AUNGIER, Francis, 3rd Baron Aungier of Longford [I] (c.1632-1700), of East Clandon, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1632, 1st s. of Ambrose Aungier, DD, chancellor of St. Patrick’s, Dublin by Grizell, da. of Lancelot Bulkeley, abp. of Dublin 1610-50. m. (1) bef. 1663, Jane (d. June 1669), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Carr of Hillingdon, Mdx., s.p.; (2) c.1678, Anne (d. 14 Nov. 1697), da. and coh. of Arthur, 1st Earl of Donegall [I], wid. of John, 1st Earl of Gowran [I], s.p. suc. fa. 1654, uncle as 3rd Baron Aungier 1655; cr. Visct. Longford [I] 8 Nov. 1675, Earl of Longford [I] 8 Dec. 1677.1

Offices Held

J.p. Surr. Mar. 1660-?d. , commr. for militia Mar. 1660, assessment Aug. 1660-80, sewers, Kent, Surr. and Westminster Aug. 1660; dep. lt. Surr. c. Aug. 1660-2; gov. Westmeath and Longford [I] 1661-d., Carrickfergus 1678-84; commr. for rebuilding Southwark 1677.2

Col. of horse [I] c. Nov. 1660-83.3

PC [I] Dec. 1660-87, 1690-d., commr. for settlement [I] 1661-2; v.-treas. [I] 1670-3; master of the Ordnance [I] 1679-84; commr. for revenue [I] 1682-7, preventing export of wool [I] 1685-Mar. 1688, forfeited lands [I] 1690, great seal [I] 1693-6, 1697-d.4

Biography

Aungier’s family originated in Cambridgeshire, but his grandfather, after sitting for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1589 and Haslemere in 1597, was appointed master of the rolls in Ireland. Aungier acquired a considerable estate from the Adventurers, including part of the property forfeited by the Earl of Clanmalier, and he was sufficiently acceptable to the Protectorate authorities to be returned to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. While at Westminster he wrote several letters to Henry Cromwell in Ireland giving an account of proceedings. Their obsequious tone is matched only by their almost total lack of substance. Nevertheless Ormonde praised his ‘diligence and loyalty ... before the King’s coming in’, and a letter to Charles II offering his services on the eve of the Restoration evoked a gracious reply.5

Aungier had inherited a small property in Surrey, and at the general election of 1660 he stood for the county with Daniel Harvey as an avowed Royalist, defeating his Presbyterian neighbours and cousins, the Onslows. He was an active Member of the Convention, being named to 38 committees, serving as teller in ten divisions, and carrying seven bills and four messages to the Lords; but he was not recorded as speaking. He was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges on the second day of the session, and to those to draft the assessment ordinance (7 May) and the declarations on the recusancy laws and the excise. He carried up the declaration about the Irish rebels on 25 May and helped to manage a conference. He was appointed to the committees to consider the bill confirming parliamentary privilege and to inquire into unauthorized Anglican publications. He served on the committee for restoring the estates of the Duke of Ormonde, his patron, and the Earl of Inchiquin, and carried both bills to the Lords. He was named to the committees to appoint army commissioners and to state the public debt, and on 9 Aug. he was sent to the Upper House to desire a conference on the delay in passing the bill of indemnity. Four days later he was one of those appointed to arrange a loan of £100,000 from the City. He was teller for agreeing with the Lords that the regicide John Carew could not claim the benefits of the indemnity bill. He served on the committee for the disbandment bill and acted as teller for retaining a penalty of £5 on those soldiers who failed to submit a true and perfect list of their families. After the recess he was named to the committee for the attainder bill, and unsuccessfully supported the premature motion of 21 Nov. for granting to the King for life the second moiety of the excise. After serving on the committee to consider a petition from his future father-in-law, Lord Donegall, he was ordered to seek the concurrence of the Lords in an order to discharge him from a debt. On the last day of the session he reported from the public debt committee in favour of another Irish claimant, and acted as teller for the unsuccessful motion to accept the report.6

Soon after the dissolution Aungier was appointed governor of Westmeath and Longford, and the King, considering that he had ‘not yet received sufficient reward for his services’, ordered the first of several grants of forfeited lands. At the general election of 1661 he stood for Arundel together with another Irish peer, the Earl of Orrery (Roger Boyle), presumably on the Earl of Northumberland’s interest, and defeated the Howard candidate John Trevor. He was in Ireland when the Cavalier Parliament met, missing the corporate communion of 26 May, and on 26 June the House gave him leave to return there. An active commissioner for the land settlement, he was concerned on his own behalf to secure compensation for his purchases, which had been granted to his wife’s kinsman Sir Henry Bennet. Back at Westminster by the end of November, he attended the remainder of the first session, though Ormonde feared that his absence from Ireland might jeopardize his claims. He acted as teller for naming a joint committee to inquire into an alleged conspiracy, according to the usual course, and for exonerating James Philipps from complicity in the death sentence passed on a Cavalier conspirator under the Protectorate. On 7 Mar. 1662 he carried up a bill for confirming three private Acts. He was teller for a clause disposing of the revenue to be derived from licensing hackney coaches and he took the chair for the bill to regulate artisan skinners.7

Aungier took no further part in Parliament during the Clarendon administration, although he was listed as a court dependant in 1664. In an account of the Irish Privy Council (Sir) Thomas Clarges described him to Bennet as ‘a most sedulous young nobleman, ... more serviceable than any to you, and ... anxious to serve you’. A friendly agreement was reached over the Clanmalier estate in 1665, under which Lord Arlington (as Bennet had become) settled other property on Aungier and paid him £1,200. A petition from the Irish Adventurers brought him back to Westminster in March 1668. It was aimed chiefly at Ormonde, for whose benefit he drew up a list of 56 Members whom he conceived to be friends of his patron. He acted as teller for the unsuccessful motion to hear the petition in a fortnight’s time, and was named to the committee for prolonging the Conventicles Act and extending habeas corpus. He succeeded Sir George Carteret as vice-treasurer of Ireland in 1670. According to Andrew Marvell he bought the post, worth £5,000 a year, for £11,000. He returned to England for the parliamentary session, in which his most important committee was on the bill for negotiating union with Scotland. Lord Robartes, the new lord deputy, complained of the inconvenience of Aungier’s absence. ‘Betwixt knavery and foolery’ he was suspended from office, and, on the suggestion of Orrery’s nephew, Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones), the revenues were put out to farm.8

Aungier was named to the committee to prevent the growth of Popery which produced the test bill, and on 24 Mar. 1673 he acted as teller for the successful motion to complete the passage of the pardon bill before continuing the debate on ease for Protestant dissenters. He was not on the committee which drafted the address on the state of Ireland, though Ranelagh sought to implicate him in it, adding that the King was not pleased to have his Privy Councillors bringing in grievances, and during the recess he finally surrendered the vice-treasurership. Aungier was included among the court supporters in the Paston list of 1673-4, and in the next session he was named to the committees to consider a petition from Lord Ibrackan (Henry O’Brien), the bill to impose a general test, the charges against his friend Arlington, the wording of judges patents, and the illegal export of wool from England and Ireland. During the general debate on Ireland, his part in setting up the revenue farm came under attack. Before the debate he had promised ‘to tell the House several things of importance; but when it came to the push, he flinched, at which the Lord Ibrackan gave him opprobrious names’. His excuse was the confidentiality of Privy Council proceedings, and he asked for the matter to be referred to a committee. Ranelagh’s crony Edward Seymour agreed to the proposal, but the prorogation supervened. Aungier is not known to have spoken in Parliament on any other occasion although he was a voluminous correspondent on affairs. On the last day of the session he wrote to (Sir) Joseph Williamson, with whom he was intimate:

For my part, I have had his Majesty’s patience in admiration, for we acted without giving him the least prospect of a supply, and yet expected great indulgences and condescensions from him. ... I am sure at present men’s faces look cloudy and sad.

While in Ireland during the following summer, he received ‘a kind of summons from Mr Secretary Coventry’ to the abortive autumn session, an interesting anticipation of the ‘government whip’ of 1675. In that year he was named to four committees of secondary importance in the spring session, and only to the elections committee in the autumn. His name appears among the King’s servants in the House, and he was listed ‘thrice vile’ by Shaftesbury in 1677. He was not active in this session, being named to only six committees, though on 5 Apr. he acted as teller against adjourning the debate on the prohibition of Irish cattle. Although he received two steps in the Irish peerage, becoming Earl of Longford in December, Danby reckoned him an enemy ‘on Ranelagh’s account’, and he was not included in the list of the court party drawn up by the Government in May 1678. His only committee in the last session of the Cavalier Parliament was on the bill disabling Papists from sitting in Parliament. Altogether he had been no more than moderately active, with 68 committees and eight tellerships.9

In February 1679 Longford stood unsuccessfully for Surrey, where he had added to his property. It was ‘a mighty and very expensive struggle’ in which he was estimated to have spent between £1,500 and £2,000. He was listed in the ‘unanimous club’ and in July he informed Ormonde that he had no intention of standing again. In October it was rumoured that he was to be made an English peer, but nothing came of it and thenceforth his career lay entirely in Ireland. He bought the mastership of the Ordnance, probably with Ormonde’s help, and was given a seat on the revenue board with a salary of £1,000 p.a. Nevertheless by July 1683 he was in ‘the uttermost strait’ having embezzled £1,500 intended for the purchase of arms. Lord Arran (Lord Richard Butler) wrote that Longford

is very ill, and the distemper is more in his mind than his body, being conscious to himself of the ill things his necessitous condition has forced him to do. I am sorry that I cannot say more in his justification.

Nevertheless Longford survived ‘the dishonour like to fall upon him’. He was reappointed to the Privy Council under James II, and retained his post as commissioner of the revenue until 1687, when he was dismissed by the Roman Catholic lord lieutenant, the Earl of Tyrconnel. He attended James’s Parliament in Dublin in 1689, but after the battle of the Boyne went into King William’scamp and kissed hands. In 1698 Longford claimed that he had lost more than £40,000 in the rebellion. This was almost certainly an exaggeration, but he died in straitened circumstances. He was buried in St. Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, on