William Bromley (Speaker)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Right Honourable
Sir William Bromley
WilliamBromleySpeaker.jpg
Speaker of the House of Commons of Great Britain
In office
1710–1713
Preceded by Richard Onslow
Succeeded by Sir Thomas Hanmer
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
In office
17 August 1713 – September 1714
Preceded by The Viscount Bolingbroke
Succeeded by The Viscount Townshend

Sir William Bromley (1663 – 13 February 1732) was an English Tory politician. He was Speaker of the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1710 to 1713 and Secretary of State for the Northern Department from 1713 to 1714.

Bromley was a member of an old Staffordshire family, which by the time of his birth was settled in Warwickshire. He was the son of Sir William Bromley (died 1682) and his wife Ursula (a daughter of Thomas Leigh, 1st Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire). He was born at the family seat at Baginton, Warwickshire, and was baptized on 31 August 1663.

In 1679 Bromley entered Christ Church, a college of the University of Oxford, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1681.

Political career[edit]

Bromley missed the Glorious Revolution because he was travelling in France and Italy, following the death of his first wife in 1688 (he eventually married four times). Upon his return to England he embarked on a political career. Throughout his time in public life Bromley was a staunch high church Tory with a reputation for honesty and extreme partisanship. His political rivals sometimes found it useful to allege Jacobite sympathies and to refer to Bromley's travel memoirs Remarks on the Grand Tour of France and Italy to support that allegation.

In 1690 Bromley was elected to represent the county constituency of Warwickshire in the House of Commons of England. An able debater, his reputation rose rapidly; particularly amongst the Tory squires who shared similar prejudices. In 1696 Bromley refused to take an oath to swear that William III was the rightful and lawful King. As a result, he was incapacitated from serving in Parliament and was not re-elected for Warwickshire in 1698.

Bromley returned to Parliament, representing the strongly High Tory constituency of Oxford University, following a by-election in March 1701, after which Bromley was a leading figure in the Tory ranks. He continued to hold one of the university's two seats for the rest of his life.

Bromley was a strong opponent of occasional conformity by religious dissenters, who attended Church of England services often enough to avoid the legal penalties imposed by the Test and Corporation Acts. Bromley promoted several bills to strengthen the law, but they were not adopted.

From 1702 to 1705 Bromley was the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges and Elections of the House of Commons. In 1705 he was a candidate for the Speakership. On this occasion a new edition of Bromley's travel memoirs was produced by his political enemies (with an added table pointing the reader to the alleged pro-Catholic and Jacobite passages in the book). Bromley did not become Speaker in 1705.

Following the 1710 election there was a large Tory majority in the House of Commons. On 25 November 1710 Bromley was elected Speaker, without opposition. He was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council in 1711.

In his position as Speaker in 1713, Bromley responded to questions from a Scottish MP with the infamous reply that "they had catcht hold of Scotland, they wou'd keep her fast.", thereby given credence to the widely held belief in Scotland that Union was a means for England to assert her dominance over Scotland. Lockhart Papers

In 1713 Bromley left the chair of the House to join the administration as Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He lost that office in 1714, when the new King George I installed a Whig ministry. Bromley never held government office again, but he remained the generally recognised leading Tory in the House of Commons until his health declined in the 1720s. Bromley remained an MP until his death in 1732.

References[edit]

Political offices
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Heneage Finch
Sir Christopher Musgrave
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
1701–1703
With: Sir Heneage Finch, 1701-1703
Sir William Whitelock, 1703-1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
1707–1732
With: Sir William Whitelock 1707-1717
George Clarke 1717-1732
Succeeded by
George Clarke
Viscount Cornbury
Preceded by
Richard Onslow
Speaker of the House of Commons of Great Britain
1710–1713
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Hanmer, Bt
Preceded by
Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
1713–1714
Succeeded by
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend