CLARKE, Edward I (1650-1710), of Chipley, Som.
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Family and Education
b. 14 Sept. 1650, o. s. of Edward Clarke of Chipley by Anne, da. and coh. of Mark Knight of West Buckland and Oake, Som. educ. Taunton sch.; Wadham, Oxf. matric. 1667; I. Temple 1670, called 1673, reader Lyons Inn 1689. m. 13 Apr. 1675 Mary (d. 1706), da. of Samuel Jepp of Sutton Court, Chew Magna, Som. 5s. (3 d.v.p.) 6da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. Sept. 1679.1
Commr. inquiry into recusancy fines Som. 1688, receiving subscriptions to Bank 1694, excise 1694–1700, leather duty 1697.2
Auditor-gen. to Queen 1690–94.
Recorder, Taunton 1695.3
Clarke was by nature a back-room politician, an earnest, conscientious and cerebral man of integrity, known as the ‘grave squire’. Yet he was thrust into the limelight by his friendship with John Locke and kept there by his overwhelming sense of duty to God, friends, party and nation. Although probably more comfortable in private conversation than holding the floor of the House (MPs were said to have left ‘to make water’ when he rose to his feet), he became the philosopher’s mouthpiece in the Commons and consequently the most important member of Locke’s ‘college’, a policy-making and parliamentary pressure-group that was particularly active in the mid-1690s. Yet Clarke was also much more than a dependable cog in an effective lobby machine, for he was a formidable expert in his own right on finance and the drafting of legislation. Devoted to William III and to the Whigs, his loyalties were to the Court that had given him office, but he was also a stout defender of his ‘country’ and a fierce opponent of corruption, as his sponsorship of several election bills and tireless promotion of constituency interests make clear. Indeed, the numerous and diverse calls on his energies and abilities rapidly wore him out, both physically and mentally, and overwork pushed him after 1699 into a depression and sickness that overshadowed his early promise as a Junto manager.4
Clarke’s Chipley estate was brought into his family by his stepmother Elizabeth Lottisham, heiress of Edward Warre. The union of Lottisham and Clarke snr. was childless, so Edward inherited his stepmother’s estate. The year after his father died, Clarke began altering the manor house in the latest architectural fashion: Chipley’s 120-foot-long north–south front with an ashlar doric frontispiece distinguished its owner as a man of means anxious to stamp his taste and status on a parish that was shared uncomfortably with the Tory Sanford family.5
The origins of Clarke’s friendship with Locke are obscure. According to his tutor, Clarke made ‘laudable progress in learning’ at Oxford, where he behaved ‘very civilly towards all men’, but there is no evidence that he was taught by Locke or that he drew the latter’s attention by intellectual distinction. It was probably marriage to Mary Jepp that created the bond. After the early death of her father she lived with her half-uncle John Strachey at Sutton Court, in the parish of Chew Magna, where Locke’s grandparents had lived and near to the philosopher’s estate at Beluton. Strachey had been educated with Locke at both Westminster and Oxford and remained a friend. Moreover, Locke referred to Mary as his ‘cousin’, though the precise relationship is difficult to establish. The ties between Strachey, Locke and Mary were nevertheless close enough for Strachey to consult his friend in 1673–4 about potential husbands for Mary, whose own income amounted to a legacy of £400 p.a. as well as her father’s property in Westham, Essex. On Strachey’s death in February 1675, Mary came under the guardianship of her uncle, John Buckland†, whose friendship with William Clarke, Edward’s ‘cousin’, may have brought about the necessary introduction that led to marriage. Locke claimed ‘without flattery or compliment’ that Mary’s blend of ‘wit and good nature’ gave her the ‘resemblance of an angel’, and the close marriage of minds with Clarke resulted in constant, and often highly revealing, correspondence whenever they were parted.6
Clarke’s interest in politics and finance predated his association with Locke, since as a law student he reported parliamentary news to his father and managed familial business affairs, but it cannot have been long before Locke’s patron, the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper†), noticed the rising young lawyer. Certainly by 1676 Clarke was known in the Earl’s household, for his secretary Thomas Stringer informed Locke about Mary’s first child. That year also marked the introduction of another key figure in Clarke’s life, John Freke, a fellow lawyer. Clarke struck up a lifelong friendship with Freke, whose financial and political shrewdness was to make him an invaluable member of the ‘college’ and who may have introduced Clarke to the future Junto leader (Sir) John Somers*. By the late 1670s Clarke was thus mixing in circles critical of the Court and, in a gathering that foreshadowed Whig summits held there in the 1690s, frequented the spa at Tunbridge Wells with Freke, Sir Walter Yonge, 3rd Bt.*, and another west-country friend, Richard Duke*, all of whom were intimates of Locke. The final link in Locke’s circle came in 1681 when the Clarkes took London lodgings with Lady King; their neighbour was Damaris Cudworth, future wife of Sir Francis Masham, 3rd Bt.*, who was to play hostess to Locke in the 1690s. Both Locke and Clarke were trustees for Mrs Cudworth, Damaris’ mother, a duty which was to create a good deal of work because of the legal suits filed by Lady Masham’s brother. By 1682, the date of the first surviving letter between Locke and Clarke, the fundamental relationships that were to shape Edward’s life had already been formed.7
Shaftesbury made Clarke one of his trustees, and when Locke too was forced into exile he also entrusted his affairs to Edward. Locke sent him ‘many papers’ with power to burn whatever he disliked and Clarke was apparently one of the few to know about the manuscript of the Two Treatises. At the same time Locke’s will made his friend ‘legally entitled to whatsoever’ he left. Throughout Locke’s five-year stay in Holland, Clarke looked after the philosopher’s concerns with a diligence that prompted Locke’s profession that he loved him ‘above all other men’. Clarke’s intimacy with Locke was personal, political but also intellectual. Locke, for example, sent him drafts of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding and thought enough of Clarke’s judgment to let him decide ‘whether it be new or useful’. Edward later helped oversee the publication of some of Locke’s philsophical works, and during his exile Locke sent the Clarkes advice on the education of their son, correspondence which he later revised and published in 1693 as Some Thoughts Concerning Education, with a dedication to his friend. Indeed, Locke was so fond of Clarke’s children that he habitually referred to one of their daughters, Elizabeth, as his ‘wife’.8
Association with Shaftesbury, Locke and Green Ribbon Club men rendered Clarke politically suspect and in the spring of 1684 he was ‘presented as dangerous’ by a jury. Kinsman William Clarke could not understand what Clarke ‘ever did to beget enemies’, but suspected that Clarke’s neighbour and rival, John Sanford*, had been the prime mover. Sanford was later described by Clarke as being ‘at [Sir William] Portman’s* command’, an indication that local rivalries were also part of national ones, since Portman was the cousin of one of the Tory leaders, (Sir) Edward Seymour* (4th Bt.). In 1685 Clarke was taken into custody on the suspicion that he ‘held correspondence with traitors’ but petitioned the King on the grounds of his father’s royalism and that he himself had not done or said anything to incur the King’s displeasure. He was released on bonds and took no part in Monmouth’s rebellion, staying at Tunbridge rather than returning to Chipley.9
Clarke’s parliamentary ambitions can be traced back to 1679, when he was considered to have Shaftesbury’s ear. In July 1679 it was reported that if he could obtain the Earl’s recommendation he was thought to stand a good chance at Taunton. Clarke got as far as drafting a letter to (Sir) John Trenchard* in which he referred to his having ‘received great encouragements from the Earl of Shaftesbury, my noble friend, and diverse considerable men of that place’. Clarke evidently hoped to join interests with Trenchard: ‘I hope you will not deny it me, especially since I can with great sincerity assure you that it is not any private ambition of my own but the persuasion of friends and the earnest desire I have to serve faithfully the public that hath induced me to offer myself thus to you.’ Clarke, however, was ‘resolved not publicly to appear’ without assurance of Trenchard’s support and he did not openly contest the election. It was not until Trenchard’s imprisonment in 1683 that it was reported that ‘the Taunton men would choose the two Clarkes’, William and Edward, if Trenchard died. When Edward finally stood for Parliament in 1685, on behalf of what the mayor of Taunton called the ‘damnable crew’ of ‘Grindallizing self-willed humourists’, he was unsuccessful.10
Ironically Clarke’s electoral chances seemed to improve once James II began wooing the Whigs. The King’s electoral agents reported in December 1687 that he would ‘probably’ be chosen at Taunton and he was still thought the likely victor in reports submitted in April and September 1688. But although the King’s agents regarded him as ‘right’ and he was nominated both as a deputy lieutenant and commissioner to enquire into recusancy fines in the county, there is no evidence that Clarke complied with James’s policies. Indeed, he was privy to Locke’s irritation at unauthorized attempts to secure a pardon and visited Locke in Holland in the summer of 1688, perhaps too sensitive a time to be entirely politically innocent. Certainly Clarke was an enthusiastic supporter of William of Orange and contested Taunton in the elections for the Convention, though his and Trenchard’s voters were attacked by men wielding ‘great cudgels or clubs’. It was this violence rather than, as has been claimed, association with James’s agents, that probably prevented his election. He petitioned, unsuccessfully, but was finally returned in 1690 and remained MP for Taunton until his death.11
Almost immediately after the 1690 election, ‘general reflections’ were made on Clarke in his locality to the effect that he was ‘so much for the K[ing’]s interest that it should incline [him] to oppress the people’. Clarke was so strongly identified with the Court interest because in 1689 he had been appointed auditor to the Queen, a post officially worth about £100 p.a. but about the same again in perquisites. It was obtained for him, without his prior knowledge, by Locke (with the assistance of Richard Coote*, Earl of Bellomont) because of ‘the entrance it g[ave] him into the Court and the countenance it g[ave] him in the country’. But favour at Court had done nothing to dent Clarke’s animus against the Tories. In his first session he reported and carried up a bill relating to the estate of the Earl of Essex, whose ‘murder’ in the Tower in 1683 had provoked a pamphlet of which Locke was accused of being the author. On 24 Apr. Clarke acted as teller in support of an amendment to an address of thanks for the recent alterations in London’s lieutenancy which had favoured the Tories, since the Whigs wanted to except those involved in the recent persecutions and arrests. Indeed, the issue prompted Clarke’s maiden recorded speech, in which he declared that he was ‘as much for the innocent Church of England men as any man; but not for the guilty of innocent blood lately shed’.12
The same day he was appointed to the drafting committee of the abjuration bill. An undated draft speech in Clarke’s own hand was probably intended for delivery on that issue, since it argued forcibly that religion, liberty and security would all ‘be lost if we hold not now together united in this government’. All who recognized William as king should thus ‘join in a solemn and public renunciation’ of the divine right doctrine ‘that annuls his title’. The occasion also offered an opportunity for Clarke to display his uncompromising view of the Revolution:
The Prince of Orange came with armed force to redeem us. Those who will not own this to be done of right must take it for an invasion of an enemy whom they are willing to be rid of again . . . and how ready they will be to join with the king of France . . . is easy to judge. That which makes such a Declaration as this more necessary is that many among us publicly declared against the vacancy of the throne which opinion I never heard they have publicly recanted but ’tis necessary they should . . . the emissaries of Rome and France [are] busy everywhere to increase our want of union into a breach which will be sure to let in France and his dragoons upon us; I ask any the warmest Whig or Tory . . . what he proposes to himself when he has let in a foreign force that are enemies to our nation and religion and thereby made his country the scene of blood and slaughter.
He was appealing to both republican Whigs and jure divino Tories to curb their excesses and unite behind the rightful king against France and popery. Clarke’s first actions in Parliament thus thoroughly justified his being ranked with the Whigs by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), albeit on the Court or pragmatic wing of the party. Shortly before the end of the session Clarke acted as teller on 13 May over a proviso to the bill to encourage the manufacture of white paper.13
After the naval setback at Beachy Head he observed that the French had been allowed to gain the upper hand ‘by treachery and cowardice in the great officers of our fleet’. In a letter written in August to a member of Queen Mary’s court, Clarke outlined his hostility to what he saw as the irresponsible activity of High Churchmen in Somerset:
before the extremity of our danger of the French was over the High Tory party began to show their resentments that so many honest gentlemen were made deputy- lieutenants of this county and other of a different character left out etc and immediately made their application to the bishops who (as if the Church were as much concerned in the establishment of our militia officers as in settling of tender consciences) taking Sir Edward Phelips*, notwithstanding all his notorious characters more black than the ink I write with, to be a pillar of this Church, they presently espoused his cause [and purged the commission, matters] of as ill consequence to the Church as even the landing of the French would have been could they have made good their church upon it . . . I have by this post written to my Lord Monmouth, hoping by his lordships interest to prevent any mischief or inconvenience that so malicious a party may endeavour to do me with the Queen.
Clarke felt vulnerable and urged that if necessary Locke should be brought in to vindicate his reputation to the Queen, whose good opinion he valued ‘more than any other favour her Ma[jes]ty can bestow’.14
Clarke survived the whispering campaign against him, but the letter is indicative of the bitterness of local disputes that were to plague much of his career, as well as of his lifelong distrust of meddling High Churchmen, whose actions he saw as a cover for more sinister designs. The need to counter-attack may explain Clarke’s ‘perpetual hurry and vexation’ when Parliament reassembled in October 1690. Such busyness is nevertheless not reflected in numerous committee nominations, although Clarke was named to a few inquiry committees. He also made notes of the resolutions passed between 17 and 22 Oct. as part of the attempt to raise money either by sale, or upon the security, of Irish forfeitures. Unsurprisingly, Robert Harley* classed him as a Court supporter in April 1691, an analysis duplicated on six further lists of this Parliament. 15
It was the session of 1691–2 that really marked the beginning of Clarke’s active parliamentary career and the emergence of an embryonic ‘college’. The first issue to demand his attention was the treason trials bill. On 18 Nov. he ‘spoke against several particulars of it’ and returned to his theme more fully on 11 Dec., when he appears to have started the debate about the Lords’ amendments. Clarke ‘strongly opposed’ what he saw as an attempt to weaken the power of parliamentary impeachment. Although what he actually said was subsequently disputed, Clarke certainly objected to one witness being sufficient in cases of ‘declaratory treason’. He acted as teller against the Lords’ amendment and was accordingly named to the conference committee. On 31 Dec., when the report was debated, Clarke again opposed another of the Lords’ amendments, which allowed a majority verdict from the whole Upper House rather than from a panel chosen by the lord high steward.16
Although Clarke’s critical attitude was not shared by Locke, he remained firm in his opposition, proof of his independent mind, for on 5 Jan. 1692 he returned to the attack, condemning the amendments as leaving ‘the government destitute of all means to preserve itself against any conspiracy of the Lords or of any considerable number of the Lords of ancient families’. He even felt it worthwhile to record speeches made by peers at the free conference. The following day Locke again wrote to him to try to change his mind. Clarke nevertheless put principle above party consideration and resisted Locke’s argument that the amendments favoured Whig peers (such as Locke’s friend Monmouth) who would be the likely victims of any prosecution. On 13 Jan. 1692, in the debate on the report from the conference about the amendments, Edward argued that it was ‘not parliamentary for the Lords to prescribe rule’ to the Commons and he acted as teller on the issue on two further occasions that session.17
The difference of opinion between Locke and Clarke over the Lords’ amendments to the treason trials bill should not, however, mask the very considerable co-operation between them on other matters. On 22 Jan. Locke asked his friend to send him a copy of the heads of the proposed bill to regulate the East India Company and Clarke had earlier acted as teller against a motion concerning the consideration of a petition from the company. Indeed, a manuscript among his papers rebutted each of the points made in the company’s petition. From Locke’s point of view, however, the most important issue was probably the coinage, which had been heavily debased by clipping. Clarke corrected the proofs of Locke’s ensuing tract, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lessening of Interest, which was printed by another of Locke’s associates, Awnsham Churchill*, and was ready for distribution in early December. On the 15th Clarke reported that he had given a copy to Sir Francis Masham and
disposed of four or five more so advantageously in the House that it is already a doubt whether the bill for lowering the interest of money will ever be read a second time or not, and all that have read the Considerations are clearly of opinion the arguments therein are abundantly sufficient to destroy that bill and all future attempts of the like kind; I hear the whole treatise generally much approved of and commended.18
Although the bill was introduced, Clarke spoke on 8 Jan. 1692 against it, suggesting that ‘money was a commodity and would rise or fall in interest according to the plenty or scarcity of money and was not able to be restrained’. He spoke again a week later but for all his effort he was, as Locke put it, ‘toiling to no purpose’, since the bill passed the House. Clarke reported that ‘all imaginable reasons were used’ to try to defeat it and that the debates had echoed many of the arguments used in Locke’s tract, ‘but I am satisfied if an angel from heaven had managed the debate, the votes would have been the same as now, for ’tis not reason but a supposed benefit to the borrower that hath passed the bill . . . I wish we may have better success upon the bill of coinage’. This bill aimed to raise the value of money in order to prevent its export, which was draining England of bullion; but, Clarke argued in notes for an intended speech, the value of silver could not be artificially raised because the coin would only be worth its intrinsic value abroad, ‘for ’tis not the denomination but the quantity of silver that gives the value to any coin’. The cause rather than the symptom of the problem therefore had to be tackled and ‘standard silver was and eternally will be worth its weight in standard silver’. The experience on both pieces of financial legislation indicated, however, that lobbying by Clarke and Locke would in future have to be stepped up.19
Clarke’s activity in the 1691–2 session also revealed three other abiding concerns. One was the freedom of the press. On 12 Nov. 1691 he moved that the House receive the petition of the Whig publisher Richard Baldwin. A second campaign was to promote civil toleration for Quakers by removing the requirement to take oaths. Thus, on 30 Nov. he joined others in offering a clause to excuse Quakers from the oaths intended in the bill for Irish oaths (though on 9 Feb. he moved that no one should benefit from the Irish Forfeitures Act ‘without taking the oaths and subscribing the declaration’) and on 22 Feb. 1692 spoke in favour of the Quaker affirmation bill (support he continued to give in the next session, being nominated on 26 Nov. to the committee established to consider the sect’s petition for a new bill and reporting on 5 Dec. in its favour). His prominent involvement in a conference on 20 Feb. 1692 concerning the passage of the bill for the easier recovery of small tithes, which he reported two days later, is nevertheless a reminder that although strongly sympathetic to toleration of Dissent, Clarke remained a member of the Church of England and was seemingly a pious one, for verses composed on his death claimed he was ‘scoffed at . . . because he loved his lord and saviour dear’ and called him ‘an instrument’ that prevented danger to ‘the Church of Christ’. The purpose of the bill was to transfer jurisdiction over tithe disputes from clerical to secular jurisdiction, but support for the bill also came from Churchmen who sought to bolster parochial finances. The third issue provoking Clarke to action was electoral reform. On 2 Dec. 1691 he reported a bill to prevent false and double election returns and acted as teller ten days later in favour of its passage.20
Clarke was also anxious about the Jacobite threat. He made notes about Lord Preston’s (Sir Richard Grahme†) conspiracy, and on 4 Jan. 1692 spoke in favour of addressing the King about providing protection for two of William Fuller’s witnesses. Clarke rejoiced at the Earl of Marlborough’s (John Churchill†) disgrace for corresponding with the exiled James: ‘experience will convince’, he told Locke, ‘that there ought to be no medium between turning him out and putting him in the Tower’. Perhaps because of the pressure of public business, Clarke joined in the condemnation on 14 Jan. of the number of private bills introduced and supported a suggestion to bar their being moved until after 11 a.m., although no formal resolution resulted. Ironically, he was himself ordered on 9 Feb. to carry up Lord Villiers’ private estate bill.21
The closeness between Locke and Clarke was again evident on the eve of the 1692–3 session when Clarke was asked to liaise with Awnsham Churchill about the publication of Locke’s Third Letter for Toleration and subsequently to distribute copies. Co-operation on political matters was also ongoing. Locke wrote to Clarke asking him to spend Christmas with him because he longed to talk with him and on 2 Jan. 1693 wrote a long letter of advice about the Licensing Act, requesting Clarke to talk with Churchill about its deficiencies and to consider the coinage. Locke added that he hoped to see Clarke at the contested Essex by-election and is likely to have done so, for on 14 Feb. Clarke acted as teller in favour of the return of John Lamotte Honeywood*, on whose behalf Clarke ‘spoke at large’. If the meeting did take place, it would seem likely that Clarke discussed the coinage bill with Locke.22
Clarke had, in fact, already spoken on 31 Dec. 1692 against the bill to melt the coin, arguing that ‘it would be of no advantage to this nation, because as much as we lessened our coin so much would the exchange abroad rise against us . . . and it would be no good but put people and things in confusion’. He duly acted as teller against the passage of the bill. Locke assisted Clarke’s campaign in January by writing his Short Observations on a Printed Paper, which may have been prompted by Clarke, who had sent his friend a copy of the tract to which it replied. Locke certainly authorized Clarke to make use of his work as he saw fit. Clarke in return was helpful over the private concerns of Locke’s friends. He steered through the House a bill to convey land in Fulham owned by the bishop of London to the Earl of Monmouth, and assisted in the private concerns of Locke’s host at Oates, Sir Francis Masham.23
One of Clarke’s first actions of the 1692–3 session had been to obtain leave on 11 Nov. 1692 to present a new elections bill. He duly did so two days later and subsequently guided its passage through the House, carrying it up to the Lords on 28 Feb. 1693, where it was nevertheless defeated. Clarke’s main preoccupation in the session, however, was the conduct of the war and the mismanagement of the navy. Notes, apparently for a speech, suggest that he contributed to the debate on 11 Nov. in defence of Edward Russell*, evidence of his readiness to defend members of the future Junto. On 19 Nov. he was one of the MPs who wanted to question Sir John Ashby further about the conduct of the fleet after La Hogue and four days later upheld the Court’s position about the conduct of foreign generals. At the same time he attacked the organization of the failed descent and the transportation provision, a speech aimed at George Churchill*. Clarke was prepared to believe that all the accusations against Churchill were true ‘if the objections [we]re not answered’ and on 30 Nov. attacked the ‘great mistakes’ in the orders given the navy.24
When the debate on the descent was resumed on 5 Dec. 1692 Clarke seconded Yonge’s motion for the House to decide on whom to ‘fix this fault’, a deliberate attempt to undermine the position of Secretary Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), against whom Clarke made a number of notes and draft resolutions. When Nottingham counter-attacked, the Whigs responded with an abjuration bill and Clarke and Yonge again worked in tandem on its promotion, speaking and acting as tellers on 14 Dec. in favour of its committal. Indeed, a document in Clarke’s hand suggests that it was he who was responsible for the insertion of the oath acknowledging that William and Mary were ‘the only lawful and rightful King and Queen’. Since Somers had drafted the bill, Clarke’s involvement in this and in the attacks on Nottingham confirm his close alliance with the ministerial Whigs, while his frequent alliance with Yonge suggests that the ‘college’ was already operating to effect on the floor of the House.25
The 1692–3 session also witnessed the emergence of Clarke as an energetic constituency MP. On 14 Nov. 1692 he ‘took notice that several Members were abroad upon other services’ and that their constituents were not represented. He was accordingly named to the committee of inquiry established to search for relevant precedents and on 8 Mar. proposed ‘that if any person shall accept of any place or employment that requires his attendance from the service of this House new writs shall go to choose other persons in their places’. Clarke was also specifically concerned to promote his local economy. He was no novice about how this should be done, for in October 1691 the mayor of Taunton had written to him ‘in the name of the whole town to acquaint you of the unavoidable ruin of our trade if the woollen manufactures be not some way stopped in Ireland’; the town sought the expansion of the Irish linen industry instead, since that would leave the market clear for English woollens while also damaging French interests. Later that year a joint letter from Taunton had also praised Clarke for his
great care and pains in prosecuting all public and private business for us [and] also for your favour of communicating the same to us. We have daily letters and application made unto us from Londoners to desire us to write to you [that] if possible a clause might be inserted in the bill ag[ain]st hawkers and pedlars to prevent their travelling w[i]th horse packs as well as foot and that they may be bound within the compass of their own towns or markets.26
Mounting local pressure for action may thus explain some of Clarke’s activity in 1692–3. On 24 Nov. 1692 Clarke presented a petition from the Blackwell Hall factors against the bill for encouraging woollen manufactures and on 1 Dec. he acted as teller in favour of referring a petition from Gloucestershire clothiers to the committee examining the cloth dealers’ petition. The following day he presented a further petition from the clothiers of Wiltshire and Somerset and on 15 Feb. 1693 was teller on a motion about the decay of the wool trade in towns. Five days before, he had tried unsuccessfully to have a clause inserted in a revived bill for the export of wool to allow the import of wool from Ireland to Bridgwater, though even without his clause Clarke was an enthusiastic supporter of the bill. At its third reading a week later he again refuted its detractors in the free-trade terms he had used about the movement of bullion: ‘it is very strange that an open trade and a free exportation of any commodity should not be for the interest of the nation’, he argued, since it boosted trade. Clarke and Yonge acted as tellers in favour of the bill’s passage, though they were defeated.27
Despite this setback Clarke continued to be careful to promote any measure that would encourage the principal industry of his locality. On 28 Feb. he thus successfully added a clause to the bill to encourage privateers to give them ‘a full moiety of all such ships as they shall take carrying wool into France’ (though he ultimately opposed the bill when the Lords amended it because he was against ‘allowing the Lords a power to order the manner of disposing of money’). On 11 Mar. he opposed a tithes bill that he believed would discourage the planting of hemp and flax. Local economic rivalry with Ireland also seems to have sharpened his anxiety about its government: he spoke at least twice about the miscarriages and discontent there, and on 24 Feb. was named to the committee drafting an address about the abuses of the Irish administration.28
The 1692–3 session also witnessed the start of what was to be a protracted struggle to secure a bill to make the Tone navigable between Bridgwater and Taunton. On 29 Dec. 1692 he found himself in the unlikely company of Sir Edward Seymour in opposing a petition from the Earl of Sandwich for a navigation bill which Clarke believed ‘would only benefit some part of Wales’. Perhaps in response, Roger Hoar* mooted the idea of the inhabitants of Taunton paying for the river project (and also at this time requested assistance in obtaining a house of correction established at Bridgwater). Clarke appears to have responded positively and promised to do all he could to promote it. Concern about local reactions may also have inspired a number of interventions in the House. On 13 Dec. 1692 he argued in the debate on supply that levying money by the poor rate was ‘very unequal’ and that a monthly assessment was fairer. He also favoured stiff penalties for tax commissioners who acted without taking the oaths and successfully moved to restrict appointments of commissioners to those rated as gentlemen in the poll tax. He supported an amendment to the game bill to allow every Protestant to keep a musket in his house. By the end of the session therefore Clarke had established himself as a Court Whig, vehemently anti-Jacobite but with an independent mind and a concern for popular and local opinion.29
Those qualities made Clarke useful to the government in the parliamentary recess. In August, Sir John Trenchard asked him to investigate those at Bath who rejoiced ‘at whatsoever they hear to the disadvantage of their Majesties’ interest’ and in November Clarke was informed by Hoar that clippers of coin joined with Jacobites in and around Bridgwater. But the significance of the period between sessions lay in the strengthening relations between Locke’s circle and Somers. Somers was clearly on intimate terms with Clarke, who informed Locke about the new lord keeper’s state of health. Clarke was also included in policy discussions about the reform of the court of Chancery and Locke’s proposal that he, Clarke and Freke should meet to formulate ideas to put to Somers was a further step towards the more permanent formation of the ‘college’.30
The activity of the ‘college’ in the next session is, however, less well documented. Clarke’s concern for the propriety of elections and MPs’ behaviour may explain his being first-named on 7 Nov. 1693 to the committee for elections and privileges and also his subsequent appointments on 21 Dec. to a free conference about the place bill, and on the 23rd to a drafting committee for a new elections bill. It was perhaps such activity that earned him praise at the end of the month as a ‘worthy patriot’. Certainly the King’s veto of the place bill alarmed him, despite his own position as an officeholder. Clarke had been appointed on 21 Dec. to a committee managing a conference on the bill and when on 26 Jan. 1694 Yonge proposed to widen the wording of the proposed address on the veto to include other public bills he found a seconder in his old ally Clarke.31
Yet Clarke essentially remained a courtier and participated in the rivalry within the ministry which expressed itself in the inquiry into the misconduct at sea. On 27 Nov. and 6 Dec. 1693 he acted as teller for motions pressing for condemnation of the Admiralty, at a time when moderate Country MPs were frightened off by the partisan nature of the attacks, indicating that he was first and foremost a Whig. This was also apparent in his interventions over disputed elections when he told with Whigs over Somers’ replacement at Worcester and on the franchise favouring the Whig candidate at Arundel and in his masterminding of the attack on two clerics who had slandered his friend Masham. Moreover, partisanship was clearly apparent in Clarke’s role in business relating to the East India Company. On 8 Jan. 1694 he acted as teller against the recommittal of a motion which signalled the opening of an attack by the interlopers on the company; and on 26 Mar. he was a teller in favour of adjourning the debate on the proposed loan from the company.32
Less controversial activity nevertheless took up most of Clarke’s time. On 25 Nov. he was first-named to the drafting committee on the bill for the registration of deeds, which he duly presented on 19 Dec. and later reported. Once again Clarke devoted attention to economic matters that affected his constituents, showing how easy he was with mercantile affairs even though he was a country gentleman. On 14 Nov. he was appointed to the drafting committee for a bill to encourage the clothing trade; on 12 Dec. he acted as teller in favour of bringing in a bill to promote woollen manufactures. He also worked behind the scenes, for in January the mayor of Taunton thanked him for his ‘constant endeavour’ on behalf of the town, especially in ‘getting one company of soldiers to be removed from us and procuring money for payment of their quarters’, and was appreciative of Clarke’s ‘pious inclination of helping the poor’. At the end of the session he was once more active in disputes with the Lords about amendments to the bill for the recovery of small tithes.33
Whatever the nature of his earlier reservations, Clarke ended the 1693–4 session closely associated with Whig ministerialists. This is particularly apparent in his willingness after Christmas to aid the treasury team, acting as teller on 17 Jan. 1694 against a restriction on the land tax, on the following day in favour of an amendment to the land tax bill and again on 14 Feb. in favour of a motion about the consideration of ways and means. Six days later he was a teller once more on a motion in favour of retaining a clause in the supply bill relating to rock salt and again on 5 Apr. in favour of discounts for lump-sum payments of the poll tax. Such activity may have been designed to advertise his usefulness to the emerging new ministry but it may also have been a response to overtures made to him. Certainly, even while Parliament sat it was reported that he expected to be made an excise commissioner and Francis Gwyn* was to sneer, when their appointments to office were confirmed in August, that Clarke and Yonge ‘at least had their bargain made good to them’, with the clear insinuation that some compact had been made earlier.34
Clarke himself, however, in private correspondence with his steward, protested in early May that the rumours of new office stemmed only from ‘the King and Queen speaking very favourably and kindly to me on several occasions; but I know of no such employment as yet designed for me as hath been reported’. Clarke owed his promotion, when it came, in part to royal favour, in part to Shrewsbury, who in June endorsed him as the ‘most acceptable and proper person’, and in part to his old ally Trenchard, who believed that with Clarke and Yonge in posts the King’s revenue would ‘be always well explained and the debate concerning it well supported’. It is clear that Yonge was reliant on his friend’s expertise, glad of assistance ‘in every step’ he made, but Clarke probably relied on Yonge’s better oratorical skills to convey their message. Indeed, a satire of 1701 jibed that Clarke spoke only at the end of debates ‘with a parcel of such knotty and convincing reasons, as made both sides call out, “The Question, The Question”, before [he] had a quarter finished’.35
Clarke’s selfless conscientiousness must also have counted in his favour. He had reported to his agent as early as 4 Jan. 1694 that ‘the fatigue of a constant attendance on the House, sitting so unseasonably as they do’, disabled him from attending to almost anything else and his devotion to his duties was paramount over personal interest. Such an attitude may explain his reluctance to accept a directorship of the Bank of England. An enthusiastic supporter, he subscribed £2,000 and had acted as a commissioner for receiving other subscriptions but, despite being chosen by ballot on 11 July, he excused himself ‘and desired them to choose another director in [his] place’. Locke was flabbergasted but Clarke refused to change his mind and the deliberate shunning of honours and status was to make him something of an oddity among the rapacious Junto Whigs. His diffidence may also explain why his career has never been accorded its due significance. His refusal of the directorship did not, however, diminish his support for the Bank. Indeed, he did not share Locke’s doubts about the wisdom of creating a ‘monopoly of money’ in the Bank and later made notes about how beneficial it had been both financially and politically, raising money ‘cheaper than otherwise it would have been done, tying the people faster to the government’.36
Despite their occasional differences, Locke and Clarke remained very close. Indeed, Locke’s ‘college’, with Clarke as its parliamentary representative, seems to have taken firm shape. On 29 Nov. Freke wrote the first in a series of letters on behalf of himself and Clarke, who from then on took the name of the ‘college’. Clarke lodged with Freke, who wrote the main body of the letters because, he explained, ‘Mr Clarke’s attendance in Parliament and at his offices keeps him so continually employed that he has scarce time to eat’. Freke believed Somers needed Locke’s ‘opinion and advice’ on a variety of matters ‘but one of them I take to be concerning a project for raising money this session’. Freke outlined the scheme Somers had in mind, and concluded that ‘Mr Clarke and I shall take it as no small favour if you would bestow some thoughts on this subject and communicate them to us’.37
Consideration of money led inevitably to the state of physical money and the need for recoinage. On 8 Jan. 1695 Clarke was appointed to the committee of inquiry into the clipping of coin and the export of silver. Locke published Short Observations on a Printed Paper in February in order to criticize attempts at a devaluation, but the ‘college’ was concerned that the members of the committee, even some ‘who should be chiefly concerned’, were ignoring its message. Clarke and Freke did all they could to encourage MPs to read it and Edward worked tirelessly in the House to put its message across. On 14 Mar. 1695 Freke reported that his friend had attended the committee ‘till he had obtained the resolution that the crowns and half crowns hereafter to be coin shall be of the present weight and fineness and then he left them to themselves knowing that when it came to be considered in the House that resolution would destroy all the rest’. But he was still unable to persuade ‘those that are chiefly concerned to take any care in’ the bill (see MONTAGU, Charles).38
Besides the revenue, the ‘college’ was also actively involved during the 1694–5 session on electoral reform. A draft bill among Clarke’s papers (though not in his hand) and apparently annotated by Locke, outlined in detail how returning officers should act after receiving the writ, how to conduct the poll and how to make the return, providing for penalties for failure to comply. For the moment, however, there was the more pressing concern of the bill to regulate the press. On 11 Feb. 1695 Clarke was nominated to the drafting committee and on the 28th Freke and Clarke wrote to Locke that although the bill, which was ‘new drawn very unlike the old one’, would be introduced it was unlikely to pass that session ‘for those that desire an act will not be content with what is reasonable’. On 2 Mar. Clarke presented the bill, which was ‘so contrived that there is an absolute liberty for the printing everything that ’tis lawful to speak’. The bill had approval from Sir Thomas Trevor*, the solicitor-general, ‘and several other honest and able men’, including Somers, and it passed the House; but it ran into opposition from vested interests, such as the bishops and the Stationers’ Company. On 17 and 18 Apr. Clarke reported the reasons offered by the House against the Lords’ amendments at the conference and in doing so encapsulated many of Locke’s ideas. However, as the chances of the bill’s passage faded, Somers virtually torpedoed any remaining hope by reviving the old Licensing Act for a further year.39
Hard work during the 1694–5 session on these bills did not preclude other activity, such as appointment to other drafting committees. Most revealing was Clarke’s attitude to ‘public’ bills. On 19 Nov. 1694 he was named as the sole drafter of the bill for the registry of land deeds and duly presented it three days later, but the bill failed to reach the statute book even though Clarke thought it one of the measures acceptable to the Court. He also thought the triennial bill ‘not . . . an unacceptable bill because we that are in their Majesties’ service come into the promoting it’. Clarke appreciated that the treason trials bill was far less ‘relished at Kensington’, but felt that there was ‘a great need’ for such a bill, even though the draft before the House was ‘not what an honest man would desire it should be’. On 8 Feb. 1695 he was duly appointed to the conference on the Lords amendments and among his papers is a list of ‘argum[en]ts to be used’ as well as the bill ‘and proceedings thereupon’. Clarke’s role as a Court manager – such as when he acted as teller in favour of imposing an excise tax – thus did not totally remove his independent stance on frequent elections and fair treason trials, but it did incline him to oppose the place bill, against which he acted as teller on 26 Jan., having earlier confidently predicted its rejection.40
Clarke’s office had nevertheless compromised his status in the House. At the beginning of the session there had been ‘occasions . . . to give Mr Clarke a rub for taking a place contrary to an Act of Parliament’, because the Tonnage Act included a clause limiting the number of excise commissioners sitting in the House and Clarke’s appointment had exceeded the previous figure. Yet having tied his colours to the Court’s mast Clarke had to recover from a devastating blow to his hopes of patronage. In August the Queen had received him ‘with more than ordinary favour’ after his appointment as excise commissioner but on 27 Dec. 1694 he wrote to his wife in tears about the Queen’s illness and her death left him ‘disconsolate’:
’tis an irreparable loss to this nation and all Europe and I have too much reason to say ’tis greatest to me and my family in particular than to most of her servants or subjects, having lately received repeated assurances of her Majesty’s grace and favour towards me and my children, of which number poor Jack is most immediately concerned, he being within a few days before her Majesty’s sickness promised some particular mark of her Majesty’s favour upon the next vacancy.
The tragedy prompted Clarke to express his strong belief in providence: ‘let us all submit with all humility to the disposal of that Almighty Providence, who in his great wisdom, does always what is best for us, and ’tis upon his mercy and goodness that we must hope for protection and deliverance from all our difficulties and sorrows’.41
Clarke’s identification with the Court ensured a vigorous defence of his Whig ministerial friends. On 6 Feb. 1695 he acted as teller on a motion to defend the Lancashire Plot witnesses, a further indication of loyalty to Somers in particular. On 22 Jan. he acted as teller against appointing a further day to hear petitioners against the Bank, signifying his support of Montagu’s pet scheme. But Clarke also went on the offensive. On 16 Feb. he was named to the inquiry into the abuses committed by regimental agents, established in the wake of the accusations against Tracy Pauncefort*. The real aim may have been to get at those whom Pauncefort could accuse of bribery, most notably Henry Guy, who was identified that day as the recipient of bribes, for on 26 Feb. Clarke was a teller on a motion which sought to strengthen the charges against the secretary to the Treasury and on 17 Apr. Clarke acted as teller in favour of Guy’s expulsion from the House. Since Guy identified his chief persecutor as Charles Montagu, it seems likely that Clarke took part in the latter’s campaign to flush out the remaining Tories in government, a view endorsed by his appointment on 15 Mar. to the committee drafting proceedings of the House in relation to the Speaker, Sir John Trevor, who was Montagu’s second victim of the session.42
Clarke’s own dislike of the East India Company and of corruption, together with his alliance with Montagu against the Tories, explain his election (with 96 votes) to the committee established to question Sir Thomas Cooke* and his tellership on 13 Apr. concerning bills of punishment against Cooke. Clarke made a number of notes about the evidence offered by Sir Basil Firebrace* and other witnesses; but he may also have scented a more important scalp, since a fortnight later he was appointed to the committee drafting the articles of impeachment against the Duke of Leeds (formerly Carmarthen) for his part in the scandal. On 18 May he wrote to his wife that he would tell her about corruption in politics and in the coinage when they next met ‘because the subject matter of them is not so proper for a letter’.43
Clarke returned to Chipley as recorder of Taunton, an honour which prompted a congratulatory address from the corporation and the town’s innkeepers who acknowledged Clarke’s ‘pain and trouble’ to serve his constituents. Clarke also spent £3 in July on treating the mayor and his aldermen at his swearing in, and such bolstering of his position in the locality stood him in good stead when an election was called in the autumn. On 3 Sept. 1695 he drafted a letter to the new mayor assuring him that ‘if your corporation and town shall think fit to entrust me, I shall diligently and faithfully serve them even to the utmost of my powers’, though, somewhat ironically in view of his attitude to electoral bribery, he still found it necessary to spend £60 in ‘expences in relation to the election’.44
During the summer of 1695 the ‘college’ intensified discussions about how to tackle the coinage problem. They met and no doubt discussed a paper, written by William Lowndes*, advocating a devaluation. Whether Clarke assisted Locke in drafting his submission to the Treasury is unknown but Lowndes’s private lobbying of MPs on their assembly for the new Parliament required the ‘college’ in turn to redouble its own efforts. On 29 Nov. Clarke was ‘deserted’ when he attempted to secure an address ‘to make clipped money go by weight’, even though the King had ‘commanded the courtiers to press that matter and if possible carry it’. At Clarke’s and Freke’s request, Locke began writing what would shortly be published as Further Considerations Concerning the Raising the Value of Money; but, he told them, ‘in the meantime you have my papers on that subject, which you may communicate or give copies of to all those who would be serviceable in the debate’. Freke assured Locke that ‘there is not one question in your catechise that [Clarke] had not asked in proper time and place’.45
The correspondence between Locke and the ‘college’ implies that the credit for the management of the devaluation issue should go to Clarke, who bore almost ‘the whole burden’ because others were unwilling, unable or too inexperienced to help him, though he was aided behind the scenes by Locke and Freke. This impression may nevertheless be misleading, for although there is little doubt that Clarke played a pivotal role in the recoinage drama, the sense of isolation felt by the ‘college’ was probably due to a difference of tactics among the ministerial Whigs rather than one of principle. The idea of a fundamental rift between Somers and the ‘college’ on the one hand, and Montagu and the devaluers on the other can be discounted. Clarke generally worked with, rather than against, the chancellor of the Exchequer, though the latter had a much more pragmatic and less ideological stance.46
The coinage crisis came to a head in mid-February 1696, when proposals to allow gold guineas to pass at a rate higher than the silver standard threatened to reintroduce devaluation by the back door. On the 15th an exhausted Clarke reported to his wife:
If I had not been quite worn out with an attendance of 13 hours together without stirring out of the House on Thursday last, I had then acquainted you with the result of the longest debate I ever yet saw in Parliament, the subject matter whereof was the then current price of guineas, wherein gentlemen’s reasonings were very different, as you may well imagine by the length of the debate, which lasted from about 12 at noon till 10 at night, in which debate ’twas generally agreed that unless gold and silver be brought and kept near to a proportion in value to each other, that which exceeds will eat out and carry away the other, and that unless gold be reduced to its real intrinsic value, as well as silver, as it has already devoured a great part of the riches of the nation, so it will certainly ease you of the poor remains of the wool and woollen manufactures, and of the silver likewise, and in a little time effectually carry away more of the treasure and wealth of the kingdom than all the expense both of the fleet and army together doth amount unto; and yet notwithstanding, the reducing that exorbitant imaginary value, which hath been for too long time past permitted to be set on gold all at once by a vote of Parliam[en]t, was thought to be of such consequence as to prevail so far against the arguments on the other side, that by a small majority there was a vote obtained in the committee and this day agreed to by the House, viz. that no guineas be allowed to pass in any paym[en]t above the rate of 28s. which ’tis hoped will prevent their rising higher; and I hope the true interest of the nation will soon reduce them to their real intrinsic value, for without that we must in a little time be all undone, and the nation ruined, therefore I desire that nobody concerned for me may receive any guineas at more than 21s. 6d. or 22s. at most.
He had spoken in favour of fixing the rate at 21s., and Montagu advocated 24s., a compromise figure which has been taken as proof that the chancellor sought a high level for gold and was thus at odds with the ‘college’. Such an interpretation rests on the assumption that the main point of the debate was to fix the rate for guineas. Yet Clarke’s letters to his wife and to Locke, as well as Locke’s reply, suggest that he was prepared to see a temporarily higher level than he wanted in order to establish the principle that the denomination of gold should be reduced from its current value of 30s. in accordance with the silver standard. The reduction of the rate to an acceptable level was a battle for another day. Indeed, in a series of votes between 15 Feb. and 26 Mar. the value of guineas was reduced to 22s. and both Clarke and Montagu are recorded as having voted for that lower rate.47
Clarke and his allies were therefore responsible for outflanking those who sought devaluation through an artificially inflated value of gold. Indeed, Locke congratulated his friend for fighting ‘so bravely’ and for having ‘carried the point about guineas and clipped money’; he believed that the nation was ‘extremely obliged’ to him for having saved it from ruin. Clarke may also have been responsible for the passage of the window tax bill, which helped raise the necessary taxation to fund the recoinage, since a draft preamble in his hand is among his papers. Locke was still concerned that people would hoard the clipped coin and needed to be encouraged to pass it by weight to avoid a stop of trade after 4 May, when the Coinage Act came into force. He urged the ‘college’ to consider the matter, though they replied that they did not think ‘a legislative way’ was appropriate. They did, however, in early April exhort all tradesmen to refuse clipped money and ‘employed some’ to lead Smithfield market. At the end of the month they made a third attempt in the House ‘to make clipped money go by weight’, but perhaps because the previous defeats had shaken Clarke’s credibility on the point, the motion was entrusted to another MP, who failed to act on cue. This incident may explain Clarke’s draft clause ‘for clipped money to pass by weight after 4th May 1696’ which he endorsed as ‘not accepted’. Nevertheless, the ‘college’ did secure an order from the lords justices to prosecute anyone who tendered illegal money and Clarke pressed for a ‘useful’ proclamation about clipped sixpences.48
Although money matters had preoccupied Clarke during the 1695–6 session he was also responsible for two other major pieces of legislation. On 3 Dec. he was first-named to the drafting committee of a bill to prevent double returns and presented it on the 6th, being nominated the same day to a committee to inquire into frivolous petitions. Both of these were measures on which he and Locke seem to have been working. On 19 Dec. Clarke carried his legislation up to the Lords, and on 20 Jan. 1696 the King passed the bill to prevent expenses in elections, which incorporated two of the major provisions outlined in the heads of a draft bill drawn up by Clarke and amended by Locke. More effort, however, was needed to push through the new bill to regulate the press. Clarke presented the bill on 29 Nov. 1695. On 2 Dec. Locke remarked that it had ‘been taken care of to the utmost and I thank you it is lodged and that’s well’. Locke’s correspondence reveals that the bill nevertheless raised greater clamour than its forerunner and that Clarke was ‘attacked on all sides on account of that bill’. The archbishop of Canterbury ‘treated with him’ about how to allay the worries of the bishops, while ‘the Dissenters are likewise alarmed and . . . deputed one of their party to apply to the Squire’. Clarke appears to have amended the bill to take account of the anxieties of both delegations, but it still ran into opposition from the Stationers and other vested interests. The bill’s failure did not, however, mean a return to licensing since a provision to revive the old act was rejected by the House. Clarke thus played a major part in ushering in a new era of press freedom. One other long-standing concern was also resolved during this session. On 7 Feb. 1696 Clarke acted as teller in favour of granting leave to bring in the Quaker affirmation bill and again on 10 Mar. in favour of its engrossment. Clarke’s tenderness towards Dissenters was again apparent in the ‘direction’ he gave for the circulation of the Association in Wellington, for which he was thanked by a Dissenting minister. Clarke immediately signed the Association himself.49
During the summer of 1696 Clarke urged his wife in Somerset to offer a lead over clipped coins, especially since, as she wrote, money was ‘the beginning or end of all discourses’. But it is clear that his high profile in Parliament over the recoinage had damaged his position locally where money had become very short. Indeed, the hostility was such that Clarke was forced to beat a hasty retreat from his own neighbourhood until tempers cooled: the story circulated that he had been forced to flee to a tavern for shelter from an angry mob and was then ‘conveyed out the back way’ to save his life. He himself lamented to his wife the ‘cruel separation forced upon us by the pride and malice of the most wicked and revengeful men living’, a clear indication that he believed the crowd had been deliberately misled by his local rivals; but he remained confident that ‘in a little time God Almighty will bring us happily together again in peace and prosperity to the confusion of those who, without any just cause, seek our ruin to the utmost of their power’.50
Mary Clarke was determined to clear her husband’s name in Taunton, particularly because she believed that the rumour spread against her husband ‘was the forerunner of another Parliament’. When visited by an influential Taunton alderman she
said I thought they need not use any such methods for that I had heard you say ever since they thought fit to make choice of you you had served them faithfully and honestly and had not failed to give them an account by every post during the session of Parliament and had not acted in any thing without their consent and as long as they thought to entrust you you would continue to do so . . . to which Mr Byrd answered he believed the town now was very well satisfied in relation to money and that a month or so hence they would all give you thanks, he was sure the most sensible part did already; then I told them I hoped that part would take care to set the rest right that they might not be ready to kill the man that would advise them not to take 3d. instead of 6d. I thought that was very hard, in answer to which some of the company said that if Mr Clarke had spoke what he said to some of his friends privately and not in the public coffee house they would have taken it more kindly and it would not have been so soon carried out among the rabble.
The letter shows how heavily public opinion could weigh on an MP and how invaluable a loyal and active wife was to resurrect a husband’s credit in his locality. Even so, when Clarke was prevented by a recall to London from attending the assizes, where he might have vindicated himself, she heard it reported that ‘Clarke the highwayman was ran away, which at first hearing indeed I thought they had meant some padder of the roads; but it seems it was a title they had given you for concerning yourself as much in mending the highways; but now I hear you go by the name of Standard Clarke’. Mary was even threatened that a rabble would be lured by a bull-baiting ‘and so come and plunder and pull down the house and frighten your wife and children out of doors and pull you in pieces if y[ou] had been here’. She also noted that ‘when I pay money they expect better from me than anybody being Standard Clarke’s wife’.51
Clarke threw himself into his work on his return to London, perhaps in an effort to forget his problems, for Mary wrote to him of her concern ‘that you still toil and labour so hard and will tire and wear your self out before your time for those that will not thank you’. But the effort was not entirely in vain, since Clarke had regained much of his position by the time Parliament reassembled. On 20 Oct. 1696 he described the resolutions to support the war and not to ‘alter the standard of the gold or silver coin of this kingdom, neither in weight, fineness or denomination’ as ‘a very good beginning and I hope a happy presage of a prosperous session for the support of this government’. He had even more cause to hope so because he was now acting as a parliamentary manager for the Court. On 29 Oct. he met with others to discuss how to handle Sir John Fenwick’s† accusations against the Duke of Shrewsbury and attended further meetings to hammer out a common line. He accordingly took an active role in support of Fenwick’s attainder, including the division on 25 Nov.52
Although victory on the coinage issue was guaranteed, the work was not yet over. On 16 Nov. John Cary of Bristol wrote to Clarke about the danger of a monetary crisis that recent votes on accepting milled money might cause: ‘I wish’, he wrote, ‘you may settle the credit of the nation for us to ensure the ends intended . . . [and] the little acquaintance I have had with you hath given me full satisfaction that you are an honest English gentleman.’ On 30 Nov. Clarke was appointed to the conference on the amendments to the bill to remedy the state of the coin further and in early December he supported Somers in attempts to encourage bringing wrought plate to the Mint for coining. On 31 Dec. he acted as teller in favour of the consideration of such a scheme, and on 14 Jan. 1697 was appointed to the committees established to investigate abuses in the Mint and to draft a bill to explain the recoinage acts. Although co-ordination between Clarke and Locke over these measures was on a much lower scale than before, they maintained a close friendship. Thus, when in January 1697 Locke threatened to resign from the Board of Trade, Somers spoke with Clarke to press his mentor to remain in office. Clarke’s attention was also diverted during the session by the Chancery case of Locke’s hostess, Lady Masham, which prevented him attending Montagu’s foray into the City to convince the directors of the Bank to agree to his new engrafting scheme.53
Locke is likely to have approved of his friend’s efforts to relieve the poor. Clarke received frequent accounts from his wife of the distress and unrest caused by the recoinage process and approved of her establishing a local serge-making relief scheme. But he also received letters from his borough about the dangerous situation and his own damaged political reputation there made it incumbent on him to heed them. Clarke was certainly being made aware of local grievances at this time, for on 18 Nov. nine men signed a petition requesting him to use his interest to prevent the imposition of a £200 landed qualification for candidates, which they described as ‘so unkind a dealing with the trading part of the nation and which will conduce to the breaking of the ancient privileges of the subject’.54
Pressures such as these may explain Clarke’s enthusiasm for measures to protect and foster trade, as he was named to several committees drafting such legislation during the session. He presumably favoured the bill to restrain the wearing of imported silks, though on 21 Jan. the ‘college’ sent Locke an account of the ‘tumultuous’ silk weavers who besieged Parliament and Clarke was duly appointed to the committee to investigate the disturbance. A tract was later to accuse Clarke and Freke of having deliberately stirred them into disorder. On 3 Mar. he acted as teller in favour of a resolution concerning the duty on woollen and silk goods. Concern to protect the domestic textile industry even brought Clarke in April into conflict with the Court and into the King’s displeasure, for both he and Yonge opposed the bill to increase duties on wine and textiles. Clarke in particular ‘had all along opposed the duty and shown the House unanswerably that it would be no supply and yet endanger the ruin of our woollen manufacture’. The King urged their removal from office as a penalty but Somers defended his friends, arguing for a distinction ‘between persons who had done wrong only once, through ignorance, and those who, in the whole course of business, were continually opposed’. The argument ‘met with so cold a reception’ that Shrewsbury felt it necessary to add his voice in favour of the pair, stressing ‘we are obliged (I am sure I think myself so) to stand by them’. They were retained in post but Clarke’s action shows that even the most loyal and diligent of the King’s supporters could deviate from the Court line when it conflicted with local and personal interests.55
Despite all his care for his constituents, however, rumours about Clarke’s activity in Parliament were once again used to damage his reputation, for in May his wife warned him that she had heard ‘that the brewers in London was so angry with you upon account of this malt tax that they was resolved to do you a mischief’. Clarke protested that there was no foundation to the story, ‘the brewers here very well knowing that I neither proposed or in the least promoted the duty upon malt, but upon all occasions opposed it’ and believed the story was promoted by his long-standing enemy Sanford ‘in order to have his former false inventions upon me the better credited’. Indeed, when Clarke finally returned home his wife planned that he should not
hurry out of Taunton so as you did last time, that the gentlemen may have time to pay you all the respect they have for you and pray put on a cheerful and familiar countenance and let us order the matter so as to go together to Nynehead and the neighbouring parishes and appear before all congregations and look them out of countenance after all their scandalous reports.
Mary certainly knew how to electioneer and in October she dined with Taunton’s mayor as part of her drive to revive her husband’s fortunes.56
Aspersions on Clarke’s reputation were, however, being cast at the national as well as the local level. In October he defended his actions as an excise commissioner by showing ‘how (since his coming in) the hearing of causes are more expeditious’, vindicating his conduct over Exchequer bills (to which he had subscribed £1,000 in May) and claiming that he had instituted a system of checking which excise officers had sworn allegiance to the government. Clarke found backing from Thomas Pelham*, who pointed out that it was ‘chiefly’ Edward who had begun a reform process. Clarke later made notes on Charles Davenant’s* allegations of financial incompetence, arguing that the increase in excise in the 1680s had not been due, as his critic claimed, to ‘skill and conduct . . . but [achieved only] by a stretching of the law and taking more than the King’s due’.57
Nevertheless it was the end of the war which seemed to offer the prospect of a revival of Clarke’s reputation, for, as he told his wife,
the conclusion of the peace has broke all the Jacobite-Tory plots and contrivances in the kingdom . . . the peace seems to have totally broke all their measures and even their whole party too in pieces for the present and I hope they will never be able so to unite again or succeed in any thing.
But peace brought about division in his own party, too, even between Clarke and Yonge over the standing army. As draft notes for a speech make clear, Clarke remained circumspectly loyal to the Court position, arguing that the militia and the navy were insufficient for defence against an invasion, as the failure in 1688 of Lord Dartmouth (George Legge†) had shown. Remodelling the militia was a work which he wanted to see
well done and when it is done shall be unwilling to have any other forces kept on foot, but till then I confess I think it necessary to maintain a competent number of well-disciplined soldiers, for I doubt we should not sit safe here long enough to frame a scheme to render the militia useful were it not for the disciplined soldiers that are yet in pay for our security.
Clarke’s fear of France thus outweighed his fear of arbitrary power and he believed the forces were a safeguard for, not a threat to, Parliament’s security. These factors kept him loyal to the Court at a time when many Country Whigs, including Lord Ashley (Anthony*) and John Toland, who had been satellites of Locke’s circle, were defecting. Indeed, in March he was ‘heartily concerned’ at the management of the disbanding of the soldiers, who he thought were in a ‘miserable condition’.58
Much of the first half of the 1697–8 session was again taken up by the recoinage issue, which reactivated the close alliance with Locke. On 30 Dec. the latter advised the insertion of a clause in the bill concerning hammered money designed to prevent the nation being ‘overrun very quickly with false and clipped coin’. Clarke replied that he would do all he could
to make such a provision as you suggest for the cutting and destroying of all base, counterfeit and unlawfully diminished money and for obliging the tellers in the Exchequer, and all other receivers of the King’s revenue and taxes to receive and pay by weight as well by tale, and do hope for better success than in the several attempts I have formerly made to the same purpose.
This time his hopes were realized. On 2 Feb. he presented the bill to prevent counterfeiting and clipping coin, which he carried up to the Lords on 14 May, though his attempt to have it committed to a select committee rather than the whole House had backfired on 7 Mar. when he was deemed to have ‘irregularly moved’ the idea.59
Locke also corresponded with the ‘college’ about provision for poor relief, sending them in February a copy of his own scheme with the recommendation that Clarke ‘might make use of it [if] it should suggest to you anything that you might think useful in the case’. Clarke, who on 8 Dec. had been named to the committee established to consider provision for the poor, promised to do so whenever he could ‘find ingenuity, honesty and industry enough to make a proper law for the putting it in execution’, though apparently those criteria were lacking, since he did not introduce the measure. Indeed, rather than work at a national scale, his concern about the poor seems to have driven him to promote local schemes. He was appointed on 6 May to the conference about the Colchester workhouse bill but most of his energy was directed into the Tone navigation bill, a project that would both encourage trade and generate profits for charity. On 7 Mar. the Taunton projectors thanked him for his ‘indefatigable care and constant endeavours to do all acts of kindness for the good of this town’, and enclosed general instructions for the bill. Five days later Clarke was duly named as the bill’s drafter, but he evidently believed that the timing was not yet right and although he offered to get the bill ‘framed and carried on as far as’ he could, he was unwilling to see the backers throw their money away. On 28 Mar. the projectors declared themselves ‘fully satisfied that the difficulty will be too great to get an act of Parliament this session . . . so we acquiesce in your former judgment of the thing and will wait till another session’. Further evidence of his concern about trade came in his nomination on 28 Apr. to the drafting committee of the Royal Lustring Company bill, the heads of which are among his papers.60
Besides sharing Locke’s concern about the coinage and poor, Clarke also shielded his mentor from the House’s condemnation of William Molyneux, Locke’s friend who had used some of the philosopher’s arguments in a book which attacked English parliamentary sovereignty over Ireland and which named Locke as the reputed author of the Two Treatises. Deeply embarrassed, Locke thanked his friend at the end of May for a promise of protection against Molyneux’s ‘indiscretion’ and Clarke was true to his word, though ‘some inferences’ were made from the fact that he ‘chiefly pushed on’ an investigation into the conditions in Ireland in order to divert the attack. Drafts of the resolutions against Molyneux among Clarke’s papers in his own hand, as well as notes on the offending tract, confirm that Clarke took on much of the management of the affair. Locke is also likely to have approved Clarke’s nomination on 9 Feb. 1698 to the committee drafting a bill for the suppression of profaneness and immorality, and Clarke’s papers include a manuscript ‘bill for the more effectual suppressing of vice and immorality’ as well as printed Reasons . . . for Passing the Bill against Vice and Immorality. Nevertheless, despite these areas of common interest, the bond between Locke and Clarke was gradually weakening as the philosopher drew closer to his cousin and heir, Peter King*, who had more time to take over the personal business that Locke imposed on his favourites.61
Clarke in turn was becoming increasingly preoccupied with party wrangles. Despite his profession of help to the Earl of Sunderland at the beginning of the year, he joined the hunting of the lord chamberlain’s allies. In March he was named to the conference on the bill to punish Montagu’s long-standing enemy, Charles Duncombe*, and there is a draft of the Commons’ statements to the Lords about Duncombe among Clarke’s papers. Clarke was also waging his own war inside the excise office, where Duncombe had been cashier. The ‘long feud’ there centred on a split between Clarke and Foot Onslow*. The previous year all the commissioners had been appointed as commissioners of the leather duty and were required to take the oaths and sacrament. Clarke and his allies duly qualified themselves but the others failed to do so. In 1698 a bill was therefore introduced to indemnify them, but the House refused to pass it ‘unless it were general’, prompting Somers to condemn it in the Lords as an attempt to undermine the Test Acts. Clarke said that he himself ‘would have voted against and opposed the bill if he were not one of the commissioners and would be publicly censured’. That he restrained himself is further evidence that he had become a fully fledged Court manager, assiduous in his attendance at important committees and even taking it upon himself in June to chide less experienced men for their ‘errors’. In July he was retained as an excise commissioner when others lost their places and was duly marked as a Court supporter or placeman in contemporary assessments of MPs.62
Clarke was understandably anxious to ensure his return at the next election and kept his horse ready so that he could ride to Taunton as soon as the dissolution was announced, though he told his agent that he could not meddle in the election ‘further than to tend my service’. His name appeared alongside that of Montagu and other Court managers in The True Englishmen’s Choice of Parliament Men, and it was perhaps because of this close association with the Court that the poll at Taunton became complex. Having tied with Speke in second place, Clarke was belatedly returned by the mayor, and for part of the next session feared a petition against his return from his erstwhile partner. The precariousness of his seat no doubt reminded Clarke of the importance of rewarding local supporters, and may help explain his devotion to constituency work, and to the promotion of the Tone navigation bill in particular, when Parliament met in December 1698. On the 7th the bill’s projectors wrote to Clarke thanking him for his care of the bill, the draft of which they approved, though with some amendments. They requested that it be presented at ‘the first opportunity’, adding that the bill’s main aim was to raise funds to build a hospital for the poor who had become ‘exceeding burdensome and like to be more . . . if some care be not taken’. Nine days later he was granted leave to present the bill, his prompt action earning him the thanks of its backers ‘for putting it into the House so soon’. They also informed him of how they themselves intended to lobby by sending ‘letters to many Parliament men to desire their assistance in passing the bill’ and that they understood that ‘those members that were concerned in the House the last session for passing the bill for making the rivers Wye and Lugg navigable promised their assistance for passing this bill, as a requital of your assisting them in that affair’, an indication that Clarke’s managerial skills had been employed to effect. The projectors also allowed Clarke to choose a ‘solicitor’ to ‘attend the committees’ and thanked him for having presented a petition concerning woollen manufacture, activity not recorded in the Journals but which explains his being first-named on 17 Dec. to a committee of inquiry into the wool trade.63
Two pamphlets among Clarke’s papers advocating support of the navigation bill indicate how carefully he co-ordinated the lobbying process. He presented the bill on 5 Jan. 1699 and reported it only 20 days later. The bill passed its third reading by a ‘great majority’ and Clarke reported how he ‘carried it up to the Lords for their concurrence and by my particular interest there got the bill immediately read and ordered a second reading’. Clarke spent some £40 on the bill and liaised with its backers to procure four petitions from the locality in its support; he also worked with Sir Rowland Gwynne, George Crane and the Bristol MPs. The bill’s rapid passage, together with the fact that he obtained the assizes for the town, reversed Clarke’s ebbing popularity in Taunton. On 6 Feb. there were 11 signatures to a letter of thanks which reported that over 40 townsmen had drunk his health and asked him to convey ‘their humble services to the Earl of Stamford and the Earl of Tankerfield [Tankerville]’ for their assistance. Clarke had evidently been busy since Lord Lisburne (John Vaughan I*) and Lord Sandwich had also all been approached to use their interest. In return, Clarke’s supporters promised to ‘endeavour to improve’ his interest in the town.64
Celebrations appeared premature, however, when it became apparent that some sought to put ‘clogs’ on the bill in the Lords, forcing Clarke to take extra care to guide it through the Upper House. He predicted that ‘the difficulties will be great’ but emerged triumphant. Twenty-three petitioners therefore thanked him for his ‘extraordinary diligence, faithfulness and ingenuity in preparing and carrying the same thro[ugh] both Houses of Parliament notwithstanding the great opposition it met with’, which included obstruction from the majority of Taunton’s corporation, though not, apparently, Portman himself. When the bill received the Royal Assent the news was greeted in the town with bell-ringing and rejoicing. At a time when Whig fortunes were ebbing at the centre, Clarke thus resurrected his political fortunes in his own town, to the chagrin of his opponents, some of whom now shamefacedly courted his favour and help. ‘’Tis remarkable the scene is much altered’, he commented sardonically at the end of January 1699.65
Perhaps to counter or prevent the reviving effect of the successful promotion of the navigation bill, the Tories sought to undermine Clarke in two ways. First, Sanford, who was a member of the Hamburg Company, promoted a petition to be presented to the House to request the encouragement of the export of wool to Germany, and Clarke’s friends had to counter-attack with ‘another petition against it’. An undated document in his hand, endorsed ‘Reasons for the free exportation of the woollen manufacture’, may have been drafted at this time, since it opposed any attempt to restrict trade to the Hamburg Company, which was condemned as ‘very arbitrary’ in its government and monopolistic. Second, on 2 Jan. 1699, as Clarke himself explained to his steward,
Sir Edward Seymour, having a mind to put (if possible) a flourish on [the] last cause of his brother’s party in the town of Taunton, offered a petition to the House from Mr Speke against my election there, which he well knew, by the standing rules and orders of the House, could not be received, yet their malice was such that they hoped thereby to have cast a blemish on me and my election, though they did well know they could receive no benefit thereby, but Sir Edward failed so much of obtaining what he designed against me that his motion was rejected and his attempt served only to expose himself and his party thereby.66
Despite this success, it appears that Clarke’s supporters at Taunton requested a further £60, on top of the £60 he had spent at the time of the election itself, to keep the electors happy. This ‘surprising news’ provoked a blistering response:
’tis a great sum and much more than I could have imagined my friends would ever have suffered to have been expended by me, considering all the public and particular services I have done for that ungrateful town in general, and almost all the chief and leading men of the town in particular; but it seems those services are now forgotten and I am now to be punished instead of being thanked by them and that I am now to have so considerable a sum of money taken out of my pocket for having been at so great an expense already of money and time in their service; these things if considered by men that would be industriously and well and faithfully served hereafter in Parliament and not betrayed by such as will always be ready to buy their favour and sell their liberty and all else that’s valuable to them would not be put upon me to such a weighty degree as ’tis and I hope the prudent conduct of Mr Frend and the rest of my friends in that town may yet upon [second] thoughts prevent the greatness of the expense designed to be put upon me . . . but (as matters stand) I am now in their power.
The success of the navigation bill had, at this stage, not been secured and Clarke was still in a vulnerable position; but as the bill progressed through Parliament his hand strengthened and he noted with satisfaction on 17 Jan. that ‘a good part’ of the £60 was likely to be returned to him. Resentment at the tricks played with election returns by party rivals, sharpened by a sense of the ingratitude of grasping, fair-weather electors may nevertheless explain Clarke being first-named on 6 Feb. to the drafting committee of a new elections bill and his subsequent steering of the bill through all its stages in the House. On 3 Mar. he was also appointed to another drafting committee, for a new bill to prevent clandestine elections.67
Although Clarke concentrated on the local consequences of his activity at Westminster, he did not neglect his other responsibilities. Work at the excise office had become particularly burdensome. As his wife explained, having joined him in London in the vain hope of spending some time with him, there were 800 excise posts to fill and all the candidates and their patrons were ‘importunate and troublesome to the commissioners’. Clarke reckoned ‘no less than 20 Parliament men in a day’ spoke to him ‘for some or other that they have to recommend [but] ’tis impossible to answer all people’s expectations’. Such a role did, however, increase Clarke’s usefulness to the Court as a manager and he continued to provide a government lead. On 23 Dec. 1698 he made a speech on the committal of the disbanding bill in which he argued, as before, that ‘the militia consists of troops and therefore an army if insurrection or invasion [was] no remedy’. On 4 Jan. 1699 he pointed out that a ‘standing army will enslave us but this [was] not the question’. He privately wrote that Parliament intended to leave the King ‘with a guard of 7,000 men only’ and prayed ‘God we do not soon see and feel the ill consequences of it’, an indication that his support for the standing army was sincere and not merely the result of Court pressure. The day before writing he had voted on the 18th in favour of maintaining the army and on 20 Mar. acted as teller in favour of amending what William regarded as an offensive address concerning the Dutch guards. There was also the defence of the Junto to be secured, by fair means or foul. On 15 Mar. Orford (formerly Edward Russell*) was, as James Vernon I* explained, ‘acquitted by one voice only and Ned Clarke, who was our teller against Colonel Granville, says he got two by an over-reach in the counting’.68
The punishing workload stretched Clarke to breaking point. Locke thought his friend had ‘scarce time to eat or sleep’ and Clarke himself admitted he was ‘almost worried out of my life with business of one kind or another’. At the end of April a concerned Locke told Clarke to ‘remember, doing of business will end in the grave and before [long] too if you neglect your health’. The prediction proved remarkably accurate, though it was his son’s serious illness that tipped Clarke into a downward spiral. The young man’s illness, he wrote, had ‘greatly reduced and dispirited’ him and he fell into a state of pious melancholy: ‘’Tis our duty to submit with patience and humility to the Great Disposer of all things, which I shall endeavour to perform, and constantly pray for His assistance, as I do for the continuance of the health of the rest of my children and friends.’ Returning to Chipley in the summer did not restore his own failing health and in September he set off for a rest-cure at Tunbridge, in the company of Freke, though the stay can hardly have been a refuge from politics, for Locke sent Clarke a letter to hand to Somers. Meanwhile, the clouds which had been dispersed at the beginning of the year were beginning to gather again in Taunton, where the corporation ominously made ‘new members’ and early in the new year rumours were being spread against him, ‘promoted by the clergy and countenanced by the bishops, to injure me’, alleging that he had secured a prohibition against a local schoolmaster ‘by my interest in my lord chancellor [Somers]’. The incident must have heightened Clarke’s anticlericalism, which three years earlier had expressed itself in a comment to his wife that he hoped ‘one time or other that sort of gentleman will find it to be more their interest to meddle only with their own business, than to be so busy upon all occasions in secular affairs’.69
Clarke’s activity in the 1699–1700 session showed a marked decline but he was still made use of by the Court and was recognized as a probable Junto adherent in an analysis dividing the House into interests. On 18 Jan. 1700 he joined with Vernon to speak on behalf of the Court to reserve a third of the Irish grants for the King’s disposal, though they ‘were pretty well rapped over the fingers’ for their pains. On 17 Jan. 1700 he acted as teller in favour of John Bright’s* election at Pontefract, and again on 7 Feb. in favour of retaining the wording on a motion to go into a committee of the whole on the state of the nation. The next day he told against the adjournment of a debate on the bill to prevent papists disinheriting Protestant heirs, a measure on which he had acted as teller as early as April 1696 and for which there are two drafts among his papers. Although the last of the joint letters from Freke and Clarke to Locke was written in March, Clarke was also still in contact with the philosopher, who in January asked him to warn Somers about the weapon which the Darien fiasco offered his enemies, and Clarke himself was urged to keep an ‘eye upon that business’. He duly made notes of the debate on 13 Feb. about Somers, which ended in a resolution proclaiming the lord chancellor’s faithful services, and it would even appear that at the end of the session the college ‘composed’ an unidentified ‘printed letter’ that vindicated Somers. Locke also exhorted his friend to defend Lord Bellomont (Richard Coote*), governor of New York, who ‘ought to be supported by all those who would not abandon the plantations’.70
Increasingly Clarke was forced to fight his own corner, as he found himself caught up in the attacks on his patrons. On 18 Dec. 1699 and again on 5 and 17 Feb. 1700 he submitted the excise accounts to the House, only to find that they encouraged critics to ‘fall upon the mismanagement of the excise and drive at putting it into a farm. They think elections are more influenced by those officers than any others and they would mortify Ned Clarke as a friend of my lord chancellor’s.’ In committee on 27 Feb. Robert Harley claimed that the excise revenue had declined ever since the Revolution, provoking Clarke to reply with a characteristically technical speech that gave facts and figures to show how higher excise rates had led to fraud and ‘forced people upon private brewings, adding to the people being impoverished by the war and the victuallers being burthened with quartering soldiers’. His spirited defence was also aided by a ‘tumult’ erupting in Westminster Hall directed against Harley, and although on 29 Feb. the committee agreed that the excise revenue had decayed, it refused to include Seymour’s clause ‘that it came by the mismanagement of the present commissioners’.71 Even so, farming the excise remained on the agenda and on 2 Mar. Clarke tried to spoil the design by moving a self-denying clause in the supply bill that no MP should be concerned in either farming or managing the excise, arguing no doubt from personal experience that commissioners, ‘being obliged to attend the service of the House, they cannot so well discharge the duties in their offices’. This fuelled speculation about his future role, with some reports suggesting that he was ‘to be kicked upstairs and some down’, but in June Clarke and three other commissioners ‘laid down’ their offices in order to retain their seats. Clarke thought himself ‘indispensably obliged to discharge his trust in Parliament reposed in him’ and the Post Boy declared that Clarke and his colleagues had resigned ‘like true Patriots’ who scorned such ‘profitable employment’ in favour of serving King and country. Resignation must, however, also have come as a blessed release. Still in uncertain health, Clarke was invited by Locke to go to Oates ‘to wipe off the fatigue of so long a service’ in the session ‘and mix some fresh air with so much smoke, some mirth with your chagrin’.72
Clarke had joined the ranks of the Junto, who had given up their posts to avoid further attack, but his health and spirits were never properly to recover. He benefited from the waters at Tunbridge in July but even from there he wrote his wife ‘melancholy’ letters and fell ill again in August, continuing in a poor state for the rest of the year. In November Locke wrote that his friend’s health would improve ‘if those strong principles of life which are in you were a little roused and excited’. There were family worries, too, in persuading the Quaker (and Locke’s friend) Benjamin Furley to accept his second son as an apprentice merchant and in finding a husband for his eldest daughter, Elizabeth. In June 1700 Locke suggested that his ‘wife’ marry his own heir, Peter King, but the match foundered in July when King’s father was unable to meet the contract’s demands. Nor was Clarke’s peace of mind eased by what was going on in his locality.73
By early June 1700 the Tory gentry were meeting to turn out any j.p. ‘they did not like’ and, as Mary informed him, Clarke’s decision to resign as excise commissioner was being misconstrued by his enemies,
for it was concluded if you chose the Parliament you had a pension from the King for so doing more than the income of the excise office came to, so that they will allow you no honour or credit for what you do, especially in your own country. I suppose at the next election there will be a great bustle again for fear of the Church, for most of the persons that I hear preach seem to intimate as if it was in much danger of falling into the hands of the Dissenting party as ever it was into the popish, and many are possessed that you are a meeter though I tell all that I hear say so that I have often heard you say you never was at a meeting in your life and that your father it is well known was a very severe man against them and you being a moderate man gave them such thoughts and that I must needs say this for the Dissenters that though you had done a hundred times more to oblige the Church than ever you did the Dissenting party, yet they was much more civil to you and yours and it would be very ill natured as well as ill breeding to be rude to those that was civil and kind.
Clarke was no Dissenter – he had been ‘sorry’ the previous summer to hear that Yonge’s daughter ‘had been preached into marrying herself to a Nonconformist parson that is worth little or nothing and without the knowledge or consent of Sir Walter’, an act that might have strengthened his earlier resolve to promote a bill to prevent elopements – but he certainly had a Low Church outlook. In 1698 he had compared repairs to his local church, which had left a ‘breach’ in its fabric, to attempts by the Churchmen ‘in another sense’ to bring down the national structure if they did not ‘become more moderate than at present’, adding that the ‘unnecessary superstitious’ rebuilding had been designed only ‘for the pride and glory of the priest’. Such an attitude was now an electoral liability.74
Clarke therefore had to tread warily when, in late August 1700, he received a request on behalf of the 1,200 serge and worsted weavers of Taunton for help in procuring an act either to incorporate them or to exclude ‘foreigners’ or women traders, who they saw as swamping the labour market and bringing more poor to the town. The trade was Taunton’s principal industry yet the demands cut against Clarke’s belief in free trade. Edward replied that incorporation would involve ‘a vain attempt to get a special act of Parliament in the case’, though he assured them he was prepared to ‘pursue in Parliament anything that may be thought by him and them proper for the relief of the poor men’. He received a letter of thanks for his ‘intentions’, but the representatives of the weavers pointed out that his answer was ‘not altogether agreeing with our interest’ and they continued to insist on restrictive practices. Clarke responded on 19 Nov. that obtaining such an act would be costly and to little effect and that an act to relieve the weavers would similarly fail, though he was prepared to try if they wanted him to do so. On 27 Dec. the weavers told him that they expected him to work with Portman to procure their act and also required his assistance at the sessions where they had indicted some for intruding on their trading privileges.75
The weavers held the whip hand because the election had finally been called. In December Freke notified Clarke’s chief local ally of the impending dissolution, ‘to the end he may prevent any of the electors of Taunton visiting [Clarke] at Chipley’, thereby avoiding any chance of forfeiting the election for ‘treating after the date of the writ, as I am afraid many will for want of timely notice’. Freke, who advised Clarke about this and other elections from London, also recommended that Clarke stand with Sir Edmund Harrison and assured him of the support of Lord Spencer (Charles*). In fact, the electorate entered into a ‘unanimous agreement’ to choose Portman and Clarke, who accepted the arrangement, promising to serve them ‘with that diligence and integrity as becomes a true lover of his country’.76
Clarke was active at the assembly of the new Parliament in securing the Court’s candidate as Speaker, arguing that if MPs really wanted unity they should ‘come over to us’ rather than propose a rival candidate. The ‘college’ was ‘very sanguine’ about the composition of the new House and the success at the beginning may have given a false sense of security. As the Junto came under increasing pressure, party politics dominated Clarke’s activity. He was named to several committees inquiring into maladministration, where he no doubt hoped to shield his Whig allies. But it was the attack on Somers that really stung Clarke into action. On 20 Mar. 1701 he was appointed to the committee to investigate the Kidd affair and the following day to the committee to draft an address to the King about the Partition Treaty, the two main issues being used against the lord chancellor. According to Henry St John II*, Somers composed all the messages from the Lords about his own impeachment ‘with the assistance of [Sir Joseph] Jekyll* and Clarke’. He also played an active part in the Whig counter-attack. On 6 May he was appointed to a similar committee established to investigate how seamen came to be discharged without pay, a move directed against an old enemy, George Churchill, and 12 days later to a committee to draft an address about the endeavours of the ‘ill disposed’ to create unrest.77
The party wrangling and the truncated nature of the Parliament inevitably squeezed more routine parliamentary business, though Clarke’s activity showed continuing commitment to long-standing concerns. He was first-named on 19 Feb. 1701 to the committee of inquiry into the laws regulating woollen manufactures; appointed on 1 Mar. to the drafting committee of a bill to set the poor to work; and on 10 Apr. to the committee to receive proposals for the payment of public debts and the advancement of credit. Clarke was still being lobbied by his constituents about local trade and the poor, who were, he was told, wholly dependent on his attempts to obtain relief.78
Perhaps as a result of the renewed pressures in Parliament, Clarke’s health again became poor. In July 1701 he was reported to be ‘much out of order’ and when he returned to Chipley he was ‘hardly able to hold [his] pen . . . by reason of excessive pain and weakness’ in his shoulder and wrist. When he recovered, he spent his time ‘in catching carps’. But Harley certainly did not consider him a spent force, for he appears to have drafted a spoof ‘letter’, dated 3 Sept., ostensibly from Clarke to Freke, in which the activities of the ‘college’ were made public. Clarke and his colleagues were alleged to have spread lies in print and to be about to revive the college’s meetings. Clarke was accused of having headed rebellion at Oxford and of being in charge of the distribution of The True Patriot Vindicated, a tract which attacked Lord Rochester (Laurence Hyde†) and Sir Bartholomew Shower*. Clarke’s design, it was insinuated, was ‘to make any Parliament impracticable’ and Harley’s propaganda, if it was his work, was intended to counter the Whig campaign to secure a new Parliament. The pamphlet sought to explain Clarke’s ‘melancholy’ in terms of the ‘ill breeding’ he had met with in the previous three sessions which, it was alleged, had made him ‘almost resolve to speak no more’ and turn instead to writing to ‘lay the new ministry as flat as a flounder’.79
Clarke received news of the dissolution from his ‘worthy friend Mr [Thomas] Hopkins*’ and was successfully returned again at Taunton. His health, however, was continuing to cause him problems, though Locke clearly thought much of the lack of strength of which his friend complained was psychosomatic, since in December he urged him to ‘bestir’ himself. Effort was certainly required to maintain Whig fortunes once the House had picked what Edward called ‘an ill chosen Speaker’ [Harley], but it is significant that Clarke hardly features in the parliamentary diary of Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.*, and that his activity was limited to his perennial concerns, though the presence in the House of George Clarke makes positive attribution of many speeches and much parliamentary activity impossible. Trading issues continued to preoccupy him, with appointments on 10 Jan. to the drafting committee of a bill to encourage privateers and on the 11th to an inquiry into the Greenland trade. Ten days later he was appointed to an inquiry into libels and scandalous papers written by William Fuller. Clarke’s days as a manager of the House were clearly long past, though on 29 Jan. he moved that Lord Peterborough, Locke’s ally, be heard in his defence over allegations of misconduct at the Malmesbury election. On 7 May he moved that sales of Irish forfeitures should be restricted to Protestants.80
Clarke’s relatively low profile in the Commons in 1702 matched his low spirits. At the end of January he wrote to Locke that his ‘indisposition and . . . constant attendance upon the service of the House’ had prevented him from writing, and although he rejoiced at the discontent of the High Churchmen over the abjuration bill, by 14 Feb. he thought ‘the conclusion of this session will not be much unlike the proceedings of the last Parliament’. The death of the King to whom he was so devoted appears to have sunk him lower still, for on 23 May Locke implored him ‘for my sake, for the family’s sake, for your country’s sake, not to neglect’ his health. Although some of the pension owing to him was now paid, nothing could compensate for the exclusion from Court favour that now became inevitable.81
Clarke feared a contest at the polls which, he told his steward and electoral agent,
I believe will prove very injurious to the town as well as prejudicial to myself . . . but am perfectly at a loss how to behave myself therein, I am sure I have nothing more at heart than the peace and prosperity of the town, but if both are interrupted and hazarded by mistaken judgments in the present juncture of affairs, I can only bewail the misfortune and must submit to the judgments of those who think their interest stronger in this than in the glorious reign of the great King William, but when ’tis too late I doubt they will find themselves fatally mistaken in the determination what will be made hereupon at my contested election. I shall submit all to providence and the conduct of my friends.
Despite his fears of failure, Clarke was re-elected, though his interest was insufficient to bring in another Whig alongside him to oust the Tory Sir Francis Warre. He returned to London in November 1702 in better health, and on 18 Feb. 1703 carried up the bill to prevent abuses in the manufacture of textiles. He voted on 13 Feb. to agree with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time to take the oaths of abjuration and relished signs of division among the Tories, comparing them to cocks ‘who though all of a side being left at liberty together fought with and destroyed one another’. Private rather than public matters increasingly preoccupied him, for in June 1703 the possibility that his daughter would marry King was again revived, though once more this came to nothing, ironically, because King was now wealthy enough to look for a more advantageous alliance. Disaster also struck Chipley, in the form of autumn storm damage, and Clarke personally, when he fell victim to a highway robber on his way back to London in early December: ‘but since providence has preserved my wife, my children and my whole family from any personal hurt’, he wrote, ‘I bless God and am thankful whatever other damage I may have sustained’. In the summer he had met up with Locke, who had been shocked to find only ‘the outside and shell’ of his friend, since ‘the better half was away and wanting’.82
Clarke rallied at the end of the year to meet the challenge posed by the occasional conformity bill and was in a ‘constant hurry’ as a result of his ‘steady attendance on the House’. On 7 Dec. he reported to his steward: ‘We have been so fatigued with this day’s debate and the opposition we made against the occasional conformity bill, which after many hours’ debate and a division of the House was carried by 223 against 140 of us that opposed the bill.’ A relieved and joyful Clarke reported to Locke a week later that the bill had been rejected by the Lords and he was even more gleeful, though with less cause, on 13 Jan. 1704 when he thought the address voted by the Lords so directly contradicted that of the Lower House that ‘it will be rendered impracticable for this Parliament ever to meet again’. Once again, Clarke’s recorded activity is negligible, though he was added on 11 Mar. to the committee investigating two tracts, having earlier expressed the hope that the new bill to restrain the liberty of the press would be thrown out.83
Clarke’s health suffered a reverse in May 1704 and Locke invited him to Oates to prevent him spending ‘too much time of persecuting’ himself with ‘melancholy thoughts’. Although the illness was protracted, it was Locke who died first, leaving his friend a £200 legacy, though the loss appears to have deepened Clarke’s depression. Forecast as an opponent of the Tack in October 1704, he is unlikely to have attended the House for the vote because of his state of health, being listed among those voting against or absent. On 29 Dec. his wife reported to their steward that her husband would ‘do nothing in his own private affairs neither great nor little but spend[s] his whole time in a manner as is enough to w[eary] out any mortal as is so nearly concerned for him as I am’. Clarke appears to have passed on the depressive tendency that he himself had inherited from his father to his own son, who in April drowned himself in the Thames ‘upon some discontent’.84
Despite his debilitated state, Clarke was re-elected in May 1705 and marked as Low Church on an analysis of the House. On 25 Oct. 1705 he voted for the Court candidate as Speaker but no other parliamentary activity can be ascribed to him with certainty. Indeed, when his wife died in January 1706 Clarke was a broken man. He was absent from the regency bill division in February and does not appear to have attended the next session, for in December 1706 there was a possibility that he would be taken into custody for absence without leave. Yonge had to write to his friend ‘earnestly’ desiring his ‘assistance in the remaining business of the session’ and both Henry Lyddell* and Sir Joseph Jekyll wrote in a similar vein. But the call to duty fell on deaf ears, for Clarke replied to Yonge:
If extremity of weakness and excess of grief and trouble may be thought a reasonable excuse for not answering y[ou]r very kind letter sooner, let that load of both under which I labour plead mine, and I implore the further favour of y[ou]r interest with our friends in the House to get my attendance excused at this time, since for over two months past I have been and still am confined to my chamber and mostly to my bed.
Clarke festered in a state of chronic depression until, fittingly, business of a local kind stirred him into his swansong parliamentary activity. On 12 Dec. 1707 he was appointed to the drafting committee of another Tone navigation bill, which he subsequently guided through all its stages in the House, despite ‘violent opposition’. He was classed as a Whig on two lists of early 1708.85
Re-elected in 1708, Clarke remained totally inactive in this Parliament, not supporting the naturalization of the Palatines nor appearing on the division lists of the Sacheverell impeachment. By the end of 1709 he began to settle his affairs, though he did not die ‘of a fit of apoplexy’ until 1 Oct. 1710 (the parish records suggest a date of 20 Oct., but that appears to refer to his burial), shortly before the poll at Taunton where he was once again standing as candidate. According to one report, his death saved him from the final humiliation of being ousted from his seat by the Tories. His will, dated 15 June 1710, bequeathed his estate to his eldest surviving son, Jepp, and his wife’s lands were settled on his youngest son, Samuel; each of the daughters received a £4,000 portion. Yonge and Freke were appointed as executors and also received bequests. Accounts drawn up shortly after Clarke’s death show that £17,460 was paid in legacies, including £9,000 to a trust fund, and that he owned almost £4,000 of Bank stock, £6,600 of East India stock, £2,160 of million bank shares, £3,000 of East India bonds and £1,700 in mortgages, as well as annuities. The total assets were estimated as being worth about £18,000, though another calculation put the figure at over £21,000.86
The contrast between the man of energy, dedication and competence who had to be restrained from over-working in Parliament in the 1690s and the sick, melancholic one who had to be chivvied into attending the House in the 1700s is very marked. His later torpor nevertheless appears to have been ignored, or tolerated, by the Taunton electorate, even during the Tory revival at the beginning of Anne’s reign. Yet Clarke’s rapid decline in health and importance after the turn of the century should not obscure his very busy and important career during William’s reign. Indeed, his papers and correspondence with Locke reveal a much higher level of activity than that recorded in the Journals, putting informative flesh on the bare bones of what might otherwise have appeared as the unspectacular career of a minor Junto associate. It is an irony that those papers survived among the archives of the neighbouring Sanford family, into which Clarke’s daughter married, even though the Tory John Sanford had been one of Edward’s most bitter enemies.
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Mark Knights
- 1. Som. RO, Sanford mss SF 4057, ped.; SF 851, notes on ped.; Locke Corresp. ii. 479; Harl. Soc. n.s. xi. 132; Sanford mss, Ursula Venner to Clarke, 10 June 1678 (Clarke trans.).
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1804, 1982–3; xii. 120.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 464.
- 4. Poems on Affairs of State ed. Cameron, v. 434; The Taunton Dean Letter (1701).
- 5. Info. from Bridget Clarke; B. Rand, Corresp. of John Locke and Edward Clarke, 8.
- 6. Sanford mss, George Fletcher to Edward Clarke snr. 30 Aug. 1668 (Clarke trans.); Rand, 2–8; Locke Corresp. ii. 511.
- 7. Locke Corresp. i. 453; Sanford mss, Clarke to John Buckland, 15 May 1676 (Clarke trans.); subscriptions at St. Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells (ex inf. Bridget Clarke); Rand, 13, 57.
- 8. Two Treatises ed. Laslett, 63–64; Locke Corresp. ii. 512, 600–3; iii. 77, 107; iv. 221; Rand, 15, 29–31; M. Cranston, John Locke, 319.
- 9. Sanford mss SF 1678(15), Braddon to [–], 30 May 1692; SF 3109, William Clarke to Clarke, 5 Apr. 1684; SF 1749, list of j.p.s, c.1689; SF 3928, Clarke to Mary Clarke, 18 Jan. 1680; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 178.
- 10. Sanford mss SF 3109, William Clarke to Clarke, 20 Jan., 11, 14 Feb., 5 Apr., 28 July, 6 Aug. 1679; SF 3074, Aldred Seaman to Clarke, 30 July 1679; Clarke to [?Trenchard], 2 Aug. 1679; Ursula Venner to Clarke, 23 July 1679 (Clarke trans.); CSP Dom. 1685, p. 54.
- 11. Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 17, 229, 243; CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 116; Bull. IHR, xlvi. 64; Locke Corresp. ii. 672; iii. 201, 455, 494, 501; Sanford mss SF 1084; DNB Missing Persons.
- 12. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 28 Mar. 1690 (Clarke trans.); Locke Corresp. ii. 664; iii. 603; Grey, x. 73.
- 14. Ibid. Clarke to John Spreat, 8 July 1690 (Clarke trans.); Sanford mss SF 3902, Clarke to ?Lockhart, 25 Aug. 1690.
- 15. Locke Corresp. iv. 148; Sanford mss Mary Clarke to Clarke, 22 Dec. 1690; SF 1678(5).
- 16. Luttrell Diary, 25, 75, 100; Grey, 206–7.
- 17. Locke Corresp. iv. 347–8, 358; Sanford mss SF 2765; SF 2891; Luttrell Diary, 128, 154, 177.
- 18. Luttrell Diary, 87; Locke Corresp. iv. 322, 339, 340, 343, 368; Sanford mss SF 1678(50).
- 19. Luttrell Diary, 117, 130; Locke Corresp. iv. 340, 373; Sanford mss SF 2928.
- 20. Luttrell Diary, 14, 50, 178, 198, 293; Sanford mss SF 1348.
- 21. Sanford mss SF 1678(7); Luttrell Diary, 110, 130, 194, 220; Locke Corresp. iv. 373.
- 22. Locke Corresp. iv. 564, 588, 603, 614–15; Luttrell Diary, 422.
- 23. Luttrell Diary, 343; Locke Corresp. iv. 632, 634, 643–4.
- 24. Sanford mss SF 1678(11); Luttrell Diary, 240, 257, 272; Grey, 284; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 732, 736.
- 25. Luttrell Diary, 294, 319; Sanford mss SF 1678(8), (9); SF 2935.
- 26. Luttrell Diary, 225, 472; Sanford mss mayor of Taunton to Clarke, 30 Oct. 1691 (Clarke trans.); SF 3087, letter from Taunton to Clarke, 16 Dec. 1691.
- 27. Luttrell Diary, 258, 282, 417, 429; Sanford mss SF 2755, draft clause.
- 28. Luttrell Diary, 440, 448, 454, 462, 476–7.
- 29. Ibid. 312, 339, 353, 444; Sanford mss SF 3092, Hoar to Clarke, 4 Jan., 8 Feb. 1693; SF 3092, Hoar to Clarke, 4 Jan. 1693.
- 30. CSP Dom. 1693, p. 272; Sanford mss SF 3092, Hoar to Clarke, 11 Nov. 1693; Locke Corresp. iv. 654, 672–4, 678–9.
- 31. Sanford mss SF 3092, Hoare to Clarke, 31 Jan. 1694; Grey, 379.
- 32. Locke Corresp. v. 27.
- 33. Sanford mss SF 3874, Aldred Bickham to Clarke, 22 Jan. 1694.
- 34. H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 126, 212; Harley mss at Brampton Bryan (Hereford and Worcester RO (Hereford), photocopy C64/117), Gwyn to Robert Harley, 23 Apr. 1694.
- 35. Sanford mss SF 136 Clarke to Spreat, 5 May 1694; Shrewsbury Corresp. 43; CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 186; Sanford mss, Yonge to Clarke, 6 Aug. 1694; The Taunton Dean Letter (1701).
- 36. Sanford mss SF 3109 Clarke to Spreat, 4 Jan. 1694; SF 2764; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Bank of Eng. pprs. 31.1.7, f. 146; Locke Corresp. v. 92, 107, 263.
- 37. Locke Corresp. iv. 769, 774; v. 29–30, 35, 40, 199, 200.
- 38. Ibid. v. 278–9, 282, 292, 543.
- 39. Ibid. v. 278, 282, 291, 294, 358; Sanford mss SF 2890; SF 3257; The Library, ser. 5, xxxiii. 307, 313.
- 40. Sanford mss SF 2980, Clarke to Lord Capell (Hon. Sir Henry Capel*), 4, 15 Dec. 1694; SF 2765.
- 41. Add. 46527, f. 22; Sanford mss, Clarke to wife, 25 Aug., 27, 29 Dec. 1694, 5 Jan. 1695.
- 42. Horwitz, 147.
- 43. Add. 70306–9; Sanford mss SF 3314, 25 Apr. 1695; SF 2702 minutes of proceedings, 25, 26 Apr. 1695; SF 2737, notes about Firebrace and Cooke; SF 284, Clarke to wife, 18 May 1695.
- 44. Sanford mss SF 1088 (1), address; SF 3305, acct. bk. 9 July, 19 Sept. 1695; SF 1089, on reverse of Ben Smith to Clarke, received 2 Sept. 1695.
- 45. Locke Corresp. v. 380, 415, 423–4, 440, 442, 469–70, 471.
- 46. Ibid. v. 478.
- 47. Sanford mss SF 284, Clarke to wife, 15 Feb. 1696; Horwitz, 168; Parlty. Hist. vii. 228–240.
- 48. Locke Corresp. v. 552, 561–2, 584, 590, 592–3, 620, 632; Sanford mss SF 3869, draft preamble; SF 2095, draft clause.
- 49. Sanford mss SF 3842, draft bill; SF 3087, Malachi Blake and others to Clarke, 22 Apr. 1696; The Library, 317–22; Locke Corresp. v. 471, 475, 482.
- 50. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 18 June, 18 Aug. 1696, Clarke to wife, 12, 17 Aug. 1696 (Clarke trans.).
- 51. Sanford mss SF 4515, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 18 Aug., n.d. c.29 Aug., 6 Sept., 9 Nov. 1696.
- 52. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 9 Sept. 1696, Clarke to wife, 20 Oct. 96 (Clarke trans.); Shrewsbury Corresp. 417, 418, 419; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 49, 149; Cobbett, v. 1008, 1056.
- 53. Sanford mss, Cary to Clarke, 16 Nov. 1696 (Clarke trans.); Locke Corresp. v. 730, 731, 751.
- 54. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 9 Dec. 1696 (Clarke trans.); SF 1088(2), Richard Snowe to Clarke, 6 Dec. 1696; SF 1088 (3), joint letter to Clarke, 18 Nov. 1696.
- 55. Locke Corresp. v. 755; vi. 81; The Taunton Dean Letter (1701); Shrewsbury Corresp. 479.
- 56. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 17 May, 24 July, 4 Oct. 1697, Clarke to wife, 20 May 1697 (Clarke trans.).
- 57. Univ. of London mss 65, item 3, list of subscribers; Cal. Treas. Bks. xiii. 14, 29, 38, 42; Sanford mss SF 2618, notes.
- 58. Sanford mss, Clarke to wife, 5 Oct. 1697; SF 3868, ‘For Land Forces 1697’; SF 3906, 12 Mar. 1698.
- 59. Locke Corresp. vi. 283, 285–6, 301; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 134.
- 60. Locke Corresp. vi. 328, 329; Sanford mss SF 1093 (32), (33); SF 3334, heads of a lustring bill 1698.
- 61. Locke Corresp. vi. 410; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 83, 93; Sanford mss SF 3839, SF 2909 ‘notes on the report’; SF 3166, ‘the Irish Pamphlet’; SF 1678(136), draft bill; SF 3877, Reasons.
- 62. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 456; Sanford mss SF 2095, draft; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/78, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 11 Mar. 1698; 47/21, same to same, 28 Apr. 1698; Cal. Treas. Bks. 1697–1702, p. 161; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 310.
- 63. Sanford mss SF 3109 Clarke to Spreat, 2, 7 July 1698; SF 290, diary of John Spreat, 28, 29 July, 2, 3 Aug. 1698; SF 3833, Clarke to Ursula Venner, 1 Aug. 1698; SF 1093 (27) joint letter to Clarke, n.d.; SF 1093(47), joint letter to Clarke, 7 Dec. 1698; The True Englishmen’s Choice (1698), 10–11.
- 64. Sanford mss SF 1093 (4), joint letter to Clarke, 6 Feb. 1699, Clarke to Spreat, 4 Feb. 1699; SF 1093 (14) petition, 8 Feb. 1699; SF 1093 (20), (22), (23), John Parsons to Clarke, 16, 23, 25 Jan. 1699; SF 1093 (48) tract, (49) tract.
- 65. Ibid. SF 1093 (3), (10), (11), Thomas Baker to Clarke, 15, 22 Feb., 29 Mar. 1699; SF 1093 (15), joint letter to Clarke, n.d.; SF 1093 (20), Parsons to Clarke, 25 Jan. 1699; SF 1093 (21), joint letter to Clarke, 30 Jan. 1699; SF 1093 (22), Parsons to Clarke, 23 Jan. 1696; SF 1093 (24), Baker to Clarke, 14 Jan. 1699, Clarke to Spreat, 28 Jan. 4 Feb. 1699.
- 66. Ibid. SF 1093 (2), Thomas Whinnell to Clarke, 1 Mar. 1699; SF 4511, ‘Reasons’; Clarke to Spreat, 3 Jan. 1699.
- 67. Ibid. Clarke to Spreat, 5, 17 Jan. 1699.
- 68. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Spreat, 4 Mar. 1699, Clarke to Spreat, 19 Jan. 1699 (Clarke trans.); Cam. Misc. xxix. 379, 383; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/157, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 16 Mar. 1699.
- 69. Sanford mss, Clarke to Spreat, 11 Feb., 3, 29 June, 30 Sept. 1699, 17 Feb. 1700, Clarke to wife, 5 Oct. 1697 (Clarke trans.); Locke Corresp. vi. 554, 607, 671, 683.
- 70. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 412; Sanford mss SF 2883, draft bill dated 1695; SF 2883, draft bill, n.d.; SF 4107(a), notes; Mary Clarke to Clarke, 15 Apr. 1700; Locke Corresp. vi. 771; vii. 20.
- 71. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 439, 448–9, 451.
- 72. Ibid. ii. 453; iii. 92; Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 22 Apr. 29 Apr. 1700 (Clarke trans.); Cal. Treas. Bks. xv. 96; Post Boy, 13–15 June 1700; Locke Corresp. vii. 25–26.
- 73. Locke Corresp. vii. 109, 129, 139, 187; Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 12 June, 6, 20 July 1700 (Clarke trans.).
- 74. Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Clarke, 1, 18 June 1700, Clarke to Spreat, 6 June 1699 (Clarke trans.); SF 3109, same to same, 7 Oct. 1698, Clarke to wife, 4 Apr. 1696.
- 75. Ibid. SF 1088 (8), joint letter, 30 Aug. 1700; SF 1102 (1), Clarke’s draft reply, c.Oct. 1700; SF 1102 (3), ‘state and condition’, n.d.; SF 1102 (5), weavers to Clarke, 27 Dec. 1700; SF 3108, E. Middleton to Clarke, 12 Sept. 1700; SF 1098, joint letter to Clarke, 20 Sept. 1700; SF 1100, Clarke to ‘Gentlemen’, 19 Nov. 1700.
- 76. Ibid. SF 3110, Freke to Clarke, 17, 24, 27 Dec. 1700; SF 1088 (6), Clarke to electors, c.24 Dec. 1700.
- 77. NMM, Sergison mss Ser/103, f. 64, acct. of Speaker election; Cocks Diary, 63; Locke Corresp. vii. 245–6, 251; HMC Downshire, i. 803.
- 78. Sanford mss SF 1102 (4), joint letter to Clarke, 24 Mar. 1701; SF 1088 (11), joint letter to Clark, n.d.
- 79. Locke Corresp. vii. 372, 426, 434; Add. 70295, draft; The Taunton Dean Letter (1701).
- 80. Sanford mss, Clarke to Vernon, 15 Nov. 1701, Ward Clarke to Clarke, 3 Jan. 1702 (Clarke trans.); Locke Corresp. vii. 523; Cocks Diary, 194.
- 81. Locke Corresp. vii. 549, 566, 617; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 1048.
- 82. Sanford mss, Clarke to Spreat, 23 May 1702 (Clarke trans.); SF 3928, Thomas Whinne to Clarke, 20 May 1702; SF 2091, Clarke to Furly, 18 May 1703; Locke Corresp. vii. 718; viii. 5, 11, 136, 141.
- 83. Locke Corresp. viii. 135, 145, 162, 163; Sanford mss SF 3837, Clarke to Spreat, 7 Dec. 1703.
- 84. Locke Corresp. viii. 283, 419; Sanford mss, Mary Clarke to Spreat, 29 Dec. 1704 (Clarke trans.); Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 544.
- 85. Sanford mss SF 3110, Yonge to Clarke, 24 Dec. 1706, with Clarke’s response; SF 3077, Lyddell to Clarke, 24 Dec. 1706; SF 3109, Jekyll to Clarke, 24 Dec. 1706; SF 3903, A. Clarke to Spreat, 17 Jan. 1708.
- 86. Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle box 74, bdle 8, newsletter 7 Oct. 1710; Add. 70421, Dyer’s newsletter 7 Oct. 1710; Rand, 72; PCC 242 Smith; Sanford mss, Spreat’s accts.