CAREY, Anthony, 5th Visct. Falkland [S] (1656-94), of Great Tew, Oxon.

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

Constituency

Dates

1690 - 24 May 1694

Family and Education

b. 15 Feb. 1656, o.s. of Henry Carey, 4th Visct. Falkland. educ. Winchester 1668; Christ Church, Oxf. 1672. m. 1681, Rebecca (d. 30 Sept. 1709), da. of Sir Rowland Lytton of Knebworth, Herts., 1da. suc. fa. 2 Apr. 1663.1

Offices Held

Treas. of the navy 1681-9; groom of the stole to Prince George 1687-90; ld. of the Admiralty 1691-3, first ld. 1693-d.; PC 17 Mar. 1692-d.2

Freeman, Portsmouth 1682; j.p. Essex, Hants, Kent, Mdx., Suff., Surr., Suss. and Westminster 1687-?d., Oxon. ?Mar. 1688-d., Bucks. 1689-d.; dep. lt. Oxon. 1685-d., Bucks. 1689-d., commr. for assessment, Bucks. and Oxon. 1689-90, Kent and Westminster 1690.3

Biography

Although Clarendon described Falkland as having ‘nothing left to keep him’ on his father’s death, his marriage to ‘a great fortune’ enabled him to purchase for £15,000 the lucrative post of treasurer of the navy. ‘Too youthful for so difficult a trust’, it was suspected that he would only draw the salary of £500 p.a., while Edward Seymour continued to do the work and rake in the perquisites. Evelyn, however, a friend of the family, called him ‘a pretty, brisk, understanding, industrious young gentleman’, though admitting that he was ‘faulty’ in his youth. He was not on the Oxfordshire commission of the peace when returned for the county in 1685. Although a Tory he later claimed that he had ‘never followed the orders of the Court in King James’s time, nor gave my consent to bring a person into that Parliament, though I was promised I should be a peer of England’. A very active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to 22 committees, including that to inspect the disbandment accounts. In the second session he voted against the employment of Roman Catholic officers, and was appointed to the committee for the address. His financial position further improved when he took a share in the syndicate formed by the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) to recover the wreck of a Spanish treasure-ship, which turned out to be highly profitable, and he acquired an interest at Great Marlow by purchasing the manor from (Sir) Humphrey Winch. Presumably he gave satisfaction on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, since he succeeded the Earl of Scarsdale (Robert Leke) in Prince George’s household in 1687, and was confirmed as deputy lieutenant in February 1688.4

Falkland was returned to the Convention for Marlow, and was again a very active Member, serving on 64 committees, acting twice as teller, and making 17 recorded speeches. In an early debate he spoke on behalf of the Admiralty, and was clearly prepared to accept the Revolution. On 29 Jan. 1689 he moved for a declaration of rights before the throne was filled:

It concerns us to take such care, that, as the Prince of Orange has secured us from Popery, we may secure ourselves from arbitrary government. The Prince’s declaration is for a lasting foundation of the Government. ... Before the question be put, who shall be set upon the throne, I would consider what powers we ought to give the Crown to satisfy them that sent us hither. We have had a Prince that did dispense with our laws, and I hope we shall never leave that doubtful. The King set up an ecclesiastical court, as he was supreme head of the Church, and acted against law, and made himself head of the charters. Therefore, before you fill the throne, I would have you resolve what power you will give the King and what not.

He was then appointed to the committee to draw up the declaration. Three days later he was one of five Members deputed to convey the thanks of the House to the army and navy officers for their steady support of Protestantism and their part in delivering the nation from Popery. On 2 Feb. he spoke in the debate in favour of the view that James had abdicated and the throne was vacant, saying that ‘if this vote be grounded merely upon the King’s leaving the kingdom, he may come again and resume the Government’. Shortly after this he was appointed to committees to prepare reasons and to manage a conference on the state of the throne, and to amend the Lords’ resolution declaring William and Mary King and Queen. On 12 Feb. Falkland returned to the Lords their amendments to the declaration of rights. On 20 Feb. he spoke in favour of clarifying the position of the Convention so that the urgent problems outlined in the King’s speech might be speedily dealt with:

If we have not the power of a Parliament, we can go upon nothing. There are precedents to justify the Lords’ bill that they have sent us. We have great works upon our hands; as that of the relief of Ireland, and to assist our allies etc., and the nation is in an unsettled condition. The Lords’ bill is a foundation for us to build upon, and I move that we follow the Lords’ example.

He was appointed to the committee for the declaratory bill. In further speeches of 26 Feb. he emphasized the importance of settling affairs at home before the wider issues requiring substantial financial aid could be dealt with, and to clear any doubts regarding royal revenue he believed that this should be settled quickly by Act of Parliament. Other important committees on which he served during the early weeks of the Convention were those to draw up an address for assisting the King in defence of the Protestant religion, to suspend habeas corpus, to prepare a bill for the abolition of the hearth-tax and to inquire into the authors and advisers of grievances. In April he served on committees to consider lack of confidence in government credit and to draw up an address for the declaration of war against France. He may have gone over to the Opposition when he was displaced as treasurer of the navy in April, for William complained to Halifax that he both spoke and voted against supply. On 8 May he spoke on the necessity for strengthening the Protestant succession by ensuring that a proviso to the bill of succession effectively barred any heirs of James II’s son. He was appointed to the committees to examine the Journals relating to the Popish Plot and to draw up an address for permission to inspect the Privy Council registers and the books of the Irish committee.5

Falkland was scarcely less active in the second session, in which his committees included those to report on bills depending, to inquire into the miscarriages of the war, and to consider the bill for punishing mutiny and desertion. He acted as teller on 20 Nov. 1689 against a second reading of the bill to reverse the attainder of Thomas Walcot, and in December sat on the committee for the bill to restore corporations. He spoke against the disabling clause on 10 Jan. 1690, declaring:

This clause is a contradiction of the whole bill. This clause takes away the rights of those you would save. The clause takes away the rights that were restored by the Prince of Orange’s circulary letters. It is dangerous now the King is going out of the kingdom to discontent such a body of people. I am more afraid of the consequence of this now people are generally dissatisfied. This bill is a restoring of corporations, and not a bill of pains and penalties. This clause is improper for this bill, and for the present circumstances of affairs, and I