GOODRICKE, Sir Henry, 2nd Bt. (1642-1705), of Ribston, Yorks.

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



7 Nov. 1673 - July 1679
1685 - 1687
1689 - 5 Mar. 1705

Family and Education

b. 24 Oct. 1642, 1st s. of Sir John Goodricke, 1st Bt.†, of Ribston Hall by Catherine, da. and coh. of Stephen Northcliffe, counsellor-at-law, of York.  educ. travelled abroad (France) 1657–8.  m. 1668, Mary (d. 1715), da. of William Legge† of The Minories, London, sis. of George Legge†, 1st Baron Dartmouth, s.psuc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Nov. 1670.1

Offices Held

?Freeman, Portsmouth 1675; commr. recusants Yorks. 1675, Aire and Calder navigation 1699; gov. York Nov.–Dec. 1688.2

Col. of ft. 1678–9; envoy extraordinary to Spain 1678–82; lt.-gen. of Ordnance 1689–1702; commr. preventing export of wool 1689–99, appeals for prizes 1695–aft. 1697; PC 13 Feb. 1690–d.3


An adherent of Lord Danby (Sir Thomas Osborne†) since the 1670s, Goodricke played an active role as Danby’s second-in-command in the Williamite rising in the North in 1688, for which he was rewarded with the office of lieutenant-general of the Ordnance, a post previously held by both his father-in-law and brother-in-law. His career remained identified with that of Danby, who, as Lord Carmarthen, acted as William’s chief minister in the early 1690s. Along with Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II, Goodricke acted as Carmarthen’s chief parliamentary manager and ministerial spokesman in the Commons.

Goodricke was returned in March 1690 for Boroughbridge, and was classed by Carmarthen as a Tory and Court supporter. He was active in his role as manager and spokesman from the outset of the Parliament, as was demonstrated on 20 Mar., when, following Lowther’s successful nomination of Sir John Trevor as Speaker, Goodricke was one of the Members who conducted Trevor to the Chair. The need for a settlement of the revenue, which was emphasized in the King’s Speech on 21 Mar., dominated the Court’s programme. The Speech was considered by the Commons the next day, and prompted a debate over the procedure for dealing with that part relating to the revenue, and whether the House had first to form a committee of the whole before considering a supply. Goodricke acknowledged that ‘if a supply be first moved, then you go into a committee’, but pointed out that the King ‘desires a settlement of the revenue, as other monarchs have had; it is not immediately for a supply’. The apparent urgency in the Court party for a settlement was demonstrated further when Goodricke warned that any action on William Sacheverell’s comments on trade and the customs-house books would require ‘a new book of rates’, which ‘you have not time now to do’, and that, in the meantime, ‘all Europe’ would have ‘a vast advantage by having that trade, and you will lose it’. The debates on supply continued during the following weeks. On 27 Mar., when Paul Foley I argued that nothing should be done to settle the revenue or provide a supply ‘till we know what the revenue is’, Goodricke replied that

if gentlemen come not prepared to support the monarchy, and establish good understanding – but when the King says, ‘he has that confidence in the House’, I see no difficulty but that every man is prepared in his thoughts. You are upon the question of ‘settling the revenue’. ’Tis that the King sets his heart upon.

He also endeavoured to counter the arguments put forward by Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., against settling the revenue for life, by emphasizing that the revenue was to be settled ‘only for the lives of your deliverers’. On 31 Mar. he urged the House not to preoccupy itself with ‘debate in reflections’ which would delay the supply at a time when ‘the pressure is so great, that the army and Ordnance, the safety and honour of the King’s person, everything that is dear to us, I fear, must be laid aside’ if money was not forthcoming. On 2 Apr. he argued against any ‘hasty resolution’ on a motion to instruct the committee on ways and means ‘that the supply be not raised upon a land tax’. He pointed out that ‘a negative upon land, customs, or excise’ would ‘lay such a baffle upon the committee, that [they] cannot get through it’.4

Although a financial settlement was achieved in early April, the Court still had many difficult issues to contend with. On 9 Apr. Goodricke spoke in defence of the recognition bill, which legalized the proceedings of the Convention, arguing that ‘we are bound in conscience to recognize the King and Queen’, a statement that demonstrated his adherence to both Carmarthen and the Court, in view of the fact that the Tories divided against this bill in both Houses. However, his Tory affiliations were to the fore on 24 Apr., when he argued in favour of a general address of thanks to the King for his care of the Church and the alterations in the lieutenancy of London. When, in May, the Lords commenced inquiries into the lieutenancy alterations, at the instigation of Whig peers, and called upon two MPs to give evidence in the Upper House, Goodricke kept the party line and warned against allowing the two Members to attend: ‘for your Members to attack your judgment – I hope you will not compel your Members to that’. A more problematic issue arose on 24 Apr. with the motion for an abjuration bill. Goodricke was nominated on this date to the drafting committee for the bill, but, in keeping with his role as Carmarthen’s parliamentary manager and the government’s ministerial spokesman, strongly opposed the bill two days later, once the official line had been decided upon. He suggested that a ‘negative oath may garble the nation’, and argued that

the possessor of the crown ought to be obeyed. When you abjure a government, you abjure your lands. A man cannot say, he will abjure against God’s will. I am as free to serve this government as I was forward to bring it in . . . Though some men will swallow abjuration of the royal family, under a branch whereof we sit, those of the Church of England will not do it. The utmost necessity made me break my oath to King James: it was the utmost necessity and those are terrible things. Upon the Revolution, gentlemen could not dispossess themselves of the obligation of former oaths. I will come closer. This oath is to renounce and abjure all allegiance to King James. The oath of allegiance to King William was generally taken all over England; and, of 10,000 in holy orders, not above 80 have refused it.

As possession of the crown required the oath of allegiance only, which ‘we have sworn already’, then an abjuration oath was ‘swearing in spite of providence’. He also argued that

to give power to a justice of [the] peace (as by this bill) to send a man to jail, without bail, is the highest point of tyranny. Let it not be in our power to tyrannize over one another. I would take it into consideration to secure the government; but, in the meantime, to reject this bill.5

Goodricke played a rather confused part in the protracted debates in May on the bill for appointing Mary as regent during William’s absence in Ireland. On 5 May, in committee of the whole, he stated that ‘the safety of the King’s person, and England, are the main considerations’, though he advised that the Commons consider carefully ‘whether to divide the regal authority’, and hoped that they would ‘come to some conclusion, and neither advise nor dissuade the King’. However, the following day he was more forceful in support of the bill, declaring that he would trust ‘in nothing but in God above and our sovereign below’, and argued in favour of William going to Ireland and Mary being made regent, as ‘we may place our trust in her’. He reiterated these arguments on 13 May, and also acted as one of the managers of a conference with the Lords on disagreements between the two Houses in relation to the bill. Despite Goodricke’s official Court line in opposition to the restrictions on freedom in the failed abjuration bill, he supported Thomas Coningsby’s proposal on 14 May for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, saying the government would not be safe ‘unless the persons that conspire its ruin are prevented from walking about’. On 28 Apr. he had argued in similar fashion during a debate on securing the government:

Let gentlemen, who were engaged in the last Revolution, consider, if King James had pursued the advice to have sent for the heads of parties against him and clapped them up, where had the Revolution been? We have information out of Lancashire, a chain of intelligence of persons plotting against the government; but they are all gone, the birds are flown.

The following day, 29 Apr., he was named to the committee for preparing a bill for a declaration of fidelity to the government, which was a response to the question of security. While much of Goodricke’s activity in Parliament was Court-orientated, his personal connexions with Carmarthen also came to the fore on occasion. On 14 May Carmarthen was attacked in the Commons, being accused of arbitrary and obnoxious government. It was only with the intercession of Goodricke that the threat to Carmarthen was overcome. Goodricke’s request that any accusations should be of a specific nature challenged Carmarthen’s accusers to provide definite evidence, which they were neither prepared nor able to do.6

During the summer recess, having provided intelligence on the fleet before the battle of Beachy Head, Goodricke was appointed to the commission which inquired into the conduct of Lord Torrington (Arthur Herbert†) and other commanders during the engagement. In the 1690–1 session of Parliament he again acted as ministerial spokesman, being noted as a ‘manager of the King’s directions’, whose particular role was to ‘complement’ the many Members who could assist the King’s affairs. This role led to his being lampooned as a ‘portly knight’ who put overriding faith in the Ordnance office as the means to victory in the war with France. His name appears on a list of late December which was probably of those likely to support Carmarthen if the chief minister were to be attacked in the Commons. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed Goodricke as a Court supporter.7

After the 1690–1 session Goodricke continued actively to participate in government, most noticeably as one of the regular attenders, along with Carmarthen and Lord Sidney (Henry†), at the committee of Irish affairs. His presence at this committee was believed to have made Carmarthen ‘able practically to dominate its decisions’. In the 1691–2 session Goodricke, along with Lowther, struggled to persuade the House to grant immediate supplies for the army and navy. In view of these endeavours, it was important for the Court that on 9 Nov. he was appointed to the committee for inspecting the navy estimates for 1692. However, his presence did not prevent a reduction in the amount allowed for the navy. On 18 Nov., as part of the Court’s attempts to save the army estimates from the same treatment, Goodricke informed the House that the King was resolved to withdraw all his foreign forces from the three kingdoms, and to keep only the ‘necessary’ forces, for defence purposes, in England and Ireland. As a further inducement to the House to vote a supply he stated that William intended ‘to employ the rest beyond the sea, either by making a descent into France or otherwise to annoy the common enemy’. Although on 19 Nov. the Commons agreed to an army of 65,000 men, on the 25th the discovery that this did not include officers caused a debate on the size of the army that was to be employed in Ireland. Goodricke endeavoured to prevent the inclusion of officers in the number, arguing ‘that it was intended only of so many private men is very plain by the list brought in by the Lord Ranelagh. It was done so in 1672, 1677, and formerly. The number you are contesting for is not so great; you have but three commission officers [per company].’ He also stated that ‘when Charles II declared war against France, in 1677, there were 1,000 men in each regiment, not including officers. You have precedents for this demand; if there be any precedents of officers included, I am most mistaken in the world.’ His argument was based on the fact that the forces for Ireland were to be 12,960 men, which would thereby require only a small number of officers. Although the House resolved to include the officers in the number for Ireland, any threat to the main land forces was countered, when the debate was rejoined on 28 Nov., by a message from William which Goodricke delivered to the House:

I cannot but wonder at this debate. However, I think fit to acquaint you that the King himself has taken notice of your votes. He pulled them out of his pocket in Council. And he has empowered us to say that he was resolved to make a descent in France, and withal that if you did strike off the number as proposed (as is done in Ireland by including the officers) you would spoil all his Majesty’s designs and break all his measures and he can never go on further.

The supply debate of 25 Nov. had also resulted in the establishment of a committee to draft a bill for the manufacture of saltpetre in England, to which Goodricke was appointed, presumably because saltpetre was a military necessity and in the purview of the Ordnance. On 2 Jan. 1692 the debate in the House returned to the issue of lowering expenditure on the army and military infrastructure in Ireland. Goodricke pursued the Court line, warning that if the Irish forts and garrisons were left in a dilapidated state, a small enemy force, with the assistance of the Irish, might be able to create a serious threat to security. The possibility of a military threat arising from Ireland was still very much in the minds of MPs, as was evidenced by the appointment of Goodricke to a committee on 4 Jan. for an address of thanks to Ginkel and the officers involved in the reduction of Ireland. On 22 Jan. Goodricke opposed the bill for establishing a new East India Company on the grounds that it ‘came in irregularly’.8

At some point in the months before the opening of the 1692–3 session, Goodricke was named in a working list of Court supporters as having influence within ‘the Church party in general’. He continued as a Court spokesman and on a series of lists was named as a placeman. On 12 Nov., as part of the debate on the failure of the proposed summer expedition to France, he informed the Commons that he would present the papers from the Ordnance relating to the intended descent. With the House’s continuing interest in the previous summer’s military activity, Goodricke was appointed to a committee on 16 Nov. to inquire into the proceedings and papers of the transport commissioners, the Admiralty papers relating to the descent, and the accounts of the proceedings of the fleet following the victory off Barfleur. On the same day he was appointed to another committee, of similar intention, for translating a number of treaties and alliances which were in Latin and French. When the issue of the descent was taken up again on 30 Nov., Hon. Thomas Wharton’s suggestion, that the problem lay in the suspect loyalty to William of the ‘chief men’ in government, provoked a defensive response from Goodricke:

There appears to be a coldness in their Majesties’ service; I cannot deny it. But that which calls me up is something let fall by that honourable gentleman that spoke last which seems to point at some persons who, I can assure you, are most firm to this government and very zealous in the service of it. And if you please to consult the minutes of the Council book, you will see who are most diligent in attending the service of the government there.

Furthermore, Goodricke was able to exploit concern over military activity to the Court’s advantage. Two days earlier, on 28 Nov., he had been one of several Court Members to press for postponing the date for implementation of the bill for reforming treason trials until after the war with France, once again using the security issue to support his argument, by pointing out that ‘your safety is already shaken, and I hope you will consider the King’s safety so far as not to let this bill commence before the end of the war’. On 29 Nov., when the House was considering supply, an unsuccessful attempt was made to prevent increased expenditure on naval manpower, primarily by questioning the extent of the Dutch contribution. Goodricke, as part of the Court’s appeal to the commercial instincts of MPs, emphasized the need for increasing the fleet in order to protect the West Indies trade, which the Dutch could not be expected to contribute towards on equal terms, since they had little interest there. The continuing interruptions to trade also required that a squadron be kept on the Irish coast. In a debate on supply on 2 Dec., during which a motion was put for raising a supply for the fleet before considering the army estimates, Goodricke pointed out that ‘the army now before you have served you very well and helped to reduce Ireland and been very instrumental in your preservation and are well affected to this government, and therefore I would not put them under such a discouragement’. He also emphasized the continuing threat to security: ‘I think it equally necessary for you to have your army provided for as for your fleet and to support your alliances, without which you will find yourselves in an ill condition.’ The next day, when the army estimates were being debated, he reminded the House that ‘the King tells you in his speech that the same fleet and army are necessary, and he is a great judge of these things’. In a further supply debate on 6 Dec. he defended successfully the sum demanded for the Ordnance. On 25 Jan. and 13 Mar. 1693 he was appointed as a manager of conferences with the Lords, the latter of which related to the Commons’ disagreements with the Lords’ amendments to a bill for continuing the laws against trading with France, and for encouraging privateers, which was an area in which Goodricke appears to have had a particular knowledge.9

The end of the 1692–3 session also heralded the end of Goodricke’s role as a frontline ministerial spokesman and parliamentary manager. Despite his constant adherence to the Court party and Carmarthen’s interests, he, along with Lowther, had not proved to be a successful parliamentary manager. He did not appear to be suited to the less scrupulous politics of management. The continuing pressure on William to introduce a change in government, from the increasingly influential figure of the Earl of Sunderland who had a low opinion of Goodricke’s abilities, and the attendant decline in Carmarthen’s power, resulted in a body of Whig leaders emerging in the Commons as the Court managers for the 1693–4 session. No doubt it was this shift in the balance of power which led Samuel Grascome to describe Goodricke, on a list compiled between 1693 and 1965, as a placeman but an opponent of the Court. However, despite this apparent demotion, and the eventual ascendancy of the Whig Junto, there is evidence that Goodricke supported the Court in Parliament, and continued as an active member of the Privy Council. In the 1693–4 session he demonstrated his continued adherence to the Court on 26 Jan. 1694, when the debate centred upon an address to William prompted by the royal veto of the triennial bill at the end of the previous session. Goodricke stated that ‘to agree so solemnly, in such an address, is so severe upon the King, that I cannot agree to it. His Majesty being so much abroad for our service, venturing his life almost ever since coming to the crown, hath made him not so acquainted with methods of Parliament.’ Instead of a general address, he recommended that they make a specific address against whomever advised the use of the veto. Goodricke’s continued importance as the Ordnance representative was demonstrated by his appointment on 24 Feb. as chairman of a committee of the whole on a bill for importing saltpetre. He reported the committee’s proceedings to the House on 24 Feb., and carried the bill up to the Lords on 13 Mar. He was appointed to a committee for drafting a bill for the registration of land deeds, and acted as a manager for two conferences with the Lords: on the Commons’ disagreements with the Lords’ amendments to the bill on free and impartial proceedings in Parliament, and concerning Sir John Trenchard’s* failure to deliver a letter of intelligence in May 1693 to the Admiralty before the destruction of the Smyrna convoy.10

Following the 1693–4 session, Goodricke was unsuccessful in his endeavour to secure an appointment from the King, through the offices of Carmarthen (now Duke of Leeds), as envoy to the United Provinces. However, this did not affect his support for the Court in Parliament. On 14 Mar. 1695 he seconded Thomas Wharton’s unsuccessful nomination of the Court candidate Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt., as Speaker in place of Trevor, despite the fact that Littleton was a Whig. As a member of the Privy Council, Goodricke on three separate occasions in March and April delivered the King’s answers to addresses from the House.11

Re-elected for Boroughbridge in 1695, Goodricke continued to be active during the 1695–6 session, being nominated to draft bills for the ease of jurors (7 Dec.) and to regulate the coinage (12 Dec.). He continued to act as a conduit for information from the King. In a forecast for the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696 he was listed as likely to support the Court. However, when the report made by the committee on setting up a council was debated on that day, the Court party’s wrecking amendments, for excluding MPs from membership of the council, and for imposing an abjuration oath on council members, created a division among the Court. Goodricke was one of several Court MPs who, probably in keeping with the King’s views, and certainly in keeping with Tory principles, opposed the Court on the question of an oath. He was also one of the managers of a conference with the Lords on 24 Feb. over an address to the King in answer to his speech about the intended assassination, and was among the majority of MPs who signed the Association immediately. In March he voted with the Court on the issue of fixing the price of guineas at 22s. Following the Act for security of the crown in April 1696, which made the Association obligatory, Goodricke was active on the Privy Council, signing the letters sent to all custodes rotulorum requiring the submission of lists of non-associators. He was also one of the group of Privy Councillors who signed letters in November 1696 to those who had not sent in lists. In May Goodricke had also represented the views of the lords justices at the meetings of the commissioners for taking subscriptions for establishing a land bank.12

In the 1696–7 session Goodricke continued to act as a conduit for information from the King to Parliament. On six separate occasions between December 1696 and March 1697 Goodricke presented answers from the King to the Commons’ various addresses, ranging from security matters to the clipping of coin and the financial accounts of a particular regiment. Significantly, he was absent from the division of 25 Nov. on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. On 16 Mar. 1697 he was appointed as a manager for a conference with the Lords in relation to disagreements over amendments to the bill for preventing the buying and selling of offices and places of trust.13

After 1697 Goodricke’s activity in Parliament began to decrease, though he continued to act on behalf of the Ordnance office, delivering various Ordnance estimates to the House during the period 1698–1702. Before the 1698–9 session he was appointed one of the three commissioners for swearing the MPs who attended Parliament in August and September when the prorogation was continued. He was still classed as a member of the Court party in a comparative list of the old and new Commons in September 1698, a classification that he confirmed on 18 Jan. 1699, when he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. His adherence to the Court was evident again in February 1701, when he was listed among those likely to support the Court in agreeing with a resolution of the committee of supply to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. On the accession of Queen Anne he was removed from his post of lieutenant-general of the Ordnance, a factor which seems to have brought an end to his active participation in Parliament and on the Privy Council. However, in 1704 he was listed as a probable opponent of the Tack, and was one of the MPs Harley had lobbied personally to oppose it. He did not vote for it on 28 Nov. Having made his will on 2 Mar. 1705, when ‘sick and weak in body’, Goodricke died three days later and was buried at Ribston. He left his estate to his wife.14

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Hist. of the Goodricke Fam. ed. C. A. Goodricke, 25, 32.
  • 2. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 361; A. Browning, Danby, i. 404; HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 204.
  • 3. H. Tomlinson, Guns and Govt. 224; Statutes, iii. 437; iv. 9–13; CSP. Dom. 1695, p. 112; 1697, p. 511; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 636.
  • 4. Grey, Debates, x. 1, 5–6, 13–14, 25–26, 35–36; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 550–1, 555–6, 570–1; Browning, i. 467–8; Hist. Jnl. xx. 66–67; Tomlinson, 191.
  • 5. Grey, 46, 80–81; Cobbett, 592, 598–9, 637; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 54–56; Browning, i. 471; Add. 42952, f. 137; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, f. 74.
  • 6. Grey, 89, 123–4, 129–30, 137, 140–43a; Cobbett, 628, 633, 639, 641–2, 646; Rawl. A.79, f. 89; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/053/1, James Vernon I* to Alexander Stanhope, 27 May 1690.
  • 7. Dalrymple, Mems. iii(2), 78; CSP. Dom. 1690–1, pp. 62–63; HMC Finch, ii. 331–2, 353, 364; iii. 383; HMC Downshire, i. 357; Poems on Affairs of State ed. Cameron, v. 258, 262–3; Browning, iii. 178.
  • 8. CSP. Dom. 1690–1, pp. 264, 271; Dalrymple, iii(2), 179, 294; Browning, i. 487–8, 495; ii. 197; Luttrell Diary, 26–27, 40–41, 47, 106, 148; Grey, 185; Cobbett, 665; Horwitz, 71–72; D. Rubini, Court and Country, 77–78.
  • 9. Luttrell Diary, 224, 265, 268, 274, 284, 289, 298–9; Grey, 286; Cobbett, 737; Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 137.
  • 10. Browning, i. 467–8, 508–9; EHR, lxxi. 576–8, 580, 589; lxxviii. 106; J. P. Kenyon, Sunderland, 246–7, 251; Add. 70155, f. 64; Grey, 379; Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 127, 213.
  • 11. Browning, i. 517; ii. 218; Cobbett, 908, 918; Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 150; Chandler, ii. 458.
  • 12. Add. 17677 QQ, f. 231; 36913, ff. 219, 266, 278, 284, 289; 70155, f. 64; Stanhope mss U1590/059/5, Robert Yard* to Stanhope, 11 Feb. 1695–6; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 32, debate on council of trade, [31 Jan. 1696]; Browning, ii. 200; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 118–20.
  • 13. Add. 17677 RR, ff. 270–1; 30000 A, ff. 281–2.
  • 14. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 159, 185, 237; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/5, James* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 17 Mar. 1701[–2]; Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle, box 75 bdle. 1, newsletter 14 Mar. 1701[–2]; Add. 17677 XX, ff. 255, 312; Hervey Letter Bks. i. 159; Browning, i. 566; Goodricke Fam. 32; PCC 51 Gee.