Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cecil, James (d.1683)

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CECIL, JAMES, third Earl of Salisbury (d. 1683), was the son of Charles, lord Viscount Cranbourn, and Jane, daughter and coheiress of James Maxwell, earl of Dirleton in Scotland. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where one of his acquaintances was Joshua Barnes [q. v.], author of the ‘Life of Edward III,’ who states that for ‘loyalty, generosity, and affability’ he was most likely to ‘advance the noble name of Cecil to the utmost period of glory.’ On 21 Oct. 1669 he took his seat in the House of Peers, where he was a zealous opponent of the Duke of York's succession. In February 1676–7 he was committed with other noblemen to the Tower for supporting the proposition of the Duke of Buckingham, that ‘the last prorogation of parliament was null and void in law’ (Eachard, History of England, 3rd ed. 928). In January 1678–9 he was sworn a privy councillor and took his seat at the board (Luttrell, Diary, i. 5). In August 1680 he was elected a knight of the Garter. He died in May 1683 (ib. 260). By his wife, Margaret, daughter of John Manners, earl of Rutland, who died in France 30 Aug. 1682 (ib. 215), he left five sons and five daughters.

[Collins's Peerage, 5th ed. iii. 148–9; Luttrell's Diary; Eachard's History of England.]

T. F. H.