, 271-2.
  • 118 Verney ms mic. M636/23 J. Stewkeley to Sir R. Verney, 20 Sept. 1669.
  • 119 Haley, Shaftesbury, 222-3.
  • 120 Christie, ii. 44-45.
  • 121 Ibid. 45.
  • 122 TNA, PRO 31/3/123 p. 29.
  • 123 LJ, xii. 262, 282.
  • 124 PA, HL/PO/DC/CP/1/2, pp. 56-57.
  • 125 Add. 36916, f. 162.
  • 126 LJ, xii. 292.
  • 127 Macpherson, Orig. Pprs, i. 55.
  • 128 Mapperton, Sandwich mss, Journal vol. x. pp. 196-204.
  • 129 LJ, xii. 341, 342, 343, 345.
  • 130 Ibid. 290.
  • 131 Spurr, ed. Shaftesbury 57-8; Grey, i. 265.
  • 132 LJ, xii. 297-8, 327, 308, 311, 322, 329, 331, 337, 333, 345, 346.
  • 133 Ibid. 296, 297, 330, 337.
  • 134 Marvell ed. Margoliouth, ii. 301.
  • 135 Harris, Sandwich, ii. 328-9.
  • 136 NLS Yester pprs. ms 7023, letter 238.
  • 137 LJ, xii. 324.
  • 138 NLS Yester pprs. ms 7004, ff. 163-4.
  • 139 TNA, PRO 31/3/124 pp. 157, 158.
  • 140 TNA, SP104/176 f. 255.
  • 141 Bodl. Carte 37, f. 572; Verney ms mic. M636/23, Sir R. to E. Verney, 18 May 1670.
  • 142 TNA, PRO 31/3/125, pp. 214, 215.
  • 143 Haley, Shaftesbury, 285.
  • 144 TNA SP 104/176, ff. 255-61.
  • 145 LJ, xii. 393, 428, 467, 472, 476, 494; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, 1 Apr.
  • 146 LJ, xii. 463, 465, 507; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, 21 Mar.
  • 147 LJ, xii. 426; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21 Feb.
  • 148 LJ, xii. 381, 387-8, 390, 409, 457, 464, 467, 500, 479, 480, 481, 486, 488, 491, 501.
  • 149 Ibid. 455, 456.
  • 150 Mapperton, Sandwich mss, Journal vol. x, pp. 302-20, 1 Dec. 1670.
  • 151 LJ, xii. 407, 418, 421, 422; Grey, i. 378-83, 388-90.
  • 152 Ibid. 440, 442.
  • 153 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, p. 451.
  • 154 Harris, Sandwich, ii. 335.
  • 155 LJ, xii. 494; Grey, i. 433-5.
  • 156 Harris, Sandwich, ii. 335.
  • 157 CSP Dom. 1671, p. 358.
  • 158 Add. 36916, f. 211; HMC 13th Rep. VI, 263, 265, 269.
  • 159 Add. 36916, ff. 222, 230; Verney ms mic. M636/24, Sir R. to E. Verney, 18 Jan. 1672.
  • 160 Haley, Shaftesbury, 294-6; Christie, ii. 58-70.
  • 161 CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 608; Haley, Shaftesbury, 299.
  • 162 CSP Dom. Addenda 1660-85, pp. 341-2.
  • 163 Spurr ed., Shaftesbury, 62-63.
  • 164 CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 609; Haley, Shaftesbury, 304.
  • 165 Haley, Shaftesbury, 303; SP104/177, ff. 82, 84v.
  • 166 Add. 28040, f. 7.
  • 167 Haley, Shaftesbury, 305-6.
  • 168 Add. 21948, f. 434; North, Examen, 47.
  • 169 North, Examen, 46.
  • 170 The Lord Chancellor’s speech upon the Lord Treasurer’s Taking his Oath … The Fifth of December 1672 (1672); The Lord Chancellor’s speech … to Baron Thurland at the taking of his oath 14 Jan. 1672/3 (1673); The Lord Chancellor’s Speech upon the Lord Treasurer’s Taking his Oath …, The 16th of June, 1673 (1673).
  • 171 Bodl. Tanner 42, ff. 44, 110, Tanner 145, f. 183.
  • 172 Eg. 3338 ff. 50-51.
  • 173 Stowe 200, f. 435.
  • 174 Haley, Shaftesbury, 315; TNA, SP104/177, f. 107.
  • 175 TNA, SP104/177, f. 137; TNA, PRO 30/24/47/8, ff. 1-40; Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 178-9.
  • 176 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 145, 153, 174, 210, 219, 224, 413, 440, 451, 494-5.
  • 177 HP Commons 1660-90, i. 353.
  • 178 TNA, SP 104/177, f. 136.
  • 179 Add. 40860, f. 43.
  • 180 Haley, Shaftesbury, 317.
  • 181 LJ, xii. 521, 524, 525, 527.
  • 182 Haley, Shaftesbury, 318.
  • 183 Christie, ii. xxix.
  • 184 Grey, ii. 25.
  • 185 TNA SP104/177, ff. 143-6.
  • 186 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 25; Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 66-7; Haley, Shaftesbury, 321.
  • 187 LJ, xii. 545-6; CJ, ix, 263.
  • 188 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 29b.
  • 189 TNA, PRO 31/3/128 pp. 44, 45; CJ, ix. 269.
  • 190 TNA, PRO 31/3/128 pp. 46-48.
  • 191 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 10; Christie, ii. 137-40; Haley, Shaftesbury, 323-4.
  • 192 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 66-67.
  • 193 Grey, ii. 177-8.
  • 194 TNA, PRO 31/3/128 pp. 57-60, Colbert to Louis XIV, 7/17 Apr. 1673.
  • 195 Add. 40860, f. 46.
  • 196 Williamson Letters, i. (Camden Soc. n.s. viii.), 77; The Lord Chancellor’s speech … the 26th of June, 1673 (1673); Le Neve, Lives and characters of the most illustrious persons… who died in the year 1712, 107.
  • 197 Haley, Shaftesbury, 332; TNA, PRO 31/3/128 pp. 88-90.
  • 198 NLS MS 7006 ff. 30-32; Williamson Letters, i. (Camden Soc. n.s. viii), 60.
  • 199 NLS MS 7006 ff. 30-32.
  • 200 Haley, Shaftesbury, 340-1.
  • 201 Add. 40860, f. 52.
  • 202 Haley, Shaftesbury, 334.
  • 203 Williamson Letters, i. (Camden Soc. n.s. viii), 99, 119, 126, 135; Verney ms mic. M636/26 Denton to Sir R. Verney, 9 Oct. 1673; TNA, PRO 31/3/129 f. 36, Colbert to Louis XIV, 5/15 Oct. 1673.
  • 204 CSP Ven. xxxviii. 161.
  • 205 Haley, Shaftesbury, 342.
  • 206 TNA, PRO 31/3/129, pp. 66-73.
  • 207 Haley, Shaftesbury, 339-40.
  • 208 Cal SP Ven. xxxviii. 183; Haley, Shaftesbury, 343-4.
  • 209 TNA, PRO 31/3/130 ff. 16-17.
  • 210 Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney 8 Jan. 1674.
  • 211 Essex Papers, i. 167.
  • 212 TNA, PRO 31/3/130 ff. 34-36.
  • 213 Verney ms mic. M636/27, Sir R. to E. Verney 15 Jan. 1673; Bodl ms film 293, Folger Library, Washington, Newdegate newsletters (1678-1715), I. L.C.3; CSP Ven. xxxviii. 206.
  • 214 Grey, ii. 261.
  • 215 TNA, PRO 31/3/130 ff. 44-48.
  • 216 Williamson Letters, ii. (Camden Soc. n.s. ix), 157-8.
  • 217 LJ, xii. 625.
  • 218 Haley, Shaftesbury, 358.
  • 219 Lauderdale Pprs. iii (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxxviii), 32-3.
  • 220 Macpherson, Orig. Pprs. i. 72.
  • 221 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, pp. 43-43, 45-6.
  • 222 Haley, Shaftesbury, 362-4; HJ, xxxvi, 271-88.
  • 223 Macpherson, Orig. Pprs, i. 72; CSP Ven. xxxviii. 232.
  • 224 LJ, xii. 629, 638-9, 640, 645-6.
  • 225 Ibid. 607, 645, 640.
  • 226 Verney ms mic. M636/27 Sir R. to E. Verney, 26 Feb. 1674; Bodl. Tanner 42 f. 81; CSP Ven. xxxviii. 253; Haley, Shaftesbury, 364.
  • 227 TNA, PRO 31/3/131 pp. 45-6; Haley, Shaftesbury, 364.
  • 228 Haley, Shaftesbury, 364-6.
  • 229 Bodl. Carte 72, f. 255; Verney ms mic. M636/28, Sir R. to E. Verney, 18 Jan. 1675; Haley, Shaftesbury, 368-9; CSP Ven. xxxviii. 349.
  • 230 Bodl. Carte 72, ff. 259-60.
  • 231 CSP Ven. xxxviii. 349.
  • 232 Bodl. Carte 38 f. 286.
  • 233 Haley, Shaftesbury, 371.
  • 234 Haley, Ibid. 373.
  • 235 Bulstrode Pprs. 284; LJ, xii. 656.
  • 236 LJ, xii. 659, 675, 677, 697, 670, 696, 707, 710, 719.
  • 237 Ibid. 686.
  • 238 Christie, ii. 86.
  • 239 LJ, xii. 665.
  • 240 Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration ed. Milton, 348-51.
  • 241 Ibid. 361-4.
  • 242 Ibid. 90-91, 415-16.
  • 243 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 83-4.
  • 244 Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration ed. Milton,, 89-90, 408-14; Leics RO DG 7 (Finch Uncalendared) Box 4957 P.P.30.
  • 245 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 85.
  • 246 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 57; LJ, xii. 694.
  • 247 Verney ms mic. M636/28, Sir R. to E. Verney, 14 June 1675; HMC Laing i. 403.
  • 248 Haley, Shaftesbury, 385; Christie, ii. 283-4. Verney ms mic. M636/28 Sir R. to E. Verney, 24 June 1675; HMC Laing, i. 404.
  • 249 Haley, Shaftesbury, 386-7; Christie, ii. 214-18.
  • 250 Bodl. Tanner 42, f. 176; Christie, ii. 218, n.1; Haley, Shaftesbury, 387-8.
  • 251 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 6, Box 1, folder 22.
  • 252 Two Speeches. I. The Earl of Shaftesbury’s Speech in the House of Lords the 20th of October…; Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration ed. Milton, 92, n. 2.
  • 253 LJ, xiii. 18, 22, 23, 25, 28, 31; Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration, ed. Milton, 337-8.
  • 254 Locke, An Essay Concerning Toleration ed. Milton, 92-93, 95-97.
  • 255 Bulstrode Pprs, 322-3; NLS, ms 7007, f. 160.
  • 256 NLS, ms 7007, f. 160.
  • 257 Verney ms mic. M636/29, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, 15 Nov. 1675; W. Fall to Sir R. Verney, 22 Nov. 1675; Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, 25 Nov. 1675.
  • 258 Haley, Shaftesbury, 429, 645, 725.
  • 259 Verney ms mic. M636/29, W. Fall to Sir R. Verney, 22 Nov. 1675.
  • 260 Two speeches, 15.
  • 261 Bodl. ms Eng. Hist. e. 710, ff. 14-15; Bodl. Carte 72, ff. 292-3.
  • 262 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 102.
  • 263 SP29/379 f. 61.
  • 264 Bodl. Carte 228 f. 101.
  • 265 Verney ms mic. M636/29, John Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 16 Mar. 1676.
  • 266 CSPD 1675-6, 562; G. de Krey, London and the Restoration, 147-9.
  • 267 Haley, Shaftesbury, 405-6.
  • 268 Ibid. 408.
  • 269 Ibid. 406.
  • 270 Northants. RO, Montagu Letters, xvii. 69; Verney ms mic. M636/29, Sir R. to E. Verney, 28 Apr. 1676, E. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 1 May 1676, E. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 4 May 1676, Sir R. to E. Verney 8 May 1676, Sir R. to E. Verney, 5 June 1676, Sir R. to E. Verney 8 Aug. 1676; Haley, Shaftesbury, 407-8.
  • 271 TNA, PRO 31/3/133 ff. 11-13; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 148.
  • 272 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 117.
  • 273 CSP Dom. 1676-7, pp. 476, 506, 523.
  • 274 Ibid. 358-9; Haley, Shaftesbury, 425; Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 117.
  • 275 Add. 14654, f. 30.
  • 276 HMC Rutland, ii. 35.
  • 277 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 88-94.
  • 278 A Pacquet of Advices, 2.
  • 279 Haley, Shaftesbury, 416; T.J. Crist, ‘Francis Smith and the Opposition Press’ (Cambridge Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1977), 89; Verney ms mic. M636/30, Sir R. to E. Verney, 15 Feb. 1677.
  • 280 Haley, Shaftesbury, 413-14; Life of James II, i. 504-5.
  • 281 Browning, Danby, i. 213n.
  • 282 Haley, Shaftesbury, 417-18; Bodl. Carte 79, ff. 37-8.
  • 283 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 6, Box 1, folder 23; Haley, Shaftesbury, 417-18.
  • 284 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 6, Box 1, folder 23; HMC Rutland, ii. 38-39; Haley, Shaftesbury, 418-19.
  • 285 Bodl. ms Eng hist c. 300, ff. 135-6.
  • 286 HMC Rutland, ii. 39-40.
  • 287 EHR, xl. 240.
  • 288 Add 28045 f. 39.
  • 289 LJ, xiii. 54.
  • 290 Ibid. 67, 72, 73, 75, 77.
  • 291 Haley, Shaftesbury, 426; Verney ms mic. M636/30, W. Fall to Sir R. Verney, 23 Mar. 1677.
  • 292 LJ, xiii. 110, 432.
  • 293 Haley, Shaftesbury, 424-7.
  • 294 Ibid. 427.
  • 295 Verney ms mic. M636/30, J. Verney to E. Verney, 28 June 1677.
  • 296 Add. 70120, A. Marvell to Sir E. Harley, n.d.
  • 297 Herts ALS, DE/P/F26.
  • 298 Christie, ii. xciv-xcvi.
  • 299 CSP Dom. 1677-8, p. 235; Verney ms mic. M636/30, Sir R. to E. Verney, 16 July 1677; Haley, Shaftesbury, 430.
  • 300 HMC Portland, iii. 355-6.
  • 301 CSP Dom., 1677-8, pp. 687-8.
  • 302 BIHR, xliii, 86-104.
  • 303 Verney ms mic. M636/31 Sir R. to E. Verney, 24 Dec. 1677; Haley, Shaftesbury, 436.
  • 304 Marvell ed. Margoliouth, ii. 187-9, 194.
  • 305 HMC Rutland, ii. 46; HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 404; [M. Nedham] Honesty’s Best Policy (1678) 2.
  • 306 Haley, Shaftesbury, 439; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 102; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 6-8; Verney ms mic. M636/31 Sir R. to E. Verney, 21 Feb. 1678; HEHL, HM 30314 (100), 22 Feb. 1678; HMC Rutland, ii. 46-7; Verney ms mic. M636/31 Sir R. to E. Verney, 25 Feb. 1678.
  • 307 TNA, PRO 30/24/6A/323.
  • 308 CSP Dom. 1677-8, pp. 672-3; [Nedham], Honesty’s Best Policy, 4; Christie, ii. 258-9.
  • 309 HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 408; Honesty’s Best Policy, 5.
  • 310 HMC Rutland ii. 47.
  • 311 Add. 28045, f. 49; Add.70235, Sir E. to R. Harley, 26 Feb. 1678.
  • 312 [Nedham], Honesty’s Best Policy.
  • 313 NLS, ms 7008, ff. 104-5.
  • 314 LJ, xiii. 166, 168.
  • 315 Ibid. 172, 176; Haley, Shaftesbury, 664-5.
  • 316 LJ, xiii. 166, 191, 197, 218.
  • 317 Ibid. 173, 202.
  • 318 Ibid. 193.
  • 319 Haley, Shaftesbury, 443.
  • 320 Ibid. 444-5.
  • 321 HMC Rutland ii. 51; Haley, Shaftesbury, 448.
  • 322 Haley, Shaftesbury, 448.
  • 323 LJ, xiii. 227, 228, 282, 229-30, 240.
  • 324 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 121.
  • 325 LJ, xiii. 251.
  • 326 Ibid. 232, 235, 237, 238, 242, 243.
  • 327 Ibid. 251; J. Rose, Godly kingship in Restoration England, 124-6.
  • 328 Add. 18730, f. 39, 40.
  • 329 LJ, xiii. 257, 260, 265, 268, 271, 273, 278, 279.
  • 330 Bodl. Carte 288, f. 143; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, 38-9.
  • 331 Lord Nottingham’s Chancery Cases ed. D.E.C. Yale, 637-47.
  • 332 LJ, xiii. 275.
  • 333 Ibid. 286, 287.
  • 334 Bodl. Carte 38, f. 628.
  • 335 Herts ALS, DE/P/F24.
  • 336 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 364; Bodl. Rawl. Letters 59 no. 477.
  • 337 Verney ms mic. M636/32, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 24 Oct. 1678; Haley, Shaftesbury, 469; LJ, xiii. 299.
  • 338 Verney ms mic. M636/32 J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 1 Nov. 1678. LJ, xiii. 308.
  • 339 Carte MS 38, f. 653; Verney ms mic. M636/32, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 11 Nov. 1678.
  • 340 Haley, Shaftesbury, 471-2; HEHL, HM 30315 (180).
  • 341 Haley, Shaftesbury, 472-3.
  • 342 CSP Dom. Jan. to June 1683, p. 125.
  • 343 Haley, Shaftesbury, 473-9.
  • 344 Verney ms mic. M636/32, J. Verney to E. Verney, 14 Nov. 1678; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 474.
  • 345 HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 473-4.
  • 346 LJ, xiii. 370.
  • 347 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 13.
  • 348 Chatsworth, Devonshire Collection Group 1/F, Newsletter, 17 Dec. 1678; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 490; LJ, xiii. 421.
  • 349 LJ, xiii. 431.
  • 350 Haley, Shaftesbury, 487.
  • 351 Burnet, History ed. Airy, ii. 171-2.
  • 352 North, Examen, 64.
  • 353 Haley, Shaftesbury, 483-4.
  • 354 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 387.
  • 355 LJ, xiii. 389, 392.
  • 356 Verney ms mic. M636/32 J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 5 Dec. 1678.
  • 357 Bodl. Carte 72 f. 429.
  • 358 TNA, PRO 31/3/142, pp. 40-1.
  • 359 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 22; Chatsworth, Devonshire Collection Group 1/F Newsletter 14 Jan. 1678; Verney ms mic. M636/31, newsletter 19 Jan. 1678.
  • 360 Add. 28049, ff. 34-35; Add. 28053, f. 133.
  • 361 Add. 28047, ff. 47-48.
  • 362 Add. 28053 f. 140.
  • 363 BIHR, xxx. 232-41.
  • 364 LJ, xiii. 455-6, 458.
  • 365 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 359-60; Haley, Shaftesbury, 505.
  • 366 HEHL, HA Parliament Box 4 (16).
  • 367 Bodl. Carte 228 ff. 229-30.
  • 368 HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 366.
  • 369 Add. 28046, f. 49.
  • 370 LJ, xiii. 471; Haley, Shaftesbury, 507.
  • 371 LJ, xiii. 472.
  • 372 HMC Lords, n.s., i. 97-100.
  • 373 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 2.
  • 374 HMC Lords, n.s. i. 101.
  • 375 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 1.
  • 376 Haley, Shaftesbury, 510 & n.2; ‘Two speeches made in the House of Peers’, in A Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts (1750), iii.; C. Jackson, Restoration Scotland, 73-74.
  • 377 Christie, ii. xcix-cii.
  • 378 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 1.
  • 379 Bodl. Carte 147, f. 101.
  • 380 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 21, 22.
  • 381 Ibid. 29-30.
  • 382 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 45, 51.
  • 383 Ibid. 53-4.
  • 384 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. xxi.
  • 385 HMC Ormonde, v. 8-9.
  • 386 Ibid. 30-31; Haley, Shaftesbury, 508.
  • 387 Add. 28046 ff. 53-56, at 55v.
  • 388 Verney ms mic. M636/32 Sir R. to E. Verney, 3 Apr. 1679.
  • 389 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 33.
  • 390 Ibid. 36.
  • 391 CJ, ix. 593.
  • 392 Haley, Shaftesbury, 508-9; Browning, Danby, iii. 148-51.
  • 393 Hatton Corresp. i. (Cam. Soc. xxiii), 186.
  • 394 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 36-37.
  • 395 Temple, Works (1754), i. 415-16.
  • 396 HMC Dartmouth, i. 32-33.
  • 397 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 67.
  • 398 Haley, Shaftesbury, 515-16; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 69.
  • 399 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 506, 507.
  • 400 Letters of Hon. Algernon Sydney to the Hon. Henry Savile (1742), 42-43.
  • 401 CJ, ix. 605; Haley, Shaftesbury, 516-17.
  • 402 Temple, Works (1754), ii. 502.
  • 403 Haley, Shaftesbury, 517; Knights, Pols. and Opinion, 50.
  • 404 HMC Finch, ii. 52.
  • 405 Sidney, Diary, i. 2-3.
  • 406 Temple, Works (1754), ii. 502-3.
  • 407 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 88.
  • 408 LJ, xiii. 558-9.
  • 409 Sidney, Works (1772), Letters to Savile, p. 31.
  • 410 HMC Lords, i. 32-37.
  • 411 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 102-3.
  • 412 Ibid. 103.
  • 413 Ibid. 108.
  • 414 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 561.
  • 415 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 88.
  • 416 Ibid. 94.
  • 417 Ibid. 110.
  • 418 Haley, Shaftesbury, 526-7.
  • 419 De Krey, London and the Restoration, 185; Browning, Danby, ii. 82-4; Add. 28049, f. 48.
  • 420 Temple, Works (1754), ii. 504.
  • 421 Sidney, Diary, i. 2-3, 4.
  • 422 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 517.
  • 423 Temple, Works (1754), ii. 504.
  • 424 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 119, iv. 520.
  • 425 Temple, Works (1754), ii. 507; Haley, Shaftesbury, 534; Glassey, J.P.s, 41-3.
  • 426 Haley, Shaftesbury, 535.
  • 427 Ibid. 536-7; Temple, Works (1754), ii. 507.
  • 428 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 136.
  • 429 Add. 28049, f. 54.
  • 430 Haley, Shaftesbury, 540-1.
  • 431 Sidney, Diary, i. 14; Add. 18730 f. 56.
  • 432 Sidney, Diary, i. 19-20.
  • 433 TNA, PRO 31/3/143, ff. 33-6.
  • 434 HMC Ormonde, n.s v. 530.
  • 435 Sidney, Diary, i. 21, 24-5.
  • 436 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 529-30.
  • 437 Sidney, Diary, i. 28.
  • 438 Add. 18730, f. 58.
  • 439 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 533.
  • 440 HMC Hastings, ii. 388; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 535.
  • 441 Haley, Shaftesbury, 544-7.
  • 442 Glos. Archives, Lloyd Baker MSS D3549/2/2/1 no. 31.
  • 443 HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 535-6.
  • 444 EHR, xl. 244.
  • 445 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 537-8.
  • 446 Ibid. 539-40.
  • 447 Ibid. 541.
  • 448 Ibid. 542.
  • 449 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 260.
  • 450 Verney ms mic. M636/33 C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 15 Oct. 1679, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 16 Oct. 1679, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney 16 Oct. 1679, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney 16 Oct. 1679, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 20 Oct. 1679; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 545-6.
  • 451 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 546-7.
  • 452 Haley, Shaftesbury, 554-5; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 556; Bodl. Carte 228 f. 128.
  • 453 Halstead, Succinct Genealogies, 438.
  • 454 Knights, Pols and Opinion, 62.
  • 455 EHR, xl. 246-7.
  • 456 Sidney, Diary, i. 181.
  • 457 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 557-8.
  • 458 Verney ms mic. M636/33, John Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 10 Nov. 1679, Dr Denton to Sir Ralph Verney, 17 Nov. 1679.
  • 459 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 557-9.
  • 460 De Krey, London and the Restoration, 181-2; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 560.
  • 461 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 561; Verney ms mic. M636/33, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 27 Nov. 1679; CSPD 1679-80, pp. 290-1.
  • 462 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 296; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 29; Haley, Shaftesbury, 560.
  • 463 TNA, PRO 31/3/143 ff. 112-17.
  • 464 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 565.
  • 465 HMC Hastings, iv. 302; Domestick Intelligence or News from Town and Country, no. 45 (9 Dec. 1679); Verney ms mic. M636/33 C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, 8 Dec. 1679.
  • 466 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 566.
  • 467 CCSP, v. 648.
  • 468 HMC Dartmouth, i. 40-1.
  • 469 Haley, Shaftesbury, 562-3; Knights, Pols and Opinion, 66-7.
  • 470 HMC Ormonde, n.s., iv. 576-7; Christie, ii. 357-8.
  • 471 Knights, Pols. and Opinion , 70, 72.
  • 472 Hatton Corresp. i. (Cam. Soc. xxii), 223-4.
  • 473 Haley, Shaftesbury, 369; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 295; Bodl. Carte 243 f. 456.
  • 474 Haley, Shaftesbury, 572-4.
  • 475 De Krey, London and the Restoration, 190. Haley, Shaftesbury, 574.
  • 476 Add. 75362 (unbound), Coventry to Halifax, 20 Apr. 1680.
  • 477 Add. 75363 (unbound), Coventry to Halifax, 15 Apr. 1680, T. Thynne to Halifax, 26 Apr. 1680; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 311.
  • 478 Haley, Shaftesbury, 576-7; Spurr, ed. Shaftesbury, 238-9.
  • 479 Haley, Shaftesbury, 577.
  • 480 Verney ms mic. M636/34 John Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 9 June 1680.
  • 481 Add. 75363 (unbound), T. Thynne to Halifax, 26 June 1680.
  • 482 HMC 7th Rep. p. 479; Add. 75363 (unbound), T. Thynne to Halifax, 1 July 1680.
  • 483 Haley, Shaftesbury, 581.
  • 484 Life of Lady Russell (1819), 343, 355.
  • 485 Haley, Shaftesbury, 584-5.
  • 486 Life of Lady Russell (1819), 354.
  • 487 Ibid. 367.
  • 488 Ibid. 360; BL Althrop MSS Savile papers, C4, Coventry to Halifax, 24 July 1680.
  • 489 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 56; Morrice, Entring book, ii. 236-7; CSP Dom. 1680-81, pp. 24, 25, 43.
  • 490 CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 45.
  • 491 Haley, Shaftesbury, 590; Knights, Pols. and Opinion, 75-6.
  • 492 Verney ms mic. M636/27 Newsletter, 24 Oct. 1680.
  • 493 Haley, Shaftesbury, 594.
  • 494 HMC Lords, i. 145-6.
  • 495 Verney ms mic. M636/34, Newsletter, 1 Nov. 1680.
  • 496 Add. 28053, f. 103.
  • 497 Verney ms mic. M636/34, A. Nicholas to Sir R. Verney, 10 Nov. 1680.
  • 498 Macpherson, Original papers, 108; Verney ms mic. M636/34, J. to Sir R. Verney, 17 Nov. 1680, 18 Nov. 1680; HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 495-7.
  • 499 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 495-7; Sidney, Diary, ii. 126; Macpherson, Original papers, 108.
  • 500 HMC Lords, i. 210-11.
  • 501 Knights, Pols. and Opinion, 85.
  • 502 Haley, Shaftesbury, 604; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 499.
  • 503 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 505.
  • 504 Bodl. Clarendon 87, f. 334.
  • 505 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 505.
  • 506 Sidney, Diary, ii. 128.
  • 507 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 514.
  • 508 LJ, xiii. 700-1; Haley, Shaftesbury, 609.
  • 509 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS 1, series ii, box 4, folder 173.
  • 510 HMC Ormonde, n.s., v. 529.
  • 511 LJ, xiii. 688, 698; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 520.
  • 512 LJ, xiii. 703.
  • 513 Shaftesbury, A speech lately made by a Noble Peer of the Realm (1681).
  • 514 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS 1 Box 1, folder 4.
  • 515 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 562-3.
  • 516 Add. 70128, Sir E. to Lady Harley, 1 Jan. 1681.
  • 517 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 657.
  • 518 Haley, Shaftesbury, 620.
  • 519 Vox Patriae (1681), pp. 6-7.
  • 520 Haley, Shaftesbury, 623-4; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 213, 215.
  • 521 EHR, xl, 249-51.
  • 522 Add. 70127, A. Stephens to Lady Harley, 1 Feb. 1681.
  • 523 HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 357.
  • 524 Ibid. 247.
  • 525 HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 445, 220-1.
  • 526 Haley, Shaftesbury, 625.
  • 527 Christie, ii. 392-401; Bodl. Rawl. lett. 53 no. 101.
  • 528 Bodl. Carte 222, f. 272; Castle Ashby mss, 1092, W. Howard to Northampton, 20 Mar. 1681; HMC 14th Rep. IX. 423; Haley, Shaftesbury, 632.
  • 529 Protestant Oxford Intelligence, Mar. 21-4 1681, No. 5.
  • 530 Christie, ii. cxiii-cxiv.
  • 531 Sloane 3065 ff. 32-3; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 426; Christie, ii. cxv.
  • 532 The earl of Shaftesbury’s expedient for settling the nation discoursed with his Majesty in the House of Peers at Oxford (1681); Christie, ii. cxvi.
  • 533 Christie, ii. cxvi.
  • 534 HMC Ormonde, n.s. vi. 7.
  • 535 The Secret History of the Rye-House Plot (1754), 18-22.
  • 536 CSP Dom. 1682, p. 290-1, 425.
  • 537 Haley, Shaftesbury, 723-4, 724 n.1.
  • 538 Haley, Shaftesbury, 640-1; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 226.
  • 539 Bodl. Carte 222, f. 290.
  • 540 Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 12 May 1681.
  • 541 CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 237-8.
  • 542 Haley, Shaftesbury, 644.
  • 543 HMC 10th Rep. IV. 172; Haley, Shaftesbury, 645-6.
  • 544 Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 9 June 1681.
  • 545 Haley, Shaftesbury, 649-50; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 95-6.
  • 546 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS 6, Box 1, folder 18.
  • 547 Haley, Shaftesbury, 654-5; Morrice, Ent’ring Book, ii. 281-2.
  • 548 Morrice, Ent’ring Book, ii. 283.
  • 549 Haley, Shaftesbury, 657-8; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 233.
  • 550 Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 13 July 1681.
  • 551 Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 20, 28 July 1681; NLW Clenennau, Gadbury to Sir R. Owen 1 Aug. 1681.
  • 552 Haley, Shaftesbury, 664.
  • 553 Ibid. 664-5; Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 1 Sept. 1681.
  • 554 CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 457.
  • 555 HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 154-5; Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 22 Sept. 1681.
  • 556 Bodl. Clarendon 88, f. 5.
  • 557 Haley, Shaftesbury, 667-8; Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 6 Oct. 1681, 13 Oct. 1681; HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 184; Verney ms mic. M636/34, Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, 17 Oct. 1681.
  • 558 Chatsworth Muniments, Charlton to Lord Russell, 12 Oct. 1681; Haley, Shaftesbury, 669.
  • 559 NLW, Wynnstay family and estate, L401, 403.
  • 560 Haley, Shaftesbury, 672; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 234; HMC Ormonde,. n.s., vi. 197-8; A Particular account of the Proceedings at the Old-Bayly, the 17 and 18 of this Instant October (1681).
  • 561 Castle Ashby mss 1092, ? to Northampton, 27 Oct. 1681; HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 208-9, 211; Chatsworth, Devonshire Collection, Group 1/F newsletter 1 Nov. 1681; Verney ms mic. M636/36, R. Palmer to J. Verney, 1 Nov. 1681, Denton to Sir Ralph Verney, 7 Nov. 1681.
  • 562 HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 229; Haley, Shaftesbury, 674-5.
  • 563 De Krey, London and the Restoration, 235-6; Haley, Shaftesbury, 675-6.
  • 564 Haley, Shaftesbury, 675-81; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 236; The Proceedings at the Sessions House in the Old-Baily, London on Thursday the 24th day of November 1681 (1681); Harris, London Crowds, 180-2.
  • 565 HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 242.
  • 566 Haley, Shaftesbury, 681-2; HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 242; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 147-8.
  • 567 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 151; Haley, Shaftesbury, 689.
  • 568 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 151.
  • 569 Ibid. i. 164-5; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 247-8.
  • 570 Spurr (ed.), Shaftesbury, 237; Haley, Shaftesbury, 690.
  • 571 Haley, Shaftesbury, 692.
  • 572 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 172; CSPD 1682, p. 147; De Krey, London and the Restoration, 251; Haley, Shaftesbury, 693.
  • 573 Add. 18730, f. 95.
  • 574 Haley, Shaftesbury, 706.
  • 575 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 179; Haley, Shaftesbury, 694-5, De Krey, 252-3.
  • 576 Verney ms mic. M636/36 Dr Denton to Sir R. Verney, 10 May 1682; Bodl., Carte 216 f. 41; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 185-6; Bodl. Rawl. Letters 48 no. 3.
  • 577 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 238-9.
  • 578 HMC Ormonde, n.s., vi. 430.
  • 579 Bodl. Tanner 35, ff. 91-2.
  • 580 CSP Dom. 1682, 342-3, 344-7.
  • 581 Grey, Secret History, 22-5; Milton, ‘Shaftesbury and the Rye House Plot’, 242-3.
  • 582 CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 429, 432.
  • 583 Grey, Secret History, 25-7; Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 244-6.
  • 584 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 247; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 227; Verney ms mic. M636/37, Denton to Sir Ralph Verney, 9 Oct. 1682; NAS GD 157/2681/6, Newsletter, 28 Oct. 1682.
  • 585 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 247-53, 260-5; Burnet, History, ed. Airy, ii. 351; Haley, Shaftesbury, 727.
  • 586 Haley, Shaftesbury, 729-32; TNA, PROB 11/375/136.
  • 587 Haley, Shaftesbury, 732-3; Bodl. Carte 222, f. 318.
  • 588 Verney ms mic. M636/38, A. Nicholas to J. Verney, 7 Nov. 1683.
  • 589 Bodl. Carte 232 ff. 9-10.
  • 590 Knights, Pols. and Opinion, 130.
  • 591 Spurr ed. Shaftesbury, 222-31.
  • 592 Grey, Secret History, 19.
  • 593 CSP Dom. Jul. to Sept. 1683, p. 256.
  • 594 Add. 32518, ff. 261-2.
  • 595 England’s Interest Asserted in the Improvement of its Native Commodities; And more especially the Manufacture of Wool (1669).
  • 596 Grey, Secret History, 2.