Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/168

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

(Diary, 7 Feb. 1660), a statement which confirms St. John's own account of his endeavours for that object (Case, p. 13). To the last moment before the Restoration the Royalists suspected him of intrigues to impose conditions upon the king, or to restore Richard Cromwell (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 661, 686, 710, 729, 749).

After the Restoration St. John's conduct during the earlier part of the struggle, and the high offices he had held under the republic and protectorate, led him to fear the worst. To counteract the rumours as to his part in the king's death, and his intimate relations with Oliver and Richard Cromwell, he printed his ‘Case,’ which was backed by a letter testifying its truth from Thurloe to the speaker of the Convention parliament (Thurloe vii. 914). The statements it makes are substantially correct, though it naturally omits many facts which might have told against the writer, and makes no mention of his earlier political career. It was so far effective that while the commons had excluded him from the act of indemnity for some penalty, not extending to life, to be hereafter determined (13 June), the lords were content with his perpetual incapacitation from office (2 Aug. 1660; Commons' Journals, viii. 63; Lords' Journals, xi. 115). St. John's recent co-operation with Monck doubtless secured him the good offices of the latter. Charles II is said to have expressed regret at his escape (Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 290).

During the earlier part of the reign of Charles II, St. John lived in retirement at Longthorpe in Northamptonshire, where he had built a house which, it is said, Clarendon attempted to extort from him as the price of his safety (Noble, ii. 21). About November 1662 he left England and took ship for Havre, whence he made his way first to Basle, and afterwards to Augsburg (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 419, 493). On 10 July 1667 the English government ordered his return, but he appears to have remained abroad till his death, which took place on 31 Dec. 1673 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–2 p. 567, 1663–4 p. 144, 1667 p. 282; Noble, ii. 23).

St. John's character has been painted in the blackest colours by Clarendon and Holles. The latter describes him as one ‘who has as much of the blood of this kingdom to answer for, and has dipped as deep in all cunning pernicious counsels, as any one man alive.’ He dwells on his fierceness and cruelty, ‘his composition being, as it seems, like that monster emperor's, “lutum sanguine maceratum.”’ Both Holles and Clarendon attribute to him far-reaching ambition, and Holles and other contemporary opponents describe him as avaricious and greatly enriched by his different public employments. He ‘got infinitely,’ adds Holles, ‘by the pardons upon compositions, which was a device only to fill his pockets’ (Memoirs, ed. Maseres, pp. 209, 267). In his apology St. John confines himself to refuting the rumours about the profitable nature of his embassy to the United Provinces: ‘all the reward of that embassy was, that whereas the minster of Peterborough, being an ancient and goodly fabric, was propounded to be sold and demolished, I begged it to be granted to the citizens of Peterborough, who at that present and ever since have accordingly made use of it’ (Case, p. 9; cf. Kennet, Register, p. 202). St. John was concerned in the completion of the Bedford Level, and drew up the act under which that undertaking was managed. His connection with the work is commemorated in the name of ‘St. John's Eau’ (Wells, Bedford Level, i. 199; Foss, vi. 489; cf. Thurloe, v. 383, 475).

St. John married three times: first, Johanna, daughter of Sir James Altham of Marks Hall, Latton, Essex, and of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Francis Barrington. Elizabeth Barrington's mother was Joan, daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell of Hinchinbroke, aunt both to the Protector Cromwell and to John Hampden (Foss, Judges of England, vi. 476). By his first wife St. John had four children: (1) Francis, member for Peterborough in the parliaments of 1656 and 1659; (2) William (cf. Thurloe, iv. 250); (3) Johanna, married Sir Walter St. John, bart., of Lydiard-Tregoz, Wiltshire (the son of this marriage was Henry St. John, created in 1716 Baron St. John of Battersea, who was father of Henry St. John, viscount Bolingbroke [q. v.]); (4) Catherine, married Henry St. John, younger brother of Sir Walter St. John, mentioned above (cf. Nickolls, Letters addressed to Cromwell, p. 48; Noble, House of Cromwell, ii. 24–9). St. John's second wife, whom he married on 21 Jan. 1638, was Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Cromwell of Upwood, the Protector's uncle (Foss, vi. 478). By her he had two children: (1) Oliver, married Elizabeth, daughter of William Hammond (Chester, London Marriage Licenses, 1176); (2) Elizabeth, married, on 26 Feb. 1655–6, John Bernard of Huntingdon (Campbell, Lives of the Chief Justices, i. 477; Noble, ii. 29). St. John's third wife (married 1 Oct. 1645) was Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Oxenbridge, M.D., of Daventry, and sister of John Oxenbridge, the nonconformist divine [q. v.] She was widow of Caleb Cockcroft