WHARTON, Thomas (c. 1648-1715)

WHARTON, Thomas (c. 1648–1715)

suc. fa. 4 Feb. 1696 as 5th Bar. WHARTON; cr. 23 Dec. 1706 earl of WHARTON; cr. 15 Feb. 1715 mq. of WHARTON and mq. of MALMESBURY; cr. 12 Apr. 1715 mq. of Catherlough [I]

First sat 24 Feb. 1696; last sat 1 Apr. 1715

MP Wendover 1673-1679 (Jan.), Buckinghamshire 1679 (Mar.)-1696

bap. 23 Oct. 1648, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Philip Wharton, 4th Bar. Wharton, and 2nd w. Jane (d.1658), da. of Arthur Goodwin of Winchenden Bucks.; bro. of Goodwin and Henry Wharton. educ. privately (tutor Theophilus Gale);1 Protestant academy at Caen 1662-4;2 travelled abroad (France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands) 1664-6;3 LLD Camb. 1705. m. (1) 16 Sept. 1673 (with £2,500 p.a. and £10,000), Anne (d.1685),4 da. and coh. of Sir Henry Lee, 3rd bt. of Quarrendon, Bucks., s.p.; (2) July 1692 Lucy (d.1717), da. of Adam Loftus, Visct. Lisburne [I],5 1s. 2da. d. 12 Apr. 1715;6 will 8 Apr. 1715, pr. 13 Sept. 1715.7

PC 19 Feb. 1689-1702,8 1708-10;9 commr. abuses in army 1689,10 appeals for prizes 1695, appeal in Admiralty cases 1697,11 Union with Scotland 1706;12 comptroller of household 1689-1702;13 c.j. in eyre south of Trent 1697-1702,14 1706-10;15 ld. lt. [I] Dec. 1708- Oct. 1710;16 ld. privy seal, 23 Sept. 1714-d.17

Commr. recusants, Bucks. 1675; custos rot., Bucks. 1689-1702, Westmld. 1700-2, 1706-14,18 Oxon. 1697-1702,19 1714-d.; high steward, Malmesbury 1689-98, 1704-11, Chipping Wycombe 1694-d., Tewkesbury 1710-d.; lt. Woodstock Park 1690;20 freeman, Chipping Wycombe 1691, Woodstock 1697, Appleby, 1700, Dublin 1709; ld. lt., Oxon. 1697-1702,21 Bucks. Jan.-June 1702; alderman Appleby 1700,22 mayor 1708-9.

Col. drag. [I] Apr.-Oct. 1710.

Asst. Mines Adventurers 1693; commr. Greenwich Hosp. (ex officio) 1695; Q. Anne’s Bounty 1704.

Associated with: Winchenden, Bucks.;23 Wooburn, Bucks.;24 Gerard Street, London,25 and Dover Street, London.26

Likenesses: oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, 1710-15, NPG 3233.

‘Honest Tom’ and ‘The detestable Wharton’

Wharton was one of the most prominent members of the Whig Junto.27 It might even be said that he was the glue that bound his disparate and frequently quarrelsome colleagues together. As a young man he rebelled against his father’s puritanism and embraced the most hedonistic excesses of the Restoration. He was an early supporter of the Revolution for which he was rewarded with office in the household of William of Orange, though he was denied more senior posts which he felt were his due. Always vigorous in the rough and tumble of political life Wharton, a keen student of the turf, was on one occasion told that ‘a jockey’s whip became him better than a white staff.’28 In later life he moderated his behaviour without losing any of his passion for the Whig cause.

Responses to Wharton tended to be emphatic: absolute detestation or complete devotion. To his supporters he was ‘Honest Tom’, the uncompromising adherent of the cause of whiggery. To his opponents he was little better than the devil incarnate. An acrostic that appeared in the Post Boy ran:

Whiggs the first letter of his odious name
Hypocrisy the second of the same,
Anarchy, his darling and his aim;
Rebellion, discord, mutiny, and faction.
Tom, captain of the mob, in soul and action;
O’ergrown in sin, cornuted [horned] and in debt;
Nol’s soul, and Ireton’s live within him yet.29

In the mid-eighteenth century he was still held up as the epitome of factionalism and ‘the detestable Wharton’ featured within Samuel Johnson’s dictionary in a definition of party leadership. He was closely associated with a number of early clubs that helped to consolidate party identities, notably the Kit Cat, of which his second wife was one of the toasts, and the Hanover Club, which flowered briefly in 1712 but was credited with helping to hold the Whigs together when faced with a reinvigorated Tory ministry.30

Wharton’s parliamentary career spanned four decades. He sat in the Commons without interruption from 1673 until his succession to the peerage. A bravura performer in the Commons, he was said to have spent two hours a day while on grand tour honing his oratorical skills in the manner of Cicero. In spite of the classical foundation, when he advanced to the Lords he brought to the upper chamber a more informal style of debate.31 Quite as importantly, he also commanded interest in a number of boroughs and counties, which both underpinned the significance of his leadership among other members of the Junto as well as bringing him into conflict with a number of his neighbours. His interests stretched from Cumberland and Westmorland in the north-west to Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire in the south and south-west. As a result he was able to dictate the result to a greater or lesser degree in over 20 seats and he was always willing to underwrite a campaign waged by those who shared his passion for the ‘honest party’.32 Not that all of his efforts were successful. He struggled to inveigle his way into Oxfordshire in the face of concerted opposition from the Bertie family and he faced similar difficulties in his efforts to dominate in Malmesbury.

Perhaps Wharton’s most significant contribution to the politics of the period was to make Parliament the venue for several dramatic confrontations. He championed the proceedings against Sir John Fenwick and Henry Sacheverell as well as manipulating tensions between the Lords and Commons over the case of the Aylesbury men. Yet while a determined foe he rarely lost command of his temper. Even at the height of his rivalry with Robert Harley, who would become earl of Oxford, he was always ready with a humorous quip. Nevertheless, his usual good humour did not disguise his determination to further both his own fortunes and those of the Junto; neither did it in any way limit his willingness to destroy those that stood in his way.

Wharton’s Dissenting background precluded admission to Oxford or Cambridge so he was sent abroad with his younger brother Goodwin, accompanied by Theophilus Gale, and entered at the Protestant academy at Caen. His progress in France was viewed with considerable concern by Gale, who reported back to Lord Wharton:

I am not without some fears and difficulties as to your sons especially Mr Wharton, in point of religion and conversation… My greatest fears are lest they should suck in any atheistical or unchristian principles which though they continue civil in their conversations… for the present, may end at last in open wickedness.33

Gale’s concerns proved prescient. On Wharton’s return to England he embarked on a career as one of the period’s more outrageous rakes. He affronted his neighbours with wild parties and scandalized society with his odd habit of taking home urchins.

The House of Commons 1673-96

Alongside such activities, Wharton embraced an active political career. He secured election for Wendover in 1673 and by the mid-1670s he was closely associated with the opposition. He was a noted follower of Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, and a regular companion of John Lovelace 3rd Baron Lovelace, and James Scott, duke of Monmouth. The same year in which he was returned to the Commons, Wharton was married to Anne Lee. The match, which had been opposed by the king, consolidated his interest in Buckinghamshire and neighbouring Oxfordshire but precipitated a long and ill-tempered legal battle with his brother-in-law, James Bertie, Baron Norreys (later earl of Abingdon). As well as having to contend with the king’s distaste for the match, Wharton was also forced to fight a duel with another suitor, John Arundell, later 2nd Baron Arundell of Trerice, who disarmed him in the bout. In spite of this Wharton’s interest in the area seems to have convinced Anne Lee’s family to agree to the match even though at least one relative expressed a preference for Arundell’s principles.34

Following some last-minute alterations and contrary to his father’s original plan that he would stand for Westmorland, Wharton transferred to Buckinghamshire for the first Exclusion Parliament. He appears to have been reluctant to contest the county seat because of the expense but was evidently prevailed on to lay aside his reservations. He was supported by Lovelace and George Villiers 2nd duke of Buckingham, who combined to ensure his return. Besides his own election Wharton was also engaged with employing his interest at Malmesbury.35 He defended his seat successfully in the second election of 1679, again supported by Buckingham and by William Paget 7th Baron Paget. He is not known to have spoken in favour of the exclusion bill but there is no doubt that he supported the measure, and was one of those to carry the bill up to the Lords. As a result he was dismissed from the Buckinghamshire commission of the peace early in 1680. Shortly after, hopes were expressed that he and Norreys might at last be induced to settle their differences. Wharton was thought likely to acquiesce not least because by then he was known to have ‘great occasion for ready money.’ Agreement seems to have been reached finally by the late spring.36

Wharton’s notoriety was not confined to his political activities. In 1682 he participated in a scandalous ‘frolic’ at the church of Great Barrington on the Oxfordshire-Gloucestershire borders, vandalizing the place and (possibly) employing the font as a latrine and the pulpit as a close stool. The evening had commenced at the house of one of the local gentry (possibly Reginald Bray of Barrington Park) but rapidly got out of hand. Wharton was compelled to submit to Robert Frampton, bishop of Gloucester, but was let off with only the most minor of penances.37 The following year (1683), Wharton risked rather more than a mild Episcopal rebuke when he was implicated in the Rye House Plot. Arms were seized from his seat at Winchendon but he was able to evade arrest.38 He was involved with another disturbance early in 1684 when a quarrel with Sir Henry Hobart, 4th bt. in a coffee house resulted in a duel. Wharton ran Hobart through, but the injury was not life-threatening.39 Such events may have encouraged Wharton to seek sanctuary overseas: during the summer of 1684 he appears to have gone to France, though his sojourn can not have been of long duration.40

Following James II’s accession Wharton was returned once more for Buckinghamshire in spite of vigorous efforts to thwart his election, led by George Jeffreys, about to become Baron Jeffreys. Sir Ralph Verney reckoned Wharton would ‘serve the king and country very faithfully, though he is wild enough, especially when he is in drink’ but Wharton continued his studied opposition to the regime.41 Although he avoided being dragged into the rebellion of his former companion, Monmouth, he was later a prominent member of the Treason Club that met at the Rose Tavern in Covent Garden. He may have been a member of the Green Ribbon Club as well.42

Late in 1685 Wharton suffered the loss of his wife and although it was believed that she had left the majority of her estate to him the event sparked a renewal of tension with his brother-in-law Abingdon (as Norreys had since become) over the inheritance.43 The following year he was again implicated in a scandalous escapade, this time at Eythrope in Buckinghamshire, seat of Charles Dormer, 2nd earl of Carnarvon. Wharton and a handful of others were said to have broken their way into Carnarvon’s house and subjected the peer to a thrashing as well as ‘some other peccadilloes of that kind’.44

Having avoided direct association with the two earlier rebellions, Wharton played a more active part in the 1688 Revolution. His association with the opposition to James’s policies had continued unabated throughout the reign. In 1686 he was credited with the composition of Lilliburlero, set to a tune by Henry Purcell, satirizing the appointment of Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnel [I], as lieutenant of Ireland. The following year he stood bail for William Cavendish, 4th earl (later duke) of Devonshire.45 With the aid of his brother, Henry, Wharton was involved in the army conspiracy. He was one of the first to join William of Orange at Exeter, where he found himself in unusual alliance with his brother-in-law, Abingdon. He also co-operated with the local Tory magnate, normally his diametrical opposite, Sir Edward Seymour, to draw up an address.46

In the Convention, Wharton was to the fore in arguing for William’s succession. He pressed the waverers to accept James’s abdication arguing that ‘abdication and dereliction are hard words for me, but I would have no loophole to let in a king; for I believe not myself nor any Protestant in England safe, if we admit him.’47 In return for such forthright support, Wharton was rewarded with a place on the Privy Council and the office of comptroller of the household.48 According to George Savile, marquess of Halifax, Wharton owed these distinctions to his recommendation: William was reluctant to prefer someone whom he considered a firebrand and of dubious moral character.49 A rumour, repeated later that year, that Wharton was also to be summoned to the Lords proved unfounded, and over the next few years he was disappointed on several occasions in his expectation of securing a place as secretary of state.50 Although denied more senior office, the comptrollership gave Wharton access to the king and enabled him to concentrate on management of the Commons.

Wharton quickly became dissatisfied with the new regime, his annoyance no doubt caused in part by a series of personal disappointments. He criticized the king for his employment of ‘flatterers, knaves and villains’, chief among them Tories who, he was convinced, ought to have been excluded from the administration altogether. His frustration boiled over in a letter to the king in which he castigated William for his ‘coldness, slowness and indifference’ which he suggested had both weakened the commitment of the king’s natural friends and strengthened the resolution of his enemies. Worst of all was the king’s broad-bottom policy. This Wharton characterized as ‘trimming between parties’, which he considered ‘beneath both you and your cause’.51 Wharton did not limit himself to his angry remonstrance against the king. In April 1695 he was a driving force behind the abortive attempt to impeach Thomas Osborne, duke of Leeds.52 Later that summer rumours circulated of his promotion to the peerage, connected with his expected purchase of Whaddon Chase, but the anticipated award failed to materialize.53

The House of Lords, 1696-7

Wharton was present in the Commons on 31 Jan. 1696 but it was noted that he was silent throughout the debate, ‘by which it is thought his father is dead.’ Reports of Lord Wharton’s demise were repeated on 2 February.54 Two days later Wharton himself was said to be sick, so much so that he was carried into the Commons in a chair.55 The rumours of his father’s death proved to be premature by just a few days and, having presumably spent the ensuing three weeks recovering from his own sickness and arranging his father’s affairs, Wharton took his seat in the Lords mid-way through the Parliament on 24 February. With the peerage he succeeded to an estimated £8,000 per annum along with the undisputed dominance of a number of boroughs of which he had already been effectively in control during his father’s final years.56 His first sitting coincided with the king’s announcement of the discovery of the Assassination Plot. Wharton was subsequently a signatory to a Privy Council order commanding local lieutenants to seize all horses belonging to Catholics.57 He continued to attend the House for a further 27 days (22 per cent of the whole session). Besides the response to the news of the plot, Wharton’s attention was also taken up with the by-election for his former seat.58 He was successful in promoting the candidacy of William Cheyne (later 2nd Viscount Newhaven [S]), formerly a Wharton nominee at Appleby, in preference to several other candidates (though all seem to have been Whig).

The summer of 1696 found Wharton once again overlooked for at least two expected distinctions. Reports in May that he was to be promoted in the peerage to a viscountcy proved not to be true. His anticipated new honour was supposed to coincide with the promotion of his Junto colleague, Edward Russell, to an earldom, which also proved not to be the case.59 The following month it was put about that he was to be made lieutenant of Ireland. Again, he failed to secure the position.60

In spite of such disappointments, Wharton returned to London from a summer visit to his northern estates (according to Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland) ‘full of compliment’ and, along with his Junto colleagues, eager to ensure a successful new session of Parliament.61 At the forefront of his mind were the anticipated proceedings against Sir John Fenwick, whose information relating to the plot had implicated several Whig ministers, chief among them Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury, and Admiral Russell. Fenwick’s decision to accuse these two men in particular determined Wharton and John Somers, later Baron Somers, to move decisively against him. Although it appears to have been Somers who was the initiator of the plan to impeach Fenwick, Wharton rapidly took on a prominent role in managing the prosecution.62

Wharton took his seat just over a week into the new session on 28 Oct. 1696 after which he proceeded to attend on 61 per cent of all sitting days. Throughout the first half of the session he maintained a steady correspondence with Shrewsbury, with whom he enjoyed a somewhat unlikely friendship, and the day before he returned to the House he was engaged in a series of meetings concerning Fenwick. His mind was not so completely taken up with the matter of the impeachment, though, to overlook supplying Charles Howard, 3rd earl of Carlisle, with ‘a couple of large handsome hounds’.63 By 20 Nov. Wharton was able to report to Shrewsbury with confidence that the attainder would pass the Commons, though he was troubled to find ‘a good many of our friends very good-natured, or scrupulous in it.’ In overcoming such considerations he was able to employ his brother, Goodwin, and old companion, Charles Godfrey, to help keep Whig support together in the Commons. He was far less certain of its reception in the Lords and urged Shrewsbury, who was sick in the country, to return to the chamber to help the matter along.64

Wharton was out of town for the second half of November, presumably engaged in canvassing for the Buckinghamshire seat left vacant by the death of Sir Richard Atkins. Although Anne Nicholas was confident at first that Wharton would support Sir John Verney, later Viscount Fermanagh [I], Verney was not persuaded. Verney’s pessimistic appraisal proved the more astute and Wharton set his weight behind Henry Neale after his original candidate, Pigott, refused to stand. Neale was returned accordingly, leaving Verney in third place. The election revealed several features of Wharton’s close control over those areas in which he was involved. Observing that Verney had only a short time to make his interest felt, Cary Gardiner remarked that Wharton always had ‘one ready in case of any vacancy.’ The election also demonstrated Wharton’s ruthless streak. John Hampden, who had been shunned by Wharton after he had blasphemed against Whig orthodoxy by expressing his belief in the reality of the Rye House plot, cut his throat after being abandoned by his former patron.65

Wharton returned to the House at the beginning of December and on 18 Dec. 1696 was one of those to speak in favour of the Fenwick attainder. He rebutted the suggestion that the accusations against Fenwick did not amount to treason and urged that to fail to condemn him would only serve to encourage France. Unsurprisingly, he voted consistently in favour of the bill’s passage.66 Having been instrumental in ensuring Shrewsbury’s security by silencing Fenwick, Wharton was then involved in censuring Charles Mordaunt, earl of Monmouth (later 3rd earl of Peterborough).

During the remainder of the session Wharton continued to be active in the House, acting as teller in three divisions relating to the case Rex v. Walcott (29 Jan. 1697), amendments to the wrought silks bill (20 Feb.) and the bill in restraint of stockjobbing (15 April). However, having successfully secured Fenwick’s destruction, Wharton suffered a series of disappointments during the course of 1697. He was omitted from the list of lord justices during the king’s absence following the close of the session and in April was overlooked for one of the posts of lord justice in Ireland. The king was at pains to emphasize Wharton’s ‘very good parts’ but explained his decision on the grounds that Wharton, he was sure, would not take kindly to being one of a commission of three.67 In May he was overlooked again when the corporation of Buckingham chose to elect Sir Richard Temple, 4th bt. as their high steward.68 His importance as a local figure was recognized, however, with his appointment as both lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire and chief justice in eyre south of Trent in place of his old rival, Abingdon.69 During the summer, he went head to head with Abingdon at Oxford. Wharton arrived in the city to oversee the assizes attended by a guard of two or three hundred horse; the following day Abingdon upstaged him by being greeted by an estimated 500 people. Wharton made his annoyance at not being accorded the respect his ‘quality and qualifications merited’ more than apparent.70

Wharton suffered further disappointments later in the year. In October it was confidently said that he would succeed Shrewsbury as secretary of state. Wharton himself remained taciturn about the prospect while some of his allies proved reluctant to support his nomination.71 At the close of the year he was again spoken of as Shrewsbury’s most likely successor.72 Failing that, he was expected to be offered the other secretaryship following the resignation of Sir William Trumbull. He was overlooked once again and James Vernon was appointed instead. At the heart of the divisions within the administration in the summer and autumn of 1697 was the rivalry between Sunderland and the Junto lords. In this Wharton was undoubtedly one of the most prominent of Sunderland’s tormentors. When Sunderland resigned his place as lord chamberlain, he complained that he had been ‘ground’ between Wharton and Monmouth. Even Somers conceded that ‘the greatest measure of guilt is laid at my Lord Wharton’s door.’73

Having attended the two prorogation days of 22 July and 23 Nov. 1697 Wharton took his seat at the opening of the new session on 3 Dec. after which he was present on 63 per cent of all sitting days. On 12 Mar. 1698 he acted as one of the tellers in the division over the reversal of judgment in the case Rex v. Mellen. Rather more significant, though, were his activities relating to the assault on Charles Duncombe. Early in March Wharton was nominated a manager of two conferences concerning the bill for punishing Duncombe and on 15 Mar. he voted in favour of committing it. He then registered his dissent at the decision not to do so.74 Rumours of alterations in the administration continued to obsess political observers into the spring of 1698. Several were convinced of Wharton’s imminent appointment as secretary.75 In spite of a concerted effort on the part of Somers to convince the king of the necessity of admitting Wharton to the office, he continued to be denied his ambition. Even so early in May he was spoken of along with Somers, Orford and Charles Montagu, later earl of Halifax, as ‘the only persons that are at present in the management of affairs.’76 Towards the end of June he offered Montagu his support and engaged to be present in the Lords to participate in the debate over the East India Company bill.77

The Parliaments of 1698 and 1701

About the end of July or start of August 1698, Wharton was offered a diplomatic posting in Madrid, but he rejected the suggestion. 78 Instead, he was prompted by the dissolution into actively pressing his interest in a number of constituencies. Wharton had spent the previous three months preparing the ground for his brother, Goodwin, to join Henry Neale at Buckinghamshire. The strength of his interest there persuaded Sir John Verney not even to attempt to launch a challenge but even so Wharton was unable to carry both seats and Neale was forced into fourth place. Elsewhere Wharton also faced an uphill task. Neither of his candidates was returned for Oxfordshire.79 He was approached by Elizabeth Browne to support the candidacy of her young relative Charles Boyle later 4th earl of Orrery [I] and Baron Boyle of Marston at Cockermouth but Wharton was already committed to the cause of his kinsman, Harry Mordaunt. Boyle was forced to wait till the next election to secure a seat at Huntingdon and Mordaunt was also unsuccessful with the seats at Cockermouth going to candidates proposed by the rival Seymour interest and by the local gentry.80

With his Commons’ interest weaker than he had experienced it for some time, Wharton took his seat in the new Parliament on 29 Nov. 1698. He proceeded to attend almost 78 per cent of all sitting days. The apparent decline in his interest did not prevent him from soliciting ‘very vehemently’ on Harry Mordaunt’s behalf for a place as teller of the exchequer, which he claimed had been promised to him at the same time as Colonel Godfrey’s appointment as master of the jewel office.81 In December there were renewed rumours of his appointment to office, this time as lord chamberlain, and that he was also to be advanced in the peerage to an earldom: neither proved to be the case.82 The one positive development was the birth of an heir for whom Wharton was gratified by the king, Shrewsbury and Princess Anne agreeing to stand godparents.83 By the latter part of April 1699, far from being expected to be promoted in office, it was reported that Wharton intended to resign from the comptrollership.84 In early summer his young kinsman, Montagu Venables Bertie, 2nd earl of Abingdon, supplanted him as high steward of Malmesbury, though in this case Wharton’s discomfiture came as small surprise. He had commented the previous year that there were by then only a few in the ‘sweet town… who don’t wish me heartily hanged.’85 In July rivalry with William Cheyne, 2nd Viscount Newhaven [S], boiled over at the Buckinghamshire quarter sessions following an argument over precedence and resulted in a duel in which Wharton disarmed his opponent. Some feared that the bout would (ironically) lead to a reconciliation between the two men but they remained divided and, on the accession of Anne, Cheyne replaced Wharton as lieutenant in Buckinghamshire.86

Wharton was one of a number of Whig grandees to attend a meeting convened by Ralph Montagu, earl (later duke) of Montagu, at Boughton in August 1699 and the following month he hosted a similar gathering at his own seat.87 His successful efforts to attract the Buckingham member, Edmund Denton, to his colours at the time were viewed with concern by his Tory opposites in the county who thought it a shame that Denton would ‘truckle to one as their fathers defied stooping to.’ Similar disquiet was expressed at the news that Wharton intended to hobble one of his political rivals, Sir John Verney, by having him pricked as sheriff.88 For all this, Wharton continued to struggle to assert his interest. Although he worked closely with Somers to ensure that the writ for the Oxfordshire by-election was dispatched at the most opportune moment and was assured of the warm support of other local magnates such as Shrewsbury, he was again unable to bring about the return of Thomas Wheate (Wheate having previously been defeated at the general election standing on Wharton’s interest).89

Wharton took his seat at the opening of the new session on 16 Nov. 1699, when the Lords ordered several people to be taken into custody on a charge of breaching Wharton’s privilege.90 Wharton was then absent until 4 Dec. presumably engaged with affairs in Oxfordshire (though only two sitting days actually intervened during his absence). Having resumed his place he was present on a further 34 days in the session (44 per cent of the whole). On 15 Dec. he seems to have taken the lead during the debate examining Matthew Smith’s book impugning Shrewsbury and was credited with managing the proceedings that resulted in the volume being burnt by the common hangman.91 On 23 Feb. 1700 he voted against adjourning into committee of the whole to consider amendments to the East India Company bill (he was one of the tellers on the division). The same day he registered his dissent at the passage of the bill for continuing the East India Company as a corporation. The following month, amidst talk of the outcome of the divorce proceedings of Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk, it was suggested that Wharton might be next to seek to rid himself of his wife (whom he had married in 1692). Doubts were discussed openly about the true paternity of his heir.92 In April he voiced his concerns about the Irish forfeitures bill, which he feared would be ‘a great imposition on the peerage’ and was in need of thorough amendment. He and the lord privy seal (John Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale) were thought ‘the great instruments’ in galvanizing the Lords into making the necessary alterations but he then quit the House for a brief stay at Newmarket leaving his supporters adrift. Reporting on his ‘strange game’, Vernon commented that Wharton’s ‘trick’ had been anticipated by some but that he was now ‘railed at in both Houses.’93

Following the close of the session, it was expected once again that ‘great alterations’ would soon be made at court and that Wharton was one of several Whig lords to be removed from office.94 In the event he clung on to his post and in June was present at a meeting of the Junto where it was decided to launch a strike against Sunderland.95 The following month he was, unsurprisingly, included on a list of Whig lords. The prospect of new elections once again raised the question of Wharton’s ability to influence the results. In Westmorland he developed his interest at Appleby, where he had recently been made an alderman, though there was some confusion when the king seemed to indicate that he was to succeed the recently deceased Lonsdale as lieutenant of the county. It was pointed out that the post belonged already to Carlisle.96 In Buckinghamshire, Wharton and Shrewsbury had been observed concerting with Robert Dormer at the latter’s house in preparation for setting him up for the county seat.97 In the event, Dormer was pushed into third place in the election of January 1701 though he was successful when he challenged the seat again in the second election that winter.

Wharton took his seat shortly after the opening of the new Parliament on 10 Feb. 1701 and was thereafter present on over two thirds of all sitting days. On 29 Apr. he acted as one of the tellers for the division whether to agree to a clause in the report on Dillon’s divorce bill and on 15 May he was again a teller for the division whether to agree with the resolution concerning the meeting of Parliament. The death of John Egerton, 3rd earl of Bridgwater, that spring led to speculation that Wharton would succeed him as lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, though it was not until January of the following year that the appointment was confirmed.98 The focus of the latter stage of the session was the Commons’ attempt to impeach Wharton’s Junto colleagues Somers and Halifax along with the king’s trusted confidant, Hans Willem Bentinck, earl of Portland. On 17 June Wharton voted to acquit Somers and on 23 June he did likewise for Halifax. The affair proved a turning-point in Wharton’s relations with his erstwhile friend, Shrewsbury, who had by then given way to a series of ailments and sought refuge abroad. His refusal to remain on hand to assist those who had proved faithful to him over Fenwick was taken by Wharton to be an unpardonable offence. When Shrewsbury returned from his self-imposed exile the Junto treated him with suspicion and although Wharton was later delegated to mediate with his former friend, it was quite apparent that he no longer trusted the duke.99

The charged atmosphere was not confined to relations between the Junto and its associates. Following the close of the session, a report circulated that Wharton had been involved in a duel involving five other lords at Newmarket and that he had been slain in the affray. The story, widely circulated and published in the Post Boy, was quickly withdrawn. None the worse for his apparent demise, Wharton returned to the campaign trail that autumn. He approached his Buckinghamshire opponent, Sir John Verney, for his support for Goodwin Wharton’s re-election for the county seat, receiving in return an assurance from Verney that Goodwin’s candidacy was ‘in no way disagreeable’ for him but that he was resolved not to ‘meddle’ in the contest.100

Wharton returned to the House at the opening of the new Parliament on 30 Dec. 1701. Present on 64 per cent of all sitting days, early in the session Wharton joined with John Thompson, Baron Haversham, in drawing up a bill for the security of the king’s person in response to the news that Louis XIV had chosen to recognize the Pretender (as James III) following the death of James II in September.101 On 20 Feb. 1702 he acted as one of the tellers for the division over the passage of the bill for attainting Queen Mary Beatrice and on 25 Feb. he was again a teller for the division held in committee of the whole for the Quakers’ affirmation bill.

The king’s death a few days later prompted widespread expectation that Wharton and his Junto colleagues would swiftly be turned out of their places. At William’s funeral, Wharton joined the other household officers in breaking their staves; unlike them, he was not reappointed to his position by the queen. Indeed Anne appears to have taken particular relish in snatching Wharton’s staff of office from him in full view of the court and presenting it to his successor.102 Early speculation had suggested that Abingdon or Colonel Granville (John Granville, soon to be promoted Baron Granville of Potheridge) would be handed the place. In the event the queen settled on Sir Edward Seymour.103

Wharton’s removal from office came as no surprise. As a member of the Junto he had been expected to be put out on the queen’s accession. His removal was also thoroughly anticipated on personal grounds as his riotous private life was viewed by the new sovereign with dislike verging on revulsion. Over the next few months he was, accordingly, stripped of most of his remaining positions. Abingdon succeeded to the lieutenancy of Oxfordshire and Newhaven to that of Buckinghamshire.104 Despite these reversals, Wharton continued to be active in Parliament. On 12 May 1702 he acted as one of the tellers in two divisions held that day concerning the Lords’ enquiries into the author of a scandalous book, Tom Double returned out of the country, and on 21 May he was again a teller for a division in a bill of relief for Jane Lavallin relating to forfeited estates in Ireland. The same month Wharton introduced the Appleby members to the queen with a copy of their town’s loyal address. In July it was predicted that, in spite of their travails, Wharton and his ‘party’ would carry the county seat in Buckinghamshire in the forthcoming election necessitated by the accession of Queen Anne.105 The assessment proved to be overly optimistic, though, and although Goodwin Wharton retained his seat, Dormer was pushed back into third place by Newhaven.

The Parliament of 1702-5

In advance of the meeting of the new 1702 Parliament, Wharton was again at a meeting convened by Montagu in Northamptonshire, which was also attended by Somers.106 Absent from the first fortnight of the new session, Wharton at last took his seat on 4 Nov. 1702 after which he was present on two-thirds of all sitting days. His return coincided with a trial in queen’s bench of disputed rights to lands in Yorkshire where Wharton and several others were eager to exploit valuable lead mines. Wharton, as the plaintiff, was unsuccessful in challenging the rights of several other landowners there.107

In mid-November Wharton moved that the House should address the queen concerning the recent success at the battle of Vigo Bay (23 Oct. 1702) and that an estimate of the value of the spoils from the encounter be prepared.108 At the beginning of December he redirected his attention to the occasional conformity bill, which arrived in the Lords from the Commons on 2 December.109 Two days later he acted as one of the tellers for the division held in committee of the whole over an amendment to the bill and on 9 Dec. he was again a teller for the division over whether to adjourn during the debate on tacking. On 19 Dec. he presented a petition concerning his dispute with Robert Squire over lead mines in Yorkshire. Early in 1703, Wharton was estimated by Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, to be an opponent of the occasional conformity bill. On 16 Jan. 1703 Wharton voted accordingly in favour of adhering to the Lords’ ameliorating amendment to the penalty clause. Correct form and precedent was something that Wharton was always eager to employ to his advantage. On 7 Jan. he was engaged in an altercation with Leeds, after the duke presented the House with Robert Squire’s petition answering his own presented on 19 December. Wharton’s complained that Leeds had not informed Wharton that he intended to present Squire’s counter-petition, which Wharton insisted was the usual practice. Wharton put in his answer to Squire’s petition a fortnight later and the case continued to occupy the Lords until mid-February. On 8 Feb. the lord mayor and aldermen of London requested to be heard in the affair, being interested as the owners of land adjoining that involved in the case. Wharton granted his assent on condition that they were not then made parties to the bill, which according to William Nicolson, bishop of Carlisle, was precisely what they had intended. On 12 Feb. the case was debated late into the night and when the question was at last put whether to reverse the chancery decree in Squire’s favour, the votes were equal at 19 apiece. The result was a failure to overturn the original decision and Wharton was taken aback to find both Halifax and Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, among those ranged against him.110 Wharton would have struggled to understand their stance: for him party cohesion was central to the purpose of the Junto Whigs and certainly trumped personal considerations.

The opening days of January 1703 saw Wharton involved with other contentious business. On 7 Jan. he had moved for a second reading of the bill for George, prince of Denmark and duke of Cumberland, while alerting his colleagues to the concern that part of the proposed measure might contain matter ‘touching upon the privileges and peerage of that House’. On 9 Jan. Wharton joined several other Whigs in taking the remaining Tories in the cabinet to task for the delay in presenting to Parliament a request from John Churchill, duke of Marlborough for his army to be reinforced with an additional 10,000 troops. Two days later, after animated debates in committee of the whole House considering the prince’s bill, Wharton moved that the House might be resumed, which was passed by 54 votes to 46. The House returned to the matter on 19 Jan. when Carlisle led the way by opposing the adoption of the clause permitting the prince to continue to hold office and to attend the House and Privy Council in the event of him surviving the queen. Carlisle dismissed this addition as a tack and Wharton and half a dozen other Whig peers spoke to the same theme.111 He then courted the queen’s further displeasure by subscribing the protest at the resolution not to endorse the committee’s recommendation that the contentious clause should be left out.

Wharton’s vigorous defence of the Protestant Succession was demonstrated at the beginning of February 1703 when the Lords took into consideration the bill sent up from the Commons for granting to those who had not yet taken the abjuration oath a further year to comply. Wharton moved that a clause should be added making it treason to attempt to alter the 1701 Act of Settlement or to challenge the claim of Electress Sophia or her son George Lewis (later King George I). On the advice of the judges his proposal was amended to extend only to the immediate heir to the crown.112

Wharton was absent from the final week of the session having been taken ill with ‘the spotted fever’.113 Early in March his life was despaired of but he had recovered sufficiently by the beginning of May to travel to his estates in Yorkshire to ‘strengthen the brethren’ there.114 Over the next few months his condition remained uncertain with his enemies taking a particular relish in the prospect of his imminent demise.115 He retreated to Bath in search of a cure, where he was set upon by Robert Dashwood (the younger), heir to Wharton’s Buckinghamshire rival, Sir Robert Dashwood, bt. In spite of being in no condition to fight a duel Wharton gained considerable currency by succeeding in fending off his assailant until the local guards intervened.116 The affair did nothing to improve his health, though, and by October he was again said to be dangerously ill. Predictions of his imminent demise proved, however, to be inaccurate.117

With his recovery still far from assured Wharton returned to town to prepare for the new session.118 Towards the end of November 1703 he had the satisfaction of securing a verdict in his favour in the dispute over the Yorkshire lands.119 He took his seat on the opening day (9 Nov.) and was present thereafter on approximately 70 per cent of all sitting days. In advance of the session he was noted by his Junto colleague, Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, as a likely opponent of the occasional conformity bill, which was again set to be presented to the House, and on 14 Dec. he divided once more with those opposed to the bill. Three days later he was present at a gathering of several Whig peers hosted by Sunderland. The following day he pleaded ill health in attempting to be excused from acting on the committee balloted to investigate the Scotch Plot but the House insisted that all those chosen should serve.120 Wharton was thus among those meeting at the house of Charles Seymour, 6th duke of Somerset, to consider the matter. He also attended further gatherings at Sunderland’s on 13 Feb. and 21 Mar. 1704.121 The same day (21 Mar.) he registered his dissent at the failure to give a second reading to a rider to the bill for raising new recruits for the army and three days later, registering Whig suspicions of a cover-up, he subscribed the protest at the failure to put the question on whether the information contained in Sir John Maclean’s examination, concerning the Scotch Plot, was imperfect.

Besides these matters, the opening months of 1704 were dominated for Wharton by a series of disputes between Lords and Commons concerning cases in which he was directly involved. The first was the Yorkshire lead mines dispute, in which the Commons took exception to the Lords’ orders of the previous autumn overturning those of the court of exchequer.122 The second was the case of the men of Aylesbury, which had first come before the House some three years before. Wharton’s efforts to exert his interest in the borough against that of the Tory Sir John Pakingtonhad been apparent since before his accession to the title. The dispute that came before Parliament had its origins in the 1698 election when some of those voting for Wharton’s candidate had been denied their votes by Pakington’s constables. When one of these, Matthew Ashby, was barred again in 1701 he brought a case against the returning officer at the county assizes. There followed a series of actions resulting from an original judgment awarding Ashby £5 in damages, Ashby’s legal costs throughout being defrayed by Wharton.123 On 14 Jan. 1704 the case reached the Lords when Wharton was successful in having a writ of error against the latest judgment from queen’s bench moved in the upper House in spite of the arguments of Thomas Trevor, then lord chief justice, later Baron Trevor, that the Commons alone had the right to determine the result of elections. The result was, as Wharton intended, a stand-off between the Tory-dominated Commons and Whig-majority Lords. The Commons resolved to censure those responsible for bringing the case to court and was successful in committing several of them to Newgate, while the Lords sought to protect the litigants.124

In March Wharton was pursuing a case against Sir Arthur Sheen for breach of privilege arising from a case in the Irish exchequer. He was also involved, once again, in actions concerning the settlement of his late wife’s estates. Proceedings relating to this were still in train well into the following parliamentary session. The lack of trust between Wharton and Abingdon by then was made apparent by the latter’s careful instructions to his agent to prevent Wharton from ‘falsifying or embezzling’ any of the documents relating to the settlement.125

Wharton was one of a number of peers to attend the thanksgiving at St Paul’s early in September for the victory at Blenheim.126 He returned to the House at the beginning of the new session on 24 Oct. 1704 after which he was present on just over three quarters of all sitting days. On 4 Nov. he was entrusted with the proxy of Ralph Eure, 7th Baron Eure, and on 12 Nov. he received Carlisle’s. The new session found the Whigs, Wharton in particular, in bullish mood, confident that they would soon be able to force the ministry to reward them with office. In Wharton’s own terms, they had lord treasurer Godolphin’s (Sidney Godolphin, Baron (later earl of) Godolphin) ‘head in a bag’ as they had made his political survival in the House dependent on Whig support, especially in Scottish matters.127 Wharton retained a close eye on his local rivalries. Prominent in opposing Abingdon’s motion concerning Sir George Rooke, He was later successful in securing the nomination for sheriff of Buckinghamshire again in preference to Abingdon’s candidate.128

The Aylesbury case continued to occupy Wharton’s attention. On 21 Nov. 1704 Bishop Nicolson noted in his diary that he had found Wharton at his town residence in Dover Street ‘crowded with members of the House of Commons’ as he attempted to court supporters for the struggle to come, though hopes that a breach between the two houses might be avoided seemed to be confirmed towards the end of the year.129 At the close of November Wharton joined Somers in opposing a motion proposed by Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, and backed by Nottingham, that the Scottish act of security should be read and then went on to propose that new legislation should be passed to prevent any ill consequences. On 11 Dec. he opened the subsequent debate on the same matter, underlining the ‘deplorable’ condition of England’s relations with Scotland and how the earlier attempts to secure a union had been stymied because they had been overseen by those inimical to the cause.130 In addition to pressing for regularization of the relationship between England and Scotland, Wharton was also once more prominent in opposing the renewed attempt to press forward the occasional conformity bill. On 15 Dec. 1704 he was one of those to speak out against the bill and when Charles Finch, 4th earl of Winchilsea, suggested that the Commons would insist on the bill’s passage Wharton called on him to explain his meaning.131 Wharton demonstrated his procedural expertise once again on 21 Dec. when he interrupted a motion made by Francis North, 2nd Baron Guilford, that the new galleries recently erected in the chamber should be pulled down, and insisted that a motion to adjourn should take precedence over Guilford’s new business. Wharton’s motion was carried by 9 votes (22 to 13).132 On 10 Feb. 1705, he demonstrated his support for the bill for excluding new officeholders from the Commons, acting as a teller on the division held on 10 Feb. 1705 which was carried by 44 to 30 votes.133

Soon after the close of the session, rumours circulated of widespread alterations in the ministry. Wharton was thought likely to succeed to the lieutenancy of Ireland, though Thomas Coningsby, Baron Coningsby [I] (later earl of Coningsby), was doubtful of such reports. Similar rumours were current early the following year.134 In April he was one of a number of gentlemen honoured by Cambridge with honorary doctorates and the same month he was noted in an analysis of the peerage, unsurprisingly enough, as a likely supporter of the Hanoverian succession.135 Such developments no doubt added to high expectations for the forthcoming elections. Even before the session had ended, Wharton had begun preparations in earnest and in the course of the elections of 1705 he was believed to have expended £12,000 in the various constituencies in which he was engaged.136 It was understood that he and Somerset had agreed to combine their interests at Cockermouth in support of James Stanhope, later Earl Stanhope, and Harry Mordaunt, who had forsaken his usual seat at Brackley, in opposition to Thomas Lamplugh. Wharton’s interest proved unequal to the task, though, and Mordaunt was driven into third place behind Lamplugh. In November he was able to take advantage of a by-election at Brackley and the combined support of the duchess of Marlborough and Scroop Egerton, 4th earl (later duke) of Bridgwater, to win back his former seat.137 Wharton experienced similar disappointment at Westmorland, where he failed to convince Robert Lowther to join with Sir Richard Sandford, bt. and in the resulting election Lowther chose to stand with Henry Grahme.138 Further south, Wharton proved equally eager to assert his interest in Buckinghamshire, though again with mixed results. At Devizes he joined with Sunderland in support of the ‘low churchmen’ apparently supporting the campaign of a London merchant, Josiah Diston, who busily out-bribed all his competitors. In spite of this, and in spite of joining with the sitting member, John Methuen, Diston was relegated to third place.139 Wharton’s mixed fortunes persisted into December and at the by-election at Buckingham triggered by the decision of Sir Richard Temple, bt. to represent the county, Browne Willis was able to defeat Wharton’s preferred candidate, James Tyrell, even though, as Willis asserted, Wharton ‘was hardly known ever to be so busy.’140

If Wharton’s ability to guarantee the election of his candidates appeared compromised, he was still a force to be reckoned with. In July it was reported that the anticipated dismissal of the lord keeper (Sir Nathan Wright) was the result of disagreements he had had with Wharton and other ‘Whiggish peers’ about the commission for the peace in Buckinghamshire and his refusal to follow their commands.141 However Wharton’s efforts to secure office for Sir John Hawles, whom he may have come across during the Fenwick trial, were not successful. Moreover reports that he was to be made constable of the Tower and appointed lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire in succession to Abingdon proved to be unreliable.142

The Parliament of 1705

Wharton took his seat at the opening of the new Parliament on 25 Oct. 1705 after which he was present on 58 per cent of all sitting days. On 6 Nov. he stole a march on the Tory Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, by introducing Richard Lowther, 2nd Viscount Lonsdale, whom he had been at pains to cultivate. Wharton’s success in luring Lonsdale away from his kinsman was all the more impressive when it was pointed out that the young man had dined with Weymouth only the night before and managed not to let slip his intention.143

Wharton’s sleight of hand more than hinted at the charged state of affairs in the early days of the session. On 19 Nov. 1705 he was a prominent participant in the debates on the regency bill. According to Bishop Burnet, he spoke ‘in a manner that charmed the whole House’ but his pointed allusions to Tory peers thought lukewarm on the Hanoverian succession were hard to miss. He remarked ironically how the queen’s speech had worked miracles ‘in bringing all men to be zealous for the Hanover Succession’ and then went on to propose various heads for the bill. As far as protecting the succession was concerned, he was uncompromising in his attitude: ‘The only way to do this thoroughly is to bring down the power of France – that great tyrant abroad, who would be a tyrant on us.’ To this end he argued for more rigorous penalties to be attached to correspondence with the court in exile.144

Three days later, following an unsuccessful bid by Nottingham to have an address to the queen approved seeking an inquiry into recent reversals in the campaign on the continent, Wharton moved an address to the queen seeking assurance that alliances with the kingdom’s present allies, especially the Dutch, would be maintained, and sought an undertaking that efforts would be made to inspire the allies to prosecute the war against France with vigour. After Wharton’s motion was accepted unanimously, Rochester attempted once again to press Nottingham’s point. Wharton ‘with more assurance than authority’ rounded on him, asserting that his motion was unparliamentary, and moved an adjournment, which was seconded by Halifax.145

Wharton’s oratorical duel with Rochester persisted into the beginning of December when the House was again the scene of a lively debate following Rochester’s assertion that the Church was in danger under the administration. Following a series of interventions, Wharton held forth in typically caustic fashion during the proceedings of 6 December. The only danger he suggested he was able to glean from reading James Drake’s pamphlet, the Memorial of the Church of England, was that neither Rochester nor John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham, were in the administration: both, as he was at pains to emphasize, former members of James II’s ecclesiastical commission. Two days later (8 Dec.) he moved that the House might be adjourned to enable the members to recover from several days of long debate. Nicolson thought the true reason was to release three of Wharton’s associates, who were lawyers involved in a case then before the Lords, so that they could participate in the Commons’ debate on the church in danger.146

In November 1705 one of his local opponents, Sir Thomas Cave, quipped in response to the news of the birth of a daughter to the Whartons that at least it was a girl rather than a boy, and therefore ‘one Whig the less’.147 In spite of the disappointing election results in his north-western zone of interest the previous year, Wharton continued to cultivate the area. Early in 1706 he undertook to assist James Lowther, temporarily out of the Commons, with opposition to the Lamplugh-inspired Parton bill, which aimed to develop the small town of Parton as a rival harbour to Whitehaven.148 At the beginning of February he sought Bishop Nicolson’s assistance in opposing the measure and on 19 Feb. (on his instructions) Nicolson presented the Lords with petitions from Cumberland and from the citizens of Carlisle objecting to the bill. Three days later, Wharton pressed for the petitions to be heard but after it had been moved by Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, ‘and others’ that the bill might be immediately thrown out, Wharton unexpectedly gave way to a proposal from Rochester that the customs commissioners should be heard in the matter. Nicolson surmised that Wharton was anxious not to rile the duke of Somerset and wished to let the bill drop quietly. Wharton was absent from the House from 24 to 28 February. In his absence, the customs commissioners were heard on 25 Feb. and the House, paying no attention to a motion by Nicolson (at Wharton’s behest) not to proceed with the matter until Wharton could resume his place, then agreed to tackle the bill in a committee of the whole the following day (26 February). With Wharton unable to make an impression on the proceedings and Somerset in the chair the bill was passed by a single vote.149

Wharton’s ambiguous stance over combatting the Parton bill may have been in part a result of his eagerness not to damage his already fragile political alliance with Somerset at Cockermouth. Certainly, his detached handling of the affair was in sharp contrast to his lively, focused and very personal participation in other aspects of the House’s business during the session. On 28 Jan. 1706 he was entrusted with the proxy of Willem van Nassau van Zuylestein, earl of Rochford. The following day when the House took into consideration the Commons’ proposed amendments to the regency bill, he opposed ‘smoothly’ the second proposal for the exclusion of certain officers from the Commons, observing that there were other parts of the first succession act still in need of amendment. Having made his point, he moved an adjournment. This was seconded by Sunderland, who underscored his concern at the speed with which they were being required to rush through the legislation, and passed nem. con. Wharton opened the renewed debate on the succession on 31 Jan. pressing that the transmission of the crown should be assured ‘without any clog.’ Once again, he was seconded by one of his Junto brethren, this time Somers.150

Wharton was again spoken of as one of those being considered for the lieutenancy of Ireland in the spring of 1706.151 While this remained out of his reach, that summer he was warmly recommended by Sunderland to be restored to the office of chief justice in eyre, over which he and the Berties had squabbled for some time.152 Wharton (and his wife) were also later credited with the appointment of Christian Temple as maid of honour to the queen.153 In addition to this, Wharton stirred himself to forward the progress of the Union negotiations, which he argued grandiloquently to one Scottish peer would result in ‘bringing the greatest advantages imaginable to both nations’ and to insuring the continuance of ‘the civil rights and liberties not only of this island but of all Europe.’154

Wharton attended two prorogation days on 21 May and 21 November. Prior to the opening of the new session he was active in promoting Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax [S], for Yorkshire in the by-election triggered by the death of Sir John Kaye, bt.155 Wharton took his seat once more at the beginning of the new session on 3 Dec. 1706. The same day his attention was drawn to problems facing the management of the herd of deer at Farnham, which were temporarily without a master while the see of Winchester remained vacant. Thomas Tenison, archbishop of Canterbury, dismissing the animals as ‘none of my flock’ referred the problem to Wharton in his capacity of chief justice.156 Just under three weeks after the opening, Wharton was at last compensated for his continuing lack of central employment by being created, on 23 Dec., an earl (one of eight peers to be promoted along with an additional three new creations). Contrary to some reports that circulated at the time he retained the style Wharton rather than adopting a new title as earl of Winchendon.157

Progress of the Union negotiations kept Wharton engaged throughout the early months of the session. On 14 Jan. 1707 he rallied to the support of the lord treasurer (Godolphin) following an attempt by the Tories to insist on papers relating to the negotiations to be laid before the House at once.158 On at least three occasions in late January and the first half of February he either attended or hosted gatherings of Whig peers, presumably with the intention of preparing for the coming days’ debates. On 29 Jan. he was one of those to take part in discussions over the content of the bill for securing the Church of England held at the London residence of William Wake, bishop of Lincoln (later archbishop of Canterbury).159 Two days later he reported back to Patrick Hume, earl of Marchmont [S], confident that the efforts to deflect the progress of Union on account of religious differences would be defeated. On 3 Feb. he insisted on the importance of as much care being taken of the Church of England as the Scots had taken of the Kirk during the debates about the act of security.160 On 15 Feb. he acted as one of the tellers for the division held in a committee of the whole whether to postpone the first article of the treaty (which was rejected by 71 votes to 21). For all his efforts to ensure the passage of the bill, Wharton seems to have regarded the Union cynically and to have been more than happy to denigrate the Scottish peers for permitting themselves to be so sidelined. According to one observer, Wharton admitted in the House that ‘he doubted much he could have been prevailed on to have parted with his birthright had he been a Scotch lord.’161

The end of the session found Wharton intent once more on making progress in his case about the lead mines in Yorkshire.162 His determination to be satisfied in it may have been all the more acute after it was apparent that he would once again be overlooked for central office.163 During the summer it was noted that he and his Junto colleagues were reluctant to lend their support to Marlborough and Godolphin’s attempt to coax Shrewsbury back into government to prevent him from consorting with Harley.164 In July Wharton suffered the indignity of being put aside by the corporation of Malmesbury as their high steward and replaced with a local gentleman of modest estate. The affront occurred under a month after Wharton had presented the Malmesbury address to the queen and Wharton was reported to have left the town in no doubt of his ill feelings about the affair: ‘as they had been an ungrateful, perfidious corporation to him, so he would endeavour to extirpate them as such, and would never more be seen within their villainous town.’165

Wharton returned to the House a week into the new session, the first Parliament of Great Britain, on 30 Oct. 1707 after which he was present on 68 per cent of all sitting days. On 13 Nov. he proposed that the House adjourn into committee of the whole the following Wednesday to consider the state of the nation with reference to trade and convoys. He was seconded by Somers and Halifax. He then opened the subsequent debate, which resulted in the appointment of a committee to hear the complaints of merchants protesting at the want of protection for their ships.166 In December Wharton proposed an address of thanks to the queen for her care in preparing forces for the campaign in Spain. He also seconded a motion made by Somers for an address insisting that peace was not possible until the House of Austria had recovered its Spanish possessions. Wharton’s uncompromising support for the war was made more than apparent by his dramatic ending to a speech of 27 Dec. in which he insisted that ‘we are at our last stake, Europe, and to prevent our posterity falling into slavery, and therefore we must carry on the war even whether we can or no.’167 The end of the year saw Wharton, once again, involved in the early jostling for position for the anticipated elections of the following year.168

Once again an active member of the House, Wharton acted as teller on two occasions during the session, first on 5 Feb. 1708 for the division over the Union completion bill and second on 3 Mar. over whether the House should proceed with consideration of the cause Alibon v. attorney general. As usual, though, he was most actively involved with efforts to destabilize his political foes. In February he was an enthusiastic investigator of the activities of Harley’s secretary, William Greg. He was then one of seven peers (most of them fairly blatant opponents of Harley) elected to examine Greg once sentence of death had been passed.169 He was also prominent in demanding an inquiry into the state of the navy, which attracted the support of his political opposite, Rochester.170 On 17 Feb. this unusual alliance was made apparent by Wharton, Somers and Rochester all joining to demand an address seeking answers about naval maladministration.171 By the middle of February, following the resignations of Harley and several of his associates, Wharton’s long wait for a return to office appeared on the brink of ending and it was reported that he was at last to succeed to the lieutenancy of Ireland.172

Following the close of the session, and before Wharton plunged into his usual feverish electoral activity, he joined three other peers in putting his signature to a petition from the inhabitants of the Middlesex towns of Acton and Ealing seeking permission to take down and bury a criminal who had been hanged in chains in their area but whose unpleasant stench was beginning to disturb the populace.173 In May he was noted in a list of members’ party affiliations, as might be expected, as a Whig. The same month the court of exchequer found in favour of his opponent, Marriot, in his court action over the Yorkshire lead mines. Wharton immediately riposted by appealing against much of the evidence that had been employed against him in the proceedings.174 He had was better success in several of the electoral contests of 1708 in which he interested himself. He was able to secure the return of both Buckinghamshire members. At Aylesbury, his long-standing agent, Simon Mayne, was re-elected along with the other sitting member, Sir John Wittewronge, bt., and in the county town another Wharton associate, Alexander Denton, was also returned. There was similar success at Appleby, where Wharton’s interest proved strong enough to ensure the return of Nicholas Lechmere. In spite of this, Wharton found himself hard-pressed in a number of other seats and his overall haul may have been lower than the previous election.175

Even if Wharton was less successful than he might have anticipated, Whig advances in the elections enabled the Junto to put increasing pressure on the administration to give way to their demands for office. In this, Wharton was a central participant. During the interval between the close of the old session and opening of the new one Wharton persisted with attempting to employ his interest, recommending among others William Lee to Sunderland for the reversion of the office of sealer of the great seal.176 He also continued to attempt to break the deadlock between the Junto and the duumvirs by insisting that he should join Somers in being brought into the cabinet. To this end, Godolphin visited him at Winchendon towards the end of August, though the queen remained reluctant to welcome men like Wharton back into the administration.177

By the end of the summer of 1708 the duumvirs’ inability to secure for the Junto what Wharton, Somers and their associates considered their due had left both camps regarding each other with unease. After weeks of difficult discussion the impasse appeared on the point of being resolved towards the end of October when the death of the queen’s consort altered the dynamic at court and the need to replace Prince George at the admiralty initiated a series of alterations. Wharton was early on mentioned as a likely recipient of the Irish lieutenancy. Somers too was expected to be offered a post, though Godolphin showed no inclination to trouble himself about their other allies.178 In return the Junto agreed not to force a contest for the Speakership in the Commons, having previously agitated for the return of Sir Peter King in preference to the court candidate, Sir Richard Onslow, later Baron Onslow.179

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1708-9

By early November the shape of the new administration was becoming clearer. Wharton himself was widely understood to have been offered the Irish lieutenancy with Somers returning to the ministry as lord president, and no opposition was expected, as a result, for Onslow as speaker.180 However, the decision by Somers and Wharton to accept office while their colleagues Orford and Halifax remained unprovided for was later credited for a serious split in the Junto’s ranks.181 Having campaigned for so long for all of his colleagues to be brought into the ministry and also having argued in the electoral contests in which he was involved that Whig candidates should make common cause, Wharton was well aware that his acceptance of office weakened the alliance fundamentally. His language in conversation with Arthur Maynwaring about the fractious negotiations between the Junto and the Duumvirs was too colourful to be reported back to the duchess of Marlborough. Even if some of Wharton’s conversation was unrepeatable, Maynwaring assured the duchess of his eagerness to rely on her support.182

Wharton took his place at the opening of the new Parliament on 16 Nov. 1708 (having previously attended the prorogation day of 8 July), and his appointment was confirmed a little over a fortnight later. By the time of his appointment he was seriously in debt. The day after he had kissed hands for the place some of his creditors took the opportunity of his promotion to dupe his servants into granting them entry to his London house, enabling them to rifle through the contents.183 Financial concerns may explain his tardiness in quitting England to take up his new posting, though this enabled him to attend on 63 per cent of all sitting days. 184 In January 1709 he was one of those to speak during the debate on the state of the nation precipitated by the abortive Jacobite invasion of the previous year.185 Later that month he was among the majority voting against permitting Scottish peers with British titles created after the Union from voting in the elections for Scottish representative peers. He acted as one of the tellers for the division. He was again prominent a few days later in insisting that proxy voices should be counted for the division relating to the Scottish peers’ elections.186 On 30 Mar. he seconded Halifax’s motion that a clause within the stamp bill should be thrown out as a tack, after Thomas Tufton, 6th earl of Thanet, had complained at the implications of the proposed measure that would have required him as hereditary sheriff of Westmorland to appoint an under-sheriff each year. Wharton’s interest in the matter presumably combined procedural and local considerations.187

The spring of 1709 was marked by rumours of further honours for Wharton, with him being one of those mentioned as a possible recipient of one of the vacant places as knight of the Garter.188 Shortly after the close of the session he at last set out for Ireland and by the beginning of May he was established at Dublin Castle.189 In preparation for his new role he commissioned 18 coats of arms, a new coach and other accoutrements for his equipage.190 Wharton arrived in Ireland intent on overcoming factional divisions in Ireland. His secretary Joseph Addison insisted that his master was ‘indefatigable’ in his efforts to mediate between the leading members of the Irish Parliament and reported optimistically that Wharton had succeeded in breaking all those that ‘had endeavoured to form against him, and removed all obstructions to public business.’ Wharton’s own appraisal in his first dispatch to Sunderland was not dissimilar. He trusted that the session would ‘be carried on as amicably and quietly as could be expected from a number of men that love one another as heartily as it is possible to imagine and that are pretty equally divided.’191 By the end of June his tone had altered somewhat, though he remained optimistic that matters were not as bleak as they might be.192 His optimism was not shared by Godolphin who complained to Marlborough that he did not see the session ending well and that Wharton appeared to have resolved rather to make ’his court in that country than to please his old friends in this.’ His behaviour, Godolphin considered, had alienated Somers and Sunderland and was contributing significantly to tensions within the Junto’s ranks.193

Wharton was not long in detecting that his absence from London was weakening his grip on his colleagues. He was also offended by having officials foisted on him without his agreement. A new muster-master was appointed through Marlborough’s influence, to Wharton’s annoyance, and when Colonel Pennyfeather presented himself as commissary-general and asked for his orders, Wharton refused to comply.194 As well as fearing that his position in Ireland was being deliberately undermined he was also concerned that Godolphin was being fed information from sources in Ireland intent on damaging his reputation back home. Early in July 1709 he sought Sunderland’s assistance in securing the queen’s leave for him to return to England to attend to his affairs. As the month progressed his reasons for dissatisfaction continued to mount. He doubted the wisdom of an amendment made in England to the Irish supply bill, which, he was convinced, would result in it being rejected. More particularly, he complained that recommendations had been made for the disposal of a post in the revenue commission without reference to him: he feared it would destroy what credit he had left and was aggrieved at the treatment he had received.195 The duchess of Marlborough thought Wharton’s annoyance about the revenue commission post merely the result of discontent that he would not be able to benefit financially from selling the place to the highest bidder.196

Wharton’s concerns about the reaction to the alterations made to the money bill proved prescient and at the end of July he could only hope that the imminent adjournment would ‘allow the ferment… to abate.’ While he undertook to spare no pains in trying to settle the matter he warned that if he should fail in that, ‘or indeed in anything else, it must not be wondered at.’197 Joseph Addison assessed that Wharton’s survival in post depended very much on his ability to manage the remainder of the session effectively. By the middle of August it seemed by no means certain that he would be able to do so and Wharton himself was writing openly of his ‘tottering administration’. Addison insisted to Sunderland the ‘pains’ Wharton had taken to rally his support in the Irish Commons, and in spite of the very public desertion of two office holders, Wharton was in the end able to secure a majority for the bill’s committal.198 Despite this, criticism of his management of his post continued to circulate with the duchess of Marlborough and her agent Maynwaring at the forefront of those tilting at his reputation. Maynwaring crowed that Wharton may well make ‘a very good miner in an army, to work underground at a siege, but he is by no means fit to be a general.’199

Wharton returned to England in mid-September.200 He took his seat in the new session on 15 Nov. 1709 and was thereafter present on 71 days (just over three quarters of the whole). By then talk was open of a breakdown in the relations between some members of the Junto, in particular between Wharton and Somers, and in early December it was discoursed that Wharton intended to see both Somers and Godolphin turned out and replaced by Lechmere and Halifax.201 Wharton’s stock at court, however, appears to have risen and it was rumoured once more that he was to be one of five new knights of the Garter.202

Sacheverell, 1709-10

The brouhaha that resulted from Henry Sacheverell’s inflammatory sermon of November 1709 offered the Junto an opportunity to close ranks and co-operate once more. Soon after printed copies of the sermon began circulating in December, the Whig-dominated administration and its law-officers (among them Wharton’s client, Lechmere) began considering ways to respond to the doctor’s harangue. As with the Fenwick trial, Wharton was at the heart of the decision to proceed against Sacheverell by impeachment rather than by common law.203 When approached by Marlborough for his views on what should be done with the cleric, Wharton was said to have responded in uncompromising vein, ‘do with him my lord? Quash him and damn him.’204

Wharton was present in the House on 15 Dec. when John Dolben brought the impeachment articles against Sacheverell up to the Lords. Wharton’s central role in overseeing the case for impeachment was demonstrated by his nomination to the committee investigating precedents for impeachments later that day and on 16 Dec. he chaired the committee and reported its initial findings. He reported from the same committee again on 22 Dec. and chaired a further session the following day. He returned to the House after the Christmas recess on 10 Jan. 1710. Two days later, the House ordered Sacheverell to be taken into custody. He appeared at the bar the same day when he had the articles of impeachment read out to him. On 14 Jan. Wharton chaired the committee considering Sacheverell’s request to be bailed and on 16 Jan. he reported the committee’s findings to the House, as a result of which bail was set at £6,000. On 24 Jan. Wharton attended a meeting convened by Sunderland and the following day was present in the House when Sacheverell’s answer was brought in.205

As well as preparing the Sacheverell impeachment, Wharton was one of two peers to speak out against the place bill in February, following which the measure was abandoned without a division.206 The focus of the session, though, was on Sacheverell, and throughout the proceedings Wharton was a key figure in managing the prosecution. On 1 Mar. he attempted to intercede on Dolben’s behalf during the heated debate back in the Lords following Dolben’s remark about ‘false brethren’ which Sacheverell’s defence had taken to be a calculated insult levelled at them. Wharton insisted that Dolben had made a mere slip and claimed that John Thompson, 2nd Baron Haversham, in objecting to Dolben had himself blundered in describing the prosecutors as managers against the impeachment. In the event Dolben was called upon to explain himself.207

Wharton was subjected to abuse by the mob during the night of rioting that followed the opening to the trial and his house was one of those targeted by the rioters. It was presumably in reference to this that he later declared that he would ‘willingly submit to anything, even a fillip upon the nose, so that the doctor might be found guilty.’ Even so he was more fortunate than Dolben who narrowly avoided being lynched.208 After the riots Wharton was engaged in an angry exchange with John Campbell, 2nd duke of Argyll [S] (earl of Greenwich), over a proposal backed by the Whigs that Judge Powell should be sent to the Tower for bailing a member of the Sacheverell mob. When Argyll defended the judge Wharton harangued Argyll with ‘very ill language’ for which Argyll demanded an apology.209

Wharton was again called on to distract attention from the managers following Sacheverell’s performance on 7 Mar. 1710. When none of the prosecutors seemed clear what to say in answer to the speech, Wharton stepped in to request an adjournment. Once the case had been presented and the focus returned to the Lords, Wharton was again a prominent contributor. On 16 Mar., during the debates over whether or not the Commons had made good the first article against the doctor, Wharton drew attention to the disparity between the ‘spirit of asperity’ apparent in the sermon and Sacheverell’s later mollifying speech before Parliament. The change in tone, Wharton insisted, demonstrated that Sacheverell’s defence was insincere. In response to Sacheverell’s arguments about the nature of non-resistance, Wharton countered, ‘all he has advanced about non-resistance and unlimited obedience is ridiculous and false… The doctrine of passive obedience, as pressed by the Doctor, is not reconcilable to the practice of churchmen.’ Over the following days, he continued to take a prominent role in the debates, speaking in support of the administration and justifying the Revolution. With regard to the latter he was uncompromising in his attitude, declaring starkly at one point ‘if the Revolution is not lawful, many in this House and vast numbers without are guilty of blood, murder, rapine and injustice.’210 Such statements, unsurprisingly, set him at odds with a number of Tory peers, in particular Rochester and Heneage Finch, Baron Guernsey (later earl of Aylesford). While they were intent on questioning the validity of the impeachment process, Wharton was equally eager to demonstrate that he too was anxious that the trial should be seen to be properly conducted.211 On 20 Mar. he found Sacheverell guilty and, following Sacheverell’s conviction, moved that the reasons offered by the lords who had voted against and subscribed a protest against the judgment ought to be expunged from the Journal.212

Wharton’s triumph was short-lived. At the beginning of April he experienced a reverse in a dispute with Colonel John Lovett over the Eddystone lighthouse bill, losing in a division in the Lords by 17 to 15. He was also unsuccessful in attempting to make a party issue over a dispute relating to the parish of Hammersmith. The presentation to the place was claimed jointly by Henry Compton, as bishop of London, and one Burton, ‘a scandalous clergyman’, whose case Wharton supported. The bishop’s right, already awarded to him by the court of exchequer, was upheld on appeal to the Lords.213

These relatively minor reverses were cast well and truly into the shade by the unexpected alteration to the ministry brought about by Shrewsbury’s return to office as lord chamberlain. Maynwaring reported Wharton as being ‘a good deal concerned at this turn’, which threatened to reopen the breaches so recently patched together by the Junto uniting to attack Sacheverell.214 It is perhaps indicative of quite how anxious Wharton and his allies were at this development that the same month Wharton was the driving force behind the expulsion of Somerset from the Kit Cat club on suspicion of caballing with Harley.215 While Shrewsbury’s recruitment into the ministry was undoubtedly unwelcome to the Junto, it did offer them a renewed object against which to unite. Unlike Somers, though, Wharton seems to have been willing to attempt to co-operate with his erstwhile friend. At the same time it was reported that he was to be promoted in the peerage once again to a marquessate. Rather than an indication of his security, it was possibly assumed to be intended as compensation in the event of him being removed from office, as it was speculated he might soon be in the middle of May.216

Wharton was back in Ireland by the late spring of 1710. From there he lambasted his colleague, Orford, for having ousted William Bodens from a place in the admiralty. For this and for his suspected negotiations with Harley, Orford, Wharton declared, ‘ought to hide his head in the cellar, when he considers the barbarity that he has been guilty of upon this occasion.’217 His sojourn in Ireland proved briefer than his previous stint and by the beginning of September he was expected back in England in preparation for the new elections.218 By the end of the first week of September it was reported that he was to be put out of his lieutenancy and replaced by James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormond.219

The Parliament of 1710

Wharton’s declining influence in the ministry did not in any way negate his eagerness to assert his interest where possible. He remained a crucial figure in holding together the Junto, which found itself under greater pressure than ever, and was credited with dissuading several of its associates from taking service with the new ministry.220 He also remained a force to be reckoned with in electoral politics. Shortly after the rumours of his likely displacement began to circulate he was preparing to set out for his northern estates to oversee the elections there.221 In late August it was put about that he intended to drop Lechmere at Appleby and replace him with his nephew, Albemarle Bertie. Bertie had represented Cockermouth on Wharton’s interest since 1708 but appears not to have been willing to stand there again and in the event chose not to stand for Parliament again until the following reign. Lechmere was successful in transferring to the now vacant seat at Cockermouth even though Wharton’s interest there was now thought to be ‘precarious’.222 On 9 Sept. Wharton met with Somers in London to concert measures with him.223 Towards the end of the month he joined with Somerset in recommending Lowther for Cumberland.224 The eagerness with which Wharton campaigned proved no match for the rising Harley interest, though, and in the contests for Buckinghamshire it was reported that none of his candidates had been successful.225 At Appleby, where he had long held sway, his nephew, Sir Charles Kemys, was pushed into third place.226

By the beginning of October 1710 news of Wharton’s removal from his Irish post was ‘expected every packet’. At the same time he was noted predictably enough by Harley as a likely opponent of his new administration. Wharton’s dismissal was finally announced to the council by the queen on 20 October. He was also put out as chief justice in eyre. No immediate announcement was made about his replacement in that post, but by the end of the year it had been directed back to Abingdon.227 Wharton left behind him an unflattering reputation among at least some of his Irish charges. According to Hugh Speke, writing from Dublin, ‘no lord lieutenant ever lived so sordidly mean and did such mean things, and indeed my lord’s very name is infamous here.’228

Wharton took his seat in the new Parliament on 25 Nov. 1710. He was thereafter present on 68 days in the session (60 per cent of the whole). He took a prominent role in rallying to the defence of the army commanders who had overseen the Spanish campaign and were now being examined by the new administration.229 In his efforts to do so he was marked out for particular attention by William Johnston, marquess of Annandale [S], who asked Wharton how he now liked the Union, since all of the Scottish peers had sided with the court in the proceedings about the army.230

On 9 Jan. 1711 Wharton acted as one of the tellers for a procedural division over whether to resume the House from committee of the whole considering the state of the war in Spain. Two days later he subscribed the protests against the rejection of the petitions of Henri de Massue de Ruvigny, earl of Galway [I], and Charles O’Hara, Baron Tyrawley [I], concerning their management of the campaign, and against the committee’s resolution that the defeat at Almanza had been brought about by the actions of the allied commanders, Galway, Tyrawley and James Stanhope. On 12 Jan. he protested again at the resolution to censure the ministers for approving offensive operations in Spain. On 3 Feb. he protested twice more. First at the resolution to agree with the committee that found that the army in Spain had not been sufficiently supplied; and second at the resolution that the ministers’ failures had amounted to a neglect of the service.

With the members of the previous administration so fiercely under attack, Wharton and his colleagues seem to have made a particular effort to co-ordinate their activities. In February, Wharton was again noted among those dining at various gatherings attended by other prominent Whig peers.231 On 5 Feb. he registered his proxy with Mohun, which was vacated by his return to the House 10 days later. It may have been during the following month that he was one of the members of the former administration said to be under threat of impeachment by the Commons.232 He registered his proxy with Mohun again on 2 Apr., vacated by his resumption of his seat a fortnight later. Between 12 and 17 May Wharton was named manager of a series of conferences considering the game bill. He was then absent from the House again between 18 May and 5 June, lodging his proxy on 21 May with Evelyn Pierrepont, marquess of Dorchester (and later duke of Kingston). On 31 May he was again named a manager of a further conference for the game bill.

Early in the summer Wharton was earmarked to be stripped of his lieutenancy of Westmorland.233 He was also, incongruously, one of those to stand bail for the Middleton brothers, who had been captured in the Salisbury in the abortive invasion of 1708 and since imprisoned in the Tower.234 On 6 June he was entrusted with the proxy of Dorchester. He himself attended, however, just one further day in the session. In July he was set to join the majority of prominent Whig peers gathering at the races at Quainton, presumably a further opportunity to concert measures for the coming session.235 In preparation for future elections, he was said to have joined with two other Yorkshire Whigs in buying up burgages in boroughs in the county.236

Wharton attended the two prorogation days of 13 and 27 Nov. 1711 before taking his seat in the new session on 7 December. He then acted as one of the tellers in the division whether to amend the reply to the address. In advance of the session Wharton’s name had been included by Nottingham in a list of peers possibly expected to collaborate in opposition to the ministry’s policy of ending the war and the day after the opening, Wharton was again included on a list of those believed to be in opposition to the ministry. The prospect of unsettling the ministry over the peace negotiations seems to have reinvigorated Wharton. Leaving the chamber after Harley’s, now earl of Oxford, botched attempt to reverse the previous day’s resolution on no peace without Spain, he was seen to clap his hand on Oxford’s back and declare ‘by God, my Lord, if you can bear this you are the strongest man in England.’ There was further evidence of his concerting tactics with his allies in his presence among a number of other Whig notables at a dinner held at the Queen’s Arms.237

A week into the session (15 Dec.) the new unholy alliance between Nottingham and the Whigs was made apparent with the re-introduction of the occasional conformity bill, which was to be presented by Nottingham and seconded by Wharton. The prospect caused some mirth and Wharton was unable to restrain himself from making a quip about his nomination of Nottingham and Charles Fitzroy, 2nd duke of Cleveland, to the committee for the address, pointing out that they were well matched both being changelings.238 Wharton proved equally robust in his opposition to the admission of James Hamilton, 4th duke of Hamilton [S], as duke of Brandon. On 19 Dec. he was forecast as likely to object to Hamilton’s admission and after Oxford had argued for the judges’ opinions to be heard on the matter, which he insisted was a matter of law, Wharton and Sunderland opposed the motion, arguing that it was a question of privilege.239 The following day Wharton divided as expected with those opposed to permitting Hamilton to sit by virtue of his British dukedom.

At the opening of 1712 Oxford bolstered the ministry’s ranks in the Lords with 12 new peers in order to ensure the passage of the peace proposals. Following their first appearance on 2 Jan. Wharton asked disparagingly of them whether they were to vote singly or by foreman.240 With the ministry proof for the while against defeat in the Lords, there were renewed rumours of proceedings against members of the former administration. Wharton again was one of those thought likely to be impeached.241 In spite of this, he continued to be an important point of contact for the opposition. On 12 Jan. he received Carlisle’s proxy, on 16 Feb. he was entrusted with that of Richard Newport, 2nd earl of Bradford, on 6 Mar. with that of John Vaughan, 3rd earl of Carbery [I] (2nd Baron Vaughan), and on 11 Mar. with that of Dorchester. Wharton registered his own proxy with Carlisle on 2 Apr., which was vacated by his resumption of his seat eight days later. On 12 Apr. he was entrusted with Bradford’s proxy and again on 5 June. On 26 Apr. he lodged his own proxy with Carlisle once more. At the end of May, unsurprisingly, he voted in favour of the motion to overturn the orders preventing Ormond from launching an offensive campaign against the French.242 He then subscribed the resulting protest when the motion was rejected.243 On 2 June he chaired the committee of the whole considering the Quakers’ bill and on 6 June he moved a vote of thanks to the queen for that part of her address which related to the security of the Protestant succession. He also moved that the peace proposals be taken into consideration the following day and proposed an amendment to the address, but that was rejected as being too limiting on the queen’s prerogative.244 On 7 June he acted as one of the tellers (the other being his familiar rival, Abingdon) for the division over whether to amend the address in reply to the queen’s speech on the peace. He then entered his protest when the motion to amend the address was rejected. Wharton quit the session after 11 June, registering his proxy the following day with Dorchester.

Wharton attended six of the prorogation days between 8 July 1712 and 17 Mar. 1713. He may have spent some of the intervening time in preparation for elections, though his focus during the summer seems to have been on racing. This would appear to have been behind a comment from Sir Thomas Cave in September referring to Wharton’s ‘luck’ at Aylesbury and hoping that the Whigs ‘may never succeed better.’ The following month Cave referred again to ‘King Tom’ and the Whigs’ ability to keep the best horses, because they were so much better funded than their competitors.245

Wharton returned to his seat at the opening of the new session on 9 Apr. 1713 and was thereafter present on just under 70 per cent of all sitting days. On 15 Apr. he was observed as part of a ‘great crew’ of lords meeting at Somers’s residence in Leicester Fields.246 Early in the session a report from the commissioners of accounts appeared to open up the prospect of a renewed investigation into Wharton’s management of Ireland and influence over the former administration but within days it was reported that little was likely to be made of the affair and Wharton himself proved to be in defiant mood. When the matter was brought before the Lords, Wharton denied the accusation that he had accepted £1,000 for recommending to Godolphin a candidate for a place in the customs. According to one commentator, far from being culpable, Wharton’s behaviour was ‘one of the best actions his lordship ever did’, as he had not kept the money but handed over £200 to one sister in need and the remaining £800 to her daughter.247

Wharton was able to shrug off the attempt against him in the Lords and the following month he proved similarly immune to another effort in the Commons. Although he was censured, no further action was taken against him as he was protected by the 1708 Indemnity Act.248 That summer, he became embroiled in the attempt of a number of disgruntled Scottish members to reject the ministry’s intended extension of the malt bill into Scotland and to bring in an act for dissolving the Union. Wharton’s apparently cynical willingness to undo the Union, something for which he had worked so closely, for the purpose of harming the ministry attracted general opprobrium.249 His subsequent decision to abandon the Scots compounded the harm to his reputation. In June he was missing from the House when their efforts to delay the second reading of the malt bill were defeated.250 Whether or not Wharton was truly willing to see the Union unravelled, his commitment to the safety of the Protestant succession remained as certain as ever and at the end of June he moved an address to be drawn up requesting the queen use her interest with the duke of Lorraine to have the Pretender removed from his territory. The motion was admitted with only one dissenting voice.251

The close of the session found Wharton once more active in consolidating his interest for the expected elections. He took a party to Woodstock to have them made freemen of the borough so that they would be able to participate in the poll, presumably on behalf of Marlborough’s candidates, who were eventually returned though only after a disputed election. He had poorer success nearer to his own estates. He was unable to secure either of the Buckinghamshire seats for his candidates and there was disharmony at Cockermouth, where he was unable to work effectively with Somerset. The result was a Tory challenger topping the poll there, though Wharton’s associate, Lechmere, was able to secure the second seat.252 Further tensions within the ranks of the Junto were apparent when Wharton refused to offer his usual backing at Chipping Wycombe to Charles Godfrey, an uncle of Lady Sunderland. Godfrey had courted Wharton’s displeasure by voting in favour of the French commerce bill. The result was his effective de-selection and replacement by Wittewronge.253

The Parliament of 1713 and the Hanoverian Succession

Wharton took his seat in the new Parliament on 16 Feb. 1714, after which he was present on approximately 84 per cent of all sitting days. On 28 Feb. he was entrusted with the proxy of James Berkeley, 3rd earl of Berkeley. In March he led the assault on Swift’s pamphlet, the Public Spirit of the Whigs, but was wrong-footed by Oxford’s careful manipulation of the situation that prevented Swift from being identified.254 Later that month he attempted to unsettle the ministry once more by requesting that an address be made to the queen for all pardons granted in the last three years to be laid before the House. Again, Oxford sidestepped him by moving that the address should seek sight of all pardons granted during the reign.255 At the beginning of April Wharton opened the debate on the queen’s speech and the state of the nation, arguing that the Hanoverian succession was in danger under the present administration. Once more, Oxford’s ministry was able to fend off the attack, though at least one commentator reckoned the injuries done to the administration were mortal.256

Wharton was entrusted with Bradford’s proxy on 6 and again on 10 April. On 13 Apr. he registered his own proxy with Dorchester, which was vacated by his resumption of his seat the following day. On 24 Apr. Dorchester lodged his own proxy with Wharton and on 24 May Wharton was also entrusted with that of Charles Willoughby, 13th (CP 14th) Baron Willoughby of Parham. Three days later, he was forecast by Nottingham as a likely opponent of the schism bill. Wharton regarded the bill with unease. ‘It is melancholy and surprising’ he lamented ‘that at this very time a bill should be brought in, which cannot but tend to divide Protestants and consequently to weaken their interests and hasten their ruin’, He then qualified his appraisal. Melancholy it may have been but not so surprising given the ‘mad men’ who were ‘the contrivers and promoters’ of the measure.257 Underscoring his opposition to the measure and his reputation as a friend of the nonconformists, he submitted a petition seeking permission for a deputation of Dissenters to be heard to voice their concerns about the bill. The petition was rejected by a majority of six.258 On 15 June he registered his protest at the resolution to pass the bill. Five days before this he had been entrusted with Sunderland’s proxy and on 21 June he also received that of Carlisle.

By this time, with Somers incapacitated, Wharton was acknowledged by many as the effective head of the Whigs in the Lords.259 It was thanks to evidence he laid before the House about the activities of Jacobite recruiting agents that Oxford was forced to give way to a proclamation promising a reward to anyone seizing the Pretender should he be captured in Britain.260 A scheme to encourage the electoral prince (Prince George Augustus, duke of Cambridge, later George II) to travel to England incognito and ‘surprise’ the queen was said, though, to have been a contrivance of both Wharton and Somers.261 Any such plan was laid aside on the news of the Electress Sophia’s death in June.

Wharton’s efforts against the ministry persisted into the following month when he took exception to the queen’s address relating to the Asiento. On 6 July he opened the debate on the Spanish commercial treaty referring explicitly to the belief that Arthur Moore had been offered a substantial bribe for assisting the passage of the measure: ‘he did not doubt one of these gentlemen could make it appear that the treaty of commerce with Spain was very advantageous.’ Two days later he subscribed the protest at the resolution not to address the queen advising her that the benefits of the contract had been lessened by certain individuals’ efforts to obtain personal advantages. The following day he was again one of those to speak out against the queen’s answer but efforts to have Moore censured were frustrated by the prorogation.262

Wharton’s struggle against the administration was brought to a premature conclusion by the queen’s final illness and death at the beginning of August 1714. Wharton was initially disappointed of an immediate upturn in his fortunes when it was revealed that his name was not among the regents.263 He was nevertheless an early beneficiary of the Hanoverian succession. In September he returned to the administration as lord privy seal and in February of the following year was promoted in the peerage once again to a marquessate (he was also made a marquess in the peerage of Ireland).264

In the elections for the first Parliament of the new reign Wharton exerted his interest in Buckinghamshire as usual. It was rumoured that he had made £1,000 available to ease Richard Hampden’s return, though he was forced to participate in a ‘shameful compromise’ whereby the second seat was conceded to the Tory John Fleetwood.265 He had greater success at Chipping Wycombe and at Malmesbury. In these boroughs both of his preferred candidates were returned.266 His reputation preceded him even among the youngest members of the new court. When he attempted to compliment the seven-year-old Princess Anne, she teased him that she had heard of him in Hanover and that he was ‘a great courtier and flatterer of the ladies.’267

By the time the new Parliament met the following spring, Wharton’s health was failing. His sudden decline was in part attributed by his friends to a bitter dispute with his heir, Philip Wharton, styled Viscount Winchendon (later duke of Wharton), who had rebelled against his father and contracted a Fleet marriage.268 This seems to have been the ‘misfortune’ referred to in letters written in mid and late March.269 Wharton was able to attend just five days of the first Parliament of the new reign in March 1715 and sat for the final time on 1 April. On 22 Mar. he was one of those to speak in favour of employing the word ‘retrieve’ in the address to the king, which aspired to ‘retrieve the lost honour’ of the nation. By 11 Apr., though, he was said to be ‘very ill of a fever and St Anthony’s fire’.270 By then he was thought beyond help. He died the following day. Anne, countess of Sunderland, who had by no means always appreciated his interventions, bemoaned that he ‘could never be spared less.’271

Wharton left an estate valued at over £65,000.272 He left portions of respectively £8,000 and £6,000 to his daughters Jane and Lucy. Management of his estates was left in the hands of trustees – Kingston (as Dorchester had become), Carlisle and Nicholas Lechmere – during the minority of his heir.273 Supervision of Wharton’s will was later disputed by his heir and daughters. The manor of Ashe in Yorkshire was sold to settle Wharton’s debts.274

Throughout his career, Wharton sought to make both houses of Parliament venues for settling scores both political and private. His insistence on using the Aylesbury case to hold a Tory-dominated Commons to ransom at the hands of a Whig-majority Lords owed much to his early experiences under Shaftesbury. The ruthlessness with which Wharton (in close association with Somers) pursued Fenwick and Sacheverell by means of impeachment, and even attainder, when a case in the courts would never have succeeded pointed to a steely quality that belied Wharton’s usual bonhomie. His pitiless pursuit of his quarry underscored his absolute commitment to the cause of his party. His dismay at Shrewsbury’s betrayal was quite genuine as was his suspicion of those of his colleagues who demonstrated less fixed political principles, such as Halifax, Orford and even Somers. Only Sunderland, perhaps, shared Wharton’s unwavering belief in the necessity for the Whigs to hold together at all times irrespective of the cause for the greater good. In return, the more extreme Whigs looked to Wharton as their guide and their ‘tutelary God’.275

If Wharton’s commitment to his party was unswayable, he was far more willing to compromise on other matters. Swift derided him as ‘a Presbyterian in politics and an atheist in religion’ while continuing to note that despite these ‘he chooses at present to whore with a papist’.276 Another contemporary conceded that it was to no purpose ever to accuse Wharton of perjury ‘when he invokes God and Christ, because he has often fairly given public notice to the world, that he believes in neither.’277 Wharton was doubtless conscious of the bizarre figure he struck as defender of the Church of England at the time of the Union and as a supporter of occasional conformity as the price of securing Nottingham’s assistance in 1711. For Wharton religion was a matter to be traded in favour of something he considered more important: the success of the Revolution settlement and the perpetual exclusion of the Catholic Stuarts. In these aims he was undeviating and it was as a reward for such constancy that he was promoted in the peerage and restored to office at the Hanoverian accession.

Wharton’s political legacy was short-lived. As an inherent believer in the importance of the Whigs holding together he would have been dismayed by the rapid descent into factionalism among the various Whig groupings following George I’s accession. The steady decline of the House of Lords as a venue where significant political events were settled would also have dismayed him. Nevertheless, his reputation as an orator and as a party manager endured and his demise was quickly marked by a series of works extolling his achievements or decrying his influence. As someone who had so willingly courted controversy, he may not have been displeased by the partisan epitaphs from both sides of the political divide.


  • 1 Bodl. Rawl. 49, no. 15.
  • 2 J. Stoye, English travellers abroad 1604-67 (1989), 304.
  • 3 R. Steele, Memoirs of the Life of the Most Noble Thomas late marquess of Wharton with his speeches in Parliament, both in England and Ireland, (1715), 13.
  • 4 Verney ms mic. M636/40, Sir R. Verney to J. Verney, 8 Nov. 1685.
  • 5 Verney ms mic. M636/45, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 18 May, 11 June 1692; TNA, C 104/20, pt. 1.
  • 6 Add. 72502, f. 44; Add. 4224, f. 78.
  • 7 TNA, PROB 11/548.
  • 8 Bodl. Carte 79, f. 743.
  • 9 Add. 28041, f. 16.
  • 10 Add. 17677 II, ff. 77-8; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 97.
  • 11 CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 510-11.
  • 12 CSP Dom. 1705-6, p. 110.
  • 13 CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 5; Add. 5763, f. 6; Flying Post or the Post Master, 14-16 Apr. 1702.
  • 14 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 126.
  • 15 Add. 72500, ff. 30-1.
  • 16 Post Boy, 20-23 Nov. 1708, 21-23 Sept. 1710.
  • 17 London Gazette, 21-25 Sept. 1714.
  • 18 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 47.
  • 19 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 149.
  • 20 Carte 79, f. 747.
  • 21 CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 389.
  • 22 Add. 70289, f. 38.
  • 23 Post Boy, 29 Apr.-2 May 1710.
  • 24 Add. 61653, ff. 51-3.
  • 25 Add. 40774, f. 153.
  • 26 Post Man and the Historical Account, 31 May-2 June 1705; Add. 22267, ff. 164-71, Add. 64928, f. 33.
  • 27 This biography draws heavily on C.A. Robbins, The earl of Wharton and Whig party politics (1991).
  • 28 Verney ms mic. M636/45, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 14 Apr. 1691.
  • 29 Robbins, Wharton, 252; POAS, vii. 487-9.
  • 30 C.J. Barrett, History of Barn Elms and the Kit-Cat Club, 35; H. Walpole, Royal and Noble Authors, iv. 11; Robbins, Wharton, 180, 276-7.
  • 31 Robbins, Wharton, 19; Nicolson, London Diaries, 96, 104.
  • 32 J. Carswell, The Old Cause: Three Biographical Studies in Whiggism, 74; Pols in Age of Anne, 240; Eighteenth-Century Ireland, xviii. 25.
  • 33 Stoye, English Travellers, 305-6.
  • 34 Verney ms mic. M636/26, Dr W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 22 Sept. 1673, M636/26, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 22 Sept. 1673, M636/31, Lord Norreys to Sir R. Verney, 17 Jan. 1678, M636/32, J. Cary to Sir R.Verney, 28 Apr. 1679.
  • 35 Carte 79, ff. 168-9, 175-6, 179, 185; Verney ms mic. M636/32, Sir R. Verney to E. Verney, 29 Jan. 1679.
  • 36 Verney ms mic. M636/33, W. Grosvenor to J. Verney, 20 Aug. 1679; M636/32, Sir R. Verney to J. Cary, 13 Feb. 1680, M636/34, J. Cary to Sir R. Verney, 20 Mar. 1680, M636/34, Sir R. Verney to J. Cary, 4 May 1680.
  • 37 Verney ms mic. M636/36, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 22 June 1682; Bodl. Tanner 35, ff. 73, 111.
  • 38 Carte 81, f. 727; CSP Dom. 1683-4, p. 282.
  • 39 Add. 70084, J. Fisher to Sir E. Harley, 15 Jan. 1684.
  • 40 Carswell, Old Cause, 61.
  • 41 Verney ms mic. M636/39, Sir R. Verney to W. Coleman, 2 Mar. 1685, Verney ms mic. M636/39, Sir R. Verney to J. Verney, 12 Apr. 1685.
  • 42 Childs, The Army, James II and the Glorious Revolution, 149; Robbins, Wharton, 33-4.
  • 43 HMC Rutland, ii. 105-6.
  • 44 Verney ms mic. M636/41, E. Verney to J. Verney, 4 Oct. 1686, M636/41, E. Verney to J. Verney, 11 Oct. 1686.
  • 45 Robbins, Wharton, 44-5; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 42, f. 177.
  • 46 Childs, Army, James II and the Glorious Revolution, 149-50; HMC Le Fleming, 219; Steele, Memoirs of the Life of … Wharton, 21-2, 32; E.L. Ellis, ‘The Whig Junto, in relation to the development of party politics and party organization’ (Oxford D.Phil. thesis 1961), i. 105-6.
  • 47 Robbins, Wharton, 60.
  • 48 Add. 5763, f. 6.
  • 49 Ellis, ‘Whig Junto’, i. 179.
  • 50 Verney ms mic. M636/43, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 17 Feb. 1689, M636/43, J. Verney to E. Verney, 31 July 1689; Add. 70014, ff. 322, 369.
  • 51 Add. 4107, ff. 78-91.
  • 52 Add. 75368, Weymouth to Halifax, 27 Apr. 1695.
  • 53 Verney ms mic. M636/48, Sir R. Verney to J. Verney, 11 Aug. 1695.
  • 54 Add. 72486, ff. 18-19; Verney ms mic. M636/49, C. Stewkeley to Sir R. Verney, 2 Feb. 1696.
  • 55 HMC Hastings, ii. 253-4.
  • 56 Sir R. Steele, Memoirs of the life of the most noble Thomas late marquess of Wharton with his speeches in Parliament, both in England and in Ireland, (1715), 8.
  • 57 Add. 36913, ff. 211, 215.
  • 58 Verney ms mic. M636/49, C. Stewkeley to Sir R. Verney, 2, 9 Feb. 1696.
  • 59 HEHL. HM 30659 (69).
  • 60 Bodl. Ballard 11, f. 137.
  • 61 UNL, PwA 1255.
  • 62 Carte 233, f. 34; W.L. Sachse, Lord Somers, (1975), 121.
  • 63 HMC Buccleuch, ii. 418; Carte 233, f. 27.
  • 64 Shrewsbury Corresp. 429, 430-1; Carte 233, f. 39.
  • 65 Verney ms mic. M636/49, A. Nicholas to Sir J. Verney, 29, 30 Nov. 1696, M636/49, Sir J. Verney to W. Coleman, 3 Dec. 1696, M636/49, Cary Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 30 Dec. 1696; Glos. Archives, Lloyd Baker mss, D3549/2/2/1, no. 207; HP Commons 1660-1690, ii. 470.
  • 66 WSHC, 2667/25/7; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 133; Staffs. RO, Persehowse pprs. D260/M/F/1/6, ff. 96-98.
  • 67 Add. 29575, f. 38; Shrewsbury Corresp. 477-8.
  • 68 Verney ms mic. M636/50, E. Lille to Sir J. Verney, 23 May 1697.
  • 69 CSP Dom. 1697, p. 126.
  • 70 HMC Le Fleming, 349; Tanner 23, f. 50.
  • 71 Add. 72486, ff. 202-3; Shrewsbury Corresp. 502-3.
  • 72 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, I (46), no. 162.
  • 73 Shrewsbury Corresp. 510-11, 521-2.
  • 74 LJ xvi. 226-7, 229.
  • 75 Add. 61653, ff. 20, 48; Add. 75368, Nottingham to Halifax, 15 Apr. 1698; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 163, box 1, Biscoe to Maunsell, 5 Mar. 1698; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 44, ff. 57-58; Verney ms mic. M636/50, Sir J. Verney to W. Coleman, 12 Mar. 1698.
  • 76 Shrewsbury Corresp. 535-6; Add. 61653, ff. 70-1.
  • 77 Carte 233, f. 54.
  • 78 Carswell, The Old Cause, 78; Shrewsbury Corresp. 547.
  • 79 Verney ms mic. M636/50, Sir J. Verney to earl of Lichfield, 21 July 1698; CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 376-7.
  • 80 Carte 79, f. 755; W. Suss. RO, Petworth House Arch. 15, Wharton to Somerset, 22 July 1698; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 123.
  • 81 Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, II (47), no. 159.
  • 82 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 459.
  • 83 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 469.
  • 84 Carte 228, f. 302.
  • 85 Add. 75376, ff. 90-1; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 315; HMC Portland, iii. 605; Robbins, Wharton and Whig party politics, 156-7.
  • 86 HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 25; Verney ms mic. M636/51, A. Nicholas to Sir J. Verney, 20 July 1699, M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 25 July 1699; CSP Dom. 1702-3, p. 389.
  • 87 PwA 1498; Add. 29549, f. 91; Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 5 Sept. 1699.
  • 88 Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 27 Sept., 24 Oct. 1699.
  • 89 Carte 233, ff. 87, 89, 91.
  • 90 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 583.
  • 91 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 390-1.
  • 92 Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 12 Mar. 1700.
  • 93 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 4-5, 9-10, 16-17.
  • 94 Ballard 10, f. 40.
  • 95 Add. 72517, ff. 57-8.
  • 96 Ballard 6, f. 19; Bagot mss, Levens Hall, Weymouth to J. Grahme, 3 Jan. 1701; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 121.
  • 97 Verney ms mic. M636/51, Sir J. Verney to Lord Cheyne, 10 Nov. 1700.
  • 98 Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 3 Apr. 1701; Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 13 Jan. 1702.
  • 99 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. ii. 807; Add 61460, ff. 198, 214-17.
  • 100 Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 18, 25 Oct. 1701; M636/51, Wharton to Sir J. Verney, 22 Nov. 1701, M636/51, Sir J. Verney to Wharton, 25 Nov. 1701.
  • 101 HMC Lords, n.s. iv. 416.
  • 102 Robbins, Wharton and Whig party politics, 154.
  • 103 Verney ms mic. M636/51, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 19 Mar. 1702; Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 14 Apr. 1702.
  • 104 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 178, 182.
  • 105 London Gazette, 11-14 May 1702; Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 2, 4 June 1702; Verney ms mic. M636/52, C. Gardiner to Sir J. Verney, 16, 21 July 1702.
  • 106 Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 1 Oct. 1702.
  • 107 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 235.
  • 108 Add. 70073-4, newsletter, 14 Nov. 1702.
  • 109 Nicolson, London Diaries, 119.
  • 110 Nicolson, London Diaries, 148, 160, 199-204.
  • 111 Nicolson, London Diaries, 124, 163, 166, 177.
  • 112 Nicolson, London Diaries, 196-7.
  • 113 Add. 70075, newsletter, 25 Feb., 6 Mar. 1703.
  • 114 Verney ms mic. M636/52, 9 Mar. 1703; Bagot mss, Levens Hall, 1 May 1703.
  • 115 Pols in Age of Anne, 236.
  • 116 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 334.
  • 117 Add. 70075, newsletters, 29 July, 3 Aug., 9 Oct. 1703; Add. 61288, f. 139; Add. 61655, ff. 33-4.
  • 118 Add. 70075, newsletter, 19 Oct. 1703.
  • 119 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 363.
  • 120 HMC Lords, n.s. v. 300-1; Add. 70075, newsletter, 21 Dec. 1703.
  • 121 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 163, box 1, Biscoe to Maunsell, 26 Feb. 1704; C104/116, pt. 1.
  • 122 Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 384, 407.
  • 123 Party and Management in Parliament 1660-1784, ed. C. Jones, 87-90.
  • 124 Add. 61120, f. 62; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 45, f. 23.
  • 125 LJ xvii. 549; C104/64, Wharton to F. H. Carey, 28 Mar., 23 Sept., 15 Oct. 1704, C104/64, Abingdon to F. H. Carey, 18 Jan. 1705.
  • 126 HMC Downshire, i. 835.
  • 127 Pols in Age of Anne, 110.
  • 128 Add. 72498, ff. 112-13. KSRL, Methuen-Simpson corresp. ms c163.
  • 129 Add. 61121, f. 49, Add. 61123, f. 114.
  • 130 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 276, 278-9; Baillie Corresp. 17; Nicolson, London Diaries, 238, 246, 249.
  • 131 Nicolson, London Diaries, 253-4.
  • 132 Nicolson, London Diaries, 257.
  • 133 Add. 70022, ff. 34-5.
  • 134 Verney ms mic. M636/52, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 25 Mar. 1705; HMC Ormond n.s. viii. 148, 210.
  • 135 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 1, box 3, folder 162, newsletter to Poley, 20 Apr. 1705.
  • 136 Robbins, Wharton, 195.
  • 137 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/2/8; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 125; Add. 61443, ff. 5-6.
  • 138 HMC Lonsdale, 117; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 640-1.
  • 139 HMC Portland, iv. 175.
  • 140 Verney ms mic. M636/52, B. Willis to Lord Fermanagh, 26 May 1705, M636/53, Willis to Fermanagh, 1 Dec. 1705; HP Commons 1690-1715, ii. 37.
  • 141 Verney ms mic. M636/53, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 10 July 1705.
  • 142 Add. 72509, f. 104; Add. 70075, newsletter, 11 Oct. 1705; Add. 72490, f. 58.
  • 143 Nicolson, London Diaries, 298-9.
  • 144 Burnet, v. 234; HMC Lords, vi. 322; Leics. RO, DG7 box 4959 P.P. 124 (i); Nicolson, London Diaries, 305-6.
  • 145 Nicolson, London Diaries, 308.
  • 146 Nicolson, London Diaries, 325-6.
  • 147 Verney ms mic. M636/53, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 24 Nov. 1705.
  • 148 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/1/39, J. Lowther to W. Gilpin, 5 Jan. 1706.
  • 149 Nicolson, London Diaries, 369, 380, 383, 385; Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/3/8, Sir T. Littleton to Sir J. Lowther, 2 Mar. 1706.
  • 150 Nicolson, London Diaries, 366, 368.
  • 151 KSRL, Methuen-Simpson corresp. ms c163.
  • 152 Add. 61443, ff. 9-11; Verney ms mic. M636/53, Lord Fermanagh to M. Cave, 15 Aug. 1706.
  • 153 Add. 61450, ff. 201-2.
  • 154 HMC Marchmont, 157-8.
  • 155 UNL, Pw2, 192, 194, 232.
  • 156 LPL, ms 941, f. 13.
  • 157 Verney ms mic. M636/53, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 3 Dec. 1706; Staffs. RO, Paget pprs. D603/k/3/6; HMC Portland, iv. 362.
  • 158 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 127.
  • 159 C104/116, pt. 1., 24 Jan., 3 Feb., 15 Feb. and 24 Feb. 1707; LPL, ms 1770, f. 35.
  • 160 HMC Marchmont, 158; Nicolson, London Diaries, 392, 414.
  • 161 Baillie Corresp., 189-90.
  • 162 Add. 61619, f. 72.
  • 163 Christ Church, Oxf. Wake mss 17, f. 165.
  • 164 Marlborough Godolphin Corresp. 807.
  • 165 London Gazette, 19-23 June 1707; Add. 61164, f. 175.
  • 166 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 233, 236; HMC Leeds, 115; Add. 72490, ff. 92-3.
  • 167 Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 301; HEHL, ST 57 (2), pp. 5-7; HMC Egmont, ii. 221.
  • 168 Ballard 10, ff. 152, 155; Cumbria RO, D/Lons/L1/4/stray letters (Wharton), D/Lons/W2/1/41.
  • 169 Beinecke Lib. OSB mss fc 37, vol. 13, no. xix, Addison to Manchester, 7 Feb. 1708; HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 548; Nicolson, London Diaries, 450 and n.
  • 170 TNA, PRO 30/24/21/148b.
  • 171 Nicolson, London Diaries, 453.
  • 172 NLW, Bodewryd letters, 233; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss fc 37, vol. 13, no. xlii, Addison to Manchester, 9 Mar. 1708.
  • 173 Add. 61619, ff. 13-14.
  • 174 Daily Courant, 12 May 1708; Add. 72490, ff. 101-2; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 301, 315, 319.
  • 175 J.O. Richards, Party Propaganda under Queen Anne (1972), 101.
  • 176 Add. 61634, f. 5.
  • 177 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1083-4; Add. 61128, ff. 140-1, Add. 61101, ff. 146-9.
  • 178 HMC Portland, iv. 508-9, 510; Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1134; Add. 61459, f. 124.
  • 179 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1137n.; NLS, Yester pprs. ms 7021, ff. 134-5.
  • 180 Churchill Coll. Camb. Erle 2/12.
  • 181 BIHR, lv. 207.
  • 182 Add. 61459, ff. 129-32, 142-3.
  • 183 HMC Portland, iv. 511.
  • 184 Verney ms mic. M636/53, Col. J. Lovett to Lord Fermanagh, 10 Nov. 1708; LPL, ms 1770, f. 69; NLS, Yester pprs. ms 14413, f. 162; Nicolson, London Diaries, 469.
  • 185 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 395.
  • 186 Add. 72482, ff. 100-1; NLS, Yester pprs. ms 7021, ff. 151-2.
  • 187 Nicolson, London Diaries, 491.
  • 188 Add. 72540, ff. 159-60.
  • 189 Add. 61634, f. 33.
  • 190 Robbins, Wharton and Whig politics, 228.
  • 191 Add. 61636, ff. 38-9, Add. 61634, ff. 43-4.
  • 192 Add. 61634, ff. 89-90.
  • 193 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1294-5.
  • 194 HMC Egmont, ii. 236-7; BIHR lv. 211.
  • 195 Add. 61634, ff. 94, 96, 122-3, Add. 61129, f. 148.
  • 196 Add. 61459, ff. 179-82, 185-8.
  • 197 Add. 61634, ff. 124-5, 126-7.
  • 198 Add. 61636, ff. 52-3, 54-5, Add. 61634, ff. 157-9, Add. 61494, ff. 181-2; Beinecke Lib. OSB mss 6, box 2, folder 53, Wharton to Godolphin, 15 Aug. 1709.
  • 199 HLQ xv. 430-1; Add. 61460, ff. 39-42.
  • 200 Add. 61163, ff. 91-2.
  • 201 NAS, Hamilton mss GD406/1/5553; Add. 72488, ff. 66-7, 68-9; HMC Downshire, i. pt. 2, 884.
  • 202 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, ff. 185-6.
  • 203 Holmes, Sacheverell, 79-80, 84.
  • 204 Add. 72494, ff. 150-1.
  • 205 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/7, pp. 371-2; Holmes, Sacheverell, 104; LPL, ms 1770, f. 91.
  • 206 Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 544.
  • 207 Holmes, Sacheverell, 149; The State Trial of Doctor Henry Sacheverell, ed. B. Cowan, 54-5.
  • 208 HMC Portland, iv. 532, 537.
  • 209 Holmes, Sacheverell, 169; HMC Portland, iv. 534-5.
  • 210 Holmes, Sacheverell, 201, 217.
  • 211 Sacheverell Trial, ed. Cowan, 71-2, 88, 92-3, 249; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 46, ff. 257-8; Robbins, Wharton, 242-3.
  • 212 Add. 72494, ff. 169-70.
  • 213 Verney ms mic. M636/54, Col. J. Lovett to Lord Fermanagh, 1 Apr. 1710; Add. 72495, f. 1.
  • 214 Add. 61460, ff. 198-201.
  • 215 Pols in Age of Anne, 298.
  • 216 Marlborough-Godolphin Corresp. 1480; Add. 61461, ff. 3-6; NLS, Yester pprs. ms 7021, ff. 215-16.
  • 217 Add. 61634, f. 191.
  • 218 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/1/43.
  • 219 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, f. 35.
  • 220 Holmes, ‘Great Ministry’, 41.
  • 221 Leics. RO, Finch mss, (G7), box 4950, bundle 23, J. Blackwell to Nottingham, 8 Sept. 1710.
  • 222 HMC Portland, iv. 578-9.
  • 223 NYPL, Montague collection, box 9, Somers to [?Bishop Burnet], 9 Sept. 1710.
  • 224 Cumbria RO, D/Lons/W2/1/43, Lowther to Gilpin, 23 Sept. 1710.
  • 225 HMC Portland, ii. 222-3.
  • 226 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, f. 55.
  • 227 Add. 70316, H. Speke to R. Harley, 9 Oct. 1710; Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 65-66, 103-4; Add. 72500, ff. 30-31; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 666.
  • 228 Add. 70316, H. Speke to R. Harley, 24 Nov. 1710.
  • 229 Timberland, ii. 282-308.
  • 230 Add. 72491, ff. 25-26.
  • 231 C104/113, pt. 2, diary entries for 5, 15, 18 Feb. 1711.
  • 232 NLS, Advocates’, Wodrow pprs. Wod. lett. Qu. 5, ff. 141-2.
  • 233 NLS, Advocates’, Wodrow pprs. Wod. lett. Qu. 5, f. 140; HMC Portland, iv. 693-4.
  • 234 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 47, ff. 257-8.
  • 235 Verney ms mic. M636/54, W. Viccars to Lord Fermanagh, 17 July 1711.
  • 236 Add. 70028, ff. 179-80.
  • 237 HMC 7th Rep. 507; Verney ms mic. M636/54, R. Palmer to R. Verney, 11 Dec. 1711; C104/113, pt. 2.
  • 238 Wentworth pprs. 224-5.
  • 239 Wentworth pprs. 226.
  • 240 PH xxiv. 9.
  • 241 NAS, Seafield muniments, GD248/572/1/10.
  • 242 PH xxvi. 177-81.
  • 243 LJ xix. 461.
  • 244 Add. 72500, ff. 97, 98; Timberland, ii. 374; Wake mss 17, f. 329; HEHL, ST 57 (7), pp. 74-7.
  • 245 Verney ms mic. M636/54, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 14 Sept., 10 Oct. 1712.
  • 246 Add. 70316, H. Speke to W. Thomas, 15 Apr. 1713.
  • 247 Add. 72500, ff. 156, 159, Add. 22220, ff. 64-6; Wentworth pprs. 329-30; C.A. Robbins, ‘“Honest Tom” Wharton: a study in political organization, party politics, and electioneering in England 1679-1715’ (University of Maryland PhD thesis 1990), 322-3.
  • 248 Add. 72500, f. 169; Robbins, thesis, 323.
  • 249 Holmes, British Politics, 113.
  • 250 Scot. Hist. Soc. Misc. xii.156.
  • 251 Wentworth pprs. 340, 342.
  • 252 Verney ms mic. M636/55, Lord Fermanagh to R. Verney, 6 Aug. 1713, M636/55, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 5 Sept. 1713; Bagot mss, Levens Hall, Weymouth to J. Grahme, 25 Sept. 1713.
  • 253 Add. 61442, f. 53.
  • 254 Rawl. 17, f. 34; Ballard 36, f. 157; Add. 72501, ff. 106-7.
  • 255 Add. 72501, f. 108.
  • 256 BIHR xlvi. 180-1; Ballard 38, f. 197; NLS, Advocates’, Wodrow pprs. Wod. lett. qu. 8, ff. 82-83.
  • 257 Timberland, ii. 423-4.
  • 258 NLS, Advocates’, Wodrow pprs. Wod. lett. qu. 8, f. 131.
  • 259 Add. 72501, f. 119.
  • 260 Pols in Age of Anne, 86.
  • 261 HMC Portland, v. 439.
  • 262 HMC Portland, v. 471.
  • 263 Add. 22220, ff. 119-20, Add. 72501, f. 155.
  • 264 London Gazette, 21-25 1714; Add. 72502, f. 10.
  • 265 Add. 70266, R. Hampden to Wharton, 30 Sept. 1714; Verney ms mic. M636/55, copy electoral agreement in Buckinghamshire 1714, M636/55, Lord Fermanagh to R. Verney, 1 Nov. 1714, M636/55, Wharton to [?], 25 Nov. 1714; Ballard 10, f. 29; HP Commons 1715-54, i. 195; W.A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 115-17.
  • 266 HP Commons 1715-54, i. 198, 348.
  • 267 Verney ms mic. M636/55, R. Palmer to R. Verney, 30 Oct. 1714.
  • 268 Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/O/2/47; Verney ms mic. M636/55, M. Adams to Lord Fermanagh, 5 Mar. 1715, Lord Fermanagh to R. Verney, 6 Mar. 1715, M636/55, Sir T. Cave to Lord Fermanagh, 8 Mar. 1715; Add. 70144, Lord Harley to A. Harley, 8 Mar. 1715; Add. 70146, Oxford to A. Harley, 8 Mar. 1715.
  • 269 Add. 70298, [Carlisle] to [Wharton], 13 Mar. 1715; Add. 70064, Coningsby to [Wharton], 24 Mar. 1715; Nicolson, London Diaries, 618.
  • 270 Add. 72502, ff. 39, 43.
  • 271 Add. 61442, f. 64.
  • 272 Eg. 3519, f. 238.
  • 273 PROB 11/548; A True Copy of the Last Will and Testament of the most Honourable Thomas late Marquess of Wharton (1715).
  • 274 Eg. 3519, ff. 216-25.
  • 275 HMC Portland, v. 211.
  • 276 Swift, A Short Character of his Ex[cellency] T[homas] e[arl] of W[harton] L[ord] L[ieutenant] of I[reland], (1711), 6.
  • 277 Robbins, Wharton and Whig party politics, 207.