Palmer, Geoffrey (DNB00)
PALMER, Sir GEOFFREY (1598–1670), attorney-general to Charles II, son of Thomas Palmer of Carlton, Northamptonshire, by Catherine, daughter of Sir Edward Watson of Rockingham in the same county, was born in 1598. Matriculating as a pensioner from Christ's College, Cambridge, Dec. 1612 (the same year as Miles Corbet, the regicide), he graduated B.A. in 1615–16 and M.A. in 1619. Admitted to the Middle Temple in June 1616, he was in 1623 called to the bar; he was elected treasurer of his inn in 1661. He was elected to the Long parliament for Stamford, Lincolnshire, and on 9 Feb. 1640–1 joined the committee for ecclesiastical affairs. As a manager of Strafford's impeachment he advocated, 2–3 April 1641, articles xv and xvi (of arbitrary government) with moderation. He signed the protestation of 3 May in defence of the protestant religion, but, on the passing of the act perpetuating the parliament, joined the little knot of ‘young men’ (among them Hyde and Falkland) who rallied to the king and formed his new council. Palmer protested with animation against Hampden's motion for the printing of the remonstrance in the course of the heated debate of 22–23 Nov. 1641, and in the excited temper of the house his protest was very nearly the cause of bloodshed (Harl. MSS. clxii. fol. 180); he was threatened with expulsion from the house and actually committed to the Tower, but was released on 8 Dec. After the vote for putting the militia ordinance into execution on 30 April 1642, Palmer withdrew from the House of Commons. He was a member of the royalist parliament which met at Oxford on 22 Jan. 1643–4. He was one of Charles's commissioners for the negotiation of the abortive treaty of Uxbridge, January–February 1644–1645, and a later negotiation which did not advance beyond the stage of overture (December 1645). He remained in Oxford during the siege, and on the surrender of the place (22 June 1646) had letters of composition for his estates. The assessment was eventually (September 1648) fixed at 500l.
On 9 June 1655 Palmer was committed to the Tower on suspicion of raising forces against the government, but was probably released in the following September.
On the Restoration Palmer was made attorney-general, 29 May 1660. About the same time he was knighted and appointed to the chief-justiceship of Chester, but held that office for a few months only. A baronetcy was conferred upon him on 7 June following. He retained the attorney-generalship until his death, which took place at his house in Hampstead on 5 May 1670. His remains were interred in the parish church, Carlton.
Palmer married Margaret, daughter of Sir Francis Moore, serjeant-at-law, of Fawley, Berkshire, and had issue by her four sons and three daughters.
Palmer edited, in 1633, the reports of his father-in-law, Sir Francis Moore [q. v.] A volume of cases partly drawn from Godfrey's manuscript ‘Reports’ (Lansdowne MS. 1080), appeared with judicial imprimatur, in 1678, as ‘Les Reports de Sir Gefrey Palmer, Chevalier et Baronet; Attorney-General a son tres excellent Majesty le Roy Charles le Second,’ London, fol. They consist of cases chiefly in the king's bench from 1619 to 1629, and are considered to be of respectable authority. Whether Palmer did more than edit them is doubtful.
Prefixed to some copies is a fine engraving by White of Palmer's portrait by Lely. Another portrait, by an unknown hand, was, in 1860, in the possession of Mr. G. L. Watson.[Wood's Fasti Oxon. ii. 61; Wotton's Baronetage, 1741, vol. iii. pt. i. p. 19; Granger's Biogr. Hist. Engl., 2nd edit., iii. 371; Bridges's Northamptonshire, ii. 292; Gardiner's Hist. Engl. ix. 287, x. 77, 79; Commons' Journals, ii. 81, 324, 335, v. 21; Dugdale's Orig. p. 222; Verney's Notes of Long Parl. (Camd. Soc.); Whitelocke's Mem. pp. 39, 125, 182, 338; Bramston's Autobiogr. (Camd. Soc.), p. 83; Clarendon's Rebellion, ed. Macray, 1888, bk. iii. § 106, bk. iv. §§ 52–8, 77n, bk. viii. §§ 211, 233, bk. ix. § 164; Clarendon's Life, ed. 1827, i. 67; Cal. Clarendon State Papers, i. 371, 445; Remembrancia, 1878, p. 205; Thurloe State Papers, i. 56, iii. 537; Rushworth's Hist. Coll. iv. 573, viii. 426–88; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645–7 p. 486, 1650 pp. 537, 563, 566, 1655 pp. 204, 309, 588, 1659–67; Lansd. MS. 504, f. 75; Addit. MSS. 29550 ff. 52, 64, 29555 f. 27; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. p. 153; Pepys's Diary, ed. Lord Braybrooke, i. 108, iv. 498; Wallace's Reporters, 1882, p. 224.]