Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thompson, John (1647-1710)

THOMPSON, Sir JOHN, first Baron Haversham (1647–1710), born in 1647, was the son of Morris or Maurice Thomson of Haversham in Buckinghamshire, by his wife Dorothy, daughter of John Vaux of Pembrokeshire. Morris, like his brother, George Thomson (fl. 1643–1668) [q. v.], was a prominent member of Cromwell's government. He made his peace at the Restoration, but was accused of supplying information to the enemy during the war with Holland (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, p. 457). He died in 1671.

His son John was created a baronet on 12 Dec. 1673, and returned to parliament as member for Gatton, Surrey, on 23 March 1684–5. He inherited his father's political and religious opinions, and, throwing himself heartily into opposition to James II, was one of the earliest subscribers to the invitation to William of Orange. He retained his parliamentary seat until his elevation to the peerage on 4 May 1696, as Baron Haversham of Haversham (Returns of Members of Parliament, i. 555, 562, 569, 576). On 2 June 1699 he was appointed a lord of the admiralty, and retained the post until December 1701, when, learning that Thomas Herbert, eighth earl of Pembroke [q. v.], was to be made lord high admiral, he took umbrage and resigned (Luttrell, Brief Historical Relation, 1857, iv. 520, v. 121). Until that time he had been a strenuous whig, and a few months before had espoused the cause of Somers and Montagu with sufficient warmth to provoke the commons to decline further conferences with the lords until he had been punished (ib. v. 60, 61, 64, 66). On resigning office, however, he joined the opposition, and was instrumental in inducing the upper house persistently to reject the Occasional Conformity Bill, which passed the commons three times. On 23 Nov. 1704 he introduced a discussion on Scottish affairs, opposing any concessions to Scottish wishes (ib. v. 490, 492). On 15 Nov. 1705 he compromised both himself and his party by moving the ill-advised address to the queen praying her to call to England the heir-presumptive, Sophia of Brunswick. This step completed her alienation from the tories (ib. v. 612; Stanhope, p. 205). In 1709, although still himself in the position of an occasional conformist, he vehemently opposed the impeachment of Sacheverell, and supported the cry of the church in danger. Haversham died on 1 Nov. 1710 at Richmond, Surrey, and was buried at Haversham.

He was twice married: first, on 14 July 1668, to Frances, daughter of Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey [q. v.], and widow of John Wyndham. She died on 3 March 1704, leaving a son Maurice and six daughters. On the death of Maurice, on 11 April 1745, the titles became extinct. Haversham married, secondly, Martha Graham, a widow, who was buried at Haversham on 13 March 1724.

[Memoirs of John, Lord Haversham, 1711; Life, Birth, and Character of John, Lord Haversham, 1710; Haversham's Speeches; Burnet's Own Time; Wyon's Reign of Anne, i. 217, 312, 383, ii. 102, 180; G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerage; Haydn's Book of Dignities, p. 176; A True Account of the Proceedings relating to the Charge of the House of Commons against John, Lord Haversham.]

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