DRAKE, John (1657-1716), of Marsham Street, Westminster
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Family and Education
bap. Apr. 1657, 5th s. of Francis Drake† of Walton-upon-Thames, Surr. being 3rd s. by his 3rd w. Susanna Potts of St. Bride, Fleet Street, London; half-bro. of Sir William Drake*. educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1675; M. Temple 1677. m. Anne (d. aft. 1728), s.p.1
Ensign, Coldstream Gds. 1678, lt. 1685, capt. Sept. 1688.2
An officer in James II’s army, Drake left the Coldstreamers after the Revolution. What occupied his time before 1698 is unclear, but it is conceivable that he was the John Drake appointed an ensign in a foot regiment in 1694. As the uncle of Montagu Drake* he was one of the trustees appointed in 1698 to administer his nephew’s estate. Another of his roles seems to have been as surrogate for the family’s parliamentary interest until his great-nephew Montagu Garrard Drake* came of age. Thus, in 1698, when Lord Cheyne (Hon. William*) opted to sit for the county, Drake was brought in at Amersham by Sir John Garrard, 3rd Bt.*, at the ensuing by-election held in January 1699. Luttrell gave him the title ‘colonel’, but in the Journals he was referred to as ‘Mr Drake’ when he was named on 27 Feb. 1700 to a committee of inquiry.3
The same arrangement with Cheyne seems to have operated for the election of January 1701, but before Cheyne could choose to sit for the county, Drake came in as a replacement for the deceased Garrard. Drake was again appointed to a key family role, which probably increased his influence in the area, when he was named overseer of the will of his eldest half-brother, Francis Drake (d. 1701) of Woodstock Park. Indeed, Francis specifically instructed his own son that if he ever came into the estate of Sir William Drake, he was not to break the entail upon it without consulting John first. The election of November 1701 saw Drake hold his seat and he was listed as a Tory by Robert Harley* in December 1701. In the new Parliament he acted as teller on 20 Feb. 1702 in favour of leaving on the table the petition of Lord Haversham (Sir John Thompson, 1st Bt.*) relating to forfeited estates in Ireland preparatory to its being considered with similar requests. Six days later, he voted for the resolution vindicating the proceedings of the Commons in the impeachments of William III’s ministers. In March he presented the Amersham address on the accession of Queen Anne, pledging support ‘against the pretended Prince of Wales and all other your enemies both at home and abroad’. In preparation for the general election of 1702, he persuaded the widow of Montagu Drake to provide Amersham with ‘a convenient inn’, and undertook to repay the money involved in case of her son’s death. Returned in 1702, Drake made little impact on this Parliament. Although forecast by Harley as a probable opponent of the Tack, he in fact voted for it on 28 Nov. 1704.4
Drake appears not to have contested Amersham in 1705. No doubt as a consequence of his stance on the Tack he was removed from the Buckinghamshire commission of the peace. He was also out of the Commons when, as one of the surviving trustees of Montagu Drake’s will, he petitioned the Lords in the 1706–7 session for a private Act to sell lands in Kent (acquired through the Garrard marriage) to pay off debts. However, a document from 1709 suggests he was still involved in administering the Drake estates. Drake returned to the Commons at the by-election in November 1707 caused by Lord Cheyne’s ineligibility to sit in the House as a Scottish peer. On two lists of the post-Union Parliament he was classed as a Tory. Again stepping down in 1708, Drake was returned in 1710. He may have been the John Drake with over £500 worth of Bank stock at this date. Though classed as ‘doubtful’ in the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, he was a member of the October Club and named in 1711 as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. As ‘Colonel’ Drake he was given leave of absence on 9 Mar. 1711 for three weeks, but had returned by 4 Apr., when he reported from the committee on the bill for ascertaining and establishing the glebe lands and profits of the rectory of Gothurst in Buckinghamshire. Early in January 1712 ‘Colonel’ Drake was included on Lord Treasurer Oxford’s (Harley) list of those to be lobbied in support of the attack on the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†). In July 1712 he presented the Amersham address expressing hopes for ‘a happy peace’, which contained severe reflections on the Whigs. In the 1713 session he voted on 18 June for the French commerce bill.5
Drake lost his parliamentary seat and his electoral influence when his great-nephew, Montagu Garrard Drake, came of age in 1713. Drake died about 15 Dec. 1716, leaving no will, and letters of administration were granted in 1723 to his widow Anne. She later was provided with an annuity of £50 by the will of Montagu Garrard Drake, no doubt in memory of the services her husband had rendered the Drake family, for according to one rector of Amersham he did not sit in Parliament ‘out of choice, but to keep the family interest from sinking’.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. Surr. Arch. Colls. lxxvi. 94; St. Paul’s Covent Garden (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxxv), 1; Bucks. RO, D/Dr/9/10.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 289.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 68; PCC 263 Lort; Northants. RO, Isham mss 1604, John to Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt.*, 3 Jan. 1698–9; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 468.
- 4. PCC 94 Dyer; London Gazette, 30 Mar.–2 Apr. 1702; Bucks. RO, D/Dr/9/10.
- 5. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 176; HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 47; D/Dr/9/12; Egerton 3359; Add. 70331, ‘canvassing list’; Post Boy, 5–8 July 1712.
- 6. Hist. Reg. Chron. 1717, p. 4; PCC 144 Brook; Bucks. Recs. xiv. 293.