DUCKETT, Lionel (1652-93), of Box, Wilts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Dep. lt. Wilts. June 1688-d., j.p. June 1688-d., commr. for assessment 1689.2
Duckett was returned for Calne on the family interest at the second general election of 1679. There is no evidence of a contest. He was a totally inactive Member of the second Exclusion Parliament, being named to no committees and making no recorded speeches, and did not stand for re-election. In a long letter to an uncle drafted on 30 July 1683 he explained his reasons, though his chief purpose in writing was to scotch the report that he
delighted ... in the company of factious persons and such as are discontented with the Government. Now, sir, I will deal sincerely with you and, as far as the necessary brevity of a letter will admit, shall, I hope, satisfy you and clear myself on this point. That I ever delighted in such company (knowing of them to be such) is an accusation wherein I am infinitely wronged, though I cannot but confess that the debates of that furious Parliament at Westminster whereof I, for want of a better, was a Member, were enough to corrupt the principles of any unwary young man living. Yet this I can say (and a great many others for me) that I never did approve of the heat and passion wherewith things were then carried on. At that time I was so far in ignorance as to think that their great zeal was only bent against Popery; whereas since it is plainly evident that too many of them had at that time designs in hand more wicked than their malice could invent to accuse the Papists of. This was yet further confirmed by the proceedings afterwards at Oxford, of which Parliament (I thank God) I was not a Member, having had a belly full before at the Westminster Parliament; from the time of the dissolution of which I have lived (I can say it) as retired a life as any man in England, very seldom keeping any company at all or going abroad, for I am sure I have not been six miles from home this year and a half, so that I content myself with speculation.
Amongst many others of my serious thoughts I have often with great sorrow considered the danger I apprehended his Majesty, and consequently the whole nation, to be in from a sort of people who not only pretend to more loyalty than others, calling themselves emphatically the ‘True Protestants’, and I have often and earnestly prayed God to defend his Majesty and the royal family from all such machinations which it had to be feared were contriving against him by that party. ... I have not without amazement considered the insolence of these people and what usage they have given his Majesty, not suffering him to take the liberty they have taken themselves; they may have liberty to protest and afterwards publish their protestations. If his Majesty at any time is pleased to let the people know his mind by way of declaration, it is presently followed with a swarm of venomous libels, impudently pretending to undermine the people. If a poor sneaking Papist at any time happens to procure a reprieve after sentence, then presently, forsooth, his Majesty is a favourer of Papists; if a true Protestant comes to be arraigned for treason he need not fear of an ignoramus brought in by a jury of as honest men as himself. Nay, it was thought hard that Stephen, their protomartyr, should run the risk of an Oxfordshire jury after he had been sanctified by an Old Bailey ignoramus. There might be an hundred things said more of the same nature too long for a letter, as the art, the industry used in seducing his Majesty’s unwary subjects from their loyalty.
If Duckett’s sentiments were sincere he may have supported two Tories, Sir John Ernle and Thomas Webb, at the 1685 election. He did not stand, and in 1688 the King’s agents made no mention of his interest at Calne, though he was described as ‘a favourer of dissenters’, and recommended for local office. He was returned for Calne to the Convention, probably unopposed, and was again totally inactive. His only mention in the Journal is when he was given leave to go to the country on 1 Apr. 1689; but he was presumably a Whig. He died on 5 Dec. 1693 and was buried at Kensington. In his will he enjoined his wife to bring up his children ‘in the Protestant religion according to the orthodox reformed episcopal Church of England of which communion I profess myself’. His sons George and William represented Calne in the Whig interest under Anne and George I.3