MUSGRAVE, Sir Christopher, 4th Bt. (c.1631-1704), of Edenhall, Cumb.

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



1661 - Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 1690
1690 - 1695
1695 - 1698
Feb. - Nov. 1701
Dec. 1701 - 1702
1702 - 29 July 1704

Family and Education

b. c.1631, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Philip Musgrave, 2nd Bt.†, of Edenhall by Julian, da. of Sir Richard Hutton of Goldsborough, Yorks.  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. matric. 10 July 1651, aged 20, BA 1651; G. Inn 1654.  m. (1) 31 May 1660, Mary (d. 1664), da. and coh. of Sir Andrew Cogan, 1st Bt., London merchant, of Crowley House, Greenwich, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) lic. 15 May 1671, Elizabeth (d. 1701), da. of Sir John Franklin†, sis. of Sir Richard Franklin, 1st Bt.†, of Willesden, Mdx., 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da.  Kntd. 26 May 1671; suc. bro. as 4th Bt. 27 Dec. 1687.1

Offices Held

Dep. gov. Carlisle 1660–78, gov. 1684–7, Dec. 1688–Apr. 1689; lt. of ft. Carlisle 1661–2, capt. 1662–7; capt. 1st Ft. Gds. 1669–79; capt. of ft. Tower garrison 1685–7; clerk of the robes to Queen Catherine of Braganza by 1663–d.; searcher of customs, Berwick-upon-Tweed 1668–80; master gen. of Ordnance 1679–82, lt. 1682–7; teller of Exchequer 1702–d.; commr. union with Scotland 1702–3.2

Mayor, Carlisle 1672–3, 1703–d., Appleby 1688–9, 1700–1; gov. Q. Elizabeth g.s. Penrith 1672–d.; receiver-gen. of taxes, Yorks. 1673–8; commr. for recusants Cumb. and Westmld. 1675; farmer of the tolls, Cumb. and Westmld. 1678–d.; collector of customs, Carlisle 1679–Mar. 1688; freeman, Portsmouth 1681, 1683, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1682, Kendal 1684; alderman, Carlisle 1685–Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688–d., Appleby 1685–?d.; common councilman, Berwick-upon-Tweed 1686–Oct. 1688.3

Chairman of cttee. of elections and privileges 1685.4


Entering the Commons in 1661, Musgrave was a consistent if unremarkable Court supporter until his father’s death in 1677, by which time he had accumulated a number of minor offices. From this time onwards he became more prominent, but it was in the Exclusion Parliaments that Musgrave attained a high profile, the Royalism that had been evident in the 1650s coming to the fore and turning him into a leading advocate of the Court case. Indeed, his contributions had drawn the attention and gratitude of the Duke of York by November 1680. Further advancement was the consequence of Musgrave’s conduct, and in the 1685 Parliament he was one of the leading supporters of the generous financial settlement for James II, of which he was to be reminded many times in the 1690s when he demonstrated considerably more caution in the granting of revenue to the Protestant William III. Musgrave’s loyalty to James only went so far, however. When closeted by the King in 1687, Musgrave refused to support the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act and was consequently dismissed, despite claiming that ‘his Majesty might strip him to his shirt, if he pleased, but that he w[oul]d sell that shirt, if he had nothing else, for a sword to fight for his Majesty’. Given his record of loyalty to James, it comes as little surprise that in 1688 Musgrave was omitted from the plans for the northern rising, but his attitude to events is difficult to ascertain. The suggestion that at the Revolution Musgrave, in alliance with Sir George Fletcher, 2nd Bt.*, had held Carlisle for James II is mistaken. A newsletter of 4 Dec. reported that Carlisle was still ‘loyal to his Majesty’, but it was not until the 15th that Musgrave and Fletcher entered the city, took possession of the castle, and disarmed the predominantly Catholic garrison. This is not to suggest that Musgrave welcomed the Revolution. His refusal of a request by Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II*, to call out the militia indicated that Musgrave’s action at Carlisle was motivated more by concern for the preservation of order than by support for William’s landing. During the Convention he was an advocate of a regency, establishing himself during this Parliament as a leading Tory spokesman. He received no official favour in the aftermath of the Revolution, a development which Burnet later claimed ‘alienated him from the King’. The involvement of Lowther, a longstanding rival of Musgrave’s in the north-west, in the rising led by Lord Danby (Sir Thomas Osborne†), resulted in Lowther’s appointment as governor of Carlisle, a post to which Musgrave certainly aspired, and the efforts of the Earl of Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) to have Musgrave added to the Privy Council early in 1690 were rebuffed by the King as having been without his authority.5

Musgrave was returned to the 1690 Parliament for Westmorland in partnership with Lowther. He was by now one of the leading Tory spokesmen in the Commons, and remained so until his death. A frequent speaker and committee nominee, he owed his position in the House to his ability to express the concerns and prejudices of back-bench Tory Members. He was described by Burnet as a man whose life was ‘regular and . . . deportment grave’, and his parliamentary career after the Revolution demonstrated his great concern over precisely the issues which were closest to Tory hearts. His defence of the rights of the Church, advocacy of a blue water strategy in the wars against France, wariness of foreign allies and hostility towards foreign soldiers in English employ, all struck a chord with the feelings of many Tory Members, but it was his concern to scrutinize supply legislation and minimize the financial impact of the war effort that was the most striking element of Musgrave’s parliamentary activity. His opposition to Court demands for supply was constant through the 1690s, and reinforced by an apparent abandonment by 1692 of any hope of preferment, his desire for office only becoming evident again in the final two years of William’s reign. His opposition to successive ministries was not, however, limited to matters of finance, and he became a conspicuous supporter of a variety of Country measures, ranging from triennial and place legislation, to the disbanding of the army following the Treaty of Ryswick. The contrast between Musgrave’s vehement opposition to William’s administrations and his previous role as a Court spokesman under Charles II and James II was not lost on contemporaries, and this awkward disparity undoubtedly fuelled suspicions of Musgrave’s loyalty to the Revolution settlement. Such misgivings were likely to have been strengthened by Musgrave’s consistent and obstinate opposition to abjuration oaths and his association with known Jacobite conspirators such as the Grahmes of Levens Hall. Yet although his harrying of ministerial proposals did occasionally lead Jacobite agents to hope that he could be brought into their measures, evidence of his involvement in Jacobite intrigue is scarce.6

At the beginning of the first session of the 1690 Parliament Carmarthen (formerly Danby) classed Musgrave as a Tory and, probably, a Court supporter, though the validity of the latter was undermined by Musgrave’s behaviour on a number of issues, most notably supply. His frequent interventions on government finances began on 22 Mar. when in the debate upon the King’s Speech he joined in criticism of Lowther’s proposal that the House proceed immediately to a committee of supply, supporting Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt.’s contention that grievances ought to be considered first, and claiming that though he was ‘as ready to support the government as any man . . . you are not to suffer by going according to the rules of the House’. The two Westmorland Members clashed again later in the same debate, when Musgrave claimed that the ordinary revenue as it stood was partly granted for life and partly for terms of years; thus Lowther’s motion that the ordinary revenue of the new monarchs be granted for life amounted to a significant innovation. These disagreements with Lowther were to be the first of many, a development which, though in some ways inevitable given Musgrave’s concern to minimize the financial burden of the state, signified the growing disagreements between Churchmen in and out of office. On the 23rd Musgrave argued that the ordinary revenue should be considered by parts and moved that the non-hereditary excise should be granted for only four years, a motion adopted by the committee and confirmed by the House. More sharp words were exchanged with Lowther when the committee of supply moved on to consider granting extraordinary supply to finance the war. When, on the 31st, Lowther opposed Seymour’s proposal that the King be restricted to borrowing £500,000 upon the royal revenue, questioning whether ‘religion and laws will be safe under such a motion . . . unless other men have other prospects than I have’, Musgrave quickly responded to such reflections by stating that his only ‘prospect’ was ‘the support of the monarchy and the nation’, and complaining that Lowther’s strictures ignored the lack of information that Members had been given: ‘we have no sums told us, and when we name them, we are reproached for it’. The following day Lowther requested £1,500,000 for waging the war, but Musgrave again rose to oppose him, arguing that ‘a sum named under the gallery, £700,000’ be put to the committee first and declaring that unless the Commons ‘consider the ways of raising’ extraordinary supply before setting totals a general excise would be necessary. Musgrave’s concern over government finance explains his appointment to draft bills to appoint commissioners of accounts (14 Apr.), and to provide salaries for such commissioners (22 May). His final contribution to the supply debates occurred on 17 Apr., when he supported Richard Hampden I’s opposition to the Lords’ amendment to the poll tax bill which sought to fine commissioners who failed to take the oaths, a concern for constitutional propriety probably combining with a determination to oppose any persecution of those struggling to come to terms with the new regime. A sympathy for such individuals had been evident eight days previously when Musgrave had argued that the bill sent from the Lords for recognizing the new monarchs should be considered rather than voted straight through, expressing the hope that debate upon the measure would ‘not only . . . clear . . . my own understanding’ but would do the same for ‘those without doors’. Having been appointed on 24 Apr. to draft the abjuration bill, Musgrave demonstrated his Toryism two days later when he warned the Commons that the combination of ‘new oaths’, increased taxation and limitation of the provisions of the Habeas Corpus Act could combine to threaten ‘liberty, which was got with so much difficulty’, and when measures to secure the government were considered on the 28th his opposition to any weakening of habeas corpus was again passionate. He asked the House

Are we entrusted with the people’s liberties, and shall we then part with them? If there be a suspicion upon any man of disturbing the government, the law justifies clapping him up. There is no end of this; the nation in fear of one man, and another that is disaffected to the government is clapped up in prison to endanger his health, and ruin his fortune, and destroy his reputation . . . We have had a load upon our estate, and now a larger weight upon our liberties! No, I am not for that. That government is precarious that must be supported by taking away the liberty of the subject.

Although Musgrave did not speak when the debate resumed the following day, his concern with the broader issue of the stability of the new regime is apparent in his appointment to draft a bill to secure the government against conspiracies (15 May).7

Musgrave’s role as a leading Tory speaker was also evident on a number of other issues. On 22 Mar. he spoke against a motion that the Commons consider the black list published before the 1690 election of those who had voted for the disabling clauses of the corporation bill, and when Seymour complained, on 2 May, of the publication of a list of those who had opposed the Convention’s vote on the abdication he strongly supported the motion, describing the black list as ‘a violation of the constitution of Parliament’ and calling on the House to ‘vote this libel “a high reflection on his Majesty and his government”’. He again joined Seymour on 14 Apr. to support Sir Thomas Clarges’ opposition to a Whig attempt to unseat the Tory Members for Plympton. Musgrave also adopted a highly partisan stance in the debates upon the government of London. Thus, on 8 Apr. he opposed Whig attempts to amend the bill to reverse the 1683 quo warranto against the capital, warning that demands that the bill go further and restore the rights and privileges of the corporation ‘may give them more than you intended they should have before the quo warranto’; he was included with those named to draft the bill. Two weeks later he warned of the dangers of going ‘into the sea of the ancient rights of the City’, and the committee of the whole of the 24th saw him reaffirm this opinion. Musgrave’s partisan concerns can also be seen in May’s debates upon the conduct of government during the King’s expected absence during the summer. The committee of the whole of the 5th on the regency bill saw Musgrave acknowledge the difficulty of allowing ‘the Queen into some of the regal power’ without divesting William of ‘the sole executive power’, but when Paul Foley I proposed, two days later, a proviso to assure obedience to the King’s orders, Musgrave attacked the suggestion as grounded in an assumption ‘that the Queen will not obey the King’s orders’. He was supported by a Tory colleague, Hon. Heneage Finch I, and the amendment was defeated without a division. On the 13th Musgrave supported Seymour’s motion, in preparation for an attack upon Carmarthen, that the House consider measures to preserve peace and security during William’s absence in the summer, but although the motion was passed Musgrave was silent in the resultant committee of the whole next day. Musgrave’s silence suggests that, despite Carmarthen’s strong links with Lowther, he harboured less enmity towards the lord president than Seymour, and perhaps that he was less concerned than Seymour by exclusion from the ministry, and less willing to participate in an attack on a fellow Tory. Musgrave was also in some demand as a legislator, being named to several important drafting committees such as those concerned with the East Indies trade (2 Apr.) and to prevent the export of coin (8 May). By the end of the opening session of the Parliament Musgrave had thus consolidated his position as one of the leading Tory spokesmen in the Lower House.8

The paucity of parliamentary reporting for the 1690–1 session means that Musgrave’s contribution to the Commons is more difficult to assess than in the previous session. His continued independence of behaviour was, however, apparent as early as 13 Oct., when, in the committee of the whole on supply, he joined Seymour in arguing that the land tax should be appropriated to finance a naval campaign, an early demonstration of his advocacy of a blue water strategy. Clearly, his great concern over the escalation of government spending remained prominent. Robert Harley* reported that consideration on 13 Nov. of the bill to double the excise saw Musgrave ‘positive against it’. Musgrave was also worried by the King’s request on 25 Nov. for the rapid dispatch of supply, writing to his long-time friend and distant relation Sir Daniel Fleming† that ‘it seems a little hard after four millions giving that a farther supply for the civil list should be asked . . . to pay such great sums I fear will be hard upon the country’. Despite these demonstrations of ‘Country’ sentiment, Carmarthen listed Musgrave as a Court supporter, and as a likely ally in the event of a parliamentary attack upon himself.9

Though less can be said of Musgrave’s activity in the 1690–1 session, the session played a crucial role in his political development as marking the beginning of his lengthy association with Harley. It seems likely that the friendship stemmed from their service together in November 1690 on the select committee investigating the army estimates and accounts, which has been described as a forerunner of the commission of accounts inaugurated later in the session. A cordial relationship had certainly been forged, as once Musgrave had returned to Edenhall, he and Harley, who had remained in London to serve on the commission, began a correspondence that lasted into the next decade. The friendship appears to have been based upon mutual respect. Musgrave wrote on many issues, for example requesting information on public affairs, though he was careful to emphasize that he did not wish Harley to break the ‘obligation of secrecy’ he was under as a commissioner, and informing him of his own opinion of changes in the ministry and alterations in the government of the Church during the spring and summer of 1691. What emerges most strikingly is the depth of Musgrave’s concern for fiscal matters. He condemned the award of a pension ‘in times of so great expense’ to the recently dismissed postmaster-general John Wildman†, expressed concern that the following winter would see the introduction of a ‘general home excise’ to finance the war, and feared that this conflict ‘may be of longer continuance than we ignorant creatures could fancy’. That the political opinions and objectives of Musgrave and Harley, the former a staunch Tory and the latter a Whig, were beginning to coalesce at this time is indicated by Musgrave’s comment in March that he welcomed the buoyancy of tax receipts as ‘it will free us from censure if affairs do not succeed’; in the following month Harley classed Musgrave as a Country Member.10

Shortly before Parliament reassembled, Musgrave wrote to Harley of his hope that ‘all animosities will be buried and all heartily join in preserving the public’, but instead the 1691–2 session proved fractious and Musgrave was a frequent critic of the Court, particularly on financial matters. Both the pattern of his parliamentary activity and the Members he acted with were indicative of a growing sympathy with those Whigs, like Harley, who were prepared to join in rigorous scrutiny of the executive. His desire to see a proper examination of government proposals was evident as early as 27 Oct. when he opposed a motion by Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Bt., that the Commons should consider the King’s Speech the following day, Musgrave arguing that the House was ‘too thin to enter upon a matter of so great weight’. His appointment on 3 Nov. to draft a mutiny bill suggests that he was involved in the attempt by Clarges and Foley to secure the consideration of grievances before supply, and the same day he joined Clarges in supporting Foley’s attempt to inform William of incompetent naval officers. Musgrave, however, was no slavish follower of Clarges and Foley, and opposed the former’s motion of 7 Nov. that the Commons return to a committee of the whole to consider the naval miscarriages, stating that it was an ‘unparliamentary’ way of proceeding. When supply was considered he was a frequent contributor to debates, regularly acting in concert with Clarges, Foley and Harley in an attempt to ensure good management and demonstrating his willingness to move beyond the limits of partisan ties to ensure effective scrutiny of the administration. When the estimates for the fleet were considered on 9 Nov., Musgrave supported Clarges’ motion that these be considered in a select committee rather than by committee of the whole, which drew him into a sharp exchange with Lowther. The Treasury lord objected to what he felt was an unfair insinuation by Musgrave that he had implied that failure to ‘give speedily’ would ‘obstruct the King’s business’, a complaint which led Musgrave to concede that if delay was likely to prove ‘fatal’ he would acquiesce in the demand for a committee of the whole. Subsequently, Musgrave was among those named to the select committee, along with Clarges, Foley and Harley. When it reported five days later it recommended that nearly a sixth of the ministry’s original request be trimmed from the estimates, and in the ensuing debate Musgrave joined Clarges, Foley and Seymour in defending the proposal that the cost of building four new fourth-rate ships be removed from the estimates. He also made common cause with Foley and Seymour in arguing that part of the charge for the fleet in peace time had been provided for in the civil list, and the committee’s report was, in its main points, accepted by the House. Musgrave also participated in the investigation into the capture of government correspondence from a French ship by Sir Ralph Delaval*, being appointed to a conference with the Lords on the subject on 19 Nov., and questioning Delaval when he appeared before the Commons on the 23rd. His role in the investigation may explain why Carmarthen was reported, early in December, to regard Musgrave as an ally of Nottingham and consequently a critic of himself.11

Musgrave’s commitment to the detailed examination of the ministry’s financial requests was also demonstrated during the debates on the army estimates. On 18 Nov. he opposed Lowther’s request that the army estimates be considered by the committee of the whole, supporting instead Foley’s motion that the committee should first consider what forces were necessary for the forthcoming year, after which the estimates should then be referred to a select committee. Later in the same debate, Musgrave joined Clarges in supporting an unsuccessful proposal by Sir John Thompson, 1st Bt., that the King be addressed to provide an account of the intended deployment of the army. The estimates were presented to the committee the following day, the 20th, and Musgrave added his voice to demands that they be considered head by head, pointing out that ‘a general question takes away all liberty of debate’. This call was defeated, but when the committee of supply resumed consideration of the army estimates six days later Musgrave was among those outraged by the revelation that the 65,000 men who had been voted on the 19th did not include officers. He informed the committee that ‘no one thought that an army could be without officers’, that the previous vote ‘certainly included officers’, and claimed that it did not lie in the committee’s power to increase the number of soldiers voted. Lowther disputed these claims, but later in the committee’s proceedings Musgrave successfully moved for an estimate of the charge of the army outside Ireland, including officers. On 28 Nov., Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones) presented the estimate of the total charge of the army for 1692, and when the matter was considered in committee of supply Lowther defended the exclusion of officers from the 65,000 previously voted, claiming that to do otherwise would mean that ‘England is undone’. Predictably, Musgrave criticized this, and when Sir Henry Goodricke, 2nd Bt., informed the committee that insisting on the inclusion of officers would hamper the King’s plans for a descent on the French coast in the summer, Musgrave joined Seymour in condemning the practice of using ‘the King’s mind’ to influence debate. Despite Musgrave’s vociferous opposition, the Court carried the issue. Further sittings of the committee saw Musgrave continue in the same vein. On 30 Nov. he spoke in favour of Harley’s motion that the army estimates be referred to a select committee, later that day being named to examine the charge of the army. On 15 Dec. he supported several measures to reduce the cost of the army, unsuccessfully proposing that the number of men in foot companies be increased from 50 to 80 in order to save £100,000 in officers’ pay, and failing in his opposition to proposals for additional pay to two regiments based in London, and that Dutch soldiers in English employ receive the English rate of pay instead of the lower Dutch one. On 30 Dec. he joined Foley in criticizing the increase in the pay of the generals, and when the select committee’s report on the Irish estimates was considered the following day Musgrave defended the committee’s removal of £5,000 from the original sum, pointing out that the committee was assuming that a similar amount that had been allowed in the civil list for the payment of interest on money owed was no longer required for this purpose. Musgrave also defended from Court criticism the estimates of the yields of Irish taxes made by the committee, but the opposition success in defending their proposals in the committee of the whole was reversed in the House the following day, despite the endeavours of Musgrave, Clarges and Foley. Musgrave’s disappointment at this reverse may well explain his failure to mount any further challenge to war expenditure when the Commons voted the total sum for the war on the 4th, but he did respond to a motion by Sir Robert Cotton, 1st Bt., for a vote of thanks to General Ginkel with criticism of ‘this way of this House giving thanks’ and urged that the Commons ‘will do the like for the English officers and soldiers.12

Musgrave’s close scrutiny of government expenditure was accompanied by a determination to examine the ways whereby supply was to be raised. This became evident as early as 21 Nov. when he joined Seymour and Sir Robert Sawyer in opposing successfully an amendment to the excise bill, which would have removed the penalty for those who brewed their own beer without licence, provided that they had paid the excise due on their products, on the grounds that such a law would allow excise officers to search all private homes on suspicion that drink was being brewed and thus pave the way for a general excise. The same day Musgrave opposed the bill transferring the collection of alnage duty from the crown to the customs, his argument that a bill establishing a duty should not include blanks leading to an order that it be left to lie on the table. On 4 Dec. he was appointed to draft the land tax bill, and when it was referred to the committee of the whole on 16 Dec., opposed Hampden’s motion that the commissioners appointed by the previous Act be continued, pointing out that it was ‘not proper to have such bills of reference to other Acts’. On 6 Jan. 1692 he joined Sawyer in opposing a motion for a salt duty as premature, and argued that the amount required by the ministry and the sums already granted should first be calculated: the ‘proper method is to compute what the land tax will amount to neat money and then go head by head on the rest’. Later in the same debate Musgrave again clashed with Lowther. The former had criticized Foley’s claim that £200,000 could be raised on the revenue to finance military expenditure, Lowther requesting that ‘we may go to particulars and not lump it thus’, an appeal which caused Musgrave to comment that if this was the case for the revenue then the House should have the details of the civil list laid before it. Musgrave’s intervention led to a resolution for such particulars. When, six days later, Foley proposed to establish a perpetual fund to raise £1,200,000 from London bankers and the East India Company, Musgrave enthusiastically supported his recently found ally, calling his scheme ‘the most plausible and speedy way of raising money’. Four days later he was named to draft a bill to vest forfeited estates in the crown to be applied to financing the war. On 18 Jan. he spoke against Hampden’s motion that a bill should be introduced to prevent court proceedings on the bankers’ debt, and he demonstrated a more general hostility to the monied interest three days later when he condemned ‘stockjobbing’. The tax proposal upon which Musgrave was most voluble, however, was the poll tax. When Seymour proposed this measure on 18 Jan., Musgrave was quick to condemn it as ‘the unequallest tax of all’ and urged Members that if it were to be introduced they should ‘take care to ease the poor’, in which case ‘I shall submit to it’. He was a prominent participant in many of the ensuing debates, attempting to mitigate the effects of the tax upon both the poor and his home counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. On the 19th he joined Lowther in opposing the levying of a 1s. tax as ‘very hard for our northern counties’, and later in the debate combined with John Smith I to propose further amendments dismissed by Seymour as ‘jocular’ and ‘not . . . really intended’, while the following day he proposed a series of amendments designed to shift the burden of the tax onto those required to provide horse for the militia. The proposal was heavily criticized by all sides, ranging from his usual allies such as Foley and Seymour, to Junto Whigs such as Charles Montagu, and Court supporters such as Sir Robert Cotton, all arguing that the poll bill would be a second land tax. However, Musgrave was unrepentant, explaining that his proposal sprang from his belief that country gentlemen should bear ‘a little more than the common people’ and from his conviction that levying the rates payable for the tax according to title also amounted to another land tax as ‘no man can pay out of his title’. Despite opposition, Musgrave’s proposal was carried in the committee, and the following day his proposal for an additional levy upon peers was also agreed, both proposals being approved by the Commons when it considered the report on the committee’s deliberations on the 23rd, as was his proposal to charge attorneys, lawyers and clerks of Chancery as gentlemen. He made three further contributions to these debates, opposing Sidney Godolphin’s motion of 28 Jan. that the Commons would agree to make good any deficiency in the yield of the poll tax, speaking on 3 Feb. in support of the proposal that Dissenting clergymen be assessed at the same rate as their Anglican counterparts, and a week later joining Harley and Seymour to oppose Lowther’s motion that a clause be added allowing credit to be raised on the anticipated yield of the tax. Musgrave also took an interest in more minor revenue measures, particularly the attempts to obtain relief for London’s orphans. He condemned a bill to this end on 3 Dec. 1691, and his hostility was again evident in committee of the whole on 29 Jan. 1692 when he attacked the proposed tax on coals for answering this debt, arguing that it would ‘oppress the poor’, and he moved unsuccessfully that a tax be levied instead on chimneys. When this committee reported to the House on 13 Feb. he argued against levying taxation upon people outside London and asked ‘why more should be done for the corporation of London than for any other corporation’. He was nevertheless appointed at the end of the debate to join those ordered to draft a bill for the relief of London’s orphans.13

Musgrave’s Country attitudes on issues of supply, shared with opposition Whigs such as Foley, extended to a number of other issues during the 1691–2 sessions. On 3 Dec. 1691 he defended the report of the commission of accounts from a Court attack led by Lowther, demanding to know why the commission had not received from the ministry all the accounts it had asked for. A desire to see a reduction in the opportunities for government patronage seems the most likely reason for his appointment on 12 Dec., following consideration of the report of the commission, to draft a bill to unite the duchy of Lancaster with the crown. Musgrave’s behaviour on such issues and on matters of supply was noted by contemporaries, both he and Clarges being said at the end of December to have got ‘the character of Commonwealth men’. This impression was no doubt strengthened by his close involvement in the attempt to renew the commission of accounts. Presenting a bill for this purpose on 1 Jan. 1692, Musgrave was a firm advocate of the rights of the Commons when the Lords tried to wreck the bill by adding commissioners of their own. He was appointed on 28 Jan. to the conference with the Upper House on this issue, spoke twice against the Lords’ actions (5, 13 Feb.), and supported Hon. John Granville’s motion of 15 Feb. to tack the measure to the poll bill, arguing that it would ‘tend much to satisfy the country whom you have loaded so much’. He was not, however, an unthinking supporter of Country measures. On 12 Dec. for example he opposed the third reading of the bill to prevent false and double returns, and spoke twice against the bill to reduce interest rates arguing that it would take away a fifth of men’s estates (8, 23 Jan.).14

A number of other matters also engaged Musgrave’s attention during this session. He was a proponent of a new East India company, twice requesting in committees of the whole such a foundation (13 Nov., 18 Dec.), presenting a bill for the purpose on 16 Jan., and speaking six days later for its second reading. He was one of the Members whom the interlopers’ syndicate decided to approach in February regarding a proposed address to William. He was also concerned in the passage of the treason trials bill, supporting an amendment from the Lords which directly reduced the royal prerogative by ending the crown’s power to empanel juries in the lord steward’s court when Parliament was not in session. This led to a prolonged dispute between the Houses, Musgrave joining a number of other Tories in supporting the Lords’ amendment when the Commons considered the matter on 11 Dec. (However, the speech opposing the amendment attributed to Musgrave by Anchitell Grey* appears, from the account by Narcissus Luttrell*, to have been that of Charles Montagu.) Musgrave spoke in favour of the clause a number of times during these protracted debates, offering the Commons procedural advice on the conduct of conferences. If Musgrave’s support for the Lords’ amendment provided evidence to those who doubted his loyalty to the new regime, their suspicions would have been strengthened by reports that William Fuller had evidence of Musgrave’s involvement in Jacobite plotting, and, though these allegations were not substantiated, it is not surprising that on 1 and 4 Jan. 1692 Musgrave spoke against Fuller being given the protection of the House. Musgrave’s parliamentary experience led him to offer his advice to the Commons on a number of questions concerning privilege and private bill procedure. Furthermore, a concern to protect the jurisdiction of the Commons from the intrusions of the Upper House was evident on 23 Feb. when he opposed the Lords’ amendment to the mutiny bill appropriating the fines from unscrupulous officers to the use of Chelsea College, on the grounds that the Lords had no authority in the disposition of money. The following day, the last of the session, Musgrave opposed any action in response to the petition of the French Protestant refugees for assistance, on the grounds that it improperly engaged the House to grant money in the following session.15

The Court’s difficulties in the 1691–2 session meant that from early 1692 rumours of ministerial alterations were rife, and the possibility was raised of Musgrave’s being brought into office. In early February, however, he was said to have discountenanced the prospect of joining the ministry, refusing an offer of a place on the Treasury Board. In April Musgrave’s wife was invited to France for the birth of James II’s daughter, an event he thought ‘none will be so curious to go and see’. In June it was suggested that he might be nominated for Speaker should Sir John Trevor’s illness prove fatal. Although he had refused office earlier in the year the recognition of parliamentary experience that the Speaker’s post implied may have tempted Musgrave, and he was the favoured candidate of the earls of Nottingham and Rochester (Laurence Hyde†), who were hoping to strengthen the Tory interest in government. The reputation Musgrave had established for himself since the Revolution was, however, considered a hindrance by the Whig secretary of state Lord Sydney (Henry Sidney†), who wrote to the King that

my Lord Nottingham and my Lord Rochester said a great deal for him and would answer for him, that he would serve faithfully if he undertook it. I had nothing to say against him, but his behaviour ever since you came to the crown, which could not as I thought be excused, though they said a great deal for him, and desired me to let you know what had passed in this matter.

Trevor’s recovery removed the need to consider the matter any further, and Musgrave remained at Edenhall throughout the spring and summer, again writing numerous letters to his confrère Harley, correspondence which revealed a fervent desire for a military victory leading to a peace which would prevent ‘another year’s expense’, and which displayed a concern for the mismanagement of the proposed descent upon France which was to feature strongly in Musgrave’s parliamentary activity in the coming session.16

Concern that Musgrave might not attend the 1692–3 session proved to be misinformed, and the management of the navy in the summer of 1692 was one of the key issues addressed by the Commons in the early part of the session, with Musgrave joining other Tories in attempting to attribute failure to the Whig-dominated Admiralty commission rather than to Secretary Nottingham. On 12 Nov. Musgrave gave the House the benefit of his opinion on the correct way to call Sir John Ashby before the Commons to answer upon naval matters, and moved that the House be informed who was responsible for ordering the abandonment of the planned ‘descent’ the previous summer. When, a week later, the Commons considered Ashby’s account of his actions, he joined Hon. Goodwin Wharton in objecting to the motion for an address thanking Ashby, both men arguing that he had done no more than his duty. When the losses of merchant shipping were debated in the committee on ‘advice’ on 21 Nov., Musgrave supported Harley’s motion advising the King to employ only men of ‘experience in maritime affairs’ on the Admiralty Board, and, in the same committee two days later, criticized Edmund Waller’s allegation that the failure of the descent was due to Nottingham’s tardy dispatch of orders, on the somewhat specious grounds that the topic of the naval mismanagements was not at that moment before the House. Hostility to the lords of Admiralty was again evident on the 26th when he pressed home Foley’s attack on the Whig-dominated board for their interrogation of George Churchill* concerning his statement to the House upon ‘cowards’ in the fleet. When the debates on the failure of the descent and the naval mismanagements came to a head on 5 Dec., Musgrave joined Foley, Lowther and Seymour in defending Nottingham from a Whig motion blaming the miscarriage of the descent upon the absence of ‘timely’ orders, Musgrave arguing that as he was ‘not altogether for going on common fame to accuse men without some good proof of the matter’ he was unwilling to condemn the secretary in such a manner. On 20 Dec. he was unsuccessful in moving to refer to committee papers concerning the previous summer, his intention being to ‘assign the crime with which you will charge this noble lord [Nottingham]’. He was nominated to the conference with the Lords on these papers, and on 30 Dec. and 2 Jan. 1693 he spoke in favour of further conferences with the Lords on the naval miscarriages. The report from the committee on advice on 11 Jan. saw Musgrave again attack the Admiralty Board, criticizing attempts to shift blame for the miscarriages to Nottingham, and supporting the committee’s resolution to address the King to employ only ‘men of experience’. When a complaint was presented to the House on 3 Feb. of Captain Robinson’s failure to intercept the French fleet, Musgrave condemned it as ‘a mismanagement in the Admiralty’ and was nominated to the committee to inquire into the episode.17

Musgrave’s concern to protect Tory ministers such as Nottingham from Whig attack did not, however, signal any softening of his attitude to the ministry as a whole during this session. He intervened frequently and critically on matters of supply, beginning on 15 Nov. 1692 when, having supported Clarges’ motion that the alliances be presented before the King’s Speech was considered, he moved unsuccessfully that the committee of the whole consider the report of the commission of accounts in two days’ time. When the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the King’s Speech later the same day, Musgrave joined Clarges and John Smith I in arguing for consideration of the alliances before supply, and when the supply committee met on the 22nd Musgrave seized on the accidental omission by the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I) of the word ‘vigorous’ from the intended motion pledging supply for a ‘vigorous war’, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to prevent the word being added to the motion. When, three days later, the estimates were presented to the House, Musgrave supported Clarges’ request that they remain on the table, rather than be referred to that day’s supply committee as proposed by Lowther. On the 29th he again supported Clarges, this time in favour of the ordinary charge of the navy being applied to the civil list, a proposal accepted by the committee without a division. In the same debate Musgrave joined Clarges in opposing the building of new bomb vessels and fourth-rate ships. Opposition questioning as to whether the allies had fulfilled their treaty obligations in respect of the provision of troops the previous summer involved Musgrave in a clash with Lord Coningsby. The Irish lord justice declared that he was against any measures that would improve the prospect of the return of James, adding that ‘we are engaged deeper in the war and are more concerned therein than they are’. The wording of Coningsby’s comment could be taken either as saying that the threat of a Jacobite restoration meant that England had more vested in the war than her allies, or as an imputation against the loyalty of the opposition to William and Mary. Musgrave’s sensitivity to accusations of Jacobitism explains his immediate rejoinder: ‘I expect no more mercy if he [James II] comes back than that gentleman’. When the supply committee reported on 10 Dec. Musgrave led attempts to reduce the naval estimates, and the following day opposed acceptance of them, attempting to obstruct the supply committee proceeding on the army estimates by arguing that the committee of the whole should instead consider ways and means of raising funds for the navy. Though unsuccessful, Musgrave did succeed in having the arrears due to the Irish army referred to the commission of accounts. His hostility to army expenditure became clear when the estimates were considered on 3 Dec., as he urged the House to go head by head and emphasized that if the nation kept ‘a good fleet at sea . . . you need not fear King James’s return’. He opposed the number of men requested, arguing that England should supply enough troops to fulfil its treaty obligations and no more, and pointed out that if large numbers of troops were sent to Flanders the nation’s ‘treasure . . . will be much exhausted and hardly ever return to you again’. Nevertheless, the ministry’s estimates were agreed to by the committee. Hostility to the land war, and more particularly the role of the allies, was becoming increasingly evident in Musgrave’s parliamentary activity. Having on 23 Nov. supported an address that William employ an English commander of foot, he then, on 6 Dec., criticized the rates of pay to the predominantly foreign general officers as too high, and three days later joined the attack upon the disparity between Dutch and English subsidy payments. Musgrave’s concern for army expenditure even led him to object, when the resolutions on the land forces were reported to the House on 10 Dec., to the inclusion of forces to protect Scotland on the English estimates, arguing that as an ‘independent kingdom’ Scotland should bear these charges.18

Musgrave was equally active when consideration of supply gave way to ways and means. On 13 Dec. he joined Clarges to oppose proposals to raise the land tax by a pound rate rather than monthly assessment, and on the 14th and 17th Musgrave offered the committee procedural advice upon their consideration of additional duties. Concern for correct procedure in the consideration of financial legislation was again evident on 2 Jan. 1693 when he objected to the appointment of a second-reading committee on the militia bill. He argued that as a bill which laid ‘a charge on the subject’, it should be referred to a committee of the whole, and accordingly the House agreed that all Members should have voices on the committee. The land tax engaged Musgrave’s attention in early January. He spoke twice against amendments to the bill on 6 Jan., and three days later unsuccessfully supported an amendment which would have extended the commission of accounts until 25 Apr. 1693. The same day he was appointed, along with Foley and Smith, to draft an appropriation clause for the bill in favour of the navy, and on the 10th supported Goodwin Wharton’s proposal to add a clause to enforce the payment of bills in course by the navy office. Six days later Musgrave told the House of his support for Foley’s million fund, but raised procedural objections to a committee of the whole on the bill, and on the 17th joined condemnation of the Lords’ amendment to the land tax bill which stipulated that peers should be rated for the tax only by other peers, being appointed to the conference on this amendment. On 6 Feb. he spoke in support of the additional duties proposed by Clarges to meet the shortfall in revenue, dismissing the concerns of Treasury officials that establishing a fund on these duties would lead to too great a burden of interest payments, pointing out that ‘we must do as men in debt do and be contented to pay interest’ and arguing that the only alternative was to raise £1,000,000 on the forfeited Irish estates, which the ministry had resisted. Nine days later Musgrave was appointed with Clarges and Foley to draft a bill encompassing the duties proposed by Clarges, and following the Commons’ debate on the report of this committee he was nominated to prepare an appropriation clause. Having been appointed on the 17th to draft a bill for the relief of London orphans, Musgrave spoke six days later against continued consideration of the measure, arguing that a bill involving the revenue should not be considered so near the end of the session.19

As in previous sessions, Musgrave’s activity was not limited to matters of supply. He was, for example, a prominent supporter of the revived treason trials legislation, moving on 18 Nov. that it be put before a committee of the whole, and ten days later urged strenuously that it be made effective from January 1693 rather than, as proposed by the Court, the end of the war. When the bill was reported on 1 Dec. Musgrave opposed, as improper and more suited to a separate bill, Smith’s motion for a clause which would have made high treason any declaration that William and Mary were not rightful monarchs. When matters of allegiance were considered separately, Musgrave still found himself in the company of many with whom he had acted in matters of supply. Smith’s proposal for example, was embodied in a bill to preserve the monarchs and considered by the House on 14 Dec., but Foley and Harley echoed Musgrave’s previous opposition to the measure, which led to their being criticized for ‘too great a familiarity’ with both Musgrave and Clarges. On 21 Jan. Musgrave supported Foley’s motion that Charles Blount’s King William and Queen Mary Conquerors be burnt by the common hangman. His opposition to conquest theory was again evident two days later when he joined John Grobham Howe and William Bromley II in advocating that Burnet’s Pastoral Letter suffer the same fate. The debates on the triennial bill demonstrated Musgrave’s opposition to the Court. On 28 Jan., when the bill sent from the Lords was considered, Musgrave was an enthusiastic supporter, arguing that ‘long sitting of Parliaments is not for the King’s interest’, and though he was sceptical of the clause requiring annual sessions, describing them on 7 Feb. as ‘a great hardship upon country gentlemen’, he continued to support the bill, on 9 Feb. dismissing concerns that it intruded upon the prerogative and claiming that it would ‘be for the good of the whole nation’. His Country sympathies can also be seen in his support for the second reading of the bill to continue the commission of accounts, and in his opposition to the indemnity bill, Musgrave speaking against the latter measure on 27 Feb. and 1 Mar. As with the previous session, however, partisan allegiance could override his Country sympathies. For example, having supported the investigation into the Irish administration, condemning the ‘missing clause’ of the Treaty of Limerick and being named on 24 Feb. to prepare an address upon the abuses in the Irish government, he joined in defending the Irish Tory MP William Culliford from a Whig attack on 8 Mar.20

Though primarily concerned with such matters as war and finance, Musgrave also took an interest in many other issues. He remained an advocate of a new East India company, being consulted by its supporters in November 1692 concerning the presentation of a petition to the Commons, and when it had become clear the following February that the bill to establish a new company was unlikely to pass he twice supported a proposal to address the King to dissolve the Old Company (21, 25 Feb.). On 5 Dec. he moved a bill to end a custom of the archdiocese of York whereby widows were allowed to make a claim on the estates of their deceased husbands even when a marriage settlement had previously been agreed. He was the sole Member named to draft this bill, and he managed the legislation through the Commons, delivering it to the Lords on 30 Dec. The same day he spoke against the bill to extend the time available to those involved in the development of convex lights, and five days later joined Harley in bringing to the attention of the Commons allegations that ‘some persons who solicited business in this House or had bills depending here . . . keep constant tables and committee dinners for Members’, a practice which was condemned ‘upon pain of incurring the censure of the House’. On 16 Jan. he became embroiled in a controversy over the royal mines bill, when the manuscript additions to the printed bill were objected to by the Speaker. Musgrave informed the House that it was he who had made the markings in question, and though the Speaker accepted that this had been done to clarify sections where the copy of the bill was ‘worn out’, Luttrell recorded that Musgrave ‘was kindly used . . . that he was not expelled’. When the bill received its third reading on the 27th, Musgrave joined Harley and Edward Clarke I in objecting to the inclusion of Ireland within the bill’s provisions, their argument being that this had been done without specific orders, and it was accordingly removed. Musgrave was also involved in various other legislative matters, being the first-named Member to draft the mutiny bill (16 Dec.) and nominated to draft an amendment to the same bill (11 Feb.).21

By the end of the session, Musgrave’s parliamentary association with Country Whigs had become a matter of frequent comment, and one pamphlet referred to the close relationship between Harley and Musgrave in the following terms: ‘the two Har[le]ys, father and son, are engineers under the lieutenant of the ordnance [Musgrave], and bomb any bill which he has once resolved to reduce to ashes, though it were for recognition, or anything else that is most necessary to our security’. Though Musgrave’s sympathy for Country measures and attitudes had been increasingly evident during the 1690 Parliament, he remained, however, a committed Tory, and the favour shown to the Whigs in the ministerial changes during the 1693 recess surprised him; according to Burnet, it was this that led Musgrave to join Seymour, also disillusioned by the changes, to establish ‘a party . . . that studied to cross and defeat every thing’. Given Musgrave’s opposition to a host of Court measures in the previous four sessions such a resolution would not have involved him in any significant alteration of behaviour or change in attitude, and his correspondence with Harley in the spring and summer of 1693 indicates that his concern about the allies’ sincerity, the use to which supply was being put, and the conduct of the war remained as strong as ever.22

At the end of September 1693 Musgrave’s fellow Tory Francis Gwyn* had written urging him to be in London for the beginning of the session ‘without fail’. Gwyn’s determination to ensure Musgrave’s presence is explicable in relation to the widely anticipated conflict over attribution of responsibility for the naval miscarriages of the previous summer, the ministerial Whigs being determined to lay the blame for these set-backs at the door of Nottingham and the admirals rather than the Whig-dominated Admiralty Board. Musgrave did not disappoint such expectations, joining wholeheartedly in Tory attempts to defend the former secretary of state. The debate on the King’s Speech on 13 Nov. saw Musgrave, described by an anonymous newswriter as ‘qui est habile Tory et qui passe pour Jacobite’, speak in support of Seymour’s call for a full investigation of the naval failures, moving that the inquiry be broadened to include consideration of the ‘preservation of the trade of the nation’. The significance of this addition became apparent in the debate of the 22nd, in which Musgrave attempted to transfer blame for the loss of the Smyrna convoy from Secretary Nottingham and the admirals to the Admiralty Board. Musgrave’s partisan loyalties, combined with his hostility to the growing cost of the war, were also seen in the debates upon supply. Having opposed, on 14 Nov., Edward Russell’s motion that ‘a present credit’ be voted for the supply of the navy, he spoke on the 30th against the Court’s proposals for funding the fleet. Further, when the army estimates were presented to the House on 5 Dec. he followed Clarges in denouncing the Court’s failure to lay before the Commons a state of the alliances, blaming the oversight upon ‘Dutch counsel’ and moving for an address that such a state be presented to the House. Later in the same debate he again expressed his concern that the financial burden of the war would lead to a general excise which would mean ‘adieu to our liberties at a blow’. His hostility to government spending explains his speaking several times against Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*) when allegations of peculation on the part of the Admiralty lord were considered on 7 Dec., and his outrage two days later when Harley revealed that Ranelagh, Sir John Guise, 2nd Bt.*, and Hon. Sir Robert Howard* had received payments from the secret service fund. More general concern relating to supply was evident in the ways and means committee on the 12th, when he alleged that England was bearing a disproportionate share of the Hanover subsidies and told Members that ‘you ought to address the King, that our proportions may be more reasonably treated’. When later the same month the committee considered the King’s request for an augmentation of the land forces, Musgrave proposed that a figure of 93,500 men for the coming summer be voted on, a contribution described by Bonet as a ‘belle harangue’, and which led a number of Court supporters to believe that Musgrave was demonstrating a surprising acquiescence in the matter. In fact, Musgrave’s proposal had been concerted with Clarges and Granville with the intention of sabotaging the Court managers’ plan firstly to obtain general agreement to an augmentation without revealing to Members the implications of such a resolution. Musgrave and his associates hoped that by drawing attention away from the general principle to the real effects of augmentation, they would gain the support of enough Members to block the Court’s proposal. However, though some Court supporters were deceived by this ruse and welcomed Musgrave’s motion, the more perspicacious of them saw through this plan and were able to secure agreement to augmentation in principle. That this broad concern for the implications of supply measures was accompanied by more local considerations became evident when the Commons considered the Lords’ amendments to the land tax bill on 25 Jan., Musgrave finding himself forced to rebut reflections upon Westmorland’s contribution to this tax. His final involvement in revenue matters came with his appointments to draft a bill for the relief of London orphans (17 Feb.) and to draft a further clause to this bill (8 Mar.).23

Musgrave’s Tory and Country sympathies were equally apparent in his other parliamentary activity. He again supported triennial legislation, making a procedural point in the third-reading debate of 28 Nov. 1693, but addressing more substantive issues when the Commons considered a further bill for frequent Parliaments initiated by the Lords following the defeat of the Commons’ bill on the 28th. On 18 Dec. he revealed that he had changed his opinion on the demand for annual sessions, arguing that there was a ‘just right’ to such regular sittings, and condemned criticism of the wording of the bill as calculated to secure its rejection. Four days later Musgrave upheld the Lords’ right to initiate legislation on this topic. He again took an interest in the fate of the forfeited Irish lands, being appointed on 11 Jan. to draft a bill to apply these lands to financing the war. His consistent hostility to the ministry may well explain the opinion at this time among Jacobites that the Westmorland Member was almost ready to pledge his support to a prospective rising. Not surprisingly, the royal veto of the place bill provoked Musgrave’s ire. When the King’s answer to the Commons’ representation on the veto was considered on 1 Feb., Musgrave joined the chorus of opposition anger, dismissing the King’s assurance that he would ‘have regard to Parliaments’ as ‘neither an answer to the body, nor to the prayer, of the representation’, supporting proposals for a further address on the topic, and attacking the perceived influence of the Earl of Sunderland by laying blame for the King’s answer at the door of ‘some ill private counsel’ outside the cabinet council. His hostility to foreigners was emphasized on 1 Mar. when the House considered a complaint against the publication of Sir John Knight’s* speech against the general naturalization bill, Musgrave arguing that ‘much’ of the speech ‘is true, though other parts of it were very indecent’. As usual, Musgrave’s parliamentary experience allowed him to offer procedural advice, including on one occasion the role of ‘counsel and agents’ permitted to appear before Commons committees. However, following a lengthy session he was glad to return north in April.24

As was his customary practice, Musgrave remained in the country throughout the prorogation, though his correspondence with Harley demonstrates his keen interest in political developments while away from London. Ministerial changes again engaged his attention, Seymour’s dismissal prompting Musgrave to comment that ‘he has added to his wealth, [though] whether he has gained ought else I will not determine’, and which no doubt confirmed to him the wisdom he had shown in turning down the opportunity to join the Treasury Board in 1692. His letters to Harley during the summer were also consistent with the general political outlook he demonstrated in Parliament, stating that ‘a peace seems most desirable’, expressing hostility towards the establishment of the Bank of England, showing concern at naval set-backs, and again revealing his fears that a general excise would be the consequence of the escalating demands upon the public purse. Although evidence of Musgrave’s parliamentary activity in the 1694–5 session is scarce it is clear that he remained firmly attached to the opposition. He joined Howe and Seymour in protesting against the Court’s request that the King’s Speech be considered before grievances, all three drawing particular attention to the injustices committed in the prosecution of the Lancashire Plot. On 11 Feb. 1695, after the decision not to renew the Licensing Act, Musgrave was deputed to prepare a bill to regulate all printing presses. His only other recorded speech this session, his nomination of Foley as Speaker on 14 Mar., underlined his continuing alliance with the opposition. Partisan sympathy may explain Musgrave’s inclusion upon Henry Guy’s* list of ‘friends’, probably in relation to the Commons’ investigation of Guy. The end of March and early April saw Musgrave prevailed upon by Sir William Trumbull* and Harley to support the petition of the French Protestant refugees for relief from financial hardship and poor conditions. He took an active role in the investigation of Sir Thomas Cooke’s* allegations of the East India Company’s bribery of Members, being the first-named Member on 13 Apr. to the conference with the Lords on the bill compelling Cooke to testify to Parliament, and four days later carrying a message to the Lords, reminding them of this bill, and being appointed to manage the conference with them on it. He reported from the conference the same day, and on the 23rd he was elected to the committee to examine Cooke. Only two days later, however, Musgrave was granted a leave of absence for an unspecified period. Investigation of Cooke’s allegations led to allegations that Carmarthen (now Duke of Leeds) had received 5,000 guineas from the company, which in turn caused a bill of impeachment to be initiated in the Commons on the 27th. Musgrave was named to the committee to draft the articles of impeachment, though it is unclear whether he was appointed while absent from the House, or if the investigation of the bribery allegations prompted him to postpone his departure northwards.25

In July Gwyn wrote of Musgrave’s present ‘sullenness’ and of the need to ‘take care to allay his spleen and keep up his spirits’, and though such comments may indicate the reason for Musgrave’s securing an early release from parliamentary duties in the previous session, it is also possible that they could apply to Musgrave’s troubled path to re-election in 1695. These difficulties were a direct consequence of his general parliamentary stance throughout the previous Parliament, and of his long-running dispute with Sir John Lowther. The rivalry between Lowther and Musgrave had been highlighted in the autumn of 1694 when an offer from the Earl of Carlisle (Charles Howard*) to nominate Musgrave as a deputy-lieutenant was vetoed by the King, allegedly on Lowther’s advice. As early as June Musgrave wrote to Harley that ‘my neighbour (as the report says) is zealous to prevent your friend being chosen’, and though at this time he described the prospect of not being re-elected as ‘a kindness considering the many years already spent in service’, by September he was concerned about his poor electoral prospects. Lowther alleged that Musgrave had ‘openly applied himself to the non-juring party’, his association with James Grahme* giving credibility to such accusations, while his unwillingness to embark upon a campaign in Westmorland before the dissolution was announced, a failure bemoaned in August by his friend Gwyn, allowed Lowther to steal a march upon him. The campaign also saw Lowther criticize Musgrave implicitly for his record in the previous Parliament. Musgrave wrote that such disapproval of his parliamentary behaviour ‘will not weigh much with me’, but despite such defiance, and assertions by his supporters that Musgrave’s interest remained sufficient to carry the election, Lowther succeeded in forcing him from his Westmorland seat. Needing to find an alternative, Musgrave was mentioned as a possible candidate at Carlisle and at Oxford University, but he preferred to allow his son to stand for the former seat, and, though his Tory and Anglican convictions led him to be seen by many as a possible successor to Clarges for the latter, he was eventually returned for Appleby on the interest of the Earl of Thanet (Thomas Tufton†), despite Lowther’s attempts to deny him this seat as well.26

The strictures upon Musgrave’s parliamentary behaviour and the consequent difficulty he found in his re-election did not, however, make any notable impact upon his behaviour in the new Parliament. This much is indicated by his membership of a Tory drinking club, established in the summer of 1695, whose other members included Seymour, Howe, Finch and Simon Harcourt I, and which continued to meet into the winter. They resolved, according to the Earl of Ailesbury (Thomas Bruce†), ‘to stick close to each other, and not give subsidies for to carry on the war’. The estimates for the coming year’s campaign passed the Commons more easily than they had in the recent past, but Musgrave was named on 6 Dec. to consider ways to raise revenue to finance the navy, and a week later he, Seymour, Howe and Finch ‘endeavoured all they could’ in the supply committee to reduce the number of troops by 25,000, and though the opposition was comfortably defeated, Musgrave moved that the sum for funding the land forces be the same as the previous year. The less contentious nature of supply during this session meant that Musgrave’s only further involvement in the issue came with his nomination on 1 Jan. to draft a bill to continue the duties on wine, tobacco and East India goods, and in his opposition on 16 Mar. to the request for financial aid for poor French Protestant refugees, when he joined Seymour in arguing that the £500,000 voted earlier in the day to provide for civil government was intended to cover such demands. He did, however, take an interest in the recoinage, being appointed to manage three conferences with the Lords on this topic (5 Dec., 3 and 6 Jan.), and in March voting against the Court’s recommendation that the price of guineas be fixed at 22s. He was also nominated to three committees charged with investigating the formation of the Company of Scotland. His partisan loyalties were demonstrated by his speaking on the Tory side when the House considered, on 9 Jan., the East Grinstead election case.27

Musgrave was most active, however, in the debates concerning the proposed council of trade and the Association. He first spoke on the former issue on 2 Jan. 1696 when he joined Seymour, Howe and Finch in ‘zealously contending’ for Parliament’s right to nominate commissioners of the new council. When, on the 20th, Hon. Thomas Wharton proposed that such commissioners be required to take an abjuration oath, Musgrave was reported to have ‘opposed it all he could’, though without success. When the council of trade was considered on the 31st, Musgrave, having been forecast as likely to oppose the Court, intervened twice, speaking against the resolution that no Member be allowed to serve on the council and arguing that members of the council should not receive a salary. Further, he denounced the power of ‘restraining ships from going out’ that was proposed to be vested in the commissioners. Both of Musgrave’s objections were ignored by the House, the latter being rejected due, according to one account, to ‘his dictatorship’s [i.e. Musgrave’s] tenderness for the prerogative’. It was noted by the same observer that Musgrave ‘sat silent during the whole debate concerning the oaths’. His sensitivity on the issue was apparent during consideration of the Association. When the oath was proposed on 24 Feb., Musgrave spoke against its imposition, telling the House that though zealous for the government and willing to take the oath, he was prevented from doing so by the previous resolutions of the Commons against oaths of abjuration, among which he included the Association, a stance that led Bonet to comment that, although Seymour’s criticism of the Association was the most violent, Musgrave’s had been the most skilful. Needless to say, Musgrave was among those who initially refused to sign the Association, and when on 6 Apr. the committee of the whole considered the bill to secure the King’s government and person, which required all office-holders to take the Association, Musgrave opposed the measure ‘délicatement, par une belle harangue et bien tournée’. His stubbornness on the issue did not, however, prevent his ending the session by joining Harley to urge recalcitrant Tories to take the now compulsory oath. As usual he returned northwards at the end of the session.28

As one of the leading spokesmen of the Church party in the Lower House, Musgrave took an active part in the debates upon the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† early in the next session. He first intervened on 6 Nov. 1696 when the Commons considered the evidence against Fenwick, and thereafter adopted a consistent line in arguing for strict adherence to proper procedure as laid down in the recent Treason Trials Act. When the bill of attainder had its first reading on the 13th he challenged the introduction of evidence not contained in the original bill of indictment, and three days later, when the House considered the admission of Goodman’s evidence, Musgrave argued that even if assertions were correct, that Parliament was not tied by legal precedents in respect of admission of evidence, the established procedures of the House prohibited the reading of such affidavits. Later the same day he spoke twice in support of Fenwick’s counsel on further questions relating to the admission of evidence. His most considered intervention was made on the 17th when he attacked the whole premise of the attainder bill, acknowledging Parliament’s power on ‘extraordinary occasions’ to proceed in such a manner, but questioning whether the present circumstances amounted to such an occasion and casting doubt on the consequence of allowing a bill on the evidence of only one witness:

For the argument is, whosoever is endeavouring to subvert the government, provided there be but one witness, you are obliged, by virtue of your legislative power, to bring in a bill of attainder against him. And what then? Of what use is the great care and wisdom of your ancestors, and yourselves, that where a crime is so great, and the punishment so great, there should be two witnesses?

As expected, Musgrave voted against the attainder on the 25th, having given the House advice upon a procedural matter concerned with the division.29

Though the support of Foley and Harley for the estimates meant that, as in the previous session, the issue of supply was not as contentious as it had been in the previous Parliament, Musgrave nevertheless joined Seymour and Howe in attempting to obstruct its passage in late October and early November. On 8 Dec. he acted in concert with Seymour in opposing the idea of a premium for loans in an attempt to restore government credit. Though appointed on 22 Dec. to draft the land tax bill, Musgrave’s main interest in the remaining supply debates was the capitation bill. He supported the measure, despite its reservation to the monarch of the power to appoint capitation commissioners, but the measure was criticized by the Westmorland Whig William Fleming* as harmful to the interests of the northern counties. Fleming contended that it was only Musgrave’s support that secured the measure’s consolidation with the land tax bill on 23 Jan. 1697, and when it passed the Commons three days later, Musgrave described the capitation as ‘a very smart bill’. He exhibited interest in the proceedings of the House on the continuing problems of the recoinage, being appointed on 14 Jan. to draft a bill to explain the recoinage Acts and to a committee to inquire into the miscarriages at the Mint. He opposed the bill to restrain the wearing of wrought silks and dyed calicoes, condemning the disturbances at the door of the House caused by the bill’s supporters on 21 Jan., and reprimanding those who had laughed at the ineffectual attempts to deal with the tumult. He was appointed to investigate these disorders, and on 25 Feb. was appointed to the conference on the Lords’ amendment of the calicoes bill. Musgrave’s enthusiasm for public life may have been waning at this time. February saw him spurn the offer of appointment as receiver-general of the rents of Catherine of Braganza, and ill-health led to his obtaining leave of absence on 19 Mar.30

Musgrave remained, however, one of the leading Churchmen in the Lower House. This status was recognized in the autumn of 1697 when the ministerial Tory Henry Guy attempted to re-establish links with his former party comrades through an exchange of letters. Musgrave’s unwillingness to welcome an individual who had assisted the passage of measures with which he had so vehemently disagreed demonstrated both the depth of his opposition to the Court and his hostility to all who had supported it, regardless of common partisan allegiances. A report of May 1698 indicates that Musgrave defended the order, possibly when given at the opening of the new session on 3 Dec. 1697, for the printing of the Votes, against those who attacked the ‘inconvenience’ of disclosing the proceedings of the House to a wider audience. He argued, however, that the prime purpose of allowing publication was to enable Members to be better informed about proceedings, thus ensuring proper scrutiny of government. On 7 Dec. he argued that the House consider the King’s Speech before supply, though this motion was comprehensively defeated. Later in the session the House considered the settlement of the civil list for the King’s life. Harley and other opposition Whigs did not seek to block the settlement of £700,000 p.a. on the King, and it was later claimed by the Earl of Hardwicke (Philip Yorke†), citing information from an ‘eminent Member’, that Musgrave had actually colluded in the settlement. As Hardwicke described it

The King desired it might be £700,000 a year, and the contrivance for it was thus: somebody for the Court proposed a million, upon this Musgrave was to rise up, and exclaim against the extravagance of the demand, and the danger of it, and after many severe reflections upon the Court, he was to conclude with saying, ‘he dared venture to answer for the country gentlemen, that if the demand had been for a modest and reasonable sum, it would not have met with any opposition; that they were not unwilling to support the greatness and dignity of the crown, and that he thought for all good purposes of government £700,000 would be sufficient, and hoped no larger sum would be given into’. This he undertook and did and the Court got what they wanted.

Musgrave was said to have received £7,000 for this service, and to have been discovered because he dropped the money as he was descending the back stairs at Court. However, contemporary descriptions of the vehemence of Musgrave’s opposition to granting the civil list cast some doubt on this account. Robert Yard* reported that on 20 Dec. he had joined Seymour in attempting to prevent consideration of the civil list and, when this proved unsuccessful, argued that ‘every particular’ of the list be examined, and though their demands were ignored, Musgrave moved the following day, again unsuccessfully, for the resolution that the King be granted £700,000 p.a. for life to be recommitted.31

The issue dominating Musgrave’s activity in this session was the granting of supply for the standing army. This issue had gripped public controversy during the summer of 1697, and in early November one unnamed observer wrote that ‘the heads of the Jacobites – the Musgraveites – intend to move for a standing army, thinking thereby to ingratiate themselves into the King’s favour’. In contrast, shortly before the start of the session, John Ellis* wrote of his hope that ‘those two rogues Seymour and Musgrave’ would oppose Court demands for a standing force of 30,000 and thereby ‘save the nation’. It was recorded, however, that Musgrave did not speak on 10 Dec. when the opposition carried the motion that all troops raised since 1680 should be disbanded. Though this failure to contribute may be explicable in the terms given by the unnamed correspondent in November, Musgrave may also have thought that in the light of his voluble support during the 1685 Parliament for James II’s standing army, any contribution in favour of reducing William’s peace-time force would leave him open to reflections by Court Members upon his loyalty, and would in consequence hinder the success of the opposition motion. This alternative explanation is given weight by Musgrave’s obvious support for disbandment in the subsequent debates upon financing the army. On 8 Jan. 1698, for example, he opposed the Court motion that £500,000 be granted for guards and garrisons, and the same debate saw him clash with Montagu. The chancellor of the Exchequer, provoked by the comment that Court managers hoped to lead the House by the nose on this issue, commented that the Commons also contained managers from the court of St. Germain, a response that prompted Musgrave’s demand that the chancellor explain himself, upon which Montagu was only spared from censure by the intervention of a Whig Member. The debate on guards and garrisons continued three days later when Harley’s proposal that £300,000 be granted for this purpose was rejected and the sum of £400,000 agreed upon, a sum which James Vernon I* reported Montagu would have been satisfied with, until Musgrave, ‘preaching up unanimity’, proposed that £350,000 be granted, which was carried. When the land tax was proposed on 8 Feb. Vernon grouped Musgrave with Harley in being ‘stiff . . . for proceeding to disband the army’, and consideration of the estimates a month later saw Musgrave argue for a sharp reduction in the charge of the Ordnance. On 2 June he successfully moved for an address to the King for a schedule of the disbanded forces.32

The debates on the civil list and the standing army were not the only issues on which Musgrave made himself heard. He was appointed to draft bills to regulate the militia (17 Dec.) and salmon fishing (12 Jan.), and during consideration on 18 Dec. of the bill to prevent communication with James II, Musgrave offered advice upon the method by which licences should be granted for those returning to England from service with the former king. Musgrave’s Country sympathies were emphasized in the new year when he, Harley and their sympathizers were said to have initiated the Commons’ order of 7 Feb. 1698 for the preparation of a bill to resume all royal grants since 1660. On 9 Feb. Musgrave spoke in favour of an address to the King calling for the suppression of profanity and immorality. Particularly critical of the failure of bishops in ‘suffering such blasphemies to go unpunished’, he was appointed to the committee charged with preparing such an address, and when the subsequent bill on this topic was amended by the Lords, Musgrave was named on 18 May to manage the resulting conference. Musgrave’s partisan loyalties were uppermost when, during a debate on the fraudulent endorsement of Exchequer bills on 14 Feb., he supported a motion to adjourn consideration of the bill of pains against the Tory Charles Duncombe*, and eight days later joined Harley and Seymour in criticizing the Treasury lords for their handling of the fraud. He was later appointed to manage a conference with the Lords concerning Duncombe’s punishment. Having intervened to offer procedural advice on 22 Mar. relating to the Lords’ request for Members to attend the Upper House, Musgrave renewed his interest in supply legislation during the final months of the session. In the debate on the poll bill on 29 Apr. Musgrave argued that all land tax commissioners should be rated as gentlemen for the poll tax, a position which had its origins in Musgrave’s annoyance that a number of Westmorland land tax commissioners had been underrated, but he was defeated following interventions from Sir Robert Rich, 2nd Bt., and Hon. Henry Boyle, both of whom the Westmorland Whig William Fleming claimed to have ‘engaged’ to oppose Musgrave. The following month Musgrave wrote to Sir Daniel Fleming expressing his opposition to a proposed sugar duty, and on 28 May he spoke on the bill to prevent the carriage of wool into Holland. He also took an interest in the East India trade, speaking on 12 Apr. for the establishment of the New Company, featuring in May as one of the Members agitating for a debate on the topic, and on 18 June he argued in favour of the bill for raising £2 million for the government in a loan from the New Company.33

Despite his activity in the previous session Musgrave was ambivalent about seeking re-election in 1698. Included in a list of placemen published for this election, by dint of his position in the household of the Queen Dowager, he had informed his Westmorland friends in April that he was ‘fully resolved never to serve in any Parliament after this’. In May he wrote that he was undecided whether to stand, and it was reported in July that he had informed his friends in the north that ‘he would stand no more’. Nevertheless, he was returned on 23 July at the head of the poll for Oxford University, but on the day of the election it was reported that the return had been made ‘against his will’ and that he was ‘unwilling to take the Assoc[iation] and qual[ify] himself’. In August he wrote to the University of his decision to indulge his dislike of abjuration oaths, and Nottingham felt that it was necessary to ‘press’ Musgrave to attend the House. Despite his expressed intention not to take up his seat, Musgrave was classed, around September, as a Country supporter in a comparison of the old and new Houses. If pressure to take up his seat was applied, it proved effective as in November he was reported to have decided, ‘in pure obedience to the University’, to suppress his scruples and set out for Parliament. Shortly after this decision Musgrave was mentioned as a possible candidate for the Speakership, perhaps in an effort to reconcile the divisions in the opposition over the choice of candidate, as he was said on 29 Nov. to have the support of both Seymour and Granville, each of whom had previously been canvassed as opposition candidates. It was when consideration of the standing army and supply commenced after Christmas that Musgrave demonstrated his old appetite for parliamentary activity. Before the start of the session he had been classed as a probable opponent of the standing army. The contemporary historian Cunningham alleged that Musgrave, Seymour and Harley ‘concerted’ measures on the army question with Sunderland. On 4 Jan. 1699 Musgrave spoke against William Blathwayt’s request that he be allowed to present a schedule of the numbers of troops needed for the English and Welsh garrisons, a manoeuvre intended to demonstrate the insufficiency of the number previously voted by the House, and when the estimates were read a week later, Musgrave objected to the provision of £50,000 for the payment of general officers. His leading role in the opposition was demonstrated when he was summoned on 14 Jan., along with Harley, Foley, John Smith I and William Lowndes*, to a meeting with Charles Montagu to discuss methods of raising £800,000 at low interest. Four days later he opened the debate on the disbanding bill and joined Harley and Harcourt in responding to Court objections to the measure. On 1 Feb. he was among those appointed to draw up an address thanking the King for assenting to the disbanding bill, and five days later was appointed to draft a bill to regulate the militia, a logical consequence of his opposition to a standing force. Musgrave’s hostility to the ministry was also evident in the reports of February that he had joined Howe and Seymour in supporting the Old East India Company’s attempt to assume responsibility for the loan made to the government in the previous session. His attack on the ministry also extended to allegations of naval mismanagement, and in particular the question of the ‘misapplication of money in [16]95’ by the Admiralty commissioner Henry Priestman*, an associate of Edward Russell (now Earl of Orford). The following day Musgrave supported Seymour’s questioning of the need to grant as many as 15,000 men for the navy for the coming year. A proposal for 10,000 men was offered instead, and Musgrave offered the compromise figure of 12,000, but demonstrated his wariness of the Court’s intentions by specifying that any figure voted should exclude provision for marines. His motion to this end was defeated by six votes. That Musgrave was not drawn to the extremes of opposition indulged in by such Tories as Howe and Seymour is indicated by his joining with Harley on 16 Feb. in proposing the ‘lumping of the ordinary of the navy’, a suggestion Vernon thought was ‘intended . . . as a service’. He nevertheless continued his close scrutiny of the army estimates, inquiring on 21 Feb. into the proportions of dragoons and horse comprising the 7,000 men the Commons had voted. When the sum to be granted in respect of the reduced army was considered on 2 Mar., he questioned whether the cost had been inflated by reducing the ratio of men to officers, and unsuccessfully moved that only £240,000 be granted instead of the £300,000 requested by the Court. Two days later he challenged the estimates of arrears due to English forces in colonial garrisons. His attitude on army expenditure was also apparent when the issue of the King’s Dutch guards was raised, for he was included on the 18th on the committee appointed to draft an address in reply to the King’s request that the Commons continue these guards in the nation’s pay. The following day Musgrave met with other opposition Members of the committee to draft this reply, which, when presented to the Commons on the 20th, detailed the Commons’ reasons for not complying with the King’s request and condemned those who had advised him to send the message in the first place. Musgrave’s evident hostility to foreign soldiers who had served in the English army was again seen in his contribution to a debate on a naturalization bill, on either 11 Mar. or 20 Apr., when he expressed the hope that naturalized officers would not be preferred in the army above English-born officers. Musgrave’s prominence in the session was singled out in early April by Edward Harley* who wrote that ‘several smart speeches have been made against the ministry, particularly Sir Christopher Musgrave spoke much of the dissolution of the last Parliament and the King’s Speech at the prorogation’. But his failure to oppose with sufficient vigour the imposition of a paper duty was commented upon later in the month in Oxford, the university having been keen to secure an exemption for its press. Returning to Edenhall at the end of May, he wrote to Sir Daniel Fleming that ‘I am glad to get home, being weary of the long session. It was no easy matter to get the army disbanded, which was not gained with less than six set battles, besides the many avenues which were all defended.’34

Musgrave was again at the forefront of opposition attacks on the Court in the 1699–1700 session. He joined Seymour and Howe on 27 Nov. 1699 in criticism of William’s speech at the end of the previous session, contending that the Commons had been misrepresented to the King by his ministers. Musgrave’s determination to continue harrying the ministry was emphasized on 28 Nov. when he was named in first place to a committee to investigate borough charters granted during the King’s reign, and to another committee to examine the alterations in the commissions of the peace carried out under Lord Keeper Somers (Sir John*). He joined enthusiastically in pressing home the accusations concerning the commission granted by Somers to Captain Kidd by which the lord chancellor, Orford and Shrewsbury were to receive a substantial share of Kidd’s profits from privateering. When the issue was first raised on 2 Dec. he was reported to have said that if the allegations could be proved ‘he should not be [for] sparing them’, and when papers relating to the allegations were considered two days later, Musgrave seconded Harley’s proposal that the grant be declared illegal. His concern to limit government expenditure was evident on 9 Dec. when he opposed a motion to refer the subject of the Prince of Denmark’s debt to the committee of supply, a proceeding Musgrave was reported to have condemned as of ‘an extraordinary nature’, which if the House accepted might lead to ‘an innumerable number of unknown debts brought upon them’. In the same debate Musgrave seized upon Montagu’s off-hand comment that the debt had not previously been mentioned to the House owing to the ‘coldness and misunderstanding between the two courts’, and remarked that he was ‘sorry’ for such a misunderstanding but was surprised ‘it went so far that the Prince would not have justice done him’. The issue seems to have prompted Musgrave’s partisan attack on the Whig Bishop Burnet on the 12th, and the following day he supported an unsuccessful motion by Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt., to address the King to remove Burnet as preceptor to the Duke of Gloucester. Musgrave was appointed on the 15th to draft a bill to apply the Irish forfeitures to public use, having been a consistent supporter of such a measure since the early 1690s, and though there is no record of him speaking on this date, he was described by Luttrell as one of the ‘chief persons’ appointed to bring in the bill. Musgrave’s first intervention following the Christmas recess came on 9 Jan. 1700 when he offered his opinion upon a procedural question relating to the hearing on the Dartmouth by-election, but six days later he spoke on a matter of much wider significance, joining Seymour in opposing the bill for union with Scotland sent to the Commons from the Upper House. Musgrave’s consistent opposition to this measure and his concern to preserve the rights of the Commons were demonstrated by his subsequent participation in and reporting from, the committee concerned with precedents for the Lords’ recommendation of bills to the Commons (28 Feb., 5 Mar.). His intervention in March during the debates on the Duke of Norfolk’s divorce bill is certainly most explicable in terms of his desire to preserve the status of the Church, this issue having raised questions in relation to the authority of church courts. For the remainder of the session Musgrave’s main concerns were issues of supply and the Irish forfeitures. When the Commons debated the latter issue on 13 Feb. he condemned the grant of such lands to Somers, and when consideration of the state of the nation resumed two days later, Musgrave, speaking in alliance with Harley and Seymour, moved that the Commons’ resolutions of 18 Jan., condemning the Irish grants as the cause ‘of the deficiencies and poverty here’, be laid ‘before the King’, a proposal which passed without a division. The following day Musgrave supported a proposal from Sir Edward Hussey, 3rd Bt. that instead of removing all office-holders from the Commons, the place bill should bar Members from accepting office following their election, a proposal which, as Vernon recorded, caused ‘amazement’ among those who had supported the original radical intention of the bill. Howe was out of the House when this amendment was made, but upon returning he condemned it as making ‘a jest of their self-denying ordinance’. This distance between Musgrave and sections of the opposition more hostile to the ministry was confirmed in a number of other disagreements. When the King’s answer to the Commons’ resolutions of 18 Jan. was considered by the House six days later, Musgrave modified Howe’s motion – that the adviser who had suggested the King’s message to the House was ‘an enemy to the King and kingdom’ – proposing that the confrontational wording be replaced by ‘the adviser had used his utmost endeavours to create a misunderstanding between the King and his people’, Musgrave’s version was duly adopted. On 4 Mar. he successfully opposed Howe’s attempts to prevent the House going into a committee of supply upon the land tax, and four days later the two again clashed over the payment of the government’s debt to the bankers, with Musgrave opposing Howe’s call for payment. Musgrave’s opposition to payment of the debt was emphasized the following day when he joined Harley in attacking attempts to apply part of the surplus on the civil list towards satisfying it. The division in opposition ranks between moderates and extremists again became apparent when the issue of resumption returned to the forefront of parliamentary debate in the middle of March, and Musgrave was again to be found with Harley and Seymour in the former group. The resumption bill had been tacked to the land tax, and in the committee of the whole on 16 Mar. Musgrave and Harley skirmished with Howe and Sir Bartholomew Shower over the number of forfeited estates commissioners. Vernon commented that if such disagreements continued ‘a little longer’ the opposition ‘may easily run into a separation’, and later the same month he noted that Musgrave, Harley and Seymour were in conflict with Howe over who might qualify for the commissionerships, Howe opposing proposals that Members be allowed to serve and that the four members of the inquiry into the forfeited Irish estates be excluded. The clashes between the two wings of the opposition continued on 22 Mar. when Howe’s attempt to prevent the resumption of the grant to the former Irish lord chancellor Sir Charles Porter* provoked Musgrave into ‘severe repartees’ with Howe, during which he called Howe ‘a proselyte for altering his first notions about the bill’. Although four days later the House accepted Howe’s argument that Members should not be allowed to serve on the forfeited lands commission, Musgrave joined Harley on the 27th to obstruct Howe’s attempt to have himself named one of the commissioners to inspect the army and navy debts. These divisions subsided, however, in April following the Lords’ amendments to the forfeitures bill, when Musgrave, Harley, Harcourt, Howe, Seymour and Shower all joined to condemn the actions of the Upper House, and on 8 Apr. Musgrave was appointed to manage the conference with the Lords on their amendments. Two days later Musgrave’s partisan fervour was demonstrated when he participated in the attack on Somers by Sir John Leveson Gower, 5th Bt., arguing, on the grounds of the imminent prorogation, against Leveson Gower’s call for the lord chancellor to be impeached, but instead moving for an address calling for Somers to be removed from the King’s counsels for ever, a call defeated in the committee of the whole by 167 votes to 106.35

Within a fortnight of the end of the session Musgrave had returned to Edenhall, but his role as one of the leading opposition figures was demonstrated at the end of April 1700 when the ‘common talk’ was that Musgrave would be brought into the government as master of the Ordnance. Musgrave remained a close ally of Harley, writing to him that ‘your influence is that which I must entirely depend on’, and the correspondence between the two, following the prorogation of the House, reveals the close interest Musgrave took in the reconstitution of the ministry. He regarded the appointment of Sir Nathan Wright as lord keeper as ‘ominous’ and was concerned at Sunderland’s attempts to strengthen the existing ministry to enable it to ‘thrive in winter’. He also advocated a dissolution. The summer saw Musgrave lend his support to the campaign of Henry Grahme*, son of Musgrave’s friend James, in a Westmorland by-election precipitated by recent place legislation, but the Grahmes’ association with the court of James II was to prove an embarrassment to Musgrave following the death of the Duke of Gloucester in July. Musgrave appears to have been consulted by a number of English politicians over what action might be taken as a consequence of the death, but the uncertainty it prompted led to the English ambassador in Paris reporting in November that James Grahme’s brother Fergus, who had served the exiled court in St. Germain, had been ‘sent over by Sir Christopher Musgrave, and other Parliament men, with proposals, in order to get the succession settled upon the pretended Prince of Wales’. Despite such reports Musgrave appears to have felt that his appointment to office was still being considered in London, and speculation continued into December that he would be offered a post of some description. Following the dissolution he had made it known that he was prepared to stand again, but his election was not straightforward. He was again returned on the Tory interest for Oxford University, despite further allegations of disaffection: a lampoon dating from December jestingly suggested that if successfully re-elected Musgrave would move ‘an Act of Indemnity, for those that were concerned in the invasion plot of 1695[–6], and to qualify them for all offices and employments both in the Church and state, that their next attempt may succeed better’. He was prevailed upon, however, to allow his name to go forward for Westmorland, and though not prepared to campaign personally, and despite what Charles Davenant* described as attempts to ‘calumniate’ Musgrave with ‘lies and inventions’, he secured the county’s second seat by a margin of four votes. Rumours that Musgrave would prefer to sit for his native county had been circulated in Oxford in an attempt to prevent his re-election for the university, but despite attempts by Oxford Tories to dissuade him, Musgrave opted to sit for Westmorland.36

Musgrave’s close connection with Harley was apparent early in the session when he supported Harley’s nomination for Speaker, while denying claims by the Whig Lords Spencer (Charles) and Hartington (William Cavendish) that the Court had acted improperly by persuading Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt., to absent himself from the House in order to smooth the way for Harley. The historian Ralph wrote that Harley’s election left Tory leaders such as Musgrave, Seymour, Finch, Howe, Harcourt and Shower ‘in possession of the House of Commons’, but Musgrave was faced with the difficulty of reconciling his usual opposition with a desire not to weaken the position of the new, mainly Tory, ministry. This tension was evident in his behaviour throughout this session, the rival calls on his loyalty sitting together uneasily. On 14 Feb. 1701 he joined Howe and Seymour in contesting the wording of the Address, the Tory chieftains arguing against the inclusion of a pledge to support ‘effectual measures’ to maintain the ‘peace of Europe’, but losing the debate by 181 votes to 163. This division may have been the basis for the subsequently published black list of those who had opposed the preparations for war, on which Musgrave was included. The same day, his attempt to delay further consideration of the King’s Speech for four days was also defeated. According to a report by Arthur Maynwaring*, Musgrave was approached at this time to second a motion, to be made by Leveson Gower, for the recognition of the Duke of Anjou as king of Spain, following the lead of the Dutch States General but deviating from the approach preferred by William III. When the matter was debated by the Commons on the 20th, the motion was put, though there is no evidence as to the identities of the proposer and seconder. It was criticized as the prelude to recognizing the Prince of Wales and was consequently defeated, the Commons agreeing instead to address the King to support the terms of the 1678 Partition Treaty. Musgrave was among the several hundred Members who the following day carried this address to the King, and Bonet noted that William made a particular point of speaking to Musgrave and Seymour. February also saw him display a combination of partisan zeal and concern for the privileges of the Commons when he condemned the interference of the Earl of Carlisle in the Cumberland election of the previous month. No further interventions of Musgrave’s are recorded until late March, when on the 20th he was nominated to draft a bill to regulate elections. This intervening silence coincides with the Commons’ extensive consideration of the succession bill, and though the significance of this uncharacteristically taciturn period is difficult to discern, Musgrave was one of a number of Tories who ostentatiously left the chamber during one of the Commons’ debates on the measure in April. The Commons’ inquiry into the 1700 Partition Treaty, however, marked Musgrave’s return to the forefront of parliamentary debate. On 21 Mar. he supported Leveson Gower’s motion that Portland be condemned for his role in framing the treaty, but made a point of insisting that ‘none but the Lord Portland was concerned’ in it. On 1 Apr. he was appointed to draw up the articles of impeachment against Portland. It is clear that Musgrave was still willing to express Country and Tory sentiments, as on 9 Apr. he joined Howe in condemning what they viewed as the excessive interest being paid on the nation’s debts to the Bank and the New East India Company. Five days later, the Commons having broadened its consideration to include the 1698 Partition Treaty, Musgrave spoke in support of the attempts to impeach Somers for his role in these negotiations. His new-found eagerness to prosecute the case against the former Whig ministers was evident, too, in his clash with Hartington, probably in this same debate, when the Whig Member objected so strenuously to what he regarded as the seditious manner in which Musgrave questioned Secretary Vernon that he invited him outside, a confrontation which was only calmed by the intervention of Speaker Harley. When the Commons considered the report on the articles of impeachment against the four lords on the 16th, Musgrave opposed the suggestion that the House reassure the King of their support in his efforts to prevent ‘the union of France and Spain’, arguing that the House had already given William their assurances, and that to go beyond the previous assurances would amount to ‘a kind of declaration of war’. His determination to assist the attack on the former Whig ministers did not, however, distract from his customary attention to supply. He spoke in the debate on 17 Apr. on proposals to pay off the Exchequer bills. The end of the month brought reports of more Tory appointments to office, with Musgrave being suggested as a likely Privy Councillor, but such rumours were regarded by leading Tories as little more than black propaganda circulated to discredit them with their back-bench followers. The conflict between Musgrave’s desire not to offend the Court and his concern not to desert the principles that had driven his parliamentary career in the 1690s was brought into sharp relief early the following month when Howe proposed that £100,000 be transferred from the civil list funds and applied to the public debts. Torn between allegiance to the new ministry and his strong desire for rigorous economy in government spending, Musgrave stayed away from the debate on this issue on 5 May. The attractions of office may also have played a part in his deliberations, as in mid-May the French ambassador Tallard expressed the opinion that Musgrave appeared willing to accept the post of Privy Councillor should the King make such an offer. When Howe’s proposal was again considered on 21 May, Musgrave joined Harley and other Court Tories in supporting Seymour’s proposal that instead of reducing the civil list the King should be given the full amount but return £3,000 a week over the course of the year, this money being used as security to raise a loan of £700,000. The motion was only partially successful as a combination of Whigs and back-bench Tories, led by Howe, carried an amendment that the public should have any surplus in the civil list receipts over £600,000. Two days later a further attempt was made, with Musgrave an enthusiastic supporter, to retain the King’s right to the £700,000 p.a. voted him in 1697. The compromise proposed that the King return £3,700 a week from the civil list receipts to the public, and was carried on the 23rd, the resolution preserving both the King’s title and – according to an estimate by Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.* – allowing a saving of 1s. on the land tax. Musgrave’s balancing of party concerns and loyalty to the ministry was similarly evident in May when the Commons considered the Dutch request for aid. The debate of the 9th saw him oppose the inclusion of the words ‘to support his [the King’s] allies in maintaining the liberties of Europe’ as being ‘dangerous and unnecessary and too extensive’, and as going beyond the request of the States General. It does not appear, however, that Musgrave opposed the principle of aiding the Dutch, for three days later he joined Harley and Harcourt in supporting the Court policy of sending money to the allies, whereas Seymour, Howe and Shower advocated instead the sending of troops. Though maintaining a qualified acquiescence to the ministry’s foreign policy, Musgrave’s further parliamentary behaviour demonstrated an increasing warmth towards the Court. On the 14th he opposed the proposal to include a request that the King ‘put the militia of London in better hands’ in an address to William condemning Defoe’s Legion Memorial, an address he was appointed to draft. Three days later Musgrave opposed the motion of John Smith I and Cocks to allow the Old East India Company’s loan proposal to lie on the table. On the 27th he joined Seymour to mitigate the impact of Howe’s attack on the cost to the public purse of the ‘great places that managed the revenue’. Though this motion was, according to Cocks, aimed at Lord Halifax’s (Charles Montagu) salary as auditor of the Exchequer, the two Tory leaders intervened to alter the wording and thereby ‘forced How[e] out of the sense of his motion’. The tension between Musgrave’s qualified support for the Court and his previous opposition was evident in June when the House considered the Tory-sponsored bill for a commission of accounts. Aware of the offence such a commission would cause the King, Musgrave opposed this measure, but when the bill was considered on the 6th he was unwilling to enter into the debate, Anthony Hammond* observing that Musgrave was one of the Members ‘sitting still’. The continuing debates upon the impeachment of the Junto’s former ministers created, however, few problems for Musgrave’s conscience, and he remained a conspicuous proponent of the vigorous pursuit of these prosecutions. On 16 May he insisted that the articles of impeachment against Somers retain a condemnation of his receipt and passing of land grants when lord chancellor, and on the 31st advised the House on the correct means of responding to the Lords’ message on the date for Orford’s trial, being appointed the same day to search for precedents. The protracted quarrel on this subject between the two Houses saw Musgrave’s partisan zeal on a number of occasions. On 3 June he urged the Commons to ‘give up nothing of our rights’, and he echoed this concern the following day over the report from the committee examining precedents on the Lords’ message regarding the date of Orford’s trial. Musgrave’s concern to preserve the Commons’ rights in the matter of the impeachments was most obvious in his clash on 13 June with Lord Haversham (Sir John Thompson). Haversham’s allegations of partiality by the Commons prompted Musgrave, at the report of the conference, to take offence, whereupon, following the Commons’ concurrence and decision to urge the Lords to censure Haversham, Musgrave was appointed to deliver this request to the Upper House. Musgrave’s position among the leading Tories was demonstrated at the end of the session when he featured among prominent Churchmen who agreed, reluctantly, to the need to support war with France and who concerted the Commons’ address to the King to thank him for his speech on the passage of the Act of Succession and to assure him of support, both for aid to the Dutch and for alliances to preserve ‘the liberty of Europe’. Musgrave was among those nominated on 12 June to draft this address, and Bonet reported, when it was presented later that month, that the King took particular care to talk to Musgrave, which prompted the baronet to ask for, and to be granted, permission to kiss the King’s hand, an action seen by Bonet as indicative of Musgrave’s changing political posture.37

Musgrave’s movement towards a reconciliation with the Court had been clearly demonstrated in the 1701 session, and his standing among Tory leaders was recognized in Defoe’s lampoon of the Parliament published in June:

          Harcourt by Musgrave’s compass sails,
          Whilst Seymour guides the helm;
          Their pole is gold which never fails;
          Their aim’s to crown the Prince of Wales
          And all our rights o’erwhelm.

By the end of the summer Musgrave was attempting to utilize his links with the new ministry, particularly Harley and Rochester, to obtain alterations in the Westmorland bench. His concern for his status in local politics was also evident in his attempts to secure, in the face of opposition from Lord Wharton, an address from Westmorland, but this diligence did not extend to electioneering following the dissolution of Parliament. As in the first election of the year, Musgrave was unwilling to concern himself directly in campaigning, but on this occasion neglect led to his finishing bottom of the poll, and so was forced to rely upon the interest of his ally Seymour for a seat at Totnes, an offer he accepted despite rumours of his being too proud to sit for a borough. Despite persistent rumours, Musgrave had not received any office or mark of favour from the King before the start of the 1701–2 Parliament, and though this did not lead him into outright opposition in the new session, a measure of his former independence reasserted itself, signifying his irritation at both the King’s unwillingness to put his full trust in the Tories, and the King’s failure to reward him with office. Initially, he demonstrated support for William’s policies, seconding the Address on 2 Jan., and, though L’Hermitage noted that Musgrave was unwilling to acquiesce in the proposal to support William in maintaining his alliances until details of these had been placed before the House, he was nevertheless nominated to prepare it. His initial interventions on matters of supply also found him supporting the Court. On 6 Jan. he was the first-named to draft a bill for a commission of accounts, a measure William had accepted in his opening speech, and three days later Musgrave joined Harcourt in opposing, as being against the House’s order of business, John Smith I’s motion for a debate upon the army. On the 16th he spoke with Harcourt in opposing a motion by Seymour and Finch that the 7,000 troops stationed in English garrisons be counted towards the nation’s quota of 40,000 men to fight France. His partisan fervour was demonstrated during debates on contested elections, during which he pressed for an investigation of the allegation that Somers had interfered in one such contest. His support for the Court began to waver during debates on supply. This first became apparent on 31 Jan. when he opposed, on procedural grounds, the Court’s request, made through Speaker Harley, for 10,000 marines, arguing that such a motion must be made from the throne, and two days later he joined Seymour in a further attempt to use procedural regularity as a pretext to obstruct this proposal. He also joined Seymour on 23 Feb. in attempting to obstruct the passage of the malt tax, renewing this opposition when the committee of the whole on the bill reported on 5 Mar. His continuing concern about corruption in the electoral process saw him appointed on 17 Jan. to inquire into measures to prevent disturbances at the elections committee, and the Commons’ debates on the conduct of elections gave Musgrave wide scope to indulge his partisan attitudes. On 29 Jan. he and Seymour objected to the Whig Lord Peterborough’s being allowed to attend the Commons to answer allegations concerning his electioneering at Malmesbury. According to Cocks, Musgrave ‘rose up in a great rage and said there never was such an invasion of our rights’. On 14 Feb. he spoke on the Tory side in a further debate on this election. Ten days later he intervened in the consideration of the Coventry election, provoked by a comment from Cocks that the only factor in favour of the election of Sir Christopher Hales, 2nd Bt.*, was his appearance on the ‘black list’ of those who had opposed preparations for the war. This allegation sent Musgrave into ‘a rage’ and led him to accuse Cocks of having ‘reflected on gent[lemen], many of whom w[ere] of as good quality estates and loyal to the government’. His enduring concern in relation to the question of allegiance to William III was evident during the debates on the abjuration bill, initiated in the Lords in January. On 21 Jan. Musgrave was nominated to investigate precedents for the initiation of bills of attainder, and when the bill was considered by the Commons a week later, Musgrave strenuously opposed suggestions that the abjuration oath include a clause obliging those taking the oath to swear to defend liberty of conscience. However, perhaps concerned that to vote against the bill would be suggestive of Jacobite sympathy on his part, Musgrave, according to Cocks, divided for the measure. Nominated on 2 Feb. to the conference with the Lords on their amendments to the bill, he spoke eight days later in favour of its recommittal, arguing that the multiplication of oaths was divisive. Seymour and Musgrave joined forces on the 24th to oppose Hartington’s motion that ‘the rights and liberties of all the commons of England’ be considered, and on the 26th Musgrave’s partisan zeal was evident when this matter was debated, giving his support for Henry St. John II’s motion vindicating the Commons for their proceedings against the Junto ministers in the previous Parliament, for which he was included on the subsequent ‘white list’ of supporters. Early in March he attended a meeting of Tory notables to resolve on a party slate for the commission of accounts ballot.38

The King’s fatal illness of March did nothing to temper Musgrave’s partisanship. On the 7th he was among the Tories who, when the Commons was told of William’s ill-health, pressed for an adjournment of the House, ostensibly out of respect for the King. Such an adjournment was against the explicit wishes of the Court, and it was observed that such a motion would have delayed the passing of the abjuration bill. Cocks commented that Musgrave and Seymour ‘looked very well pleased’ and ‘most others very melancholy’. After William’s death early the following day the Commons considered the matter of an address of condolence and congratulation to Queen Anne, and Musgrave’s determination to pursue party ends, perhaps encouraged by the accession of the Anglican and English Anne, was evident as he joined a number of other Tories in opposing the inclusion of any mention of ‘the Pretender or Protestant succession’. His concern to pursue party advantage was further demonstrated on the 9th when he argued, unsuccessfully, that William Bromley II, rather than Hon. Henry Boyle, should chair the ways and means committee. The extent of Musgrave’s hostility to the Whigs in the opening days of the new reign was emphasized three days later when he opposed the proposal to remove the Statute of Mortmain in order to encourage individuals to endow poor Anglican livings, a position determined not by the merits of the suggestion but by his suspicion that such a proposal came from Whigs such as Hartington and Sir Joseph Jekyll. The same day saw Musgrave move the bill to grant Anne a civil list of £700,000 p.a. for life, the contemporary historian Cunningham linking this motion to his allegation that Musgrave’s need for ‘hard cash’ had led to his being bought off by the Court in 1702 for £10,000. The truth of the allegation is difficult to determine, however, but rumours of Musgrave’s imminent appointment to office were again in circulation. A more pressing matter, however, was the question of the Abjuration, required to be taken by 25 Mar. according to the Act of Settlement. Although Seymour was keen for Tories to take the oath, Musgrave adopted a view consistent with his previous approach, querying the detail of the application of the oath. On 18 Mar. Musgrave argued that a new Act was necessary to alter the terms of the oath in line with the change in monarch, and that since an abjuration bill had already passed that session, the ‘orders of Parliament’ prevented a new bill being brought in. Though this argument was rejected by the House, Musgrave was appointed the same day to the committee to ascertain the necessary changes to the oath. Three days later the committee reported that a simple alteration to take account of the death of William was all that was required to enable Members to take it, an opinion Musgrave condemned as without precedent. Perhaps in an attempt to mollify him, Musgrave was appointed the same day to draft a bill explaining the oath to the crown, though it may be indicative of the concern with Musgrave’s attitude to oaths that a number of Whigs were added to the committee, to draft a clause, preserving the terms of the Association. Musgrave was again in step with Seymour, however, in opposing the Queen’s request for the appointment of commissioners to treat for a union with Scotland, speaking against the proposal on 19 Mar. At the end of the month Musgrave was nominated to draft the militia bill (27th). Though less active in April, he offered the House advice on the 2nd on the phrasing of the Whitby harbour bill, and on the 18th defended Sir John Bolles, 4th Bt., over his criticism of the religious tergiversations of the Earl of Sunderland, taking exception during the ensuing debate to Lord Spencer’s reflections upon ‘those that sold us to France’. His only other speeches during this month were his defence of Harley on 28 Apr. from the accusation that the Speaker had neglected to call up a Member due to report from a committee, and his opposition the following day to the bill for the foundation of Worcester College, Oxford. On 2 May, when details of war preparations were under consideration, he supported attempts to oblige English officers to have native parents, and opposed Robert Walpole II’s motion that no officer be required to pay for renewing his commission, contending that this concession should be granted to only half-pay officers. Two days later he questioned the regularity of the bill to make good the deficiencies in the public credit, but this appears to have been more the consequence of his insistence on procedural regularity than opposition to the measure, Cocks noting that those who debated the measure were generally supportive of its aim. The final stages of the session saw him speak on 12 May against a clause to the Irish resumption bill.39

Rumours of Musgrave’s imminent appointment to office had continued into May, but his indecision about what role he wished to play in the new reign appears to have delayed any advancement. Places in both the Admiralty and Ordnance were offered, but Musgrave was also tempted by the prospect of a tellership of the Exchequer, worth £1,000 p.a. On 28 May Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) wrote to Harley that

I never had so much pains in my life to satisfy anybody as Sir Christopher Musgrave in everything from the first moment I spoke to him, but it’s pretty hard to follow humours so changeable and uncertain. He would not be in the Ordnance, and when it was too late he would be. At first he would not be a teller because it was a sinecure, and afterwards when he had kissed the Queen’s hand for it he would not take it because it was not Mr Palmes’s.

Guy Palmes (son of William*) eventually made way for Musgrave, though the appointment was not made until the end of June. The perception of Musgrave’s influence upon government at this time was indicated in June when Lord Haversham described him as one of six prominent Tories who ‘govern our counsels’, and the same month saw him making preparations for the election consequent upon Anne’s accession. Having secured his return for Westmorland he was also involved in the deliberations of the Tory ministers upon the date on which the new Parliament should assemble. When the House met in October, Musgrave was appointed, on the 23rd, to the committee on the Address, the wording having been concerted by Harley, Seymour and himself. His appointment on 18 Nov. to draft a bill to extend the time available to take the Abjuration indicates a continuance of his concern on this issue in the previous session. Cunningham claimed that having been bought off by the Court, Musgrave had deserted those Tories who listed themselves under the leadership of Lord Rochester and instead fixed himself to the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) and Harley for the rest of his parliamentary career. However, such a judgment is questionable since much of Musgrave’s parliamentary activity in the 1702–3 session demonstrated a continuing determination to pursue partisan ends and an unwillingness to follow the Court line without deviation. Though nominated a commissioner to negotiate for a union with Scotland, Musgrave was a known opponent of the measure and appears to have participated in what William Cowper* described in 1715 as a Tory policy of non-attendance, being absent from more than two-thirds of the meetings. He also demonstrated on 25 Nov. his staunch Toryism when he supported the Commons’ condemnation of Bishop Lloyd for campaigning against the return of Sir John Pakington for Worcestershire, an act which led Bishop Nicolson to call Musgrave out of the Commons to remonstrate with him for hypocrisy, Musgrave’s son having been returned for Carlisle in 1702 with Nicolson’s assistance. Though Musgrave’s support for the ministry led him to oppose place legislation, the continuing importance of partisan factors in determining his behaviour remained evident. Having been appointed on 10 Nov. to redraft the Lords’ amendments to the occasional conformity bill, he led the attack the same day on the Queen’s proposal to grant Marlborough and his heirs £5,000 p.a., telling the House that though he would ‘not derogate from the Duke’s eminent services . . . I think he is very well paid for them’. His suspicion of the conduct of foreign wars also appears to have survived into the new reign, as in December it took the intervention of Nottingham to persuade Musgrave of the benefits of increasing the number of troops in Flanders by 10,000, though, like Seymour, Musgrave was only willing to acquiesce in measures to support the Dutch on condition that Holland agree to halt its commerce with France. He took a close interest in the Commons’ investigation of alleged misdemeanours concerning the payment of the armed forces, being appointed on 12 Jan. to draft bills to revive the commission investigating military debts and prizes, and to bring the treasurer of the navy to account. His support for the Church was evident in his response to the failure of the occasional conformity bill, being among those Tories who obstructed the passage of the malt bill in January in retaliation for the Lords’ actions. Despite such displays of party zeal, the early part of 1703 had seen reports that Musgrave was to be elevated to the peerage, but on 9 Feb. Bishop Nicolson recorded, ‘Sir C. Musgrave, no lord’. Whether this denial of honour to Musgrave was a consequence of his parliamentary behaviour is difficult to discern, though it should be noted that shortly after the end of the 1702–3 session four Tories were added to the peerage. The close of the session saw Musgrave continue his attempts to mitigate the impact of the Abjuration via procedural challenges. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted against agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill extending the time for taking the oath, and when the Tories had been defeated Musgrave led his fellow Churchmen in an attempt to include in a separate bill the Lords’ second amendment, which made treasonous any attempt to thwart the Protestant succession. It was pointed out that such a decision so close to the end of the session would kill the proposal, and Musgrave’s efforts proved fruitless.40

Musgrave’s determination to pursue partisan ends is also evident from his activities in the summer of 1703. In March he wrote to Marlborough to encourage the Duke in thoughts of ministerial ‘alterations’, in the hope of ‘making matters move smoothly’ in the next session, and in June he joined Rochester in a visit to the convalescing Seymour, a visit Marlborough thought was designed to ‘flatter 14 [Seymour] to do such mischiefs as they dare not openly own’. Musgrave also attempted to effect the removal of the storekeeper of the garrison at Carlisle, a violent opponent of the Musgrave interest in the town, and he appears to have ventured an alteration in the Cumberland bench, a move which provoked the ire of Godolphin who declared to Harley that ‘I believe all the friends Sir Christopher M[usgrave] has had there [Cumberland] 30 years have not done him so much service altogether, as I have had the good fortune to do’. It seems clear that Godolphin was concerned at the strength of Musgrave’s attachment to Rochester and Nottingham, but Musgrave’s behaviour in the 1703–4 session suggests that Godolphin had some success in persuading Musgrave to temper his Tory ardour. Musgrave’s first recorded speech of the session came when he supported William Bromley II’s motion for the occasional conformity bill on 25 Nov., closing the debate for the proponents of the measure. In mid-December he was noted by Sir William Trumbull as belonging to a ‘secret committee’ of prominent Tory Members whose number included, among others, Henry St. John II, Harcourt, Howe and Sir Humphrey Mackworth. During this session Musgrave took a close interest in the Commons’ consideration of the Scotch Plot. A partisan motive for Musgrave’s actions is suggested by his inclusion in March 1704 on what is probably a forecast of expected supporters of Nottingham over the Plot. His concern for the rights of the Commons was apparent when, on 25 Mar., he warned the Lower House that if it did not insist upon its rights in the Ashby v. White case, the power to determine election disputes, and thereby ‘the right of the Commons of England’, would be lost. Though clearly still motivated by Tory beliefs, elements of the remainder of Musgrave’s parliamentary activity do suggest a less blinkered pursuit of partisan measures. He refused, for example, to support the attempt of Tory extremists to delay consideration of a supply measure on 29 Jan. in response to the Lords’ rejection of the occasional conformity bill. Likewise, though his opposition, on 7 Feb., to the motion of Jekyll and Sir John Holland, 2nd Bt., to exempt clergymen from first fruits and tenths is explicable mainly in relation to the proposers’ Whiggery, it was observed that on 18 Mar. that ‘S[i]r Chr[istopher] Musgrave and his sober friends outvoted the warm men’ in favour of hearing the report of the commissioners for Irish forfeitures before the House considered the bill to compensate the son of an officer who had received a grant of Irish land from William III. Musgrave appears to have been assisting the Court in its efforts to frustrate Tory attempts to examine grants given by the former King, one Member noting that Musgrave was ‘not without censure’ for his actions on this occasion, and he continued in much the same vein on 27 Mar. when he attempted to moderate a Tory attack on the prize commissioners. He adopted a similar approach on the final day of the session in the face of Tory efforts to have a protest bill entered in the Journal against the Lords’ amendments to the commission of accounts, and it was observed that in doing this Musgrave had brought the anger of former allies upon himself.41

Perhaps hopeful of gaining further office, Musgrave remained in London following the end of the session, but on 25 July he was ‘seized with an apoplexy’. It was reported that he was ‘without hope of recovery’, and four days later he died at his town house in Swallow Street. His will divided his estate between his surviving children. Contemporaries estimated that Musgrave’s estate was worth over £30,000, which gave rise to widespread rumour that he had accepted extensive bribes from King William. Burnet wrote that though in opposition to William throughout his reign, Musgrave had given ‘up many points of great importance in the critical minute, for which I had good reason to believe he had £12,000 from the late King’, and others beleived that he had ‘received great sums from France’. Whatever the truth of such allegations, even Burnet was forced to acknowledge Musgrave’s prominent place in post-Revolution politics, highlighting his role at ‘the head of the opposition that was made in the late reign’, and describing him as ‘the wisest man of the party’.42

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. G. Burton, Life of Sir Philip Musgrave, 40, 42–43; HMC Le Fleming, 407–8.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 571; vi. 328, 702; viii. 390; ix. 1185; xvii. 47; CSP Dom. 1661–2, p. 253; 1663–4, p. 260; 1679–80, p. 326; 1684–5, pp. 295, 310; 1686–7, p. 83; H. Tomlinson, Guns and Govt. 223, 224; APS xi. app., 46.
  • 3. P. H. Reaney, Recs. of Q. Elizabeth Grammar Sch. Penrith (Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. Tract ser. x), 29, 31; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 52, 789, 791; v. 593; vi. 267; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 366; Reg. of Freemen (Newcastle Rec. Soc. iii), 101; HMC Le Fleming, 209; CSP Dom. 1686–7, p. 231; 1695, p. 231.
  • 4. CJ, ix. 719, 760.
  • 5. HMC Dartmouth, i. 53, 143; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. iv. 1382; Cam. Misc. ix. 30; By Force or Default? ed. Cruickshanks, 33–34; HMC 5th Rep. 198; HMC 11th Rep. VII, 27–29; L. G. Schwoerer, Declaration of Rights, 185; Burnet, iv. 196; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, ‘Devonshire House notebk.’, 3 Jan. 1689[–90].
  • 6. Burnet, 195–6.
  • 7. Grey, x. 5, 9, 12, 17, 19–20, 24–26, 32–33, 48–49, 89–90, 147–8; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, ff. 79–80.
  • 8. Morrice ent’ring bk. 3, pp. 127, 135; Cobbett, v. 620, 622, 635, 639; Grey, 44, 60–62, 66, 117, 124.
  • 9. Ranke, vi. 154; Add. 70014, f. 362; Cumbria RO (Kendal), Le Fleming mss WD/Ry, Musgrave to Sir Daniel Fleming, 25 Nov. 1690.
  • 10. Brit. Lib. Jnl. xv. 175–6; HMC Portland, iii. 458, 460, 463, 474; Add. 70015, ff. 28–29, 38, 61, 67, 77; 70289, f. 3; 70299, Musgrave to Harley, 9 Apr. 1691.
  • 11. Add. 70015, f. 34; 70289, f. 3; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/059/1, Yard to Alexander Stanhope, 27 Oct. 1691; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 70; Luttrell Diary, 7, 10, 19–20; Grey, 168–9, 181–2; HMC 7th Rep. 208.
  • 12. Luttrell Diary, 26, 31, 40, 42, 47–49, 52, 80–82, 97, 101–3, 107, 109–11; Grey, 180, 187.
  • 13. Luttrell Diary, 34–45, 58, 84, 112, 114, 124–5, 136, 138–9, 142–5, 147–8, 151, 161, 164, 169, 180, 185.
  • 14. Ibid. 59–60, 76, 117, 150, 171, 184, 187–8; HMC Portland, 485.
  • 15. Luttrell Diary, 16, 75, 88, 95, 100, 103, 110–11, 115, 129, 154, 156, 204–5; Bodl. Rawl. C.449, 22 Feb. 1692; Carte 130, f. 333; Grey, 223–4.
  • 16. Add. 70019, Robert to Sir Edward Harley*, 2 Feb. 1691–2; 70015, f. 52; 70289, ff. 7, 11; 70016, f. 54; Horwitz, 76–77; CSP Dom. 1691–2, pp. 264, 333; HMC Portland, 491, 492, 496.
  • 17. Add. 70016, f. 121; Luttrell Diary, 223–4, 241, 247, 261–2, 295, 331, 342, 346, 399; Grey, 278, 295.
  • 18. Luttrell Diary, 227–9, 256, 260, 266, 268–70, 279, 282–3, 285, 288–9, 292, 297, 299, 305, 307, 476; Carte 130, f. 339.
  • 19. Luttrell Diary, 313, 326, 346, 354, 356–8, 368, 370, 404–5, 445.
  • 20. Ibid. 236, 281, 379, 381, 406, 415–16, 420, 447–8, 450, 456, 471, 473; Grey, 287–8, 303–4; Horwitz, 109.
  • 21. Rawl. C.449, 14 Nov. 1692; Luttrell Diary, 293, 341, 351, 367–8, 389, 446, 449.
  • 22. Horwitz, 214; Burnet, 195; HMC Portland, 515, 541; Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 4635, Musgrave to [Fleming], 8 June 1693; Add. 70289, ff. 22, 24.
  • 23. Add. 70017, f. 170; 29578, f. 444; Horwitz, 125; HMC 7th Rep. 214, 216, 219; Grey, 316, 324, 339–40, 342, 349, 351–2, 355, 361–2; Ranke, 224–5; Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 4602, Musgrave to [Fleming], 27 Jan. 1693[–4].
  • 24. Grey, 331, 369, 372, 385; Hopkins thesis, 371; BN, Renaudot mss (N. Ac. Fr.) 7487, f. 88; Carte 130, f. 347; Surr. RO (Guildford), Onslow pprs. 173/226, notes of Sir Arthur Onslow†; Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 4715, Musgrave to Fleming, 5 Apr. 1694.
  • 25. Add. 70017, ff. 241, 278, 291; 70289, ff. 26, 28; 46525, f. 22; HMC Portland, 552; Cobbett, 908; HMC Downshire, i. 462–3.
  • 26. BL, Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. box 4, Gwyn to Ld. Halifax (William Saville*), 1 July 1695; HMC Downshire, 564–6, 578; Add. 70249, [Musgrave] to Harley, 20 June 1695; 70294, Gwyn to same, 14 Aug. 1695; HMC Portland, 567; HMC Le Fleming, 337; Bagot mss at Levens Hall, Timothy Banks to James Grahme, 14 Aug., 19 Nov. 1695; Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 4801, Musgrave to [Fleming], 19 Oct. 1695; Lowther Corresp. ed. Hainsworth, 235; Carte 79, f. 663; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Finch-Halifax mss box 2 no. 5, Gwyn to Hon. Heneage Finch I, 7 Oct. 1695.
  • 27. Ailesbury Mems. 359–60; Ranke, v. 98; Stanhope mss U1590/059/4, Yard to Stanhope, 17 Dec. 1695; Add. 30000 A, f. 66; SP 9/18, f. 56.
  • 28. Stanhope mss U1590/059/5, Yard to Stanhope, 6, 27 Jan. 1695–6; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 32, acct. of debate, [31 Jan. 1696]; Add. 30000 A, ff. 58, 92–93; HMC Portland, 575.
  • 29. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 50; Cobbett, 1010–11, 1025, 1037, 1046, 1048; Onslow pprs. 173/226, notes of Onslow.
  • 30. Horwitz, 184; Vernon– Shrewsbury Letters, 111; HMC Le Fleming, 345–7; Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 5081, Musgrave to [Fleming], 26 Jan. 1696[–7]; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/57, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 21 Jan. 1696[–7]; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 191; Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. box 6, Musgrave to Halifax, 24 May 1697.
  • 31. Add. 70018, ff. 203, 205; 30000 A, ff. 409–10; Grimblott, Letters, ii. 5; Ranke, v. 172; Horwitz, 227; Burnet, 196; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 523.
  • 32. HMC Portland, 593; CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 484, 506; 1698, p. 134; Cam. Misc. xxix. 357–9; Add. 30000 B, f. 9; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 460–1; ii. 3, 94.
  • 33. Montagu (Boughton) 46/167, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 18 Dec. 1697; Horwitz, 231; Add. 29567, f. 66; 70019, f. 21; Yale Univ. Lib. Manchester mss 1987.1.7, Yard to Earl of Manchester, 18 [sic, 15] Feb. 1697[–8]; CSP Dom. 1698, pp. 105, 155, 188, 309; HMC Le Fleming, 351; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, 82.
  • 34. Le Fleming mss WD/Ry 5254, Nicolson to [Fleming], 27 Apr. 1698; HMC Le Fleming, 351, 354; Lowther Corresp. 626; HMC Downshire, 781; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, 148, 216–7; Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. box 7, Nottingham to Halifax, 13 Aug. 1698; Bodl. Tanner 22, f. 112; HMC Portland, 599, 693; Cunningham, Hist. GB, i. 167; Cam. Misc. xxix. 381–2, 387–9, 392, 393–4, 397–8, 400; Montagu (Boughton) mss 47/132, 140, 145, 147, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 14 Jan., 4, 16, 21 Feb. 1698[–9]; Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxiii), 238; Add. 30000 C, f. 34; PRO 31/3/180, f. 82; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 26(1), Hon. James Brydges’* diary, 19 Mar. 1699; Cocks Diary, 14; Ballard 4, f. 36.
  • 35. Add. 30000 C. ff. 247, 273; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 372, 375, 382–3, 408, 434, 439–40, 446, 455; iii. 12, 22; Cocks Diary, 42, 55, 57–58; Luttrell, iv. 594; Montagu (Boughton) mss 48/17, 41, 43, 46, 47, 48, 51, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 9 Jan. 5, 9, 16, 19, 21 Mar. 1699[–1700], 28 Mar. 1700; Som. RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 4017(a), acct. of debate, 15 [?sic. 13] Feb. 1699[–1700]; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/3, James Lowther* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II*, 14 Sept. 1700; Coxe, Shrewsbury, 605.
  • 36. Ballard 10, f. 40; HMC Portland iii. 625–6, 627; iv. 1–2, 7–8, 9–10, 14; Add. 70019, ff. 201, 274; 70298, [Musgrave] to Harley, 19 Aug. [1700]; K. Feiling, Tory Party, 341–2; Bagot mss, Musgrave to gent. and freeholders of the barony of Kendal, 15 July 1700; Ralph, Hist. Eng. ii. 886; Horwitz, 278; PRO 31/8/186, f. 160; Stowe mss 58(1), p. 17; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Bentinck) mss PwA 2714, ‘Titles of several pubic Acts agreed to in the cabal’, 7 Dec. [1700]; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. ser. 2, lxvi. 294–7; C. Davenant, Picture of a Modern Whig (1701), 56.
  • 37. NMM, Sergison mss Ser/103, ff. 63–64; Ralph, ii. 898, 911; Cocks Diary, 69, 76–77, 91, 102, 119, 122, 128, 132–4, 140, 146, 152, 156, 159, 162–4; J. Oldmixon, Life of Arthur Maynwaring (1715), 135; Horwitz, 282, 288; Ballard 11, f. 166; Add. 17677 WW, f. 228; 30000 E, f. 185; Hopkinson thesis, 52; Jnl. Brit. Studs. xvii. 15–16; PRO 31/3/188, ff. 24, 49, 57, 99; HMC Cowper, ii. 428; Cobbett, 1298–9; S. B. Baxter, Wm. III, 387–8.
  • 38. Poems on Affairs of State ed. Ellis, vi. 332; Add. 40775, ff. 47, 57, 138; 17677 XX, ff. 160–1, 169, 182; 7074, ff. 182–3, 192–3; Horwitz, 294–5; Ballard 6, f. 63; Bagot mss, Banks to Grahme, 9 Oct. 1701; Letters . . . to and from William Nicolson ed. Nicholas, 223; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 36–37; HMC Portland, 28; Baxter, 384; Strathmore mss at Glamis Castle, box 70 folder 1 bdle. 1, newsletters 12, 17 Jan. 1701–2; Cocks Diary, 191, 194, 197, 200, 213, 222–4, 234; Stowe mss 26(1), Brydges’ diary, 4 Mar. 1702.
  • 39. Lambeth Palace Lib. mss 2564, p. 407; Horwitz, 304; Cocks Diary, 238, 241, 249–50, 254, 262, 271, 273, 279–80, 282, 287; Cunningham, 312–13; Strathmore mss, box 70 folder 1 bdle. 1, newsletter 14 Mar. 1701–2.
  • 40. Trinity, Dublin, Lyons (King) mss MS.2001/909, Sir Robert Southwell† to Bp. King, 5 May 1702; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 58; HMC Portland, 39, 42, 55; SRO, Hamilton mss GD406/1/4867, Ld. Haversham to Duke of Hamilton, 17 June 1702; Northants RO, Finch-Hatton mss 275, Nottingham to Sir Charles Hedges*, 3 Sept. 1702; H. Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 185; Cunningham, 312–13; Campbell, Lives, iv. 426; APS xi. app., pp. 147–61; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 133, 173, 201; W. A. Speck, Birth of Britain, 47–49; Cobbett, vi. 57, 144; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 73.
  • 41. Add. 61292, f. 99; Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 194–6, 198; HMC Portland, 65; Atterbury Epistolary Corresp. iii. 140; HMC Downshire, 817; Cobbett, 267; Lansd. 773, f. 6; Burnet, v. 122; Ballard 11, f. 172; 6, ff. 93–94; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, 253–4.
  • 42. Luttrell, v. 449; HMC Portland, 104; Top. and Gen. iii. 150; PCC 167 Ash; Univ. Kansas Spencer Research Lib. Methuen–Simpson corresp. C.163, Sir William Simpson to John Methuen*, 3 Oct. 1704; Burnet, iv. 196.