Fiennes, Nathanael

, second son of lord Say just mentioned, was born at Broughton in Oxfordshire in 1608; and, like his father, after a proper education at Winchester school, was admitted of New College in Oxford, and also made fellow in right of kinship to the founder. After passing some years there, he travelled to Geneva, and among the Cantons of Switzerland, where he increased that disaffection to the church which he had been too much taught in his infancy. From his travels he returned through Scotland, at the time when the Rebellion was beginning; and, in 1640, was elected to sit in parliament for Banbury, when it was quickly discovered, that he was ready to join in all his father’s intemperate measures. Afterwards he became colonel of horse under the earl of Essex, and was made governor of Bristol, when first taken for the use of the parliament; but, surrendering it too easily to prince Rupert, in July 1643, he was tried by a council of war, and sentenced to lose his head. The onl) witnesses against him on this occasion were the celebrated Clement Walker, and Pry line. He had afterwards, by the interest of his father, a pardon granted him for life, but he could not continue any longer in the army; and the shame of it affected him so much, that he went for some time abroad, “retaining still,” says Clarendon, “the same full disaffection to the government of the church and state, and only grieved that he had a less capacity left to do hurt to either.” When the Presbyterians were turned out of parliament, he became an independent, took the engagement, was intimate with Cromwell; and when Cromwell declared himself Protector, was made one of his | privy-council, lord privy-seal in 1655, and a member of his house of lords. Though he had sufficiently shewn his aversion to monarchical government, yet when he saw what Oliver aimed at, he became extremely fond of it, and in 1660, he published a book with this title, “Monarchy asserted to be the best, most ancient, and legal form of government, in a conference held at Whitehall with Oliver Lord Protector, and Committee of Parliament, &c. in April 1657.” He published also several speeches and pamphlets, some of which were a defence of his own conduct at Bristol. Walker informs us that he was the author of a historical tract called “Anglia Rediviva,” published under the name of Sprigge. After the restoration, he retired to Newton Tony, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, where he had an estate that came to him by his second wife; and here continued much neglected, and in. great obscurity, until his death, Dec. 16, 1669. Clarendon has spoken of his abilities in very high terms. “Colonel Fiennes,” says he, “besides the credit and reputation of his father, had a very good stock of estimation in the house of commons upon his own score for truly he had very good parts of learning and nature, and was privy to, and a great manager in, the most secret designs from the beginning; and if he had not incumbered himself with command in the army, to which men thought his nature not so well disposed, he had sure been second to none in those councils, after Mr. Hampden’s death.1


Biog. Brit. vol. VI. Part I. unpublished. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Noble’s Memoirs of Cromwell, vol. I. p. 371. Warburton’s Letters to Huri), 4to edit, p. 197.