Wharton, Thomas, Marquis Of Wharton

, was eld* est son of Philip lord Wharton, who distinguished himself on the side of the parliament during the civil wars, by his second wife, Jane, daughter and heiress of Arthur Goodwyn, of Upper Winchendon, in Buckinghamshire, esq. He was born about 1640, and sat in several parliaments during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. in which he appeared in opposition to the court. In 1688, he is supposed to have drawn up the first sketch of the invitation of the prince of Orange to come to England, which, being approved and subscribed by several peers and commoners, was carried over to Holland by the earl, afterwards duke, of Shrewsbury: and joined that prince at Exeter soon after his landing at Torbay. On the advancement of William and Mary to the throne, Mr. Wharton was made comptroller of the household, and sworn of the privy-council Feb. 20, 1689. On the death of his father, he succeeded to the title of lord Wharton, and in April 1697 was made chief justice in Eyre ’ on this side of the Trent, and lord* lieutenant of Oxfordshire. In the beginning of 1701, upon the debate in the House of Peers about the address relative to the partition-treaty, his lordship moved an addition to it, to this purpose, that as the French king had broke that treaty, they should advise his majesty to treat no more with bin), or rely on his word without further security. And this, though much opposed by all who were against engaging in a new war, was agreed to by the majority of the House.

On the accession of queen Anne, his lordship was removed from his employments, and in December 1702 he was one of the managers for the lords in the conference with the House of Commons relating to the bill against occasional conformity, which he opposed on all occasions with great vigour and address. In April 1705 he attended the queen at Cambridge, when her majesty visited that university, and was admitted, among other persons of r.ank, to x the honorary degree of doctor of laws. In the latter end of that year, his lordship opened the debate in the House of Lords for a regency, in case of the queers demise, in a manner which was very much admired. He had not been present at the former debate relating to the invitation of the princess Sophia to come over and live in England; but, he said, he was much delighted with what he heard concerning it; since he had ever looked upon | the securing a Protestant succession to the crown, as that which secured the nation’s happiness. His proposition for the regency contained these particulars, that the regents should be empowered to act in the name of the successor, till he should send over orders: that, besides those whom the parliament should name, the next successor should send over a nomination, sealed up, and to be opened when that accident should happen, of persons who should act in the same capacity with the persons named by parliament. This motion being supported by all the Whig lords, a bill was ordered to be brought into the House upon it.

In 1706, he was appointed one of the commissioners for the union with Scotland; which being concluded, he was one of the most zealous advocates for passing the bill enacting it; and in December the same year, he was created earl of Wharton in the county of Westmorland. Upon the meeting of the parliament in Oct. 1707, the earl supported the petition of the merchants against the conduct of the admiralty, which produced an address to the queen on that subject. In the latter end of 1708, his lordship was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he arrived April 2, 1709, and opened a session of parliament there, with a speech reminding them of the inequality with respect to numbers, between the protestants and papists of that kingdom, and of the necessity of considering, whether any new bills were wanting to inforce or explain those good laws already in being, for preventing the growth of popery and of inculcating and preserving a good understanding amongst all protestants there. He shewed likewise his tenderness for the dissenters, in the speech which he made to both Houses at the close of the session Aug. 30, in which he told them, that he did not question, but that they understood too well the true interest of the protestant religion in that kingdom, not to endeavour to make all such protestants as easy as they could, who were willing to. contribute what they could to defend the whole against the common enemy; and that it was not the law then past to “prevent the growth of popery,” nor any other law that the wit of man could frame, which would secure them from popery, while they continued divided among themselves; it being demonstrable, that, unless there be a firm friendship and confidence amongst the protestants of Ireland, it was impossible for them either to be happy, or to be safe. And | he concluded with declaring to them the queen’s fixed resolution, that as her majesty would always maintain and support the church, as by law established, so it was her royal will and intention, that dissenters should not be persecuted or molested in the exercise of their religion. His lordship’s conduct was such, as lord lieutenant of Ireland, that the Irish House of Peers, in their address to the queen, returned their thanks to her majesty for sending a person of “so great wisdom and experience” to be their chief governor. His lordship returned thither on May 7. 1710, but in Oct. following, delivered up his commission of lord lieutenant, which was given to the duke of Ormond.

Soon after this event, Wharton was severely attacked in “The Examiner,” and other political papers, on account of his administration of that kingdom; and by no writer with more asperity than Swift *, who endeavoured to expose him under the character of Verres, although he had, not long before, solicited in very abject terms to be admitted his lordship’s chaplain. Swift’s character of him in vol. V. of his Works, is perhaps the bitterest satire ever written on any man, but it may be observed that it relates in some measure to his morals, and those have been generally represented as very bad. On the other hand, the author of the Spectator, who dedicated the fifth volume of that work to him, affords a very favourable idea of his conduct in public life. He (probably Addison) observes that it was his lordship’s particular distinction, that he was master of the whole compass of business, and had signalized himself in the different scenes of it; that some are admired for the dignity, others for the popularity of their behaviour; some for their clearness of judgment, others for their happiness of expression; some for laying of schemes, and others for putting them in execution; but that it was his lordship only, who enjoyed these several talents united, and that too in as great perfection, as others possessed them singly; that his lordship’s enemies acknowledged this great extent

* The following curious account forgotten or forgiven by Swift, laid the

is given by Dr. Warton in a note on foundation of that peculiar rancour

Pope’s Woiks, from the authority of with which he always mentions lord

J>r. Salter, the learned master of the Wharton. The answer was to this

Charter-house. Lord Somers recom- purpose, Oh, my lord, we most not

mended Swift at his own very earnest prefer or countenance those fellows

r' quest to lord Wharton, but without we have not character enough our­>iccess and the answer Wharton is selves.“*aid to have given, which was never | in his character, at the same time that they used their utmost industry and invention to derogate from it; but that it was for his honour, that those who were then his enemies, were always so; and that he had acted in so much consistency with himself, and promoted the interests of his country in so uniform a manner, that even those who. would misrepresent his generous designs for the public good, could not but approve the steadiness and intrepidity with which he pursued them. The annotator on this character quotes an eminent historian as saying that lord Wharton” had as many friends as the constitution, and that only its enemies were his that he made no merit of his zeal for his country and that he expended above 80,000l. for its service," &c.

The earl continued in a vigorous opposition to the measures of the court during the last four years of queen Anne’s reign, and particularly against the schism bill; and in June 1713, moved the address in the House of Lords, that her majesty should use her most pressing instances with the duke of Lorrain, and with all the princes and states in amity and correspondence with her majesty, that they would not receive the Pretender, or suffer him to continue within their dominions. In Sept. 1714, soon after the arrival of king George I. in England, his lordship was made lord privy seal, and in the beginning of January following, was created marquis of Wharton and Malmsbury in England, and earl of Rathfarnham and marquis of Catherlough, in Ireland. But he did not long enjoy these distinctions, as he died at his house in Dover-street, April 12, 1715, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

Dr. Percy attributes to the raarquis, the famous Irish ballad of “Lilliburlero,” which is said to have had a more powerful effect than the Philippics of Demosthenes or Cicero, and contributed not a little towards tho revolution in 1688. He is also said to have been the author of a pretended letter of Machiavel to Zenobius Buondelmontius, in vindication of himself and his writings, printed at the end of the English translation of MachiaveTs works, 1680, fol.

The marquis of Wharton was twice married, and both his wives had literary pretensions. The first was Anne, daughter and coheiress of sir Henry Lee, of Ditchly in Oxfordshire, by whom his lordship had no issue. She wrote some poetical essays of considerable merit, and was a pleasing letter-writer. His second lady was Lucy, | daughter of lord Lisburne, by whom he bad his celebrated son, the subject of our next article, and two daughters. This marchioness wrote some verses, inserted in Mr. Nichols’s collection. Swift, in his scandalous character of the marquis, has not hesitated to blacken the character of this lady in a most infamous manner, if unfounded. 1

1

Birch’s Lives.Burnet’s Own Times. Park’s Edition of Royal and Noble Authors. Nichols’s Poems. Sivifi’s Works by Nichols, See Index.