Paul Methuen (diplomat)

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For other people named Paul Methuen, see Paul Methuen (disambiguation).
Sir Paul Methuen

Sir Paul Methuen PC, KB (c. 1672 – 11 April 1757) was an English diplomat and politician.

He was born in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, the son of John Methuen and his wife Mary Cheevers; his parents marriage was unhappy and they separated when he was in his teens. He was educated privately then at a Jesuit school in Paris. He went to Lisbon in 1691, when his father was appointed minister there. He gained valuable experience and the esteem of King Pedro. During two absences of his father he became chargé d'affaires, rising to Minister on his father's appointment as Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1697. He was unable to prevent a Portuguese-French alliance in 1701. When his father returned to Portugal a special envoy in 1702, they were successful in breaking the alliance in 1703. The led to the Methuen commercial treaty between England and Portugal, the basis of Britain's monopoly of Portuguese trade for much of the 18th century. His father remained in Portugal as ambassador. In 1705, he served with the army, being present at the capture of Gibraltar. On his return to England to obtain military supplies he was appointed Minister to Savoy, but succeeded his father as ambassador to Portugal on the latter's death in July 1706.

He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Devizes in 1708. He served there until 1710,[1] then for Brackley from 1713 to 1714 and from 1715 to 1747.[1] He served as a Lord of the Admiralty from 1709 to 1710, and as a Lord of the Treasury from 1714 to 1716, being sworn as a Privy Councillor on 29 October 1714.[2] About the same time, he was briefly ambassador to Spain and Morocco. He became Secretary of State for the Southern Department from 1716–1717, but resigned with Robert Walpole. On the latter's resumption of office, he became Comptroller of the Royal Household in 1720, exchanging that office for Treasurer of the Household in 1725.

He was made a Knight of the Bath by George I in May 1725.

He died, unmarried, in 1757, and was buried in the south aisle of Westminster Abbey, near his father John. His heir was his cousin Paul Methuen, for whom he bought Corsham Court. That Paul's grandson was created Baron Methuen.

Methuen, Massachusetts, was named after Sir Paul Methuen. It is the only community in the world that bears his name.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Karl Wolfgang Schweizer, ‘Methuen, Sir Paul (c.1672–1757)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2008) [1], accessed 3 November 2008.
  • G. F. R. Barker, ‘Methuen, John (1650–1706)’, rev. Thomas Doyle, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008) [2], accessed 4 November 2008.
  • Burke's Peerage (1939 edition), s.v. Methuen.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Methuen
English Minister to Portugal
1697-1702
Succeeded by
John Methuen
as ambassador
Preceded by
?
English Minister to Savoy
1705-1706
Succeeded by
John Chetwynd
Preceded by
John Methuen
British Minister to Portugal
1706-1708
Succeeded by
?
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Josiah Diston and
Sir Francis Child
Member of Parliament for Devizes
with Josiah Diston

1708–1710
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Child and
Thomas Richmond Webb
Preceded by
William Egerton and
John Burgh[disambiguation needed]
Member of Parliament for Brackley
with William Egerton

1713–1714
Succeeded by
John Burgh[disambiguation needed] and
Henry Watkins
Preceded by
John Burgh[disambiguation needed] and
Henry Watkins
Member of Parliament for Brackley
with William Egerton, to 1733;
George Lee, 1733–1742
Sewallis Shirley, from 1742

1715–1747
Succeeded by
Sewallis Shirley and
Richard Lyttelton
Political offices
Preceded by
James Stanhope
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
1716–1717
Succeeded by
Joseph Addison
Preceded by
Hugh Boscawen
Comptroller of the Household
1720–1725
Succeeded by
Daniel Finch, Lord Finch
Preceded by
The Earl of Cholmondeley
Treasurer of the Household
1725–1730
Succeeded by
The Lord Bingley