WHITE, John (1634-1713), of Tuxford and Cotgrave, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Sept. 1634, o. s. of Thomas White of Tuxford by Anne, da. of Sir Edward Hartopp, 1st Bt.†, of Buckminster, Leics. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1651; G. Inn 1654. m. 26 Nov. 1657, Jane, da. of Sir Thomas Williamson, 1st Bt., of East Markham, Notts., 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 6da. (3 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 29 Apr. 1638.1
After a varied career in the 1680s, ranging from plotting against James II to collaboration with him, White was again returned to the Convention of 1689 as knight of the shire. His commitment to the Revolution was shown by two loans he advanced to the government in 1689 which totalled £4,000. He appears to have stood down in 1690, but regained the seat at a by-election caused by the death of William Sacheverell in 1691. References to ‘Mr White’ in the Journals can never be attributed to him with certainty because there were always namesakes present throughout his time in the Commons. Nevertheless, it is probable that most of the activity noted in the Journals for the 1690–5 Parliament refers to John White because soon after he took his seat on 16 Nov. 1691, references to ‘Mr White’ become more frequent. Even then nominations to drafting committees were comparatively rare, numbering only two for this Parliament. A ‘Mr White’ was given a fortnight’s leave of absence on 4 Apr. 1694 to go into the country. But he was probably not the ‘Mr White’ given leave on 20 Mar. 1695 for a fortnight since, on the 23rd, he presented an address from the county sent by the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†), offering condolences to the King on the death of Queen Mary. On Grascome’s assessment of this Parliament, White was classed as a Court supporter.2
White’s connexion with Newcastle went back to his role as the sole executor of the 3rd Earl of Clare (Gilbert Holles†) in trust for the 4th Earl (Duke of Newcastle from 1694). As such he was involved in a long Chancery suit which was only settled favourably after an appeal before the Lords in 1698. This Holles connexion can only have strengthened his interest in the county. Not surprisingly, White appears as a deputy-lieutenant under Clare after 1692 and he was certainly active in sending intelligence on Jacobite activities to Secretary Trumbull (Sir William*). His Nonconformity, as apparent from his patronage of the Presbyterian divine Matthew Sylvester and his friendship for Oliver Heywood, brought him a new task after 1692. In that year he was named as one of seven trustees to administer Lord Wharton’s (Philip), bible charity (in company with, among others, Sir Edward Harley* and Edward Harley*) which aimed to print and distribute cheap bibles for the poor.3
At the 1695 general election, White was returned unopposed with Sir Scrope Howe. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association promptly in February and voted to fix the price of guineas at 22s. He may have been the ‘Mr White’ who told on 28 Mar. against considering amendments to the bill encouraging seamen. In the following session he voted for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. 1696. On 17 Feb. 1697 he may have been a teller against an amendment to a supply bill which sought to encourage the coining of plate. In November 1697 Edward Harley* may have intended White in his comment that the Nottinghamshire Members were against a standing army, but he still appeared on an analysis of the House in September 1698 as a Court supporter. White’s pro-Court stance provoked strong criticism from some gentlemen in the county and as a result he suffered a heavy defeat in the 1698 election. Such an outcome pleased Francis Gwyn* who said he ‘could not forgive the behaviour of his friend White this winter’, although it may not have displeased White himself for as early as 1695 he had expressed weariness with public employment on the grounds of growing infirmity.4
As late as November 1701, Matthew Sylvester was lamenting that White was unequal to the fatigue of contesting another county election and urging that his son (Thomas White II*) should stand instead. From this point on, White seems to have concentrated his efforts on supporting the Whig interest in general, and that of his son in particular. That he continued to espouse the Whig cause can be seen in a letter he wrote in December 1706 which urged its recipient, Lady Rokeby, to canvass support for Lord Fairfax (Hon. Thomas*) in a Yorkshire by-election and in which he noted with approval the progress towards union with Scotland despite the endeavours of ‘some restless and discontented spirits’. At the East Retford election of 1708 he supported both Whig candidates and had the satisfaction of seeing his son top the poll. In 1710 he had the foresight, as one of only two survivors of Lord Wharton’s trustees, to make provision for some replacements. White died at the house of his son-in-law, Thomas Westby*, at Ravenfield in Yorkshire on 16 Apr. 1713 and was buried at his seat at Tuxford.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. M. H. White, Mems. House of White of Wallingwells, 13, 17.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1974, 1985; Luttrell Diary, 20; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Holles) mss Pw2 294, White to [Newcastle], 23 Mar. 1694–5.
- 3. HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 195–200; CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 277; HMC Downshire, i. 626; D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parlty. Pol. 454–5; Heywood Diaries ed. Turner, iv. 156, 163, 175; B. Dale, Good Ld. Wharton, 70–73.
- 4. Add. 70118, Edward to Sir Edward Harley*, 23 Nov. 1697; BL, Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. Gervase Eyre* to Mq. of Halifax (William Savile*), 8 Jan. , Gwyn to same, 29 Aug. 1698; A Brief Memoir of Mr Justice Rokeby ed. J. Raine (Surtees Soc. xxxvii), 55.
- 5. White, 18–20; Add. 70025, ff. 62–63; Dale, 83.