CHADWICK, James (c.1660-1697), of Lambeth Palace, London; Valentines, nr. Wanstead, Essex; and Enfield, Mdx.

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



1689 - 1690
1690 - 19 May 1697

Family and Education

b. c.1660, 1st s. of James Chadwick, Merchant Taylor, of King Street, London by his w. Elizabeth.  educ. L. Inn 1693.  m. lic. 29 July 1682, aged about 22, Mary (d. 1687), da. of John Tillotson, dean of Canterbury 1672–91, abp. of Canterbury 1691–4, 2s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1678.1

Offices Held

Freeman, New Romney 1688, Dover 1690.2

Member, Mine Adventurers’ Co. 1693; commr. taking subscriptions to Bank of England, 1694, Greenwich Hosp. 1695–d.3

Commr. customs 1694–d.4


Chadwick’s grandfather had been recorder of Nottingham during the Civil War and Interregnum and had sat for that borough in the first and second Protectorate Parliaments. He lost his local offices in March 1659 and died in 1666. His son, James, was a prosperous Merchant Taylor, who paid a £100 fine in 1674 to avoid the mastership, probably for religious reasons, since his will noted four bequests to ministers of local churches, at least two of whom were Nonconformists. He in turn left property in London, Kent and Sussex to his eldest son, James, this Member; the younger, John, received lands in Nottinghamshire, Hertfordshire and some houses in London. Despite the younger James Chadwick’s Nonconformist antecedents, he must have conformed to the Anglican church, for in 1682 he married the daughter of a clergyman, albeit one of Low Church inclinations: Dean Tillotson of Canterbury, the future archbishop.5

Chadwick began married life in the parish of St. Martin, Ludgate, where his two sons were born in 1683 and 1685. However, after the death of his wife, he seems to have resided with Tillotson in the deanery at Canterbury. He was able to establish himself sufficiently in the county to be considered by the gentlemen of East Kent in September 1688 as a candidate for New Romney. His active role in the Revolution of 1688 no doubt cemented his interest in the borough which duly returned him to the Convention of 1689. Defeated there in 1690, he transferred to Dover.6

On an analysis of the 1690 Parliament, the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Whig. Chadwick’s vote in the Convention for the disabling clause may explain Carmarthen’s note on a management list of autumn 1690 deputing Dean Tillotson to speak to him, ‘for he gives a very bad example’. Certainly his commitment to the new regime extended to lending £400 on the additional 12d. aid. In the Commons he told on 25 Apr. 1690 against a clause offered to a supply bill to extend the time available for Arthur Shallett* and Gilbert Heathcote* to import a cargo of Spanish brandy; and again the following day, against the successful motion rejecting the oath of abjuration. On 28 Apr. he carried up to the Lords a bill regulating elections in the Cinque Ports. On 2 May he was a teller once more in favour of adjourning debate on a pamphlet which printed a list of Members voting against the transfer of the crown. The defeat of the motion led to a vote condemning the pamphlet as a ‘false and scandalous libel’. In the following session, he told on 28 Oct. 1690 against going into committee on a supply bill. Finally, he carried back to the Lords a bill transferring a trust to secure the portion of Elizabeth Lucy, and ensure that she was brought up a Protestant.7

On 5 Jan. 1691 (the day Parliament was prorogued), Chadwick made his will, ‘designing shortly to pass over the seas’. His destination was Holland, Tillotson having asked permission for his son-in-law to wait on the King, where it was reported that Chadwick received ‘great civilities’ from Viscount Dursley (Charles Berkeley†), the English envoy at The Hague. Tillotson at this point painted an interesting portrait of his son-in-law, as a man who ‘considers so well what becomes him and me, that tho’ he is still willing to live with me, he will not only take no place from me, but has not so much as spoken to me for any person whatsoever’. Tillotson hoped to see him installed as a customs commissioner, ‘for which he is much fitter than for any other place that I know’, which may indicate some commercial background, although in the Commons Chadwick had already shown a predilection for matters of that nature. Ambitions for office would certainly tie in with Robert Harley’s* assessment of him in April 1691 as a Court supporter. His sojourn abroad did not impede parliamentary duties, for he was present in the Commons on 22 Oct. 1691. On 28 Nov. he was named to draft a bill for repairing Dover harbour, which he presented on 4 Dec. As it was a supply measure, Sir John Trenchard chaired the committee of the whole on the bill, but Chadwick was one of the tellers on 25 Jan. 1692 in favour of its engrossment. On 9 Dec. 1691 Chadwick opened the debate in committee of the whole on the state of the nation, after William Fuller had regaled the House with a series of allegations concerning Jacobite activities. Chadwick was sceptical of Fuller’s claims, having earlier been involved (after Tillotson had been approached), in trying to set up meetings between Fuller and the Earl of Portland, only to be thwarted by the informant’s prevarication.

I do believe this fellow may know somewhat of a plot but not so much as he pretends . . . but whenever you come to fix a time or place for him to come to, he always shuffled and could never be brought to anything. I believe you will find him a shuffling fellow.

After several interventions from Chadwick, Fuller’s credibility was sufficiently dented for his demands to be scaled down considerably, and the way prepared for the eventual vote of the Commons on 24 Feb. 1692 that he was a ‘notorious impostor, a cheat and a false accuser’. On 5 Jan. 1692 Chadwick opposed giving a first reading to the bill for better regulation and encouragement of the company of fishermen on the Thames, presumably on the grounds attributed by Narcissus Luttrell* to some of the opposers, that the bill would encroach upon the powers of the vice-admiral of Kent and would destroy the fishing industry in the county. On 20 Jan., in a debate in ways and means on a proposed poll bill, Chadwick backed Charles Montagu’s* suggestion that every gentleman should pay 30s. a quarter, but limited the liability to those with estates of over £500 p.a. In late April, after the end of the session, Luttrell reported that Chadwick ‘stands fair’ to succeed Sir Rowland Gwynne*, who had been ‘suspended’ as treasurer of the Chamber, but the place was kept vacant. Nevertheless, Chadwick’s name appeared on two lists of placemen for 1692.8

In the 1692–3 session, Chadwick was on hand on 20 Dec. 1692 to back moves by the Whigs to offer the thanks of the House to Admiral Edward Russell*, for his efforts at sea the previous summer, and so ward off Tory attacks on Russell’s conduct. Chadwick’s concern for the silk industry (important in Canterbury) was seen on 11 Jan. 1693, when he presented to the Commons a petition from several Italian merchants, only for the House to order it to lie on the table since the petition was seeking to ‘direct’ Members on a bill before them. A motion to engross the bill for the import of fine Italian thrown silk overland was then lost by 89 votes to 85. At the third reading of the land tax bill on 12 Jan., Chadwick offered a rider to ensure that papists should not be allowed to pass on to their tenants the double tax to which their estates were liable. Rather strangely, given his age, but owing no doubt to the influence of his father-in-law, Chadwick was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn during this session. He was seen as having influence with Tillotson, for on 8 July 1693 Sir William Trumbull* wrote to Bishop Stillingfleet of Worcester regarding the expected demise of Sir Richard Raines, the judge of the prerogative court of Canterbury: ‘I hope also Mr Chadwick is my friend, at least he has promised me.’ Chadwick’s close association with many leading Whigs such as Hon. Thomas Wharton* and Admiral Russell was emphasized by his membership of the Mine Adventurers’ Company, incorporated in September 1693.9

In the new session, Chadwick returned to the Lords the bill for the import of Italian thrown silk on 20 Jan. 1694. He was a teller on 7 Feb. in favour of the Whig candidate in the disputed Worcester by-election, and on two further occasions. During this session, in February, he was made a deputy-lieutenant of Kent, a sign of local acceptability. He was also a member of the Rose Club, a contemporary skit noting:

          There’s Chadwick is dapper and pert without wit
          Which a place, he sets up for a politic chit
          And ‘my Lord, my Father’ says for it he’s fit.

The place referred to was the customs commissionership mentioned by Tillotson two years earlier. Although as early as April Luttrell had predicted his advancement, the decisive meeting of ministers (Sir John Somers*, Lord Shrewsbury, Lord Godolphin [Sidney†] and Trenchard) called to advise the King on appropriate appointments, occurred in June, with his appointment being made official in August.10

The death of Tillotson in November 1694 may well have hit Chadwick’s finances hard, for in later years it became apparent that the resources designated by the archbishop to provide for his grandchildren had been eaten up by the needs of his office, particularly in repairing Lambeth Palace. Family affairs, and his new official duties, probably restricted Chadwick’s involvement in the Commons for some time. On 14 Mar. 1695 Chadwick told in favour of choosing the Court candidate, Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt., as a replacement for the disgraced Speaker, Sir John Trevor, and on 22 Apr. he told again, at the report stage on the glass and coal duty bill, in favour of an amendment leaving out the words ‘in order to be shipped’, which, given the identity of the tellers on the other side, was probably not meant as a concession to the coal lobby. The following day he was elected (in 18th place), to the committee to examine Sir Thomas Cooke*.11

Re-elected in 1695, Chadwick was more active in the ensuing session, particularly in matters pertaining to trade and finance, in a way which suggests he was emerging as a government manager. Following his tellership in the previous session on an amendment to the bill levying glass and coal duties, he was appointed on 21 Dec. 1695 to the committee investigating complaints against the resultant act. When this committee reported, on 24 Jan., Chadwick told against a motion to repeal the duty on waterborne coals, except those which were being sent for export. It is not known whether his actions were in accordance with the wishes of his Dover constituents, whose petition (presented on 21 Jan.) the House had declined to read, but it seems from the tellers that the ministry had defeated a proposal promoted by domestic coal-users. Chadwick told on two election cases during the session: on 8 Jan. 1696, in favour of appointing a day to hear the petition of Sir John Guise, 2nd Bt.*; and on 18 Feb., for a resolution that Maurice Thompson* was duly elected for Bletchingley. His official position in the customs made him an obvious choice to manage through the Commons the bill for preventing frauds and abuses in the plantation trade, including chairing a committee of the whole on 9 Mar. Interestingly, in this connexion, he was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions on 31 Jan. over the proposed council of trade, that is for a body appointed by the crown. No doubt such an institution would have relieved him of some of the legislative work on colonial trade. Not surprisingly, he signed the Association in February 1696. The problems of the recoinage evidently concerned him, for he spoke in committee of the whole on 13 Feb., seemingly in favour of a reduction in the price of guineas, but a gradual one, as the price of ‘gold will hold up for want of silver’. To drop the price by one- third would be ‘unjust and unsafe’. His concern over the possibilities for speculation was confirmed by a memorandum he sent to Edward Clarke I*, which detailed the profit made by foreigners; ‘£100 of milled money sent to Holland would purchase 89 guineas, which exported to London would realize £133 15s., a profit of just over 33 per cent’. In the event he toed the ministerial line, voting in March to fix the price of guineas at 22s. In April 1696 he was a teller on two occasions: on the 23rd, in favour of passing the bill enforcing the laws for restraining marriages without licences and for registering births; and on the following day at the third reading of a supply bill, in favour of removing a clause naturalizing subscribers to the land bank.12

During the recess of 1696 Chadwick was prominent in discussions at the Treasury over such diverse matters as whether to appoint William Culliford* inspector-general of imports and exports, and the advisability of taking a bond from the East India Company in lieu of personal bonds. Chadwick’s importance as a parliamentary manager to the mainly Whig ministry was brought out by the Fenwick affair, which threatened several important Whigs, including the Duke of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Orford (Russell). Twice in late October Chadwick attended select meetings of prominent government supporters, the first at the home of Lord Keeper Somers, to consider ways in which the ministers could be vindicated before the Commons. In the event the flight to France of one of the witnesses led the Junto to proceed through a bill of attainder, for which Chadwick voted on 25 Nov. 1696.13

In parliamentary business Chadwick had a busy session in the winter of 1696–7. He was active as a teller, usually on trading matters. These included telling in favour of extending the duties of tunnage and poundage and other duties until 1706 (2 Dec. 1696); in favour of going into a committee of the whole the following day to consider the bill encouraging people to bring plate to be coined (31 Dec.); against referring to a committee a petition of some London wine merchants regarding the refusal of the customs’ officers to accept hammered money beyond 1 Feb. (15 Jan. 1697); against instructing the committee on the bill encouraging the recoinage to leave out that part of the bill imposing a duty on plate not brought into the mints to be coined (5 Feb.); against the passage of the bill restraining the wearing of wrought silks and calicoes (6 Feb.); in favour of immediately electing a replacement for Lord William Powlett* after Powlett’s refusal to serve as a commissioner of accounts (13 Feb.); and in favour of passing the supply bill making good the deficiencies of various funds and enlarging the stock of the Bank of England (26 Mar.). Chadwick had little to do with managing bills, although he was added on 17 Mar. 1697 to the committee drafting a clause for more effectively preventing the export of wool. His importance to the Whig leaders can be shown by two events during the session. James Vernon I* approached him in January 1697 when chasing up Shrewsbury’s customs pension (only to be informed that the commissioners’ salaries were also in arrears), and on 18 Feb. Vernon reported that Lord Wharton (Thomas) and Chadwick had left for Woburn and would visit Shrewsbury while in the country. In May 1697 Chadwick was listed as subscribing £1,000 to the money to circulate Exchequer bills.14

No sooner had a warrant been issued in May 1697 for a new customs’ commission, again including Chadwick, than he died on the 19th, ‘of a violent fever’, having been ‘sick not above four or five days’, or ‘eight days’, if Vernon is to be believed. At his death Chadwick may well have been resident in Essex, for not only did he write a letter to Trumbull from Walthamstow in October 1696, but this was also the year in which Sir Thomas Skipwith, 2nd Bt.†, surrendered his estate at Valentines, near Wanstead, to Mrs Tillotson. According to Dr Thomas Sherlock, the dean of St. Paul’s, Mrs Tillotson was reduced to ‘narrow circumstances’ by the ‘unexpected death’ of Chadwick and the ‘less expected condition he has left his family in’. Her complaints included the loss of £300 which she had expended on a life interest in the copyhold of the Essex estate and the building of a house there. Meanwhile Chadwick had apparently ‘spent all his estate, but what was settled upon his wife in marriage, which comes to her eldest son’. This left the younger children without ‘one farthing to maintain them’. Chadwick’s will, written in 1691, confirms that even then his estate was mortgaged, and a codicil signed the day before he died merely altered the list of his trustees to take account of Archbishop Tillotson’s demise. After the Hanoverian Succession, the eldest son, George Chadwick, approached Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) for help, emphasizing Tillotson’s use of the money intended for his grandchildren to finance repairs to Lambeth. In the event both younger children fared reasonably well, Chadwick’s second son being a merchant at Smyrna, and the daughter ‘very well married’ to a linen draper, the son of Bishop Fowler of Gloucester. The eldest son, however, was forced to live on the paternal estate in Nottinghamshire.15

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. PCC 93 Reeve, 114 Pyne; Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxx), 102.
  • 2. Centre Kentish Stud. New Romney bor. recs. NR/AC2, p. 1; Add. 29625, f. 122.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1693, p. 207; NLS, Advocates’ mss, Bank of Eng. pprs. 31.1.7; Add. 10120, f. 233.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 739.
  • 5. Nottingham Bor. Recs. v. 234–5, 301; Jones thesis, 222; C. M. Clode, Hist. Merchant Taylors’ Co. 348; PCC 93 Reeve.
  • 6. IGI, London; T. Birch, Life of Tillotson (1752), 274; Add. 33923, f. 434; N. and Q. ser. 3, vi. 2; Kingdom Without a King ed. Beddard, 119.
  • 7. A. Browning, Danby, iii. 179; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 2001.
  • 8. PCC 114 Pyne; Birch, 273–4; Add. 70224, Harley to G. Dubourg (alias Powell), 9 Apr. 1692; Dubourg to [Harley], 11 Apr. 1692; Luttrell Diary, 68, 111, 145; Grey, x. 203, 205; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 436; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 114–15.
  • 9. Luttrell Diary, 332, 361, 365; info. from Dr D. F. Lemmings; HMC Downshire, i. 421–2; Sel. Charters, 239.
  • 10. CSP Dom. 1694, pp. 20, 179–80, 186; Poems on Affairs of State ed. Cameron, v. 432; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 300; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 471, notes on customs commrs.; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 739.
  • 11. Add. 61603, f. 60; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 150.
  • 12. Horwitz, 167–8; HLRO, HC Lib. ms 12, f. 115v.; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. vii. 232.
  • 13. Cal. Treas. Bks. xi. 33, 45–46, 63; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 33, 36–38; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/13, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 29 Oct. 1696; Shrewsbury Corresp. 418.
  • 14. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 184, 210; Univ. of London mss 65, item 3, list of subscribers.
  • 15. Cal. Treas. Bks. xii. 158; Post Man, 20–22 May 1697; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 162; Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/104, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 20 May 1697; HMC Downshire, i. 700; VCH Essex, v. 211; Birch, 366–8, 370; PCC 114 Pyne.