BENTINCK, Hans Willem (1649-1709)

BENTINCK, Hans Willem (1649–1709)

cr. 9 Apr. 1689 earl of PORTLAND

First sat 15 Apr. 1689; last sat 5 Apr. 1709

b. 10 July 1649, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of Bernhard Bentinck (1597-1668), Ld. of Diepenheim [Overijssel, Utd. Provinces], and Anna (1622-85), da. of Hans Hendrik van Bloemendaal; educ. DCL (hon.), Oxford 20 Dec. 1670. m. (1) Feb. 1678 (with £2,000) Anne (?1660-1688), da. of Sir Edward Villiers, 2s. (1 d.v.p.), 5da. (1 d.v.p.);1 (2) 12 May 1700 (with £20,000)2 Jane Martha (1672-1751), da. of Sir John Temple of East Sheen, Surrey, wid. of John Berkeley, 3rd Bar. Berkeley of Stratton, 2s. 4da. cr. ld. of Drimmelen [Brabant, Utd Provinces], 15 Sept. 1676 [n.s.];3 ld. of Rhoon and Pendrecht July 1683;4 KG 19 Feb. 1697. d. 23 Nov. 1709; will 30 Apr. 1709, pr. 22 Dec. 1709.5

Page of honour to William, Prince of Orange 1664-72;6 ‘nobleman of the chamber’ (i.e. chamberlain) to William, Prince of Orange 1672-99;7 verderer (houtvester), Holland and West Friesland, Utd. Provinces 1681-99;8 PC 14 Feb. 1689-8 Mar. 1702; treasurer, privy purse c.1689-99; groom of the stole to William III, 1689-99; superintendent, royal gardens 1689-1702;9 ranger, Windsor Great Park 1697-1702,10 Windsor Little Park 1699-1702;11 commr. appeals in prizes 1694, 1695, 1697.12

Bailiff (drost), Breda, United Provinces 1674, Lingen, Utd. Provinces 1675.13

Cornet, lord of ’s Graevemoer’s coy [Dutch army], 1668-72;14 capt., 1672-75;15 coy in William of Orange’s own Regt. of Horse Guards 1675-99;16 col. Regt. of Dutch Guards [Dutch army], 1674-1700;17 sgt.-maj.-gen., Horse [Dutch army], 1683;18 lt.-gen., Horse and Foot [English Army], 1690,19 Horse [Dutch army], 1691;20 gen., Horse [English Army], 1697.21

Commr. to treaty for peace with Maréchal Boufflers June 1697, amb. extraordinary France Jan.-June 1698; plenipotentiary, to treat with the Emperor, France and the States General for a partition of Spanish Empire Aug. 1698;22 to treat with the Emperor, France and the States General for a partition of the Spanish Empire July 1699,23 to treat with France and the States-General for a partition of the Spanish Empire Jan. 1700.24

Associated with: Zorgvliet, The Hague, Netherlands (from 1674); apartments, Het Loo Palace, Honslaersdijk House (Netherlands); Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Whitehall Palace (England) (to 1699); Theobalds, Berks. (from 1689); Pall Mall, Westminster (by 1696); Powis House, Knightsbridge, Westminster 1691-by 1700; Ranger’s Lodge, Windsor, Berks. (1697-1702); Bagshot Park, Surrey (1702-5); Bulstrode Park, Bucks. (from 1706).25

Likeness: oil on canvas, studio of Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1698-9, NPG 1968.

Companion to the Prince of Orange

Born on 10 July 1649 Hans Willem Bentinck had little chance of inheriting his noble father’s title or estate, being one of the younger of nine children.26 He made his fortune instead as a courtier of his contemporary William, Prince of Orange, beginning as a page of honour in 1664. He quickly became a close friend and companion of the orphaned young prince, only one year younger than him, who as early as 1668 promised him assistance, faithfulness and affection.27 The war with France from 1672 to 1679 allowed Bentinck to rise with his prince. William of Orange was made captain-general of the armed forces in February 1672 and, upon the French invasion in June of that year, stadholder of the provinces of Holland and Zealand in the ‘Orangist revolution’. For his part, Bentinck quickly showed himself a brave warrior on the battlefield, and perhaps more importantly a skilled military organizer, administrator and staff officer. He rose from being a captain in the prince’s own regiment of Horse Guards in April 1672 to being the regiment’s colonel in May 1675. The numerous papers in his archive concerning the war of 1672-8 are testament to his close involvement in this struggle.28 He was also made ‘chamberlain’, or the principal nobleman of the chamber, to the prince’s household as William increasingly relied on him for assistance, companionship and even nursing care, at least at the time of William’s dangerous attack of small pox in 1675.

Bentinck also became William’s principal diplomat. He first encountered members of the English elite when he accompanied William on a trip to England in the winter of 1670 to request, unsuccessfully, the repayment of debts owed to the prince by his uncle Charles II.29 In June 1677 Bentinck came to Westminster by himself on a special diplomatic mission to Charles II to gauge the king’s attitude towards the possibility of peace between the United Provinces and France.30 The embassy was successful enough for William to come to England in September, with Bentinck in his retinue, to further the work Bentinck had started and to engage in negotiations for his marriage to Princess Mary. Shortly after, in February 1678, Bentinck contracted a marriage to one of Mary’s childhood friends and member of her household, Anne Villiers, the daughter of Edward Villiers, the knight marshal.31

Further honours, rewards and responsibilities were bestowed on Bentinck. In 1681 he was made verderer of Holland, in charge of the stadholder’s parks and gardens, an area of aesthetics in which Bentinck was keenly interested.32 In 1683 he purchased the lordships of Rhoon and Pendrecht near Rotterdam for 154,000 guilders. His connection with England and the English political elite was strengthened by his marriage into the Villiers family and by his growing friendship with the English ambassador at the court at The Hague from June 1679, Henry Sydney, later earl of Romney.33 Bentinck returned to England in the summer of 1683, ostensibly to congratulate Charles II on his escape from the Rye House Plot but also to endeavour to detach the king from the orbit of Louis XIV by making clear to him, and to Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, the danger to European peace represented by French aggression.34 In the face of continuing military danger from France, in October Bentinck was made sergeant-major-general of the cavalry in the Army of the States-General. He was again dispatched to England in July 1685 to assure James II that William had given no encouragement to James Scott, duke of Monmouth, in the months preceding his expedition to England and of the prince’s loyalty and service. Bentinck also had instructions to negotiate with the lord treasurer, Rochester, for a closer Anglo-Dutch alliance against France.35


By 1687 Bentinck had become aware of the growing unrest in Britain against James II’s rule, especially from the large number of Scottish exiles at William of Orange’s court, such as William Carstares, Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth, later earl of Marchmont [S], James Johnston, and Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury.36 Burnet, at this point at least, thought highly of Bentinck, who was,

bred about the prince, and he observed in him that application to business and those virtues that made him think fit to take him into his particular confidence, and to employ him in the secretest of all his concerns as well as the looking to all his private affairs. He is a man of a great probity and sincerity, and is as close as his master is. He bears his favour with great modesty, and has nothing of that haughtiness that seems to belong to all favourites. He is a virtuous and religions man, and I have heard instances of this that are very extraordinary, chiefly in a courtier. He has all the passion of a friend for the prince’s person, as well as the fidelity of a minister in his affairs, and makes up the defects of his education in a great application to business; and as he has a true and clear judgment, so the probity of his temper appears in all his counsels, which are just and moderate; and this is so well known, that though commonwealths can very ill bear any inequality of favour that is lodged in one person, yet I never heard any that are in the government of the towns of Holland complain of him; nor does he make those advantages of his favour which were ordinarily made by those that have access to princes, by employing it for those pay them best. I do not know him well enough to say much concerning him; but though I naturally hate favourites, because all those whom I have known hitherto have made a very ill use of their greatness, yet by all I could ever discern, the prince has showed a very true judgment of persons in placing so much of his confidence on him.37

From late December 1687 at the latest Bentinck began to receive detailed newsletters of developments in English politics from a number of correspondents in Britain, particularly Sydney and James Johnston.38 By mid-August 1688, after William had received the invitation from Sydney and other opponents of the king to invade England, Bentinck was appointed to organize the logistics of both the land and sea forces for the descent on England.39 Burnet commented that Bentinck and the invasion fleet’s English admiral Arthur Herbert, later earl of Torrington, ‘were for two months constantly at the Hague giving all necessary orders, with so little noise that nothing broke out all the while’ and that ‘Bentinck used to be constantly with the prince, being the person that was most entirely trusted and constantly employed by him; so that his absence from him, being so extraordinary a thing, might have given some umbrage’.40 He supervised the embarkation of the troops on board the fleet and set sail with the fleet on 1 Nov. 1688. After the invasion force made landfall at Torbay on 5 Nov. Bentinck effectively oversaw the disembarkation of the troops over the space of 48 hours. He maintained a detailed diary and account of the march of William’s troops from the West County to London and also kept Herbert informed of the progress of the campaign.41 Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, first encountered Bentinck shortly after he arrived at William of Orange’s camp at Hildon, near Salisbury, on 4 December. Bentinck had only just received the news of the death of his wife Anne back in The Hague, which affected him deeply. Nevertheless, he still had the presence of mind to reassure Clarendon that William had provided a ‘sincere’ account of the reasons for his invasion in his Declaration (which Bentinck had helped draft), ‘though there are not ill men wanting, who give it out that the prince aspires at the crown, which is the most wicked insinuation that could be invented’.42 He played a prominent part as William’s ‘general’, principal adviser and intermediary when the commissioners sent from James – George Savile, marquess of Halifax, Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham and Sidney Godolphin, Baron (later earl of) Godolphin – arrived at the camp at Hungerford and set forth James’s conditions.43

Despite his earlier protestations to Clarendon, from the time of James II’s first abortive flight Bentinck began to sense that his master could perhaps gain more than a role as a protector through the evident disorder in James’s government. After the king had been ordered – via the intermediaries Halifax, Charles Talbot, 12th earl (later duke) of Shrewsbury and Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamer (later earl of Warrington) – to leave the capital, ‘for his own safety’, it was Bentinck who, at 5 o’clock in the morning on 18 Dec. 1688, wrote to Halifax to tell him that the prince accepted James’s request to reside in Rochester, from which the king more easily effected his escape in the early hours of 24 December.44 During January 1689 Bentinck appears to have increasingly pressed William to take advantage of the opportunity presented to him and to insist on full regal power. Nicolas Witsen came to England in early January 1689 as part of a Dutch delegation to the prince and the Convention. He thought that while Dijkvelt had hoped to arrange for both the prince and princess of Orange to be proclaimed king and queen, Bentinck had strongly laboured to have only the prince elected: ‘Bentinck and Dijkvelt had laboured hard, the former with great vehemence’.45 Burnet provided an account of a long conversation he had with Bentinck at about the time the plans for a regency were being debated in the Convention. He recounted how Halifax suggested that the crown should be given to the Prince of Orange alone, followed by the two princesses, Mary and Anne:

How far the prince himself entertained this, I cannot tell. But I saw it made a great impression on Benthink [sic]. He spoke of it to me, as asking my opinion about it, but so, that I plainly saw what was his own. For he gave me all the arguments that were offered for it; as that it was most natural that the sovereign power should be only in one person; that a man’s wife ought only to be his wife; that it was a suitable return to the Prince for what he had done for the Nation; that a divided sovereignty was liable to great inconveniences: and though there was less to be apprehended from the Princess of any thing of that king than from any woman alive, yet all mortals were frail, and might at some time or other of their lives be wrought on. To all this I answered, with some vehemence, that this was a very ill return for the steps the princess had made to the prince three years ago: it would be thought both unjust and ungrateful: it would meet with great opposition, and give a general ill impression of the prince, as insatiable and jealous in his ambition … We talked over the whole thing for many hours, till it was pretty far in the morning.46

Bentinck evidently was keeping a very close eye on events in Parliament in the early days of February 1689 and gave William’s personal secretary Constantijn Huygens the younger a detailed breakdown of the vote of 6 Feb. 1689 which declared the throne vacant and William and Mary king and queen.47 After Parliament had passed this vote, it turned to the matter of the Declaration of Rights. Here Bentinck also defended what he saw as the prerogative rights of his master, the new king. It was reported that Sir Edward Seymour informed the Commons that Bentinck had told him that the prince was not happy with the restrictions and limitations they were putting upon the crown ‘and that if it had been left to himself he would have done better and more for their security’. This angered Nottingham in particular who said in the House ‘that the prince ought to consider that the crown of England with whatever limitations was far more than anything the States of Holland were able to give him’. Sydney was able to defuse the situation when he returned from the prince, who disowned Bentinck’s comments and ‘said such a thing was far from his mind’48

The Convention, 1689-90

Bentinck was quickly rewarded for his faithful service. On 14 Feb. 1689, the day of the proclamation of William and Mary as king and queen, he was sworn to the new king’s Privy Council, and over the following few weeks he was appointed keeper of the king’s privy purse, groom of the stole and first gentleman of the bedchamber. These positions put him closer than any other courtier to the person of the king; his favoured status was further emphasized when he was given apartments adjoining the king’s. For the next ten years or so Bentinck remained the closest adviser and secretary to the Dutch king and acted as his intermediary with the English, indeed the British, political nation. In effect he was the gatekeeper to the king’s presence, by which discretion he was able to wield a great deal of power and influence. As Burnet commented about the king’s appointments: ‘The king’s chief personal favour lay between Bentinck and Sydney: the former was made earl of Portland and groom of the stole, and continued for ten years to be entirely trusted by the king; and served him with great fidelity and obsequiousness: but he could never bring himself to be acceptable to the English nation’49.

Huygens reported as early as 29 Dec. 1688 that the English political class ‘already held a grudge against Bentinck because he had so much authority’ and a month later was told by Dijkvelt that ‘Bentinck already gave great jealousy to the English’, a view confirmed by the other ambassador Odijk.50 Dijkvelt, with some of William’s other close Dutch companions, did not wish to become involved in English politics or be promoted as Bentinck was, knowing that ‘in England the manner was that the favourites and councillors were accused and punished when the kings had done some wrong’. Nor did they wish – at that point at least – to be made peers of the realm by the king, for then they would have to serve him in Parliament.51 Such considerations do not seem to have preyed on Bentinck, and in early April, only a few days before the coronation, he and his children were naturalized by an act of Parliament (part of a string of naturalizations of many of William’s Dutch followers). The following day, on 9 Apr. 1689, he was made an English peer as Baron Cirencester, Viscount Woodstock and earl of Portland. The latter title may have been chosen because of the connection between the family of his late English wife, Anne Villiers, and the Westons, earls of Portland. The last of that line, Thomas Weston, 4th earl of Portland, had died in 1688. Portland was also granted the park and house of Theobalds in Hertfordshire.52 In early June he was made superintendent of the royal gardens and parks, an office especially created for him by William III so that Portland could continue in an office he had also fulfilled in the United Provinces.53

As a new member of the English aristocracy, no matter how resented this may have been, the earl of Portland was introduced in the House on 15 Apr. 1689, between Shrewsbury and Charles Montagu, 4th earl (later duke) of Manchester. This late entry into the House and his later absence on military and administrative duties in September and early October 1689 meant that in total he came to only 16 per cent of the sittings of the first session of the Convention. He was also not particularly prominent in the House’s affairs, and was named to only four very large select committees on legislation. Huygens reported that in May Portland was proposing a parliamentary bill so that the funds voted for the queen would be managed and disbursed through the privy purse, which he of course controlled, but this project does not appear to have gone very far.54 Roger Morrice reported that when on 2 July the House considered the impeachment against Sir Adam Blair and the others who had distributed James II’s Declaration, Portland and Frederick Herman Schomberg, duke of Schomberg – the only two of William’s continental coterie who had received English titles by that time – voted in favour of the impeachment, ‘and they two had not this sessions before ever been present at any division, nor at any time given either their contents or not contents’. Morrice likewise remarked on the absence of Portland and Sydney (now Viscount Sydney), two of the four ‘new lords’ recently created by William III, at the division on 30 July on whether to adhere to the House’s controversial amendment to the bill for reversing the judgments against Oates.55

Portland was more often present in the short second session of the Convention which began in late October. He came to just under half of its sittings in the autumn and winter of 1689 but was named to only two large select committees on legislation. His lack of presence and activity in the House was explained to Huygens in the week before the autumn meeting, for ‘he was not a man who could do the king either great service or disservice, having no considerable estate nor following and credit in Parliament’.56 This lack of a parliamentary interest rendered him susceptible to attack. In May Huygens noted the appearance of a scurrilous poem claiming that ‘The Lord Portland takes all’, and later that month one of his English informants complained ‘about the sale of all sorts of offices, most of which was done by Bentinck’ [as Huygens frequently named him even after his elevation]. Huygens’s informant confidently predicted that within nine months Parliament would attack Portland; in late July the English accoucheur, Dr Chamberlen, complained that Portland ‘had too much influence and that favour lay too much in his hands’.57 As early as November it was thought that Portland would be caught up in the scandal surrounding the commissary John Shales, as there were rumours that the earl had been involved in Shales’s purchase of the office.58

As Huygens’s comment suggests, Portland, though not a considerable figure in Parliament at this time, was at the very heart of William III’s government from its beginning. He acted as the conduit for the British political nation to the king. He was personally sent by the king in early September 1689 to Shrewsbury to try to convince him not to resign the secretaryship of state, as Shrewsbury so often threatened, and it was to Portland that Shrewsbury finally delivered up the seals of office in June 1690.59 Almost all official correspondence for the king passed through his hands first, and the king increasingly delegated many areas of policy to him. In particular, Portland managed the complicated affairs in Scotland, where he took advice from the Presbyterian minister William Carstares, one of the many Presbyterian exiles who had taken refuge in the United Provinces during the 1680s.60 Burnet believed that Portland ‘had that nation … wholly in his hands’, while Macky early in Anne’s reign commented that William III ‘gave him the absolute and entire government of Scotland’.61 He remained the dominant ‘English’ figure in Scottish politics and policy-making throughout William’s reign.62 In English matters, Portland was much more present and active in the Privy Council than he was in the House, and although the scarcity of sources renders it difficult to make definitive statements, it is most likely that Portland was also engaged in the embryonic ‘cabinet council’ being formed at this time. A French agent wrote in early July that ‘Dijkvelt who has as much power in the council as Bentinck in the cabinet gives complaints mightily here’ and both Narcissus Luttrell and John Verney (later Viscount Fermanagh [I]) also noted in early August that Portland was one of the five members of William’s ‘cabinet council’ dealing with naval strategy during the transport of troops to Ireland.63 Portland was intensely involved in this campaign and left the House for several weeks in the late summer as he was dispatched to Chester to oversee the preparation and embarkation of the troops headed for Ireland under Schomberg.64 The United Provinces also called his attention and his attendance on the House in the autumn 1689 was cut short when, on the final day of the year, he was given leave by the House to go to Holland in order to settle the growing unrest caused by the republican faction in the Holland States of the States General against their stadtholder’s new powers as king of England. On the same day he registered his proxy for the remainder of the session with his old friend Sydney.

Portland spent the next three months in the Netherlands, engaged in complicated negotiations with the anti-Orangist city fathers of Amsterdam who wished to appoint the town’s bailiffs (schepenen), without the advice or confirmation of William of Orange. These same anti-Orangist Amsterdamers also tried to deprive Portland of his seat as a noble (ridderschap) in the Estates of Holland, as he was now a naturalized subject of the English crown.65 After several weeks of building alliances, and enlisting the help of the dukes of Brandenburg and Brunswick, Portland was able to take his seat in the States General and to effect a compromise between Amsterdam and their absent stadtholder on the appointment of the city’s officials and the payment of its quota to William’s war effort.66

The Parliament of 1690

While he was in the Netherlands, Portland learned from the king himself of the continuing party disputes over the bill of indemnity and other measures and of the surprise prorogation of 27 Jan. 1690. William recounted, perhaps with some glee, that ‘it seems the Tories are happy with it, but not the Whigs.’ Similarly, in informing his friend of the dissolution on 6 Feb., William could only comment, ‘the animosity of the two parties grows from day to day and causes me terrible problems’.67 Portland returned from his mission in the Netherlands in time to sit in William III’s new Parliament on 24 Mar. 1690, only four days after it had first convened. He continued to sit for 54 per cent of the session’s sittings, though throughout this time he was named to only one select committee. In early April Portland, with Nottingham, Halifax, Shrewsbury and Thomas Osborne, the former earl of Danby now marquess of Carmarthen (later duke of Leeds), opposed the bill moved by Charles Powlett, duke of Bolton, which would ‘declare’ the acts of the Convention ‘to be of full force and effect by the laws of the realm’ and would ‘recognize’ William and Mary as ‘rightful and lawful’ monarchs. In this they followed the wishes of the king who was trying to court the Tories and was concerned that such claims would raise their ire. Portland preferred Nottingham’s compromise wording merely ‘confirming’ the acts of the Convention and the monarchs’ presence on the throne.68 In late April he was ordered by the king to try to make clear to the Commons manager Sir John Lowther of Lowther, later Viscount Lonsdale, ‘the prejudice that Holland would suffer by the prohibition of silk goods’ in order to block a bill banning their import.69

Portland accompanied William on his expedition to Ireland in spring 1690, and he and his regiment of horse participated in the Battle of the Boyne. When William returned to England in early September he left Portland effectively in charge of the army in Ireland, making him a lieutenant-general of both the horse and foot in the English Army before he left.70 Portland did not stay long in Ireland, as the government of that troubled country was entrusted to the lord justices Sydney (who left to take up one of the secretaryships of state in December 1690), and Thomas Coningsby (later earl of Coningsby [I]) and the military leader Godard van Reede-Ginckel (earl of Athlone [I] from March 1692). However, from this point Portland became closely involved in Irish affairs as well and received letters from Sydney, Coningsby and especially Ginckel discussing the course of the campaign against the remaining Jacobite army and the management of the government in the conquered areas. From October Portland held peace talks in London with John Grady, representing the Jacobite peace party. In his correspondence with Ginckel on campaign he urged that favourable terms be offered to the Irish Catholics so that the war could be wrapped up quickly.71 The Treaty of Limerick of early October 1691, with its conciliatory terms extended to Irish Catholics, represented the policy he had been advocating to Ginckel. The terms of the treaty were later repudiated by the Irish parliament which met under the lord lieutenancy of Sydney in 1692, and held back supply until harsher anti-Catholic measures were taken – ensuring Portland’s continued involvement in Irish politics for many years.

Shortly after Portland’s departure from Ireland, Sydney and Coningsby addressed a long letter to him setting out their advice on how he and the king should manage the Commons in the forthcoming Parliament in England, for ‘it is without all question impossible for a king of England to do any considerable thing in a House of Commons without a formed management’. This is the first indication that, among his other duties for the king, Portland was also beginning to take on the role of parliamentary manager, or as a co-ordinator of the court’s other parliamentary managers. Sydney and Coningsby concentrated their analysis on the Commons, and insisted that the crown rely on ‘two or three men who have fair reputation in the House’ and were not allied to James II.72 How much Portland himself took on this advice, which appears to have been unsolicited, and acted on it is difficult to determine, but he was in the House for the first day of the new session on 2 Oct. 1690; however, he was present for only 39 per cent of its sittings, during which he was named to four select committees. Carmarthen, the court’s principal manager in the House, also recorded that on 6 Oct. 1690 Portland was among those who voted for the discharge of James Cecil, 4th earl of Salisbury, and Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, from the Tower.73

Shortly after the prorogation in early January 1691, Portland accompanied William to the Congress of Allies meeting at The Hague.74 After an inconclusive summer’s campaigning in the Netherlands (for which he had been promoted to lieutenant-general of the Dutch horse), Portland returned to England in time for the 1691-2 session beginning in late October, in which he maintained his best attendance rate to that point – 58 per cent.75 Despite his new-found assiduity, he was not named to a single select committee during this session. As the king’s principal adviser and policy-maker, he was, however, becoming increasingly concerned with the problems of parliamentary management, as first suggested by the project outlined to him by Sydney and Coningsby the previous year. Huygens recorded that at a meal at court Portland was assured by the goldsmith Sir Francis Child ‘that the Parliament will do your business’ regarding supply, to which Portland could only answer ‘I think they will not do the king’s but their own business’.76

Certainly the 1691-2 session proved difficult for the court and considerations of the management of the parties had to be taken into account after the disgrace of John Churchill, earl (later duke) of Marlborough in early 1692 and the vacancy in the secretaryship of state caused by Sydney’s appointment as sole lord lieutenant of Ireland in March 1692. From February 1692 Portland clearly became more involved in ensuring the smooth functioning of the government in England for the court’s interest by managing the parties and their expectations.77 As part of this he consolidated his connections with a few key individuals and families among the English nobility – a strange decision as, at about this time, Huygens noted him as commenting that he wished to send his son back to the continent so that he would not learn English ‘debauchery’.78 On 28 Feb. 1692, only a few days after the prorogation of Parliament, his eldest daughter Mary was married to Algernon Capell, 2nd earl of Essex, only recently come of age, the son of the ‘martyred’ opponent of the Stuart brothers Arthur Capell, earl of Essex.79 This match had been long rumoured and anticipated, and it was hardly a coincidence that only a few weeks afterwards the young groom’s uncle and guardian, the Whig Henry Capell, was created Baron Capell of Tewkesbury.80 Portland and Capell were to remain close friends and associates, bound in no small part by their mutual anxiety over the erratic and abusive behaviour of the young earl of Essex. Portland played an important role in ensuring that Capell was appointed a lord justice of Ireland in June 1693, and then the sole lord deputy there from May 1695, posts in which he was in constant contact with Portland discussing Irish and familial affairs until his death at the end of May 1696.81

A third figure often mentioned in the correspondence of Portland and Capell was Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, James II’s disgraced former secretary of state who in 1691 had been allowed to kiss the king’s hand and even to take up his seat in the House. Feeling confident of his rehabilitation, and of the king’s desire for his advice, Sunderland addressed the first in what was to become a long series of letters to Portland on 5 May 1692. He welcomed Portland’s return to England, sent there to help the queen and the cabinet council deal with the threat of a French invasion. In his letters of May 1692 he urged the king’s immediate return as well and lashed out at the current Tory-based ministry, for ‘the considerable part of [the nation], do not care who are ministers of state, whether this man or that, so we may be safe and secure’ and that ‘it will be a very ill preparative to the persuading the Parliament to take care of the government next winter, to leave all at random this summer’.82

The need for a reform of the ministry was further emphasized by the military failures of the Allies that summer. Following the victories of Admiral Edward Russell, later earl of Orford, against the French invasion force at Barfleur and La Hogue in mid-May, Portland, with Sydney (about to be dispatched to Ireland again as sole lord lieutenant) and Rochester, went to Portsmouth to convene a council of war with Russell and the other admirals in order to plan an Allied ‘descent’ and invasion of the French coast. Shortly after these meetings Portland returned to the continent to take part in the campaign in Flanders, where he was one of the commanders who oversaw the disastrous defeat of the Allies at Steenkirk following the French capture of the fortress of Namur.83 Similarly, the ambitiously planned invasion of France foundered through mismanagement and miscommunication, particularly between the Tory secretary of state Nottingham and the Whig admiral Russell. This was much to the frustration of the general of the land forces in the expedition Meinhard Schomberg, duke of Leinster [I] ( later 3rd duke of Schomberg), and of Sydney. The latter’s passage to Ireland to take up the lord lieutenancy there was delayed by his continuing involvement in this matter, in which he was increasingly critical of Russell’s unwillingness to embark for the descent.84

In this depressing international context Portland returned with the king in late Oct. 1692.85 In the days before the session, scheduled to start on 4 Nov., Sunderland presented Portland with a long ‘memorial’ on the proper means to manage the Parliament, transmitted to Portland through Sunderland’s associate Henry Guy (for it is in his hand). Sunderland recalled that in his previous correspondence with Portland in May ‘we were of a mind in everything we talked on, and so I know we shall always be, both of us intending the same thing’, so ‘if you can believe my opinion of weight, you may make use of it as you please’. Sunderland stated his views straightforwardly, ‘without any kind of mincing’, that the country needed to be properly defended and that the king should maintain a constant presence there:

That which will ruin the king, if not remedied, is, that every one thinks this Government cannot last, which makes, that many of those who wish well to it, have a mind to secure themselves, for the generality of mankind will ever intend that chiefly. … A good session of Parliament is necessary, which – as much as I can judge – is yet in the king’s power ... But if the foundation is not made good, that will not save us; for if the fears and discontents continue, though the Parliament doth give money, we shall be undone … People are possessed of a most dangerous opinion, that England is not taken care on; that must be cured, or all signifies nothing, which may be done, and the Allies supported to the height; but if it is not done, the confederacy will quickly be at an end.86

Portland, and through him the king, were ready to listen carefully and follow Sunderland’s advice at this time. Marlborough suggested to Halifax at about this time in the autumn 1692 that ‘Lord Sunderland had gained Lord Portland, and that he [Marlborough] was sure the king had a great mind to have him in employment’.87

Others also expressed their fears to Portland of the danger to the confederacy from the forthcoming Parliament. Even before Portland’s departure from the continent, Dijkvelt had written to him recommending that Jean de Robéthon, the secretary of the Hanoverian envoy Schütz, should write a pamphlet aimed at Members of the English Parliament convincing them of the benefits of continuing the war.88 Robéthon, who was later to go on to serve as secretary to Portland and then to William III, duly produced his Letter to one of the Members of Parliament about the State of the Present War, published early in 1693. An anonymous correspondent in England also warned Portland at length in early November, only a few days before the session was scheduled to start, of the attacks that were being planned against him, the king, the ministry, and the alliance in general:

That there are many Members of Parliament that would do all they could to delay and hinder his majesty in his most generous and glorious acquirements your lordship can not be ignorant, and that they design to do the like now is too obvious. They resolve to spoil all business if possible and are upon several projects to make a division in this next session of Parliament. Some members are for impeaching your lordship as advising his majesty to keep up the Dutch confederacy and thereby expending the English blood and treasure beyond sea and doing no good therewith against the French: they also intend to make other articles against the bishop of Salisbury [Gilbert Burnet], looking on him as accessory to the same; and these men are churchmen and friends of my Lord Nottingham, though I cannot say his lordship knows of it. And they are for finding fault with the last summer’s expedition both by land and sea; and say they will call Admiral Russell to account for failures on his part; and will also have an account of the miscarriages beyond sea. All which things they are encouraged to by the many and great complaints made by some of his majesties officers who tell them, the English were sacrificed at Steenkirk, the Dutch would not fight, nor let the other English relieve them.

This correspondent went on to recount at length allegations made by a kinsman of Sir Edward Seymour to Sir Thomas Clarges about Portland’s refusal to allow James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond, to march his troops to the relief of the hard-pressed English troops at Steenkirk. This, he predicted, would give Clarges a handle for refusing to promote supply for the continuation of the war. He further suggested Portland advise the king to adjourn Parliament for a further few days so that the government’s supporters could come up and make a ‘full house’, as there were rumours that Clarges and the ‘Country’ opposition were trying to muster their troops early for an attack at the beginning of the session.89

Portland’s anonymous correspondent was not wrong. Almost immediately after the session had begun, the Commons, under the cover of offering ‘advice’ to the king, attacked almost every aspect of the government’s administration of the previous summer, particularly the management of the military effort, both at sea with the failed descent, and on land with the disaster of Steenkirk. As Sunderland later sarcastically complained when detailing to Portland all that went wrong with the management of the session of 1692-3, ‘The king in his speech at the beginning of the last sessions by the word advice gave a handle to the Parliament, which was well improved’. Portland was very concerned by these attacks. Among the few parliamentary papers in his surviving archive are fair copies of the debates in the Commons of 21-26 Nov. 1692 on the ‘advice’ to the king. Most disturbing would have been the attacks of country Whigs such as ‘Harry’ Mordaunt on Nottingham on his conduct of naval affairs and on Portland, who was included in the motion that all general officers in the army should in future be ‘natives of their Majesties’ dominions’ (although the motion’s supporters were primarily aiming at Hendrik Trajectinus van Solms, Count Solms, for his perceived misconduct at Steenkirk).90

To Portland’s discomfort the Lords took up the same theme against foreign-born general officers in the Army when they considered their ‘advice’ in late November and early December. This led to Huygens to record on the first day of December that Parliament was ‘lingering’ in its attacks against the ministers, and especially Nottingham and Portland.91 In the House, Portland showed his renewed concern with management, and perhaps in defending himself, by coming to just under two-thirds of the sittings of the 1692-3 session, his highest attendance to that date. He was only absent for the last week of the session in March because he was struck down by a dangerous and life-threatening pleurisy.92 He was more of a presence in Parliament as well where his main goal was to ensure the defeat of the Place bill. It may have been in the context of this bill that Portland had a list of officers and pensioners in the Commons drawn up for him as a way of calculating its potential damage to the court interest in the Lower House.93 He engineered opposition to the measure by speaking at length in the House against the bill. Bonet, the ambassador for the Brandenburg court, gave his masters in Berlin a detailed account of the debates surrounding the bill. He singled out as the ‘principals’ among the bill’s enemies Portland, Carmarthen and Nottingham, joined by Godolphin and William Cavendish, 4th earl (soon to be duke) of Devonshire, ‘very well informed of the intentions of his majesty’, and ‘to whom must be added Lord Sunderland as a good courtier’.94 Portland also engaged in a more careful management of proxies and clients for vital votes on this bill. From 8 Dec. 1692 he held the proxy of John Lovelace, 3rd Baron Lovelace, and was presumably able to use this in voting against the commitment of the Place bill on the very last day of 1692. His son-in-law Essex, recently made a gentleman of the bedchamber through Portland’s influence, also voted against the commitment as did Essex’s uncle, and Portland’s friend, Capell. Despite these votes, the commitment went through, and Portland and his court allies spent several days hurriedly canvassing votes for the bill’s defeat. On 3 Jan. 1693, when the bill was to come from committee to be read a third time, Essex registered his proxy with his father-in-law who, apart from speaking against the bill in the House, was now able to make use of the proxies of both Lovelace and Essex to help defeat the bill at its third reading; Capell also helped him by voting against the bill.95 Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, who had a long-abiding hatred of Portland as a grasping representative of the regime which had overthrown his master James II, noted in the division list he drew up on this agonizingly close vote of 3 Jan. 1693 that the Place Bill was ‘thrown out by two Dutch votes’, meaning that of Portland and Charles Schomberg, 2nd duke of Schomberg. It was proxies, of which two were held by Portland against the bill, which determined the bill’s defeat.96 Portland also wished to keep track of who had supported the bill and had a copy of the protest against its rejection, and its signatories, drawn up for him by the clerk from the Journal.97

Portland’s management of the beleaguered court interest in the House did not end there. It may have been to ensure Portland’s ability to fight against the Triennial bill, another country measure opposed by the court, that Lovelace, who had returned to the House to vacate his proxy on 13 Jan., registered his proxy with Portland again on 21 Jan., the day the bill was sent down to the Commons.98 Despite this, the Triennial Bill passed both Houses but was ultimately vetoed, perhaps on Portland’s advice and certainly with his approval, by the king at the prorogation on 14 Mar. 1693. In the meantime, Portland was divested of both his proxies – Lovelace’s and Essex’s – when both arrived back in the House on the same day, 31 Jan. 1693. Portland himself left the House for a week in mid-February and on 15 Feb. 1693 registered his own proxy with the lord steward and loyal court supporter Devonshire, who had helped him defeat the Place bill earlier that winter. Portland probably saw the necessity of entrusting his vote with a loyal adherent of the court, for on the following day, 16 Feb., the House embarked on a debate on the ‘heads of advice’ to be given to the king, including the request that foreigners such as Portland no longer be employed in the army and other important positions. Portland’s proxy with Devonshire was vacated when he returned to the House on 21 February.

Other evidence of Portland’s increasing involvement in the affairs of the House comes from his careful interest and participation in the trial of Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun. His hurriedly written pencil notes – written in English with the occasional Dutch word or spelling – on the debate of 4 Feb. 1693 on Mohun’s guilt still survive among his papers.99 They show he was paying careful attention to the arguments put forward by peers such as Rochester, Nottingham, Capell and Vere Fane, 4th earl of Westmorland, for Mohun’s guilt, and those of Halifax, Devonshire, Godolphin, Richard Lumley, earl of Scarbrough, Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford, and John Sheffield, 3rd earl of Mulgrave (later duke of Buckingham and Normanby), for his acquittal or conviction for manslaughter. His notes are interesting in that they reveal a fair amount of wavering and doubt among many of the peers, especially among those who felt that he was not guilty; even Halifax thought that Mohun should be treated as a kind of ‘lunatic’ in this case. It is probable that Portland took his notes to make his own mind up on the legal point of whether Mohun’s presence at the scene of the murder, actually committed by his companion, was evidence of ‘malice prepense’. He appears to have been more convinced by the arguments of the king’s ministers in the House, Rochester and especially Nottingham. Portland – and his kinsman and friend Capell – were among the small number of 14 peers who voted Mohun guilty of murder, against 64 who found him not guilty.

Following the prorogation of Parliament on 14 Mar. 1693, Portland in late April set out with the king to Holland for that summer’s campaigning.100 It was to Holland that Sunderland addressed his increasingly detailed, and insistent, letters describing the measures that needed to be taken to secure a compliant Parliament for the forthcoming session and the actions he was taking towards this goal on behalf of the king.101 Even before the king’s departure a first part of Sunderland’s project to strengthen the government by bringing in some of its Whig opponents was put into place, when Sir John Somers, later Baron Somers, was made lord keeper and Sir John Trenchard appointed a secretary of state to fill the vacancy left by Sydney’s dispatch to Ireland the previous summer. Even this step faced opposition from William’s Tory ministers but Sunderland was unrelenting in his criticisms of the ministry and its management of Parliament in the last session, as he made clear in a brief ‘memorial’ he drew up for Portland about the preceding session of 1692-3. He recounted the many things that went wrong in the 1692-3 session: the request for advice that backfired, the promise of a future descent on France for which supply was not forthcoming, the dispute between Russell and Nottingham over the previous summer’s abortive descent which turned into a battle both between the parties and between the Houses, and ‘the clamour concerning the miscarriages of Ireland, which was fomented by some who ought least to have done it’. Then he projected what should be done for the forthcoming session, and lamented the obstacles already put in the way:

At the end of the sessions, that the next might be a good one, the advice, the business of Ireland, the Triennial Act, the descent, which the king would not mention his last speech, the Streights Fleet, and many other things were to be laid asleep, if possible, by care and good conduct against the winter, in order to which a keeper and a secretary were made and well chosen. But the clutter at their coming in, by the pressing of the ministers very much spoiled the good that was designed. Then the ministers were suffered to be insolent, who of all others ought to be least so. The king was accused of breach of his word by several … The descent is now carrying on, in most men’s opinion, without a possibility of success, at a time that there is not money for the subsistence of the army. The whole government is loose, no respect paid to it, no order in any of the councils, nor care of anything. It is pretty plain what good preparations these things are for next sessions, either of this or of a new Parliament. The king went away thinking he had done too much, because the ministers were ill pleased, who have little credit, and that is always wrong employed.102

In a long letter of advice to Portland of 20 June, Sunderland set out various measures required to secure the smooth running of Parliament, including acts needed to mollify certain influential members of the House and bring them over to the government.103 Portland did as requested, and as a result, in spring 1694, after the end of the following session, Mulgrave was promoted to a marquessate (although, contrary to his demands, as part of a general promotion), and Charles Gerard, who had recently succeeded as 2nd earl of Macclesfield, was given his own regiment of horse and made a major-general.

Sunderland’s projections for an easy parliamentary session were complicated by the military reverses of summer 1693 in which Portland himself was wounded. Sunderland expressed relief at the news that Portland was not badly hurt and, more importantly that, despite rumours, the king was still alive, but continued to fret about the next session. The last in the series of Sunderland’s letters to Portland of that summer, dated 21 Aug., suggests that Portland returned with the king to England shortly after that date.104 He does not appear, however, to have been present at the celebrated meeting of 27 Aug. when Sunderland convened a conclave of leading Whigs and ministers – Russell, Thomas Wharton, later marquess of Wharton, and Ralph Montagu, earl (later duke) of Montagu – at his house at Althorp to discuss measures to secure the support of the Whigs for the following session, probably on the promise of future favour. Part of this ‘turn to the Whigs’ was undoubtedly the dispatch of Portland’s other principal political associate, Capell, to Ireland in July 1693 as one of the lord justices and, in effect, as Portland’s and Sunderland’s agent and associate there. In a letter of 13 June Sunderland had also given his advice on Irish affairs that ‘Nothing is more important than the putting off the parliament there till the spring’, for ‘our Parliament being to sit so soon will give all factious people encouragement both here and there to embroil all they can, which we know by letters from thence and by information here is laboured in both kingdoms’.105 Two final steps taken in Sunderland’s scheme before the convening of Parliament were Admiral Russell’s restoration to favour and to command of the fleet and the consequent resignation, apparently sincerely regretted by William, of Russell’s enemy, the secretary of state Nottingham. Portland’s precise role in these changes remains murky, but as Sunderland used him as his principal personal advocate to William, it is likely that he strongly pushed the views of ‘the minister behind the curtain’ to the king.

Portland himself maintained the same level of attendance – 64 per cent – in the following session (1693-4). From 19 Dec. 1693 until 15 Jan. 1694 he held the proxy of John West, 6th Baron de la Warr. Once again Portland was not frequently named to select committees, being appointed to only three (including a small one of ten members appointed by a committee of the whole to draft a clause for the Mutiny bill). Otherwise, he only appears in the pages of the Lords Journal for this session on 21 Dec. 1693 and 2 Jan. 1694 as the victim of a breach of privilege of Parliament after one of his menial servants had been arrested.106

Nevertheless, he was undoubtedly behind the scenes managing Parliament and trying to maintain discipline in the court party. He was widely reputed to have been responsible for advising William to veto the Place bill in January 1694. Certainly Sir Thomas Clarges seemed to be thinking of Portland, William’s closest counsellor, when he moved on 26 Jan. 1694 ‘That the advisers of the rejection of this bill are enemies to the king and kingdom’.107 The final resolution of the Commons the following day had much the same target, praying ‘That your majesty would graciously be pleased to hearken to the advice of your Parliament, and not to the secret advices of particular persons, who may have private interests of their own, separate from the true interest of your majesty’.108 Portland was probably consulting closely with Sunderland during this time. No written correspondence between the two survives from the time of the session: as they were both in the capital and in the House during the winter months, they probably communicated verbally and in private. Their growing closeness, and Sunderland’s clear return to favour, however, is suggested by the rumours circulating in mid-March 1694 that Sunderland’s son, Charles Spencer, styled Lord Spencer, (later 3rd earl of Sunderland) was to marry one of Portland’s many daughters.109

Shortly after the prorogation on 25 Apr. 1694, and before the king’s and Portland’s departure for the continent, a further step was taken in Sunderland’s project to build a loyal court party with a mass promotion of loyal court followers in the peerage. Nine followers of the court, who had worked for its agenda in the recent session, were either created peers or raised in the peerage, five of them – Carmarthen, Devonshire, Shrewsbury, William Russell, 5th earl of Bedford, and John Holles, 4th earl of Clare – being made dukes. With these rewards having been distributed, William, Portland and other military officers set off for the continent in early May for that summer’s campaign. While on the continent Portland received regular missives from Sunderland concerning his continuing efforts to ensure the smooth running of the king’s government. One matter in particular that summer concerned Sunderland. He had long insisted that the ‘cabinet council’, especially that entrusted to run the country during the king’s absence, should be small, ‘one fitted for business and not a ridiculous one’.110 ‘A cabinet council of 12 or 13 men, of which no one takes himself to be particularly concerned in the general conduct of affairs, where there is neither secrecy, dispatch or credit, is a monstrous thing’, he had opined in the previous summer.111 For the summer of 1694 he had persuaded the king to constitute an inner ‘war council’ consisting of the great officers of state. But the recently elevated marquess of Normanby (previously earl of Mulgrave) was now outraged that he was excluded from this inner council and was in danger of ‘infecting’ other peers. Sunderland reported to Portland his efforts, assisted by Shrewsbury, Somers and even the queen, to assuage Normanby’s ire but Normanby continued to make trouble throughout the summer and by August Sunderland could only conclude that he ‘will never be satisfied, therefore what is good ought to be done without considering what he or anybody else likes’. Sunderland also forcefully made clear to Portland, and through him to the king, on what basis the king’s administration should be established, despite his own (and the king’s) dislike of the individuals involved, ‘Whenever the government has leaned to the Whigs it has been strong, whenever the other has prevailed it has been despised’. Nevertheless, Sunderland was keeping channels open to all sides, ‘I still think all must be made use of’, and continued, ‘but in a manner not just as the king and you understand it’.112

The king and his entourage stayed longer than usual on the continent and Sunderland was writing to Portland well into September with his views, making clear in a letter of 13 Sept. what the purpose of this ongoing correspondence was and Portland’s role in it: ‘I have not writ directly this year to his Majesty because I told him before he went away that what I had to say to him I would write to you and so you see I have always done’. Sunderland warned of the potential for trouble in the next session, but concluded that ‘It will be much easier this year than it was the last. The business is now in so good hands that nothing need to be done but to keep it so and to pursue the present track.113

Once again ignoring Sunderland’s incessant urgings for a speedy return, the king and Portland did not return to England until 9 Nov. 1694.114 A scant three days later Portland was in the House for the first day of the new session, where he came to three-fifths of the sittings. Again he appears rarely in the pages of the Lords Journal and was named to only two select committees, both of them in January 1695. One committee helped to consider the procession to be had at the queen’s funeral. Portland was strongly affected by the queen’s death. As he wrote to Capell in Ireland in January 1695, ‘our grief is too great to be silenced or to be expressed … what loss, good God, for the king, for the country, for the church, for me and my family’.115

Portland’s surviving correspondence with Capell in Ireland is most plentiful in 1695-6 as the two friends and kinsmen had a great deal to discuss concerning the government of Ireland. Capell’s advocacy of summoning a new Parliament there and his efforts to negotiate with the recalcitrant leaders of the Irish Commons set him apart from his two fellow lord justices and met with the approval of the new secretary of state Shrewsbury, Sunderland and the king. It was Portland who in March 1695 was able to inform Capell that the king had decided to give him sole government over Ireland and its Parliament by making him lord deputy – a promotion Capell was to keep secret until it was formally announced in May 1695.116 The new Irish Parliament first met under Capell’s government in August 1695 and proved to be harder work than the lord deputy or Portland had anticipated.117

Perhaps as, or more, serious to both men was the continuing bad behaviour, always discussed in oblique terms, of the young earl of Essex. He was not obedient to the king’s wishes in Parliament where Portland had tried to guide him, even holding Essex’s proxy for two days between 21 and 23 Jan. 1695. On 2 May Portland complained to Capell that ‘there are so many occurrences where in the Parliament he distinguished himself against the wishes of all those who are for the present government’. In particular Portland lamented Essex’s vote against the Act of Grace which the king sent to Parliament on 29 Apr. 1695 and which was clearly seen by all to benefit the king’s principal adviser (after Portland), Sunderland. But Essex voted against the measure, one of the few to do so, as he continued to blame Sunderland for his father’s death in the Tower in 1683 which he regarded as murder. This, as Portland recounted, ‘seems extraordinary in someone who is a member of the royal household; everybody was surprised by it … I told him that I was very surprised by that, and particularly because my Lady Essex, his mother, and you wish to live in great friendship with him [Sunderland]’. He also stressed the potential risk to Essex if this behaviour was noted by Sunderland or, more dangerously, the king himself.118 Portland’s and Capell’s concern over Essex’s behaviour continued for many months and was not mitigated by the birth of a daughter, Portland’s first grandchild, which did not seem to change the young father’s behaviour greatly.119

Portland had long been resented for his influence with the king and the great wealth he was able to enjoy from that position, thought by many to have been gained by corruption and the sale of offices. He thus came to the attention of the House most noticeably towards the end of the session, during the hearings on bribery and corruption in the East India Company. On 27 Apr. 1695 both Sir Basil Firebraceand a Mr. Tyssen testified before the House that Sir Josiah Child and Sir Thomas Cooke had drawn up a note for £50,000 which was to be presented to the king if he would pass a bill advantageous to the old company, but that Portland, as the king’s intermediary, refused to accept this ‘gift’ or bribe, saying that ‘the king would not meddle with it’. Tyssen further denied accusations that he had made a similar offer to Portland himself, saying that ‘If he had [done so], he must never have seen his face more’. Portland at first looked on bemusedly at the corruption proceedings being played out in Parliament, comparing the hearings to ‘a party, who having got drunk together, quarrel, and separate with bloody noses’.120 He became more concerned when his own name appeared in the East India Company proceedings but confidently asserted his innocence to Robert Sutton, 2nd Baron Lexinton, then envoy to Vienna,

You will learn from other quarters that we are in expectation of great disclosures in our Parliament. I believe that they may very well reach some who will find it difficult to clear themselves; all that I fear is that it may delay the departure of the King for some days, otherwise I should be very glad that they should investigate this affair to the very bottom, particularly as there are malicious people who, judging me by themselves, think that it is impossible that I could be proof against £50,000, and have taken the liberty to make use of my name to hide their own knavery. It is annoying to be exposed to such an accusation here, where corruption is too general.121

However, any lessening of the resentment felt against him and his wealth because of his exoneration from the bribery allegations would have been undone shortly after. On 7 May William issued a warrant granting Portland extensive lands in Wales, the manors of Denbigh, Bromfield, Yale and Swaden, some of which were part of the hereditary estate of the Prince of Wales.122

Portland and the king then left England for that summer’s campaign, but almost immediately upon his arrival Portland was greeted with a letter of 17 May from Sunderland’s associate Henry Guy recounting the strenuous opposition the grant was already facing in the treasury. Charles Montagu, later earl of Halifax, had purposely absented himself from the proceedings on the grant, Sir Stephen Fox had already brought in a petition against it and Guy advised him ‘it will be best that the king do send for the report and afterwards declare to them, that he will have it done, for if it be delayed till you come back, I fear the opposition will get such strength, that it will hazard the passing it at all’.123 This advice was not followed and as Guy predicted over the course of the summer petitions and resistance to the grant only increased. The first lord of the treasury Godolphin also intervened and told Portland of the objections of ‘above thirty gentlemen of the House of Commons that owned themselves concerned in this matter, besides many others whom they named that were not then in London’. He urged Portland and the king to abandon the grant, otherwise, he suggested, ‘it will be an occasion of sending up thirty or forty gentlemen to the Parliament as full of animosity and anger as one can imagine’.124 Both Guy and Sunderland also kept Portland informed of the developing political situation in England and particularly Sunderland’s tentative reconciliation with the Whigs of the emerging ‘Whig Junto’, above all Wharton, Montagu and Russell, who all eventually agreed, ostensibly at least, to follow Sunderland’s parliamentary management. Another topic of conversation was the prospect for the forthcoming elections and the divisions between the country Whigs led by Paul Foley and the court and Junto Whigs, especially the objectionable Montagu, which damaged the prospects for the king’s management of the new Parliament. The prospects for the Whigs, divided as they were, were not good, suggested Guy, and ‘the violent Whigs do now despair of a majority to come up fully to them in Parliament and therefore now discourse everywhere that this Parliament will be best’.125

The Parliament of 1695

Portland was closely involved in the allies’ triumphant retaking of the fortress of Namur in September and personally took custody of the French Maréchal Boufflers, arrested, despite the terms of the surrender, because Louis XIV had broken the terms of a previous agreement and had taken the garrisons of Deinze and Dixmuide. Portland maintained his usual attendance rate of around two-thirds of the sittings in the first session of the 1695 Parliament and held the proxy of the earl of Scarbrough from 10 to 13 Jan. 1696. As usual he was seldom named in the Journal in connection with the business of the House, but he was at the heart of one of the first altercations between the country Whigs led by the new Speaker Paul Foley and his associate Robert Harley, later earl of Oxford, and the court. As Godolphin had predicted many of the new members, particularly from Wales, came up to Parliament ‘full of animosity and anger’ against the proposed grant. On 17 Jan. 1696 the Commons agreed to an address to the king urging him to stop it from passing the great seal, because ‘such a grant is in diminution of the honour and interest of the crown, by placing in a subject such large and extensive royalties, powers, and jurisdictions, which ought only to be in the crown’.126 William could only give a testy response to this overwhelming opposition:

Gentlemen, I have kindness for my Lord Portland, which he has deserved of me by long and faithful services. But I should not have given him these lands, if I had imagined the House of Commons could have been concerned. I will therefore recall the grant, and find some other way of showing my favour to him.127

William was good to his word for on 21 May 1696 he granted to Portland less noticeable and controversial lands and estates scattered throughout England – in Lincolnshire, Cumberland, Chester, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Sussex – which had been Catherine the queen dowager’s jointure lands and together were worth £4,332 p.a. By the time of Portland’s death in 1709 their value had risen to £86,643 p.a.128 As far back as May 1695, at the same time as he had made the grant of the Welsh estates, William had also intended to grant Portland £1,536 worth of fee farm rents, but by September the payment for these rents was still not forthcoming and met with further difficulties in the new year.129

It was to Portland that the Jacobite conspirators Fisher and Pendergrass went in February 1696 to inform him and the government of the plans to assassinate the king at Turnham Green and a projected French invasion. Despite the king’s initial scepticism, Portland was able to convince him to stay away from danger and to round up the leading conspirators, including Peter Cook and Sir John Fenwick. Over the following weeks he was kept informed of their interrogations by James Vernon.130 Portland was shocked by the assassination plot and wrote to Lexinton that, ‘We were on the brink of a precipice and ready to fall, when, by a manifest interposition of providence, we were made aware of the danger which threatened us and all Europe’. He praised ‘the vigorous and energetic measures of Parliament on this occasion’, namely the Association, to which he subscribed on the very day it was passed, 27 Feb. 1696.131 Indeed, to encourage more subscriptions to the Association Portland supported the compromise wording suggested by Leeds, which would substitute the confirmation of William as ‘rightful and lawful’ king with the less contentious affirmation of his ‘right by law to the crown of this realm’.132 Other than his subscription his name does not appear in the Journal of the House in connection with business during this session, not even as a nominee to any select committee.

Portland joined William III on the continental campaign again in the summer of 1696 but was sent back to England in late July for the onerous task of raising £300,000 to enable William to continue the war, as funds were rapidly dwindling during England’s liquidity crisis. Portland arrived on 26 July and immediately sent an express to Sunderland and the lords justices to convene at Whitehall with him on the crisis; Somers’s hasty departure from a church service caused much comment and alarm about the nature of the crisis.133 Thus back in England Portland could, for the first time in his English career, actually attend the House as a commissioner for the prorogation on 28 July, at a time when he and the lords justices were debating the feasibility of convening Parliament during the king’s absence to raise additional funds. It was decided that this was impractical, particularly given the continued divisions among the Whigs which were recounted to him in detail by Sunderland and others. Portland, Shrewsbury and Godolphin began negotiations with the directors of the new Land Bank. When these failed Portland and his colleagues turned to the Bank of England, which on 14 Aug. was able to provide £200,000 so that Portland could embark for the continent, ‘carrying with him bills for considerable sums of money’, enough to see the troops into winter quarters at the end of that campaign.134 This incident further tightened the bond between Portland and the group now being called the ‘Junto’ – particularly Montagu, Somers, and Baron Wharton (as he had become in February 1696) – despite whatever misgivings the king may have had about them.

One result of this mission was Portland’s closer relationship with Shrewsbury, whom he praised to the king for his valuable assistance in this matter.135 Complimentary letters passed between them and in one of 8 Sept. 1696, when Portland was back at Loo, he rejoiced in his new understanding with Shrewsbury and revealed a self-awareness of aspects of his own character which had previously caused him trouble in the English political world:

Ever since I had the honour to know you, I have perceived a coldness and reserve towards me, which I wished not to deserve; but rather than attribute it to you, I have concluded that I was myself the cause of it, being sufficiently just to myself, to know part of my failings. But as we cannot control those which arise from nature, and which are born with us, I have deemed the evil incurable, and have merely paid to the minister and secretary of state, the respect which was due to him, without troubling myself farther. But as it is the will of fortune, that you should personally testify to me your approbation of my conduct, and express your satisfaction with it, I assure you, sir, that I shall return the same cordiality, and that this cold and reserved disposition, which I frankly avow, shall wholly vanish after the candour which you have had the goodness to promise me. I will request some indulgence in regard to my judgment, but none respecting my integrity; and I shall not solicit your friendship, until I shall have taken the first step to render myself worthy of it.136

This letter was almost certainly written after Portland, having returned to the king’s side in Flanders, was made aware of the allegations of Jacobite conspiracy made by Sir John Fenwick against Shrewsbury, Godolphin, Marlborough and Russell. The accusations which had been sent to William for his eyes only by the lord steward, Devonshire, who had received Fenwick’s written ‘confession’ in confidence on 10 August. These allegations were not new to William III, who had long known of his ministers’ shadowy negotiations with St Germain and decided to overlook them. To reassure the anxious Shrewsbury in particular he sent him a copy of the allegations with a covering letter affirming his continued support. Portland too on 1 Sept. quickly wrote to Shrewsbury to reassure him that ‘the little appearance of sincerity in that man is sufficiently manifest in his accusing persons, on whom the king has so much reason to repose confidence’.137 Shrewsbury replied on 8 Sept. 1696 insisting that

Sir John Fenwick’s story is as wonderful to me, as if he had accused me of coining. However I shall always acknowledge the king’s great goodness and generosity in the manner he has received the information, and your lordship’s friendship, in not permitting so foul a thought of your humble servant to receive credit one moment in your breast.138

Portland instead turned his ire towards Devonshire whom he thought had been too lenient and too apt to give credit to Fenwick. He felt that if it ‘had been possible to prevent access to him [Fenwick], he would have spoken quite another language’ and if Fenwick ‘had not unfortunately addressed himself to Lord Devonshire, and if from the beginning he had been spoken to as he ought to have been, I think he would not have had either leisure or inclination to invent the tales which he has told’. Throughout September it was Portland who managed the Fenwick affair from the king’s side and it was to him that Shrewsbury addressed his letters detailing the prisoner’s repeated promises of further allegations and the insistence of his wife that her husband be heard by Devonshire alone. To Portland, all this smacked of a deliberate attempt by Fenwick to delay his trial by making unfounded accusations, and always promising more. ‘I hope that no more delay will be allowed him, and that he will be tried before the arrival of the king’, Portland commented on 24 Sept. – at the same time that Fenwick had procured another postponement of his trial with a confession targeting better-known Jacobites.139

After Portland’s return with the king in early October 1696 he was immediately thrown into discussions with the ministers and the Junto on how best to deal with Fenwick’s claims.140 In particular, he consulted with the lord keeper, Somers, and James Vernon, who was acting in the capital as Shrewsbury’s agent. Shrewsbury himself was incapacitated and unable to come to London.141 This development greatly concerned both the king and Portland, as they saw Shrewsbury’s presence as vital to rebuff Fenwick’s allegations; his absence could be, and was, interpreted as an admission of guilt. To make matters worse, Shrewsbury chose this time of his illness to tender his resignation as secretary of state once again; a decision from which Portland strenuously tried to dissuade him.142 A central issue for Portland and the Whig ministers was whether the king should hear what Fenwick had to say; however, the king and his ministers were still convinced that Fenwick was merely trying to postpone his trial and that the further information he was offering was unlikely to be of any value. The disappearance of a vital witness confirmed their view. It became imperative that the allegations against Shrewsbury and others be discredited and ministers concluded that the best way to effect this was through the drastic measure of a bill of attainder against Fenwick. This became the most controversial business in the parliamentary session that opened on 20 Oct. 1696. Portland attended a full two-thirds of this session and was named to four select committees. He acted as a manager in the House to see the bill through, despite his colleague Sunderland’s own reservations against the move. On 26 Nov., the day after it had passed the Commons and was on its way to the Lords, Portland told Vernon that, after examining a list of the lords in the house, he and his fellow ministers ‘judged the bill would pass by a majority of about fifteen, not including the bishops, where there would be a majority for it likewise’. Portland was also taking steps to ensure that the king would be present at the debates in the House on the bill.143 Vernon soon after reported that ‘my Lord Portland is very hearty and industrious in this matter, and does not stick to speak to any one my lord keeper [Somers] desires’ concerning support for the bill, and on 1 Dec. he expressed ‘a better opinion of the bill’s passing than yesterday’. 144 Despite this confidence, it was not a smooth passage for the bill. Portland voted in favour of the close division at its third reading on 23 Dec. 1696, when even some government ministers such as Devonshire and Godolphin opposed it.145 Portland appeared tangentially in the further evidence regarding the interference of Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth (later 3rd earl of Peterborough), in the proceedings against Fenwick. Evidence given on 9 and 15 Jan. 1697 revealed that part of Monmouth’s scheme for Fenwick’s defence was for him to demand that intercepted letters from James II and Mary of Modena to Godolphin be laid before the House and that Portland and Romney be summoned to give evidence on the rumours of ‘great presents’ sent from people in England to the former queen in France. Monmouth had also been patronizing an importunate informer, Matthew Smith, who was prepared to charge Shrewsbury with stifling his reports of Jacobite activity in England. Portland had also been trying to manage Smith and to get him out of the country to silence him.146 To forestall these further allegations against Shrewsbury, the king gave Portland permission to present to the House the letters Smith had sent to him and the king, and on 18 Jan. 1697 he was named to the large committee entrusted to examine these papers – one of his few committee nominations of the session. 147 On 20 Jan., with Fenwick executed and Smith’s letters discredited, he was able to write with relief to the still absent Shrewsbury, ‘all is now finished, entirely to your advantage … I could not delay congratulating you’.148

On 10 Feb. 1697 Portland’s rival Arnold Joos van Keppel, was raised to the peerage as earl of Albemarle. This marked the pinnacle of the rapid rise in favour of this young, handsome and sociable Dutchman at William’s court. Particularly after the death of the queen, William turned increasingly to the pleasant, diverting company of Keppel for solace – which inevitably gave rise to allegations of more illicit activities between them among William’s enemies. William’s grant to Portland of the Welsh estates in May 1695 had most likely been an attempt to assuage Portland’s growing jealousy of this rival at court. In May 1695 Albemarle was promoted to the mastership of the robes, replacing another of William’s childhood companions and veteran Dutch followers, William Henry van Nassau van Zuylestein, who in compensation for his removal was himself created earl of Rochford. 149 The rivalry and animosity between Portland and Albemarle caused by William’s clear preference for the younger and more affable man became increasingly open and bitter and almost led to a duel between them in November 1696 in the king’s presence.150 Gilbert Burnet watched this growing feud between the two Dutch favourites with some surprise, ‘they being in all respects men, not only of different, but of opposite characters: secrecy and fidelity were the only qualities in which it could be said that they did in any sort agree’. To Burnet, Keppel ‘was not cold nor dry, as the earl of Portland was thought to be; who seemed to have the art of creating many enemies to himself, and not one friend: but the earl of Albemarle had all the arts of a court, was civil to all, and procured many favours’.151

Keppel’s elevation to an earldom was too much for Portland, and in March 1697 he asked to resign from William’s service. The king implored him to desist from ‘the cruel resolution they have told me that you have asked to leave my service’ and, invoking ‘the good and faithful services you have done for me during the thirty-three years you have been with me’, insisted that if Portland really was intent on this resolution he should serve him for at least another year, to which Portland apparently agreed.152 To soften the blow and perhaps dissuade him from his resolution, William showered Portland with more honours, grants and offices. Perhaps as a direct counterweight to Keppel’s elevation into the peerage, on 19 Feb. 1697 Portland was nominated a knight of the garter, ‘to show that he is still preferred a step above [Albemarle]’, Vernon commented to Shrewsbury.153 In early March the king made Portland ranger of Windsor Great Park, an office worth £1,500 p.a. with the Windsor Great Park Lodge included, which quickly became Portland’s favourite residence, away from the court which he was beginning to find so distasteful.154 The king also set in motion the procedures to grant Portland the large forfeited estate in Ireland of the Jacobite Donough McCarthy, 4th earl of Clancarty [I], which consisted of about 135,000 acres and was estimated to be worth about £25,000 p.a. as well as the reversion of the Irish estates of James II’s former mistress, the countess of Dorchester. Furthermore, at this time Portland engaged in negotiations with Somers on the matter of fee farm rents which had been promised to them both. Through May 1697 Portland and Somers haggled, very politely, over their competing claims, but Somers was always at pains to insist that Portland had priority and that he did not wish to displease the king or his most trusted servant and delayed accepting his own grant until the matter was settled.155 In June, as the summer’s campaign was underway, Portland was also made general of the English horse, even though he was seriously ill and away from the front at Brussels at the time.156

Despite this wealth of honours, Portland was still disgruntled with the king’s favour towards Albemarle. As he made clear to the king in a letter of 30 May from his sickbed in Brussels, it was not for his own sake and feelings of jealousy that he wished to leave William’s service but:

it is your honour which is close to my heart, and the favour which your majesty shows to a young man and the manner by which it appears to justify his liberties and his pride, makes the world say things which it shames me to hear …. I believed that it was only the malicious in England who fabricated these bloody [sanglantes] things but I have been struck as if by thunder when I saw that The Hague and the Army spread [fournissoit] the same stories and tarnished a reputation which has never been subject to such attacks.157

Similar rumours and allegations of homosexuality had long been levelled by the regime’s enemies against the king and Portland. That Portland was so shocked by them and so concerned for the king’s reputation, and that the king in his angry answer to Portland’s letter could also expressed outrage at such allegations of ‘criminal’ acts, suggests that there is little foundation to the claims by the regime’s enemies – or by later historians.158

Portland agreed to serve William for another year, as the king had asked him to do in March.159 It was an important decision because in the following weeks Portland entered into perhaps his most important, and certainly most renowned, service for the king, for which he gained an international reputation. With the long-running peace talks at Ryswick between the allies and France having stalled, throughout the month of July Portland, as a personal representative of William, met secretly in a series of conferences with Louis XIV’s agent, the French marshal Boufflers. They hashed out some of the outstanding points regarding Louis XIV’s recognition of William III as king of England and the continuing residence of James II on French soil.160 With these problems settled, the formal negotiations could make progress, with Portland now taking an active part in them. The Treaty of Ryswick was signed by France, England, the United Provinces and Spain on 10 September.

Portland was widely praised internationally, and especially by his colleagues in England, for being ‘so successful an instrument in the effecting’ the peace of Ryswick.161 He returned to England, in advance of the king on 19 Oct. 1697 and immediately set about preparing for his next assignment, as England’s ambassador to France.162 He still had some time to indulge in a little parliamentary and political management. He had arrived in England in mid-October with ‘directions about the sitting of Parliament’ and chivvied the perennially indisposed John Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale, to attend the session, emphasizing that ‘the presence of such an honest and capable man as you is so necessary here during this session which will be concerned with nothing less than to establish this peace’.163 In November he was setting out a project to maintain a peacetime army of 30,000 troops, in the face of increasingly vocal opposition from the country Members in the Commons.164 He was also involved in trying to convince the eternally reluctant Shrewsbury to take up the office of lord chamberlain, peremptorily and unilaterally vacated by Sunderland on 26 December.165 Portland attended only four meetings of the new session of Parliament in December 1697 before he was dispatched to France, in January 1698 as England’s first ambassador to France since the war.166 Before his departure he registered his proxy on 8 Jan. 1698 with Somers, created Baron Somers just before the start of the session. Somers’ promotion may have been delayed because of the confusion over their competing claims on the fee farm rents. To resolve this matter, as some of the fee farm rents granted to Portland were found to be insolvent, the king, shortly after Portland’s departure, signed a warrant to grant to his ambassador various lands in St Anne’s parish Westminster then worth £9,800 annually – although the property significantly increased in value by the time of his death ten years later.167

In Paris Portland became a respected and admired figure. Luttrell reported shortly before Portland’s public entry in Paris on 20 Feb. 1698 that ‘most of the French nobility have been to compliment the earl of Portland’ and that ‘no ambassador before ever received so much civility from the French court as his lordship’.168 The French courtier Saint-Simon, usually so cynical of others, found Portland ‘courteous to others, faithful to his master, [and] skilful in negotiation’.169 Portland’s ambassadorial retinue was lavish – estimated to have cost about £40,000 – and large, a symbol of the importance William placed on relations with France. Matthew Prior was secretary to the embassy, and Portland was accompanied by many young nobles, including his own heir Henry Bentinck, styled Lord Woodstock (later duke of Portland) as well as George Hastings, styled Lord Hastings (later 8th earl of Huntingdon) and Charles Paston, styled Lord Paston. The latter two had both detached themselves from fathers who were Jacobite sympathizers, Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon and William Paston, 2nd earl of Yarmouth respectively, to accompany Portland.170 Portland returned from his French embassy in June 1698. He first sat in the House, vacating his proxy to Somers, on 22 June but went on to sit only a further nine times before the session was prorogued and then dissolved in early July. In this short time he was named to two select committees and even had his full share of proxies for the last six days of the session when on 29 June both Henry Howard, 5th earl of Suffolk, and Yarmouth registered their proxies with him.

After Parliament’s dissolution on 7 July 1698 Portland returned with William to the United Provinces. He was asked by the king to continue negotiations which he had informally commenced during his formal embassy in Paris, and which the French ambassador Tallard had continued with William when he arrived in England in March, to ensure a peaceable partition of the Spanish Empire after the apparently imminent death of Carlos II of Spain. Not sure of his position in these negotiations, Portland at The Hague in August wrote to the new secretary of state James Vernon asking whether he and their other Whig colleagues in England – such as Somers, Shrewsbury, Montagu and the earl of Orford (as Edward Russell had become) – approved of his taking over this role. More importantly, and controversially, he and the king requested that Somers, as lord chancellor, send over a commission to appoint negotiators, complete with the great seal but with the names blank to be filled in later by the king. In addition, all these proceedings were to be kept absolutely secret and only known to Vernon, Somers, Shrewsbury and that small circle; not even the other lord justices were to know the details. Portland’s name was inserted in the blank commission as chief plenipotentiary for these negotiations. The terms of the Partition Treaty were communicated in August from Portland, via Vernon, to Somers, Montagu, Orford and Shrewsbury who, despite raising some concerns on the terms, signified their acceptance of the treaty as a fait accompli.171 Portland and Sir Joseph Williamson, as a plenipotentiary of the king under the blank commission sealed by Somers, signed this Partition Treaty on 14 Sept. 1698, but Portland’s role in the negotiations, their secrecy, the little consultation he had with his ministerial colleagues in England, and the blank but sealed commission to him would later come back to haunt him.

The Parliament of 1698

He was back in England in time for the first day, 6 Dec. 1698, of the new Parliament but came to just less than half of the sittings and left the House early on 12 Apr. 1699. Despite the worsening international situation, Parliament was intent on disbanding most of the Army; prominent among their targets were William’s own Dutch Guards. Portland’s regiment of Horse Guards left England for the last time in March 1699.172 This must have been a blow to him, but even worse were developments in his relationship with Albemarle. Albemarle had become closely connected to some of Portland’s enemies at court, in particular Elizabeth Villiers, the countess of Orkney [S], the king’s former mistress and a frequent political intriguer, and her brother Edward Villiers, earl of Jersey.173 Although these two were Portland’s in-laws by his marriage to Anne Villiers, their sister, relations between them had never been harmonious, especially as it appears that Portland had earlier opposed Elizabeth Villiers’ liaison with William.174 Albemarle, Orkney and Jersey had taken advantage of William’s absence in Paris in early 1698 to make approaches to the Junto Whigs who were becoming increasingly restless under the tutelage of Sunderland and Portland, particularly after Wharton was blatantly passed over as secretary of state upon Trumbull’s retirement in December 1697. Upon his return to England Portland found, much as he had feared, that whatever his international diplomatic reputation, his place at the court of William III had been seriously eroded or usurped by Albemarle – although he could admittedly still claim a few victories against the young upstart, such as the appointment of one of his clients as a secretary to the king.175 Portland’s resentment and sense that his power and influence was crumbling grew so great that in early May 1699 he resigned all his court offices – groom of the stole, keeper of the privy purse, and superintendent of William’s houses and gardens in Holland – despite all the king’s best efforts to dissuade him.176 Leeds informed his daughter in April 1699 that ‘the feud’ between Portland and Albemarle had now made it difficult for both of them to serve William. The king, he wrote, ‘was willing to permit Portland’s retreat rather than Albemarle’s, but would have had Portland to have continued in his service if he could have prevailed with him’.177

At the same time Portland’s resignation can be seen as just one in a series of resignations that led to the weakening and ultimate demise of the Junto Whig ministry established by Portland and Sunderland in 1693-4. Sunderland had resigned as lord chamberlain in December 1697 and his client Trumbull as secretary of state that same month. The other secretary of state, Shrewsbury, was finally able to leave his office officially in December 1698. Albemarle’s client Jersey, a Tory, replaced him in April 1699. In this changing balance of power, Portland’s resignation of his offices was followed that same year by resignations by Montagu from both the exchequer and the treasury and Orford from the admiralty. Out of office Portland retired to the warden’s lodge of Windsor Great Park, and continued to live as a country gentleman. He maintained his position as ranger there and had also been made ranger of Windsor Little Park in January 1699 178

Portland, however, did not ‘exit’ from the scene, nor was Albemarle fully triumphant in ousting his rival from public life. William still consulted with his old adviser; they remained close and more importantly, Portland, having removed himself from the English court, and from Albemarle’s hated presence, remained active in less publicly visible roles for his old master. As L’Hermitage wrote to his masters at the States-General, ‘This earl says that the plan he has formed to rid himself of his charges does not hinder him, should the king have need of his services, to busy himself with the same zeal and attachment he has always had’.179 The summer of 1699 saw another round of diplomacy, this time to revise the first Partition Treaty which had become redundant by the death of the prince elector of Bavaria in January 1699. The negotiations for a second Partition Treaty were conducted between Portland and the French ambassador Tallard in the spring of 1699 but ratification of its terms was delayed for many months because of opposition from the States General.180 It was not until February 1700 that he and his fellow plenipotentiary for the English crown, Jersey, were ready to sign the second Partition Treaty with Tallard in London. Portland also continued to serve the king, and his own rank, by attending the House. However, he did not sit in the session of 1699-1700 until 11 Dec. 1699, perhaps held up by the continuing negotiations, and he came to only 44 per cent of the sittings of this session. On 23 Feb. 1700 he voted against adjourning into a committee of the whole to consider further amendments to a bill to maintain the ‘old’ East India Company as a corporation, and he further showed his opposition to this measure, and to the old company, by signing the protest against the passage of the bill. Portland was the largest single investor among the peerage in the new, Whig-based, East India Company, having invested £10,000 in the company upon its initial subscription in 1698.181

Portland was also personally affected by the Irish Grants Resumption bill which caused so much anger between the Houses, and between Parliament and the king, in April 1700. Portland, having learned his lesson with the Welsh land grants in 1695-6, had taken steps to ensure that Clancarty’s forfeited estates, awarded to him by the king in 1697, would be formally granted to the less visible target of his son, Woodstock. He also tried to defuse local opposition by arranging that a parliamentary bill confirming the grant of the estate to Woodstock was passed by the Irish Parliament in its session of autumn 1698.182 Portland was thus, as could be expected, opposed to the attempt by the Commons to ‘resume’ the forfeited Irish estates, which was brought up to the House as a ‘tack’ on the Land Tax Bill, a vital supply bill, in early April 1700. At first William was opposed to the measure, and it was rumoured that Portland, with Albemarle and Lady Orkney (all three grantees of Irish land) were ‘supposed to have hardened the king against the bill’, for which advice Vernon thought Portland and Albemarle would be threatened with impeachment.183 Portland, Albemarle and Jersey voted for the second reading of the bill on 4 Apr. 1700 perhaps, Vernon thought, with a view to protecting their own interests through amendments which would wreck the bill in the Commons.184 However, the session descended into stalemate as the two Houses argued over the Lords’ changes to what the Commons considered an unamendable supply bill, and William, apparently advised by Jersey, sought to convince the Lords to allow the bill to pass without the controversial amendment. While Portland continued to agitate against the bill in the Lords until the very last moment and voted to adhere to the amendments on 10 Apr., the courtiers Jersey and Albemarle let it be known in the House that the king preferred the bill to pass. The House’s vote to adhere caused great anger in the Commons and ‘some young member’, apparently William Cavendish, styled marquess of Hartington (later 2nd duke of Devonshire), moved to impeach both Portland and Albemarle. Vernon and the ministerialist Whigs were against this and hoped for an adjournment but Vernon told Shrewsbury:

it seems some of our own people had a mind to have a fling at the foreigners, so they carried it by eleven for proceeding. Then my Lord Hartington grounding his own motion upon the forwardness the foreigners had shown to embroil them with the Lords, proposed an address for removing them his majesty’s councils. It was afterwards added, that they should be removed from the councils, both in England and in Ireland, which was done to comprehend my Lord Galway [Henri Massue de Ruvigny, earl of Galway [I]]. In the English council, your grace knows that there is only the duke of Schomberg [Meinhard Schomberg, 3rd duke of Schomberg], and the earl of Portland. Though this last never comes thither, yet it was done for his sake. The vote passed, he having been very busy in stirring up the Lords to reject the bill, and persisted in it to the last …

The king had made preparations to come to assent to the land tax and Irish resumption bill that day, 10 Apr. but arrived after the House had risen. ‘If he had come as soon as that bill was passed, it would have prevented the address about my Lord Portland and Lord Galway, which you may be sure he dislikes’, Vernon continued to Shrewsbury. Instead he came early on 11 Apr. to prorogue Parliament and to prevent ‘any more angry votes in the House of Commons’. Significantly, he could not bring himself to give any thanks to the Commons ‘for a bill he had such exceptions to’. 185

Shortly after the end of the parliamentary session, and perhaps as a further signal of his entry into private life, Portland remarried, after over 11 years of life as an, admittedly very busy, widower. There had long been speculation of Portland’s remarrying. In 1692 there had been talk of a match between him and Lady Arabella Cavendish, a daughter of Henry Cavendish, 2nd duke of Newcastle, who later went on to marry Sunderland’s heir Charles Spencer, then styled Lord Spencer (later 3rd earl of Sunderland).186 In May 1700 he married Jane Martha Temple, a daughter of the Irish attorney-general and a former Speaker of the Irish house of commons, Sir John Temple and, probably more importantly for Portland, a niece of the diplomat Sir William Temple, who had been so supportive of the Dutch cause for so long. She was herself a widow, having been married to John Berkeley, 3rd Baron Berkeley of Stratton, the Whig naval officer and groom of the stole to Prince George, of Denmark. She reputedly brought £20,000 to the marriage. While Portland was concentrating on his domestic life with his new wife, William III spent much of 1700 in the Netherlands, away from an ungrateful and troublesome England. Having already dismissed the lord chancellor, Somers, in late April for his ineffectiveness in not stopping the passage of the Act of Resumption, he turned away from the Whig Junto ministry and worked to form a mixed ministry which could work with a new and hopefully cooperative Parliament.

International affairs were greatly complicated that summer by the death, on 21 Oct., of the Spanish king Carlos II who had bequeathed the entirety of the Spanish Empire to Louis XIV’s grandson the duke of Anjou contrary to the terms of the (second) Partition Treaty. In this dangerous international situation, with war with France seeming inevitable, William returned to England late in the autumn, brought more Tories, particularly Rochester and Godolphin, into the ministry and on 19 Dec. 1700 dissolved his unmanageable Parliament.

The Parliaments of 1701

Portland came to three-quarters of the meetings of the new Parliament, which first met on 6 Feb. 1701, far more than usual as the fate of his Irish lands was again in the balance. In mid-March he became the central figure in the controversial proceedings surrounding the Tory-dominated Commons’ investigation into the Partition Treaties. The second Partition Treaty had been made public in July 1700, after the end of the previous parliamentary session, and had almost immediately caused consternation, because of its terms, the secrecy in which negotiations for it had been conducted and the lack of consultation with members of the English political nation. On 14 Mar. 1701 when the House took into consideration the second Partition Treaty, Nottingham and Normanby condemned both the terms of the treaty and the manner in which it had been negotiated, signed and ratified. Nottingham reported ‘the matters of fact’ concerning the treaty on 15 Mar. when many of the peers ‘loudly expressed their disapprobation’ of the treaty, ‘which they wholly laid at the earl of Portland’s door’. Portland in turn had been given license by the king to provide details on the negotiation and was at pains to point out that he had convened a meeting of a number of leading English ministers – Somers, Jersey, Lonsdale, Marlborough, Baron Halifax (as Charles Montagu had recently become), Thomas Herbert, 8th earl of Pembroke and James Vernon – at his house in February 1700 to consider the terms of the treaty. On 17 Mar., the peers named by Portland (except for Lonsdale, since deceased) all confirmed before the House that they had been at this meeting and had seen a draft of the treaty. But they insisted that it was Portland alone who had drawn it up in French, that they had raised several objections to its terms, which were subsequently ignored by Portland who presented the treaty as a fait accompli, and that ‘as for themselves, that they had neither given, nor refused, their consent to it, because the treaty was never communicated to the Privy Council’.187

The Lords’ address was presented to the king on 24 Mar. 1701 on which day the Commons drafted their own address condemning the second Partition Treaty. On 29 Mar., when the Commons took up the matter of the second Partition Treaty again, John Leveson Gower, later Baron Gower, argued that the treaty was very prejudicial to trade and commerce ‘and that the making of it was a great crime and misdemeanour’. Leveson Gower ‘named the Lord Portland to be the maker of it’, and the question was put that Portland ‘by negotiating and concluding the Treaty of Partition, which was destructive to the trade of this kingdom, and dangerous to the peace of Europe, is guilty of a high crime and misdemeanour’. After Sir Bartholomew Shower had unsuccessfully tried to include the English lords consulted by Portland, probably aiming at Somers in particular, the motion against Portland was passed, ‘nobody speaking one word for him’. This prompted John (‘Jack’) Howe, a frequent critic of Portland and the lavish grants bestowed on him, to enter into a philosophical disquisition on the transience of fortune, remarking how:

he could not but reflect upon the instability of human affairs that that great lord that so lately had so many obeisances from the gentlemen of this House, so many respects paid him that even gentlemen of good quality thought it a high honour to drink chocolate with his footmen, and that now this great man had not one friend to speak for him.188

At the end of that day’s session the Commons went into a committee of the whole to consider the treaty further, during which Sir Bartholomew Shower continued to insist that ‘if this was such a wicked treaty there must be more than this Lord, this stranger, concerned in it, and that the putting the great seal was an illegal and dangerous thing to our constitution and so he moved after his usual harangue to put the same question upon John, Lord Somers’. The Tories were so enraged against Somers that they almost wished to exonerate Portland in attacking the lord chancellor, arguing that

the Lord Portland was a poor stranger ignorant of our laws and customs a friend to his own native country, to be rather pitied and excused than punished, that my lord chancellor was an Englishman knowing in our laws and customs, that they were sorry that he had committed so great [a] crime but that it must be for the precedent’s sake censured.

Despite these urgings the question for a motion censuring Somers failed and Portland remained – at that time – the sole target of the Commons’ anger. 189

Thus on 1 Apr. 1701 Leveson Gower* came to the bar of the House to impeach Portland for high treason and misdemeanours, with the assurance ‘that the Commons will in due time exhibit particular articles against him’.190 William Legge, 2nd Baron (later earl of) Dartmouth, recounted how the next day ‘Lord Jersey came to me from the king, who was highly provoked at the Whigs, for having brought their own minister off [i.e. Somers] and his upon the state’. William wished to defend his old friend and had

told Lord Jersey he knew I lived in great intimacy with Lord Berkley of Stratton, who had married Lady Portland’s sister [William Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton, married to Lady Frances Temple]; therefore desired I would aggravate Lord Portland’s treatment to him, and try if he could prevail with him to take his revenge (which he had it very much in his power to do), and I was authorized to assure him the king would be pleased with his so doing. Lord Portland seemed willing, but was afraid of the Whigs, who he thought would ruin him, and did not think the Tories were either able or willing to protect him: which put an end to that negotiation.191

Portland only further complicated matters and implicated some of the previous ministers who had so far escaped by inadvertently revealing the secret negotiations for the first Partition Treaty in 1698. On 3 Apr. 1701 Portland read from a paper he had prepared setting out what he had said before the select committee on his role in the negotiations. Portland thus told the House his memory of the events surrounding his involvement in the Partition Treaty negotiations:

At the beginning of the summer of the year [16]99, when I was in Holland at my country-house, and when the King would have me be concerned in the negotiating of this Treaty with the Emperor, the French King, and The States; being very unwilling to meddle with business again, from which I was retired; before I would engage myself, I advised with my friends in Holland, and writ into England, to Mr. Secretary Vernon as my particular Friend, whether it was advisable for me to engage in any business again; to which Mr. Vernon answered in Substance, “That this would not engage me but for a little while; that I being upon the place, and generally acquainted with the foreign ministers, it would be easier for the King, and properer for me to be employed in it than any body else, that must be otherwise sent for on purpose”.192

Somers was aware that he was potentially implicated in this testimony and received permission from the House to ask Portland directly whether his own name was mentioned in the letter he received in reply from Vernon. Portland declared ‘That, if he had remembered any such thing in the letter, and had not inserted it in the paper which he had delivered to the House, he should have thought he had deceived the House’.193

Unfortunately for himself – and for Somers – Portland had ‘deceived’ the House, although unwittingly, in that in his paper submitted to the House he was actually remembering the correspondence with Vernon of August-September 1698 at the time of the first Partition Treaty, not of 1699 as he stated. Secondly, Somers had actually appeared in almost all the letters between Portland and Vernon of that time, as he was a principal figure in this affair, entrusted with sending over the blank commission for appointing plenipotentiaries for the discussions and for commenting on the contents of the treaty in its final stages. Vernon, ordered by the Commons to deliver in the letters mentioned in Portland’s statement, was resistant and in ‘great confusion’ because, in order to match Portland’s account, he had to produce the correspondence of August 1698 on the hitherto secret first Partition Treaty. These letters were first laid before the Commons on 12 Apr., Portland’s letters in French were ordered to be translated and all of them read before the House on 14 April. The resulting anger was now fully turned on Somers for having signed, sealed and sent a blank commission for the negotiations, without having formally consulted either the lord justices of that summer or the Privy Council.194 At the end of that day’s session, despite an impressive speech by Somers himself before the Commons to exonerate himself, the lower House moved to impeach Somers, Orford and Halifax.195

The impeachments of the Whig lords were brought up to the House the following day and quickly led to a rancorous breakdown in relations between the two Houses. The Commons had also addressed the king on 15 Apr. to remove the impeached lords from his counsels, but this was almost immediately countered the following day with an address from the Lords asking the king not to impose any censure or prohibition on the peers while their charges were still pending.196 Over the following weeks, it became clear that the Commons were principally after the English Junto ministers Somers, Orford and Halifax, while the Lords were keen to protect their fellow peers in what became a largely partisan battle. Several contemporaries commented on the highly selective nature of the impeachments, as lower-level figures in the ministry such as Vernon and Sir Joseph Williamson, who had also been involved in the first Partition Treaty negotiations, were not targeted. In this struggle Portland, although the first to be impeached, was largely left alone. The House sent frequent messages to the Commons reminding them that articles against Portland had still not been delivered to the upper House – five in total between 5 May and 16 June. This badgering clearly irritated the Commons, who felt it ‘without precedent and unparliamentary’ that they as prosecutors should be rushed into presenting the charges.197 Significantly, though, it was to Orford, Somers and Halifax that they first addressed themselves upon receipt of these reminders, and charges were sent up against those three peers during the course of May. The Commons never did get around to producing articles against Portland, the first one charged. This may have been in part because of a change in opinion among some Members of the Commons. As Sir Godfrey Copley argued when the Commons was debating how to respond to the House’s reminders to send up the charges against Portland,

when my Lord Portland was first impeached it was because he did being a foreigner make treaties to the prejudice of England without consulting English council and so it did then appear. But looking further into matters upon these other impeachments it does appear he has acted nothing but by and with the direction and advice of English councils, so that it does appear that he is not so guilty as at the first we had reason to believe him.198

The ‘breach of that good correspondence between the two Houses’ warned of by the Commons only grew wider throughout late May and June. Members of the Commons stayed away from Westminster Hall when Somers was acquitted by a majority of his peers, including Portland, on 17 June 1701, to be followed six days later by a unanimous acquittal of Orford.199 On 24 June the House dismissed the impeachment against Portland, ‘there being no articles exhibited against him’ and Halifax, as no further prosecution had followed from the articles belatedly laid against him.

Parliament was prorogued that day in rancour and an atmosphere of intractable partisan division. Initially, the king hoped to stay the course and maintain the ministry and the Parliament. But under the advice of Sunderland and Somers, and in the light of James II’s death in September 1701 and Louis XIV’s unexpected recognition of the Pretender as king of England, he was persuaded once more to trust Whig support and to dissolve Parliament, as he did, much to the surprise of many of his cabinet, on 11 Nov. 1701. Following the elections of December 1701 the parties were more evenly balanced in the Commons and, given the growing threat of war, it was likely to be less hostile to William and his former ministry. Portland attended the first day of the Parliament, on the penultimate day of 1701 and went on to attend three-fifths of the session’s sittings. On 3 Dec. 1701, and then again in the first two days of January 1702, he was placed on committees to draft addresses to the king, the first to condemn Louis XIV’s recognition of the Pretender and the second to assure the king that the House would help him resist the ‘exorbitant power of France’. The final illness and death of William III on 8 Mar. 1702 marked a principal turning point in Portland’s career. Burnet wrote of final farewell between the two old friends and how the king on his deathbed ‘called for the earl of Portland, but before he came his voice quite failed, so he took him by the hand and carried it to his heart with great tenderness’.200

The New Reign 1702-9

William’s death and the queen’s accession removed the personal link between Portland and the government. Anne had never liked Portland, associated as he was with William III, the Villiers family and with the disgrace of Marlborough in 1692 and took some delight in reducing his power and influence. He was quickly removed from his last remaining positions in England – privy councillor, superintendent of the royal gardens, and ranger of Windsor Park, the latter of which she gave to Sir Edward Seymour. Portland’s favourite residence of Cumberland Lodge went to her own favourite and groom of the stole, the countess of Marlborough.201

Early in Anne’s reign Macky provided his contacts at the Hanoverian court with a character sketch of Portland now,

turned of fifty years old ... [and] supposed to be the richest subject in Europe, very profuse in gardening, birds and household furniture, but mighty frugal and parsimonious in everything else; of a very lofty mien, and yet not proud; of no deep understanding, considering his experience; neither much beloved nor hated by any sort of people, English or Dutch.202

The Tory Jonathan Swift later annotated his copy of Macky’s character with the judgment that Portland was ‘as great a dunce as ever I knew’, and even Sunderland, who had relied so much on Portland’s patronage, was said to have ‘had a very mean opinion of the earl of Portland; and said upon Keppel’s being sent to him by the king upon some business, “This young man brings and carries a message well; but Portland is so dull an animal, that he can neither fetch nor carry”’.203

Portland during Anne’s reign remained an important figure in both England and the United Provinces, acting as an informal intermediary between the States General and the English government during the renewed war. In just about every year from 1702 he stayed at his Dutch estate of Sorgvliet during the summer months. Narcissus Luttrell’s many notes of his departures and arrivals from the continent suggest that he was also involved in diplomacy and furthering the war effort while abroad. In October 1702 he returned bringing ‘the good news of the surrender of Ruremond’. In July 1703 he accompanied Algernon Seymour, styled earl of Hertford, later 7th duke of Somerset, to Hanover, and returned with Marlborough with news of the arrival of the archduke Charles. In July 1704 he went to confer with the States General about Portugal and the Camisard revolt.204 After Blenheim, Portland and Marlborough buried their past differences (which largely originated from Marlborough’s resentment of the lock Portland and other foreign officers had on military office during William’s war) and became regular correspondents in pursuit of their common goal. Portland also often acted as an intermediary between Marlborough and the pensionary, Anthonie Heinsius. ‘Pray let me hear from you some times, and let me have your own thoughts, which I promise you shall be known to nobody but myself’, Marlborough encouraged him in a letter of July 1705.205

Portland came to 55 per cent of the sittings of the first session of Anne’s Parliament in 1702-3, similar to his attendances on the House in the mid-1690s. But now no longer a minister or seen as the ‘favourite’ of the monarch, he was treated much more as an ordinary working peer. Whereas during William’s reign he was almost never appointed to select committees, perhaps because of his ‘alien’ Dutchness and his perceived role as an agent in the House for the king, he was now, like most other peers in the House, appointed to just about every select committee – especially the very large ones dealing with private legislation or committees of inquiry and inspection. Portland reached his highest attendances in the House in the following two sessions – 83 per cent (his highest rate of attendance ever) in 1703-4 and 76 per cent in 1704-5. His support for the war against France was again assumed when he was placed on a slightly smaller drafting committee, of only 27 members, assigned on 24 Oct. 1704 to compose an address on the first day of the 1704-5 session congratulating the queen on the recent military successes and particularly Marlborough on the victory at Blenheim. Likewise, in 1705-6 he attended over three-fifths of the sittings and was named to almost every select committee established.

Portland protested to the dowager electress of Hanover in 1706 that ‘I do not ever want to be Whig or Tory’ but insisted that circumstances, and particularly the war effort and the maintenance of the Protestant Succession impelled him to side with the Junto Whigs, among whom he counted many old friends and frequent correspondents.206 In 1702-3 he was an opponent of the occasional conformity bill. On 19 Jan. 1703 he signed the protest against the decision to include a clause in the bill to settle a revenue on George of Denmark specifying that he would still be able to sit in the Privy Council and the House after the queen’s death, despite his foreign birth. The clause appeared to call into doubt the right of other foreign-born peers such as himself to hold similar positions without such a parliamentary dispensation.207 A frequent correspondent with the dowager electress Sophia, he was also a supporter of the Hanoverian Succession. 208 In December 1705 he voted to agree with the motion that ‘the Church is not in danger’ and in favour of the Regency Bill.209 His continuing correspondence with Carstares suggests that he supported the plans for a Union, because ‘it comprises the [Protestant] succession, that it is to the advantage of both nations, because it prevents all the future differences, it will cut the roots of a good part of your domestic divisions, and it will remedy bit by bit the shortage of money from which Scotland suffers’. 210

Yet he was not in the House for most of the proceedings on the Union he advocated. From 1706 he increasingly devoted more time to his new life as a country gentleman, with a growing brood of children from his second marriage. After the first session of the 1705 Parliament his attendance on Parliament dropped sharply. He only attended a further 32 sittings between 13 Feb. 1707 and his last appearance in the House on 5 Apr. 1709. Shortly after that appearance he set off for Holland in the company of Marlborough and Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, most likely to act as an unofficial presence at the negotiations for the Barrier Treaty.211 This was Portland’s last important piece of diplomacy, acting as an informal mediator between England and the States-General in the complicated negotiations for this agreement.212

He was back in the autumn at his house at Bulstrode in Buckinghamshire, where it was reported on 19 Nov. 1709 that he ‘lies dangerously ill of a pleurisy’.213 Four days later he died, only a month after the birth of his youngest daughter, Barbara. He died a fabulously rich man, perhaps even, as Macky thought him, ‘the richest subject in Europe’. An inventory of his personal and real estate, his investments, his income (or sale price) of offices and honours made up after his death valued them all at the staggering amount of £992,212; £850,150 of this came from his English possessions and investments alone.214 Each of his five unmarried daughters received a portion of £10,000. His widow received a pension of £2,000 p.a. for the rest of her life, the use of Sorgvliet and his townhouse at The Hague. She later pursued a notable life at the English court, acting as governess to the daughters of George, the Prince of Wales, in 1718, and was re-appointed to that post when he succeeded to the throne as George II. Portland split the bulk of his estate between two of his three surviving sons, representing in effect the split Anglo-Dutch nature of his own life. Although there were later disputes between the two branches over the huge inheritance, particularly between the dowager countess and her Dutch son-in-law the Baron van Wassenaar-Duyvenvoorde (who was actually married to a daughter by Portland’s first wife), in general the two branches maintained cordial relations and assisted in future Anglo-Dutch relations. To his second Willem, born in 1704, Portland bequeathed his Dutch possessions.215 Willem was later to follow in his father’s footsteps, as a member of the order of Ridderschap in the States of Holland, under the title Lord of Rhoon and Pendrecht, and as a principal advisor of William III’s heir the stadtholder Willem IV, for which he became known as ‘the Grand Tribune’.216 Yet by the end of his own life Portland was established enough in his adopted home of England to ensure that his eldest and adult son Lord Woodstock should inherit all the English estates and possessions and found a dynasty there; he was made a duke in 1716 by George I, grateful for his father’s support of the Hanoverian Succession. Indeed, in total nine of Portland’s children married into English (or more properly British) noble or gentry families, while only two had spouses from Dutch noble families. The family founded by Hans Willem Bentinck in England in later years produced a prime minister (the 3rd duke of Portland), several statesmen and leading national figures, as well as a famous eccentric and recluse in the 5th duke.


  • 1 Eg. 1708, f. 1.
  • 2 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 641.
  • 3 Japikse, Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck, I. i. xxxvii; I. ii. 719.
  • 4 Ibid. I. i. xxxvii, 359; II. iii. 47.
  • 5 TNA, PROB 11/512.
  • 6 Correspondentie, I. i. p. xxxv.
  • 7 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvi; I. ii. 718.
  • 8 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvii; I. ii. 719.
  • 9 Correspondentie, I. i. pp. xxxvi-xxxvii; I. ii. 721; Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 136.
  • 10 Correspondentie, I. ii. 721; CTB, xii. 128; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 193.
  • 11 Correspondentie, I. ii. 721.
  • 12 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 204; 1695, pp. 111-12; 1697, pp. 510-11.
  • 13 Correspondentie, I. i. p. xxxvii; I. ii. 718.
  • 14 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvi; I. ii. 718.
  • 15 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvi. n. 2.
  • 16 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvi; I. ii. 718.
  • 17 Ibid. I. i. p. xxxvi; I. ii. 718; HMC Lords, iv. 188; n.s. ii. 134; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 686.
  • 18 Correpondentie, I. i. p. xxxvi; I. ii. 718-19.
  • 19 HMC Lords, iv. 187; n.s. ii. 131; Correspondentie, I. ii. 718.
  • 20 Correspondentie, I. i. p. xxxvii; I. ii. 718-19.
  • 21 Correspondentie, I. ii. 721; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 194.
  • 22 Correspondentie, I. i. p. xxxvii. n. 5; I. ii. 91, 96-9; LJ, xvi. 643.
  • 23 HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 272.
  • 24 Ibid. 252-3, 258, 262-4, 269-70.
  • 25 Correspondentie I. i. xxxvii; Eg. 1708, ff. 277-80; CTB, ix. 101-2; xii. 128; Journaal van Constantijn Huygens den zoon [hereafter Huygens, Journaal], I. i. 123; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 50, 193; Survey of London, xlv. 95; VCH Berks. iii. 81; UNL, PwA 218; VCH Bucks. iii. 280.
  • 26 This biography is based on David Onnekink, The Anglo-Dutch Favourite: The Career of Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st earl of Portland and M.E. Grew, William Bentinck and William III.
  • 27 Correspondentie, I. i. 3 (no. 1).
  • 28 Ibid. I. ii. 581-95 (nos. 545-55); UNL, PwA 2057-9, 2085.
  • 29 Grew, 18-23.
  • 30 Correspondentie, I. i. 4-8 (nos. 2-8); I. ii. 3-7 (nos. 1-7); Grew, 36-43.
  • 31 Herts. ALS, DE/P/F97, ‘Earl of Portland’s case’ (with copy of marriage settlement).
  • 32 D. Jacques, The Gardens of William and Mary; Hunt and de Jong, The Anglo-Dutch Garden.
  • 33 Sidney Diary, i. 51, 158 and passim.
  • 34 Correspondentie, I. i. 12-17 (nos. 15-19); Clarendon Corresp. i. 89-90; Grew, 68-75.
  • 35 Correspondentie, I. i. 20-29 (nos. 24-36); Clarendon Corresp. i. 125-6, 128, 130, 151-4.
  • 36 Correspondentie, I. ii. 7-21 (nos. 10-11), 597-9 (nos. 557-60); II. ii. 757-61 (nos. 746-7).
  • 37 Burnet Supp. ed. Foxcroft, 196-7.
  • 38 UNL, PwA 2087-2198; Correspondentie, I. ii. 597-9 (nos. 558-60).
  • 39 Correspondentie, I. ii. 604-22 (nos. 562-75); UNL, PwA 2189-2201.
  • 40 Burnet, iii. 310-11.
  • 41 Correspondentie, I. i. 360-65 (nos. 286-96); I. ii. 626-34 (no. 580); II. iii. 48-55 (nos. 62-76); II. iii. 57-8, 62-68, 80 (nos. 79, 83-88, 102).
  • 42 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 215.
  • 43 Correspondentie, I. ii. 22-25 (nos. 12-16); Clarendon Corresp. ii. 219; Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 38, 43.
  • 44 Correspondentie, I. ii. 25-26 (no. 18); Clarendon Corresp. ii. 231.
  • 45 Geschied- en Letterkundig Mengelwerk ed. J. Scheltema, pt. III, vol. ii. 147, 159-60.
  • 46 Burnet, iii. 390-2.
  • 47 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 82-83.
  • 48 PA, The Willcocks Collection, Section 6, 21; Horwitz, Parl. Pol. p. 13.
  • 49 Burnet, iv. 7-8.
  • 50 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 57-58, 77.
  • 51 Ibid. 70-71.
  • 52 CTB, ix. 101-2; Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 123.
  • 53 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 136; CTB, ix. 102.
  • 54 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 128.
  • 55 Morrice, Entring Bk., v. 153, 162.
  • 56 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 194.
  • 57 Ibid. 126, 134, 157.
  • 58 Morrice, Entring Bk., v. 287.
  • 59 Shrewsbury Corresp. 9-13; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters. i. vi.
  • 60 UNL, PwA 2335-2360; Leven and Melville Pprs. passim.
  • 61 Macky, Mems 61.
  • 62 Burnet Supp. 415.
  • 63 Onnekink, 109-11, citing Archives des Affaires Etrangeres, CPA 170, f. 218; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 568; Verney ms mic. M636/43, J. to E. Verney, 14 Aug. 1689.
  • 64 Morrice, Entring Bk. v. 164-5; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 567-8; Correspondentie, I. i. 62-64 (nos. 72-3); I. ii. 26-29 (nos. 19-21).
  • 65 J.I. Israel, The Dutch Republic, 854-6; Correspondentie, I. i. 64-158 (nos.74-125); Morrice, Entring Bk. v. 349-50, 355, 382, 399, 404.
  • 66 Morrice, Entring Bk. v. 406, 409; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 20.
  • 67 Correspondentie, I. i. 80-81, 85-86, 94-95, 109 (nos. 83, 85, 89, 96).
  • 68 Morrice, Entring Bk. v. 420; Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 54-55.
  • 69 Correspondentie, II. iii. 164.
  • 70 Morrice, Entring Bk. v. 513.
  • 71 Correspondentie, I. ii. 29-30 (no. 23); II. iii. 183-272 (nos. 215-331) passim.
  • 72 UNL, PwA 299.
  • 73 Browning, Danby, iii. 180.
  • 74 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 165.
  • 75 Correspondentie, I. ii. 718-19.
  • 76 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 512-13.
  • 77 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 77-78.
  • 78 Huygens, Journaal, I. ii. 43-44.
  • 79 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 340, 373-4.
  • 80 Add. 29596, f. 92.
  • 81 Correspondentie, I. ii. 42-58 (nos. 34-53); UNL, PwA 229-75.
  • 82 UNL, PwA 1209-10.
  • 83 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 465, 471, 473.
  • 84 Correspondentie, I. ii. 32-36 (nos. 26-30); UNL, PwA 1348-50.
  • 85 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 600.
  • 86 Correspondentie, I. ii. 36-38 (no. 31); UNL, PwA 500.
  • 87 Chatsworth, ‘Holland House Notebook’, section S, ff. 2-3.
  • 88 Correspondentie, II. iii. 302.
  • 89 UNL, PwA 2792.
  • 90 Ibid. 2385-87.
  • 91 Huygens, Journaal, I. ii. 152.
  • 92 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 52, 55; Bodl. Tanner 25, ff. 12-13.
  • 93 UNL, PwA 2392.
  • 94 Ranke, vi. 198-200; HMC 7th Rep. 212.
  • 95 HMC 7th Rep. 212.
  • 96 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 109-10.
  • 97 UNL, PwA 2388.
  • 98 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 110; PA, HL/PO/JO/13/7.
  • 99 UNL, PwA 2381-4.
  • 100 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 81; Bodl. Carte 233, f. 93.
  • 101 UNL, PwA 1211-31.
  • 102 Ibid. 1219.
  • 103 Ibid. 1217; Correspondentie, I. ii. 38-40 (no. 32).
  • 104 UNL, PwA 1230.
  • 105 Ibid. 1215.
  • 106 HMC Lords, n.s. i. 298-9.
  • 107 Grey, x. 375-6.
  • 108 CJ, xi. 71-72.
  • 109 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 282.
  • 110 UNL, PwA 1240.
  • 111 Ibid. 1218.
  • 112 Ibid. 1232-40.
  • 113 Ibid. 1243.
  • 114 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 398.
  • 115 Correspondentie, I. ii. 45 (no. 37).
  • 116 Ibid. 46-47 (nos. 38-9); UNL, PwA 240.
  • 117 UNL, PwA 246-67.
  • 118 Correspondentie, I. ii. 48-49 (no. 41).
  • 119 Ibid. 47-56 (nos. 40-52).
  • 120 Lexington Pprs. 72.
  • 121 Ibid. 80-81.
  • 122 CTB, x. 1046-52; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 472; Bodl. Carte 130, ff. 355-6.
  • 123 Correspondentie, I. ii. 58 (no. 54).
  • 124 Ibid. 58-66 (nos. 54-68).
  • 125 UNL, PwA 502-12, 1247-49.
  • 126 CJ, xi. 409; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 5.
  • 127 CJ, xi. 409; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv, 8-9.
  • 128 CTB, xi. 125-8; Eg. 1708, ff. 277-80; CJ, xi. 608.
  • 129 CTB, x. 1018-26; xi. 83, 275-6.
  • 130 UNL, PwA 1445-64.
  • 131 Lexington Pprs. 177-81; Browning, iii. 191.
  • 132 Browning, i. 533.
  • 133 HMC Hastings, ii. 270; Add. 72536, f. 36.
  • 134 Correspondentie, I. i. 179-95 (nos. 153-166), II. iii. 406 (no. 528); Shrewsbury Corresp. 130-37; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 90, 92, 95, 98.
  • 135 Shrewsbury Corresp. 137-42.
  • 136 Ibid. 141.
  • 137 Ibid. 146.
  • 138 Correspondentie, I. ii. 68-69 (no. 73).
  • 139 Shrewsbury Corresp. 146, 149-54.
  • 140 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 122.
  • 141 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 14-25.
  • 142 Shrewsbury Corresp. 156-9.
  • 143 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 81-82.
  • 144 Ibid. 89-90.
  • 145 Cobbett, Parl. Hist., v. 1155; Add. 48196, f. 45; Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 336.
  • 146 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 90-91, 104-5, 114-15.
  • 147 Burnet, iv. 347-8.
  • 148 Shrewsbury Corresp. 163.
  • 149 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 456.
  • 150 Horwitz, 203-4; HMC Hastings, ii. 288; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 70.
  • 151 Burnet, iv. 566.
  • 152 Correspondentie, I. i. 197-8 (no. 168).
  • 153 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 209; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 186, 201.
  • 154 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 193.
  • 155 UNL, PWA 1181-4; Correspondentie, I. ii. 70-72 (nos. 75-77); Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers 371/14/E5, 8, 13, 23.
  • 156 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 233.
  • 157 Correspondentie, I. i. 198-9 (no. 170).
  • 158 Ibid. 199-201 (nos. 171-3).
  • 159 Ibid. 202 (no. 174-5).
  • 160 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 248, 253, 256, 258, 260, 273, 276, 279.
  • 161 UNL, PwA 27, 163, 517, 939, 1267, 1406.
  • 162 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 294-6.
  • 163 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 434; Cumbria RO, D/Lons/L1/1/39/1; HMC Lonsdale, 108; UNL, PwA 826-8.
  • 164 Correspondentie, I. i. 212 (no. 188).
  • 165 UNL, PwA 1395.
  • 166 Correspondentie, I. i. 214-336 (no. 191-251).
  • 167 CTB, xiii. 218-19; Eg. 1708, f. 277.
  • 168 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 342, 344, 347.
  • 169 Memoires de Saint-Simon, ed. Y. Coirault, i. 413.
  • 170 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 326; HMC Hastings, ii. 302-3.
  • 171 Correspondentie, I. ii. 88-109 (nos. 92-109); 678-84 (nos. 598-603).
  • 172 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 498; Add. 17677 TT, f. 106r.
  • 173 Shrewsbury Corresp. 533.
  • 174 Huygens, Journaal, I. i. 193-4.
  • 175 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 453.
  • 176 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 513, 514; Add. 17677 TT, ff. 169-70; Burnet, iv. 412-13.
  • 177 Leics. RO, DG 7, bdle. 22, Leeds to his daughter, 25 Apr. 1699.
  • 178 Correspondentie, I. ii. 721.
  • 179 Add. 17677 TT, f. 170v.
  • 180 Correspondentie, I. ii. 684-9 (nos. 604-11).
  • 181 BIHR, lxviii. 313, 316.
  • 182 Correspondentie, I. ii. 107 (no. 106); Beinecke Library, OSB, Blathwayt mss box 19, Vernon-Blathwayt letters, 28 Oct., 1 and 4 Nov. 1698.
  • 183 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 8.
  • 184 Ibid. iii. 4-5.
  • 185 Ibid. iii. 22-24; HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 35; CJ, xiii. 321.
  • 186 Add. 29596, f. 108.
  • 187 Timberland, ii. 22-3; HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 220-4; Correspondentie, I. ii. 689-90 (no. 612).
  • 188 Cocks Diary, 77.
  • 189 Ibid. 76-79.
  • 190 CJ, xiii. 465.
  • 191 Burnet, iv. 488.
  • 192 HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 222-3.
  • 193 LJ, xvi. 643.
  • 194 Burnet, iv. 485-7.
  • 195 HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 295-9.
  • 196 Cocks Diary, 94.
  • 197 Ibid. 156, 161-3, 177.
  • 198 Ibid. 163.
  • 199 HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 300; Brit. Pols, 431.
  • 200 Burnet, iv. 560.
  • 201 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. i. 58-59, 66-67; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 172.
  • 202 Macky, 62.
  • 203 Burnet, iv. 566.
  • 204 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 178, 221, 322, 355, 443-4, 472.
  • 205 Add. 61153, ff. 210-40; Veenendaal, Briefwisseling van Heinsius, vols. iv.-ix. passim; HMC Portland, iv. 212, 230, 242, 247, 249, 257; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. i. 495, 500, 502, 557; ii. 714, 901; iii. 1219.
  • 206 UNL, PwA 942-5, 1186-8, 1198.
  • 207 Nicolson, London Diaries, 177-8.
  • 208 UNL, PwA 1189-1201; Stowe 222, ff. 26, 39, 48-51, 97, 103, 149, 176, 182, 212, 253, 278, 311, 328, 378, 426, 439; Macpherson, Orig. Pprs. ii. 643.
  • 209 Veenendaal, Briefwisseling, iv. 453; UNL, PwA 1079-80.
  • 210 J. McCormick, State Pprs and letters addressed to William Carstares, 742, 749.
  • 211 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 436.
  • 212 R. Geikie, The Dutch Barrier, 38 ff; Correspondentie, I. ii. 452.
  • 213 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 513.
  • 214 Eg. 1708, ff. 277-80; Onneking, 90.
  • 215 Notts. Archives, DD/4P/33/2.
  • 216 Onnekink, 257.