Henry Mildmay

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For other people named Henry Mildmay, see Henry Mildmay (disambiguation).

Sir Henry Mildmay (ca. 1593–1664) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1621 and 1659. He supported the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War and was one of the Regicides of Charles I of England.[1]

Mildmay was knighted in 1617 and made Master of the Jewel Office in 1618. In 1621, Mildmay was elected Member of Parliament for Maldon. He was elected MP for Westbury in 1624 and Maldon again in 1625 and 1628. He sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years [2] He attended Charles I on a visit to Scotland in 1639.[3]

In April 1640 Mildmay was elected MP for Maldon in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Maldon in the Long Parliament in November 1640[2] He supported parliament during the Civil War and was a revenue commissioner between 1645 and 1652. In 1646 he was left as hostage in Scotland. He remained in the Rump Parliament after Pride's Purge and was present at the trial of Charles I.[3]

Mildmay was a member of the Councils of State from 1649 until 1652. He was called on to account for the king's jewels in 1660 and attempted to escape. He was disgraced and sentenced to imprisonment for life. In 1664 a warrant was issued for his transportation to Tangier, and he died at Antwerp on the way.[3]

Biography[edit]

Mildmay was second son of Humphrey Mildmay (d. 1613) of Danbury Place, Essex, by Mary (1560–1633), daughter of Henry Capel of Little Hadham, Hertfordshire,[4] He was brought up at court, and excelled in all manly exercises. Clarendon terms him a "great flatterer of all persons in authority, and a spy in all places for them",[5] On 9 August 1617 Mildmay, being then one of the king's sewers, was knighted at Kendal.[6] In 1619 he made a wealthy match, through the king's good offices,[7] and bought Wanstead House, Essex, of the George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham, where he entertained James I in June of that year.[8]

In April 1620 he was appointed Master of the King's Jewel House,[9] on 8 August following entered Gray's Inn,[10] and was elected M.P. for Maldon, Essex, of which he became chief steward on 20 December. He was chosen one of the tilters before the king on the anniversary of his accession, 24 March 1622.[11] On 3 February 1624 he was returned to the Happy Parliament for Westbury, Wiltshire.[12]

In the first parliament of Charles I reign (conviened on On 12 April 1625) Sir Henry sat again for Maldon (known as the Useless Parliament). He also represented Maldon the parliament of 1627–8, and in the Short and Long parliaments of 1640.[13] In parliament he took part in the great debate on the foreign policy of the crown, 6 August 1625, when, as a friend of Buckingham, he proposed a vote of money for completing the equipment of the fleet against Spain.[14]

On 5 May 1627 Charles suspended a statute of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, for the removal of fellows at the time of commencing doctors, or within one year thereafter. Sir Henry being anxious, as grandson of Sir Walter Mildmay, the founder, to maintain the statute, offered to annex five or six new benefices to the college within six years, and thus obtained its revocation.[15] On 4 August 1630 he was appointed a commissioner for compounding with persons selected for knighthood, and likewise a collector.[16] In 1639 he accompanied Charles I on his expedition to Scotland, and maintained an interesting correspondence with Secretary Francis Windebank.[17] As deputy-lieutenant of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, he endeavoured in May 1640 to collect the "conduct-money" in that county, but found the task little to his liking.[18] On 21 April 1641 he voted against the bill for the attainder of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.[19]

Sir Henry eventually deserted the king, and was appointed one of the committee of the commons on 9 September 1641.[20] The parliament, regarding him as an important acquisition, refused, despite its ordinance, to expel him for his notorious peculation (Declaration of the King concerning the Proceedings of this Present Parliament, 12 August 1642;[21] and allowed him to retain his salary as master of the jewel-house.[22] He made himself useful by acting as master of the ceremonies to foreign ambassadors, and was an active committeeman for Essex.[23]

In November 1643 he got into trouble with parliament by saying of Philip, Lord Wharton, who had raised a regiment for the parliamentary service,[24] and subsequently became a member of the council of state,[25] "that he had made his peace at Oxon, and therefore was not fit to be entrusted with any public trust".[26] After endeavouring to shift the blame on Lord Murray he thought it prudent to absent himself from the house. (It was not he but a cousin Sir Henry Mildmay of Woodham Walters and Moulsham who on 17 June 1645 vainly claimed, by petition, the barony of Fitzwalter;[27] From 1645 to 1652 he was a commissioner for the revenue.[28]

By reason of his wealth Sir Henry was one of the hostages left with the Scots in December 1646.[29] In January 1648, on the debate upon the letters of the Scottish commissioners, he made a long speech in praise of Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll, and moved that the latter be paid his £10,000, and the rest of the Scottish debts be continued at interest at 8 per cent. For his "good service" in Hampshire at the trial of Captain John Burley he received the thanks of parliament on 2 February 1648.[30]

Sir Henry was nominated one of the king's judges, and attended the trial on 23 January 1649, but abstained from signing the warrant.[31] He was a member of the councils of state elected in 1649, 1650, 1651, and 1652, and sat on the committee appointed to consider the formation of a West India Company, and the regulation of the fishing upon the British coasts.[32] In July 1649 parliament ordered the sum of £2,000. which he had lent to Charles I to be repaid him with interest from the fund accumulated by sales of cathedral lands.[33]

When, in the summer of 1650, news reached London that Charles II had landed in Scotland, Sir Henry, who had often been sent on a commission to inquire into the state of the late king's three younger children, suggested, as a matter of public safety, that they should be immured in Carisbrooke Castle, of which his brother Anthony was governor.[34] Thenceforward he ceased to take a prominent part in affairs, though he signed the remonstrance promoted on 22 September 1656 by Sir Arthur Hesilrige on behalf of the excluded members.[35]

On 15 May 1660 Sir Henry was ordered, to attend the committee appointed to consider Charles II's reception, and give an account of the whereabouts of the crowns, robes, sceptres, and jewels belonging to the king. He attempted to escape abroad, but was seized by Lord Winchelsea at Rye, Sussex, and was excepted out of the General Pardon Bill. On his petition he was ordered to be committed to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms instead of to the Tower of London. On 1 July 1661 he was brought to the bar of the House of Commons, and after evidence had been produced against him, and he had been made to confess his guilt, he was degraded from his honours and titles. He was likewise sentenced to be drawn every year on the anniversary of the king's sentence (27 January) upon a sledge through the streets to and under the gallows at Tyburn, with a rope about his neck, and so back to the Tower, there to remain a prisoner during his life.[36] In a petition to the House of Lords, dated 25 July, he prayed for commiseration, alleging that he was present at the trial only to seek some opportunity of saving the king's life.[37] On 31 March 1664 a warrant was issued for Mildmay's transportation to Tangier, but on account of his feeble health he was allowed a servant.[38] He died, after setting out on the journey, between April 1664 and May 1665 at Antwerp.[39] where a friend had a picture taken of him as he lay dead, to confute the popular notion that no regicide could die a natural death.[40] Most of his vast accumulations were forfeited to the crown, his estate at Wanstead being granted to James, Duke of York.[41]

Surviving papers[edit]

In the British Museum are Mildmay's letters to Sir Thomas Barrington in 1643 (Egerton MSS. 2643, 2647), letter to the parliamentary committee at Southampton in 1645,[42] and a guarantee on a loan for pay of troops in Essex in 1643 (Egerton MS. 2651, f. 146); there are also letters of his in the Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library (Lords' Journals, vols. vi. x).

Family[edit]

Sir Henry married, in April 1619, Anne, daughter and coheiress of William Holliday, alderman of London. They had two sons: William (b 1623), and Henry, who was admitted of Gray's Inn on 26 April 1656,[43] and three daughters: Susan, Anne, and Mary.[41]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Plant 2005.
  2. ^ a b Willis 1750, pp. 229–239.
  3. ^ a b c Lee 1903, p. 875.
  4. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Visitations of Essex, Harl. Soc., vol. xiii. pt. i. pp. 252, 452.
  5. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Rebellion, ed. Macray, iv. 487–8.
  6. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 171.
  7. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Court and Times of James I, ii. 152.
  8. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Nichols, Progresses of James I, iii. 454, 483, 553.
  9. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1619–23, p. 140
  10. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Foster, Register, p. 161,
  11. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Nicols, iv. 754.
  12. ^ In this article years start on 1 January (see Old Style and New Style dates).
  13. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Members of Parliament, Official Return, pt. i.
  14. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Gardiner, History, v. 413.
  15. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1627–8, p. 165.
  16. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1629–31, p. 321.
  17. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1639.
  18. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. p. 163.
  19. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Verney Papers, Camden Soc., p. 59.
  20. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1641–3, p. 201; Clarendon, i. 386.
  21. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Clarendon, i. 228–229.
  22. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke Memorials, ed. 1732, p. 106.
  23. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke Memorials, ed. 1732, 80, 518, 681.
  24. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Cal. State Papers, 1642–44, p. 366
  25. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Cal. State Papers, 1644, p. 561.
  26. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, iii. 300.
  27. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Lords' Journals, vii. 438.
  28. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 cf. the warrants signed by him in Addit. MSS. 21482, 21506, and Egerton MS. 2159.
  29. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 230.
  30. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 290; Walker, Hist. of Independency, edit. 1661, pt. i. p. 79.
  31. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Nalson, Trial of Charles I, edit. 1684, pp. 2, 50, 52.
  32. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, vi. 141, 362, 532, vii. 221.
  33. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, vi. 264.
  34. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Clarendon, v. 335–6; Green, Princesses of England, vi. 381; Thurloe, State Papers, i. 158.
  35. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 653.
  36. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, viii. 26, 37, 38, 60, 66, 285, 286; Pepys, Diary, ed. Bright, i. 407, 528–9.
  37. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. pp. ix. 150.
  38. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cite: Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1663–1664, pp. 536, 561.
  39. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cite: Pepys, iii. 156.
  40. ^ In 1894 the picture was in the possession of Sir Henry B. P. St. John Mildmay.
  41. ^ a b Goodwin 1894, p. 373.
  42. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 374 Cites: Addit. MS. 24860, f. 114.
  43. ^ (Goodwin 1894, p. 373) Cites: Foster , p. 277

References[edit]

Attribution
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1903). "Mildmay, Sir Henry". Dictionary of National Biography Index and Epitome. Cambridge University Press. p. 875. 
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGoodwin, Gordon (1894). "Mildmay, Henry". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 37. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 372–374.  DNB notes the following sources:
    • Morant's Essex, i. 30, ii. 29;
    • Noble's Lives of the English Regicides;
    • the Traytor's Pilgrimage from the Tower to Tyburn;
    • Bramston's Autobiog. (Camd. Soc.), p. 28;
    • Coxe's Cat. Cod. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. pt. iv. p. 1025.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peacey, J. T. (2004). "Mildmay, Henry (c.1594–1664/5?)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18695.  (subscription required)
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Robert Rich
Member of Parliament for Maldon
1621
With: Julius Caesar
Succeeded by
Sir William Masham, Bt
Sir Arthur Harris
Preceded by
Sir James Ley
Sir Miles Fleetwood
Member of Parliament for Westbury
1624
With: Sir John Saye
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Long
Thomas Hopton
Preceded by
Sir William Masham, Bt
Sir Arthur Harris
Member of Parliament for Maldon
1625
With: Sir William Masham, Bt;
Succeeded by
Sir William Masham, Bt
Sir Thomas Cheek
Preceded by
Sir William Masham, Bt
Sir Thomas Cheek
Member of Parliament for Maldon
1628-1629
With: Sir Arthur Harris
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Maldon
1640-1653
With: John Porter 1640
Sir John Clotworthy 1640-1648
Succeeded by
Not represented in Barebones Parliament