Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goodenough, Richard

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GOODENOUGH, RICHARD (fl. 1686), conspirator, was an attorney of bad repute, who contrived nevertheless to obtain the under-sheriffdom of London, which he held in turn with his brother Francis for some years. The whig party long relied upon him for questionable services, especially in the selection of jurymen. In July 1682 the justices of the peace fined him 100l. because he refused to alter the panel as they pleased at the sessions at Hicks's Hall (Luttrell, Historical Relation, i. 205). In the following September, ‘upon complaint against Mr. Goodenough, the under-sheriff, for not provideing a dinner for their worships, the justices committed him to prison, denyeing bail’ (ib. i. 216). Along with Henry Cornish [q. v.] and several others he was tried, 16 Feb. 1683, for a pretended riot and assault on the lord mayor, Sir John Moore, at the election of sheriffs for the city of London at the Guildhall on midsummer day 1682. Although it was shown that he was not at the Guildhall until some three hours after the supposed disturbance, Chief-justice Saunders in his summing-up singled him out, in company with Forde, lord Grey of Werke [q. v.], for especial castigation, insinuating that they were the promoters of the fictitious riot. He was found guilty and fined five hundred marks on 15 June, when he failed to appear (Cobbett, State Trials, ix. 187–293). He had been deeply implicated in the Rye House plot (1683), and had sought an asylum in the Low Countries. On 23 June a reward of 100l. was offered for his capture; on 12 July the grand jury found a true bill against him and his brother Francis for high treason, and both were outlawed (Luttrell, i. 262, 263, 267, 273). He remained abroad until Monmouth's rebellion. Monmouth appointed him his ‘secretary of state’ (ib. i. 349). After the battle of Sedgemoor (5 July 1685) he fled with Nathaniel Wade and Robert Ferguson and reached the coast in safety, only to find a frigate cruising near the spot where they had hoped to embark. They then separated. Goodenough and Wade were soon discovered and brought up to London, 20 July 1685 (ib. i. 354). He was suffered to live because he had it in his power to give useful information to the king. He had a private grudge against Henry Cornish [q. v.], who when sheriff in 1680 had declined to employ him. Goodenough now consented to swear with Colonel John Rumsey, a fellow-conspirator, that Cornish was concerned with them in the Rye House plot. To qualify him for this task a patent was passed for his pardon (ib. i. 360, 365). On 9 Dec. he helped to swear away the life of Charles Bateman the surgeon, who was tried for high treason in conspiring the death of Charles II (Howell, State Trials, xi. 472); and on 14 Jan. 1686 was produced with Grey and Wade at the trial of Henry Booth, lord Delamere [q. v.], but could only repeat what he had heard said by Monmouth and by Wildman's emissaries (ib. xi. 542). He was to have appeared along with Grey on 7 May 1689 as a witness against John Charlton, also charged with high treason against Charles II, but both had the good sense to keep away (Luttrell, i. 531). According to Swift (note in Burnet, Own Time, Oxford edit. iii. 61), Goodenough went to Ireland, practised his profession, and died there.

[Macaulay's Hist. of England, ch. v. vi.; (Thomas Sprat's) A True Account … of the horrid Conspiracy against the late King (Copies of the Informations, &c.), 2nd edit. fol. 1685.]

G. G.