PHILIPPS, John (1700-64), of Picton Castle, Pemb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1741 - 1747
9 Dec. 1754 - 1761
1761 - 23 June 1764

Family and Education

b. 8 Nov. 1700, 2nd s. of Sir John Philipps, 4th Bt., and bro. of Erasmus Philipps. educ. Pembroke, Oxf. 1720; L. Inn 1721, called 1727. m. 22 Sept. 1725, Elizabeth, da. of Henry Shepherd of London, 1s. 3da. suc. bro. as 6th Bt. 15 Oct. 1743.

Offices Held

Ld. of Trade Dec. 1744-Mar. 1745; custos rot. Haverfordwest 1761-d.; P.C. 10 Jan. 1763.


In early life Philipps was on good terms with his cousins, the Walpoles, whom he presented with a genealogical table showing their joint descent from Cadwalader. Perhaps because, as Horace Walpole hints, he was given no place, he turned to opposition, becoming ‘a very zealous and active Jacobite’1 and president of the Society of Sea Serjeants, a Jacobite organization in South Wales. Returned for Carmarthen by the Tory corporation in 1741, he soon became one of the principal Tory speakers in Parliament. On 19 Feb. 1742 he attempted to defer the granting of supply pending redress of existing grievances; on 9 Mar. he supported a motion for a secret committee of inquiry into the last twenty years of Walpole’s Administration; and on 29 Apr. he led the attack against the transfer of 4,000 troops from Ireland into England to replace those sent to Flanders. At the end of the year he supported a place bill. He spoke against the Hanoverians in 1742 and 1744, and was one of the ‘anti-ministerial cabinet’ formed in December 1743 to co-ordinate the actions of the Opposition in the following session.2 On 24 Feb. 1744 he opposed an increase in land and naval forces against a threatened French invasion to restore the Stuarts. Four days later he opposed the arrest of Lord Barrymore before the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, attempting the next day to defer its suspension.

On the formation of the Broad-bottom Administration in December 1744 Philipps was made a lord of Trade. But, ‘resolved to give us an early specimen that he would be as troublesome a placeman as a patriot’, on 23 Jan. 1745 he supported an amendment delaying the supply for the Ordnance. Next month he again opposed the supply and spoke against the grant of two short months’ pay to the Hanoverians. On 20 Mar. he opposed a grant for the transport of the Dutch troops sent over during the invasion scare of 1744 and spoke against the Saxon subsidy.3 At the end of the month he resigned his place on the board of Trade. In June he spoke in favour of annual parliaments. When Parliament was re-called during the Forty-five, he attempted to attach to the Address a clause demanding shorter parliaments and a diminution of governmental influence in elections,4 and made strenuous attempts ‘to get the subscriptions and associations for the King declared illegal’. He spoke against the Hanoverians in 1746, deriding Pitt’s volte face.

Philipps did not stand in 1747, leaving Parliament ‘on the desperate situation of the Jacobite cause’.5 In 1747-8 he supported the agitation against a bill to naturalize foreign Protestants, a measure to which the pro-Jacobite common council of the city of London were bitterly opposed.6 At this time he lived in Oxford, ‘the sanctuary of disaffection’, becoming a considerable benefactor of Pembroke College.7 Created a D.C.L. at the great Jacobite demonstration on the opening of the Radcliffe Camera in 1749 (see under Oxford University), he sent assurances of continued loyalty to the Pretender.8 The idol of the Jacobite-dominated association of the independent electors of Westminster (see under Westminster),9 he moved for a habeas corpus for Alexander Murray,10 a Jacobite agent, who was imprisoned in Newgate on the orders of the House of Commons after the violent election of 1749-50. Returning to Parliament after the death of Pelham he remained in opposition till the new reign. He died 23 June 1764.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Walpole to Montagu, 11 Aug. 1748; to Countess of Upper Ossory, 9 Dec. 1784.
  • 2. Owen, Pelhams, 199.
  • 3. Yorke’s parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 665, 670, 673, 1051, 1124-5, 1202, 1246-7.
  • 4. John Maule* to Etough, 18 Oct. 1745, ibid. 1328.
  • 5. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 114; Owen 306.
  • 6. A letter to Sir John Philipps Bt. occasioned by a bill brought into Parliament to naturalize foreign Protestants.
  • 7. Mems. Geo. II, i. 114; VCH Oxon., iii. 294, 297.
  • 8. Stuart mss 301/5.
  • 9. See Cry aloud and Spare not. Addressed to the Worthy Independent Electors of Westminster (1747), and Westminster Elections 1741-50.
  • 10. Mems. Geo. II, i. 114.