Having no public employment, and possessing but a contracted fortune, he lived in retirement during the reign of king William, devoted to literary avocations, the fruits of which appeared in his plays and poems. By a laudable economy he preserved himself at the same time from those embarrassments which in more advanced life he is said to have incurred. Having received a considerable addition to his finances by the death of his father and uncle, he became a representative for Fowey, in Cornwall, in 1702, and continued to serve in parliament till 1710, when he was made secretary at war in the place of sir Robert Walpole. In 1711 he was created baron Lansdown, and afterwards appointed comptroller and treasurer of the household to queen Anne. On the accession of George the first he was removed from his offices, and his Tory connexions prevented his being employed in that or the succeeding reign. Having protested against the bill for attainting Ormond and Bolingbroke, he fell under the suspicion of plotting against the government, was seized and sent to the Tower in Sept. 1715, where he was confined seventeen months and then discharged, without being brought to trial. In 1719 he made an ardent speech against the practice of occasional conformity, part of which is given by Cibber. In 1722 he is thought to have been driven abroad by his profusion, though on a pretence of retrieving his health rather than his circumstances. During his absence from England he composed most of his prose pieces. In 1732 he published the handsome edition of his works mentioned by lord Orford.
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