Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/222

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
 

however, did not take place until 1668, when Pepys says that he received 12,000l. for it. Pepys also states that it was his practice to conceal the deaths of the troopers that he might draw their pay; and one of his clerks named Carr drew up a petition to the House of Lords charging him with peculation to the extent of 2,000l. per annum. The petition found its way into print before presentation, and was treated by the house as a breach of privilege, voted a ‘scandalous paper,’ and ordered to be burned by the common hangman. Carr was sentenced to pay a fine of 1,000l., to stand in the pillory for three hours on each of three different days, and to be imprisoned in the Fleet during the king's pleasure. Gerard subsequently indicted him as a deserter from the army.

On 5 Jan. 1666–7 Gerard had been appointed to the general command of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight militia, with special instructions to provide for the security of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth in view of the threatening attitude of the Dutch. In this capacity he was busily engaged during the spring and summer of 1667 in strengthening the fortifications of Portsmouth. He continued to hold the post of gentleman of the bedchamber, with a pension of 1,000l. attached to it, during the reign of Charles II. On 23 July 1679 he was created Earl of Macclesfield. On the occasion of the Duke of Monmouth's unauthorised return from abroad in November 1679, Gerard was sent by Charles to him ‘to tell him out of his great tenderness he gave him till night to be gone.’ The messenger was ill-chosen, Gerard being himself one of the band of conspirators of which Monmouth was the tool. His name appears in the ‘Journal of the House of Lords,’ with that of Shaftesbury, as one of the protesters against the rejection of the Exclusion Bill on 15 Nov. 1680. Lord Grey de Werke in his ‘Confession’ (p. 61) asserts that Gerard suggested to Monmouth the expediency of murdering the Duke of York by way of terrorising Charles. In August 1681 he was dismissed from the post of gentleman of the bedchamber. On 5 Sept. 1682 he entertained the Duke of Monmouth at his seat in Cheshire. In 1684 the question of the Gawsworth title was revived (partly no doubt as a political move) by an application on the part of Fitton to the lord keeper, Guilford, to review the case. Roger North tells us that as Fitton was then in favour at court, while Gerard was ‘stiff of the anti-court party,’ it was generally anticipated that the lord keeper would, independently of the merits of the case, decide in favour of Fitton. In fact, however, he refused the application on the ground that the claim was stale, a ‘pitch of heroical justice’ which North cannot adequately extol, and which so impressed Gerard that he expended a shilling in the purchase of the lord keeper's portrait (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–7; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. 486 a, 495 a, 8th Rep. App. 115 a; Pepys, Diary, 13 Oct. 1663, 14 Sept. and 16 Dec. 1667, 16 Sept. 1668; Lords' Journ. xii. 173–5, xiii. 666; Hatton Corresp. Camd. Soc. i. 206, ii. 7; Earwaker, East Cheshire, ii. 556; Burnet, Own Time, 8vo, iii. 56 n.; Luttrell, Relation of State Affairs, i. 120, 216; North, Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford, 206; Examen, 558). The grand jury of Cheshire having presented him on 17 Sept. as disaffected to the government and recommended that he should be bound over to keep the peace, Gerard retaliated by an action of scandalum magnatum against a juryman named Starkey, laying the damages at 10,000l. The case was tried in the exchequer chamber on 25 Nov. 1684, and resulted in judgment for the defendant. On 7 Sept. 1685 a royal proclamation was issued for Gerard's apprehension. He fled to the continent, and sentence of outlawry was passed against him. The next three years he spent partly in Germany and partly in Holland, returning to England at the revolution of 1688. During the progress of the Prince of Orange from Torbay to London, Gerard commanded his body-guard, a troop of some two hundred cavaliers, mostly English, mounted on Flemish chargers, whose splendid appearance excited much admiration. In February 1688–9 he was sworn of the privy council, and appointed lord president of the council of the Welsh marches, and lord-lieutenant of Gloucester, Hereford, Monmouth, and North and South Wales. His outlawry was formally reversed in the following April. His political attitude is curiously illustrated by his speech in the debate on the Abjuration Bill. Lord Wharton, after owning that he had taken more oaths than he could remember, said that he should be ‘very unwilling to charge himself with more at the end of his days,’ whereupon Gerard rose and said that ‘he was in much the same case with Lord Wharton, though they had not always taken the same oaths; but he never knew them of any use but to make people declare against government that would have submitted quietly to it if they had been let alone.’ He also disclaimed having had much hand in bringing about the revolution. In July 1690 he was one of a commission appointed to inquire into the conduct of the fleet during a recent engagement with the French off Beachy Head, which had not terminated so successfully as