MORGAN, Thomas (1664-1700), of Tredegar, Mon.
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Family and Education
b. 7 Sept. 1664, 1st s. of William Morgan† of Tredegar; bro. of John Morgan II*. educ. travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1682–4. m. lic. 3 Mar. 1682 (with £10,000), Martha, da. of Sir Edward Mansel, 4th Bt.†, of Margam Abbey, Glam. and Soho Square, Westminster, sis. of Thomas Mansel I*, 2s. 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1680.1
Sheriff, Mon. Nov. 1688–Mar. 1689, custos rot. 1695–d.; steward of Monmouth, duchy of Lancaster 1697–d.
Although a staunch Whig on fundamental issues, ‘the great Morgan’ was no bigoted partisan, a rent-roll of over £6,000 p.a. affording him a degree of detachment, more particularly in the early years after the Revolution. He had not been active in the Convention, and was not listed as supporting the disabling clause in the corporations bill. He seems also to have ignored the pleas of Sir Rowland Gwynne* at the 1690 general election to exercise his powerful interest where it was most needed in the struggle for an ‘honest’ Parliament, in Brecon, transferring instead to one of the county seats for Monmouthshire, where he was chosen with the Tory Lord Worcester (Charles Somerset*). The staunch Whig Lady Kemys considered him no longer a ‘tolerable Parliament-man’, for, in her view, he had ‘lost his old bias’. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) was even able to list him as a Tory and possibly a Court supporter in March 1690, and he appeared on another of Carmarthen’s lists drawn up the following December, probably in connexion with the projected attack on the Marquess in the Commons. The following April Robert Harley* classified Morgan as a member of the ‘Country’ opposition, but Grascome’s list of 1693 noted him as an adherent of the Court.2
The 1695 election promised at one stage a contest in Monmouthshire, with Morgan and the ex-Tory turned Court Whig Sir Charles Kemys, 3rd Bt.*, faced with a High Tory challenge. Significantly, the agreement, which headed off conflict by providing for the contending parties to serve in rotation in successive Parliaments, did not affect Morgan, whose position was so strong that his permanent presence as knight of the shire was accepted by all sides. Listed as likely to support the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, he signed the Association promptly. For the most part, his activities in this Parliament are impossible to distinguish from those of Anthony and James Morgan. However, the ‘Mr Morgan’ given leave of absence on 24 Nov. 1696, following the death of his wife, may well have been Thomas, since his name is missing from the list of the vote the next day on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, while those of his two namesakes are included.3
In 1698 Morgan was not only returned again in Monmouthshire, but for Brecon as well, where he was obliged to make a stand against the increasingly powerful interest of Jeffrey Jeffreys*. The presentation of a petition from Jeffreys prevented his opting to sit for the county, and possibly bringing in John Arnold* or John Dutton Colt* for the borough. Indeed the petition was not heard in committee until February 1700 and even then not reported. Morgan was marked as a supporter of the Court in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments, but was neither forecast as likely to oppose a standing army nor blacklisted as having voted for one in the division of 18 Jan. 1699. ‘Morgan of Tredegar’ was present in the House on 26 Nov. 1699 when Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.*, expected him, erroneously as it turned out, to second a motion attacking the master of the rolls, Sir John Trevor*. An analysis of the Commons in early 1700 listed him as in the interest of the Junto. Morgan died of smallpox on 16 Dec. 1700, nine months after his last surviving son. The estate, said now to be worth £7,000 p.a., thus passed to his brother John Morgan II*.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. DWB, 636; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxx), 94; Cat. Penrice and Margam Mss, ser. 4, i. 28–30, 33; A. Morgan, Morgan Fam. 16–17.
- 2. Cocks Diary, 18; Agrarian Hist. Eng. and Wales ed. Thirsk, v(2), p. 296; NLW, Penrice and Margam mss L1385, Gwynne to Morgan, ; NLW, Kemeys-Tynte mss, Lady Kemys to Sir Charles Kemys, 11 Mar. 1690.
- 3. Kemeys-Tynte mss 252, E. Perkins to Morgan, 1 Nov. 1695; 384, Arnold to Kemys, 10 Jan. 1700[–1].
- 4. Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 615, 623, 719; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 152; Cocks Diary, 37; HMC Portland, iii. 639.