METHUEN, John (c.1649-1706), of Bradford and Bishops Cannings, Wilts.

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



22 Dec. 1690 - 1700
Dec. 1701 - 13 July 1706

Family and Education

b. c.1649, 1st s. of Paul Methuen, clothier, of Bradford by Grace, da. of John Ashe of Freshford, Som.  educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf., matric. 21 Apr. 1665, aged 15; I. Temple 1667, called 1674, bencher 1697.  m. lic. 16 Feb. 1672, Mary (d. 1723), da. of Seacole Chivers of Quemerford, Wilts., sis. of Henry Chivers*, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da.  suc. fa. 1667.1

Offices Held

Master in Chancery 1685–d.; envoy extraordinary to Portugal 1691–7, 1702–3; ambassador extraordinary 1703–d.; ld. of Trade 1696–7; ld. chancellor [I] 1697–1703; PC [I] 1697–?d.2



The name Methuen was of Scottish origin, supposedly deriving from the barony of Methven in Perthshire. John Methuen’s father had broken with family tradition by not entering holy orders, and instead apprenticed himself to his future father-in-law, John Ashe, a Wiltshire clothier. Eventually taking over Ashe’s business, he proved extremely successful and amassed a large fortune. By the time he died, he was able to leave legacies in cash of about £10,000, plus several mills and property in Bradford, along with a ‘sizable estate’ leased in Bishops Cannings, near Devizes. John, although the eldest of the family, did not inherit the whole of his father’s estate, which was divided up among his mother and six siblings as well, though he did receive a double portion, which seems to have included the Bishops Cannings estate, though no property in Bradford. Methuen’s younger brother William, who inherited the woollen mills, followed in his father’s footsteps as a clothier, and assisted his older brother on occasion in maintaining his interest at Devizes. At the time of his father’s death Methuen was entered as a member of the Inner Temple, apparently choosing to forgo a career as a clothier, or a career in the Church. In 1672 he married the daughter of a Wiltshire clothier, and despite his decision to pursue a career elsewhere, Methuen’s connexion with the heart of the English woollen industry and related trading issues was to play a highly significant role throughout his political life. His legal qualifications also played a part in his career, and, despite coming from a family of borderline gentry status, he managed to progress to the position of an important senior government minister in the reigns of William III and Anne. His first significant legal appointment occurred in 1685, when he purchased the office of master in Chancery. He did not display a great ability in this post, getting into trouble on occasion due to his overly detailed and unclear reports.3

Methuen did not endeavour to enter parliamentary politics until 1690, when he stood for election in Devizes, near to his Bishops Cannings estate, with the support of the Whig faction among the freemen. His estate would have provided him with a strong interest in the borough, as would his connexions with the woollen industry, though following a closely contested election, he was defeated by the Tory Sir Thomas Fowle. Methuen petitioned and was seated by the House on 22 Dec. For the remainder of the 1690–1 session he appears to have been inactive. It is not clear why he was appointed envoy to Portugal in 1691, although his knowledge of trading concerns, his merchant connexions and his ability to converse in Spanish and French may all have been reasons for his appointment, since the post was as much concerned with trade relations as with diplomatic alliance. For his part, Methuen appears to have been keen to go to Lisbon, perceiving it as a relatively easy job in a pleasant climate. As he was separated from his wife, and the rents from his estate were ear-marked for her jointure, the salary may also have been an attractive prospect. However, he did not leave England until the spring of 1692, and so was in London for the 1691–2 session.4

Methuen was an active participant in the 1691–2 session, especially in the debates on the East India Company. On 27 Nov. 1691, during a debate on a petition against the company from the clothiers of Gloucester, Methuen supported calls for the establishment of a new company. He also seconded a motion by Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., that the King be addressed to dissolve the present company and permit the House to regulate a new one. On 2 Dec. he was one of several Members who supported Sir Samuel Barnardiston on the need to fix a stock for the company, of at least £1,500,000. The next day Methuen’s attention turned to the bill for relief of the London orphans which was read for the first time and which he opposed as ‘a bill that lays a tax upon all the neighbouring counties’, and because ‘it came in irregularly for that it ought to have come from a committee of the whole House, being laying a tax on the King’s subjects’. On the 17th the East India Company came in for scrutiny once more, Methuen seconding Seymour’s motion for an address to the King to dissolve the company and establish a new one according to regulations agreed upon by the House. The next day Methuen was one of many Members to speak against the existing company in relation to a motion by the company governor, Sir Joseph Herne, that the accounts as rendered should be accepted as true. On 8 Jan. 1692 the House considered ‘the answer and proposals given in by the committee of the East India Company’, during which Methuen moved ‘that the House would be pleased to vote the security offered by the Company to be sufficient’. He was then named to prepare a bill for establishing a company in accordance with the earlier resolutions of the House. Methuen spoke again on the 12th, supporting Robert Austen I’s argument that the bankers’ proposal for lending money and recouping the existing crown debt should not go before a ‘private committee’, but should be left to the Treasury lords to consider. He was active again on the 23rd and the 25th, as a teller in favour of the engrossed bill for lessening interest rates from 6 to 5 per cent, and against an amendment to the bill for repair of Dover harbour. On the 26th the bill for establishing an East India Company received its second reading, Methuen upholding the reasonableness of the bill, and asking that the members of the Company who had proposed to give security should attend, which was accordingly ordered. However, on 6 Feb. a problem arose as the company personnel declared they would not give security until the bill had passed, which led to another motion from Seymour for addressing the King to dissolve the existing company and establish a new one. ‘Mr Methuen was for the address but was for passing a vote first: that the House, upon the examination of this matter and the proofs given, were satisfied that the Company had not managed the trade for the good of the nation.’5

Methuen’s diplomatic mission to Portugal removed him from active participation in Parliament for the next few years, though he kept up a regular correspondence with friends in England, and continued to be included in various lists of placemen and courtiers drawn up during 1692–5. Of Methuen’s correspondents the most important was Lord Halifax (Sir George Savile†), with whom Methuen appeared to be on very friendly terms, and who in all probability was his first significant patron. Methuen noted that it was through Halifax that he made the acquaintance of his landlord at Bishops Cannings, Bishop Burnet of Salisbury, while in 1694 he asked Halifax to recommend him to the Duke of Shrewsbury, as he did not yet know the Duke personally. However, despite nurturing such connexions, Methuen claimed that ‘the present employment I am in doth in all respects extremely please me and if I could think myself capable of performing anything well it would be of being an envoy. I have likewise by this means the opportunity of breeding a forward son [Paul*] whom I have here under my own care’. However, tragedy was brought to his family that year, when his younger son, Henry, and the son of the Whig Sir John Houblon, an Admiralty lord and first governor of the Bank of England, were both killed in a brawl in Lisbon following ‘a noble treat’ given by an English merchant. In September Methuen received permission to return to England for two months to attend his parliamentary duties, though he was still in Portugal in October, when he wrote to Alexander Stanhope, stating that he believed that the Duke of Leeds (Sir Thomas Osborne†) was

the greatest man in the craft of managing a Parliament that ever was in England, and therefore, as he is upon such an emergency more necessary, so I tremble to think how in more favourable times he may be dangerous to the very constitution of the kingdom of England, which after all is really very broken and precarious at best.6

Methuen finally returned to England in December, leaving his son Paul as his deputy. Methuen’s activity during the 1694–5 session appears minimal, and by June he had returned to Portugal to continue the slow and laborious process of winning the confidence and trust of the Portuguese king, Pedro II. Methuen was returned for Devizes in the October 1695 election, but his continued stay in Lisbon meant that he was absent from the session of 1695–6. However, by 1696 his career had entered another phase, initially with his appointment to the new commission of trade and plantations at the end of April. Once again, Methuen’s appointment would appear to have been due primarily to his experience in trading matters. It is also possible that Shrewsbury had by this stage begun to take an interest in his career. However, Methuen was not keen to take up the new post, writing to Robert Harley* on 11 June that Shrewsbury had notified him of his appointment

and that his Majesty believes I had rather come home and serve him at home than in this employment. Although his Grace leaves me in the dark as to other circumstances of the King’s intention, yet I cannot but see enough to fright me in this commission and the company named in it. I have therefore to the Duke . . . endeavoured to decline it, but so as I might directly do with irresolution. Now I beg you seriously as a friend to give me the best views of it, and the present state of our affairs that you can.

On the 23rd Shrewsbury explained to William Blathwayt* that Methuen did not wish to ‘quit his post in Portugal . . . at least, not till he sees how that commission is relished the next session of Parliament; and then he seems to desire some things in relation to his son, which I know not whether his Majesty will think reasonable or of good example’. Sir James Rushout, 1st Bt.*, who hoped to replace Methuen as envoy, feared the worst when he wrote to Lord Keeper Somers (Sir John*) on 18 July, that the King had ‘given no other orders but to direct him [Methuen] to be here at the next sessions without any explanation whether he is to return to Portugal or not. This looks as if the winter would be spent before any resolution taken’. However, Methuen’s concern over the reception of the new board in Parliament, and the desire in some quarters for a parliamentary council of trade, may not have been his only reason for wishing to remain in Portugal. John Colbatch, chaplain to the Legation and English merchant ‘factory’ in Lisbon, believed the real reason was Methuen’s supposed intimate attachment to the young wife of the consul-general in Lisbon, John Earle. Colbatch’s allegations were investigated by Bishop Burnet, who found no reason to suspect Methuen of improper behaviour, though Methuen’s acquaintance with Burnet may have facilitated such a conclusion. Methuen, for his part, also gave as a reason the fact that he had developed a good relationship with Pedro II, and that any other appointee would have to go to great lengths, and waste a great deal of time, to establish the same rapport. For the same reasons he desired that his son, who had acted as his secretary in Portugal since 1692, should succeed him if, or when, he left Lisbon.7

Methuen returned to England at the end of October 1696 to attend the forthcoming session, still in possession of the envoyship, with his son acting as deputy. Methuen was almost immediately active in Parliament, being appointed to a number of committees, the most significant of which related to financial and trade issues, including reporting on a series of conferences in March 1697 over amendments to the bill for restraining the wearing of wrought silks and dyed calicoes. From the outset he was clearly identified with the Court and Whig party, writing on 3 Nov. 1696 that there had been

a very hard day’s work . . . but [we] have just now ended with going through the estimates of both fleet and army which we have given the King full as the last year, the two amounting to £5,233,667 – much to the grief of our faction there was no division on this point, because we divided upon a precedent question and were 271 against 54 which cowed the party.

However, his most important activity during the session related to the bill of attainder against Sir John Fenwick†. On 13 Nov. 1696 he gave his views on the disputed questions of further time being allowed to Fenwick’s counsel and the hearing of evidence in the House, though his most telling contribution occurred on the 25th, during the debate on the third reading of the bill. In a very long and legalistic speech he endeavoured to address all the issues that were of concern to Members, while emphasizing the need to support the bill:

I do think it every man’s duty, in a case of this great importance, freely to own his opinion, and give his reasons for it. The greatest part of the debate hath run upon two things; the inconveniency of bills of attainder, and the having them too frequent; that it is necessary to have them sometimes, that any person may not think that they are out of reach, if they could evade the laws that were made to protect the people. I think, in general, that this bill, as every other, ought to have its fate upon the particular circumstances before you; and whoever gives his affirmative to this bill, ought to be convinced, that . . . Fenwick is guilty of high treason; and also, that there are extraordinary reasons why the nation does prosecute him in so extraordinary a manner; and I do think one of these is not sufficient alone.

He then went on to present the case in relation to these criteria, pointing out that ‘that which distinguishes this case is, the great danger the nation was in from this conspiracy, and the sense the nation hath had of it; and I find, by the general opinion of all persons, this danger is not at an end’. Fenwick could have helped by making a ‘discovery’, but instead made use of the nation’s desire for a discovery as a means to ‘put off his trial’, and in the end produced a paper that created greater danger for the nation. This delay also gave Fenwick’s friends time to dissuade one of the original two witnesses. As to this, Methuen stated ‘there remains yet with me as great a consideration as any of these: the public resentment of the nation for such his behaviour, is the only means his practice has left you; and it seems necessary for your safety, to come the next best way to what he could have done’. He then dealt with the scruples of some Members over their capacity to hear the evidence of the case:

this is a doubt I find weighs generally with them that differ from me in opinion about this bill . . . It is said . . . that you are both judges and jury; and that you are obliged to proceed according to the same rule, though not the methods, of Westminster Hall; secundum allegata et probata. But the state of the matter, as it appears to me, is that you are here in your legislative power, making a new law for the attainting of Fenwick; and for exempting his particular case, and trying of it (if you will use that word, though improperly); in which case the methods differ from what the law requires in other cases; for this is never to be a law for any other afterwards. Methinks this being the state of the case, it quite puts us out of the method of trials, and all the laws that are for limiting rules for evidence at trials in Westminster Hall, and other judicatures.

On the question of the need for two witnesses in cases of high treason, as statutorily required, he firstly dismissed the arguments based on the laws of nature or God, and then addressed the fact that criminals could be convicted under many different laws in many different countries, without the need for two witnesses:

But sir, it is said, shall we that are the supreme authority (as we are part of it) go upon less evidence to satisfy ourselves of . . . Fenwick’s guilt, than the other courts? And shall we resort to this extraordinary way in this case? Truly, if it did shake the manner of trials below, I should be very unwilling to do it; but I do take it clearly, that it cannot: but on the contrary, I think there is no stronger argument for your resorting to this extraordinary way, like to that of the caution which your law hath provided for the innocency of all persons.

He pointed out that the laws were made so that criminals might not escape, and for criminal events that happened in the normal course of life:

and your government hath this advantage, that they can keep to that which others cannot: for in a very wise government . . . the ways of punishing crimes of this nature are extraordinary, when persons are condemned: they are not only unheard, but they are condemned before they are accused; and that is thought necessary there, which will not be endured here; and yet that government hath continued so long, and no endeavours have been to alter it, though so many noble families have suffered by it, because they are convinced, as to their constitution, it is necessary.

He then proceeded to deal with the issue of setting a precedent, admitting that if posterity should judge their precedent in the light of Fenwick being attainted, though innocent, then it would be a bad thing. But if they were to be judged on setting a precedent in which a ‘notoriously guilty’ man was attainted, then he believed ‘posterity will (as I think they ought) thank us for it. Sir, I do say for my own particular, while I am innocent, I should not think my life in danger to be judged by 400 English men, and the peerage of England, with the royal assent.’ The many Members who believed Fenwick to be guilty, but feared the precedent of the bill, should vote for it, for they had nothing to fear. Methuen concluded by stating that he believed Fenwick was guilty, and was for the bill. He duly voted for the attainder on the 25th.8

Methuen’s part in the successful passage of the attainder in the Commons appears to have played a part in the next stage of his career, which saw him appointed as Irish lord chancellor in early 1697. Following the death of Sir Charles Porter*, at the beginning of December 1696, ‘the usual competition of would-be patrons’ for finding a replacement commenced. On 2 Dec. James Vernon I*, writing on this subject, told Shrewsbury that ‘none occurs to me more fit than Mr Methuen, as well for his prudence and principles as his having been bred up’ in Chancery. He pointed out that should Shrewsbury be appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, ‘as was once talked of, you would have in this man one that you might entirely depend on, or otherwise you might oblige him in contributing to his advancement to that post, and have the envoyship of Portugal to dispose of, as once you intended’. It also appeared that both Lord Portland and Lord Sunderland had a ‘good opinion’ of Methuen, and were in favour of his appointment. Vernon hoped that Shrewsbury would write to Lord Somers (Sir John*) promoting Methuen’s candidacy, especially as the appointee ‘should not be merely chosen for his abilities at the bar’, wherein Methuen had the added recommendations of ‘his experience abroad, and his commendable behaviour in the . . . Commons’. Shrewsbury was happy to comply, writing to Somers on the 24th, ‘venturing to offer Mr Methuen’s name . . . I take him to be a man of good temper and prudence, and, by all I could ever learn, perfectly well affected to his Majesty’s interest . . . [I] know this gentleman is one the King has a good opinion of, and think he has behaved himself very prudently abroad.’ Somers was not keen on Methuen, ‘looking upon him as one who had addicted himself another way’, but the support of Shrewsbury, Sunderland, Portland and Charles Montagu*, the King’s apparent good opinion of Methuen, the opportunity to get the envoyship to Portugal for Rushout and the lack of another credible candidate, all seem to have convinced Somers to support Methuen. However, in early January 1697, as it became apparent that the lord chancellorship looked certain to be his, Methuen resurrected the question of his son succeeding him at Lisbon. While Vernon expressed a certain degree of annoyance at Methuen’s failure to ‘be content with single gratifications’, he informed Shrewsbury that Sunderland, Lord Romney (Hon. Henry Sidney†) and Portland were in favour of Methuen’s proposal, ‘upon the expectation that this is the most effectual way to secure the debt he has been soliciting in that court; and he represents his son as the most capable and most acceptable minister that can be sent there . . . and is a favourite of the King of the Portuguese’. On 14 Jan. Vernon informed Shrewsbury that he had told Somers ‘how the party was made for Mr Methuen’s son and what particular interest they had in keeping the management in the same hands. I found he [Somers] did not like this engrossing of employments, and thinks Mr Methuen ought to be very well contented if he make this exchange.’ For his part, Shrewsbury had known of Methuen’s desire for his son to succeed him as early as June 1696, but still seems to have promoted Rushout’s candidacy. However, this new development did not interfere with Methuen’s appointment, as he had been declared lord chancellor in Council by the 23rd, despite some late opposition from Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones*), and supposedly from Romney and Lord Coningsby (Thomas*) as well. On 6 Feb. Somers informed Shrewsbury that the King would not send Rushout to Portugal as ‘Mr Methuen had made some progress, in relation to the demand of a sum of money, due to England from Portugal, and that all which he had done would be lost, if a new person was sent’. By 18 Feb. Methuen’s son had been appointed as envoy.9

Methuen remained in England until the end of the 1696–7 session, leaving for Ireland in May along with the new lords justices, Viscount Galway and the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I*). Before his departure, he was ordered by the King to meet with Coningsby and Montagu to ‘devise a scheme for raising the money necessary in Ireland’, an issue that was to dominate his activities in relation to the Irish parliament. His new post meant that, while still being an English MP, he also automatically became the speaker of the Irish house of lords, as well as becoming one of the principal managers of government in Ireland. His rapid rise in status had even led to his name being included among those rumoured to be under consideration for appointment as an Irish lord justice in April 1697. Initially he seems to have been well received by the Irish political nation, being ‘said to gain ground every day in their esteem, both in the chancery court and at the council board’. In July it was reported that he had ‘already reformed divers ill practices there, to the great satisfaction of the public’. At the same time his optimistic predictions to England for the 1697 session of the Irish parliament placed him in good stead with the English government. In keeping with his English affiliations, Methuen was correspondingly identified with the Whig element in Irish politics, though this does not seem to have adversely affected his role as government manager. In August Galway ascribed ‘much of the parliamentary success in Ireland’ to Methuen’s ‘great industry and prudence’, while Vernon informed Shrewsbury that any intelligence reports being sent to Ireland should go to Methuen, as he ‘is prudent, active, and secret’. Even Somers was believed to have mellowed in his opinion, Vernon informing Shrewsbury in September that ‘your good opinion of him [Methuen] is of great use to him as well as his honour. I hope others will mend their judgments in that particular. He hath written frequently to my Lord Chancellor [Somers], who I believe hath now kinder thoughts towards him.’ Methuen’s first period in Ireland was proving very successful, and despite problems arising over the ratification of the Treaty of Limerick during the session of the Irish parliament, the eventual outcome was satisfactory in terms of supply, a priority that was uppermost to William III and his government.10

In December 1697 a warrant was issued to the lords justices directing Methuen to attend the King immediately in England. Although William III may have desired a report on the late session in Ireland, Methuen’s recall was also timed to enable him to attend the 1697–8 session at Westminster. He was back in London by late December, as on the 28th Vernon reported how a challenge had been sent by Lord Kerry to Methuen, over something that had passed between the two men in the Irish house of lords. The challenge was seen as unacceptable, especially to someone of ‘the robe’. Methuen was prudent enough to ‘submit it to the King what satisfaction he is to have’. Kerry was confined in the Tower for a short period while the matter was dealt with, first by Vernon, and then in the Lords.11

Methuen was soon active again in the Commons. In a long debate on guards and garrisons on 8 Jan. 1698, following a previous resolution on disbanding the standing army, it was suspected that

there is an underhand management, and that it was resolved the Whigs should be baffled in their project of leaving the committee at large and yet the King should be as well supplied as they designed it, and in one respect better, since if it went as the Tories would have it no inquiry should be made whether the Dutch guards were kept up or not. It is suspected Mr Methuen is in this secret, for he opened it early that he did not think the former vote tied up the house from providing for the safety of the kingdom as they should judge necessary, and he voted for keeping the former vote in the question.

Methuen was also described as having ‘made very warm speeches against a standing force’. He explained his opposition to the government by claiming that his mind had been altered during the course of the debate. Sunderland, one of Methuen’s most influential patrons, told Shrewsbury on the 15th that he had heard ‘that some in the . . . Commons, who usually were thought to be influenced by me, have gone wrong of late’, including Methuen. ‘As for Mr Methuen, nobody was more amazed than I was, at what I heard, but I believe there is not a man alive thinks I liked it.’ Whether pressure was brought to bear on Methuen, or he had simply acted according to his beliefs on the army issue, he seemed to return to the fold during the following weeks, voting with the government on the question of royal grants on 20 Jan., and supporting Montagu when he came under attack from other followers of Sunderland on 16 Feb. over a grant of Irish forfeitures. Vernon noted to Shrewsbury on the 22nd that in the attack on Montagu, Methuen had voted for him, though ‘the last time Mr Methuen rose up to speak . . . [he] was prevented’. The following month Methuen was one of the Members to defend the Montagu-inspired bill relating to (Sir) Charles Duncombe*. However, from February onwards, Irish affairs began to dominate his time. On the 12th Vernon noted that ‘the bill for restraining Ireland from the woollen manufactures was this day committed; the arguments of Lord Coningsby, Mr Methuen, and Mr [Robert] Molesworth, making no impression against it’. Although having close connexions with the English woollen industry, Methuen’s role as lord chancellor placed him in the position of needing to prevent Parliament legislating on the issue, in order to prevent the Irish parliament from causing trouble in its next session over the question of English-made laws for Ireland, and the damage that would result to the Irish woollen industry. Methuen, assisted by his regular correspondence with Galway at Dublin, assumed the role of spokesman for the Irish administration in the English Parliament. However, his task was an extremely difficult one, as he received little support from the Whig Junto, despite the King’s particular confidence in him. As he observed to Galway, ‘the present managers’ have ‘a great distrust of the King and proceed in his business accordingly’. Methuen also had difficult relations with the Irish lobby in London, led by the Tory Duke of Ormond.12

The efforts to defeat the woollen bill in the Commons having failed, Methuen successfully solicited the bill’s rejection in the Lords during the following months, promising the likes of Lord Marlborough (John Churchill†), Lord Rochester (Laurence Hyde†) and Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) that he would introduce a linen bill in the Irish parliament as a compromise solution. However, in the middle of April, Irish affairs again moulded his parliamentary activity, following the publication of William Molyneux’s Case of Ireland Stated, which focused the full attention of Parliament on Irish affairs, and particularly the constitutional relationship between the two kingdoms. On 21 May Vernon wrote to Shrewsbury explaining the recent proceedings:

Mr Methuen acted prudently to make the complaint of it himself, for there were enough ready to do it, if they could but have got one of the books, which Mr Methuen took care to secure in time. Sir Rowland Gwynne and Mr [John] Arnold were upon the hunt after them, and would have given any money for one of them. But Mr Smith and Mr [Edward] Clarke [I] put more business upon the committee than I believe Mr Methuen desired, which was to inquire what proceedings had been in Ireland to embolden this penman . . . Mr Methuen, upon further consideration, is better satisfied that the committee should go to the bottom of it, since it may be the best way to put a check to a humour that may be otherwise troublesome in Ireland.

Methuen had put the book before the House on the 21st upon the advice of the King, Somers, Montagu and Vernon, in the hope of preventing a more vigorous investigation into Irish affairs. However, the House resolved to appoint a committee with much wider powers, extending the scope of its investigations to cover the recent activity of the Irish parliament. This closer scrutiny of Irish affairs resulted, on 27 June, in ‘some reflections’ being made upon Methuen ‘for putting the seal to [Irish] bills that were derogatory to the rights of the crown of England’. The address to the King on Molyneux’s book throws light on these ‘reflections’, which appear to relate to the Irish bill for the better security of the King’s person, which was

transmitted under the great seal of Ireland, whereby an act of Parliament made in England was pretended to be re-enacted, and alterations therein made, and divers things enacted also, pretending to oblige the courts of justice, and the great seal of England, by the authority of an Irish parliament.

The address insinuated that Methuen’s behaviour as lord chancellor had encouraged the writing of the book.13

With the session at an end, Methuen avoided any further censure in the House. However, almost immediately he had to turn his attention to the forthcoming session in Ireland. As part of that preparation he produced a compromise solution for addressing the woollen issue, which he placed before the Board of Trade on 29 July. His plan was for the Irish parliament to impose a higher duty on Irish woollen exports, instead of a total prohibition, and to take steps to encourage linen manufacture instead. This compromise was similar to the suggestions he had made when lobbying the Lords for rejection of the English woollen bill, and had the backing of the King, which helped to secure its acceptance. On 16 July William III, in telling Galway of what he required from the next session of the Irish parliament, reiterated the instructions he had given to Methuen in relation to preventing the Irish parliament from taking notice of events in England, the need to settle the woollen and linen industries, and the voting of money for the army. This last point was especially important, as he had ordered five French regiments to go to Ireland, supposedly on the assurance from Methuen that the Irish parliament would provide the money for their upkeep. He stressed that ‘it was never of such importance as at present, to have a good session of parliament, not only with respect to my affairs of that kingdom, but still more with respect to my affairs here [England]’. The King concluded by saying: ‘I must tell you I am well satisfied with the chancellor of Ireland’. However this praise was followed by a clear insight into the difficulties Methuen was facing:

at his first coming here to the Parliament, he committed a great oversight, which has got him many enemies, and all the ministry here are much incensed against him, as well as the Whig party; but in Ireland, it is just the contrary, it is the Tories: so he will find it hard to behave in such a manner as not to be involved in difficulties. If bad success attends you in parliament, it is certain that the blame will here be laid on him.

Methuen’s position was also becoming less tenable because of the withdrawal of Shrewsbury and Sunderland from active participation in government, and the cooling of relations between Methuen and Somers and Montagu. Methuen’s apparent influence with the King, and his encouraging the sending of the French regiments to Ireland when Somers advised caution on the issue, made Somers less inclined to look kindly upon his Irish counterpart. At the same time the King’s favourable attitude towards him led Methuen to boast to Galway that he could prompt William to ‘take resolutions in his closet and declare them in the Cabinet Council in such manner as to prevent contradiction’, while it also resulted in his partaking in the negotiations for renewing the grand alliance with the Imperial ambassador during the summer.14

Despite Methuen’s role at the centre of government, but presumably on the basis of his stance on 8 Jan. 1698, he was included in a forecast of those likely to oppose a standing army. However he was also included in two lists of placemen in July and September, and in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments in September was noted as a Court supporter. Having been re-elected for Devizes in July, Methuen had to forgo attendance at the 1698–9 session of the English Parliament, since the session of parliament in Ireland was to occupy all his attention, as his optimistic predictions began to prove unrealistic, and his woollen scheme unravelled. He returned to Ireland in August 1698, though by the time parliament met in late September, the promised government bills for the woollen and linen industries were still not ready. At the same time, Methuen began to distance himself from his scheme due to the unfavourable attitude of the Irish parliament towards the idea of the government presenting a money bill, such as the proposed woollen bill. The English ministers were not happy with what they perceived as Methuen’s attempt to place blame for an unpopular measure on their shoulders, when responsibility lay with him. On 25 Oct. Somers seemed to take some pleasure in telling Shrewsbury that Methuen

wants, extremely, a pretence whereupon to lay the blame of the miscarriage of this session . . . This I am sure of, that, during the last session, by encouraging the King, that the French regiments should be provided for, and the new-formed establishment of a military list in Ireland should be made good (which, I am told, amounts to £300,000), Mr Methuen had more credit than any body, though the King knew he was equally the aversion of the Whigs and Tories, both here and in Ireland.

Vernon believed that Methuen was ‘marked out for ruin’, and was sensible of ‘what a disadvantageous character people lay under, who are said to be recommended by my Lord Sunderland’. In the end the Irish government’s woollen bill was presented late in the session in a despairing bid to pre-empt the English Commons’ new woollen prohibition bill which passed both Houses by April 1699.15

Despite the failure to prevent the English bill, and the collapse of the linen scheme, the Irish government’s woollen bill was passed, and, as Methuen emphasized, the money required for the military establishment had been provided by the Irish parliament. However, Methuen was aware that his position was in danger, writing on 10 Dec. 1698 that it was strange that the ‘King’s ministers should be angry’ with him, but he knew it was so, and believed ‘they will do their utmost to ruin me which probably they may attain’. However, he had been unwell with the gout for a long time, and felt that removal from office ‘will not be a great loss to me’. Methuen remained in Ireland until the end of 1699, spending much of his time trying to bring about an accommodation between the bishop of Derry and the London Society, and monitoring the activities of the English-appointed parliamentary commissioners of inquiry into the forfeitures. His expectations of advancement were not defunct, as it was reported in April that he was not pleased to have been left out of the new commission of Irish lords justices. This apparent snub may have stemmed from an unfavourable report to William III supplied by Winchester (now Duke of Bolton). At the same time, Methuen’s involvement in the bishop of Derry’s case resulted in him being ‘in great perplexity’ in June about the manner in which he had been served with an order of the English Lords in favour of the London Society, which Sir Robert Clayton* had given him ‘in a [rude] irregular manner, as he was in the street’.16

In December 1699 Methuen returned to England with the parliamentary commissioners for the forfeitures. He was soon embroiled in a new controversy. On 13 Jan. 1700 a demand in the Commons for the printing of the commissioners’ report prompted a long debate, in which Montagu spoke against the motion, ‘and many things were said to expose the commissioners and their way of acting, which Mr Methuen did very skilfully’. Montagu’s contribution led to another lengthy debate on the 15th, when Montagu was called upon to name the person who had told him that an MP had written a letter to direct the commissioners to report the private estate granted to Lady Orkney, as this would reflect upon the King more than any other grant. Although Montagu initially refused to name his source for this ‘false and scandalous report’, he eventually

named Mr Methuen . . . [who] owned he had some private conversation with Mr Montagu at Kensington: and in answer to his questions, he told him what he had heard about letters written to the commissioners to advise their reporting the private estate, but denied that he had heard these letters contained the other expressions reflecting on the King; though he did tell Mr Montagu that those expressions were used by some of the commissioners in their debate about this matter; and Mr Montagu misunderstood him, if he thought they were part of the letter, which he knew nothing of.

The next day the commissioners attended the House, when one of their number, Sir Richard Levinge*, was identified as the source of the information, and confined to the Tower. Levinge was later to blame Methuen for his misfortune. The whole issue meant that Montagu and Methuen remained at odds for the remainder of the session. On 6 Feb., during a debate on the East India Company, ‘Mr Methuen took upon him to answer Mr Montagu, who began the debate, and did it so as to expose the part Mr Montagu had in passing the two millions bill and refusing the offers the Old Company made for raising the whole sum.’ The following day, during a debate on the laws against Catholics, Montagu ‘thought this a proper occasion to be revenged on Mr Methuen, and said it might be worth their inquiry whether one [Paul Methuen], bred at St. Omer, was fit to be the King’s envoy in Portugal. This was received with laughter.’ However, Methuen, who had not been in the House at the time the ‘jest was made’, chose to reply later on, pointing out that

considering what had so lately happened, he thought that gentleman would not so soon assert things in that House which were without ground; for in this case his son never was at St. Omer. He had sent him into France for his health, in King Charles’s time, at the age of eight years, and he stayed till he was 11 years old; during a part of that time he went to school to the Jesuits’ College at Paris, whither several French Protestants sent their sons; and mentioned the proofs he had given since of his steady adhering to the Protestant religion.17

Methuen’s prominence in government gained him the unenviable attention of several satirical pieces during this time. He was included in an undated list of members of ‘the Cabal’ who were ascribed bills that they would present in Parliament, that would bring about the demise of the Glorious Revolution. Methuen was to introduce a bill in the Irish parliament ‘to empower the new lord lieutenant of Ireland to erect an ecclesiastical high commission court in that kingdom, and to render it more effectual than that of the late King James’. A ballad written to the tune of ‘Lillibullero’ attacked Methuen’s stance on the bill for resumption of the Irish forfeitures passed during the 1699–1700 session:

          Two opposite Parties divided the House,
          What the one would have done, the other would spoil,
          There is like a third [Methuen] not worth a louse.

The ballad also made reference to his son having been educated by Jesuits, and derided Methuen’s connexions with John Toland:

          To secure the church to his side,
          He has made Toland his spiritual guide,
          So in England as Ireland there are parties three,
          The spiritual, temporal, Toland and he.

Methuen’s attitude towards the resumption bill appears to have been that the more trustees that were appointed, the more divided in opinion they would be, which would enable him, by ‘private friendships’, to be kept informed of their activities. He claimed to have foreseen this, and to have ‘endeavoured [for it] in the House’. The resignation of Somers following the end of the 1699–1700 session created yet another opportunity for Methuen to be the subject of the satirist’s art. Harley was said to be in favour of Methuen succeeding to the English lord chancellorship, and it was believed that the King was favourable. Methuen was clearly a serious candidate for the post, and it was also rumoured that he might be secretary of state as an alternative, an appointment that had been suggested as early as 1698. However, the advice of the Duke of Leeds and Chief Justice Sir John Holt†, wherein they emphasized Methuen’s failings in relation to the legal requirements of the lord chancellor’s office, convinced the King otherwise. A satirical letter of June, reporting a conference between the King and Sunderland, addressed the machinations over the replacement of Somers:

          [King:] let me know how you like the dispose of the Seal.
          Not at all said the Count, it is given to those,
          who to absolute monarchy are all sworn foes.
          Men learned in law, but honest and brave,
          who guiltless won’t hang, nor the guilty will save;
          And rich as will never the people enslave,
          That work’s to be done by Methuen my knave . . .
          I never will do like hen-headed James,
          Run away and throw my Great Seal in the Thames.
          I intended to have given it the man you was for,
          your Lillibollero Irish Chancellor;
          but he having bred his son at St. Omers,
          I must not let Methuen succeed my Lord Somers.

The rumours in relation to the secretaryship appeared less well-grounded, and related primarily to whether it would be better to appoint a new Irish lord chancellor if a new lord lieutenant was appointed. However, as the commission of Irish lords justices was under review as well, ‘Mr Methuen expected that if there were a new commission he should not be passed by, as he was the last time . . . His pretensions seem very well grounded as to his post and services there, but there are other considerations that must make it difficult for the King to gratify him.’ In the end Methuen remained as lord chancellor, though on being ordered back to Ireland in June he expressed his dissatisfaction at returning there with the prospect of a new government, ‘under which I can not hope to live as I should have done’. Methuen also believed that ‘the King is changed towards him, and would have been willing to be discharged of his employment; but he stays till the alteration is made of the justices’ commission; and his continuance after that will depend upon what the succeeding governor shall desire’.18

Defeated in his absence at Devizes in the election of January 1701, Methuen was back in England by February, possibly in an attempt to strengthen his interest in his constituency. However, it was reported in May that his being out of Ireland was ‘so great a mischief . . . that his best friends cannot open their mouths in his defence: to have causes long undecided, great part of the business remain unheard and all suits of equity to run into the exchequer is what men must take notice of and resent’. Having returned to Ireland, Methuen was successful at Devizes in the election of November 1701, and was ordered by the King to return to England. He was noted by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as a gain for the Whigs in the election returns, and by Robert Harley*, in an analysis of December, as either doubtful or absent. His departure for England was held up by his workload in the Irish chancery, but it was reported that he was en route for England at the end of December. Methuen never went back to Ireland after 1701, his career taking another turn in 1702 with his re-appointment as envoy extraordinary on a special mission to Portugal. The reasons behind this new posting may have related to the friction between Methuen and the Irish lord lieutenant, Lord Rochester, or to Methuen’s inconsistent performance in relation to the Court in both the English and Irish parliaments over the previous five years, but the fact that he actually retained the lord chancellorship until 1703, and that it was understood initially that his going to Portugal was a temporary measure, would suggest that this alteration was not carried out on purely negative grounds. The appointment to Portugal was in itself an extremely important one, in that with the prospect of war with France looming, it was essential to try to convince the Portuguese to break their treaty with France, and, if possible, to encourage them to join the grand alliance.19

Although Methuen did not leave for Portugal until April 1702, he appears to have been inactive in the 1701–2 session. He returned to England in early June, but his stay was brief, the importance of affairs in Portugal necessitating his speedy return. While making preparations for his journey in July, he was once more re-elected in his absence for Devizes, though it would appear that he was completely inactive throughout the 1702 Parliament, the remaining years of his life being dominated by affairs in Portugal and by declining health. The negotiations in Lisbon were protracted, and it was not until April 1703 that Methuen was next able to return to England. By this time he had negotiated two treaties, offensive and defensive, whereby Portugal joined the grand alliance, both of which were signed in May. Despite this success, and the Queen’s satisfaction with his negotiations, he was finally removed as lord chancellor when the new lord lieutenant, the Duke of Ormond, ‘refused to have him’. However, his achievement was recognized in his appointment as ambassador extraordinary to Portugal that summer. Although there was some debate with Secretary Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) over the inclusion of the word ‘extraordinary’ in his warrant, he left England in August in great style, despite being severely afflicted with gout. On his arrival back in Portugal he commenced negotiating the commercial treaty that was to bear his name. In the meantime it was rumoured in England that the Whigs were planning to get a vote of thanks passed for Methuen in the Commons, ‘hoping the Tories will oppose it and thereby draw upon themselves the scandal of not liking the treaty [of alliance]’.20

The Methuen commercial treaty was concluded in December 1703. The treaty consisted of only two articles, the first allowing for the importation of English woollen manufactures into Portugal, and the second imposing a ‘differential duty’ in favour of Portuguese wines entering England. Although not immediately acknowledged, the treaty was to be of significant benefit for the English cloth industry and export trade, and was to account for the predominance of port-wine in England for the next 100 years. Methuen remained in Lisbon following the negotiation of the treaty and does not appear to have returned to England again, being actively engaged in his ambassadorial role throughout the Peninsular War, until his death. This was despite the fact that in July 1704 Marlborough agreed with Godolphin that ‘for many reasons . . . [Methuen] should be in [England] this winter before the Parliament meets. For I am of the opinion, that all the liberties of Europe will depend upon the Parliament being in good humour . . . so that I entirely agree with [Harley] that everybody ought to be spoke to very plainly.’ Methuen did not return, however, and was noted as absent from the division on the Tack on 28 Nov. While in Portugal, he was kept informed of parliamentary affairs by Sir William Simpson, who also monitored his electoral interest at Devizes. Methuen was returned again in his absence in 1705. In an analysis of the new Parliament he was listed as a High Church courtier, and was also included in a list of placemen. Despite his absence, he continued to take a keen interest in parliamentary events, writing to Simpson in June 1706 that

the Union is no jesting business. The thing seems to be gone so far that if the Scots have a mind it will go near to be forced on our ministers if the Whigs are not the basest men in the world. What you mention of the beginning of divisions among the Whigs is what I always feared and believe will certainly happen and increase.21

Methuen’s failure to return to England may have related to his declining health. He finally succumbed to gout and rheumatism, which appear to have caused a fatal stroke, on 13 July 1706. Despite some initial concern over the existence of a will, a document of 1702 disposed £1,500 to his unmarried daughter Isabella, £500 to his brother, £500 to Sarah Earle, wife of the consul-general at Lisbon during Methuen’s first mission there in the 1690s, and £100 to Ann Browne. These two women were described in the will as his cousins, though neither appears to have been related to the family. However, both of them had lived with and kept house for him in Lisbon from 1702 until his death. His son, Paul, inherited the rest of the estate, which although substantial, was much indebted and unheeded due to his father’s and his own costly and time-consuming careers, and through his father’s extravagance. Methuen had spent large sums of money readily and regularly, and often on credit. Several occasions warrant particular notice. In January 1701 it had been reported from Ireland that he was ‘before hand in his salary, and has left the town [Dublin] owing more than £3,000 to several gentlemen’. In 1704 he was said to have financed an order of the Portuguese king for arms and artillery for £10,000, while in December 1705 it was reported that he had advanced £37,000 ‘upon his own credit to . . . Charles III’. These latter two cases may have accounted in part for Methuen’s recognition as an important and successful diplomat, a fact which was noted by Godolphin, in July 1706, when he informed Marlborough of ‘the unfortunate account we had last night of the ambassador Methuen’s death who served as well in that station, as any man could do, and all the while under the discouragement of a great deal of groundless censure’. Several days later he wrote again, stating that ‘I doubt Mr Methuen’s death may prove very unseasonable to our affairs on that side of the world’. Marlborough was more cryptic, noting to his wife that ‘I find lord treasurer thinks Mr Methuen a great loss. You know what my opinion has been always of him.’ However, Marlborough did acknowledge to Harley, with whom Methuen seems to have been on good terms, that his death had occurred at a critical time, when affairs in Spain seemed most to require his abilities. It had also been rumoured in early July that he was under consideration for the post of Irish lord chancellor again, suggesting that he was well-thought of in government. Others, however, were not so kind, and it was insinuated in December 1706 that he had acted treasonably during his time in Portugal, though Somers, who had little reason to, was quick to defend him from such an allegation. In January 1707 it was also claimed that, through the alliance treaties of May 1703, Methuen had forced England to fight a war in Spain, when a war in the West Indies would have been more lucrative. At a more personal level, Swift described him as ‘a profligate rogue, without religion or morals, but cunning enough yet without abilities of any kind’. In keeping with such a view, Methuen was supposedly known by the nickname of ‘Holx’, which meant hocus-pocus or conjuror. However, elsewhere he has been described as ‘a person of great parts much improved by study, travel, and conversation with the best. His manly, yet easy eloquence, shined in the . . . Commons upon many important and nice occasions.’ Methuen was replaced at Lisbon by his son, Paul, who, on his return from Portugal in 1708, brought back the embalmed body of his father, and laid him to rest in Westminster Abbey.22

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Ivar McGrath


  • 1. A. D. Francis, The Methuens and Portugal 1691–1708, 1–5, 352; F. Elrington Ball, Judges in Ire., 1221–1921, ii. 63–64; DNB.
  • 2. Francis, 3–5; DNB; CSP. Dom. 1690–1, p. 359; 1696, p. 154; 1697, pp. 49, 194; Liber Munerum Publicorum Hiberniae ed. Lascelles, i(2), 17.
  • 3. Francis, 1–5, 204, 324; DNB; Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Methuen to Simpson, 17 Mar. 1705.
  • 4. Francis, 4–5, 41–42; Bath mss at Longleat House, Portland mss, 24, f. 161; SP9/22, f. 53; CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 359; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 225.
  • 5. Luttrell Diary, 44, 56, 58, 86, 88, 118, 125, 151–2, 156, 174.
  • 6. Francis, 5, 60, 63; Foxcroft, Halifax, ii. 124, 167–8, 177, 529; BL, Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. box 5, Methuen to Halifax, 2/12 Mar., 7 Aug. 1694; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 72–73, 362; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 132; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/028/3, Methuen to Stanhope, 19 Oct. 1694.
  • 7. Francis, 42–43, 64–66; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 154; D. Ogg, Eng. in Reigns of Jas. II and Wm. III, 306; Luttrell, iv. 58; Ec. Hist. Rev. ser. 2, xi. 487; HMC Portland, iii. 576–7; Stanhope mss, U1590/028/5, Methuen to Stanhope, 12 June 1696; HMC Buccleuch, 354; Surr. RO (Kingston), Somers mss, 371/14/E6, Rushout to [Somers], 18 July 1696; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 205–6.
  • 8. Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/12, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 27 Oct. 1696; Dr Williams’ Library, Stillingfleet trans. mss 201.38, ff. 41–42; Stanhope mss, U1590/028/5, Methuen to Stanhope, 3 Nov. 1696; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 1023, 1112–15; Chandler, iii. 54–58.
  • 9. W. L. Sachse, Ld. Somers, 126–7; Hist. Jnl. iii. 106; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 101–2, 146–8, 152, 160–1, 179, 202, 211; Shrewsbury Corresp. 451, 455, 473, 555–6; Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/51, 54, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 14, 18 Jan. 1697; Horwitz, 193; Luttrell, iv. 174; J. R. O’Flanagan, Lives of Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of Ire. i. 489–92.
  • 10. Add. 28881, f. 277; 57861, f. 34; Luttrell, iv. 212, 228, 251; Nat. Archs. Ire. Wych mss, 1/143, A. Lucas to Sir Cyril Wyche*, 22 Apr. 1697; CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 138, 210, 259, 306, 312; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 278, 314; Somers mss, 371/14/F2, Methuen to Somers, 26 June 169[7]; HMC Portland, iii. 588–9; PRO NI, De Ros mss, D638/1/10, D638/30/3, Sir Thomas Southwell to Coningsby, 5 Aug. 1697; Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/146, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 30 Sept. 1697.
  • 11. CSP. Dom. 1697, p. 542; Luttrell, iv. 323, 326–7; Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/172, 175, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 28 Dec. 1697, 4 Jan. 1698; Methuen mss at Corsham Court, copy of the case of Ld. Kerry’s challenge to Methuen, 5 Jan. 1698; Hull Univ. Lib. Bosville mss, DDBM 32/1, newsletter from Alexander to Godfrey Bosville [Dec. 1697].
  • 12. Montagu (Boughton) mss, 46/177, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 8 Jan. 1698; Cam. Misc. xxix. 357–8; Stanhope mss, U1590/059/7, Robert Yard* to Stanhope, 11 Jan. 1698; Yale Univ. Beinecke Lib. Biscoe-Maunsell newsletters 15 Jan. 1697[–8]; CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 23, 140, 261–2; Horwitz, 229–30, 232; Shrewsbury Corresp. 526–8; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 9, 18–19; Irish Ec. and Soc. Hist. vii. 36–41.
  • 13. Irish Ec. and Soc. Hist. 36–38; Horwitz, 235; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 83–84, 115; Tindal, Continuation, i. 376–7.
  • 14. Ec. Hist. Rev. 491–2; Grimblot, Letters, 84–86; Irish Ec. and Soc. Hist. 39–40; Horwitz, 229, 241; Shrewsbury Corresp. 538; Stanhope mss, U1590/028/5, Methuen to Stanhope, 12 July 1698; Hist. Jnl. x. 353, 355–7, 360.
  • 15. CSP. Dom. 1698, p. 381; 1699–1700, p. 164; Montagu (Boughton) mss, 47/96, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 11 Oct. 1698; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 190–1, 206–7, 217–18, 230–1; Shrewsbury Corresp. 557–8; Irish Ec. and Soc. Hist. 40–42; Ec. Hist. Rev. 492–3.
  • 16. CSP. Dom. 1699–1700, pp. lv–lvii; HMC Buccleuch, 599–601; Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Methuen to Simpson, 10 Dec. 1698; Trinity, Dublin, King Letterbooks, mss 750/2, f. 34, 1489/1, pp. 28, 47, 50, 93–94; Trinity, Dublin, Lyons (King) Coll. mss 1999/603/3, Edward Corker to Bishop King, 20 Apr. 1699; Grimblot, 334; Add. 40774, ff. 34–36; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 301, 336.
  • 17. Lyons (King) mss, 1999/648/1, William Burgh to Bishop King, 5 Dec. 1699; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 289, 406, 409–10, 429–30; Burnett, iv. 398; Suff. RO, (Ipswich), Gurdon mss, John* to Thornhagh Gurdon, 18 Jan. 1700; Shrewsbury Corresp. 603; PRO, 31/3/185, ff. 20–21; Horwitz, 264; Cheshire RO, Shakerley mss DSS, Levinge to [–], 16 Jan. 1701; Montagu (Boughton) mss, 48/27, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 6 Feb. 1700.
  • 18. Portland (Harley) mss, PwA 2714, ‘the titles of several Public Acts agreed to in the Cabal’ [n.d.]; Huntington Lib. Ellesmere mss EL9930, ‘A list of several Acts to be passed next sessions’ [n.d.], EL8915, a conference between the King and Sunderland, June 1700; HMC Portland, viii. 63; Francis, 356–7; CSP Dom. 1700–2, pp. 36, 117; Sachse, 171; Browning, i. 550; State Tracts, iii. 75; Bodl. Ballard 11, f. 155; Leics. RO, Finch mss, box 4950, bdle. 22, corresp. 1694–1707, Edward Southwell* to Nottingham, 11, 14 May 1700; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 63–64, 74; HMC Buccleuch, 652; Luttrell, iv. 661.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1700–2, pp. 117, 193–5, 362, 464–5; HMC Portland, iv. 13; Surr. RO (Guildford), Midleton mss, 1248/2, ff. 20–21; Add. 15895, f. 168; Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Methuen to Simpson, 6, 12 Dec. 1701; Luttrell, v. 122, 163; King Letterbooks, mss 750/2, f. 205; Lyons (King) mss, 2001/906, Sir Robert Southwell† to Bishop King, 16 Apr. 1702; H. Horwitz, Revol. Politicks, 172.
  • 20. Francis, 112, 128–31; Luttrell, v. 179–80, 187–8, 213, 265, 280, 283, 285, 287, 289, 295–6, 325, 328–9, 332, 336, 353; Hist. Jnl. iii. 107–8, 110–11, 118; Stanhope, Reign of Anne, 93; Boyer, Anne Annals, ii. 8; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 231–2, 235; Wych mss, 1/268, [R. Nutley?] to Wyche, 23 Mar. 1703; CSP Dom. 1703–4, pp. 25, 40, 287, 447–8, 548; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 141, 173, 218, 224; Add. 4291, ff. 6–7; 61474, f. 87; Horwitz, 173; W. A. Speck, Birth of Britain, 55; Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Simpson to Methuen, 2 Nov. 1703.
  • 21. Francis, 184–322; Hist. Jnl. 103–5, 119, 121, 123–4; Stanhope, 111; Swift Stella ed. Davis, 48; Luttrell, v. 382, 441; Ogg, 316; Addison Letters, 60; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 334; Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, Simpson to Methuen, 24 Oct. 1704; Methuen to Simpson, 17 Mar., 20 Apr., 7 May, 22 July 1705, 4 June 1706; Bull. IHR. xxxvii. 23.
  • 22. Luttrell, vi. 70, 619; Methuen–Simpson corresp. C163, [?Paul Methuen] to Simpson, 15 July 1706; Methuen mss, copy of Methuen’s will, 30 June 1702, John Milner to Paul Methuen, 21 July 1706, Paul Methuen to Ld. Dartmouth, 17 Sept. 1711; Francis, 43, 86, 320–7; CSP Dom. 1700–2, pp. 189–90, 208; Hist Jnl. 105; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 586, 633–5, 640–1, 1355; HMC Bath, i. 84, 148–50, 155, 161; Lyons (King) mss, 2002/1217, Francis Annesley* to Bp. King, 11 July 1706; O’Flanagan, i. 496; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, iii. 236; Swift Works ed. Davis, v. 261; Boyer, v. 495.