Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/109

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Langhorne
Langhorne
103

Shortly before the Restoration he engaged a half-witted person to manage elections for him in Kent, and admitted to Tillotson (afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) that if the agent should turn informer it would be easy to invalidate his evidence by representing him as a madman. Langhorne was accused by Oates and his associates with being a ringleader in the pretended 'Popish plot,' and was among the first who were apprehended. He was committed to Newgate on 7 Oct. 1678, and after more than eight months' close imprisonment was tried at the old Bailey on 14 June 1679. Oates gave evidence against against Langhorne, and Bedloe corroborated him. Langhorne called witnesses to rebut their statements, and pointed out glaring discrepancies, but in vain. He was condemned with five jesuits who had been tried on the previous day, and was reprieved for some time in the hope that he would make discoveries, but he persisted in affirming that he could make none, and that all that had been sworn against him was false. He was executed on 14 July 1679 at Tyburn, where he delivered a speech, which he desired might be published. A portrait of him in mezzotint has been engraved by E. Lutterel. It is reproduced in Richardson's 'Collection of Portraits in illustration of Granger,' vol. ii.

His works are: 1. 'Mr. Langhorne's Memoires, with some Meditations and Devotions of his during his imprisonment: as also his Petition to his Majesty, and his Speech at his Execution,' London, 1679, fol. 2. 'Considerations touching the great question of the King's right in dispensing with the Penal Laws, written on the occasion of his late blessed Majesties granting Free Toleration and Indulgence,' London, 1667, fol. Dedicated to the king by the author's son, Richard Langhorne.

[The following publications have reference to his trial and execution: (a) The Petition and Declaration of R. Langhorne, the notorious Papist, now in Newgate condemned for treason, promoted to his Majesty in Council ... in which be avowedly owneth several Popish principles [London, 1679], fol.; (b) Tryal of R. Langhorne . . . London, 1679. fol.; (c) An Account of the Deportment and last Words of ... R. Langhorne, London, 1679, fol.; (d) The Confession and Execution of ... R. Langhorne ... [London, 1679], fol.; (e) The Speech of R. Langhorne at his Execution, 14 July 1679. Being left in writing by him [London, 1679], fol. Printed in French the same year by Thomas White, alias Whitebread, jesuit, in Harangues des cinq Pères de la Compagnie de Jéans, executés á Londres, le 14 juin 1679, sine loco, 4to. See also Burnet's Hist. of his own Time. i. 230, 427, 430, 431, 465, 466; Challoner's Missionary Priests, No. 200; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 263; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 5th edit. v. 129, 130; Howell's State Trials, vii. 417; Jones's Popery Tracts, i. 90; North's Lives, 1825, i. 38.]

T. C.

LANGHORNE, Sir WILLIAM (1629–1715), governor of Madras, son of William Langhorne, an East India merchant, of London, was born in the city in 1629. He was probably a brother of the Captain Langhorne of the royal navy who is frequently mentioned in the 'State Papers' during the reign of Charles II (Dom. Ser. 1666–7, passim). He was admitted to the Inner Temple on 6 Aug. 1664, but does not appear to have practised at the bar (Inner Temple Register). He succeeded to his father's East India trade, made money, and was in 1668 created a baronet. In 1670 he was appointed to investigate a charge of fiscal malpractice which had been brought against Sir Edward Winter, East India Company agent and governor of Madras, with the result that Langhorne himself was made governor in Winter's stead in the course of the year. His appointment coincided with a critical period in the history of the settlement. Colbert had in 1665 projected the French East India Company, and in 1673 the French admiral, De la Haye, landed troops and guns at St. Thomé, on the Coromandel coast. Langhorne maintained a discreetly neutral position between the French, who were at that moment the nominal allies of England, and the Dutch, with whom England was at war. When in 1674 the Dutch stormed and took possession of St. Thomé, he contented himself with expressing sympathy with the French, at the same time strengthening the defences of Fort St. George. In the same year the English settlement was visited by Dr. John Fryer (d. 1733) [q. v.] the traveller, who spoke highly of Langhorne. 'The true masters of Madras,' he says, 'are the English Company, whose agent here is Sir William Laugham [sic], a gentleman of indefatigable industry and worth. He is superintendent over all the factories on the coast of Coromandel as far as the Bay of Bengala and up Haygly river. ... He has his Mint ... moreover he has his judiciaries, but not on life and death to the king's liege people of England; though over the rest they may. His personal guard consists of three hundred or four hundred blacks, besides a band of fifteen hundred men ready on summons; he never goes abroad without fifes, drums, trumpets, and a flag with two bells in a red field, accompanied with his Council and Factors on horseback, with their ladies in palankeens' (Fryer, New Account, p. 38).

In 1675 he successfully resisted an attempt