HAMPDEN, Richard I (1631-95), of Great Hampden, nr. Wendover, Bucks.

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



1656 - 10 Dec. 1657
1660 - Jan. 1681
Mar. 1681
1685 - 1690
1690 - 1695

Family and Education

bap. 13 Oct. 1631, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Hampden† of Great Hampden by Elizabeth, da. of Edmund Symeon of Pyrton, Oxon.  m. 11 Mar. 1652, Letitia, da. of William, 6th Baron Paget, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.  suc. fa. 1643.1

Offices Held

PC 14 Feb. 1689–3 May 1694; ld. of Treasury April 1689–May 1694; chancellor of the Exchequer March 1690–May 1694; commr. of appeals for prizes 1694–d.2

Chairman, cttees. of supply and ways and means 27 Feb. 1689–May 1690.

Commr. Greenwich Hosp. (ex officio) 1695.3


By 1690 Hampden had already played a leading part in parliamentary politics for over 30 years, mainly in opposition to the Court. However, after helping to carry the Revolution settlement through in the Convention, the remainder of his political life was spent as spokesman for the Court and his career dedicated to the performance of the King’s business. William III certainly recognized Hampden’s value in the post-Revolution scheme of politics, as did others, for in February 1690 he was described as ‘one of our prime ministers’. In the revamped Treasury commission of March 1690, he was not only the sole survivor of the preceding board, but promoted to chancellor of the Exchequer as well. As a parliamentary veteran he was well versed in the ways of the Commons and many note-takers on procedure in the early 1690s refer to his contribution to debates on the correct methods of doing business. Furthermore, although described as one of the principal men of the Presbyterian party, his value to William was as a moderating influence in the counsels of the more violent Whigs.4

After securing an unopposed return for the county of Buckinghamshire, Hampden was classed as a Whig by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). At the opening of the 1690 Parliament Hampden threw his weight behind the nomination of Sir John Trevor, who was duly chosen Speaker on 20 Mar. Two days later Hampden intervened twice on the best way to proceed following the King’s Speech and sought to prevent the Commons from considering the pamphlet published after the dissolution that named those in favour of the corporations bill, because it would tend ‘to raise animosities, and to divert the House from taking into consideration necessary business’. Hampden was heavily involved in ‘necessary business’, chiefly that of raising revenue, as he chaired the committee of the whole on supply and managed the subsequent revenue bills through the House. Throughout this session he concentrated on trying to expedite supply and its corollary, trying to prevent MPs from pursuing other matters which were time-consuming but not material to the war effort. Hampden himself was rarely distracted, being appointed to very few committees unconnected with finance. Indeed, at the beginning of his chairmanship he voiced the hope that Members would not waste time on investigating the revenue, but undertake this task during the recess when there was time to do it. Testimony to his reputation came from his longstanding opponent Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., in the debate of 8 Apr. on the petition from the City for legislation to reverse the quo warranto judgment against it: ‘no man doubts but that Hampden can form a question (reflecting) to the advantage of the thing he proposes; we have every day’s experience of it.’ On the following day Hampden successfully intervened twice in the debates on the recognition bill to ensure that it was not committed, but it received a third reading immediately. Again, time was the principal reason attested by Hampden for the course of action he was advocating. Constitutional principle (and perhaps the fear that it might cause a disagreement with the Lords) was behind his opposition to a rider to the poll tax which sought to fine commissioners who had acted without taking the oaths, an amendment which he took to be a revenue-raising device and therefore improper to be added in such a way. On 28 Apr. Hampden’s contribution to the debate on measures to secure the government was a little unclear except for his belief that legislation was needed. On the motion to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, which he called ‘the most sacred we have’, he observed how it could be circumvented by demanding excessive bail and ended with a plea that consideration be given to ‘securing the government under the King and Queen’, which was duly ordered for a committee of the whole the next day. On the 30th, at the second reading of the regency bill, he indicated that the legislation needed amending in committee without specifying exactly how it should be done. When Seymour arraigned Anthony Rowe* for publishing a ‘black list’ of those opposing the offer of the crown to William and Mary, Hampden thought that ‘a thing read in a noise cannot be strictly examined and censured’, and the matter should be ‘cooled or thoroughly prosecuted’; thus an adjournment of the debate was the most appropriate action. His doubts about the regency bill surfaced again on 5 May in the committee of the whole, but he offered no remedies except for further thought. Later in the debate he gave some encouragement to those seeking to establish the regency without recourse to legislation, although he added ‘it may succeed well, but is a dangerous expedient’.5

During the summer Hampden remained at his post, Queen Mary informing William in August 1690 that ‘Mr Hampden is the person who tells such sad stories of the Treasury, which I fear will prove to be too true’. On 8 Sept. it was Hampden who told Members of the Queen’s intention to prorogue Parliament until 2 Oct., but that the King’s arrival in England had nullified her power to order it officially, so the Commons adjourned itself. In November he was listed by Carmarthen as one of the members of the Council ‘that ought to assist in the management of the House’, and presumably one of the Treasury lords who were to ensure that all revenue officers who were Members helped to forward supply. Certainly, in December Carmarthen felt that he could count on Hampden’s support in case he was attacked in the Commons. However, Hampden no longer took the chair of the committee of ways and means and he made no known speeches during the 1690–1 session. The reason for this was ill-health, two commentators during October remarking upon the seriousness of his ‘distemper’. As soon as the session ended, Robert Harley* reported that ‘uncle Hampden speaks of going down with me’. Not surprisingly, Harley classed Hampden as a Court supporter in April 1691. Subsequently, his name features on many lists as a placeman, including Grascome’s analysis of 1693–5.6

The 1691–2 session began with Hampden being first-named to the committee of 27 Oct. 1691 to congratulate the King on his safe return from Ireland, which he duly reported to the House two days later. However, he did not regain the chairmanship of supply and of ways and means. Hampden continued to be an active speaker on behalf of the Court, beginning on 6 Nov. when he argued for treating the army and navy estimates together. Likewise, when silence met the Commons’ order on 7 Nov. to consider the miscarriages of the fleet, Hampden was among those suggesting that the Speaker resume the Chair preparatory to a vote that there had been no miscarriages. When Sir Thomas Clarges arrived and sought to move for the committee to sit again Hampden opposed this too. On the 9th Hampden was against precipitate action being taken over the complaint that the pamphlet Mercurius Reformatus or The New Observator was a breach of privilege, but its printer was ordered into custody. When the House sat as a committee on supply on the 12th, Hampden informed Members that the ‘double excise’ was about to expire and that a resolution of intent for the future might ensure that the brewers did not take advantage. On matters of less import, but of a partisan nature, such as the future of the East India trade, he was for a new company. On 16 Nov. he argued successfully for a conference with the Lords as the correct way to obtain additional information from Lord Danby (Peregrine Osborne†) following the capture of French papers by Sir Ralph Delaval*. A conference being agreed, Hampden was first-named to manage it and duly reported back to the Commons on the 19th. Meanwhile, on the 18th Hampden had supported the Court’s naval estimates and the motion for the referral of the army estimates to a committee of the whole, a quicker method of proceeding. When this committee sat the following day, Hampden endorsed the King’s view that 65,000 men were necessary and answered Sir John Thompson’s remark about the dangers of a standing army by pointing out that the greater danger to liberty came from a French invasion. On 25 Nov. he moved a successful resolution that the pay for soldiers in Ireland be reduced to the rates applicable during Charles II’s reign and then supported a motion to inquire whether Ireland could bear the costs before placing the burden upon that country. On the 28th Hampden supported a vote to clarify that the army estimate of 65,000 men excluded officers. When the Commons considered on 30 Nov. the Lords’ amendments to the bill abrogating the oaths of supremacy in Ireland he was opposed to the amendment which would allow ‘popish’ lawyers to practise after taking only the oath of allegiance and was nominated to the conference with the Lords on the disagreements between the Houses on this bill. Also on the 30th, in committee of supply, he sought to proceed on the other military charges by head and saw no need to go into a select committee, which would prolong the process. On 3 Dec., on the report of the commissioners of accounts, Hampden stepped in to cool a quarrel between two Members and to refute the charge that the Dutch had received interest for their loans before the money had been deposited with the Exchequer. Two days later he again spoke for ignoring the articles of Limerick when the Commons discussed the report of the conference on Irish oaths. When the informer, Fuller, was examined before the House on the 9th, Hampden argued against addressing the King for an allowance for him on the grounds that ‘so small a sum should not be wanting’. On the 11th he was concerned to safeguard the rights of the Commons in impeachments when the House debated the Lords’ amendments to the treason trials bill. In another move designed to restore harmony with the Lords, he moved on the 15th that the Commons vote that no letter from Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) had been found on the captured French boat. The following day Hampden moved to expedite the land tax by suggesting a clause allowing for the commissioners named the previous year to act; this was rejected but lists of names were ordered to be prepared. On 17 Dec. he supported Seymour in seeking to deprive the East India Company of the prerogative of making war and peace, but this power was deemed essential to carry on the trade. He spoke against the company on the 18th, and on the 23rd declared that the security proposed by its members was merely a device to delay the Commons. On the 24th he opposed a rider to the land tax seeking that the treasurers of the navy and Ordnance pay their debts in course, because it would have included debts accrued under Charles II and James II.7

Following the short Christmas recess, on 29 Dec. 1691 Hampden argued against intervening in the privilege dispute between Sir John Cutler* and Lord De La Warr. On the 30th, when the use of foreign generals was criticized, Hampden put forward the view that it was in the public interest to use foreigners because then the natives would not be bred up as soldiers and a standing army would be avoided. Returning to this theme on 4 Jan. 1692, Hampden expressed dislike for the criticism of foreigners voiced when it was mooted to give the thanks of the House to General Ginkel for his service in Ireland, suggesting that all general officers be included in any vote. Hampden was involved on the 7th in the debates over procedure following the Lords’ request for a conference on the treason trials bill. On the 8th he spoke in favour of the bill for lessening the rate of interest. On 12 Jan. he showed great interest in a proposal to turn the bankers’ debt to the government’s advantage by accepting £1 million at 5 per cent in return for the debt being made perpetual and secured on a fund to pay the interest, and backed moves to refer this to a select committee, it being ‘unparliamentary’ to refer it to the Treasury lords. Two days later he suggested that no private bills be read after 11 a.m., evincing considerable irritation at their time-consuming nature. On the 16th he opposed the bill against hawkers and pedlars because it would ‘do great mischief and restrain many men’s trade’. In the committee of the whole on supply on 18 Jan., he argued that if the Commons was going to pay the debt to the bankers they should inquire into it first and therefore the bankers’ legal proceedings should be stopped. However, in the same debate he made clear his preference for raising supply by a quarterly poll tax. The following day he opposed the proposal for a loan secured on a fund providing perpetual interest, which had been set up as an alternative to the poll tax. On the 25th he made several procedural points during debates on the Lords’ amendments to the treason trials bill. On 28 Jan. he was keen to put forward a suggested amendment to the Irish forfeited estates bill to ensure that the King should be allowed £30,000 p.a. to reward those who had served well in Ireland. Also on the 28th he moved that the poll tax bill contain a clause which would commit the Commons to make up any shortfall in the £1,341,677 it was expected to raise. On 3 Feb., when it was proposed to tax teachers and preachers of separate congregations, Hampden opposed this as likely to widen the divisions in the nation. On the 5th, at the report of the Irish forfeited estates bill, he opposed the committee’s amendment removing the clause vesting estates in tail in the King and spoke against the clause saving all judgments that Protestants had on Catholics’ estates on the grounds that many were ‘sham’ securities. On 6 Feb. he supported the address for the dissolution of the East India Company. On the 9th, on the forfeitures bill, he moved for a clause to give the King power to dispose of £30,000 p.a., but had to accept a figure which was one-third of the total raised. On the commission of accounts bill on 13 Feb. Hampden suggested that the Commons could now adhere to the bill as sent to the Lords or seek another conference. However, his plea that the Commons should await the report of the committee inquiring into the procedure for holding conference before acting was ignored. On the 15th, he spoke against tacking a clause for a commission of accounts to the poll tax. On the 16th, during the proceedings on Kinersley’s bill, he and Seymour spoke ‘mightily’ against private bills. On 18 Feb. he sought to send the poll bill up to the Lords immediately rather than use it as a reminder to the Lords that the bills on forfeited estates in England and Ireland both needed attention. On 19 Feb. he opposed loading with additional matter a temporary bill prohibiting correspondence with the enemy, and on the 21st opposed the bill confirming the charters of Cambridge University.8

In February 1692 Carmarthen reportedly criticized Hampden for hindering the negotiation of a loan with the City, though the King did not think fit to remove Hampden when the Treasury commission was remodelled in March. Hampden retained his place but was soon engaged in an unsuccessful battle for precedence with Seymour on the grounds that the latter’s baronetcy ranked below the office of chancellor. Hampden remained a key part of the government coalition as Carmarthen’s working list of supporters made clear: Hampden was designated to ‘speak to John Swinfen*, Sir Walter Yonge [3rd Bt*], Ashurst [Sir Henry* or Sir William*] and all his friends, Simon Mayne* and Major Richard Beake*’. Hampden made his first important intervention of the new session on 10 Nov. 1692, when he moved for a day to consider the King’s Speech, the essential precursor of a grant of supply. When the appointed day came on the 15th he was keen to focus the attention of the Commons on this matter, moving that the King’s Speech be read and then to ‘go upon the same as a matter absolutely necessary’. On the 16th he was on hand to insist that it had always been the procedure of the Commons to order into custody those named by Members as arresting their menial servants. On the 19th he seconded the motion that Admiral Ashby give his account of the fleet’s activities after the naval victory at Barfleur. Both Grey and Luttrell testified to Hampden’s anger on the 23rd when the House was in committee discussing what advice to give to the King: attacks were being made on foreign officers and Sir Edward Hussey made a remark about gentlemen being gagged after receiving office so that they abandoned the interests of their country, comments which Hampden took personally. He suggested that Count Solmes was being singled out for attack because he was related to the King and moved unsuccessfully to lay the debate aside. On the 26th Hampden could not see how the Admiralty lords calling George Churchill* before their Board could constitute a breach of privilege as it was not a question of what he had said in the Commons but merely a request for information about the conduct of a man under his command. On 2 Dec., in the committee of the whole on supply, Hampden suggested that the House should ‘proceed first to make good their credit’ rather than go upon the ways and means of providing for the fleet or examine the army estimates. The next day Hampden pointed out that the shortfall on the poll bill was about £800,000. On the 14th he supported the committal of the abjuration bill on the grounds that it would look strange to reject a bill to preserve the government. The next day he spoke against the Lords’ bill for preventing abuses by searchers and weighers of butter, being in favour of a new bill. Also on 15 Dec. he was opposed to Foley’s project of raising £1 million at 6 per cent to be funded eventually by an excise as ‘a new project to load the King’s revenue’. On the 30th he supported moves for the Commons to send an answer by their own messengers after perusing the papers sent by the Lords on the actions of the fleet, thereby hoping to preserve harmony between the two Houses. On 10 Jan. 1693 Hampden opposed even bringing up a clause at the report stage of the land tax that no pensions be granted on the hereditary revenue. On the 17th he was resolute in his opposition to the Lords’ amendments to the land tax wherein the peers sought to appoint their own assessors and collectors. On the 23rd he insisted that the Hertford road bill be committed to the whole House as it dealt with a tax on the subject. Also on the 23rd, he supported moves to refer Burnet’s Pastoral Letter to a committee of inquiry rather than ordering it to be burnt by the hangman. On the 24th he informed the Commons that the King had agreed to remove Edmund Bohun from his post as licenser of the press. On 2 Feb. Hampden opposed the report stage of a bill against hawkers and pedlars. On the 7th he moved that the Speaker resume the Chair during a committee of the whole so that a quarrel between Lord Brandon and Seymour could be composed. The next day he supported the bill preserving timber in the New Forest. On the 10th he supported the triennial bill. In ways and means on 13 Feb. he noted that the land tax would not raise the expected £2 million because the assessors were not to be under oath. The £300,000 still needed to make up supply could be found by a clause of credit for £2,300,000 on the land tax. On the 18th he was appointed to draft a clause for a loan and appropriation to be added to the bill for additional imposts on merchandise. On the 23rd his motion for a committee of the whole to vote an extension to the time for collecting tonnage and poundage was rejected. On 1 Mar. he supported the indemnity bill, and on the 13th he opposed a Lords amendment to the bill encouraging privateers because the offer of a £10 prize was an infringement of the Commons’ rights of taxation.9

In the summer of 1693 Hampden was appointed to a committee to hear complaints and other matters relating to the loss of the Smyrna fleet. At the opening of the new session on 7 Nov. Hampden wanted the House to adjourn for a shorter period than had been suggested, but was overruled. On the 21st he spoke during the inquiry into the miscarriages of the fleet to cast doubt on the veracity of John Rutter’s testimony. On the 28th he noted that unless a supply was granted for the army he did not know how the government would be supported as the Treasury was so low. His proposal to grant such a supply was resolved for discussion on 2 Dec. Hampden was reported to be ill in January 1694, but was still active in the Commons, providing information to the House on the 8th and being appointed to committees on the 12th and 23rd. However, in late February he had ‘une grande attaque d’apoplexie’ which made him incapable of exercising his office, although he did appear on 23 Apr. to report the King’s answer to an address on the coinage. Robert Yard* had thought earlier in April that he might quit on account of his age and he was omitted from the new Treasury commission sealed in May 1694.10

There is no evidence from important committee appointments that Hampden attended the 1694–5 session and he did not contest the 1695 election. By November he was reported to be so ill as to be unlikely to recover and he died on 15 Dec. 1695. He was buried at Great Hampden. His will was unexceptional apart from a bequest of £25 to Mr Barton the ‘minister who lives in my house’.11

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 261.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 204; 1695, p. 112.
  • 3. Add. 10120, f. 234.
  • 4. HMC Downshire, i. 337; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 52; SP 9/18, f. 27; Surr. RO (Guildford), Onslow mss. 173/226, notes on procedure; DZA, Bonet despatch 18/28 Mar. 1690; Macaulay, Hist. Eng. 1804.
  • 5. Northants. RO, Isham mss IC 2259, John to Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt.*, 20 Mar. [1690]; Portledge Pprs. 68; Grey, x. 4, 6, 28–30, 43, 48–49, 51, 53, 95, 112–13, 118–20; Morrice ent’ring bk. 3, pp. 126–7.
  • 6. Dalrymple, Mems. iii(2), p. 117; Bodl. ms Don c.40, newletter 9 Sept. 1690; Morrice, 201, 213; Browning, Danby, iii. 178; Staffs. RO, Newport mss D1287/18/4, Andrew Newport* to Sir Thomas Wilbraham, 28 Oct. 1690; Add. 70015, f. 3.
  • 7. Luttrell Diary, 4, 6, 8, 14–16, 22, 25–26, 31, 39, 41, 48, 50–51, 53, 59, 63, 69, 75; Grey, 165, 178, 184, 187–8, 194, 202, 207; Horwitz, 72.
  • 8. Luttrell Diary, 95, 97, 109, 115, 117, 123–5, 130, 132, 136, 138, 140, 153–4, 159, 161, 169, 171–2, 175, 177–8, 184, 187, 189, 191–3, 195–6, 200.
  • 9. Dalrymple, 179; HMC Portland, iii. 460; PRO NI De Ros mss D638/13/123, John Pulteney* to Thomas Coningsby*, 17 Mar. 1691–2; Ralph, Hist. ii. 192; Browning, 183; Luttrell Diary, 217, 227, 231, 239, 256, 261, 284, 287, 318, 320, 322, 331, 342, 360, 370, 381, 395, 407–8, 410, 419, 445, 455–6, 472, 477; Grey, 262, 282; SP 9/18, f. 71v.; Ranke, vi. 212.
  • 10. Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 166; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/47, John Verney* (Ld. Fermanagh) to Sir Ralph Verney, 1st Bt.†, 9 Nov. 1693; Grey, 320, 331–2; Add. 17677 OO, f. 193; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/O59/3, Yard to Alexander Stanhope, 10 Apr. 1694.
  • 11. Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 5 Nov. 1695; HMC Portland, iii. 573; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 563; Top. and Gen. iii. 27; Stanhope mss U1590/O59/4, Yard to Stanhope, 17 Dec. 1695; PCC 239 Bond.