Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Musgrave, John

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1341323Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39 — Musgrave, John1894Gordon Goodwin

MUSGRAVE, JOHN (fl. 1654), pamphleteer, was youngest son of John Musgrave, by Isabel, daughter of Thomas Musgrave of Hayton, Cumberland, and grandson of Sir Simon Musgrave, bart., of Edenhall in the same county. He himself resided at Milnerigg, Cumberland (Jefferson, Cumberland, i. 416). Upon the outbreak of the civil war he allied himself with the parliamentarians, greatly to the displeasure of his family, and was made a captain in their army. Owing, however, to his quarrelsome disposition, he proved of little service to his new friends. He wished, too, to become a quaker, but was refused admission to the society.

Along with a kindred spirit, Captain Richard Crackenthorpe, of Little Strickland, Westmoreland, Musgrave was imprisoned in 1642 for six months in Carlisle gaol by the justices and commissioners of array in Cumberland for maintaining, as he asserted, the 'parliamentary protestations' and opposing the 'arbitrary and tyrannical government of the corrupt magistracy and ministry there.' On being removed by habeas corpus to London, the pair petitioned parliament for their release, and they were ordered to be discharged on 13 Dec. (Commons' Journals, ii. 886). At his return home Musgrave again refused to submit to the commission of array, and spent the best part of the next two years in Scotland. Coming back to Cumberland in 1644 he found the militia and authorities settled in the hands of 'such as were the sworn and professed enemies of the kingdom.' Accordingly with some other ' exiles for the parliament's cause 'Musgrave represented the state of things to the parliamentary commissioners, but on failing to obtain redress went to London in company with John Osmotherley, to petition parliament in behalf of the ' well affected ' of Cumberland and Westmoreland. In particular he charged Richard Barwis, M.P., with having betrayed his trust by placing disaffected persons in office. The house referred the matter to a committee, and finally sent Musgrave to the Fleet on 28 Oct. 1645 for contempt, on his refusal to answer certain interrogatories. About the same time his colleague, Osmotherley, was lodged in Wood Street compter for debt. Musgrave beguiled his imprisonment by writing three virulent pamphlets, full of reckless charges against those in power, which the house took notice of (ib. iv. 419, 45l, 682). On being released in January 1647, he and his friend Crackenthorpe presented a petition to the House of Lords setting forth the great losses they had sustained by adhering to the cause of the parliament (Lords' Journals, ix. 670, 676). Their petition was referred to the commons, who declined to grant them any recompense. In July he was again a prisoner by order of the house (Commons' Journals, v. 245). In September Musgrave attempted to force parliament to redress his alleged grievances by convening a meeting of the London apprentices at Guildhall, though he afterwards denied having been there at all (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645-7, p. 601). Some bloodshed was the result, and on 25 Sept. the house resolved to indict him at the King's Bench bar for high treason, and ordered him to be confined in Newgate (Commons' Journals, v. 316-17). Proceedings against him were ultimately dropped, and on 3 June 1648 he was allowed to be released on bail (ib. v. 584). He now devoted his energies to 'discovering' delinquents and seeing that they compounded for their estates to the utmost value (Proc. of Comm. for Advance of Money, p. 87). He boasted that in this way he brought a yearly revenue of 13,000l. into the state. On 27 Aug. 1649 Musgrave, with Crackenthorpe and others, complained to the council of state that the Cumberland and Westmoreland militia was not placed in trusty hands (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649-50, p. 291), and in consequence was challenged by Charles Howard, afterwards first earl of Carlisle [q. v.], to make good his accusation (ib. p. 455). He next took exception to the persons nominated by Sir Arthur Hesilrige [q. v.] to be commissioners for the northern counties, and was ordered to formulate his charges against them (ib. pp. 461, 499). Thereupon he attempted to create a diversion by laying, on 19 June 1650, an information against six prominent Cumberland gentlemen, including Howard and Sir Wilfrid Lawson, for delinquency (Cal. of Committee for Advance, &c., p. 1237). Hesilrige, having been ordered to investigate the matter, reported that there was no truth in the charge. Musgrave attacked him in a pamphlet, which the council of state, on 19 Dec., ordered to be seized (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650, pp. 473, 568). In the event Musgrave's imputations upon Howard and Hesilrige were declared by the council of state, in January 1651, to be 'false and scandalous,' and Hesilrige was recommended to institute proceedings against him (ib. 1651, pp. 21, 23). He was now mistrusted by all parties. On 3 Feb. the committee for advance of money obliged him to enter into a bond in 1,000l. to prosecute several Cumberland men for alleged undervaluations in their composition at Goldsmiths' Hall (Cal. of Proc. p. 1238). Musgrave made a last attempt to gain the ear of the public, by describing himself in a pamphlet as an 'innocent Abel,' Cain being represented by his two brothers and sister-in-law. It appears that his mother having married for her second husband John Vaux, a violent quarrel over some property between Musgrave and the Vaux family ensued, and in the end recourse was had to the court of chancery.

Musgrave wrote: 1. 'A Word to the Wise, displaying great augmented grievances and heavie pressures of dangerous consequence,' 4to [London], 1646, in which he complains of illegal imprisonment. 2. 'Another Word to the Wise, shewing that the Delay of Justice is great Injustice,' 4to [London], 1646. 3. 'Yet another Word to the Wise, shewing that the grievances in Cumberland and Westmoreland are unredressed,' 4to [London], 1646. 4. A Fourth Word to the Wise; or, a Plaine Discovery of Englands Misery,' 4to [London, 1647], addressed to Ireton. 5. 'A Declaration of Captaine J. Musgrave . . . vindicating him against the misprisians and imputed reasons of his sad imprisonment for High Treason,' &c., 4to, London, 1647. 6. 'A True and Exact Relation of the great and heavy Pressures and Grievances the well-affected of the Northern Bordering Counties lye under by Sir Arthur Haslerigs misgovernment,' &c., 4to, London, 1650. A reply, entitled 'Musgrave Muzl'd,' appeared in 1651, which was answered by Musgrave in 7. ' Musgraves Musle Broken . . . wherein is Discovered how the Commonwealth is abused by Sub-Commissioners for Sequestrations,' &c., 4to, London, 1651. 8. 'A Cry of Blood of an Innocent Abel against two Bloody Cains,' &c., 4to, London, 1654, addressed to General Lambert. Musgrave also published a letter signed T. G. entitled 'A Plain Discovery how the Enemy and Popish Faction in the North upholds their Interest,' 4to, London, 1649. An extract attributed to Francois Balduin, from Edward Grimstone's 'History of the Netherlands,' 1608, p. 356, which he read in prison, he published under the title of 'Good Counsel in Bad Times,' 4to, London, 1647 3 and prefixed to it a characteristic 'Epistle.'

[Musgrave's pamphlets; Cal. of Committee for Compounding; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651, p. 266.]

G. G.