Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Weaver, John (d.1685)

WEAVER, JOHN (d. 1685), politician, of North Luffenham, Lincolnshire, was admitted a freeman of Stamford on 25 Oct. 1631 (Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, i. 62). In 1643–4 he was judge-advocate to the army of the Earl of Manchester. In November 1645 he was returned to the Long parliament as member for Stamford, and in 1647 became conspicuous as one of the most outspoken members of the independent party in that body (Official Return, i. 490; Walker, Hist. of Independency, i. 95, 108, 124, 127). In January 1649 Weaver was named one of the commissioners for trying Charles I, but never attended any of the sittings of the court (Nalson, Trial of Charles I). In September 1650 he was appointed one of the four commissioners for the civil government of Ireland (Commons' Journals, vi. 479). Some of his letters in that capacity are printed in the appendix to Ludlow's ‘Memoirs’ (ed. 1894, i. 492–503). In 1652 Weaver was sent over to England to represent the views of his brother commissioners to parliament, but on 18 Feb. 1653 the officers of the Irish army petitioned for his removal, and on 22 Feb. he was, at his own request, allowed to resign (ib. i. 319; Commons' Journals, vii. 129, 260, 261; Report on the Duke of Portland's MSS. i. 644, 673). On 14 April 1653 parliament voted him Scottish lands to the value of 250l. per annum as a reward for his services, which the Protector commuted afterwards for a payment of 2,000l. (Ludlow, i. 401; Commons' Journals, vii. 278; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1654, pp. 260, 276).

Weaver represented Stamford in both the parliaments called by the Protector, and steadily voted with the republican opposition, though in 1656 he only procured his election by protesting that ‘his mind was altered from what it was in the last parliament’ (Thurloe, State Papers, v. 296, 299). None the less he was excluded from the House in September 1656, and signed the protest of the 120 members then kept out (Whitelocke, Memorials, ed. 1853, iv. 280). As soon as they were admitted Weaver began the attack upon the authority of the new House of Lords (Burton, Parliamentary Diary, ii. 377, 429). In Richard Cromwell's parliament he once more represented Stamford, and made many speeches against the validity of the ‘petition’ and ‘advice,’ the existence of the other house, and the admission of the members for Scotland (ib. iii. 70, 76, 142, 346, iv. 66, 164, 240; Thurloe, vii. 550; Ludlow, ii. 50, 53). In December 1659, after the army had turned out the Long parliament, Weaver aided Ashley Cooper and others in securing the Tower for the parliament (Thurloe, vii. 797). To this zeal he owed his election as a member of the council of state (Dec. 31, 1659), and his appointment as commissioner for the government of Ireland and the management of the navy (Ludlow, ii. 209; Commons' Journals, vii. 799, 800, 815, 825). He attended none of the meetings of the council from disinclination to take the oath abjuring monarchy, which was required from councillors, and assisted in procuring the readmission of the secluded members (Kennett, Register, p. 61; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–60, p. xxv). In consequence, when those members were readmitted he was again elected to the council of state (23 Feb. 1660).

Stamford elected Weaver to the Convention parliament, but the return was disputed and his election annulled (Commons' Journals, viii. 18).

Weaver was buried at North Luffenham on 25 March 1685.

[Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, 1889, i. 62–63; Noble's Lives of the Regicides, 1798, ii. 318.]

C. H. F.