GOULD, Nathaniel (1661-1728), of Stoke Newington, Mdx. and Bovingdon, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Dec. 1661, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of John Gould, merchant, of London by his w. Mary. m. lic. 1 May 1688, Frances (d. 1711), da. of Sir John Hartopp, 3rd Bt.†, of Stoke Newington, Mdx. and Freathby, Leics., 2da. suc. fa. 1695; kntd. 14 Apr. 1716.1
Freeman, Levant Co., 1689; dir. Bank of Eng. 1697–1709, 1713–28 (with statutory intervals), dep.-gov. 1709–11, gov. 1711–13; dir. New E. I. Co. 1698–1708, manager, united trade 1699–1708; member, Russia Co. 1699, cttee. 1702–d., asst. 1704–5, gov. 1722; treasurer, Eastland Co. 1702–4.2
Trustee, receiving loan to Emperor 1706.3
Gov. St. Thomas’ Hosp. 1719.4
Gould was descended from a family of wealthy Nonconformist merchants and, after being apprenticed to his father in the Levant Company in 1676, became a prominent City merchant himself, with concerns in many trading regions. In 1690 he made several loans to the government, probably to secure his interest with the administration since his principal customers were the army and navy. In February 1693 he was one of the wool exporters who signed a petition to the Lords protesting against the aulnage bill. In 1694 he was active in establishing the Bank of England, being one of those instructed to draw up its regulations, and subscribing at least £2,000. Gould was probably an East India interloper, signing two petitions to the Lords in December 1695 and January 1696 calling for a regulated East India Company. A year later, on 27 Jan. 1697, he appeared before the Commons as one of the Baltic merchants petitioning against the Russia Company’s restrictive practices. These merchants had been refused the freedom of the company and permission to trade from the port of Archangel in Russia, being confined to the lesser port of the Narve, for which they were compelled to pay an annual licence. The next year he was one of the contractors for the tobacco trade to Russia. Having become a director of one Whig-dominated City institution, the Bank, he was prominent in founding another, the New East India Company. He and his family contributed £21,500 to the initial £2,000,000 loan and he was one of the original directors. Indeed it was probably his concern for the New Company’s fortunes which propelled him into politics in February 1701, with the company anxious to influence the election of as many Members as possible in order to secure itself against attack. Gould himself contested New Shoreham, a venal borough with which he had no prior connexion. He was successful, but on 26 Feb. a petition from a number of the voters was presented to the House for bribery. Having seen the House’s determined pursuit of fellow New Company members for corruption, Gould evidently decided that resistance was useless and, before the case could be heard, submitted a counter-petition, in effect admitting the charges and submitting himself to the ‘justice and favour’ of the House, which discharged him from being a Member and ordered that no new writ be issued for the remainder of the session.5
Undeterred, Gould again contested Shoreham successfully in the second general election of 1701, this time surviving a petition, and was classed as a Whig by Robert Harley*. Ironically, he was appointed on 17 Jan. 1702 to the committee to draft a bill for preventing bribery at elections. Re-elected for Shoreham in 1702, Gould voted on 13 Feb. 1703 in favour of agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration and, having been forecast in November 1704 as a probable opponent, he did not vote for the Tack on 28 Nov. He continued to contract with the navy and between 1703 and 1705 he and his partner acted as commissioners to supply pitch and tar at 2 per cent commission. He successfully contested Shoreham again in 1705, and was classed as Low Church in an analysis of this Parliament. He voted on 25 Oct. 1705 for the Court candidate in the division on the Speaker. In 1708 he was twice listed as a Whig, although he was defeated at Shoreham both in the general election of that year and a by-election in the following December.6
Listed as owning Bank stock worth at least £4,000 in March 1710, Gould was one of four leading Bank members who during the summer of that year were involved in unsuccessful Whig manoeuvres to forestall the impending change of ministry. After one meeting with the Duke of Devonshire (William Cavendish*) and the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†) in which they requested that the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) not be dismissed, the Bank representatives put their case directly to Queen Anne on 15 June, although this time, as Sunderland had now been replaced by Lord Dartmouth, they desired that the Queen
make no further alterations in the ministry which must affect so much all the public credit, to which she replied, as they told me themselves, that she would do everything for the ease and quiet of her subjects and would make no further changes: so that there will be no danger of a dissolution.
In fact a dissolution took place a few months later, Gould being returned for Shoreham and surviving a petition. He was incorrectly classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the new Parliament, and was included on the committee ordered to draft a bill enabling the Bank of England to exchange Exchequer bills for specie upon demand (21 Feb. 1711). Also in April, he was the successful candidate for the governorship of the Bank, when the Whigs beat off an attempt by Harley to secure the election of ministerial nominees. An investor in the South Sea Company himself, Gould voted on 25 May against the Court amendment to the South Sea bill. In the next session of Parliament, Gould supported the motion of ‘No Peace without Spain’, moved on 8 May 1712 that the commissioners of customs lay before the House an account of the gross produce of the duties on wool, and acted on 27 May as a teller on a private bill. In 1713 he opposed the treaty of commerce with France, acting as a teller on 6 May in favour of adjourning the debate on a proposed two months’ suspension of the duties on French wines (being duly listed as voting against these on the same day), and speaking three times against the bill to confirm the 8th and 9th articles of the French commercial treaty, notably on 14 May when he argued that trade restrictions had resulted in England developing its own industry, so that ‘an infinite number of artificers . . . would be reduced to beggary’ if restrictions were lifted, and the wine trade with Portugal, which he claimed was now the most valuable branch of English trade, would be lost. On 4 June he made another ‘fine speech’ in which he ‘endeavoured to show how prejudicial a trade with France would be to our woollen and silk manufactures’, and voted against the third reading of the bill on 18 June. He was also named to the committee to draft a bill for the repair of Enfield highway (6 May 1713).7
Gould was returned for Shoreham again in 1713, voting against the expulsion of Richard Steele in March 1714. In 1714 he miscalculated in his attempt to be elected as chairman of the East India Company, being defeated by the Tory, Sir Charles Peers. One hostile observer claimed that Gould ‘did think himself so fine that he did not think it worth his while to speak to anybody’. He signed the proclamation of George I and was classed as a Whig in the Worsley list and two other lists comparing the 1715 Parliament with that of 1713. He continued to sit as a Whig until his death on 21 July 1728.8
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Paula Watson / Sonya Wynne
- 1. R. S. Boddington, Ped. of the Fam. of Gould.
- 2. Info. from Dr P. L. Gauci; N. and Q. clxxix. 57–58; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 485; info. from Prof. H. G. Horwitz; Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. li. 106.
- 3. Boyer, Anne Annals, iv. 126.
- 4. J. Aubrey, Surr. , v. 314.
- 5. Info. from Dr Gauci; J. Ehrman, Navy in War of Wm. III, 59–65; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 544, 1994–5; xi. 416; xvi. 229; HMC Lords, iv. 340–1; n.s. ii. 33; Luttrell, iii. 357; DZA, Bonet despatch 6/16 July 1694; Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. 106; CJ, xi. 675; EHR, lxxi. 230.
- 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. xix. 7, 106, 139; xx. 30.
- 7. Egerton 3359 (unfol.); HMC Portland, iv. 545; Huntington Lib. Q. iii. 230; Boyer, ix. 231–2; Hist. Jnl. iv. 195; Boyer, Pol. State, i–ii. 264; Cobbett, vi. 1212; Chandler, v. 22, 40, 41.
- 8. Boyer, Pol. State, viii. 117; Add. 70273, Matthew Decker* to [Thomas Harley*], 16/27 Apr. 1714.