CARY (CAREY), Edward (1656-92), of St. James’s, Westminster and Caldicot, Mon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - Aug. 1692

Family and Education

bap. 25 Apr. 1656, 2nd s. of Hon. Patrick Cary (Carey) of Horton, Dorset by Susan, da. of Francis Uvedale of Wickham, Hants.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 27 June 1673 (aged 17); L. Inn 1675.  m. by 1687, Anne (d. by 1701), da. and coh. of Charles, 2nd Baron Lucas, of Shenfield, Essex, 1s. 1da.1

Offices Held

High bailiff, Westminster by 1684–d.; v.-adm. Essex 1691–2.2

Freeman, Colchester 1689.3


Cary’s father, the youngest son of the 1st Viscount Falkland [S], had been brought up a Catholic in Ireland and spent a brief time as a monk at Douai before settling in England. From this unpromising background Edward’s fortunes were improved by his inheritance in 1685 of the Caldicot manor in Monmouthshire, together with lands in Kent and Lincolnshire, under the will of John Cary of Stanwell, Middlesex. At about that time he married his cousin Anne Lucas, and took up residence in Westminster, where he had been appointed high bailiff, a post to which he had been nominated by the high steward, the 1st Duke of Ormond, and for which he was forced to substantiate his claim after the Revolution. It was presumably from his wife’s interest at Lexden that he successfully contested the election for Colchester in 1690, and he can have been no novice to the scrutiny of the poll that overturned Sir Isaac Rebow’s majority to give him the seat, since one of the functions of his Westminster post was to act as a returning officer. His other duties there were similar to those of the London sheriffs, albeit performed by a deputy, and recompensed by a right to all fines and forfeitures ordered in his court. Cary’s claim that this right also included clipped money was disputed by the warden of the Mint, a disagreement that featured until after Cary’s death when a verdict was finally given against his widow.4

Cary’s activity in Parliament is sometimes difficult to distinguish from that of William Cary, MP for Okehampton, who sat at the same time, particularly as the two men shared a Tory allegiance. Both had also been educated at Oxford, and one acted as teller on 23 Apr. 1690 for a bill settling a private charity at the university. Presumably because Edward had never sat before, Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) marked him as ‘doubtful’ on a printed list of MPs in March 1690, but he soon showed himself to be under the influence of his cousin the 5th Viscount Falkland (Anthony Carey*), when on 26 Apr. he and Falkland spoke against the abjuration bill at its second reading. Edward declared that although he was ‘so much a friend to the government that, when this was first proposed I was for it, and ready to take any engagement’, he now believed that ‘those who offer this abjuration oath, as a further security to the government, do make the government precarious, as if it needed somewhat to strengthen it’. Three days later he pushed the same line, arguing that it was ‘better to accept of men’s obedience upon any easy terms than impose on them’. On 30 Apr. one of the two namesakes acted as teller against resolving into a committee of the whole House to consider a bill discouraging the importation of thrown silk, and on 8 May Edward assisted the London Tories by acting as teller in favour of an amendment to the bill for reversing the quo warranto against the City of London. The same day he was asked to enforce an order that the streets between Temple Bar and Westminster Hall be kept clear, though the request had to be repeated in the next session. It may have been Edward who on 24 Oct. reported a private estate bill, acted as teller on 10 Nov. on a procedural motion to adjourn, and again on 26 Nov. on a bill for reducing the rate of interest from six to four per cent. As a prominent London office-holder he is likely to have been the ‘Mr Cary’ who acted as a teller on 2 Dec. 1690 for those who wished to read the petition of grievances from London’s Tory common councilmen.5

Viscount Falkland was appointed to the Admiralty commission in January 1691, and it was presumably as a result of his influence that Cary was made vice-admiral of Essex on 28 Feb. 1691, earning him the classification of Court supporter on a list drawn up by Robert Harley* and dated April 1691. When Parliament reopened in October of that year Cary was consequently even closer to his cousin’s politics. On 19 Nov., during a debate on supply, Cary spoke strongly in favour of ‘a hearty prosecution of the war’ and, noting the time ‘to be the critical moment of our happiness or misery’, moved for a vote that an army of 65,000 men was necessary. On 14 Nov., during a debate on the navy, he acted as teller on the Court side for money to build new ships, and on 28 Nov. spoke and once more told on behalf of the Court in a debate on the army estimates, arguing that the figure of 65,000 should not be reduced to include the number of officers. On 2 Jan. 1692 he was again a teller for the government, which wished to keep up the number of dragoons in Ireland, and on 15 Feb. acted twice as a teller opposing amendments to the poll bill. It was probably his Westminster rather than his Court stance that prompted Cary to act as teller on 2 Feb. on a proviso in the bill for preventing gunpowder being kept near the Tower of London, and as teller on 20 Feb. for a second reading of the bill for the relief of orphans in London. Given Falkland’s defence of the East India Company it is likely that it was he who supported the Company on 13 Nov. 1691, and served as teller on 6 Feb. 1692 on the wording of an address about it; but either Edward or William Cary may have been a teller on 7 and 25 Jan. 1692 on motions concerning the bill for regulating trials in cases of treason, and on 16 Feb. for a private estate bill.6

Cary’s death, which probably accounts for the addition of the letter ‘d’ to the Harley list of 1691, was reported by Luttrell on 9 Aug. 1692, and was possibly sudden and unexpected since he left no will, an administration order being granted for the estate on 24 Nov. 1692. His son, Lucius Henry Cary, succeeded as the 6th Viscount Falkland in 1694, and was created an earl in 1722 by the titular James III.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Mark Knights


  • 1. IGI, Mon; Her. and Gen. iii. 38–41; info. from Dr D. F. Lemmings.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1464; EHR, xxiii. 743.
  • 3. Oath Bk. . . . of Colchester ed. Benham, 234.
  • 4. Her. and Gen. 38–41, 133; W. H. Manchee, The Westminster City Fathers, 16–17; Stow’s Survey of London ed. Strype (1720), ii(2), p. 58; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 415, 1251, 1386, 1683; x. 843; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1557–1696, p. 436.
  • 5. Grey, x. 76; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, ff. 71, 89.
  • 6. Luttrell Diary, 16, 19, 30, 47, 188–9.
  • 7. Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 535.