On 13 Feb. Then on 26 Feb.
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Coningsby had been classified as a placeman in a list of the interest-groups in the House compiled early in , and several of his contributions to debates show him continuing to support the Court on financial business. On 31 Jan. Challenged to a duel, Coningsby refused to give satisfaction and instead complained of a breach of privilege. In common with other office-holders he proved deliberately unco-operative when called upon by the commissioners for taking army accounts.
In the House his remaining tellership this session was in a party cause, on 14 Dec. Possibly Coningsby believed this at the time. But, scenting a change in the wind, he also sought to rebuild his relations with leading Tories, notably Godolphin, with whom he renewed an amicable correspondence as early as the summer of A correspondence was also renewed with Rochester.
Robert Harley was another important figure for Coningsby to conciliate, and he seems to have tried to do so. But electoral politics in Herefordshire made for difficulties. He was even accused of trying to secure for himself a monopoly over the parliamentary representation of the county. The alliance with Cornewall brought Coningsby into conflict with the Harleys whether or not he himself wished it.
At any rate, the apologies and forced cordiality between the two men that followed the January election rang hollow, as in When the Parliament met, Coningsby was moderately active. He presented the Irish army accounts to the House on 28 Mar. A week later, when the subject of Exchequer bills was under discussion, he protested at the irregularity of a motion made by John Grobham Howe for going immediately upon ways and means.
As befitted one who still held an important office, his approach to important political questions was careful and moderate, and calculated to appeal to the sentiments of the King.
On 5 May he spoke against a proposal to appropriate part of the civil list for public expenditure. He was therefore happy to be able to join Robert Harley and other Court Tories in endorsing the compromise proposal put forward by Sir Edward Seymour, to preserve the civil list funds and underwrite them by anticipating future taxation. He was still the object of High Tory animosity, as was shown by yet another reference in a debate on 30 May to the affair of Gaffney.
On this occasion Coningsby was fortunate that the baiting was done by the notorious eccentric Sir John Bolles, 4th Bt. However, the impeachments controversy in this Parliament placed Coningsby in a delicate situation, given his partisan identification and his close association with the old ministry.
In the November election Coningsby would seem to have done nothing to harm the Harleys, and was returned at Leominster with Edward Harley. Another Tory Member vainly called for him to be brought to the bar, but the quarrel was made up. He was a teller once, in a party matter, over the East Retford election on 17 Mar. His two remaining speeches show him abetting the Court. In fact, he was able to work with the Godolphin—Marlborough administration from the very first, even while it was predominantly Tory in complexion.
He based himself on his close personal relationship with Lord Treasurer Godolphin, and his burgeoning friendship with the Duke of Marlborough, whose favour he courted in a succession of flattering letters. He also tried to force a friendship with Robert Harley, though predictably with less success. On 7 Dec. For some reason he quarrelled bitterly in the House on 15 Jan.
Fleming, as a west-country Member, could well have taken part in the political conflicts over the Irish weaving industries. In the division of 13 Feb.
Sidney, Sir Philip (–), author and courtier | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
But when he went over to Ireland in April it was to assist the new Tory viceroy, Ormond. His contribution to the —4 session of the English Parliament was unusually small, with no tellerships, and only one private bill that he himself brought in on 5 Jan. The removal of the High Tory element from the administration in early made the atmosphere of government rather more congenial to Coningsby. He reappeared as a leading Court spokesman in the Commons in the —5 session.
Forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, he was employed by Robert Harley to canvass Members, and not only voted but acted as a teller for the Court in the crucial division on 28 Nov. He was a teller against passing the place bill on 27 Jan. A supporter of the bill to promote the linen industry in Ireland, he had earlier taken the chair of the committee on a private bill on behalf of various Protestant Irish landowners, and had done his best to ease the passage through the Privy Council of legislation from the Irish parliament.
He remained on good terms with the Duke of Ormond and advised on the conduct of the second parliamentary session in Ireland, in In England the general election of May saw him re-elected at the top of the poll in Leominster, apparently for once co-operating effectively with the Harleys in Herefordshire.
His own view of the prospects that the election result opened up was conveyed in a letter to the Duke of Marlborough. This was precisely the political analysis being expounded by Robert Harley, though Coningsby saw the practical implications somewhat differently.
He began the —6 session by voting on 25 Oct. Albans election case. On 4 Dec. He intervened three times on 8 Dec. Responding to remarks by Hon. Having acted to protect the lord treasurer from being exposed during a debate on the regency bill on 19 Dec. Most notably he supported on 10 Jan. On 21 Jan. On 18 Feb. In the following session he was the Member who, on 28 Jan. Later, on 11 Feb. Are you mad? You will destroy the Union. You had as good throw it out of the window as move any such thing. He was a teller on 10 Mar. Otherwise his significant parliamentary activity concerned Irish business.
Williams, Charles Hanbury (DNB00)
Coningsby presented a measure to make more effectual the Acts for appropriating forfeited impropriations in Ireland to the building of churches and the augmentations of small vicarages. Then on 27 Mar. He travelled to Dublin with Pembroke in the summer of and tried to act as a broker between the viceroy and the leading Irish politicians, though no one there really trusted him. His name appeared in a list of Court party managers sent to Harley in October A teller on 17 Nov.
In a committee on 4 Dec. His argument was simply that the original motion contravened the Union. If the proposal was to be accepted in any form, he suggested it might be added to the bill to repeal the Scottish acts of security and anent peace and war. Subsequently he acted as a teller on 12 Dec. He was also a teller the same day on the Court side for an amendment to the land tax bill. When the political storm broke over the inquiry into the conduct of the war in Spain, Coningsby was to the fore.
Then on 18 and 23 Feb. He acted as a teller on 22 Mar.
Charles Hanbury Williams
However a bout of ill-health, apparently eye trouble again, kept him out of public notice for much of the remainder of the session. In the delicate political circumstances of the time it is not inconceivable that this outbreak was diplomatic in origin. Coningsby was still described as a Whig tout court in parliamentary lists compiled in early , but he was now generally recognized as a Court Whig. Instinct for self-preservation led him to reopen lines of communication. More significantly, Coningsby tried to identify himself with the latest change of policy in Ireland, where Junto pressure brought about the replacement of Pembroke by Lord Wharton Hon.
In the debate, probably on 10 Mar. During the summer he took part in various intrigues set on foot between Godolphin and Marlborough and individual Junto lords, with a view to dividing the Junto and thus holding them in check. Later, in a letter to Marlborough, he recalled a meeting with Godolphin, the Duke and Duchess, at which.
But in the absence of any such initiative, although he continued to give Godolphin his counsel, he was himself obliged to act in Parliament with the Junto Whigs. On 13 Dec.
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On 11 Jan. A more acerbic commentator, biased against him, wrote that Coningsby. Meanwhile, he had told on 15 Feb. He also presented, on 18 Feb. However, no part of this story is borne out by strictly contemporary evidence. As far as Harley was concerned, Coningsby was a marked man, despite, or perhaps because of, their old acquaintance.