WILSON, Daniel (1680-1754), of Nether Levens, Westmld.
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Family and Education
b. 8 Mar. 1680, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Edward Wilson of Park House, Leck, Lancs. by Katherine, da. of Sir Daniel Fleming† of Rydal Hall, Westmld. m. 1716, Elizabeth, da. of William Crowle, merchant, of Hull, Yorks., sis. of George† and Richard Crowle†, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1720.1
Sheriff, Lancs. 1727–8; freeman, Lancaster 1738.2
By the end of the 17th century the Wilsons had become wealthy landowners with property in Westmorland and the adjoining Furness area of Lancashire, though they owed their wealth in the first place to the success of earlier generations in ‘the then flourishing manufactory of Kendal’. Wilson’s great-grandfather had supported Parliament during the Civil Wars, and when a Westmorland by-election appeared imminent in November 1700 both his father and grandfather supported the candidacy of the Whig Richard Lowther† in opposition to that of the Tory Henry Grahme*. That Wilson shared such political sympathies was suggested early in his public life, as in 1706 he was appointed a Lancashire j.p. in a moderately pro-Whig regulation of that county’s commission of the peace. In October 1706 it was reported that his mother’s family the Flemings had resolved that Wilson should stand at the next Westmorland election, but in 1707 the objections of his grandfather prevented him standing at the by-election of that year despite the attempts of his uncle (Sir) William Fleming* (1st Bt.) to have Wilson enter the lists. No such obstacles were placed in the way of Wilson at the following year’s general election, however. Wilson, standing with the support of his uncle, had begun canvassing the county by January 1708. He was said to have made full use of the county’s justices to aid his canvassing, and his addition to the Westmorland bench in March by Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*) no doubt aided his cause. Wilson’s refusal to form a joint interest with the other Whig candidate, Robert Lowther*, reportedly angered Lords Lonsdale and Wharton (Hon. Thomas*), but he nevertheless topped the poll. In 1709 he supported the naturalization of the Palatines and the following year voted for the impeachment of Sacheverell. There was initially some doubt if Wilson would stand for re-election in 1710, uncertainty which stemmed from his father’s reported hostility to his son’s candidacy. In August Bishop Nicolson claimed that ‘old Mr Wilson thinks the weather is growing too hot in Parliament for him to venture his only son any more in that region’. Fleming was again keen that his nephew should stand, and at the end of the August he informed James Grahme* that Wilson’s father had agreed to waive his objections. Wilson was returned unopposed with Grahme, and classed in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Whig. Before Wilson’s election the Tory Grahme had expressed the hope that ‘if Wilson stands, his eyes will be opened by next Parliament’, but there is no evidence to suggest that Wilson wavered from his Whig loyalties. On 13 Apr. 1711 he was granted a month’s leave of absence. In the following session, on 10 Apr. 1712, he was teller on the Whig side in the division on the Anstruther Easter Burghs election case, and on 18 June 1713 voted against the French commerce bill. Re-elected unopposed in 1713, Wilson voted with his party against the expulsion of Richard Steele on 18 Mar. 1714, and later acted as teller in favour of issuing a new writ for Clitheroe (21 Apr.) and against allowing the South Sea directors to testify before the Lords if they saw fit (8 July). The Worsley list and two further comparative listings of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments all listed Wilson as a Whig, and he sat as such in every ensuing Parliament, save that of 1722, until he resigned his seat to his eldest son at the 1747 election. He died on 31 May 1754.3