Mackworth, Humphry (DNB00)

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MACKWORTH, Sir HUMPHRY (1657–1727), politician and capitalist, second son of Thomas Mackworth of Betton Orange, Shropshire, who married Anne, daughter and heiress of Richard Bulkeley of Buntingsdale in the same county, was born in January 1657. Thomas Mackworth was eldest son of Humphry, by Anne, daughter of Thomas Waller of Beaconsfield, and kinswoman of Edmund Waller the poet. The elder Humphry was a colonel in the parliamentary army, was at the taking of Ludlow Castle, upon which he wrote to the House of Commons on 20 May 1646, and was appointed to be governor of Shrewsbury on 2 June following. On 12 Feb. 1649-50 he was added to the committee for the assessments for the army in Shropshire; and in October 1651 he transmitted to the House of Commons an account of the proceedings of the court-martial held at Chester on the Earl of Derby, Sir Timothy Fetherstonhaugh, and John Benbowe, from which it appears probable that he presided on the occasion (Commons' Journals, iv. 561). He was one of Cromwell's council, and sat for Shropshire in Cromwell's second parliament. He died in December 1654, and was buried on the 26th of the month in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey; his remains were on 12 Sept. 1660 removed and thrown into a pit in St. Margaret's churchyard (Blore, History of Rutland, p. 129; Lipscomb, Buckinghamshire, iv. 378).

The younger Humphry matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, on 11 Dec. 1674, and entered at the Middle Temple on 10 June 1675, being called to the bar in 1682. Narcissus Luttrell gives him the title of 'comptroller of the Temple.' He was described as of the Middle Temple on being knighted at Whitehall, 15 Jan. 1682–3, and when James II, on his accession to the throne, continued to collect the customs, though they had been granted for the life of Charles II only, an address of thanks was presented to him by Mackworth on behalf of that inn of court. He had a residence at Bentley, in the parish of Tardebigge, Worcestershire, but his means were inconsiderable until he married in 1686 Mary, daughter of Sir Herbert Evans of Gnoll, Glamorganshire, who by the death of her four sisters became the sole heiress of her father's property.

In 1695 he was engaged in developing collieries and copper-smelting works at Melincryddan, near Neath, and the improvements which he introduced into them are set out by William Waller in his introduction to an 'Essay on the Mines late of Sir Carbery Price,' 1698. He then expended 15,000l. in purchasing the controlling interest in Sir Carbery's mines and in acquiring additional property in the neighbourhood. The mines and smelting works were transferred to a company, with the imposing title of 'The Corporation of the Governor and Company of the Mine Adventurers of England, the Duke of Leeds being governor and Mackworth deputy-governor. A large sum of money was raised by lottery in 1698 and 1699 for carrying on these undertakings, and was spent in the construction of quays, canals, and docks; but the scheme received so much opposition from local sources that in December 1705 several servants of Sir Edward Mansel, an adjoining proprietor, were brought before the House of Commons for breaches of privilege against Mackworth. By 1709, when their capital had been sunk, the members of the corporation quarrelled among themselves; William Waller, the manager, was discharged, and Mackworth was accused by his enemies of peculation. On 31 March 1710 the House of Commons, without a dissentient voice, voted him guilty of many frauds in violation of the company's charter, and next day a bill was brought in to restrain him, William Shiers, the secretary, and Thomas Dykes, the treasurer, from leaving the country, and to alienate their estates. The whigs were then in the ascendant, but their power was passing away, and although this bill passed the House of Commons it did not become law. The Rev. Thomas Yalden [q. v.] addressed a poem to Mackworth 'On the Mines late of Sir Carbery Price' (Chalmers, Poets, xi. 74–5), and a great number of pamphlets were published by Mackworth, Waller, Shiers, and others, with respect to the proceedings of the mine adventurers (see Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, i. 19-21) . Among those by Mackworth are 'The Mine-adventure, or an Expedient for Composing all Differences between the Partners, and for Establishing a new. Method of Management,' 1698; 'A Short State of the Case and Proceedings of the Company of Mine-adventurers,' 1710; and 'Second Part of the Book of Vouchers,' 1711. Through his connection with South Wales, Mackworth was appointed constable of Neath Castle in 1703, and sat in parliament for Cardiganshire from February 1700–1 to November 1701, from August 1702 to April 1705, and from November 1710 to August 1713. In 1705 he was a candidate for Oxford University, but was not elected, whereupon there was issued 'The Doleful Complaints of Sir H. M.' (State Poems, 1707, iv. 22), and from June 1705 until April 1707 he represented the borough of Totnes in Devonshire. Mackworth was a church tory. He was one of the four laymen who on 8 March 1698–9 met Dr. Thomas Bray (1656–1730) [q. v.] and drew up certain resolutions which ended in the formation of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Afterwards he was among its earliest and largest subscribers, and a member of its committee for establishing church libraries in Wales. In 1705 there came out a pamphlet called 'The Memorial of the Church of England,' with the object of exposing the designs of the whigs against the church. It attracted great attention, and was presented as a 'seditious and treasonable libel,' and it was discovered that as soon as it was struck off 150 copies were sent to Mackworth. In January 1705–6 Shiers, his associate, was taken into custody about it, and next month a man named Powell was brought before the privy council at Whitehall to see if he would implicate Mackworth.

Mackworth died on 25 Aug. 1727, and was buried on 27 Aug. His wife died before 1705, leaving three sons. Of these the youngest, William Morgan, who married Martha, daughter of John Praed of Trevathen, Cornwall, M.P. for St. Ives in 1708, took the additional name of Praed, and was an ancestor of the poet.

Mackworth's political and financial publications comprised: 1. 'England's Glory, or the Great Improvement of Trade by a Royal Bank or Office of Credit to be erected in London,' 1694. 2. 'A Vindication of the Rights of the Commons of England,' 1701. This tract was included in the editions of 'Somers Tracts,' 1751 and 1809. 3. 'Peace at Home, or a Vindication of the Proceedings of the House of Commons on the Bill for Preventing Danger from Occasional Conformity,' 1704, which provoked many replies, including one from Defoe, entitled 'Peace without Union.' 4. 'A Letter from a member of Parliament to his Friend in the Country, giving a Short Account of the Proceedings of the Tackers' [anon.], 1704. 5. 'A Bill for the better Relief, Employment, and Settlement of the Poor,' 1704. 6. 'Free Parliaments, or a Vindication of the Fundamental Right of the Commons of England to be sole Judges of the Privileges of the Electors and of the Elected; being a Vindication of the Proceedings in the Case of Ashby against White,' 1704. An abstract of this work appeared in 1705; it was reproduced as an appendix to 'The State of the Case between Ashby and White,' 1705, and it was included in the editions of 'Somers Tracts,' 1751 and 1909. 7. 'A Brief Account of the Tack, in a Letter to a Friend' [anon.], 1705. 8. 'Down with the Mug, or Reasons for Supressing the Mug Houses' [anon.], 1717. 9. 'A Proposal for Paying of the Public Debts by the appropriated Funds, without raising Taxes upon Land, Malt, or other things for that purpose' [anon,], 1720. 10. 'Sir Humphry Mackworth's Proposal, being a new Scheme offer'd for the Payment of the Public Debts,' 1720. This scheme, which passed through five editions in 1720, was of the same kind as that suggested by John Law in France, and involved the creation of 'a new species of money.'

Mackworth was also the author of a 'Treatise concerning the Divine Authority of the Scriptures, the Divinity of our Blessed Saviour,' &c., 2nd edit. 1704, which was suplemented by 'A Discourse by way of Dialogue concerning (1) Providence, (2) the Happiness of a Religious Life,' &c., 1705.

[Le Neve's Knights (Harl. Soc.), p. 369 ; Meyrick's Cardiganshire. pp. cciiiv-iiiiii ; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Foster's Peerage; Nicholas's Glamorganshire, pp. 88, 127-9; G. Grant Francis's Copper Smelting at Swansea, 1881, pp. 81–93; Return of Members of Parliament, i. 593, 606, ii. 2, 26; Luttrell's Hist. Relation, i. 246, iv. 434, v. 81, 627, vi. 13, 564–6; Hearne's Collections, ed. Doble. i. 170–80; Bagford Ballads, ii. 825–31; Overton's English Church, 1660–1714, p. 218; McClure's Minutes of S.P.C.K. pp. 1–11, 31, 35, 246, 269; Halkett and Laing's Anon. Literature, pp. 259, 702, 1351, 2035; House of Commons' Journals, xv. 69. 75, 122, 405, xvi. 391–5.]

W. P. C.