Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Warwick, Philip

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WARWICK, Sir PHILIP (1609–1683), politician and historian, said to be descended from the Cumberland family of that name, was the son of Thomas Warwick by Elizabeth, daughter of John Somerville [q. v.] of Somerville Aston, Warwickshire (Wood, Fasti, i. 505; Hasted, Kent; Gent. Mag. 1790, p. 780). His father, whose name is generally spelt Warrock or Warrick, was a musician of note, organist of Westminster Abbey and of the Chapel Royal (see The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, ed. Maitland and Squire, 1899, Introd.)

Philip was born in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, on 24 Dec. 1609. He was educated at Eton, was for a time a chorister at Westminster, travelled in France, and spent some time at Geneva under the care of Theodore Diodati [see under Diodati, Charles]. On his return he became secretary to Lord Goring, to whom he appears to have been distantly related, and was made, by his influence, in March 1636 secretary to Lord-treasurer Juxon (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1633–4 p. 87, 1635–6 p. 301, 1637 p. 315). On 13 Nov. 1638 he became a clerk of the signet (ib. 1629–31 p. 557, 1638–9 p. 103). On 12 Feb. 1638 he was admitted to Gray's Inn, and on 11 April following was created bachelor of law by the university of Oxford (Foster, Gray's Inn Register, p. 215; Alumni Oxon. i. 1577).

Warwick represented Radnor in the Long parliament, and his ‘Memoirs’ contain a vivid description of the rejoicings which followed Strafford's execution, the tumults against the bishops, and the excitement which accompanied the passing of the Grand Remonstrance (Memoirs, pp. 164, 186, 201). He formed one of the minority of fifty-six who voted against the bill for Strafford's attainder, followed Charles to Oxford, and sat in the anti-parliament the king called there. On 5 Feb. 1644 he was deprived of his seat in the Long parliament by a vote of the commons (Commons' Journals, iii. 389). Warwick served in the king's army, but as a volunteer, not as a commissioned officer. At Edgehill he fought in the King's guard of noblemen and gentlemen, called derisively the ‘troop of show,’ being in point of fortune, he tells us, ‘one of the most inconsiderable persons of it’ (Memoirs, p. 231). In 1643 the king sent Warwick to the Marquis of Newcastle to persuade him, if possible, to march his army southwards. He was given no formal commission, but only ‘three or four words under the king's hand, written on a piece of white sarcenet,’ to accredit him. Both in this mission and in a second for the same purpose in the autumn of 1643 he met with no success (ib. pp. 243–64). In the summer of 1646 he was employed to negotiate the terms of the capitulation of Oxford with Fairfax (Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 262).

In 1647, when the king was at Hampton Court negotiating with the army and the parliament, Warwick was allowed to attend him as one of his secretaries; and in 1648, during the negotiation of the treaty at Newport, he was one of the ‘penmen who stood at his chair’ in the daily discussions with the parliamentary commissioners (Memoirs, pp. 303, 322). The king trusted him greatly, and used to dictate to him in the evenings the despatches on the progress of the treaty, which were sent to the Prince of Wales. Warwick's account of the king's sayings and doings during this period is the most valuable portion of his book (ib. pp. 322–331). When the negotiations were temporarily suspended Warwick asked leave of absence for a few weeks to attend to his private affairs, and he was thus absent from Charles when he was seized and carried to Hurst Castle by the army. The particulars recorded by him concerning the king's trial and execution were learnt from Juxon, to whom the king on the night before his death commended Warwick's fidelity. ‘My lord,’ said the king, ‘I must remember one that hath had relation to you and myself; tell Charles he hath been an useful and honest man unto me.’ None admired and loved the unfortunate king more than Warwick. ‘When I think of dying,’ he wrote, ‘it is one of my comforts, that when I part from the dunghill of this world, I shall meet … King Charles and all those faithful spirits that had virtue enough to be true to him, the church, and the laws unto the last’ (ib. pp. 331–41).

Warwick was fined by parliament as a delinquent 477l., being one-tenth of his estate; but on a review the fine was reduced to 241l. (February 1649). His second wife paid about 3,000l. to release his stepson's estate (Calendar of Committee for Compounding, pp. 1447, 1462). Compounding enabled Warwick to stay in England instead of following Charles II into exile, and he urged Sir Edward Nicholas [q. v.] to follow his example, promising his own good offices to effect it (Nicholas Papers, i. 131). He took no overt part in the plots against the Protector's government, though in 1655 he was arrested and was some weeks in custody (Memoirs, p. 248). In spite of this inactivity he was trusted by the royalist leaders. Bishop Cosin relied upon his aid in the business of appointing new bishops for vacant English sees in 1655 (Clarendon State Papers, iii. Appendix ci.) In January 1660 Hyde wrote to a royalist agent on the king's behalf, saying that he was told a considerable sum of money had been collected for the promotion of the royalist cause and placed in Warwick's hands. ‘The king,’ he added, ‘knows very well Mr. Warwick's affection and zeal to his service and his abilities to promote it, and that you do upon all occasions communicate with him and transmit his advice to your other friends;’ he was therefore to inquire as to the fund in question. In March it was reported that Warwick was being used as a tool by the presbyterian peers, but he finally helped to defeat their design for keeping the young royalist lords out of the house (ib. iii. 649, 705, 729; Memoirs, p. 428). The king showed his satisfaction with Warwick by creating him a knight and granting his wife precedence in right of her first husband (Egerton MS. 2542, f. 365).

Warwick was returned to the parliament of 1661 as member for Westminster; but, though taking occasional part in the debates, never obtained much influence in the house. His most important work was outside it. Charles made the Earl of Southampton lord high treasurer, who left the business of the office entirely to his secretary Warwick [see Wriothesley, Thomas, fourth Earl of Southampton]. In defending this arrangement afterwards to the king, Clarendon told Charles that all men expected to have seen Warwick preferred to some good place rather than his old post; nor would he have accepted it but for his confidence in Southampton (Continuation of the Life of Clarendon, pp. 777, 811–17). Burnet, who is less favourable, describes Warwick as ‘an honest but a weak man,’ who ‘understood the common road of the treasury,’ but had no political capacity. On the other hand, ‘he was an incorrupt man, and during seven years' management of the treasury he made but an ordinary fortune out of it’ (Own Time, i. 96). Pepys, whose official intercourse with Warwick makes his opinion of weight, praises him highly. He congratulated himself on beginning an acquaintance with him ‘who is as great a man, and a man of as much business as any man in England’ (12 Feb. 1663). He found him ‘a most exact and methodical man, and of great industry,’ and was delighted when Warwick took the trouble to explain to him the state of the revenue and the taxes (29 Feb. 1664). He contracted with Warwick ‘a kind of friendship and freedom of communication,’ and was taught by him to understand ‘the whole business of the treasurer of the navy’ (27 Feb. 1665). ‘I honour the man,’ he concludes, ‘with all my heart, and think him to be a very able, right honest man’ (24 Nov. 1666).

Southampton died on 16 May 1667, and the treasury was immediately put in commission. Warwick was not one of the commissioners, and Sir George Downing, who had before intrigued against him, became secretary. There is no suggestion that Warwick was in any way disgraced, though he was not subsequently employed. A grant of land at St. James's on which to build a house, and the reversion of the office of customer and collector of customs on woollen cloth in the port of London (worth about 277l. per annum), appear to have been the only pecuniary rewards he obtained for his long service (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–1664 p. 358, ib. 1668–9 p. 657, 1670 p. 678). Except on two questions, he steadily supported the government of the day in the House of Commons. His zeal for the church led him to oppose indulgence to the nonconformists in 1672, and his fear of the growth of French power to urge war with France in 1668 (Grey, Debates, ii. 40, 89, 96, iv. 346, v. 300; cf. Memoirs, p. 42). A few letters written during this last period of his life are in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 4296; Egerton MSS. 2539, 2540).

Warwick died on 15 Jan. 1682–3, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and was buried in Chiselhurst church. His epitaph and an abstract of his will are given in the memoir in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1790, p. 781.

An engraved portrait of Warwick, from a painting by Lely, is prefixed to his memoirs, and an engraving representing him at an earlier period of his life is given in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for September 1790.

Warwick was the author of two books, both posthumously published. 1. ‘Memoires of the Reigne of King Charles I, with a continuation to the happy Restauration of King Charles II,’ London, 1701, 8vo, said in the preface to be printed ‘from the author's original manuscript by a faithful friend to whom they were entrusted.’ The Memoires were written between 1675 and 1677, ‘from a frail memory and some ill-digested notes’ (Memoires, pp. 37, 207, 403). They throw little light on the military or political history of the times, but contain carefully drawn characters of Charles I, Strafford, Laud, Juxon, and other royalists of importance. There are also interesting sketches of Cromwell and Hampden. Warwick writes with great moderation and fairness. ‘Willingly,’ he says, ‘I would sully no man's fame, for to write invectives is more criminal than to err in eulogies’ (ib. p. 103). His great merit is that he records a number of characteristic details and anecdotes of real value. Burnet says of Warwick that ‘though he pretended to wit and politics, he was not cut out for that, and least of all for writing history.’ Guizot thought the memoirs of sufficient value to include a translation of them in his ‘Collection des Mémoires relatifs à la Révolution d'Angleterre,’ but concludes that as an historian the author is cold and diffuse, and that the only valuable portion of the book is the account of the king's captivity and execution (Portraits Politiques, p. 142). 2. ‘A Discourse of Government as examined by Reason, Scripture, and the Law of the Land,’ 1694, 12mo. This was published by Dr. Thomas Smith [see Smith, Thomas, (1638–1710)], with a preface which, being displeasing to the government of the time, was only suffered to remain in a few copies (Granger, iv. 66; Hatton Correspondence, ii. 204). Guizot criticises it as more favourable to absolute power than to liberty, and proving nevertheless that Warwick was unwilling to adopt either the first principles or the last consequences of his own ideas (Portraits Politiques, p. 141). The original manuscripts of both these works are in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 34714). Wood also attributes to Warwick a tract called ‘A Letter to Mr. Lenthall, shewing that Peace is better than War,’ 1642, 4to.

Warwick married twice: first, about 1638, Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Hutton of Marsk, Yorkshire, by whom he had his only son, Philip; secondly, about 1647, Joan, daughter of Sir Henry Fanshawe of Ware Park, and widow of Sir William Boteler, bart., killed in the battle of Cropredy Bridge.

Philip Warwick the younger (d. 1683) married Elizabeth, second daughter and coheiress of John, lord Fretchville of Stavely, Derbyshire, by whom he had no issue. In 1680 he was envoy to Sweden (his instructions and commission are in the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson, A. 256, A. 292). He died at Newmarket on 12 March 1682–3 (Wood, Life, ed. Clark, iii. 38).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, and Fasti; Gent. Mag. September 1790; Guizot's Portraits Politiques des hommes des differénts partis, ed. 1874, p. 127. Other authorities mentioned in the article.]

C. H. F.