LITTLETON, alias POYNTZ, Sir Thomas, 3rd Bt. (1647-1709), of North Ockenden, Essex and Stoke St. Milborough, Salop.

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 - 1702
1702 - 1705
1705 - 1708
14 Dec. 1708 - 31 Dec. 1709

Family and Education

b. 3 Apr. 1647, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Littleton alias Poyntz, 2nd Bt.†, of Stoke St. Milborough and North Ockenden by Anne, da. and h. of Edward Littleton†, 1st Baron Lyttleton of Mounslow.  educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1665; I. Temple 1666, called 1671.  m. 6 Sept. 1682, Anne (d. 1714), da. and h. of Benjamin Baun alias Baron, of Westcote, Glos. s.psuc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 12 Apr. 1681.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Woodstock 1686, Oxford 1691, Bath 1700, Portsmouth 1705; common councilman and recorder, Woodstock 1695–d.2

Commr. of prizes 1689–90; clerk of the Ordnance 1690–6; ld. of Treasury 1696–9; treasurer of Navy 1699–d.3

Chairman, cttees of supply, and ways and means 16 Nov. 1693–7 July 1698; Speaker of House of Commons 6 Dec. 1698–19 Dec. 1700.

Commr. Greenwich Hosp. 1695.4


Throughout his career Littleton combined uncompromising Whiggery with a devotion to the priorities of government. Although in the 1690s he was counted among the front rank of Junto supporters, he never aspired to great office himself. He was the epitome of the accomplished government spokesman. With a sharp mind and ready wit, he excelled at giving shape to the Court’s point of view. His ‘good understanding’ in all forms of business was recognized by friend and foe alike, although some inevitably chastised him as a willing tool of the Court. He was also an adept administrator, and is remembered for having devised major improvements in the complex accounting procedures of the navy treasurer’s department, in which his father had become ensnared. In later life, after he had detached himself from his Junto friends, he was regarded as a man of ‘even and agreeable’ temper, ‘free from faction and noise and anger’, though some of his opponents felt that this aloofness stemmed from a wiliness that had ensured his survival in office.5

Littleton, the younger of two sons, had initially been intended for a commercial career, his father having apprenticed him in the early 1660s to the successful City merchant Sir John Moore†, but following his elder brother’s death he was sent first to Oxford for ‘a liberal education’, and the year after commenced his training for the bar. His Whiggish outlook matured under the tutelage of his prominent father, a leader of the ‘Presbyterian’ party in the Cavalier Parliament, whom Burnet regarded as ‘the vehementest arguer of them all’. In 1681 he succeeded to his father’s baronetcy and estates, though it was not until 1689 that he entered Parliament. He was returned for New Woodstock, probably with the assistance of his kinsman Sir Littleton Osbaldeston, 1st Bt.†, and retained the seat until 1702. In the Convention he made his mark as a keen supporter of the Revolution, quickly establishing himself at the same time as an active, business-like Member, and above all as a leading proponent of government policy. For these sterling services he was promptly rewarded in June 1689 with a commissionership of prizes, and in March 1690, on the eve of the new Parliament, with the post of clerk of the Ordnance. Lord President Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), while categorizing him at this time as a Whig, did not mark him as a Court supporter. This was probably on account of the deep personal animosity existing between him and Littleton, a continuation of the feud between Carmarthen (as Lord Danby) and Littleton’s father, sparked in 1673 by the former’s accusation that Sir Thomas as joint treasurer of the navy had mismanaged the victualling contracts. The elder Sir Thomas never relented in his subsequent campaign for Danby’s impeachment, and with the appearance in politics of Sir Thomas’ son, Carmarthen simply renewed his hatred. It is noteworthy in this respect that in the list of supporters Carmarthen drew up at the end of 1690 in anticipation of a projected attack on him in the Commons, Littleton’s name was omitted.6

There was no question, however, of Littleton’s loyalty to the Court. In all his parliamentary undertakings and utterances he scarcely deviated from a directness and deep-rooted pragmatism in his approach to issues of the day, even if speaking as a government partisan. Such were the effects of his moderate Whiggery on undecided back-benchers that it was small wonder politicians like Charles Montagu* and Hon. Thomas Wharton* were anxious to befriend him and deploy his talents in the Lower House. It was once said of him that he spoke as ‘a true Englishman . . . the good of his country being always in his eye’. His attitude in the initial debate on the grant of supply to the King on 2 Apr. was typical. When MPs lapsed into expressions of prejudice against various revenue-raising devices, such as the land tax, he reminded the House that their purpose was to ‘have the easiest way to the people, the most eligible way to us, and the most satisfactory to the King’. And again on the 9th, concerning the Lords’ ‘recognition’ bill, he attempted to cut through the tangle of argument, fomented mainly by Tories, over the Convention Parliament’s authority to make laws, and warned against raising unnecessary scruples. Like most government-minded Whigs, he was conscious of the fragility of the Revolution settlement, and of the need for policies of consolidation. On the subject of public finance, and the lack of any suitable means of scrutiny, he seems to have favoured the appointment of a commission of accounts to monitor expenditure, being named to a committee to prepare a bill for the purpose on 14 Apr.7

Littleton made a stand against the Tory defence of the Church and its divisive tendencies when the House debated the London lieutenancy on 24 Apr. ‘I am one of those’, he told the House, ‘that would not make the King a king of a party.’ He went on to explain that ‘misunderstanding’ in the nation was not between Churchmen and Dissenters, but between well-meaning Churchmen, and others ‘that would engross the name of Churchmen to bring in tyranny and persecute all Protestant churches abroad’. He criticized the Tory motion to thank the King for his care of the Church in remodelling the lieutenancy before it was even clear whether the changes had been effective in this way, and was teller in favour of adjourning the debate. He spoke vigorously in support of the bill imposing an oath of abjuration on the 26th, arguing that ‘the government being crazy, I would have buttresses to support it’, and ridiculing Tory scruples about oath-taking, especially Sir Thomas Clarges’ notion that the proposed oath would lead to ‘a commonwealth’. He likened the Tory concept of allegiance to the kind of subservience seen under French or Turkish rule: ‘if it were the Turk or French king that ruled, their [the Tories’] principles would admit of the government provided their leaders may be bashaws and the people their slaves’. The bill was lost, however, in the division on the committal, when Littleton acted as a teller. The need to avoid divisiveness in the House itself was implicit in his attitude towards MPs who pressed for investigation of the recent publication of several tracts which appeared to libel the Commons. When he spoke on 2 May regarding Anthony Rowe’s* Letter to a Friend . . ., he told Members that, libellous though it might be, it had been so ‘very universally’ spread that there seemed little purpose in pursuing the matter. A committee appointed earlier in the session to investigate other ‘libels’, on which Littleton had been included, had so far failed to produce their report. Suggesting that ‘perhaps the committee in prudence would not do it’, he hoped that the proposed inquiry on Rowe’s pamphlet would similarly be set aside, and accordingly was a teller in favour of adjourning the debate. He viewed with scepticism the Lords’ regency bill, regretting that its formulation had not been ‘better considered’, and felt it was against the Court’s interest to pursue it, at least in the form it had been handed down. In committee on 1 May he tried to give some direction to what had been a long and confusing debate, advising, ‘it is possible you are not so ready to determine a thing of this consequence’, and went on to warn of the dangers involved in establishing powers of regency in the current situation: ‘if you consider, it will make a great alteration, the government being but very young, and not very strong. ’Tis altering royal power.’ He was further disquieted by the course of deliberations on the 5th, complaining that ‘the government was not strong enough to try experiments on: you have too many already’. He believed that the way in which the bill proposed to invest power in the Queen during William’s absence ‘does downright depose the King’; if, as seemed the sense of the House, the preferred course was to retain power ultimately in the King, there was little purpose in the bill: the King might as easily issue orders from Ireland. He exposed the weakness in the solution proposed by Hon. Heneage Finch I, namely that ‘if the King gives no directions to the contrary, the Queen’s orders shall be obeyed’. ‘Can the King know a thing before it be done?’, Littleton wondered. ‘And if done, and the King direct not to the contrary, it shall be good, though the King never knew it, and ’tis done; ’tis good whether the King direct it, or not.’ He continued to air misgivings in committee the following day, did so again at the third reading on 7 May, and on the 13th he participated in a conference on the matter with the Lords.8

There is unfortunately no record of Littleton’s involvement in the 1690–1 session beyond what can be found in the Journals. But he was clearly active, presenting the accounts of his own Ordnance department, taking part in the drafting of several bills, including the controversial bill to regulate trials for treason, and assuming responsibility for several other private bills, one of them concerning the estate of a fellow Whig, Sir Samuel Barnardiston, 1st Bt.* He was also teller on three occasions, twice in election proceedings against motions in favour of sitting Tory MPs.

The detail of Littleton’s Commons activity comes into focus once more in the session of 1691–2. It is from this point that he began to assume prominent responsibilities for government business in the Commons. On 6 Nov. 1691 he spoke in support of the motion for a supply to the King, and afterwards made the formal motion for the army estimates. There were signs, however, that leading Country Members planned to disrupt the progress of supply business by pressing for detailed examination of the estimates in select committees. The first, on the navy estimates, was appointed on the 9th, and included Littleton. When the navy estimates were approved on the 18th, the Court endeavoured to hasten consideration of the army. But the opponents’ main objection was the absence of information about the nation’s financial obligations under existing alliances and the way in which it was intended to deploy forces at home and in Ireland. Littleton, in a conciliatory move, suggested that ‘a private committee’ could deal with the matter. But this was opposed by Paul Foley I as ‘too great a thing for a private committee’. In the supply committee on the 19th Littleton spoke for the government’s preference for approving the army estimates immediately in toto, but the House acceded to the opponents’ demand to proceed ‘head by head’. In committee on the 30th, Littleton impatiently upbraided MPs when once again their attention strayed, reminding them that ‘several days’ had already been wasted in extraneous debate. His intervention was timely, however, for it forced MPs to recognize that the estimates, on which little progress had been made, were best dealt with in a select committee. When the resolutions on the army were finally reported from the committee of the whole on 15 Dec., Littleton’s only comment concerned the payment of the Dutch forces, which he agreed must be according to English rates. If Narcissus Luttrell’s* diary is any indication, Littleton intervened less frequently in ways and means business and confined his observations only to the most novel and seemingly outlandish proposals, such as Foley’s scheme for a ‘million fund’ which he opposed on 12 Jan. 1692.9

As skirmishing over supply died down, Littleton’s attention turned to the prolonged deliberations on the East India Company, of which he was a staunch defender. He was one of several lawyers ‘retained’ by the company in October 1691, though his own stockholding in April 1689 had been a modest £300. It is possible that Littleton had retained a personal friendship with Sir John Moore to whom he had been apprenticed in his youth, and who by now was a leading member of the company’s governing body. When on 27 Nov. the company came under the Commons’ scrutiny, accused of years of mismanagement, Littleton was first to speak against the efficacy of founding an entirely new company. This, he argued, would be punishing many, including widows and orphans, who were innocent of any misdemeanour. Much more essential, he saw, was the establishment of new regulations to prevent further malpractice in company dealings. None the less, he accepted that the flotation of an adequate joint stock would best help to preserve the operation of the existing company. On 18 Dec. He was in favour of giving the company the opportunity to submit proposals for establishing a joint stock. These were received on the 23rd, though the £744,000 offered by way of security was considered inadequate. Littleton tentatively ventured that the sum was ‘very good’, asking how much security the House would prefer put forward. The proposals were next considered on 8 Jan. 1692, when Littleton seconded John Methuen’s motion that the sum offered by the company as security was sufficient, which after much debate was approved. Consequently, a bill was ordered for establishing ‘an East India company’ in accordance with the ‘regulations’ laid down by the House, but when read a first time on 22 Jan. Littleton was among the first to oppose it, not only because it had been covertly prepared by only a few of the drafting committee, but also because it went so far as to dissolve the existing company. On the 26th, when the bill was committed, he moved that it might be ‘altered’ so as to retain the present company and bring it under the ‘regulations’ originally agreed by the House. In committee on 6 Feb. Littleton opposed the motion tabled by Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., to replace it with a new company, ‘for that will be only changing of hands – taking it out of the old and putting it into new’. By the end of the debate, however, Littleton seems to have bowed to the consensus of opinion which had moved in favour of Seymour’s motion, though he appears to have remained in favour of retaining the Commons’ ‘regulations’ as a framework for a new company. With the end of the session in sight, however, little further progress was made with the bill.10

Littleton spoke during the 1691–2 session on several other bills, such as those for encouraging the manufacture of saltpetre, and for lessening the interest on money, both of which he supported. More contentious was that for the reform of trial proceedings in cases of treason. Though he chaired and reported the bill’s committee stage in November, he had no great liking for it, objecting in particular to the Lords’ main amendment, the notorious ‘clause A’ which enabled peers to be tried by their fellows, and regretting that commoners could enjoy no such ‘special privilege’. On 31 Dec., upon a report from a conference with the Lords over the clause, he agreed that there had been a time in the not too distant past when such provision had been necessary, ‘when the government laid their hand upon them’, but that there was ‘no pretence or suspicion under this government’. During a debate on ways of replenishing the City orphans’ fund on 29 Jan., he opposed the revival of the chimney duty as ‘oppressive’, adding a comment directed, it would seem, at City gentlemen who made difficulties in larger matters of supply: ‘for as you give it now unto the City, I hope you would not deny it to the crown if they request it next session’. One of the last occasions on which Littleton intervened during the session was on 15 Feb., when he opposed John Granville’s proposal to tack to the poll bill a clause reappointing the commission of accounts. Though not averse to the commission, he was certainly dubious about the practice of ‘tacking’ measures which had already failed during the session. However, Littleton’s suggested compromise, to address the King to grant a commission under the ‘broad seal’, was not taken up.11

In September, while Parliament stood prorogued, Littleton appears to have suffered a particularly acute attack of ‘my terrible distemper of the stone’, a condition which was to bedevil him increasingly as the years passed. The 1692–3 session commenced with leading ‘Country’ spirits among the commissioners of accounts determined to cause as much obstruction to supply business as they could. Their insistence on dealing separately with the King’s request for ‘advice’ resulted in a series of committee sittings in which major aspects of government policy were critically examined. At the first of these, on 21 Nov., Littleton took issue with Paul Foley’s attribution of the summer’s military failures to incompetence by allied general officers, insisting that ‘your countrymen’ were equally to blame. When the subject of ‘foreign’ army officers was resumed on the 23rd, Littleton spoke in favour of granting senior commissions only to ‘such persons as are natives of their Majesties’ dominions’. Preparatory to detailed consideration of the navy and army, he presented the Ordnance estimates on the 25th; he had also presented papers on the 17th relating to the abortive ‘descent’ upon Ostend. On 1 Dec., at the report on the naval estimates, he cavilled over a sum allocated for ‘bomb vessels’ as being far too low, since his own department had not been consulted about the costs of equipping them with guns and other stores. The House agreed, none the less, to the sum originally resolved upon. As soon as naval business was concluded on the 3rd he and other Court figures, anxious to avoid further delays, persuaded the House to begin immediate consideration of the army estimates. When the House turned to ways and means on 13 Dec., Littleton, in line with other government officials, supported the proposal for a land tax of 4s. in the pound as ‘the equallest way of taxing’, rather than a monthly assessment favoured by many Country speakers. Upon the report, on 11 Jan 1693, from the committee of the whole on ‘advice’, the Court succeeded in toning down the resolution advising the King to place the Admiralty in the hands of more capable commissioners. While expressing his opinion ‘that fidelity and diligence . . . will master any difficulty in this, or in any other office’, Littleton, in an evocative allusion, told the House that in government one could never be absolutely certain of the aptitude of candidates for office. ‘Oliver Cromwell, when applied to by any person to be employed in any office by their respective friends, used to say, “Who will give me his hand and say that he will engage that the person to be employed shall be faithful to me and my government?”’12

Littleton renewed his opposition to the treason trials bill upon its reintroduction in November 1692. At its second reading on the 18th he intimated to the House that his opinion of the measure remained unchanged and that he believed it would ‘very much weaken your government and help the sooner to ruin it’; and on the motion for the committal of the bill, he was a teller against. Although as a Whig he had no principled objection to triennial parliaments, he was hesitant over a bill for this purpose devised by the Lords. At its first reading in the Commons on 28 Jan. 1693 he agreed that there were arguments for rejecting the bill outright and starting anew, not least on account of the much disliked ‘clause of dissolution’ and its implication of lordly interference in the constitution of the Lower House. For the sake of good relations with the Lords, he felt nevertheless that the House should do what it could to make it ‘a good bill’. During the course of the session he opposed new attempts to legislate for a new East India company; indeed, when his temperamental electoral patron, Lord Lovelace (Hon. John†), suddenly threatened in March to replace him at New Woodstock at the next election, Littleton surmised that his advocacy of the existing company had annoyed Lovelace’s son-in-law, Sir Henry Johnson*, a prominent member of the interloping syndicate, who ‘possibly has influenced his lordship against me’. Littleton was fortunate, however, that this unsettling state of affairs was resolved in September by Lovelace’s death. From this point onwards, until his defeat in 1702, he successfully cultivated a closer relationship with the corporation and its senior members, relying on his ability to obtain ‘favours’ for the town through his government contacts. In the spring of 1693 he was duly noted by Samuel Grascome as a ‘Court supporter’.13

At the start of the new session in November 1693, Littleton succeeded Sir John Somers* in the chairmanship of supply and of ways and means. It was Littleton’s diligence and grasp of government business which earned him the demanding role of presiding over the increasing complexities of supply business. It was no easy task: in the previous sessions the trouble-making exploits of Country Members had often hampered progress. Littleton’s occupancy of the chair gave him fewer opportunities to speak out on matters of first importance, but when he did so it was invariably in support of the Court or its servants. There was also some speculation that either he or Sir William Trumbull* would be appointed to the vacant secretaryship of state, although in the event neither was appointed. Littleton seems to have been more favourably disposed towards the second triennial bill, introduced early in the new session, and on 28 Nov. was a teller for its passage, though the motion was defeated. On 5 Dec., when Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones*), the paymaster-general, presented estimates for an increased army, he answered criticism by asking, ‘Why should we be surprised that this is a greater estimate of our force?’, adding how inappropriate it was to be considering ways of ‘saving your money’ at a time when invasion by the French was a real possibility. Two days later he defended Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*), the first lord of the Admiralty, against a charge of peculation made by the commissioners of accounts, clashing angrily with two of the commissioners, Robert Harley and Sir Thomas Clarges, each of whom felt that Littleton had reflected against the commission. In later excusing himself of any wrongful intent, he remarked somewhat pointedly: ‘I think they have done more than their duty.’ On the 16th he spoke against the articles of impeachment brought against Lord Coningsby (Thomas*) and Sir Charles Porter*, both senior members of the Irish administration, but judged it necessary to proceed, it being ‘for their honour to be publicly justified’. His next recorded speech on 1 Feb. 1694 concerned the King’s veto of the place bill. Although the agitated mood of the House had abated since the announcement of the veto on 25 Jan., the King’s reply to the Commons’ ‘representation’, received and debated a week later, failed to assuage many MPs. Littleton joined other Court spokesmen in endeavouring to put the matter into perspective, asking what more the King might reasonably have said in his answer, ‘that he is sorry he did not pass the bill, and that he will do so no more?’ He told those who had insinuated against the Earl of Portland for having counselled the veto that it was ‘hard that such reflexions should be upon those in office, to be represented as false to their country’. He also warned of the wider repercussions of condemning the King’s answer, hinting at the likelihood that it would afford particular satisfaction to Jacobites: ‘but I, for my part, have a way to guide my vote always in the House, which is to vote contrary to what our enemies without doors wish’. Once the details of supply had been finalized, Littleton shepherded each supply measure through the House. To a limited extent he was also able to participate in other business, sometimes being called upon to act as a teller, and supervising the occasional local or private bill.14

Littleton’s responsibilities for overseeing supply proceedings involved him in the more informal tasks of ‘managing’ Court support. At meetings of the Rose Club, he and other leading Court Whigs, such as Montagu, briefed back-benchers upon the merits of government measures. In the midst of the acute malaise that followed Queen Mary’s death in December 1694, in which there was open insinuation that various Court figures were ‘enemies to the government’, Littleton urged a return to former standards of decorum, with a reminder to MPs of the necessity of preserving ‘liberty of debate, . . . and he conceived that to be part of it to call everything by its right name, and where anyone thought the government undermined they ought not to be in awe of declaring it’. No speeches of his are recorded for the 1694–5 session; in January 1695 he was nominated to a series of major committees of inquiry concerning the militia laws, the coinage crisis, the making of ‘false returns’ to Parliament, the prevention of electoral corruption, and the state of laws relating to highway robbery. On 8 Feb. he was teller against the latest treason trials bill, and on the 11th was included among those ordered to prepare a bill for regulating the press. In March he was suddenly confronted with the possibility of the Speakership. The position of Speaker Trevor (Sir John*) had been rendered untenable following revelations that he had accepted bribes, and on 14 Mar. the King gave leave to the House to nominate a successor. Immediately upon delivery of the King’s message, Comptroller Wharton (Thomas) proceeded to nominate Littleton and was seconded by Sir Henry Goodricke, 2nd Bt.*, Littleton’s senior colleague in the Ordnance. However, the imposition of a Court nominee for the Chair was condemned as ‘irregular’ by Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt., who proposed Paul Foley instead. The question for Littleton was lost by 179 votes to 146, and Foley was immediately and unanimously approved. Commenting on the outcome, Under-Secretary Vernon (James I*) observed that Littleton’s loss of the Chair had less to do with the manner of his being proposed than with the fact that there was a strong preference for Foley, whose parliamentary experience was felt to outweigh Littleton’s. None the less, Wharton’s proposal of Littleton clearly underlines how closely involved in Junto schemes Littleton had become, and it is significant that in the months ahead he was considered a likely choice for promotion to the Treasury. During the final days of the session, meanwhile, he was chosen by ballot on 22 Apr. to be of the joint committee to examine Sir Thomas Cooke* concerning his corrupt involvement with the East India Company, and on the 27th was appointed to the committee to draft the articles of impeachment against his old enemy the Duke of Leeds (formerly Lord Carmarthen) for similar offences.15

In June 1695 Littleton himself made approaches to Secretary Shrewsbury for the vacancy on the Treasury Board. Submitting this request to the King, Shrewsbury wrote that ‘the manner of his service in the House of Commons does more directly entitle him to ask a place in the Treasury than any other man I know; and I believe no man your Majesty can put there will be more generally approved’. But, having recently been associated with Montagu’s and Wharton’s advantage-seeking attacks on Trevor and Leeds, Littleton was not acceptable to the King. It is possible that Lord Sunderland, who was particularly high in royal favour at this time and had no liking for the Junto or their followers, had some part in the decision not to prefer Littleton. After the 1695 general election Littleton quickly emerged as an obvious and popular choice for the Speakership, ‘being one of very good abilities and whom the Court might rely upon’, but there was also a ‘great party’ for continuing Foley. In the weeks before Parliament was due to meet towards the end of November, Littleton’s name was much canvassed, but by then he knew of the King’s disposition to retain Foley. The King had discussed the matter with Littleton at great length in the second week of October, and, as Foley soon afterwards informed Harley, ‘I have some reason to believe he was somewhat disappointed in what he expected’. Assured of the King’s ‘good opinion’ and of employment elsewhere (a veiled promise, perhaps of a seat at the Treasury), Littleton reluctantly agreed to absent himself from the Commons at their first meeting to avoid being proposed. The Court’s acquiescence in the choice of Foley was seen as a shrewd move. In blocking the selection of a prominent Court supporter to the Chair, William behaved with understandable caution and with a view to ensuring the smooth passage of government business.16

In January 1696, the machinations of the Country party created particular difficulties for Littleton and Montagu as the Court’s chief managers. In the wake of their opponents’ recent displays of strength over the proposals for a parliamentary council of trade, and in the ballot for a new commission of accounts, it was observed that they ‘are become very contemptible, at Kensington neglected, despised in the House’. Needless to say, in the forecast for the division on the council of trade Littleton had been marked as a likely Court supporter. On 24 Feb. he assisted in a conference with the Lords in the production of a joint address to the King on the occasion of the Assassination Plot. He signed the Association promptly, and voted in March in favour of fixing the price of guineas at 22s. On 30 Apr., three days after the end of the session, a warrant was finally issued for his appointment to the Treasury. Littleton’s presence on the board ensured that in its composition Whig views now predominated over Tory, and provided Montagu with a close ally. The failure of the land bank in the summer meant that alternative ways of financing the army had to be found, and Littleton’s role in backing Montagu’s proposals for an issue of Exchequer bills in order to restore credit was therefore crucial in the resolution of the government’s liquidity crisis.17

Littleton’s main preoccupations in the session of 1696–7 were the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, and the financial situation. His more exalted position in government counsels was reflected on 20 Oct. 1696 in his appointment to the privileges and elections committee in second place, and to the committee on the Address. At the end of the month he was involved in ministerial discussions concerning the tactics to be employed in refuting Fenwick’s accusations of Jacobitism against the leading Whig ministers Shrewsbury and Russell (Edward*). He played an active part in formulating the ministry’s case against Fenwick, collaborating closely with Montagu. Indeed, as a result of their dual prominence in the attainder proceedings they were known among MPs as ‘the lords of the articles’. On 6 Nov. he ‘showed very well’ that a case might be maintained against Fenwick despite defective evidence, and argued ‘resolutely’ for the attainder. During the prolonged sittings on the attainder bill on 13, 16 and 17 Nov. he frequently intervened to give direction to the debate and to forestall delaying tactics. Most contentious of all was the question of whether there was sufficient proof to convict. Littleton maintained throughout that the Commons was not bound by the usual legal requirements touching evidence, but should judge on the basis of the best information obtainable. ‘Whether this be strictly legal evidence, I do not lay so much weight upon it, as whether it has satisfied my conscience.’ He duly voted for the third reading on 25 Nov. At the same time good progress was made with the supply. Littleton and Montagu continued to pre-concert their schemes at meetings of the Rose Club. This kind of behind-the-scenes activity was instrumental to the large majority on 19 Nov. which resolved that all supplies should be raised from current taxation only. He caused annoyance on 19 Dec., when party sentiment got the better of him and he reflected upon a recent loan to the Exchequer of £10,000 by the leading Country Tory Sir Edward Seymour and his offer of another £10,000 in cattle for victualling purposes. During the last two weeks of the session, in April, he was appointed to investigate the ‘ill practices’ of stock-jobbers, and was responsible for the latter stages of a bill to reform Exchequer procedures.18

The transition to peace brought prolonged struggles over the supply during the 1697–8 session. An early portent of future difficulties was apparent on 10 Dec., when Harley’s supporters succeeded in placing John Conyers* in the chair of the committee of the whole ‘on the King’s speech’ which then proceeded to deliberate on the size of the peacetime army, a matter which customarily belonged to the committee of supply. None the less, Littleton joined the chorus of ministerial opposition to Harley’s motion for the disbandment of all troops raised since 1680, ‘upon the necessity there was to provide for the security of the kingdom’. So popular was the proposal with the country gentlemen that the ministerialists gave in without calling for a division, an outcome which in effect bound the Court to make a major reduction in the forces. Moreover, the Junto was confronted on this and other issues by the dissidence of a number of government Whigs. When deliberations on the army were resumed on 8 Jan. 1698, he moved for the sum of £500,000 for the support of 15,000 men, but this had eventually to be reduced to £350,000. There were also obstructions to be overcome in ways and means. On 9 Feb., for instance, when it was moved ‘that no further duty should be laid this year on land’, he promptly tabled proposals to maximize the return on the 3s. which had been granted; and on the 18th, in a debate on crown grants, he spoke in defence of Charles Montagu. Early in March he was involved in conferences with the Lords concerning the bill of pains and penalties against Montagu’s bête-noire, Charles Duncombe*. Throughout June he managed the unusually long string of revenue bills which emerged from the drawn-out proceedings on finance.19

Even before Parliament was dissolved, Littleton was spoken of as a plausible successor to Foley in the Speakership. Foley’s lapses into partiality during his tenure in the Chair had largely ruined his credibility with the Court, and towards the end of September Littleton emerged as the sole Court candidate. It was reported initially that he was preparing to decline the nomination on account of ‘Country’ objections that he was in public employment, and it was ‘whispered’ that an accommodation was being sought with Foley who ‘promiseth to mend his manners’. But the passage of a few more weeks dispelled these rumours as the Court continued to solicit for Littleton. Vernon, now secretary of state, felt that the King, who was still on the Continent, would not ‘put such a hardship upon [him] as to set him aside a second time’, since if he opted again for Foley ‘it will have a very ill effect upon his business’. The implications of a change of Speaker were also plain to Harley, now beginning to emerge as leader of the Country party. Speculating that there might have been ‘many more’ ministerial changes before the elections if there had been time, he remarked, ‘it is possible our great men will think that abundantly compensated by the change of the Chair from Mr Foley to Sir Thomas Littleton’. The opposite side, while ‘violent against’ Littleton and determined to ‘put a negative’ on him, failed to agree upon their own candidate. At the end of November, as ‘caballing’ for the Chair reached unprecedented intensity, the Court’s prevailing worry, as Vernon briefed the King, was that the undecided opposition would unite ‘in giving a negative vote to Sir Thomas if he be the first proposed’, and there was then the possibility that they would choose Foley. There was lingering suspicion, too, that the King might still veto Littleton because of his Junto friends’ resistance to any reconciliation with Sunderland. None the less, the number of Littleton’s supporters was confidently estimated at 284. Though privately prejudiced against him, Vernon was convinced by the overwhelming weight of support in Littleton’s favour, and on 4 Dec. advised the King of Littleton’s ‘fitness for the place, and his deference to his Majesty’s pleasure’. William, for his part, was ‘very inclinable’ to Littleton, describing him as ‘a man of perfect honour’. When proceedings began on 6 Dec. Littleton was proposed by Lord Hartington (William Cavendish*) as ‘a person well-qualified’ for the Chair, but there then followed a two-hour debate on the suitability of having a placeman as Speaker. Moreover, as the fullest account explains,

some invectives were made, charging the treasurers with having diverted and misapplied several sums of money, which Sir Thomas Littleton might come to be answerable for etc., which on the other side was answered, by alleging the great candour and probity Sir Thomas Littleton had showed both as a commissioner of the Treasury and in all the chairs wherewith former Parliaments had entrusted him etc.

Even though no competitor was named, Seymour insisted that the question for Littleton should be tried in division. The result, 242 votes in Littleton’s favour against 135, showed the real weakness of the Country party and, as Under-Secretary Ellis (John*) commented, spelt ‘a promising beginning for the King’s affairs’. But there was no mistaking the element of malice lurking in Vernon’s account of Littleton’s formal acceptance of the Chair and swearing-in: ‘Sir Thomas Littleton executed himself pretty laboriously and is rather thought to have overdone it; and he accepted a little flatteringly, saying “as the King had done many impossibilities, he might do him another in enabling him to discharge the place”.’ Once he had taken up his duties, however, Littleton appears to have confined himself to the burdens of the Chair, and even though at liberty to make contributions from the floor when the House was in committee, there is no evidence that he did so.20

During the ministerial changes in May 1699, at the end of his first session as Speaker, Littleton was transferred at his own request from the Treasury Board to the treasurership of the navy, the post from which his father had been hounded by the Earl of Danby (now Duke of Leeds) in 1671. Providing a salary of £2,000, the post was acknowledged to be a ‘more profitable place’ than a seat at the Treasury. For a brief while, however, it had appeared that Littleton might be a loser in the jostling for position at this time among his Junto colleagues, Montagu being particularly anxious to appease Lord Orford by granting the post to Lord Hartington, whose wife was Orford’s great-niece. The King, annoyed by Orford’s recent pushful behaviour, preferred Littleton and he was confirmed in the post at the end of the month. However, within a week of kissing the King’s hand, he was in great concern about the convoluted procedures involved in passing the Navy Office accounts, and that he, or eventually his executors, would be left with a long backlog of accounts to settle, just as he himself had been confronted with on the death of his father. While awaiting a suitable response from the Treasury and Navy Board to his memorial suggesting new ‘regulations’ for ‘annual accounting’, he refused to take up the post, and allowed his patent to remain unsealed. Progress was slow and frustrating, his case not heard before the Council until early October, and even then it was only agreed that ‘it might be best for the Navy Board and various Exchequer officials to confer and try to find a method of ending the dispute’. In the meantime Littleton belatedly assumed his duties as treasurer, intending to impose greater order upon the navy’s accounting procedures and ‘hoping at least for redress as the instances shall appear of the difficulties he lies under’.21

Littleton’s brief period as Speaker could hardly be accounted a success. The two sessions over which he presided during 1698 to 1700 were more than usually difficult, and he was in the unenviable position of having to appear impartial while at the same time under pressure to serve the interests of his Junto masters. His worsening bladder problem, forcing him to make frequent exits from proceedings, made him a laughing-stock. More serious, however, were the accusations that his ‘fits of stone’ were deliberately contrived in order to secure adjournments favourable to the ministers. In the third week of February 1700, for instance, as attacks were launched first against Lord Chancellor Somers (Sir John*) and then Montagu, with further ones projected against the principal officials of the Treasury and the excise, Littleton’s adjournment of the House on the 19th until the 21st, owing to a ‘fit of the stone’, allowed a convenient breathing-space for tempers to cool. Unsure how long Littleton’s indisposition would last, and doubtless wishing to see him displaced, Secretary Vernon was already proposing to Shrewsbury that he might be replaced by Simon Harcourt I* or John Conyers, at least as a temporary measure. On the 21st, however, Littleton assured the House of his recovery, and a further adjournment until the 26th was agreed. Another attack of bladder trouble in April at a key moment in the crisis between the Lords and Commons over the Irish forfeitures bill kept Littleton away from the House for a whole morning, enabling ministers to enlist support from peers who threatened to block the bill’s passage. His political attachment to the Junto was noted during these months by a parliamentary analyst categorizing Members of the House according to various ‘interests’.22

Even before the election of January 1701 Littleton’s chances of another term as Speaker were quickly fading, as opinion swung in favour of Harley. The King summoned Littleton three days before Parliament convened and told him ‘he thought it would be for his service that he should give way at this time to Mr. Harley being Speaker’. Littleton acquiesced without demur. But he was also ordered to keep away from the House when Harley was proposed on 6 Feb., an imposition which displeased his ‘great friends’ among the Whigs, and drew from Lord Hartington the remark that by such a step ‘the liberty of the people seemed to be infringed’. Thus for the first time since 1693, Littleton was able to resume his duties in the Commons as an active government supporter, and more specifically as a Junto lieutenant, without being burdened by duties of chairmanship. On 27 Feb. and 3 Mar. he presented the navy accounts, and later in the session was placed on various committees including those appointed on 12 and 25 Mar. to draft bills for settling the succession on the house of Hanover, and for a public accounts commission. On 14 Apr., in proceedings on the Partition Treaty, he opposed the motion that Lord Somers be impeached for sealing the ratification without a warrant, maintaining that greater harm would have been done by dismissing the treaty and allowing war to ensue. In a debate on the 15th regarding the disputed election for East Retford, he supported the Whig candidate. On 6 May he faced criticism from MPs over the non-payment of recently discharged seamen, which was not helped by his admission that ‘he had £6,000 appropriated to other uses which he had let go for Exchequer bills without leave of the House’. At the report stage of the succession bill on the 10th he proposed rejecting the clause for excluding office-holders ‘in a vehement long oration, showing the jealousies that this clause would perpetually make between the King and the people for future ages’, and asking ‘if it was impossible to be an honest man and the King’s servant’. It was, of course, typical that he should advocate moderation when his political masters were threatened with impeachment. On 4 June, when the House considered the Lords’ complaint about the Commons’ delay in issuing the articles against Portland and Halifax (formerly Charles Montagu), he advised ‘that in all things the moderate ways are the most secure and best’. He was somewhat embarrassed to request Speaker Harley’s permission to be absent from a call of the House on the 9th, but stressed that it was the first occasion he had asked such a favour since entering the House. His interest in the fate of the East India trade had by no means ceased. Having come to accept the expediency of a union between the old and new companies, he watched with optimism as that October’s negotiations for a ‘treaty’ moved towards a conclusion.23

After the December 1701 election, at a meeting on the evening of the 17th attended by some 60 MPs, Littleton was again adopted as the Court candidate for the Speakership, and it was generally thought he would overwhelm Harley by a ‘great majority’. The King signified his support, but in the week or so before the opening of Parliament, the predictions in Littleton’s favour were overshadowed by disconcerting signs of opposition among Tory office-holders, most notably Secretary Hedges (Sir Charles*). A very full House met to decide the issue on 30 Dec. Littleton was proposed first, but was powerfully attacked as unsuitable by the Tory admiral Sir George Rooke*, the new first lord of the Admiralty, and the question for him was lost by the slender margin of 212 votes to 216. Harley was then chosen without a division. The near equality in party strength after the election encouraged the Tories to do all they could to seize the initiative: not even the dismissal of Hedges the day before the House met could deter a militant body of some 15 Tory office-holders from opposing Littleton. As one observer commented, ‘the King’s servants could have turned it what way they pleased, as they did in favour of Mr Harley’, but Littleton had been equally disadvantaged by the unfortunate absence of many Whig friends. The activities of what was described by one news writer as ‘the Littleton party’ continued to be seen in succeeding weeks. On 5 Jan. 1702 the group was instrumental in carrying two votes concerning disputed elections. For the first two months of the session Littleton was preoccupied with Irish forfeiture business, on which he presented a bill on 2 Mar., and with further complaints to the Navy Board about the continuing ‘delays and difficulties’ involved in processing the navy accounts. In a memorandum to the board he argued that these should be brought in ‘by degrees, and not by the lump’. His task was not simplified, however, as in the latest contest for the Chair the Navy Board had been ‘violently against’ him. In March 1702 he dealt with two private bills on the Irish forfeitures, and on the 18th was first-named to a committee to make changes in the oaths necessitated by the King’s death. His characteristic wisdom was seen on 4 May during the third reading of a money bill. A rider, to meet arrears on army payments, had encountered prolonged debate, it being against standing orders to give money when the House was not in committee, but it was eventually allowed to pass after Littleton sagely observed that ‘a committee of children, if they had a bird in their hand, would hardly lose it in hopes to catch it again’.24

Despite the construction of a mainly Tory administration, Littleton retained the treasurership of the navy, and a new warrant was issued to him in June 1702. His reappointment was probably due to the concern of Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) to hold on to vital administrative talent wherever possible, and Godolphin would have been familiar with the industry Littleton had lately shown in rationalizing the navy’s badly disordered finances. Many years later Speaker Onslow (Arthur†), who himself was to hold the navy treasurership, hailed Littleton for the ‘good regulations’ he had initiated. At Woodstock, however, a successful Tory campaign drove him from his seat, and he was able to take refuge at Castle Rising. Littleton’s agreement to serve with the Tories inevitably set him apart from his old Junto cronies. As a Court Whig he managed to remain largely unobtrusive in the ways he chose to assert his Whiggish identity, but he was also fortunate, particularly in the early years of Anne’s reign, that his own Whiggish opinions coincided with the pragmatism of Court policy. Amid the controversy in November 1702 over the constitution of the lower house of Convocation, Littleton argued in the Commons for limitations to be placed on the assembly’s ‘rights’, and although his proposition was ridiculed by the High Churchman Hon. Heneage Finch I, he was generally acknowledged to have carried his point. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted to agree with the Lords’ wrecking amendments to the bill for extending the time for taking the Abjuration. Early in the next session, on 26 Nov. 1703 he joined other prominent Whigs in speaking out against the motion to bring in the second occasional conformity bill. He pleaded the Whig viewpoint on 25 Jan. 1704 in the proceedings on Ashby v. White, agreeing with the Lords’ resolution that the Commons did not have exclusive jurisdiction in electoral matters but that injured parties could seek redress at common law. His criticism of the proposed Tory resolution upholding the sole rights of the Commons, which he said tended ‘to the encouraging one man to injure another man’s franchise without any reparation’, was interrupted with shouts of ‘No, No’. He calmly persisted, however, and closed his speech with an explicit declaration in favour of the Lords’ verdict: ‘I think they have relieved the persons injured according to justice, and it does not interfere with your rights.’ He is next mentioned as speaking on 27 Mar. in the proceedings concerning the prize commissioners’ failure to present their accounts when, no doubt mindful of his own recent difficulties over archaic accounting practices, he defended one of the commissioners, John Parkhurst*. In the early weeks of the 1704–5 session Littleton, not surprisingly, was forecast as an opponent of the Tack. Addressing the House on the subject on 28 Nov., he avoided the religious issues but warned that if the tacked land tax bill passed the Commons, the Lords were quite at liberty to ‘untack what we have tacked’. Despite his having voted against the measure, an analysis of the House in 1705 noted him as a ‘High Church courtier’. This was perhaps an apt description, for the bookseller and author John Dunton stated in 1704 that Littleton ‘loves religion, but he hates extremes. His piety and devotion are unaffected, and yet as remarkable as his love to the Church of England.’25

At the 1705 election Littleton transferred to Chichester, where he was put up by the Duke of Richmond. There was some suggestion at the beginning of May that he was willing to be the Court’s candidate for the Speakership, but he was passed over in favour of John Smith I*. He duly voted for Smith on 25 Oct. By this time Littleton had ceased to be one of the debating heavyweights. Perfunctory though his interventions had become, he maintained his old way of urging moderation and conciliation, and as an ex-Speaker, would insist on reverence for procedural form. On 8 Dec., when the House debated the Lords’ resolution that the Church was not in danger, he supported those who argued that there was no precedent for referring to committee resolutions communicated by the Upper House. At the second reading of the regency bill on 19 Dec. he tried to defuse Sir Edward Seymour’s blistering attack on the regency proposal as a constitutionally dangerous ‘experiment’, by urging the Commons not to divide against Seymour, but to seek a better solution in committee. In the same debate he joined in condemning Charles Caesar* for accusing Lord Treasurer Godolphin of having corresponded with the Pretender during the previous reign. He spoke on various details of the bill in committee on 10, 15, 19 and 21 Jan., while on 18 Feb. he supported the Court on the ‘place clause’. During a debate on the articles of union with Scotland in the next session, on 8 Feb. 1707, he answered accusations that the Court ‘went post-haste’ in a matter of highest importance with his oft-quoted remark that ‘they did not ride post-haste, but a good easy trot: and for his part, as long as the weather was fair, the roads good, and their horses in heart, he was of opinion they ought to jog on and not take up till it was night’. He continued in a modest way to play his part in the routine business of the House. He was still in demand as a committee man, especially in situations where his procedural expertise might be required. It would have been highly unusual if he had not been one of the ‘Lord Treasurer’s Whigs’ who rallied closely to Godolphin during the Junto attacks on the ministry in the winter of 1707–8, though he did not in fact feature prominently among those who did so.26

At the 1708 election Littleton lost his Chichester seat, but was brought in on the Admiralty interest for Portsmouth at a by-election in December. By now, however, he was overwhelmed by poor health and no longer able to attend Parliament with his former regularity. In November he was targeted as one of the ‘infirm’ Whigs whom the Junto chiefs wanted to see removed from office, though this may have been because at the time he was without a parliamentary seat. Only twice more, on 14 Jan. and 4 Apr. 1709, did he make recorded appearances in order to present papers and accounts concerning naval expenditure. He died on 31 Dec. and was interred in his parish church at North Ockenden, Essex. In noting Littleton’s death, one news writer remembered him in affectionate terms as a ‘facetious and witty gentleman’ who ‘often diverted the House of Commons with a pleasant story which was always à propos’. He was said to be ‘worth £4,000’ a year. Dying without issue, the baronetcy became extinct and he left his entire estate to his wife, his sole executor, whom he praised in his will as ‘the best wife that ever man was blest with’; his extensive bequest was ‘to testify the great love and value I have for her which she more than deserves by her excellent carriage and behaviour’. After her, the estate was to pass to his second cousin, James Littleton, a naval officer who entered Parliament at the election of 1710, and whose son Thomas† was Littleton’s godson. He left some of his London property to his ‘good friend’ Archibald Hutcheson*, and in further testimony of their friendship Lady Littleton, at her death in 1714, bequeathed to Hutcheson her husband’s bound collection of Votes.27

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. PCC 24 Smith; Glos. Par. Regs. xiv. 144.
  • 2. Woodstock council acts 1679–99; Oxford Council Acts (Oxford Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 219; Bath AO, Bath council bk. 3, p. 300; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 374.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 516; 1696, p. 153; Cal. Treas. Bks. xx. 248.
  • 4. Add. 10120, p. 4.
  • 5. Boyer, Anne Annals, ix. 401; J. Dunton, Life and Errors, 350; Huntington Lib. HM 30659, no. 112, newsletter 7 Jan. 1709[–10].
  • 6. Boyer, 401; Burnet, ii. 84; PRO, C 104/109/2, Ld. Lichfield to John Cary, 28 Nov. 1695.
  • 7. Dunton, 350; Grey, x. 36, 48.
  • 8. Grey, 71, 83–4, 106–7, 112, 122–3, 128, 133; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, f. 75.
  • 9. Luttrell Diary, 4, 26, 33, 53, 82, 125.
  • 10. Rawl. C.449 (unfol.); Add. 22185, ff. 12–13; Boyer, 401; Luttrell Diary, 44, 88, 92, 118, 148, 156, 174.
  • 11. Luttrell Diary, 75, 100, 117, 146–7, 157, 164, 187, 195; Grey, 224.
  • 12. Egerton 929, f. 5; Grey, 263, 295; Luttrell Diary, 257, 279, 287, 312, 363.
  • 13. Luttrell Diary, 234, 237, 392, 449; Grey, 303; PRO, C 104/109/1, Littleton to John Cary, 30 Mar. 1693.
  • 14. Grey, 341–2, 350–1, 367, 382–3.
  • 15. Add. 46527, ff. 47, 77; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxiii), 387; Lexington Pprs. 69; CSP Dom. 1695, p. 318; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 443, 459, 464; Debates and Procs. 1694–5, p. 23; Somerset RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 284, Edward Clarke* to his wife, 18 May 1695.
  • 16. Shrewsbury Corresp. 90; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 154; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/059/4, Robert Yard* to Alexander Stanhope, 19 Nov. 1695; Add. 70018, ff. 79, 107; Lexington Pprs. 148; Bodl. Locke c. 8, f. 201.
  • 17. HMC Hastings, ii. 252; CSP Dom. 1696, pp. 153, 214, 239, 250, 339, 370; Horwitz, 178–9.
  • 18. Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/13, 24, 67, James Vernon I to Duke of Shrewsbury, 29 Oct., 19 Nov. 1696, 11 Feb. 1696[–7]; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 48–9, 58, 135; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 1006–7, 1030–1, 1078–9; Horwitz, 209.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1697, p. 507; 1698, pp. 80, 96; Cam. Misc. xxix. 357.
  • 20. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 148, 216, 218–22, 223–5, 229; Bodl. Ballard 5, f. 131; Stanhope mss U1590/059/7, Yard to Stanhope, 20 Sept., 29 Nov., 13 Dec. 1698; CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 393, 413, 421, 424–5; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/104, 113, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 27 Oct., 29 Nov. 1698; W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Copley mss DD38/B-C, Robert Molesworth* to Sir Godfrey Copley, 2nd Bt.*, 1, 18 Nov. 1698; G. Holmes and W. A. Speck, Divided Soc. 18; Horwitz, 247–8; D. Rubini, Court and Country, 195; Add. 40772, ff. 324, 357; 40773, ff. 5, 9; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Finch-Halifax pprs. box 5, bdle. 3, Sir John Banks, 1st Bt.*, to Hon. Heneage Finch I, 22 Nov. 1698; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 394; Yale Univ. Beinecke Lib. Blathwayt mss box 20, Yard to William Blathwayt*, 2 Dec. 1698; Shrewsbury Corresp. 517, 548; Grimblot, Letters, ii. 207; Cam. Misc. xxix. 361; Luttrell, iv. 458.
  • 21. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 286, 288, 303, 314, 317, 337; Carte 228, f. 302; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 199; Stanhope mss U1590/059/8, Yard to Stanhope, 30 May 1699; Add. 40774, ff. 42, 50, 58–59, 82, 136–7, 139–40, 209, 211, 215; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 1497, Vernon to Earl of Portland, 4 July 1699; Luttrell, iv. 580.
  • 22. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 436, 439, 443; Luttrell, iv. 615; HMC Le Fleming, 354; Rubini, 209.
  • 23. Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 25, f. 39; Yale Univ. Beinecke Lib. Manchester mss 1987.7.1, Vernon to Ld. Manchester, 3 Feb. 1700–1; Carte 228, f. 368; NMM, Sergison mss SER/103, f. 63; Cocks Diary, 82, 90, 91, 98, 112, 120; Ralph, Hist. Eng. ii. 972; Add. 70201, Littleton to Harley, 7 June 1701; 22851, f. 38.
  • 24. HMC Cowper, ii. 443–4; Cumbria RO, Carlisle, Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/4, James Lowther* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 18, 30 Dec. 1701; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. i. 60; Add. 7074, f. 78; Annandale mss at Raehills, bdle. 828, George Wishart to Ld. Annandale, 1 Jan. 1702; 829, Thomas Bruce to same, 8 Jan. 1702; Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle, box 70, folder 2, bdle. 4, newsletter 8 Jan. 1701–2; Sergison mss SER/103, f. 374; Cocks Diary, 282.
  • 25. Luttrell, v. 184; HMC Cowper, iii. 13; Burnet, v. 65; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 132; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. iii. 140; Cobbett, vi. 296; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 254; Proceedings of . . . Parliament . . . upon the bill to prevent occasional conformity (1710), 59; Dunton, Life and Errors, 350.
  • 26. Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Sir William Simpson to John Methuen*, 1 May 1705; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 44, 50, 53, 60, 69, 74, 81; Cobbett, vi. 561; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 229.
  • 27. BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 53, Ld. Johnson (James*) to Sir William Trumbull*, 24 Nov. 1708; Add. 70421, newsletter 3 Jan. 1709[–10]; Huntington Lib. HM 30659, no. 112, newsletter 7 Jan. 1709[–10]; F. Chancellor, Ancient Sepulchral Mons. Essex, plate lv; PCC 24 Smith; 163 Aston.