TALBOT, Charles (1660-1718)

TALBOT, Charles (1660–1718)

styled 1660-68 Ld. Talbot; suc. fa. 16 Mar. 1668 (a minor) as 12th earl of SHREWSBURY and 12th earl of Waterford [I]; cr. 30 Apr. 1694 duke of SHREWSBURY

First sat 21 Oct. 1680; last sat 19 Dec. 1717

b. 24 July 1660 1st s. of Francis Talbot, 11th earl of Shrewsbury, and 2nd w. Lady Anna Maria (1642-1702), da. of Robert Brudenell, 2nd earl of Cardigan. educ. travelled abroad 1674-8 (France).1 m. 9 Sept. 1705 (at Augsburg) Adelaide (Adela, Adelide, Adelhida) Countess Roffeni (d.1726), da. of Andrea, Marchese Paleotti and Maria Christina Dudley, wid. of Count Roffeni, s.p. d. 1 Feb. 1718; will 19 July 1712–8 Jan. 1718, pr. 21 Feb. 1718.2

Extra gent. of the bedchamber 1683-5; sec. of state (south) 1689-90,3 (north) 1694-5, (south) 1695-8; ld. justice 1695; ld. chamberlain 1699-1700, 1710-15; amb. extr. to France 1712-13; ld. lt. of Ireland 1713-14; ld. treas. 1714; PC 1689-92, 1694-1702, 1710-d.4

Ld. lt. Heref. 1694-1704, Herts. 1689-92, Salop 1712-14, Staffs. 1681-7, N. Wales 1694-6, Worcs. 1689-d.; custos rot. Staffs. 1681-8, Herts. 1689 and liberty of St Albans 1690;5 freeman, Worcester;6 recorder, Droitwich 1696.7

Col. regt. of horse 1685, 1689.8

Gov. Charterhouse 1689.9

Associated with: Grafton, Worcs.; Heythrop, Oxon.; Eyford, Glos.; Warwick Street, Westminster and St James’s Square, Westminster.10

Likenesses: oil on canvas, aft. Sir G. Kneller, c.1685, NPG 1424; mezzotint by J. Smith, 1695, NPG D40716.

Talbot was born into one of the oldest Catholic noble families in England. Something of an enigma, in the course of his varied political career he converted to Protestantism, progressed from association with the trimmer, George Savile, Viscount (later marquess of) Halifax, to collaboration with the nascent Junto and, during the 1690s, became the darling of the Whig party.11 He dabbled in Jacobite intrigue and by turns courted and sought to be relieved of office. His apparent renunciation of his former comrades at the turn of the century caused him to be dismissed as a traitor to their cause and on his return from a lengthy retirement in Italy he was shunned by most of his old associates. He then staged a remarkable comeback as the partner of Robert Harley, later earl of Oxford and Mortimer, at the head of a largely Tory ministry. Subsequently, he was the last person to hold office as lord treasurer.

Throughout his life Shrewsbury was assailed by atrocious health. It cost him one of his eyes and he was frequently left prostrated by fits of spitting blood. He was no less impeded by moments of panic bordering on paranoia. Despite this, he was conscious of his rank and eager to remain at the centre of affairs, a crucial figure at court and in Parliament and one of the few men able to inspire the trust and affection of all sides.12

Early career to 1688

Talbot succeeded to the earldom when only eight years old following his father’s death from wounds sustained in a duel with George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham. The bout had been provoked by Buckingham’s affair with Lady Shrewsbury and although the surgeons declared the earl’s death to have been from consumption few were in any doubt of the true reason.13 With his mother in disgrace, the new earl was left under the guardianship of his grandfather, the earl of Cardigan, his uncle, Mervin Tuchet, later 14th Baron Audley and 4th earl of Castlehaven [I], William Talbot and Gilbert Crouch. On 14 Jan. 1671 Shrewsbury’s guardians introduced a bill to enable them to dispose of certain parts of the estate, which was committed on 17 January. Following a series of delays, Robert Bruce, earl of Ailesbury, reported the bill fit to be engrossed with amendments on 3 February. It passed at third reading the following day. Although relations between Shrewsbury’s various guardians were often far from harmonious, at the opening of the session of January 1674, they united once more to petition the House in his name against the continuing liaison between Buckingham and the dowager countess. As a result the pair were ordered to enter into bonds of £10,000 apiece to guarantee that they would no longer ‘converse or cohabit’ with each other.14

At the age of 14 Shrewsbury was granted leave to reside abroad in France for up to seven years for his education. He arrived in Paris in June 1674, but two years later he was ordered back by his uncle, Sir John Talbot, to take part in marriage negotiations with James Compton, 3rd earl of Northampton, for a match with Northampton’s daughter, Lady Alathea. Efforts to secure a match for the young peer had been made three years previously but come to nothing.15 Still under age, Shrewsbury exhibited little enthusiasm for this arrangement. He concurred that it was necessary he should ‘have a view of the young lady’ but refused to understand ‘the necessity of this particular time.’16 Once again, the negotiations came to nothing. Lady Alathea later eloped with Edward Hungerford. Shrewsbury returned to his studies in France.17 Towards the close of the year it was rumoured that he was to marry Miss Downs, sister to one of the former companions of John Wilmot, 2nd earl of Rochester. Given Shrewsbury’s religion, it was supposed she must be a Catholic, ‘or else my lord of Shrewsbury would not choose her for a wife’. Again no marriage resulted.18

In May 1677 Shrewsbury was noted by Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, in his analysis of the peerage as an underage papist. The following spring Shrewsbury joined the army in Flanders as a volunteer, at the particular urging of James, duke of York, but soldiering seems not to have appealed to the young peer.19 He had returned to England by the end of April 1678 when there was further speculation of potential matches, among them the eldest daughter of John Belasyse, Baron Belayse, who was thought to have a fortune of £30,000.20 Shrewsbury continued to eschew matrimony but the following year (1679) his cousin, Francis Brudenell, styled Lord Brudenell, converted to the Church of England prompting speculation that Shrewsbury was on the point of converting too.21 The move followed lengthy discussions between him, his grandfather, Cardigan, and John Tillotson, later archbishop of Canterbury, who ultimately succeeded in convincing Shrewsbury to follow his cousin’s example and join the Church of England. In May he made his first public attendance at an Anglican service at Lincoln’s Inn presided over by Tillotson, who remained Shrewsbury’s spiritual guide for the remainder of his life. The same month a match between Shrewsbury and Lady Henrietta Wentworth was rumoured to be in the air, but nothing came of it.22 Shrewsbury’s failure to marry and reputation for keeping mistresses caused Tillotson to warn him later that year against falling into vice, noting how:

it was a great satisfaction to me to be anyways instrumental in the gaining of your lordship to our religion… but yet I am… more concerned that your lordship should continue a virtuous and good man than become a Protestant… I believe your lordship to have great command and conduct of yourself but am very sensible of human frailty and of the dangerous temptations to which youth is exposed in this dissolute age.23

Shrewsbury received his first significant office in December 1679 with his appointment to the lord lieutenancy of Staffordshire. Shortly after, he suffered the first of a string of debilitating illnesses, which resulted in the loss of one of his eyes. Despite this handicap, in June he joined a number of other young nobles in volunteering to join the expedition to Tangier mounted by John Sheffield, 3rd earl of Mulgrave (later duke of Buckingham).24 His request was refused by the king because of his recent sickness: ‘one eye is lost and it is feared the other will follow’.25

In spite of his very public conversion the previous year, in October 1680 Shrewsbury was indicted by the London sessions as a papist, though he was able to satisfy the court of his change of religion.26 Although still under age, on 19 Oct. he received his writ of summons and on 21 Oct. he sat for the first time. He attended for just one day before quitting the House for the remainder of the session and was noted absent without explanation at a call of the House on 30 October. He failed to attend the brief Parliament held at Oxford the following March but in May 1681 he subscribed the petition seeking leniency for Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, indicted for murder.27 He also attended the trial of Fitzharris.28

In 1684 he was granted leave from his responsibilities at court so that he could resume his abortive military career by joining with his brother, Jack Talbot, and a number of other peers and gentlemen as volunteers in the French army campaigning against the forces of Spain and the prince of Orange in Flanders.29 Shrewsbury returned to the House on 19 May 1685 at the opening of the new Parliament following the accession of James II. He attended on almost 70 per cent of all sitting days and along with Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, introduced George Savile as marquess of Halifax, after which he was named to four committees in the course of the session. On 16 June he registered his proxy with Halifax, which was vacated by his resumption of his seat the following day. In July he was appointed colonel of a regiment of horse in response to the rebellion of James Scott, duke of Monmouth. It was reported that he had been relieved of his command by the close of the year, though it was not until early 1687 that he seems to have laid down his place having refused to concur with James’ policy of overturning the Test Act.30

In January 1686 Shrewsbury was summoned as one of the triers of Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamer (later earl of Warrington).31 The following month Shrewsbury’s brother, Colonel John (‘Jack’) Talbot, was killed in a duel with Henry Fitzroy, duke of Grafton. The quarrel was the result of provocation by Talbot who had taunted the duke, accusing him of ‘buggering Kildare’ (John Fitzgerald, 18th earl of Kildare [I]) and calling him a ‘son of a whore’. Devastated by his brother’s killing, Shrewsbury appealed to the king not to pardon Grafton too readily but he was ignored.32 It is possible to see in this affair part of the reason for Shrewsbury’s later rebellion against James.33

Noted an opponent of repeal of the Test in January 1687, Shrewsbury resigned his commission as colonel of a cavalry regiment the same month, having refused to be browbeaten into supporting the king’s policies by closeting.34 Later in the year he was also removed from the lieutenancy of Staffordshire. By May, Shrewsbury was an acknowledged opponent of the king’s policies and hosting meetings of other opposition members at his London home.35 That summer he travelled to Holland in company with Richard Lumley, Baron Lumley (later earl of Scarbrough).36 He took with him a letter of recommendation from Halifax, which introduced him to Prince William as ‘the most considerable man of quality that is growing up amongst us’.37

Shrewsbury was listed again as a likely opponent of repeal of the Test in forecasts of November 1687 and January 1688. He was also included in a list of opposition peers compiled by Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby (later successively marquess of Carmarthen and duke of Leeds). Shrewsbury was one of a number of peers to receive threatening letters in February in connection with their refusal to acquiesce in the king’s policies.38 Heavily involved with the defence of the Seven Bishops in June, Shrewsbury was one of those to offer bail for the imprisoned prelates. It was also said that Shrewsbury and Lumley were busy throughout the crisis ‘running about’ meeting with other peers in their efforts to manage the bishops’ case.39 That summer Shrewsbury’s home was again the venue for gatherings of opposition figures and on 30 June, the day of the bishops’ acquittal, Shrewsbury was one of the ‘immortal seven’ to put his signature to the letter of invitation to William of Orange.

Shrewsbury and the prince had developed a close friendship since Shrewsbury’s visit the previous year. He seems to have been equally a favourite of Princess Mary.40 Shrewsbury maintained a close correspondence with William throughout the summer, which culminated in his decision to quit England and cross to join his court in September.41 He took with him £12,000 to help fund the invasion (Roger Morrice suggested that the sum could have been as much as £20,000 and other sources twice that much) borrowed by mortgaging some of his estate to James’s confessor, Father Petre.42

Shrewsbury proved to be a central figure among the expatriates gathered around William of Orange in the autumn of 1688. When the invasion fleet was at last launched at the beginning of November, Shrewsbury was one of those to accompany the force.43 In December he took Bristol for the invaders. He then rejoined the army at Hungerford. On 8 Dec. he joined with Clarendon and James Bertie, earl of Abingdon, in opposing the laying aside of the writs issued by King James for a Parliament to meet on 15 Jan., but they were outvoted by the more radical members of the prince’s entourage. Despite this, two days later he was one of Prince William’s three representatives delegated to meet with the king’s commissioners at Littlecote to discuss the preliminaries to a treaty.44 On 17 Dec., following the consultation between William and a dozen peers at Windsor, Shrewsbury was one of those detailed to order James out of London and to take up residence at Ham House. When one peer raised the question of what was to be done should the king escape, Shrewsbury proposed a further consultation to decide on how best to proceed in that eventuality.45 He earned praise from the king for the kindly manner in which he undertook his office, in contrast to Halifax and Delamer, who were notably ungracious.46

Shrewsbury’s central position encouraged his kinsman, Charles Middleton, 2nd earl of Middleton [S], to contact him to seek his mediation with the prince. Middleton was at pains to point out how little he had approved of James’s policies and sought to know whether he would be allowed to ‘live safely and quietly’ under the new regime.47 Shrewsbury participated in meetings between the peers and Prince William between 21 and 28 Dec. 1688 as well as in sessions of the provisional government held in the Queen’s Presence Chamber in Whitehall and the House of Lords on 21, 22, 24 and 25 December. The following month (January 1689) he was restored to the command of his regiment.48

Secretary of State 1689-90

Shrewsbury took his seat at the opening of the Convention on 22 Jan. 1689. In all he was present on 72 per cent of sitting days in the session. The following day he was named to the standing committees. He was also one of those appointed to enquire into the circumstances of the death of Arthur Capell, earl of Essex, and to consider the best methods of preventing papists from remaining in London. Over the course of the session Shrewsbury was named to a further 13 committees. His importance as a conduit between William and Parliament became apparent during the negotiations over the Revolution settlement, in which William made it quite apparent that he would not accept a solution in which Mary reigned as queen with him as mere consort. On 31 Jan. Shrewsbury voted in favour of inserting the clause declaring William and Mary king and queen in a division held in a committee of the whole. On 3 Feb. he was one of a number of peers to be informed in no uncertain terms by William that he would accept nothing less than the throne.49 The following day, Shrewsbury voted in favour of agreeing with the Commons in employing the term ‘abdicated’ rather than ‘deserted’, acting as teller on the motion to concur with the lower House and entering his dissent when the motion failed to carry. On 6 Feb. Shrewsbury again voted to support the Commons’ use of the phrase ‘that the throne is thereby vacant’. He was also credited (along with Charles Mordaunt, Viscount Mordaunt, later 3rd earl of Peterborough), with having secured the vote of Edward Clinton, 5th earl of Lincoln, who declared that he had come to do ‘whatever my Lord Shrewsbury and Lord Mordaunt would have him’.50 Two days later (8 Feb.) Shrewsbury acted as one of the reporters of a conference held with the Commons concerning the declaration of William and Mary as king and queen. The following day he was named to the committee appointed to draw up reasons to be offered at a subsequent conference fortifying the Lords’ amendments to the declaration.

Shrewsbury’s role as conduit between king and Parliament was made apparent again on 15 Feb. when he communicated the king’s order for the House to adjourn to the following Monday and once more on 25 Mar. when he delivered a further message from the king relating to the general pardon.51 The same day he asked leave of the House to bring in the bill for naturalizing Prince George, of Denmark, duke of Cumberland. He presented the bill on 27 Mar., which was passed a little over a week later. On 13 Apr., alongside Charles Gerard, earl of Macclesfield, Shrewsbury introduced a clutch of peers who had been advanced in the peerage: Thomas Belasyse, Viscount Fauconberg, as earl of Fauconberg, Mordaunt as earl of Monmouth, Ralph Montagu, Baron Montagu, as earl of Montagu and John Churchill, Baron Churchill, as earl of Marlborough. Two days later, he introduced Hans Willem Bentinck, as earl of Portland.

Given Shrewsbury’s friendship with William and the newly created Portland it is perhaps surprising that he was not more particularly noticed by Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury, in a list Burnet compiled at some point early in 1689 of people he thought likely to take office in the new regime. Burnet seems to have thought Shrewsbury a viable candidate for a place in the bedchamber and possibly for the lord presidency of Wales, but more significant posts were to be allocated elsewhere.52 Burnet’s predictions proved wide of the mark: at the beginning of March Shrewsbury was appointed one of the secretaries of state. His selection had been touted as early as the beginning of February, and seems to have been made in spite of William’s initial misgivings that he might be too inexperienced. Halifax on the other hand was forward in pressing for the appointment.53 Roger Morrice concluded that Shrewsbury was ‘a brave gentleman’ though ‘such is the dullness of his understanding that he thinks there is no good Englishman but those Tories turned out about six or nine months since.’54 Morrice’s assessment reveals an important aspect of Shrewsbury’s character: his desire to promote a coalition irrespective of party roots, reflected in his reported aim at the time to use his interest to ‘get in worthy men that are sincere to the king’s common designs’. Following his appointment as secretary, Shrewsbury was rewarded with additional marks of trust, being appointed to the lord lieutenancies of Hertfordshire (during the minority of Algernon Capell, 2nd earl of Essex), and of Worcestershire.55 The extent of his influence at the time is reflected in the fact that the same month Sidney Godolphin, Baron (later earl of) Godolphin, asked Christopher Hatton, Viscount Hatton, to use his interest with Shrewsbury to procure for him (Godolphin) the deputy governorship of Guernsey.56

Besides his duties as secretary, Shrewsbury proved to be an active member of the House in the sessions following on from the Revolution. On 12 May 1689 he received Marlborough’s proxy, which was vacated by the close of the session, and on 22 May that of Monmouth, which was vacated on 25 June. The same day he was named to the committee for the Droitwich saltworks bill, in which he had a personal interest as a local landholder. On 21 June he was ordered to move the king for letters intercepted from Ireland to be sent to the House and the following month, on 26 July, Shrewsbury and Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham were ordered in similar fashion to seek the king’s permission for the admiralty books to be made available to the committee considering the miscarriage of affairs in Ireland. Three days later they were also asked to address the king for the council minutes relating to Ireland to be sent to the same committee. Shrewsbury subscribed the protest of 30 July at the resolution that the Lords should adhere to their amendments concerning the reversal of Oates’s conviction for perjury. On 20 Sept. he acted once more as liaison between the House and the king, communicating the king’s order for the House to adjourn to the following month.

Shrewsbury’s increased responsibilities weighed heavily on him, not assisted, no doubt, by the king’s criticism of some of the personnel in his department.57 By August 1689 he was beginning to complain of the poor health that would afflict him for the next few years. His illness led him to make the first of a series of efforts to resign his office, explaining to the king how:

my indispositions of late have been so frequent, and I have the comfortless prospect of so very ill health, for the future, that I am very sensible how incapable I am, to supply a place, where diligence and industry are absolutely requisite.58

William was unable to hide his irritation at Shrewsbury’s apparent malingering:

I cannot conceal my surprise at the contents of your letter, which I received yesterday: as I did not imagine that you would propose to quit your post, at this particular time, which would prove very prejudicial to my service.59

For the time being, Shrewsbury was persuaded to continue in post. He survived the embarrassment of having one of the under-secretaries, Dr Owen Wynne, one of those previously pointed out by the king as unsuitable, removed for engaging in treasonable correspondence with the exiled court. In October he joined the king at Newmarket and the same month he gave one of the odder orders of his career, when he granted permission for a petitioner to have his elk’s head restored to him.60

Shrewsbury took his seat in the second session on 23 Oct. 1689, after which he was present on almost 84 per cent of all sitting days and was named to six committees. After his complaints of the summer he provoked comment by dancing at the king’s birthday celebration on 5 November. Cary Gardiner wondered at the propriety of a secretary of state indulging in such things.61 Over the next three days Shrewsbury’s attention was taken up with liaising between the court and Parliament over the commitment of Edward Griffin, Baron Griffin, to the Tower. The same month Shrewsbury seconded an amendment to the bill of rights proposed by Bishop Burnet of Salisbury, absolving all subjects from their allegiance to monarchs who refused to take the Test. The amendment was passed without opposition, to Burnet’s considerable surprise.62 In December Shrewsbury undertook his by now familiar role as a mediator when he was dispatched by the king with his friend Thomas Wharton, later marquess of Wharton, to attempt to dissuade Princess Anne from seeking an annuity from Parliament, though without success.63 The marquess of Carmarthen (as Danby had become) classed Shrewsbury as an opponent of the court on a list compiled between October 1689 and February 1690, adding the comment ‘to absent’, probably meaning to be asked to absent himself.

By the close of the year, Shrewsbury had lost his faith in the benefits of a mixed administration and he joined Wharton in recommending that the king place his trust in the Whigs. He conceived that William would be better served working with them ‘than with the Tories, who many of them, questionless, would bring in King James, and the very best of them, I doubt, have a regency still in their heads’. Although the king capitulated to Shrewsbury’s plea for a short Christmas adjournment, Shrewsbury and his Whig associates remained unconvinced that they had won William over to their side and continued to warn in stark terms of the dangers of trusting the churchmen. Further disagreements soon followed and when Sir Richard Haddock was appointed to the admiralty in January 1690, Shrewsbury refused to sign the warrant.64

Reports of the king’s imminent departure from England led to rumours in February of those likely to be named commissioners in his absence. Unsurprisingly, Shrewsbury was among them.65 Following the dissolution, which he had tried to prevent and which represented a signal success for Carmarthen and Nottingham, Shrewsbury was active in campaigning in several counties. He employed his interest on behalf of Richard Newport*, later 2nd earl of Bradford, in Shropshire (turning down Mr Fraunter); he also encouraged Sir John Bowyer to contest Staffordshire, though without success, and lent his support to Richard Coote, Lord Bellomont [I], at Droitwich.66 Having taken his seat at the opening of the new Parliament on 20 Mar. 1690, Shrewsbury continued to attend 57 per cent of all sitting days, during which he was named to eight committees. Aware of the king’s disinclination to provoke his Tory supporters, on 26 Mar. Shrewsbury joined with several peers in speaking critically of the recognition bill proposed by Charles Powlett, duke of Bolton. Even so, on 10 Apr. he spoke against the protests lodged by Nottingham and others, which had denounced aspects of the bill as ‘neither good English nor good sense’.67

Out of office, 1690-4

The heated atmosphere in the Lords during the first session caused Shrewsbury considerable unease and may have precipitated the beginnings of another lengthy bout of poor health. At the close of the month, sick and disgruntled at the failure of the abjuration bill, he tried to resign. The names of likely successors were bandied about in the newsletters but in the event the king refused to accept the seals.68 Shrewsbury had no choice but to continue and when a new abjuration bill was introduced in the Lords on 1 May 1690, he was involved at the committee stage. Two days later he quit the chamber for the remainder of the session and the following day he registered his proxy with Monmouth. He wasted no time in fleeing the capital and on 5 May was noted as being at Newmarket in company with Wharton, ‘both somewhat disgusted’. His evident disgruntlement precipitated further rumours that he would shortly step down.69 Once again, the rumours were quickly countered. It was put about that he was ‘not out just peevish’ and had been persuaded to continue once more by the king. By the end of May, however, suffering from a fever, which some thought might carry him off, he despatched the seals to the king via Thomas Herbert, 8th earl of Pembroke. He then fled from court without staying for the king’s response.70 On 3 June, thoroughly exasperated, the king at last accepted his resignation. Although there was briefly talk of others joining Shrewsbury in sympathy, none did and several days after his resignation, Shrewsbury’s post remained unfilled.71 Rumours circulated by the exiled court that the resignation was a sign of Shrewsbury’s secret sympathy for a restoration had no basis in reality but it is perhaps significant that as late as the beginning of October some still seemed uncertain precisely what the grounds had been for Shrewsbury’s decision to leave office.72

Shrewsbury’s resignation was the culmination of almost a year of poor health and nagging worries about his aptitude for office, though perhaps more important was his frustration at the king’s increasing reliance on Carmarthen and Nottingham.73 Nevertheless, almost as soon as he had laid down his position he began angling for a way back into favour. The queen noted that he was a regular attendant at her supper parties. He was no doubt encouraged to seek a swift return to office by missives such as that by Charles Berkeley, styled Viscount Dursley (later 2nd earl of Berkeley), lamenting his decision to quit.74 Within days of his resignation Shrewsbury had offered his services as head of the navy following the report of the disaster off Beachy Head. His offer was declined.75 Freed from his responsibilities, Shrewsbury’s health gradually improved. He spent the latter part of the summer at Tunbridge, where he was joined by Wharton and Godolphin, who came increasingly to be identified as a powerful new triumvirate. In September rumours began to circulate once more of his return to office.76

Shrewsbury took his seat in the new session on 2 Oct. 1690. He was thereafter present on 74 per cent of all sitting days, during which he was named to 18 committees. A day into the session he received the proxy of Philip Sydney, 3rd earl of Leicester, which was vacated by the close. On 6 Oct. he voted against the discharge of James Cecil, 4th earl of Salisbury, and Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, from their imprisonment in the Tower. On 27 Dec. he registered his dissent at the resolution to allow written protections to be granted to menial servants. By the end of the year reports abounded of the formation of a new ministry comprising Monmouth and Shrewsbury, with Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, as lord treasurer. Others thought Nottingham would be put out to make way for Shrewsbury and Montagu.77

It seems likely that it was at about this time that Shrewsbury made contact with the exiled court, probably through the medium of Richard Grahme, Viscount Preston [S], William Penn and his kinsman, Middleton. This was certainly the purport of the information provided by Preston later in the year.78 Shrewsbury’s correspondence with the Jacobites can only have heightened his sense of acute embarrassment when his uncle, Beuno (or Bruno) Talbot, was outlawed for treason in February 1691. Talbot’s conviction was later overturned: Shrewsbury was one of those who stood bail for him.79 Ironically, at the same time that he appears to have been negotiating with the exiled court, Shrewsbury’s name was recommended to the king by Carmarthen as one of those suitable to be nominated justices during William’s absence.80 In any case, Shrewsbury’s flirtation with Saint Germain was brief and it appears to have ended by June. In mid-summer he was again observed with Godolphin at Tunbridge, this time in company with Princess Anne.81

Shrewsbury attended the prorogation days of 31 Mar. and 28 Apr. 1691 but he was absent from the opening of the ensuing session and on 2 Nov. he was noted as missing at a call of the House. He took his seat just over a fortnight into the session on 6 Nov., after which he was present on three quarters of all sitting days. On 17 Nov. he was nominated one of the reporters of a conference concerning the kingdom’s safety and on 1 Dec. he was appointed a reporter of the conference for the oaths in Ireland bill. That month the House took into consideration the information obtained from Preston and William Fuller, which named Shrewsbury among about 40 senior figures who were said to have signed a paper seeking the French king’s intervention in England.82 In the event Fuller’s testimony was discredited and Fuller himself censured. Shrewsbury had not been the prime target of the conspiracy, so was left relatively unaffected by the aftermath.83 On 3 Jan. 1692 he received the proxy of Arthur Herbert, earl of Torrington, which was vacated on 27 January. On 12 Jan. he entered his dissent at the resolution to receive the divorce bill of Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk. The following month, on 13 Feb., he chaired the opening session of the committee appointed to draw up an address, but it was immediately adjourned. Mulgrave chaired the subsequent session held on 17 February. On 22 Feb. Shrewsbury was again named a reporter of a conference, this time that concerning the small tithes bill.

Although Shrewsbury had emerged relatively unscathed from the investigations of the previous year, in June he was struck off the Privy Council in a sign of his continuing difficult relationship with the court.84 Henry Sydney, Viscount Sydney (later earl of Romney) complained that Shrewsbury and his ‘gang’ had put it about that Edward Russell, later earl of Orford, had won a great victory at sea but that Sydney and other courtiers had been despatched to Portsmouth to spoil his triumph. Shrewsbury acted as a surety for the disgraced Marlborough and by October he was noted as one of the regular habitués of the princess of Denmark’s court at Berkeley House.85

Shrewsbury took his seat in the new session on 7 Nov. 1692. Thereafter he was present on 68 per cent of all sitting days and named to 24 committees. The following day he received Leicester’s proxy again, which was vacated by the close of the session. On 7 Dec. he subscribed the protest at the failure to hold a joint conference with the Commons on the state of the nation and on 20 Dec. he was nominated one of the managers of a conference concerning the papers brought in by Nottingham as secretary of state. The following day he was once more named a reporter of the conference concerning naval affairs. Torrington registered his proxy with Shrewsbury on 16 Jan. 1693, which was vacated by the close.

At the heart of Shrewsbury’s political agenda by the opening of 1693 was the establishment of a bill to ensure the regular meeting of Parliament. On 12 Jan. he introduced the triennial bill, which was debated in a committee of the whole chaired by Bishop Burnet on 18 January.86 Despite broad support for the measure in the House, the king later vetoed the bill, to the disgust of both Shrewsbury and a number of other peers. Shrewsbury had spent an hour and a half in private conference with the king about the bill but had been unable to sway him.87 Disappointment at the veto did not divert Shrewsbury from playing an active role in other business during the remainder of the session. On 19 Jan. he entered two dissents over the land tax bill: the first at the decision not to refer the Commons’ rejection of the Lords’ provisos to the bill to the committee for privileges, and the second at the decision to recede from their clause. On 24 Jan. he reported from the committee appointed earlier in the day to draw up a resolution concerning the libellous publication, King William and Queen Mary Conquerors, which had been ordered to be burnt by the common hangman. The same day he was also named one of the managers of a conference investigating the libel. Shrewsbury entered a further protest on 31 Jan. 1693 at the resolution not to proceed with the trial of Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, for murder. Following the delayed trial he found Mohun not guilty.88 Nominated to the committee appointed on 11 Feb. to draw up an address upon the heads agreed to in a committee of the whole concerning the order that no foreigner should hold office at the ordnance or in the Tower of London, Shrewsbury chaired one session of the committee on 15 Feb., though the subsequent session was (as with that considering an address) taken over by Mulgrave.89 Shrewsbury was again active in the House on 8 Mar. when he acted as one of the tellers for an amendment to the printers bill concerning the searching of peers’ houses, which was rejected by 21 votes to 25. Shrewsbury then entered his protest at the failure of the rider. The same month the bill for improving navigation of the river Salwarpe was brought into the House in the names of Shrewsbury and his neighbour, Thomas Coventry, 5th Baron (later earl of) Coventry.90

Rumours that Shrewsbury had at last married again circulated in the early months of 1693 but the putative match with ‘the great fortune Mrs Thomas’, granddaughter of Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, failed to transpire.91 By the summer he was once more deep in negotiation with the Whigs. In August he attended a meeting at Althorp hosted by Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland. As a result ‘newsmongers’ put it about that he was one of a number of peers, all Whigs, now expected to be ‘the chief managers of public affairs.’ Opinion was divided, though, on what job he was to have.92

Shrewsbury attended four prorogation days between 2 May and 26 Oct. 1693. He returned to the House for the new session on 7 Nov. after which he was present on 57 per cent of all sitting days and named to nine committees. On 14 Nov. his name was missing from the attendance list but he was not marked absent at a call of the House, so presumably took his seat later in the day. Having attended just four days, Shrewsbury appears to have retreated to the country for almost three weeks before resuming his place on 18 December.93

Discontent with his current ministry caused William to turn once more to Shrewsbury and attempt to persuade him to resume office. Shrewsbury now declined, however, to succeed Nottingham as secretary of state without assurances that the king would reverse his opposition to the triennial bill. Not thinking it ‘fit to purchase any one’s friendship and service so dear as at the expense of passing that bill’, the king refused.94 The following month (December) Shrewsbury’s mistress, Mrs Lundy, and the king’s mistress, Mrs Villiers (later countess of Orkney) were both employed to put pressure on Shrewsbury to resume office.95 Shrewsbury remained reluctant and informed Wharton that he was more interested in travelling to the warmer climate of Spain in the quest for a cure:

I am sensible it is a great misfortune to receive commands from a prince one would willingly serve, and at the same time find something in one’s self that makes it impossible to obey him… I doubt whether I am skilful enough to agree, even with those of whose party I am reckoned in several notions they now seem to have of things.96

Shrewsbury was added to the list of managers of a conference examining the proceedings in council concerning the admirals on 15 Jan. 1694 and the same day he was appointed one of the managers of a conference investigating the previous summer’s campaign at sea. He was also named to the committee established to prepare heads for a conference concerning the sailing of the Brest fleet and was nominated a manager of the subsequent conferences on 8 and 12 February. On 29 Mar. he was named a manager of the conference for the mutiny bill. Rumours that he did so only after having secured the exiled king’s permission and that he intended to use the place to further the Jacobite cause seem highly implausible.97 On 3 and 5 Apr. he was involved in the resolution of disagreements between the two Houses over amendments to the bill for satisfying payment of the debts of the recently deceased John Stawell, 2nd Baron Stawell.

By then, the mistresses’ steady campaign to bring about Shrewsbury’s return to government combined with the king’s eventual capitulation on the question of the triennial bill had already resulted in Shrewsbury once more taking up the seals, the warrant for it dated 8 March.98 Further rewards came in quick succession. The same month Shrewsbury added the lieutenancies of Herefordshire and North Wales to his responsibilities, though he soon after rid himself of the latter which went, on his recommendation, to John Vaughan, 2nd Baron Vaughan (3rd earl of Carbery [I]).99 At the end of April he was awarded the garter and raised in the peerage as duke of Shrewsbury, possibly as a result of Sunderland’s recommendation.100

Secretary of State again, 1694-6

Shrewsbury quickly made use of his renewed place of trust to advise the king against admitting Normanby (as Mulgrave had become) to council meetings. In justifying his opinion he argued that ‘I must own, that if there be any body you suspect would betray you or your counsels, it is much better disobliging that person, than entrusting him with things of a less nice nature, than such as may come before a cabinet council’.101

Aside from worrying about unreliable colleagues, Shrewsbury’s attention was taken up by more pressing problems that summer. He had anticipated the failure of the Brest expedition. He was in contact with Portland in July about conditions in Ireland. The same month he was ordered to investigate an outbreak of rioting in Northamptonshire and the suspected involvement in fomenting the disorders of Monmouth, who was said to have ‘made his peace at St Germains’.102 While Shrewsbury accepted that Monmouth may have been in contact with the court in exile, he assured William ‘although he may have made what advances are possible of that kind, if he could find his account under your government, it is what he would prefer much before any such alteration’. He also cast doubts on Monmouth’s involvement in the riots at Northampton.103

In spite of his earlier misgivings about the king’s employment of the Tories, in the autumn of 1694 Shrewsbury was engaged in negotiations with Robert Harley and a Mr Foley (probably Paul Foley) as part of his effort to widen the base of the administration. The talks proved unsuccessful. The same period found Shrewsbury needing to rebuild his bridges with Henry Capell, Baron Capell of Tewkesbury, one of the lord justices in Ireland, who believed that Shrewsbury had criticized his handling of his office. Shrewsbury insisted ‘since the time of my coming into the king’s service, in every word I have spoke or writ upon the subject of Ireland, I have not failed to commend your lordship’s carriage in that country’.104

Shrewsbury took his seat in the House on 12 Nov. 1694, introduced in his new dignity between Charles Lennox, duke of Richmond, and Meinhard Schomberg, 3rd duke of Schomberg. He was subsequently present on almost 41 per cent of all sitting days in the session and was nominated to eight committees. On 24 Nov. he received Carbery’s proxy, which was vacated by the close, but Shrewsbury was already suffering from a renewed bout of ill health. Two days before receiving the proxy it was noted that he wished to retire into the country and by the middle of December the cause of his sickness was a general topic of speculation. In January 1695 he retreated to Windsor, where he was advised by his physicians to ‘forbear all studious business’. Shrewsbury’s under-secretary, James Vernon, reported that his illness had ‘occasioned a weakness in his sight, which must needs be very mortifying considering how he lost his other eye.’105 Fear of permanent blindness undoubtedly shook him. Although he attended the House on 8 Jan. 1695, Shrewsbury was then absent until 28 Jan., when he ‘forced himself to come abroad… thinking it fit for him to hear what passed in the examination of the Lancashire business.’106 It proved to be a short-lived exertion and from 30 Jan. to 11 Mar. he was once more absent from the House. In February he was away from town and it was believed on the point of losing his sight completely.107

Shrewsbury rallied to resume his place on 11 March. On 13 Apr. he was nominated one of the reporters of a conference concerning papers requested by the Lords referring to Sir Thomas Cooke and on 22 Apr. he was one of the dozen peers and 24 Members of the Commons selected by ballot to examine Cooke. On 3 May, following a joint conference with the Commons over the impeachment of the duke of Leeds (formerly Carmarthen), in which Shrewsbury had acted as one of the managers, Shrewsbury proposed that the trial should be suspended. The House accordingly resolved to suspend proceedings and that Leeds should stand impeached until the next sessions.

Shrewsbury was constituted one of the lords justices during the king’s absence over the summer, though he spent at least some of the time predictably enough sick and out of town.108 At the same time rumours circulated of tensions existing between him and the king’s ‘minister behind the curtain’, Sunderland. By the end of the summer relations between the two men seem to have been restored and in September of the following year Sunderland found Shrewsbury willing to make greater ‘assurances of friendship… than I thought him capable of.’109 Such an improvement no doubt owed something to both men concurring in the importance of a dissolution that autumn. Shrewsbury, writing to the king in late July on behalf of both men and of the lord keeper, John Somers, later Baron Somers, was adamant that the king should return to England from his summer campaign in time for the election. He was also concerned to secure the king’s support for the succession of Sir John Houblon (first governor of the Bank of England) as lord mayor of London:

the interest in the city being much broke by the imprudence of this present mayor, and some of the aldermen, and by the heat of many of the common council, in a dispute they have had depending 2 or 3 years, about permitting sheriffs nominated to fine off; it is extremely for your majesty’s interest, that a person should succeed the present mayor, upon whose loyalty you may depend, & whose prudence and credit would be able to reconcile those animosities.110

As a member of the admiralty board, it was necessary to secure Houblon leave from its deliberations during his tenure as mayor, leave that the king was willing to grant to secure the peace of London.

Shrewsbury remained concerned by the king’s apparent unwillingness to quit the continent and the impression it gave that he was uncommitted to the new Parliament, writing again to him in mid-August that

It has been very industriously spread about, that a new Parliament is not intended; by which your majesty’s friends are discouraged from making their interest in the several places they have pretensions to be chose in; whilst others, worse affected, as warm as ever solicit their elections. This is an evil difficult for your majesty’s servants to prevent, unless you would be pleased so far to explain your thoughts, that we might be enabled to give assurances to those that doubt.111

The pressure on the king succeeded and Parliament was dissolved on 11 October. Shrewsbury was active in employing both his own and the crown interest in the ensuing elections. He was appealed to by Somers, to use his influence at Middlesex.112 Somers, whose father had managed some of the Talbot estates and was well known to the family, had found William Russell, duke of Bedford, ‘disturbed at the apprehension of charge’ in setting up Wriothesley Russell, styled marquess of Tavistock (later 2nd duke of Bedford), and he feared that Shrewsbury’s absence from the contest ‘does a great deal of hurt.’113 (Tavistock would eventually withdraw from the election.) Shrewsbury conveyed to John Granville, earl of Bath, the king’s desire for Richard Jones, earl of Ranelagh [I], to be found a seat in Cornwall. At Droitwich, Shrewsbury probably employed his own interest on behalf of Charles Cocks.114

Prior to the opening of Parliament Shrewsbury was said to have circulated premature reports of James II’s death in exile, though these were hastily contradicted.115 Shrewsbury took his seat on 22 Nov. and was thereafter present on just over half of all sitting days during which he was named to 13 committees. On 4 Dec. he was one of those to speak in the debate held in a committee of the whole House concerning the state of the coinage, arguing for a prohibition on the importation of English money. The following day he was nominated one of the managers of a conference on the same business and on 14 Dec. to that concerning the address opposing the establishment of the Scots East India Company. Three days later, he informed the House that the king would issue a proclamation in response to the Lords’ address on clipped money, ‘with what speed the nature of the thing will permit’. Shrewsbury was again prominent in the debates held in a committee of the whole concerning the treason bill on 23 December.116 Nominated a manager of the conference for the bill for regulating silver money on 11 Jan. 1696, Shrewsbury was ill again at the beginning of February.117 He had rallied by the end of the month and on 24 Feb. was ordered to make arrangements with the king for the presentation of the Lords’ address about the exposure of the Assassination Plot. He reported back the same day with the king’s agreement to receive the address that evening. The following month, Shrewsbury decided against presenting a petition of the mayor and corporation of Hereford to the House on the advice of Thomas Coningsby, Lord Coningsby [I], later earl of Coningsby. Coningsby conceived that it would hinder the passage of a navigation bill, presumably that concerning the rivers Wye and Lugg then before the House. Shrewsbury was named to the committee for the Wye and Lugg bill on 5 Mar.; it was passed without amendment two days later. At the close of the month, Shrewsbury presented a delegation from the corporation of Warwick to the king with their copy of the association, subsequently reporting the king’s particular satisfaction at their response to the plot to the county’s lieutenant, Fulke Greville, 5th Baron Brooke.118

By the close of April 1696, Shrewsbury was worn out by his exertions and on 27 Apr. he made his last appearance in the House for almost 10 years. Concerns over his health appear to have led to inaccurate reports of his appointment to the less onerous position of lord president in May. It was thought he would be replaced as secretary by Ford Grey, earl of Tankerville.119 The same month, amidst fears for Capell’s health, Shrewsbury was one of several peers mentioned to the king as a possible replacement in Ireland. The rumours prompted Shrewsbury to inform William that it was:

a great honour, but what I shall neither ambition nor decline, but am willing to serve your majesty where you think I may be most useful. If I were to follow my own inclination, it would never lead me to business; but whilst I continue in it, I will submit myself to be disposed of as your majesty shall think most for your service.120

The Fenwick trial 1696

Shrewsbury seems at first not to have been especially concerned by the arrest and examination of Sir John Fenwick in June 1696. He dismissed Fenwick as ‘a fearful man’ and turned his mind to other concerns.121 In July he was one of those involved with the installation of William, duke of Gloucester, as a garter knight but his attention was otherwise taken up with problems surrounding the establishment of the land bank. By August it was apparent that the scheme was unworkable and the sum of £40,000 pledged likely to be offered on terms not worth taking up.122 Hard on the heels of this disappointment came more damaging revelations from Fenwick. By the end of the summer Shrewsbury had been named along with Godolphin, Marlborough and Edward Russell as being involved in plotting with the exiled court.123 Fenwick’s testimony caused Shrewsbury to abandon all semblance of equanimity. Although he protested to Portland that ‘Sir John Fenwick’s story is as wonderful to me as if he had accused me of coining’, he hurried to confess to the king that he had indeed been involved in correspondence with his Jacobite kinsman, Middleton, James II’s former secretary of state.124 His panic was also no doubt the reason for his renewed expressions of friendship towards Sunderland. The king was already well aware of his minister’s erstwhile nefarious activities but he was also clearly convinced that Shrewsbury’s flirtation with the court in exile had been a brief one. William sought to reassure his by now thoroughly agitated secretary:

In sending you Sir John Fenwick’s paper, I assured you that I was persuaded his accusation was false, of which I am now fully convinced, by your answer, and perfectly satisfied with the ingenuous confession of what passed between you and Lord Middleton, which can by no means be imputed to you as a crime. And indeed you may be assured, that this business, so far from making on me any unfavourable impression, will, on the contrary, if possible, in future, strengthen my confidence in you, and my friendship can admit of no increase.125

Despite being implicated so obviously by Fenwick, armed with the king’s assurances of support, Shrewsbury attended the meeting of the lords justices when Fenwick’s wife petitioned for her husband’s arraignment to be delayed, which was granted accordingly.126 His confidence proved short-lived. The same month, unable to bear the pressure any more, Shrewsbury left town and sought comparative seclusion at his seat at Eyford. When the king returned to Kensington in October 1696 he was disappointed to find Shrewsbury still living in retirement in the country. Shortly after, Shrewsbury injured himself severely in a fall while hunting, with a blow from his horse’s head while jumping a ditch, according to Harley. The accident provided Shrewsbury with a painful if convenient excuse to remain away from London for the following few months. Portland lamented that ‘his illness is so serious, at a time when not only the public (interest) but his own suffers from his absence’. Shrewsbury affected to share these sentiments and wrote to Richard Hill professing to be ‘very uneasy to be here at a time that it is so much my duty to wait upon the king and attend the Parliament, but how long the same mortification will continue I am not yet able to judge.’127 He wrote in similar vein to the king. Incapacitated and aware of the damage Fenwick’s allegations might cause, on 18 Oct. Shrewsbury once again offered to resign the seals, only for William again to refuse to accept them.128 Vernon attempted to rally his master from his doldrums, convinced that Fenwick’s actions served only ‘to show the malice of the party in engaging him to suppress what he must needs know and to make a merit of what he don’t know’. Shrewsbury, though, was still on his sickbed when Parliament reassembled on 20 October.129 Two days later he wrote to the king, reluctantly agreeing to retain his office and to be guided by his advice.130

Shrewsbury’s friends rallied round, foremost among them Somers and Wharton, who masterminded the campaign to have Fenwick attainted and executed. Wharton in particular maintained a regular correspondence with Shrewsbury throughout the proceedings. On 27 Oct. he wrote outlining the plan of action that had been agreed, with Russell presenting the case before the Commons, ‘opening it as a contrivance (by blasting and taking away the most faithful and useful of the king’s servants) to do King James the most considerable piece of service’.131 Shrewsbury responded with customary unease. On 30 Oct. he professed himself unconcerned how the motion was brought in provided there was no further delay. The following day, his mood had worsened:

I always thought if it came before a Parliament it would not go off so smoothly as was imagined, it is of a nature that is impossible to be disproved, and therefore all the innocence in the world, can never clear one to every body; I have from the beginning prepared myself for a good deal of mortification and it is a great addition to it that I am forced to be here.132

By 1 Nov., though, Shrewsbury appears to have talked himself around to trusting to Wharton’s handling of the business:

I am much more satisfied with this method that is now proposed than with any has been yet… I was very shy of pressing any thing in this matter, knowing that in the end I am very sure nothing can be proved or probably urged against me, but that however something will remain; which will make it pretty uneasy serving.

Shrewsbury remained unable to travel. After ‘10,000 impertinent questions’ Shrewsbury’s doctor decided he was ‘in no condition to stir’. As such he was absent from London when the bill of attainder was introduced into the Commons on 9 November.133 Prior to the bill being presented, Vernon informed Shrewsbury of the intention to ensure that the Rose Club turned out in his support.134 He was further reassured both by Vernon and Henry Guy of the tenor of the subsequent debates in the Commons. The latter told him that ‘it was impossible for any person to have had a greater vindication than was given to you’. Urging him to put aside his thoughts of resignation, Guy emphasized that such an action would merely ‘be half a victory to those who do not wish you well.’135 For Vernon too, Shrewsbury’s justification had been half of the point of the proceedings against Fenwick, giving the House of Commons ‘a proper occasion to show their resentments against this man.’136

Despite their assurances, the passage of the Fenwick bill was the occasion of impassioned disagreement. Shrewsbury admitted that he was ‘not surprised that some people are scrupulous upon a bill of attainder I confess it is a very nice point, though I am one of the men in England that at this time ought least to say so.’137 He came under renewed pressure to return to town. Shrewsbury’s stepfather, George Rodney Bridges, was delegated by Tankerville, Monmouth and others to persuade him to ‘hasten’ there. Shrewsbury, though, was once more steeped in depression.138 He professed himself ‘confident, not to say certain, that it [the attainder], will never pass through our House’ and he refused to be swayed by the efforts of his friends to reassure him.139 In fact, even Wharton admitted to uncertainty about how the measure would be received in the Lords and that much would depend on the lead given by the king and Sunderland.140 Its eventual reception proved more positive than either man feared. Marlborough wrote on 2 Dec. to inform Shrewsbury that the first day’s consideration of the business before the Lords had proceeded ‘as you could wish’. The duke also pointed out that unexpected allies had rallied to his cause, among them Rochester, who, according to Marlborough ‘has behaved himself on all this occasion like a friend; and in a conversation he had with me he expressed himself as a real servant of yours.’ Rochester later professed himself surprised to have been so singled out but pleased that his small efforts had been so well received.141 Shrewsbury remained characteristically pessimistic. It was thus without his assistance that Wharton and the others laboured to drive the business through the House. It passed its third reading by seven votes on 23 December.142

The Aftermath of Fenwick, 1697-1700

A spate of dry weather occasioned a slight improvement in Shrewsbury’s health towards the close of the year, but he remained immured in the countryside. As he remarked to Hill, ‘how such a weather-glass of a body will hold out the remainder of this winter, God knows’.143 At the opening of 1697 he found himself under pressure from a new direction when Monmouth attempted to persuade him to join with him in petitioning the king not to pass the Fenwick attainder. Monmouth’s behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to incriminate Shrewsbury among others had been apparent since early December, and by the middle of January he was discredited and his plans foiled.144 Shrewsbury emerged relatively untarnished from renewed criticism arising out of Matthew Smith’s intrigues, which were reported to the House towards the end of January. He was forced, though, to respond unhelpfully to a command from the Lords to deliver up what papers he possessed concerning Smith, saying that he was ‘very sorry not to be able so fully to comply with their lordships’ directions as I wish I could’, having very few if any of Smith’s letters still in his possession.145 Henry Guy congratulated him once again on having his innocence ‘rescued from the malice of ill men’.146

Shrewsbury may have survived his latest crisis but he was still out of circulation. His doctors advised him that he was now out of danger but advised him not to stir from his retirement for the while. By the close of February he hoped to be able to return to London in two or three days, his health improved by warmer weather. The following month he established himself at the home of Edward Villiers, Viscount Villiers (later earl of Jersey), in Hyde Park, though without having sought Villiers’ prior permission (he assured himself that Villiers would forgive him his unannounced intrusion).147 Within a month his health took another turn for the worse. In April he was still indisposed, prompting renewed rumours that he would be offered a less onerous post. In May he returned to his estates in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire in the hopes of recovering in the country.148

Shrewsbury’s illness did not prevent him from continuing his policy of improving his estates. Late in April he offered William Savile, 2nd marquess of Halifax, first refusal on some of his Derbyshire lands, which he hoped Halifax would be keen to buy as they adjoined estates already in his possession. He was initially coy about the reason for the sale but insisted, ‘I know not whether you are in a buying condition. If you are not, I wish you were.’ Halifax proved unwilling, apparently believing the lands to be too expensive.149

Shrewsbury was expected in town again by the end of June 1697. His eagerness to sell the lands at Wingfield may have been connected to his efforts to purchase a house in Gerard Street in place of his former lodgings in St James’s Square (and in preference to his impromptu use of Villiers’ house).150 From Grafton, he wrote to Sir Joseph Williamson to thank him for his support in the previous session and to discuss the prospects for peace with France. Shrewsbury told him that he had ‘no dependence on the French sincerity, any otherwise than I believe they think it to their interest to have a peace; and if that cannot be obtained no other way but by including his majesty, I am confident they are sincere in their intention of swallowing that difficulty.’151 Shrewsbury returned to London early in July to new lodgings in Arlington Street. It proved a brief visit and despite reports that month that he was now ‘perfectly recovered’ a few weeks later he found his distemper ‘returned upon me with such violence that I am forced to retire’.152 Vernon could find no reason for his master’s relapse other than exhaustion after having stayed up too late dealing with dispatches.153 Alongside the return of his cripplingly bad health came new accusations levelled at him by Price and Chaloner (the one a coiner and the other a forger of exchequer bills) that he had attempted to secure Fenwick from justice.154 In mid-August, spitting blood and forced to rely on an amanuensis to take care of his correspondence, he retreated once more to Eyford.155

Prostrated with his ailments and fear of further accusations, Shrewsbury persisted with his efforts to convince the king to let him resign: ‘it cannot be for your interest to continue a man in your service, whom people are resolved shall never be quiet.’156 He also sought permission to retire to France to seek a cure but without success.157 In November 1697 he had improved sufficiently to be able to return to Kensington, ‘brought up by the importunity of his friends, who were desirous to concert some matters with him’. Although he was now believed to be ‘pretty well’ it was thought likely he would be replaced as secretary by Wharton, though neither of these things proved to be true. Wharton was passed over and it was not long before Shrewsbury suffered another relapse and at once renewed his pleas to be permitted to quit.158 He made no secret of his malaise even in his official communications. To Henri Massue de Ruvigny, earl of Galway [I] he gave vent to a maudlin exposition of his condition, describing himself as ‘nothing but a corpse, half buried already, and expecting the consummation of that entire ceremony.’ His correspondence with Charles Powlett, styled marquess of Winchester (later 2nd duke of Bolton), one of the lords justices in Ireland, was similarly pathetic:

I am sorry that the circumstances of my health are so very bad that I cannot propose to myself being in the least useful in promoting what your lordships shall represent. I am going into the country in two or three days with so melancholy a prospect of my own condition, that the best I can hope is to linger on, a useless, uneasy life, which would not be worth preserving if one knew how to part with it without pain or reproach.159

Shrewsbury returned to Eyford once again on 30 November. Vernon was critical of his decision to remain in London as long as he had.160 Shrewsbury took with him a singularly unsatisfactory agreement with the king whereby he was continued in office, but expected to do no work.161 The situation was rendered even less practicable by the resignation of Sir William Trumbull the following month, leaving the burden of the office of secretary on Vernon’s shoulders.162 On 30 Dec. 1697 Shrewsbury registered his proxy with Somers, recently elevated to the House as a baron, which was vacated by the end of the session.

Shrewsbury was well enough to indulge in some hunting parties that winter but he refused an offer the governorship to William, duke of Gloucester, on the grounds of ill health. He also (after much predictable hesitancy) turned down the offer of the lord chamberlaincy following the resignation of Sunderland. Rumours that he would take up the post persisted into March 1698.163 Shrewsbury seems to have been concerned that to accept it might invite comment that he had been responsible for Sunderland’s resignation.164 To Portland he explained his reasons as being on account of:

a noise that is now more than ever [spread] that endeavours will very speedily be used by [my] enemies to hurt me and my reputation in Parliament and though I make little question that whenever any such thing is attempted my innocence will clear me, yet I must very freely confess, that if I have more uneasiness of that kind I shall so despair of ever seeing quiet for the future in a public station; that nothing will prevail with me to be exposed to such an eternal strife, and would choose rather a bench in a galley than any public employment under that circumstance.165

Despite his misgivings, and rumours that he and Sunderland were no longer on friendly terms, Shrewsbury did make an effort to mediate between Sunderland, the Whigs and the king in the early months of 1698. He also attempted in vain to dissuade Charles Montagu, later earl of Halifax, from launching his attack on Charles Duncombe. Following yet another attack of bad health at Windsor in March he was forced to retire to Wharton’s house at Wooburn to convalesce.166 In April he was at Newmarket, determined on retiring at the end of the 1697-8 session, but the king’s refusal to countenance Wharton as secretary and the Whigs’ refusal to work with Sunderland made it extremely difficult to find an acceptable alternative.167 By then Shrewsbury was again noted as being ‘very weak’ and with ‘a mind to go to Portugal to try the warm climate in hopes that it may do him good.’ He resolved then to quit the court once more and ‘not to meddle in anything’.168

Shrewsbury was nevertheless actively preparing for the Droitwich election in May 1698. Confident that Cocks would top the poll that summer, Shrewsbury recommended to Somers that they should set up a second candidate to oppose Thomas Foley, the future Baron Foley.169 The two also worked together on behalf of William Walsh at Worcestershire. Both Cocks and Walsh were successful, though no rival interest was found to challenge Foley.170 It was presumably because of the time spent exploiting his interest in Worcestershire that Shrewsbury failed to pay as much attention to the election at Brackley, where he had been expected to assist Harry Mordaunt. Mordaunt failed to be returned though Shrewsbury hoped that Wharton was satisfied that he had done ‘the utmost was [decent] for one in the circumstances I was in’ on Mordaunt’s behalf.171 Mordaunt was consequently one of the ‘great many honest men’ who, Vernon lamented, would be missing from the new Parliament. More bothersome to Shrewsbury was the behaviour of William Plowden, husband of his niece, Mary Talbot, who it was said had turned out at the Bishop’s Castle election in support of the ‘Jacobite faction’. Claiming to be under Shrewsbury’s protection, Plowden’s activities enraged Macclesfield and the ‘honest gentlemen’ of the county who threatened to complain to Parliament. A promise was extracted from Plowden to show more care in the future.172

Over the summer efforts continued to find Shrewsbury a satisfactory position. At one point it was mooted that he would be sent on a mission to Spain.173 Although the king hoped that such a posting would answer Shrewsbury’s desire to find respite from his illnesses in a warmer clime, he was reluctant to agree to the appointment of Shrewsbury’s associate, William Walsh, as one of the party, as he had never heard of him.174 The duke also proved reluctant to accept. Eager to find a country estate closer to London than Eyton or Grafton in August he entered into negotiations with Rochester for Cornbury Park, which Rochester was attempting to persuade his brother, Clarendon, to sell to help clear his debts. Clarendon was unconvinced of the need to sell his patrimony, and the negotiations, which continued until February of the following year, came to nothing.175 Shrewsbury resolved instead to build a new house. He eventually settled for land at Heythrop which was recommended to him for its ‘wholesome air’ and pleasant hunting.176

In the midst of these efforts, Shrewsbury continued to lobby the king to allow him to retire. As ever, poor health was at the root of his desire to step down. He had complained since July of a pain in his knee to add to his other ailments and by November this had developed into ‘a running pain, which began in my knee, and has gone from my stomach to my head, and is now returned to my knee.’177 In December 1698, more than a year after it was first tendered, Shrewsbury’s resignation was at last accepted by an exasperated William.178 Although barely able to contain his unbridled delight and relief, Shrewsbury took pains to justify quitting his post pointing out ‘if a man cannot bear the air of London four days in a year, he must certainly make a very scurvy figure in a court, as well as in a ministry’.179

Shrewsbury delivered up the seals in January, though the choice of his successor remained a subject of speculation.180 While released from the burden of office, Shrewsbury remained a crucial figure in attempting to hold together the various warring ministers still in post. His continuing close friendship with Wharton was reflected in his standing godfather to Wharton’s son in January 1699, and in April he again took part in a gathering held at Newmarket.181 Shrewsbury met Sunderland at Althorp in June and was successful in convincing him to return to court that winter.182 In August he was one of the Whig grandees to attend a meeting at Boughton, though he did not join the subsequent gatherings at Althorp and Winchenden.183 He may have been distracted by negotiations with his old friend, Carbery, for the hand of his daughter, Lady Anne Vaughan, ‘the greatest fortune of England’, who it was thought he was ‘suddenly to marry’.184

Having struggled so long and so hard to be released from responsibility, Shrewsbury’s period of retirement turned out to be notably short. In May it was reported that he had again been offered the lord chamberlaincy or the lieutenancy of Ireland. In September, despite again suffering from lamentable health, he was once more invited to choose either the lord treasurership or the lord chamberlaincy.185 Jersey (as Villiers had since become), who had succeeded Shrewsbury as secretary, insisted that he ‘must be troubled with the staff’. At the end of October, having overcome yet another debilitating condition similar to that of November 1698, Shrewsbury returned to town ‘upon earnest importunities’. Once there he agreed to take up the lord chamberlaincy, the least onerous of the positions on offer. He then promptly fell sick once again.186

Shrewsbury’s poor health prevented him from being present in the House for the session of 1699-1700. In December he was again the subject of ‘a mighty storm raised against’ him, based on the publication of Remarks upon the D— of S—’s Letter to the House of Lords by the spy Matthew Smith. On 15 Dec. 1699, however, the Lords voted that Smith’s scandalous publication should be burnt by the common hangman.187 Other matters touching the duke also emerged during the session including his involvement along with several Junto members in awarding a patent to Captain Kidd in 1697 as a privateer. By the deal, Shrewsbury and his partners stood to gain a handsome share of the booty.188 For once, Shrewsbury seems not to have been the principal target of the investigation, though Bellomont (also named as one of Kidd’s backers) wondered from his post in Boston that Shrewsbury and Somers, ‘the two greatest and most valuable men we have in our nation’ should have been singled out by the Commons for censure. According to Vernon, ‘the keeping the business of Kidd on foot is to awe my lord chancellor’ (Somers), but Tory efforts to condemn the award of such prize money as dishonourable failed to pass the Commons.189

Shrewsbury meanwhile remained thoroughly preoccupied by his health. He became increasingly convinced that the air of the south of France might assist his cure and from the end of 1699 he began to lobby for permission to travel abroad.190 His intention to travel coincided with rumours about a likely alteration in the ministry. Opinion was divided, though, whether ‘my Lords Shrewsbury, Orford, Tankerville, Romney, Wharton and all those must out’, or whether Shrewsbury would be offered the lieutenancy of Ireland or place of groom of the stole. In May it was reported confidently that he would hold both offices.191 Shortly after, he not only declined the proffered places on the grounds of ill health, but also tendered his resignation as lord chamberlain.192

Shrewsbury’s retreat from central office did not stop him from overseeing local affairs in Worcestershire, nor from remaining a central figure among the Whig leadership.193 In August 1700 he attended another meeting at Boughton of the Whigs, and was expected at a conclave at Althorp the following month, but by then Shrewsbury was intent on quitting the country. Having ‘held out a week in town without bleeding’ in September, he was said to be very ill again in October. His relapse can hardly have been helped by his behaviour while in London where it was noted ‘he dines in much company to fortify a weak stomach and drinks for the sake of his lungs.’ He waited on the king for the last time on 28 Oct. and the following day was granted a pass to go to Montpellier ‘for the recovery of his health’. He set out at last on 31 Oct., and remained abroad for the following five years.194

Abroad, 1700-1706

The timing of Shrewsbury’s departure from England had serious consequences for his later relations with his former Junto associates. Few men had been able to try the patience of any political coterie quite as frequently as Shrewsbury had and yet remain well liked and central to their designs. By leaving England when the Junto was under acute political pressure, not least with the imminent attempts to impeach Orford and Somers, Shrewsbury squandered what remained of his political capital. His activities over the following years did nothing to repair the damage.195 His departure also put an end to the extended negotiations that had been in train with Carbery for a match with Lady Anne Vaughan and which appear to have reached an advanced stage.196

Having intended to remain in the south of France, the vagaries of international relations forced Shrewsbury to rethink his plans. From Geneva he planned trips to Naples and failing that to Pisa and Lucca. By August 1701 he was firmly ensconced in Italy, where he remained for the following three-and-a-half years. Entertained at the court of the grand duke of Florence in January 1702 ‘with all honours imaginable, such as were scarce ever shown to any before him’, Shrewsbury spent the majority of his foreign sojourn in Rome.197 There, in spite of rumours that circulated occasionally of his vulnerability to re-conversion to catholicism, he was influential in converting his Catholic kinsman, George Brudenell, 3rd earl of Cardigan, to protestantism under the nose of the Pope (Clement XI).

After the king’s death in March 1702 it was conjectured that Shrewsbury would return to England.198 It was also reported that he had been offered the post of master of the horse to the new monarch at a salary of £1,000 a year. The additional revenue can have been of little consequence as Shrewsbury had recently benefited by his mother’s death, which restored approximately £2,000 a year to his pocket.199 In June, in response to continuing pressure for him to return to England and to take up office, Shrewsbury wrote to Marlborough assuring him of his good wishes on his preferment but begging him to quiet the calls for his recall:

You have long deserved the best employment in England and now I heartily congratulate with you that you have it… I renew my petition to you, that you represent to her majesty my declining the honour she designed me, as not proceeding from any want of zeal to her service, but from a certain incapacity both of body and mind ever to engage more in a court life.200

It was an assessment later echoed by Halifax (as Charles Montagu had since become), who teased Shrewsbury, ‘I always thought there was too much fine silver in your grace’s temperament. Had you been made of a coarse alloy, you had been better for public use.’201

While he continued to reject calls for his return, Shrewsbury was gradually forced to confront the possibility that his health might be improving. In May 1703 he noted that his bleeding was now stopping without the need of an astringent and in September he wrote to Godolphin shrugging off his latest indisposition, which he dismissed as ‘so small as gives me little inconvenience.’ Still interested in matters at home, he hoped that ‘the unanimity and zeal of the Parliament in England will set all right.’202 Reports of his plans to preturn to England circulated again in the spring of 1704. By the winter of that year he fancied himself to be so much better that he anticipated travelling to Venice for the end of carnival and thence returning to England.203 He had responded enthusiastically to the news of Harley’s appointment as secretary of state in June, thanking Harley for his ‘kindness and protection to Mr Vernon’ and writing that ‘I am sensible the public has more reason to rejoice than you who will enter into an employment of great trouble, but the superiority of your genius will make that easy to you which others have found vexatious.’204

Despite his previous plans to be in Venice by Easter, it was not until April 1705 that Shrewsbury at last set out from Rome. In his absence he was assessed as a supporter of the Hanoverian succession, though it was later noted that he missed a useful opportunity of making contact with the elector by failing to visit Hanover during his journey home.205 While staying at Augsburg in September he caused consternation by marrying the woman who it was believed had been his mistress. The new duchess was a widowed Italian countess who claimed descent from Robert Dudley, duke of Northumberland. Henry St John, later Viscount Bolingbroke, dubbed the affair ‘the wonder and amazement of mankind’.206 One correspondent found the new duchess ‘not comely but has a great deal of wit.’ In time she came to be ridiculed by much of English society for her eccentric manners. Her religion was also an issue. Shrewsbury acknowledged that many would object to his choice but insisted that though without money she was well born and he was ‘thoroughly persuaded’ she would ‘be not only a good wife, but a good Protestant.’207 Shrewsbury met Marlborough at Frankfurt in October but again rejected the offer of a place in the administration. They returned to England together at the end of December. Shortly after his return, Shrewsbury waited on the queen.208

Retirement in England, 1706-1710

In spite of his continuing rejection of places, it was rumoured that he would not have come back without the promise of office. This it was believed would give ‘great umbrage to everybody especially the Whigs’, who still bridled at his desertion of Orford and Somers. Soon afterwards, it was said that he was to join Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as one of the secretaries of state.209 On 8 Jan. 1706 he took his seat in the House of Lords following a ten-year absence, after which he was present on 36 days (38 per cent of the total). On 11 and 12 Jan. he dined with Marlborough and other Whig peers.210 He was presumably eager to ensure the safe passage of his new wife’s naturalization bill, which was introduced on 14 January. It was reported as fit to pass without amendment 11 days later. On 13 Mar. Shrewsbury was named one of the managers of the conference concerning the militia bill. His return to the Lords proved short-lived, however and having quit the session that day, he was again absent from the House for the ensuing two years. By May he was back at Heythrop, where he planned to build a new house, inspired by his Italian sojourn and also by the example of Blenheim.211

Anxious to avoid London’s unhealthy air, Shrewsbury remained in the country, though he was kept abreast of developments by Vernon. He was critical of the proposed religious settlement for Scotland, objecting to the establishment of a Presbyterian kirk without sufficient safeguards for the Episcopalian church. He was, nevertheless, a supporter of the Union and was disappointed by the lack of support for it in Scotland, whose people he considered were the greatest gainers by the treaty.212 Such concerns did not prove strong enough to induce him to return to London, though. He remained away from the opening of the new session and on 3 Dec. 1706 registered his proxy with Marlborough. Marlborough assured him that he would ‘make such use of it, as may be entirely to your satisfaction’ and promised to seek his direction should any vote arise in which the two differed.213 Shrewsbury declared that he considered the proxy to be:

in so good hands I think it much more sure to vote for the public good than were I present to give it. And if anything could give me a tolerable opinion of my own judgment in those matters, it would be the reflection that [in the] many parliaments [in which] I have had the honour to sit with you, I can’t recollect we ever differed.214

For the following two years Shrewsbury’s attention was taken up with the construction of his new house. Disputes between the proprietors of the Droitwich salt works and local landholders over the former’s efforts to pass an act of Parliament enabling them to convey their brine by pipe to the Severn initially failed to rouse Shrewsbury out of his rural solitude. In January 1707, however, he eventually stirred himself on the subject at the request of his kinsman, Sir John Talbot, who asked that he would look into the opposition which Other Windsor, 2nd earl of Plymouth, was ‘stirring up’ against them.215 Shrewsbury in turn looked to Vernon for his assistance in steering the business through.216 As far as Plymouth’s interest was concerned, Shrewsbury was convinced that it was so small that his objections would carry no great weight.217

While anxious to point out the limitations of his interest, Shrewsbury undertook to give what support he could for Francis Godolphin, styled Viscount Rialton (later 2nd earl of Godolphin) in the election at Woodstock in March 1707.218 He remained aloof from court, though, letting it be known that summer that he was avoiding appearing at Windsor, ‘because I know the appearance of people at court who have formerly been in posts, does always create discourse as if one were aiming at something of the same nature. As I have no such designs I judged it best to give no jealousies to any in places or in expectation of them’. He did, however, meet Halifax and Wharton in June and over the summer he was back in London, though he failed to attend Parliament. By August he had returned to his country estate at Grafton having suffered ‘a very bad fit of the gout’ which affected ‘almost every part about me, and not spared my stomach nor my head’. The following month, having removed to Heythrop, he was ‘seized with such a weakness in my knees, that it is now 14 days that I can move no otherways than as I am carried’.219

Shrewsbury appears to have undergone a change of heart about the Droitwich bill in the autumn of 1707, prompting a surprised missive from Sir John Talbot in November, questioning why the duke had become so ‘altered in your opinion’ when the rest of the proprietors had given their consent. Talbot still urged his presence in the House in January 1708 to assist with the passage of the bill, emphasizing that his interest in its success went beyond personal gain and that he hoped the duke would be ‘the defender and procurer of right to those who have so long suffered wrong’.220 In February Shrewsbury determined on coming up to London ‘for two or three weeks’.221 He duly returned to town the following month and on 12 Mar. he took his place in the House, after which he attended for 14 days of the remainder of the session (13 per cent of the whole) which had commenced the previous October. At the end of the month there was the by now predictable speculation about his likely return to office, though the early reports were quickly declared to have been mistaken.222 On 31 Mar. he was nominated one of the managers of the conference concerning the bill for the encouragement of trade with America and the following day one of the managers of the conference considering the wagoners bill.

Shrewsbury’s return to Parliament coincided with renewed courtship by Marlborough and Godolphin as well as by Robert Harley, who had made a point of retaining contact with Shrewsbury during his self-imposed exile. All now hoped for his support.223 Following the dissolution, Shrewsbury returned to Worcestershire, where he convened a county meeting in May 1708, which resulted in the selection of a Whig and a Tory for the county seats.224 Although Shrewsbury was still noted as a Whig in a list of party classifications that month, it was indicative of how far Shrewsbury had drifted from his former Junto associates that despite the Whig triumph at the polls it was to Harley that he turned after the election. He invited Harley to join him for discussions at his new seat at Heythrop on the formation of an alternative ministry.225

Their scheme was still in its infancy when Shrewsbury took his seat in the new Parliament on 16 Nov. 1708 (of which he attended just under a third of all sitting days). Some features of it were already apparent, though. In January he was noted among the diners at an entertainment hosted by Buckingham (as Normanby had now become): the mix thought to be ‘a true emblem of the present state of affairs.’226 On 21 Jan. 1709 Shrewsbury voted in favour of permitting Scots peers with British titles to vote in the election for Scots representative peers. Two months later he divided with the Scots peers again, voting along with all the Scots peers and a handful of others on 18 Mar. in favour of an amendment to the Union improvement bill.227 The amendment was rejected by 47 votes to 23. By then Shrewsbury had detached himself irrevocably from the Junto, though he was still compelled to seek the interest of his former colleagues, Sunderland and Marlborough, in protecting his scapegrace brother-in-law, Count Paleotti, who proved a continual burden to the duke and duchess.228 By July his realignment with Harley and away from the Whigs was discussed openly in the correspondence of Marlborough and Godolphin.229

The principal reason for Shrewsbury’s political repositioning was his conviction of the need for a rapid end to the war. In April 1709 it was speculated he might be one of three plenipotentiaries to be sent to The Hague to negotiate the terms of the peace, though in the event he declined to act.230 Shrewsbury’s conversion to the peace party was a result of his experience of the effects of the conflict on the country’s landed classes, and which he had witnessed at first hand during his two-year purdah. This was made apparent during his correspondence with Harley in the autumn of 1709:

I do not doubt but the generality of the nation long for a peace, and the majority of those who represent it, when discoursed singly in the country, agree in that opinion… it is evident so many circumstances from at home as well as from abroad make peace desirable, that if the nation could see how they might have a good one it is my opinion they would be very uneasy till they had it.

He continued to seek Harley’s advice about the next meeting of Parliament and whether ‘there will be anything of moment, so that one need be there early in the sessions’. By November 1709 he appears once more to have been overtaken by uncertainty at his capacity to undertake any considerable role in the planned new administration. He insisted to his new partner, though, that he would ‘always be ready to concur with you in everything may be for the interest of the public, being convinced nobody can wish better to it nor judge better of it than yourself.’231

In this state of uncertainty about his own role in a possible new ministry, Shrewsbury took his seat in the second session on 7 Dec. 1709, three weeks after its commencement. He was thereafter present on 38 days (approximately 41 per cent of the whole). In March he spoke on Sacheverell’s behalf, arguing as one who had ‘as great a share as any man in the late Revolution’ and one who would ‘ever go as far as any to vindicate the memory of our late glorious deliverer’. Having made plain his credentials as a ‘Revolution Man’ he stressed his unwillingness to find the doctor’s actions worthy of condemnation and joined with Nottingham and Leeds in arguing in favour of the Lords voting on Sacheverell’s guilt article by article.232 He was then one of just two Whig peers (the other being Scarbrough) to find the cleric not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours. Prior to the vote he entered a series of dissents and protests, first on 16 Mar. at the resolution to put the question that the Commons had made good the first article of impeachment and second, later the same day, following the resolution to concur with the Commons, arguing that Sacheverell had made no reflections on the memory of King William, or the revolution. On 18 Mar. he dissented from the decision to restrict peers to a single guilty or not guilty verdict and on 20 Mar. he both found Sacheverell not guilty and then entered his dissent against the guilty verdict.

Return to office, 1710-14

A month after Sacheverell’s conviction, Shrewsbury was recalled to the administration, replacing Henry Grey, marquess (shortly afterwards promoted duke) of Kent, as lord chamberlain. He seems to have been deeply reluctant to accept the place without the support of other members of his new alliance and to have determined at first not to accept. Having changed his mind once more, Shrewsbury proved uncharacteristically cruel in justifying his acceptance of the post. When he was reminded of a former undertaking he had made never to turn anyone out of their place, Shrewsbury retorted that, ‘he did not think he had broken that resolution, since the Bug [Kent], was nobody.’233 Marlborough and Godolphin viewed the appointment with alarm as the first indication of the queen’s intention of a fundamental restructuring of the ministry. Godolphin, in particular, resented Shrewsbury’s return to office, not least because he had not been consulted about it. The Junto too were said to have been kept in the dark about the move.234 Godolphin protested to the queen, objecting to the employment of someone who was engaged with ‘caballing with Mr Harley’:

what consequence can this possibly have, but to make every man that is now in your cabinet council, except the duke of Somerset and Queensberry run from it, as they would from the plague.235

The duchess of Marlborough’s agent and confidant, Arthur Maynwaring, was even less restrained. For him, Shrewsbury was nothing more than ‘a papist in masquerade that went to Italy to marry a common strumpet’ who was now working in alliance with ‘the most errant tricky knave in all Britain’.236 Marlborough was more measured, though no less critical. He professed to admire Shrewsbury’s courage at entering ‘into a certain storm with, I think, the greatest knaves of the nation.’237 Shrewsbury struggled to allay his former associates’ suspicions, trying to assure Marlborough, especially, of his continued friendship. Sunderland thought this stemmed less from his good will than from ‘his fearful temper.’ The queen also attempted to assure her ministers that Shrewsbury had been brought in as a Whig and that no further changes were intended.238 But by June 1710 it was plain that the duumvirs had been quite right and that Shrewsbury’s was just the first of a string of new appointments that would result in the formation of a new administration headed by Harley and Shrewsbury. That month it took a further step forward when Sunderland was put out as secretary of state.

Shrewsbury appears genuinely to have attempted to forestall Sunderland’s removal, arguing that he was happier working with him than with a number of the other office-holders.239 If this was so, he was over-ruled, which hinted at the limits of his influence over his partner, Harley. Despite the duchess of Marlborough’s belief that Shrewsbury was the driving force behind the alterations, other developments suggested that in the new ministry Shrewsbury’s role would be subservient to Harley’s.240 The earliest model for the administration appears to have involved Shrewsbury acting as figurehead while Harley remained behind the curtain. Shrewsbury was disinclined to take on a more onerous role than the chamberlaincy and later that summer refused to replace Godolphin as lord treasurer: ‘I have ten reasons, every one strong enough to hinder my doing it, but that of engaging in an employment I do not in the least understand and have not a head turned for ought to convince everybody else as well as myself.’241 Another reason was the wish of both Shrewsbury and Harley to keep in post as many moderate Whigs as possible. In spite of his poor standing with the Junto, Shrewsbury’s presence at the very heart of the new ministry was intended to be an indicator that this was not to be a uniformly Tory administration, as Daniel Defoe was at pains to point out.242 The dismissal of Godolphin in August and the beginnings that month of secret negotiations with the French to bring about the end of the war managed by Harley and Shrewsbury through Jersey and François Gaultier, though, made it increasingly clear that all but the most moderate of Whigs were likely to lose their places in the ensuing governmental restructuring.243 William Cowper, Baron (later Earl) Cowper, was convinced that it was only on account of Harley’s and Shrewsbury’s fears of ‘the old Tories overrunning them’ that he retained his post for the time being. Shrewsbury made a point of opening a correspondence with the court of Hanover, assuring the elector of his ‘zeal, and of my attachment to your service’, but the new ministry’s efforts to retain a broad base were dealt a further blow in September when, in spite of Shrewsbury’s vigorous efforts to avert it, Marlborough resigned his place.244

As lord chamberlain Shrewsbury’s attention in advance of the meeting at Parliament was taken up with practicalities. On 30 Sept. he communicated to John Montagu, 2nd duke of Montagu, master of the great wardrobe, the requirements for refitting the House of Lords in time for the new session.245 In October Shrewsbury was noted by Harley, unsurprisingly enough, as a likely supporter. Already the situation inherited by the new Harley-Shrewsbury administration was far from encouraging and that month Shrewsbury voiced his fears to his colleague on the condition of Parliament, warning him of the dissatisfaction of several peers and of the need to provide for others in order to maintain their loyalty.246 Shrewsbury was also drawn into the politics of the election of Scottish representative peers when at the beginning of November, Archibald Campbell, earl of Ilay [S] (later 3rd duke of Argyll) wrote to Harley requesting that he would ask Shrewsbury to use his interest with John Murray, duke of Atholl [S], ‘to dissuade him from insisting upon the Earl Dumblaine [presumably Peregrine Osborne, Viscount Dunblane [S], later 2nd duke of Leeds], which would put us all in confusion.’247

Shrewsbury took his seat in the new Parliament on 25 Nov. 1710, after which he was present on 45 per cent of all sitting days. During the debate held in the committee of the whole House on 11 Jan. 1711 Shrewsbury responded to the request that Galway and Charles O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley [I], might be heard to answer the criticisms of their actions in managing the war in Spain, ‘that if they were ready to be heard, he consented they should, provided they delivered nothing in writing, which might occasion delays.’ Following the rejection of the two lords’ petitions the same day, Shrewsbury suggested that they should be called in to be told the outcome, but the House then proceeded to consider a motion put forward by John Poulett, Earl Poulett, that their behaviour had merely been intended to delay consideration of the state of the campaign.248 He later set his weight against an attempt to have the former ministry criticized for their ‘inexcusable neglect’ of the campaign.249

Shrewsbury received a proxy from Peterborough (as Monmouth had become) on 13 Jan. 1711, which was vacated by the close and on 26 Jan. that of Charles Finch, 4th earl of Winchilsea, which was vacated by Winchilsea’s resumption of his seat the following day. The next month Shrewsbury was involved in a meeting between members of the administration and Nottingham in an effort to forestall Tory obstructionism. Nottingham made plain his dissatisfaction with the new ministry and pressed for the prosecution of prominent Whigs, such as Sunderland. When Nottingham found his audience unreceptive to his views, he flounced out.250

In spite of the tense state of affairs that spring, Shrewsbury seems once again to have struggled to maintain his interest. On 6 Mar. he was in London at his offices at the Cockpit, telling Harley that though the queen intended to attend the House of Lords, Shrewsbury’s own attendance was not required. He did indeed fail to take his seat and remained away from the chamber for the following ten days. He was also absent from cabinet, entertaining the foreign ambassadors, at the time of Guiscard’s attack on Harley.251 With Harley temporarily laid low, Shrewsbury became more prominent in the administration. It was at his insistence that the cabinet was finally informed of the state of the peace negotiations in April 1711. On 24 Apr. he apologized for being unable to receive Harley as he felt obliged to be at the House for the reading of the resumption bill, conceiving that it would be ‘thought strange if I should be absent.’252 The same day he received the proxy of Archibald Primrose, earl of Rosebery [S], which was vacated by the close. The following month there was some speculation that Shrewsbury would be appointed master of the horse and lord president (the latter post vacant by Rochester’s recent death) though for the time being he maintained his place as lord chamberlain.253 Although Shrewsbury promised to use his interest to secure a British peerage for his kinsman, Gervase Pierrepont, in May, it was not until October 1714 that Pierrepoint was granted a barony by the new king.254 Thomas Wentworth, Baron Raby (later earl of Strafford), enjoyed better success after his brother, Peter Wentworth, called on Shrewsbury, whom he explained was ‘more come-at-able than Mr Harley’, to seek his assistance in procuring Raby the earldom of Strafford. Shrewsbury told him there was no need of his help to put the queen in mind of it, and they might ‘depend upon it as a thing done’.255 In June 1711, Shrewsbury’s name was included in a list of ‘Tory patriots’ of the previous session. While the assessment essentially recorded those who had shown support for Sacheverell, his credentials as a Whig were evidently no longer secure.

In June 1711, Shrewsbury fell ‘ill of a violent fever’, and over the summer began to voice his discontent over certain aspects of the peace preliminaries.256 Matters were complicated by the death of Jersey in August. Although he gave muted support to the appointment of John Robinson, bishop of Bristol, as lord privy seal that summer (a post some thought Shrewsbury might have had himself), Shrewsbury complained that as the bishop had lived abroad for much of his life, ‘bringing him into such a post adds no interest in either House towards carrying on her majesty’s business in Parliament.’257 Later that month (September 1711) Shrewsbury refused to put his signature to the preliminaries. Thereafter he was gradually excluded from any significant role in the negotiations.258

In November, recognizing the likely difficulties the ministry would experience in persuading Parliament (and the Lords in particular) of the benefits of the peace, Shrewsbury urged Oxford (as Harley had become) to make careful preparations for the coming session. He warned his colleague starkly of the need to ensure that their supporters turned out, apprehending ‘our House to be the place our enemies have most hopes to prevail in, so I recommend to you to take the requisite care that our friends come to town in time’. It was probably also at this time that he expressed the hope that ‘the North Britain lords will come in time and good humour’ though he was aware that ‘some of their own countrymen seem to doubt of both.’ Shrewsbury took personal responsibility for several government supporters in the Lords. He hoped to prevail with his kinsman, Cardigan, to come up sooner than he originally intended, while Oxford also delegated to Shrewsbury the responsibility for rallying the midlands peers.259

Shrewsbury took his seat in the new session on 7 Dec. 1711, after which he was present on 49 per cent of all sitting days. Consistent with his advice to Oxford that they should make overtures to the Scots peers, on 19 Dec. Shrewsbury was forecast as being in favour of permitting James Hamilton, 4th duke of Hamilton [S], to take his seat in the House as duke of Brandon. The following day he voted against barring Scots lords holding post-Union British peerages from sitting in the House. Despite this, his disquiet at the nature of the peace and other tensions within the ministry meant that relations between him and Oxford had soured considerably by this point. As a result Oxford began to look for ways of sidelining him. Over the winter of 1711-12 it was rumoured that Shrewsbury might be sent to Ireland as lord lieutenant: a post in which he had always expressed an interest.260

Shrewsbury was absent from the House for approximately three weeks in January 1712. On 14 Jan. he registered his proxy with Simon Harcourt, Baron (later Viscount) Harcourt, which was vacated by his resumption of his seat on 25 January. On 7 Feb. 1712 Shrewsbury received the proxy of his kinsman, Cardigan, which was vacated on 12 May. Absent for a further fortnight in February, on 18 Feb. Shrewsbury again registered his proxy with Harcourt, which was vacated by his return to the House on 29 February. Rumours of his impending appointment to the Irish lieutenancy continued. Oxford seems to have renewed the offer of the post in March, though John Berkeley, 4th Baron Berkeley of Stratton, thought it nothing more than ‘coffee house news’.261 By then Shrewsbury was not the only prominent member of the Lords to be showing increasingly dissatisfaction with the progress of affairs. In March it was suggested that both he and Buckingham were feigning sickness out of pique that their wives had not been appointed ladies of the queen’s bedchamber. The same month reports were circulating of Shrewsbury’s ‘great dissatisfaction at the present management of affairs’.262

By April 1712 Shrewsbury had decided against accepting a posting to Ireland.263 He concentrated instead on the management of Parliament. On 27 May he received the proxy of one of Oxford’s ‘dozen’ new peers, Thomas Windsor, Viscount Windsor [I], sitting as Baron Mountjoy. The proxy was vacated the following day in time for both men to vote with the ministry against the opposition motion to overturn the orders preventing James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond, from waging an offensive campaign in France.264 The next month he offered advice to Oxford on the best way to manage the Scottish peers:

If your lordship thinks there will be any difficulty in electing a peer in Scotland in her Majesty’s interest to fill Lord Marshal’s [William Keith, 8th Earl Marischal] place you will think to get as many proxies as can be from the Scots peers in England, and remember earls of Orkney, Dunmore, Dundonald, and perhaps others, are abroad and should be writ to [referring to George Hamilton*, earl of Orkney, John Murray*, 2nd earl of Dunmore, and John Cochrane, 4th earl of Dundonald].265

Absent from the session after 7 June 1712, on 13 June Shrewsbury registered his proxy with Cardigan but he continued to take a close interest in the management of affairs in the House. His careful attention to management was revealed in a brief letter he wrote to Gilbert Coventry, 4th earl of Coventry, in July 1712, complimenting him for ‘the zeal your lordship has shown in the country for her majesty’s interest’.266 In spite of this, difficulties with Oxford remained, and their growing rift was reflected in Shrewsbury’s increasing association with Bolingbroke (the former Henry St John) and Harcourt after autumn 1712.267 Oxford adroitly interrupted this new alliance with Shrewsbury’s appointment to the Paris embassy. A despatch to the court at Hanover appeared to confirm that the mission was little more than a ploy ‘to keep him at a distance from business, since everything is transacted by the means of Mr Prior.’268

Shrewsbury delayed his departure until January 1713. He soon found himself frustrated at his removal from affairs. By February he was complaining of the lack of contact, venting his spleen to Bolingbroke: ‘I can no longer dissemble my impatience, but confess to you, I make a figure not very creditable to the ministry or myself, to remain in such a conjuncture thus long without knowing any thing from home, but what comes printed in the Post-Boy.’ He was also troubled with the attentions of Jacobites in Paris. One French notable secretly in contact with the Pretender seems to have done what he could to flatter the duke and duchess, while James Fitzjames, duke of Berwick, made a more direct approach and enquired whether he might call on Shrewsbury in his apartments in person. Shrewsbury avoided communicating with Berwick directly and instead employed the marquis de Torcy as an intermediary to explain that while he would have ‘no difficulty to pay the duke of Berwick all respect due to him in a third place’, he hoped that ‘he would not give himself the trouble of visiting me, because I could not return it, and should be very sorry to be forced to do an uncivil thing to a person of his quality.’269

Shrewsbury’s embassy meant that he was missing from the House for the final session of the Parliament. In February 1713, he fretted at the uncertainties caused by the delay in arriving at a final peace:

I confess myself at a loss to guess what her majesty will say at the opening of this session, when we have neither peace nor war; when though it were most desirable to sign together with all the allies, yet it is certain that it is impossible to be done of some months, if we stay for the emperor and the empire; and if I do not mistake, the French see well enough our circumstances to be convinced, the longer we remain in these uncertainties, the less able we shall be to stand upon terms either for ourselves or our allies.270

He also concerned himself closely with the interest of the Catalans. His call, though, for them to be restored to their ‘privileges’ was rejected by the French who insisted this was a question for the Spanish to settle.271 By March most of the difficulties had been overcome, though Shrewsbury was embarrassed by his own administration’s stance with regard to the articles concerning America. He admitted to Bolingbroke that he had ‘never been able to argue this point well, though I have gained it, because either I do not understand it, or if I do, I incline to think we are in the wrong.’272 A month into the parliamentary session, which he hoped would be ‘good and short’, Shrewsbury considered his role in Paris fulfilled and began making his preparations to return home, ‘where I most heartily long to be.’ His eagerness to return was no doubt fuelled by Bolingbroke’s reports of the chaotic state of the administration by that point, a state of affairs Bolingbroke hoped Shrewsbury would be able to correct. At the beginning of August, however, he was still in Paris and it was not until later that month that he was finally able to quit his post.273 In his absence he was forecast as being in favour of confirming the eighth and ninth articles of the French commercial treaty.

In the summer of 1713, almost as soon as he had returned to England, Shrewsbury set about making preparations for his departure to Ireland, having been appointed lieutenant earlier in the summer. There seems little doubt that this was a strategic move on the part of Oxford to interrupt the developing alliance between Shrewsbury and Bolingbroke. Shrewsbury arrived in Dublin at the end of October. After long agitating for the post, Shrewsbury proved temperamentally unsuited to dealing with Ireland. Before leaving he had supposedly declared naively that there was ‘no difference in Ireland but protestant and papist’. Within a few days of his arrival he admitted to Oxford that he found ‘in this place a disposition more obstinate than I expected’. He was also challenged early on by Arthur Annesley, 5th earl of Anglesey, another contender for the lieutenancy who was more established in Irish society.274 By December, thoroughly disgruntled, Shrewsbury had fallen back on his habitual complaint of poor health. Aside from ‘perpetual colds, shortness of breath and defluxions on my breast’, he was exasperated at the Irish politicians with whom he was compelled to deal:

the truth is my mind is not easy, and things have been driven to such an extremity of heat and disorder that the methods of getting out of them surpass my comprehension. A session of Parliament is begun, both parties promising they will show their zeal in despatching the public business, their duty to her majesty, and their good will to me; but their ill will to one another is so reigning a passion, that I cannot but apprehend some cross thing will be thrown in the way before we come to an end.275

By 22 Dec., things had not improved:

The state of our affairs here is so dismal that, having given some account of it in my letters to my Lord Bolingbroke, I have neither inclination nor health to repeat the same to your lordship. I shall only say that the heats on both sides are such that little is to be expected from this session, nor at present from this Parliament; and what is worse, if a new one were chosen I am confident the humour of the House of Commons would not mend.276

The account provided by Shrewsbury’s secretary, Charles Delafaye, confirmed his master’s interpretation of the tempestuous state of affairs in Ireland. Despite Shrewsbury’s efforts to ‘prevent warmth’, Delafaye thought him hobbled by his naturally conciliatory temperament and his lack of ‘power to offer rewards to take them off.’ Unsurprisingly, the duchess of Marlborough interpreted Shrewsbury’s actions in Ireland differently. She reckoned that he was glad to remain out of the way, intent on holding back until it was clear which faction would prevail in England.277 By April the changing balance of power within the ministry coupled with Shrewsbury’s evident dissatisfaction at his Irish posting encouraged reports that he would soon return home. The news was warmly greeted by Bolingbroke, who was by then eager to supplant Oxford, and who told the duke how ‘the court and Parliament have been hitherto the scenes of greater confusion than I was ever witness of.’278

Delayed by poor weather, Shrewsbury finally returned to England in June 1714.279 He took his seat in the new Parliament on 14 June, after which he was present on 12 days (16 per cent of the whole). That day, alongside five of the bishops, he spoke against extending the schism bill to Ireland but his side was defeated by six votes. He failed to attend the following day (15 June) when the bill passed by five votes.280 Towards the end of June he was credited with managing a request from the Lords seeking the disarmament of Catholics, non-jurors and other dissenters.281

By the time of his return from Ireland Shrewsbury was thought to have aligned himself with Bolingbroke against Oxford.282 On 16 July he held a dinner for the cabinet at which Oxford was notable by his absence. Displaying characteristic irresolution, Shrewsbury soon seems to have changed his mind again and even to have considered a fundamental alteration of the administration. This appears to be reflected in his embarking on negotiations with his erstwhile companion, Wharton, that month and by the close of July he appears not only to have decided against co-operating with Bolingbroke but to do all in his power to thwart Bolingbroke’s ambitions.283 On 29 July it was reported that Shrewsbury, Buckingham and Poulett had agreed to resign should Oxford be put out and that Shrewsbury had made attempts to ‘heave’ Bolingbroke out of the queen’s favour, but that Bolingbroke ‘had been too hard for him’.284 Although none of the three peers fulfilled their apparent promise to follow Oxford, on 30 July all those ranked against Bolingbroke experienced some mild pleasure when it was Shrewsbury, at the council’s prompting (guided, it would seem, by Harcourt), who was handed the staff as lord treasurer by the dying Queen Anne, ‘whereby the schemes of the new intended ministry in all appearance are entirely confounded’. Bolingbroke’s followers struggled to recover the initiative by insisting that it had been his idea that Shrewsbury should be chosen, though it was clear that he resented having been passed by.285 On being handed the staff, Shrewsbury displayed his usual courtly tact by assuring the barely conscious queen that he ‘would keep it to resign to her again when she was better.’286 Edward Harley, styled Lord Harley (later 2nd earl of Oxford) considered Shrewsbury’s appointment ‘one of the happiest turns in the world.’287

Final years, 1714-18

The death of Anne almost immediately after his acceptance of the white staff ensured that Shrewsbury’s tenure of office would be brief. This was in no way distasteful to him. Within weeks of the appointment he was struggling to keep on top of the workload amid the familiar complaints of ill health. Nevertheless, the decision to hand the staff to him rather than to Bolingbroke helped to settle a jittery City, which had seen the value of shares fall on reports of Bolingbroke’s expected succession to the place.288

Shrewsbury failed to attend the House until 4 August. He was then present for just four further days of the brief 15-day session. On 6 Aug. he received the proxies of Cardigan and Plymouth, both of which were vacated by the close of the session. The queen’s death altered the balance of power in the administration as a number of Whig peers reacquired influence by virtue of their inclusion in the list of lords justices. Thus, although Shrewsbury was said to be in favour of recalling Strafford in August, he was overruled by the rest. The following month it was reported that ‘they [the Whigs] are for driving on so fast that they are angry with the duke of Shrewsbury for being of opinion that the changes should not have been so fast.’ It was telling that he did not possess sufficient interest with the king to persuade him to meet Oxford in private.289

By September Shrewsbury, Harcourt and Ormond were all said to be about to be put out of office. Although Shrewsbury hung onto his English offices for the while he resigned the Irish lieutenancy and was replaced by Sunderland. Bothmer thought he was feigning sickness.290 Rumours that he would be compensated with the offices of groom of the stole and keeper of the privy purse were not fulfilled.291 On 11 Oct. 1714 he at last relinquished the treasurership. A fortnight later speculation that he was to retire to the country signalled an expectation of his removal from all his remaining offices.292 When he at last retreated to Heythrop the following month, he was said to be ‘dissatisfied’ and it was believed that he would ‘scarce keep his staff long’. For all this, in January 1715 he was noted among those ‘Tories’ still in office.

In the general election of March 1715 Shrewsbury backed both Whig and Tory candidates. According to some reports he only retained his office thanks to the influence of Arnold Joost van Keppel, earl of Albemarle.293 He took his seat at the opening of the first Parliament of the new reign on 17 Mar. 1715, after which he was present on 98 sitting days. He immediately voiced his dissatisfaction with the address of thanks on the king’s speech, objecting to the clause aspiring to ‘recover the reputation of this kingdom in foreign parts’, which he and several other members of the previous administration regarded as a slight on the late queen’s memory:

the House of Peers ought, on all occasions, to be most tender of the honour and dignity of the crown, from which they derive their own honour and lustre; that therefore, when the like clause was inserted in an address of the House of Commons to the late queen, upon the death of King William, he had expressed, to several members of that House, his dislike of it, because it reflected on the memory of that prince; and for the same reason he was against the said clause.294

In spite of his efforts and those of his allies, the address was carried by 66 to 33.295 On 4 May he received Windsor’s proxy, which was vacated on 24 May. The same month he offered his interest to Richard Levinge for the Irish chief barony, though Cowper and Sunderland opposed the nomination. Sunderland declared that Levinge’s appointment would be ‘as great a blow to the king’s interest in Ireland as could happen.’296 Meanwhile pressure on Shrewsbury and other members of the former administration continued to grow. In mid-June it was thought that he would be impeached, and later that month, when the impeachment proceedings against Strafford were initiated, it was put about that Shrewsbury had only escaped similar treatment because of his duchess. She, it was said, had secured an undertaking from the king that he would not ‘hurt her duke’. Another reason may have been his well-attested opposition to aspects of the treaty of Utrecht, notably his disquiet at the prospect of Britain’s allies being abandoned. If nothing else, Shrewsbury’s escape showed that he retained useful allies at court.297 In July, Shrewsbury spoke up on Oxford’s behalf in advance of the vote on whether he should be committed to custody, pointing out that the earl was at the time afflicted with the gravel and should, therefore, be committed to black rod’s custody under house arrest rather than imprisoned in the Tower.298 When the House voted to intern Oxford Shrewsbury registered his dissent. Earlier the same day (9 July) he had registered two additional dissents at the rejection of the motion to refer to the judges the question whether the charges against Oxford amounted to treason and the subsequent decision not to delay consideration of the articles of impeachment to the following week.

In July 1715 Shrewsbury was at last relieved of the lord chamberlaincy.299 He had been only too willing to lay down his other offices but he was said to have been less content to part with his remaining place. In return he was promised immunity from prosecution. A return of poor health meant that he was largely inactive in the remaining months of his life, though on 4 Aug. he received Poulett’s proxy, which was vacated on 29 Aug. and on 15 Aug. he was again entrusted with that of his kinsman, Cardigan. Cardigan registered the proxy again on 8 Dec., which was vacated on 16 Apr. 1716. Shrewsbury held Cardigan’s proxy again from 20-26 Apr. 1716.

Given his prominent role in achieving the passage of the Triennial Act it is unsurprising that Shrewsbury spoke ‘vehemently’ against the introduction of the Septennial Act, though by doing so he ranged himself alongside the Tories and against his natural Whig allies.300 In response to the suggestion that it would reduce corruption he commented ‘as to the saving of money, he could not see that, for he believed everybody knew that an annuity of seven years costs dearer than an annuity of three.’ His argument echoed the point put forward in the Commons by Edward Jefferies, one of the Droitwich members, that ‘an annuity for seven years deserves a better consideration than for three; and those that will give money to get into Parliament, will give more for seven than for three years.’ On 14 Apr. he signed the protest against committing the bill and four days later (18 Apr.) entered his dissent against passing the measure.301 On 20 Apr. he again received Poulett’s proxy, which was vacated by the close.

Shrewsbury may already have indulged in at least informal discussions with Jacobite agents, though a report of August 1715 from the Pretender to Bolingbroke that Shrewsbury was ‘frankly engaged’ on their side was wishful thinking, and during the rebellion that year Shrewsbury was firmly supportive of the government.302 Now pique seems to have led Shrewsbury to renew his contacts with the exiled court and in July 1716 he appears to have pondered the feasibility of another attempt on the throne. He soon backtracked and in August the Pretender replied to ‘several messages’ from Shrewsbury, which in contrast to his query of the previous month appear to have counselled caution and patience. To these the Pretender agreed to submit, ‘being sensible of the doctor’s [Shrewsbury’s] ability and experience.’303 As with his earlier contact, Shrewsbury’s involvement with Jacobite plotting seems to have been vague and largely motivated by bruised pride rather than any true commitment to the cause. By September 1716 he was exhibiting every symptom of wishing to disentangle himself from the exiled court. He delegated his aunt, Lady Westmorland, to excuse his dilatory response to letters from the Pretender on his behalf, although he does appear to have sent gifts of money, again via Lady Westmorland, at the time of the Swedish plot of 1717, and remained in contact with other Jacobite agents.304

Shrewsbury attended the prorogation day of 20 Nov. 1716. He then took his seat in the House for the second session of the 1715 Parliament on 20 Feb. 1717, after which he was present on 35 sitting days. In May he attempted to employ his interest on behalf of Levinge again.305 On 24 June he voted in favour of insisting that the Commons should begin with the treason articles against Oxford and three days later (27 June) he was named one of the managers of the conference concerning proceedings at Oxford’s trial. On 1 July he was named a manager of the two conferences held that day to consider the Lords’ decision to deny to the Commons a free conference about methods of proceeding with the trial.

Shrewsbury took his seat in the session of 1717-18 on 25 Nov. 1717. Although he was again entrusted with Cardigan’s proxy on 6 Dec. he attended on just six days before sitting for the final time on 19 December. Later that month he took advantage of the fissure between king and Prince of Wales to make his court to the latter but by January 1718 his health had collapsed once more and he was described as being ‘in the utmost danger’.306 On 11 Jan. he registered his proxy with Charles Boyle, Baron Boyle (earl of Orrery [I]) and on 30 Jan. he was thought to be past all hope of recovery.307 He died on 1 Feb. at Warwick House near Charing Cross and was buried three weeks later at Albrighton. After a life marked by ill health, the eventual cause of Shrewsbury’s death was reckoned to have been ‘a polypus or excrescence of flesh’ found close to his heart. His other organs were thought perfectly sound.308

Shrewsbury’s life was the subject of two publications in 1718, one by Defoe and another that sought to rescue him from the ‘Memoir-Mongers’ while promising neither to ‘flatter his best actions, nor conceal his worst.’309 At the height of Shrewsbury’s complaints about his state of ill health in the late 1690s he lamented to Wharton that ‘it may not be unreasonable to ask one’s self the question, what one does in a world where there is so much pain and so little pleasure.’310 His career perhaps answered his query. Shrewsbury’s quotidian account of suffering and lack of faith in his abilities was offset by a fixed conviction that he ought to be at the heart of things. His central role in William III’s administrations pointed to his skills as a courtier. For all the difficulties of his lieutenancy in Ireland, Shrewsbury’s political abilities were hinted at by the response to his death by Timothy Godwin, bishop of Kilmore [I], who was certain he would be ‘universally lamented by the Protestants in this kingdom.’311 Set against this was his almost pathological inability to maintain a position without becoming over-wrought. His disloyalty to his Junto comrades tarnished his efforts to re-launch his career under Anne and his half-hearted Jacobite engagement was typical of his nervous dissatisfaction with his situation. Nevertheless, it is significant that Harley thought him a suitable member of his new duumvirate, that many thought him the true instigator of the new scheme in the early months of 1710 and that Anne preferred to trust him as treasurer in her last moments. In spite of all his changes of heart, Shrewsbury remained a political heavyweight whom it was foolish to ignore.

In his will, Shrewsbury left £5,000 to his duchess as well as his London residence of Warwick House for her life. To his cousins, Talbot and Mary Tuchet, he bequeathed £2,000 each, and £1,000 apiece to his niece Anne Bodenham and his cousin, Edward Talbot, younger son of William Talbot, bishop of Oxford. In all he bequeathed sums amounting to more than £13,000 as well as several annuities amounting to £180 a year out of his estate and the sum of £1,000 to be put to charitable use, though this he insisted was not for ‘the building or repairing of any church or in the endowing of any college or school, it being my opinion there are too many scholars in the nation already’. Shrewsbury named his cousin, Cardigan; Bishop Talbot; Sir John Stanley; and his servant John Arden as executors. In the absence of a direct heir, the dukedom reverted to the crown while the earldom passed to his Catholic cousin, Gilbert Talbot, a Jesuit priest.


  • 1 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 17-28.
  • 2 TNA, PROB 11/562.
  • 3 CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 17.
  • 4 TNA, PC 2/74; CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 204.
  • 5 TNA, C231/8, pp. 234, 248.
  • 6 Add. Ch. 73773.
  • 7 HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 709.
  • 8 Childs, The Army, James II, and the Glorious Revolution, 31.
  • 9 G.S. Davies, Charterhouse in London, app. D. 354-5.
  • 10 Dasent, Hist. of St James’s Square, app. A.
  • 11 E.L. Ellis, ‘The Whig Junto’ (Oxford Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1962), i. 96.
  • 12 Wentworth pprs. 355.
  • 13 Add. 36916, f. 86.
  • 14 Add. 25117, f. 164; Bodl. Tanner 42, f. 71; Surr. Hist. Cent. LM/1331/73; LJ xii. 599, 628; Somerville, King of Hearts, 21.
  • 15 Add. 40860, f. 43.
  • 16 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 17, 21.
  • 17 Somerville, King of Hearts, 28-9.
  • 18 Verney ms mic. M636/30, J. to Sir R. Verney, 17 Nov. 1676; Sir R. to J. Verney, 20 Nov. 1676; Add. 70120, [A. Marvell] to Sir E. Harley, 1 July 1676.
  • 19 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 24-7.
  • 20 HMC Rutland, ii. 50.
  • 21 Verney ms mic. M636/32, Sir R. to E. Verney, 7 Apr. 1679.
  • 22 HMC Astley, 42; Verney ms mic. M636/32, Sir R. to E. Verney, 5 May 1679; J. to Sir R. Verney, 22 May 1679.
  • 23 Add. 32084, f. 8; Bodl. Rawl. letters 108, ff. 248-9.
  • 24 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 208, 229.
  • 25 Verney ms mic. M636/34, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 3 June 1680.
  • 26 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. ii. 239.
  • 27 TNA, SP 29/415/192.
  • 28 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 6, box 2, folder 41; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 80-2.
  • 29 Eg. 3350, ff. 7-8; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, box 1, folder 29, ?Yard to Poley, 6 Apr. 1683; Verney ms mic. M636/38, J. to Sir R. Verney, 27 Mar. 1684; Bodl. Carte 232, f. 141; NAS, GD 406/1/3245.
  • 30 Morrice, Entring Bk. iii. 72; Childs, 47-8.
  • 31 State Trials, xi. 513-15; Bodl. Carte 81, f. 773.
  • 32 Add. 72481, ff. 117, 119.
  • 33 Ellis, ‘Whig Junto’, i. 96.
  • 34 Add. 34526, ff. 48-56; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 393; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iii. 349.
  • 35 Horwitz, Rev. Pols, 46.
  • 36 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 42, ff. 191-2.
  • 37 Carswell, Descent on England, 99.
  • 38 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 219; Portledge pprs. 25.
  • 39 Bodl. Tanner 28, f. 76, Carte 76, f. 28; Add. 34515, ff. 77-8.
  • 40 Bodl. ms Eng. poet. d. 53, f. 10.
  • 41 Bodl. ms Eng. lett. c. 144, f. 255; Childs, 161.
  • 42 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 343; Nicholson and Turberville, Shrewsbury, 27.
  • 43 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. iv. 325.
  • 44 Kingdom without a King, 22, 26, 28.
  • 45 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss fb 210, ff. 363-4; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77, f. 6; Kingdom without a King, 58.
  • 46 MacPherson, Original Pprs, i. 168.
  • 47 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77, f. 9.
  • 48 Kingdom without a King, 124, 153, 158, 165; Portledge pprs. 56.
  • 49 Horwitz, Rev. Pols, 79.
  • 50 HMC Lords, ii. 17; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 261 .
  • 51 Bodl. Carte 109, f. 77.
  • 52 Add. 32681, ff. 317-18.
  • 53 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS, file ‘N’, folder 10812, OSB MSS fb 210, ff. 357-8; Ellis, ‘Whig Junto’, i. 119-21, 179; Add. 75367, ff. 24-5.
  • 54 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 2.
  • 55 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 513, 523.
  • 56 Add. 29564, f. 3.
  • 57 Add. 75367, ff. 37-9.
  • 58 Shrewsbury Corresp. 6.
  • 59 Shrewsbury Corresp. 9.
  • 60 HMC Portland, iii. 440; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 308.
  • 61 Verney ms mic. M636/43, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 6 Nov. 1689.
  • 62 Burnet, History (1753), iv. 28; Schwoerer, Declaration of Rights, 277.
  • 63 Gregg, Queen Anne (2001), 78-9.
  • 64 Shrewsbury Corresp. 15; Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 41; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 354.
  • 65 Salop RO, Attingham mss, Carmarthen to Abingdon, 15 Feb. 1690; Add. 17677 KK, ff. 407-12.
  • 66 Horwitz, Rev Pols, 43; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 494, 531, 709.
  • 67 Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 54, 112.
  • 68 Shrewsbury Corresp. 16; Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 431; Add. 72516, ff. 108-9; Verney ms mic. M636/44, J. Stewkeley to Sir R. Verney, 30 Apr. 1690.
  • 69 Add. 29564, f. 355; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 38.
  • 70 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 450; Verney ms mic. M636/44, A. Nicholas to J. Verney, 6, 27 May 1690.
  • 71 Kent HLC (CKS), Stanhope mss, U1590/c7/19; Add. 70270, R. Harley to his wife, 7 June 1690.
  • 72 Nicholson and Turberville, Shrewsbury, 50-1; Add. 72517, ff. 32-3.
  • 73 Add. 72516, ff. 108-9.
  • 74 Dalrymple, Mems. iii. 85-8 (app. to bk. v); Berkeley Castle muniments (BCM), select series 36(A), f. 49.
  • 75 Nicholson and Turberville, Shrewsbury, 52-3; Dalrymple, Mems. iii. 130-1 (app. to bk. v).
  • 76 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 502, 529; Bodl. Ms Clarendon 90, f. 46.
  • 77 Morrice, Ent’ring Bk. v. 542; Add. 70014, f. 361.
  • 78 MacPherson, Original Pprs, i. 243; Surr. Hist. Cent. Somers, 371/14/J3.
  • 79 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 231; Bodl. Carte 79, f. 341.
  • 80 Browning, Danby, ii. 195-6.
  • 81 Gregg, Queen Anne (2001), 82.
  • 82 Glasgow Univ. Lib. MS Hunter 73, lxxi.
  • 83 HP Commons, 1690-1715, i. 399; P.A. Hopkins, ‘Aspects of Jacobite Conspiracy’ (Camb. Univ. PhD thesis, 1981), 204, 215-16.
  • 84 TNA, PC 2/74, p. 423.
  • 85 UNL, PwA 1348; HMC Finch, iv. 260; Gregg, Queen Anne (2001), 97.
  • 86 HMC Lords, iv. 300; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 11.
  • 87 Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 114; Ranke, History of England, vi. 206.
  • 88 State Trials, xii. 1048-9.
  • 89 HMC Lords, iv. 186.
  • 90 HMC Lords, iv. 380, 387, 389.
  • 91 Bodl. Tanner 25, f. 12; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 44-5.
  • 92 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 167-8; Verney ms mic. M636/47, A. Nicholas to J. Verney, 27, 31 Aug. 1693; Add. 29574, f. 216; Add. 61455, ff. 18-19; Add. 72482, ff. 134-5; Add. 75375, f. 14; HEHL, HM 30659 (31).
  • 93 HMC 7th Rep. 217.
  • 94 Add. 72482, f. 148, Add. 17677 NN, ff. 346-8; HMC Portland, iii. 547; Hatton Corresp. ii. 198.
  • 95 Shrewsbury Corresp. 20.
  • 96 Shrewsbury Corresp. 25.
  • 97 MacPherson, Original Pprs, 245.
  • 98 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 56; Portledge pprs. 171.
  • 99 Shrewsbury Corresp. 36-7.
  • 100 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 116; TNA, SP 105/60, f. 138; Chatsworth, ‘Holland House notebook’, section S, ff. 2-3.
  • 101 Shrewsbury Corresp. 35-6.
  • 102 Shrewsbury Corresp. 52-3, 61-2.
  • 103 CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 228.
  • 104 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 153.
  • 105 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 401-2, 428; Add. 46527, ff. 31, 39-40.
  • 106 Add. 46527, f. 45; Lexington pprs. 53.
  • 107 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 435; Lexington pprs. 61.
  • 108 Add. 72532, ff. 105-6.
  • 109 UNL, PwA 510, 1248, 1249, 1255; Kenyon, Sunderland, 274.
  • 110 Shrewsbury Corresp. 96-7.
  • 111 Shrewsbury Corresp. 101.
  • 112 Schwoerer, Declaration of Rights, 47.
  • 113 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 245-6.
  • 114 Add. 40771, f. 81; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 709.
  • 115 Bodl. Rawl. letters 91, f. 293.
  • 116 HMC Hastings, iv. 310-12, 318-19.
  • 117 Add. 72486, f. 22.
  • 118 CSP Dom. 1696, pp. 79, 103.
  • 119 Verney ms mic. M636/49, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 2 May 1696; HEHL, HM 30659 (69).
  • 120 Shrewsbury Corresp. 113-14.
  • 121 Shrewsbury Corresp. 131.
  • 122 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 11; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 318; Add. 75370, Francis Gwyn to Halifax, 3 Aug. 1696.
  • 123 Portledge pprs. 243; Add. 47131, ff. 33-6.
  • 124 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 400; Shrewsbury Corresp. 147-8; CSP Dom. 1696, pp. 377-8.
  • 125 Shrewsbury Corresp. 151.
  • 126 CSP Dom. 1696, p. 385.
  • 127 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 415, 417, 418; Portledge pprs. 241; HMC Portland, iii. 580; Bodl. Carte 233, f. 31.
  • 128 Shrewsbury Corresp. 154-5; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 418.
  • 129 Vernon-Shrewsbury letters, i. 15, 21-2.
  • 130 CSP Dom. 1696, p. 421.
  • 131 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 418.
  • 132 Bodl. Carte 233, ff. 27, 36.
  • 133 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 38.
  • 134 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/16, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 3 Nov. 1696.
  • 135 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 421.
  • 136 Vernon-Shrewsbury letters, 46.
  • 137 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 39.
  • 138 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 422.
  • 139 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 41.
  • 140 Shrewsbury Corresp. 429.
  • 141 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 427, 443.
  • 142 Add. 47608 pt. 5, f. 138.
  • 143 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 432.
  • 144 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 435; Vernon-Shrewsbury letters, i. 97, 149-51, 164-6.
  • 145 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1/486/1081(m).
  • 146 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 440.
  • 147 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 443, 450, 452.
  • 148 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 209, 212-13; SOAS, Paget pprs, PP Ms 4, Box 9, bundle 44; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 466; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 2, box 9, folder 197, ff. 29-31.
  • 149 Add. 75370, Shrewsbury to Halifax, 22 Apr., 13 Oct., 25 Oct.1697.
  • 150 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 2, box 9, folder 197, f. 47; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 211.
  • 151 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 483-4.
  • 152 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 231; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 248; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 532; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS 2, box 8, folder 171, Shrewsbury to Blathwayt, 13 Aug. 1697; Add. 72486, ff. 155-6.
  • 153 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 276.
  • 154 Shrewsbury Corresp. 172.
  • 155 HMC Portland, iii. 590; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fc 37, box 1, no. 5; Add. 72486, ff. 162-4; HMC Downshire, i. 760.
  • 156 Shrewsbury Corresp. 178.
  • 157 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 310.
  • 158 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 573; Add. 72486, ff. 202-3; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/162, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 9 Dec. 1697; CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 474, 476.
  • 159 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 580.
  • 160 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 313; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fc 37, box 1, no. 15.
  • 161 Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 225.
  • 162 HMC Portland, iii. 594.
  • 163 Add. 61653, f. 20; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 44, ff. 57-8; Verney ms mic. M636/50, Sir J. Verney to W. Coleman, 12 Mar. 1698.
  • 164 Add. 61653, ff. 24-5, 30-1, 34, 35-8; HMC Portland, iii. 594; Shrewsbury Corresp. 180-1; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fc 37, box 1, no. 25.
  • 165 UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1395.
  • 166 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 230, 231; Add. 61653, f. 53.
  • 167 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 365.
  • 168 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 44, f. 88; Add. 61653, ff. 59-62, 64-5.
  • 169 Surr. Hist. Cent., 371/14/E/14.
  • 170 HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 701, 710.
  • 171 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 49.
  • 172 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 47/63, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 30 July 1698; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 498.
  • 173 HP Commons 1690-1715, v. 786.
  • 174 Northants RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 47/45, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 16 June 1698.
  • 175 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 614; Clarendon Corresp., ii. 344-7.
  • 176 Bodl. Carte 228, f. 330.
  • 177 Bodl. Carte 79, f. 665; W. Suss. RO, Petworth House Arch. 14, Shrewsbury to Somerset, 4 Nov. 1698.
  • 178 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 461.
  • 179 Shrewsbury Corresp. 181-2.
  • 180 Bolton Hall, Bolton mss mic 2063/0923; Bodl. Carte 228, ff. 259, 293.
  • 181 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 469, 504.
  • 182 Kenyon, Sunderland, 311.
  • 183 UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1498, 1499; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 544.
  • 184 Verney ms mic. M636/51, A. Nicholas to Sir J. Verney, 31 Aug. 1699; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 553; Bodl. Carte 228, f. 318.
  • 185 Bodl. Carte 228, ff. 310, 326; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 559; Add. 75370, E. Southwell to Halifax, 11 May 1699; Add. 75368, Nottingham to Halifax, 14 May 1699.
  • 186 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 569, 580; HMC Portland, iii. 609 Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 260; Add. 40774, f. 211.
  • 187 HMC Hope-Johnstone, 114; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 594.
  • 188 HP Commons 1690-1715, i. 452; Horwitz, Rev. Pols. 261; Cocks Diary, xli; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 403.
  • 189 HMC Portland, viii. 72; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 48/48, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 21 Mar. 1700.
  • 190 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 638.
  • 191 Bodl. Ballard 10, f. 40; HMC Portland, iii. 619; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 643; Leics. RO, DG7 box 4950, bundle 22, Edward Southwell to Nottingham, 11 May 1700; NLS, Yester pprs. MS 14414, ff. 111-12.
  • 192 Add. 72517, ff. 55-6; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 648; HMC Portland, iii. 620.
  • 193 Cornw. RO, Antony mss, CVC/Y/2/4.
  • 194 CSP Dom. 1700-1702, pp. 117, 119, 138; HMC Portland, iii. 620; Add. 72539, f. 71; Longleat, Bath mss, Prior pprs. 12, ff. 435-8; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 702.
  • 195 Life and Character of Charles Duke of Shrewsbury (Dublin, 1718), 6.
  • 196 CSP Dom. 1700-1702, p. 119; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77, ff. 33-5; Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 10 Oct. 1700.
  • 197 Morgan Lib. New York, Misc. English autographs, Shrewsbury to ?, 29 July 1701; Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 27 Jan. 1702.
  • 198 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 164.
  • 199 Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 9, 23 Apr. 1702.
  • 200 Add. 61131, ff. 1-2.
  • 201 Bernard Falk, The Way of the Montagues, 172.
  • 202 Add. 28056, f. 19; Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS 6, box 2, folder 52, Shrewsbury to Godolphin, 8 Sept. 1703; Cornw. RO, Antony mss, CVC/Y/2/14.
  • 203 Add. 70075, newsletter, 2 Mar. 1704; Add. 28056, ff. 220-1.
  • 204 HMC Bath, i. 58.
  • 205 Stowe 224, ff. 330-1.
  • 206 Bodl. ms Eng. hist. d. 150, f. 41; Add. 72498, f. 130.
  • 207 Wentworth pprs. 213, 263, 283; Add. 72488, ff. 11-12; Add. 61131, ff. 25-6; Add. 32686, f. 6; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 710-11.
  • 208 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 1, 2.
  • 209 KSRL, Methuen-Simpson corresp. Ms c163; NLS, Hamilton mss, 1032, f. 38.
  • 210 Cowper Diary, 34.
  • 211 Add. 61131, ff. 34-5, 37-8.
  • 212 Add. 40776, ff. 9, 15.
  • 213 Add. 61398, f. 108; Shrewsbury Corresp. 660.
  • 214 Add. 61131, f. 41.
  • 215 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77/72, 77, 78, 80.
  • 216 HP Commons 1690-1715, v. 744.
  • 217 Add. 40776, ff. 40-1.
  • 218 Ibid. f. 46; Add. 61131, f. 47.
  • 219 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 807; Add. 61131, ff. 51-2, 53, 55.
  • 220 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77/74, 83.
  • 221 Add. 61131, f. 61.
  • 222 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fc 37, vol. 13, lviii, lx.
  • 223 HMC Bath, i. 54.
  • 224 HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 704.
  • 225 HMC Bath, i. 191.
  • 226 Add. 72488, ff. 42-3.
  • 227 Ibid. ff. 56-7.
  • 228 Add. 61127, f. 97.
  • 229 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1327-8.
  • 230 Nicolson and Turberville, Shrewsbury, 168; NLS, Yester pprs. MS 7021, f. 175; Add. 72488, ff. 62-3; Add. 72499, ff. 32-3.
  • 231 HMC Bath, i. 197.
  • 232 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 558; State trial of Dr Henry Sacheverell, ed. B. Cowan, 95.
  • 233 W. Suss. RO, Petworth MSS 14, Shrewsbury to Somerset, 9 Apr. 1710; Somerville, King of Hearts, 262.
  • 234 Add. 61443, ff. 46-7; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1463; NLS, Yester pprs. MS 14413, ff. 109-10.
  • 235 Add. 61118, f. 30.
  • 236 Add. 61461, f. 66.
  • 237 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1470.
  • 238 Add. 61131, f. 74; Add. 61443, ff. 50-1; Add. 61460, ff. 214-17; Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 7-8.
  • 239 Add. 61461, ff. 39-42; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1493-4.
  • 240 Add. 61461, ff. 67-8.
  • 241 Somerville, King of Hearts, 273.
  • 242 HMC Portland, iv. 552-3.
  • 243 HJ xvi. 244.
  • 244 Cowper Diary, 45-6; MacPherson, Original Pprs, ii. 185; Add. 61475, ff. 25-6.
  • 245 TNA, LC 5/71, f. 43.
  • 246 HMC Bath, i. 199.
  • 247 HMC Portland, iv. 622.
  • 248 Timberland, ii. 311, 312.
  • 249 Haddington MSS, Mellerstain letters III, Baillie to his wife, 3 Feb. 1711.
  • 250 Horwitz, Rev. Pols, 225.
  • 251 HMC Portland, iv. 666-7, 669.
  • 252 HMC Bath, i. 359.
  • 253 Wentworth pprs. 197; Add. 72500, f. 57.
  • 254 Add. 70288, Gervase Pierrepont to Robert Harley, 24 May 1711.
  • 255 Wentworth pprs. 199.
  • 256 Add. 61131, f. 86; HJ xvi. 249-50; NYPL, Montague collection, box 10, Shrewsbury to Bolingbroke, 25 Aug. 1711.
  • 257 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 291-2; HMC Bath, i. 207.
  • 258 B. Hill, ‘Oxford, Bolingbroke and the Peace of Utrecht’, HJ, xvi. 250.
  • 259 HMC Bath, i. 217, 360-1.
  • 260 NLW, Ottley corresp. 2447; Wentworth pprs. 233.
  • 261 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 220-1; Add. 22220, ff. 17-18; Wentworth pprs. 275-6.
  • 262 HMC Portland, v. 154.
  • 263 Add. 70260, Shrewsbury to Oxford, 4 Apr. 1712.
  • 264 C. Jones, ‘The Vote in the House of Lords’, PH, xxvi. 177-81.
  • 265 HMC Bath, i. 219.
  • 266 Cornw. RO, Antony House mss, CVC/Y/3/31.
  • 267 Add. 61461, ff. 189-92.
  • 268 MacPherson, Original Pprs, ii. 479-80.
  • 269 Bodl. Carte 211, ff. 297, 300-1; Bolingbroke Corresp. iii. 257, 287-8, 367, 373.
  • 270 Bolingbroke Corresp. iii. 414-5.
  • 271 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/6/239/3069, f. 170.
  • 272 Bolingbroke Corresp. iii. 474.
  • 273 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/6/240/3085, f. 33; Bolingbroke Corresp. iv. 114, 137-41, 205; Add. 70031, ff. 95-8.
  • 274 Add. 72496, ff. 77-8; Add. 61637 B, f. 2; Wentworth pprs. 356-7; HMC Bath, i. 241; Add. 70070, newsletter, 31 Dec. 1713.
  • 275 HMC Portland, v. 372.
  • 276 HMC Bath, i. 243-4.
  • 277 Add. 61637 B, f. 11; Add. 61463, ff. 124-7.
  • 278 Add. 49970, f. 1.
  • 279 Add. 70032, f. 184; Add. 70070, newsletter, 12 June 1714.
  • 280 Verney ms mic. M636/55, Lord Fermanagh’s notes, June 1714; Wentworth pprs. 387-8; Haddington mss, Mellerstain letters vi, George Baillie to his wife, 15 June 1714.
  • 281 Add. 72501, ff. 130-1, 137.
  • 282 Add. 72501, ff. 130-1.
  • 283 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 434.
  • 284 NLS, Pitfirrane mss, 6409, no. 70; Wentworth pprs. 402.
  • 285 Add. 72501, ff. 152-3, 156-7; Add. 72496, ff. 149-50; Leics. RO, DG7 box 4950, bundle 24, Sunderland to Nottingham, 30 July 1714; R. Hatton, George I, (2001), 109; Add. 70082, ‘A Letter on occasion of the Queen’s illness’, 31 July 1714; Add. 4804, f. 218.
  • 286 Wentworth pprs. 408.
  • 287 Add. 70144, Lord Harley to A. Harley, 31 July 1714.
  • 288 Add. 72483, f. 232; Add. 72501, f. 154.
  • 289 Wentworth pprs. 414, 420; Add. 72502, ff. 6-7.
  • 290 Add. 72509, ff. 208-9; MacPherson, Original Pprs, ii. 653.
  • 291 Wentworth pprs. 423.
  • 292 Bodl. Ballard 31, f. 134.
  • 293 HMC Portland, v. 508.
  • 294 Timberland, iii. 8-9.
  • 295 Add. 72502, f. 39.
  • 296 Add. 61639, ff. 155, 157-8; Add. 61652, f. 284.
  • 297 Add. 72502, f. 63; Verney ms mic. M636/55, Sir T. Cave to Fermanagh, 23 June 1715; D. Somerville, ‘Shrewsbury and the Peace of Utrecht’, EHR, xlvii. 646; Bodl. Ballard 7, ff. 41-2.
  • 298 Timberland, iii. 14.
  • 299 Add. 72502, ff. 70-1.
  • 300 Glos. Archives D3549, box 74, folder 4, f. 635.
  • 301 HMC Stuart, ii. 123-4; Add. 72493, f. 75; Several speeches against the bill for repealing the Triennial Act, (1716), 3.
  • 302 HMC Stuart, i. 391-2, 400, 413; Somerville, King of Hearts, 348.
  • 303 HMC Stuart, ii. 374-5.
  • 304 HMC Stuart, iii. 46-7, 238, iv. 417.
  • 305 Herts. ALS, DE/P/F57.
  • 306 HMC Portland, v. 550, 552; HMC Stuart, v. 393.
  • 307 Bodl. Ballard 20, f. 96; Add. 70145, E. to A. Harley, 30 Jan. 1718.
  • 308 Original Weekly Journal, 8-15 Feb. 1718.
  • 309 Defoe, Memoirs of Publick Transactions in the Life and Ministry of his Grace the Duke of Shrewsbury, (1718); The Life and Character of Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury, (1718).
  • 310 Bodl. Carte 233, f. 63.
  • 311 Christ Church, Oxf. Wake Mss, 13/12.