SNELL, John (1682-1726), of Lower Guiting, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1713 - Sept. 1726

Family and Education

b. 1682, 1st s. of Thomas Snell of Gloucester, mayor of Gloucester 1699. educ. I. Temple, called 1704. m. (settlement 6 Apr. 1713) Anna Maria, da. and h. of Robert Huntingdon, bp. of Raphoe, niece and principal h. of Sir John Powell, M.P., of Gloucester, c.j. of Queen’s bench, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held


Snell, who purchased Lower Guiting early in the eighteenth century, acquired most of the property of his uncle, Sir John Powell, in Gloucester, under the terms of his marriage settlement in 1713,1 when he was returned for Gloucester as a Tory. Reelected after a contest in 1715, he voted consistently against the Government, speaking frequently, notably in the debate of 24 Apr. 1716 on the septennial bill, when he replied to a speech in its favour by Patrick Haldane:

Snell took him up, and after a smart discourse against the bill, said he did not wonder that a gentleman who had given up the liberties of his own country in order to sit here, was so ready to give up those of England too. Mr. Smith rose up upon this, took it upon him to repeat the words which he called scandalous reflections that deserved the utmost resentment of the House before they proceeded any further. Lord Coningsby insisted the same. The Speaker called to Snell to explain himself, which he said he might do; but Snell sitting still, Mr. Smith pronounced the words again, and said as before. Upon that, Snell pretending to mitigate the thing, turned the reproach from Mr. Haddon [Haldane] in particular, upon the whole Scotch nation. Then Sir David Dalrymple made a most severe speech wherein he called him insolent 3 or 4 times. Lord Coningsby then moved the words should be taken in writing and laid upon the table. Mr. Baillie, a Scotch Member, flung out his hand with expressions of great contempt to Snell, who, he said, could not maintain his words in another place with gentlemen that were better than himself. The Speaker confessed that Snell had made his fault worse by pretending to explain it, but he conceived that a hurry of expressions in so awful an assembly might have brought him to say things he had no intention to say. Snell thanked him for the justice he did him, for that was his case, he confessed and if he had said anything whereby to deserve the displeasure of that House, he was sorry for it and asked pardon; and thus it ended.2

In December 1717 he was among the Members who urged that Shippen should be allowed to explain his reflections on the ministry before his committal to the Tower. On II Feb. 1719 he moved for a list of pensions granted since 1715, which was seconded by Shippen. In 1721 his name was sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rebellion.3

In the next Parliament Snell was again a frequent speaker. He opposed an increase of the army, 23 Nov. 1724,4 was appointed one of the managers of the trial of the Earl of Macclesfield in 1725, spoke ‘very strongly’ against the Treaty of Hanover, 18 Feb. 1726, and opposed a vote of credit, 25 Mar. 1726.5 He died in September the same year.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Shirley Matthews


  • 1. PCC 168 Leeds, 210 Plymouth; Rudder, Glos. 464.
  • 2. A. Corbi‘re to Horace Walpole, 27 Apr. 1716, Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 3. Stuart mss 65/16.
  • 4. Knatchbull Diary.
  • 5. Stuart mss 90/128 92/44.