MORGAN, John II (1671-1720), of Tredegar, Mon.
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Family and Education
b. 4 Jan. 1671, 4th s. of William Morgan† of Tredegar and Machen, Mon. by his 1st w. and cos. Blanche, da. of William Morgan of Y Dderw, Brec. and h. to her bro. William Morgan (d. 1658) of Y Dderw; bro. of Thomas Morgan†. m. 9 Jan. 1700, Martha (d. 1720), da. of Gwyn Vaughan of Trebarried, Brec., 7s. (5 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. bro. 1700; uncle John Morgan I* 1715.1
?Sheriff, Mon. 1695–6; custos rot. Mon. 1701–d.; steward of Grosmont, Skinfrith and Whitecastle, duchy of Lancaster 1701–2, of Monmouth 1716–d.; ld. lt. Brec. and Mon. 1715–d.2
Morgan inherited not only his brother’s estates and secure parliamentary seat, but also his occasionally seignorial view of politics. Until 1710, however, Morgan’s activity in the Commons is impossible to determine from the Journals due to the presence of at first one, then two others, of the same surname. He divided 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 was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704: on a list of the following year he was identified, nevertheless, as a ‘Churchman’.
In the 1705 general election Morgan seems to have broken the prevailing consensus in Monmouthshire politics by putting up his uncle John Morgan I, ‘the merchant’, as his partner in the county election, a move interpreted by the Duke of Beaufort as an instance of the Morgan family seeking to ‘engross’ not only the parliamentary representation but political power in the county. Morgan may, however, simply have been responding to his uncle’s ambition or to a revival of the Beaufort interest which had pushed ‘the merchant’ out of his borough seat. In the Commons Morgan voted for the Court candidate in the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705. On 7 Feb. 1706 one of the Morgans was given a month’s leave of absence, and this may explain the fact that John’s name is missing from the list of those who supported the Court in the division on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill on 18 Feb. 1706. Alternatively he may have been one of the Country Whigs who voted for the clause. There is no mistaking the ‘Mr Morgan of Tredegar’ afforded leave of absence on 10 Mar. 1707. Classed as a Whig in a list dating from early 1708, he voted in favour of the naturalization of the Palatines the following year, and in 1710 was listed as having supported the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.3
The change of ministry, and of Parliament, in 1710, made life difficult for Morgan in his own county, where Beaufort was a potentially formidable Tory rival. In the general election Morgan had been obliged to abandon hopes of inserting his kinsman Thomas Lewis II* into one of the Monmouthshire seats and to acquiesce in an arrangement by which the county representation was shared between himself and a Tory while the borough returned Beaufort’s nominee. The following year a small purge of Whigs from the Monmouthshire commission of the peace gave a warning for the future. It is possible that, as a result, Morgan modified his behaviour in the House of Commons. In 1710 the ‘Hanover list’ had classified him as a Whig, but he was absent from the division of 7 Dec. 1711 on the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion. Of course, his absence may have had no ulterior political motivation: he had been granted six weeks’ leave on 26 Feb. 1711. However, his name did appear on a canvassing list drawn up by Lord Oxford (Robert Harley*) early in 1712, probably in connexion with the motion of censure on the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†), and later that year Morgan was himself added to the commission of the peace for Glamorgan, perhaps as a reward for having voted as the ministry had desired. He had also ‘stood neuter’ in a Monmouthshire by-election in February 1712. Whatever his position on the censure of Marlborough, old habits reasserted themselves: he was given five weeks’ leave of absence on 24 May 1712. In the next session he seems to have been more assertively Whig, voting as a Whig on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill. So too did Thomas Lewis, now his partner as knight of the shire following a further by-election, an indiscretion which at last precipitated open warfare between Morgan and Beaufort, the Duke sponsoring a Tory challenge to the two Whig outgoing Members in the 1713 general election and pressing in vain for Morgan’s removal as custos in order to undermine his interest (see MONMOUTHSHIRE). For all Beaufort’s exertions, Morgan was again returned at the top of the poll, and on 18 Mar. 1714 he voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele. The Worsley list, and two further comparisons of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments, classed him as a Whig.4
The Hanoverian succession, and, shortly afterwards, the death of the 2nd Duke of Beaufort, left Morgan in a dominant position in Monmouthshire politics, his personal interest strengthened still further by the acquisition of his uncle’s estates in 1715. He appears to have used his privileged access to the ministry not so much to pay off old scores as to consolidate this ascendancy. The returns he made for ministerial favour were not always commensurate with the benefits he had derived, however, and his support for the ministry was less than assiduous. Morgan died on 7 Mar. 1720, and was buried with his ancestors at Machen, Monmouthshire.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. A. Morgan, Morgan Fam. 17.
- 2. NLW, Tredegar mss 81/39, appointment, 23 Jan. 1700–1; Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 229, 233; Arch. Camb. ser. 5, ii. 361; T. Jones, Hist. Brec. iv. 305.
- 3. NLW, Tredegar mss 53/94–95, Beaufort to Morgan, 27 Jan., 11 Apr. 1705; 96, same to [–], 16 Apr. 1705; Bull. IHR, xxxix. 54; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 222; Party and Management ed. C. Jones, 47–48, 81, 83.
- 4. Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Beaufort to Morgan, 12 Sept. 1710, same to John Morgan I, 14 Sept. 1710, same to Mr Gwyn, 12 Jan. 1712, same to Ld. Chancellor Harcourt (Simon I*), 4 Nov. 1713; Hist. Jnl. xxix. 569; Bull. IHR, xxxiii. 226; Holmes, 480; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 216; Add. 70257, Beaufort to Oxford, 6 Sept. 1713.
- 5. Hist. Jnl. 570–1; Glassey, 259; Hist. Reg. Chron. 1723, p. 12; Williams, Parlty. Hist. Wales, 127.