1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Goffe, William
|←Goetz, Hermann||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12
|See also William Goffe on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
GOFFE (or Gough), WILLIAM (fl. 1642-1660), English parliamentarian, son of Stephen Goffe, puritan rector of Stanmer in Essex, began life as an apprentice to a London salter, a zealous parliamentarian, but on the outbreak of the civil war he joined the army and became captain in Colonel Harley's regiment of the new model in 1645. He was imprisoned in 1642 for his share in the petition to give the control of the militia to the parliament. By his marriage with Frances, daughter of General Edward Whalley, he became connected with Oliver Cromwell's family and one of his most faithful followers. He was a member of the deputation which on the 6th of July 1647 brought up the charge against the eleven members. He was active in bringing the king to trial and signed the death warrant. In 1649 he received the honorary degree of M.A. at Oxford. He distinguished himself at Dunbar, commanding a regiment there and at Worcester. He assisted in the expulsion of Barebone's parliament in 1653, took an active part in the suppression of Penruddock's rising in July 1654, and in October 1655 was appointed major-general for Berkshire, Sussex and Hampshire. Meanwhile he had been elected member for Yarmouth in the parliament of 1654 and for Hampshire in that of 1656. He supported the proposal to bestow a royal title upon Cromwell, who greatly esteemed him, was included in the newly-constituted House of Lords, obtained Lambert's place as major-general of the Foot, and was even thought of as a fit successor to Cromwell. As a member of the committee of nine appointed in June 1658 on public affairs, he was witness to the protector's appointment of Richard Cromwell as his successor. He supported the latter during his brief tenure of power and his fall involved his own loss of influence. In November 1659 he took part in the futile mission sent by the army to Monk in Scotland, and at the Restoration escaped with his father-in-law General Edward Whalley to Massachusetts. Goffe's political aims appear not to have gone much beyond fighting “to pull down Charles and set up Oliver”; and he was no doubt a man of deep religious feeling, who acted throughout according to a strict sense of duty as he conceived it. He was destined to pass the rest of his life in exile, separated from his wife and children, dying, it is supposed, about 1679.