Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wharton, Philip (1613-1696)
WHARTON, PHILIP, fourth Baron Wharton (1613–1696), born on 18 April 1613, was son of Sir Thomas Wharton of Easby, Yorkshire, by Philadelphia, daughter of Robert Carey, first earl of Monmouth [q. v.], and grandson of Philip, third baron Wharton. His father died on 17 April 1622, his mother in 1654 (Carte MS. 103, f. 267). Wharton succeeded his grandfather on 25 March 1625, and matriculated at Oxford as a member of Exeter College on 3 March 1625–6 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, ix. 126). According to the biographer of his son, Wharton was in his younger days one of the handsomest men and the greatest beau of his times; he had particularly fine legs, and took great delight to show them in dancing (Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, 1715, p. 5). In spite of these temptations he became a strong puritan, and came forward as one of the opponents of the court in the parliament of May 1640. He signed the Yorkshire petition against billeting soldiers on the county, and his name is appended to some copies of the petition of the twelve peers presented on 28 Aug. 1640 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1640, pp. 66, 524, 641). For his part in the first petition Wharton was personally rebuked by the king, while Strafford threatened to have its promoters hanged if they interfered further, or, according to Burnet, to shoot Wharton at the head of the army as a mover of sedition (Memoirs of Sir Hugh Cholmley, pp. 61, 64; Burnet, Own Time, ed. Airy, i. 46). In September 1640 Wharton was one of the commissioners employed at the treaty of Ripon, and Baillie speaks of him as a good friend to the Scots (Letters, i. 298). During the early period of the Long parliament Wharton supported the policy of the popular leaders in the lower house, and was thought so deep in their secrets that the king proposed to call him as a witness against the five members (Gardiner, Hist. of England, x. 16, 130). On 28 Feb. 1642 parliament appointed him lord lieutenant of Lancashire, and on 24 June of Buckinghamshire also (Commons' Journals, ii. 459, 638). He was also selected (18 June 1642) to command the army destined for the recovery of Ireland (Peacock, Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, 1874, p. 67).
Wharton protested in his letters his desire for an accommodation between king and parliament, but nevertheless accepted a commission (30 July) to command a regiment of foot in the army under the Earl of Essex (Bankes, Story of Corfe Castle, pp. 132, 147). At Edgehill Wharton's regiment was routed, but it preserved its colours, and Wharton himself did his duty, though the royalist ballad-mongers reported that he ran away, and hid himself in a sawpit (Rump Songs, pp. 91, 103). Two days after the battle, Essex sent him to give an account of it to parliament, and Wharton also made a narrative of it to the lord mayor and aldermen of London (Old Parl. Hist. xi. 472; Clarendon, Rebellion, vi. 101; Two Speeches of the Lord Wharton spoken in Guildhall, Oct. 27, 1642, 4to). For the rest of the war he confined himself to his parliamentary duties. He was from the first a member of the committee of both kingdoms, and was also one of the lay members of the assembly of divines. Wharton took at first a zealous part in the proceedings of the assembly; afterwards he went over to the independent minority, and even proposed the dissolution of the assembly (Baillie, Letters, ii. 117, 130, 236, 344). He supported the self-denying ordinance, the formation of the new model, and the appointment of Fairfax as general in place of Essex (Old Parl. Hist. xiii. 434; Fairfax Correspondence, iii. 143, 157). In July 1645 parliament appointed him one of the commissioners to treat with the Scots, who now regarded him as hostile. ‘You know his metal,’ wrote Baillie; ‘he is as fully as ever for that party’ (Letters, ii. 298). Wharton's letters during this employment, which continued until November 1645, are printed in the ‘Journals of the House of Lords’ and the ‘Old Parliamentary History’ (xiv. 44–61, 107). The House of Commons was so satisfied with his conduct that on 1 Dec. 1645, in debating the propositions to be sent to the king, they resolved that he should be desired to raise Wharton to an earldom. In the quarrel between army and parliament in 1647, Wharton took no public part. In June 1648 he was accused of concealing Major Rolfe's supposed plot against the king's life, but the House of Lords (19 June 1648) vindicated his conduct (ib. xvii. 238–56, xx. 355; Clarendon, Rebellion, xi. 194; Carte MSS. 80, f. 574). He was not present in the House of Lords when the ordinance for the king's trial was rejected, but disapproved both of ‘Pride's purge’ and the king's execution (Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 492).
Wharton was on very intimate terms with Cromwell, who wrote to him on 8 Sept. 1648 to convey the news of the victory at Preston, and to congratulate him on the birth of his son Thomas. Cromwell frequently but vainly endeavoured to persuade Wharton to take an active part in the government of the republic, and, to remove his scruples, in a letter written just before the battle of Worcester he reproached him with stumbling at the dispensations of God and reasoning himself out of God's service. The work, he added, ‘needs you not—save as your Lord and Master needed the ass's colt, to show his humility—but you need it to declare your submission to and owning yourself the Lord's and his people's’ (Carlyle, Cromwell, Letters 68, 118, 146, 181). In spite of this difference of opinion, the two continued on excellent terms, and in 1652 a match between Henry Cromwell and one of Wharton's daughters was discussed (ib. App. No. 26). Wharton intervened with Cromwell on behalf of Lord Claneboy in 1653, and his influence with the Protector was evidently considerable (Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, 32nd Rep. App. i. 24, 137). In December 1657 the Protector sent him a summons to the House of Lords, and, though Wharton refused to sit, it was evidently feared by Lord Saye that he would obey the summons (English Hist. Review, 1895, p. 106).
Wharton welcomed Charles II on his return to England, and spent a large sum in equipping himself for that purpose. ‘He was at that time in mourning for his second wife, and to give his black a look of joy on that occasion, his buttons were so many diamonds’ (Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, p. 8). It is said that there was some thought of excluding Wharton from the act of indemnity, but it was not attempted, and it would have been difficult to find any ground for so doing (ib. p. 7). He lost, however, by the resettlement of Ireland a portion of the lands which he had obtained in that country during the protectorate, and he was in some danger of being obliged to refund 4,000l. which parliament had granted him out of Sir George Savile's estate (Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, 32nd Rep. App. i. 160; Foxcroft, Life of Halifax, i. 18, 28; Carte MS. 103, f. 252). In 1670 Wharton was conspicuous among the opponents of the new Conventicle Act, and in 1675 against the act to impose a non-resistance test on the whole nation (Foxcroft, i. 66, 120; Hist. and Proc. of the House of Lords, 1742, i. 130, 138, 150). On 15 Feb. 1676–7 Wharton, with three other peers, was sent to the Tower for arguing that the existing parliament was dissolved because it had been illegally prorogued for fifteen months, and refusing to make the submission demanded (Christie, Life of Shaftesbury, ii. 232). He remained in prison till 29 July 1677, staying there ‘somewhat longer than the rest, because he chicaned and had no mind to own his fault in plain terms’ (Macpherson, i. 82; Carte MSS. 103, f. 223, 79, 27–60). In the agitation about the popish plot and the exclusion bill, Wharton took little part, but no doubt approved his son's zeal against catholics and the Duke of York. When James II ascended the throne he thought it best to travel, obtained a pass from Lord Sunderland on 7 Aug. 1685 (Carte MS. 103, f. 260), and spent some time in Flanders and Germany. The elector of Brandenburgh made him a present of six horses and received him with great distinction (ib. 81, ff. 768–74; Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, p. 9). In the crisis of 1688 none declared more emphatically than Wharton for the elevation of the Prince of Orange to the throne. In the council of peers held after the king's flight when Clarendon urged consideration of the rights of the newly born heir, Wharton answered, ‘I did not expect at this time of day to hear anybody mention that child, who was called the Prince of Wales, and I hope we shall hear no more of him’ (Singer, Diary of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, ii. 235; cf. Burnet, Reign of James II, ed. Routh, 1852, p. 479). When William III became king, Wharton was made a privy councillor (14 Feb. 1689). His last appearance in politics was on the occasion of the bill brought forward in 1690 for imposing a general oath abjuring the title of James II. ‘Lord Wharton,’ according to Dartmouth's note to Burnet, ‘said he was a very old man, and had taken a multitude of oaths in his time, and hoped God would forgive him if he had not kept them all; for truly they were more than he could pretend to remember; but should be very unwilling to charge himself with more at the end of his days’ (Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1833, iv. 79; cf. Macaulay, Hist. of England, ii. 163). He died on 4 Feb. 1696, and was buried at Woburn.
Wharton was three times married: (1) in 1632, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rowland Wandesford of Pickhill, Yorkshire; (2) on 7 Sept. 1637, to Jane, daughter of Arthur Goodwin of Winchendon, Buckinghamshire; she died on 21 April 1658. Many letters from her father to her are among the Carte MSS. (vol. 103); and (3), on 4 Aug. 1661, to Anne, daughter of William Carr of Fernihurst, Roxburghshire, and widow of Edward Popham. She was buried on 17 Aug. 1692. By his first wife he had a daughter, who married, in 1659, Robert Bertie (afterwards third Earl of Lindsey). By his second wife he had four daughters: Anne, married William Carr, and died in 1689 without issue; Margaret, who married successively Major Dunch, Sir Thomas Seyhard, and William Ross, twelfth baron Ross [q. v.]; Mary, who married, in 1673, William Thomas of Wenvoe Castle, Glamorganshire, and in 1678, Sir Charles Kemeys of Cefn Mably, in the same county; Philadelphia, who married, in 1679, Sir George Lockhart, and, secondly, Captain John Ramsay. Of Wharton's sons, by his second wife, Thomas, first marquis of Wharton, the eldest surviving, is separately noticed; Henry, the second, died a colonel in the English army in Ireland in 1687; and Goodwin, the third, who died in 1704, wrote an autobiography, which is now in the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 20006–7). William, Wharton's only son by his third wife, was killed in a duel (Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, p. 10).
Wharton had a taste for architecture and gardening, and is said to have spent 30,000l. on enlarging his house at Woburn. He had a very fine collection of the paintings of Van Dyck and Lely (Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, p. 7). By a deed made in 1662 he settled some of his lands near Healaugh, Yorkshire, upon trustees for 1,050 bibles, and as many catechisms were to be given yearly in certain towns and villages of the four counties in which his estates lay—Buckingham, York, Westmorland, and Cumberland—to poor children who had learnt by heart seven specified Psalms (E. R. Wharton, The Whartons of Wharton Hall, 1898, p. 35). A fine portrait of Wharton as a young man by Van Dyck is in the gallery of the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. There is an engraved portrait of Wharton by Hollar.
[G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Doyle's Official Baronage; Life of Thomas, Marquis of Wharton, 1715, 8vo; E. R. Wharton's Whartons of Wharton, 1898; six volumes of collections