John Aislabie

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John Aislabie
JohnAislabie.jpg
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
20 March 1718 – 23 January 1721
Monarch George I
Preceded by The Viscount Stanhope
Succeeded by Sir John Pratt (interim)
Personal details
Born (1670-12-04)4 December 1670
Died 18 June 1742(1742-06-18) (aged 71)
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge
Trinity Hall, Cambridge

John Aislabie or Aslabie (/ˈzləbɪ/; 4 December 1670 – 18 June 1742) was a British politician, notable for his involvement in the South Sea Bubble and for creating the water garden at Studley Royal.

Background and education[edit]

Aislabie's family were originally Yeoman farmers who lived in Hemingbrough. His father George married into the highly influential Mallory family. He attended St. John's College and Trinity Hall at Cambridge.[1] He inherited the Studley estate from his mother's family in 1693, and started serious development of the garden around 1716, becoming the first in England to introduce natural landscaping. (His son William Aislabie added the ruins of Fountains Abbey to the estate.)

Political career[edit]

Aislabie was elected as a member of parliament for Ripon in 1695, apparently on the assumption he was a Tory, though his political views were somewhat fluid. He became more active in politics from 1704, especially on the economy. He eventually became associated with the Country Whigs. Under the patronage of Robert Harley he was appointed a Lord of the Admiralty from 1710 in the Tory administration. This proved a precarious appointment as Aislabie's Whig sympathies manifested in votes against the government.

When the Whigs returned to office in 1714, Aislabie was made Treasurer of the Navy. He became an ally of the Earl of Sunderland who became, in effect, Prime Minister in 1718. Sunderland appointed Aislabie as Chancellor of the Exchequer. When in 1719 the South Sea Company proposed a deal whereby it would take over the national debt in exchange for government bonds, Aislabie was a very strong supporter of the scheme and negotiated the contract; he piloted the Bill through the House of Commons. The South Sea Company had been built on high expectations which it could never fulfil, and it collapsed in August 1720. An investigation by Parliament found that Aislabie had been given £20,000 of company stock in exchange for his promotion of the scheme. He resigned the Exchequer in January 1721, and in March was found guilty by the Commons of the "most notorious, dangerous and infamous corruption". He was expelled from the House, removed from the Privy Council, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Later life and contributions[edit]

After his release from prison, he retired to his estate and continued the development of the gardens.

The obelisk in Ripon's Market Square, the first in England,[citation needed] was provided by John Aislabie in 1702.

In 1723 Aislabie constructed "Waverley Abbey House" on the site of former Cistercian Waverley Abbey in Surrey.[2]

John's son William Aislabie would also serve in Parliament for the Ripon constituency.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aslabie, John (ASLY687J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ "History". Waverley Abbey House. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Caesar
Treasurer of the Navy
1714–1718
Succeeded by
Richard Hampden
Preceded by
James Stanhope
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1718–1721
Succeeded by
Sir John Pratt
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Jonathan Jennings
Jonathan Jennings
Member of Parliament for Ripon
1695–1702
With: Jonathan Jennings 1695–1701
John Sharp 1701–02
Succeeded by
John Sharp
Sir William Hustler
Preceded by
Sir William Hustler
Daniel Lascelles
Member of Parliament for Northallerton
1702–1705
With: Sir William Hustler 1702
Robert Dormer 1702–05
Succeeded by
Robert Dormer
Sir William Hustler
Preceded by
John Sharp
Sir William Hustler
Member of Parliament for Ripon
1705–1707
With: John Sharp
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Ripon
1707–1721
With: John Sharp 1707–15
The Viscount Castlecomer 1715–19
William Aislabie the elder 1719–21
Succeeded by
William Aislabie the elder
William Aislabie the younger