Bolingbroke, Henry St John, 1st Viscount

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Bolingbroke, Henry St John, 1st Viscount (1678–1751). St John was Tory MP for the family seat of Wootton Bassett (1701–8) and Berkshire (1710–12), secretary at war (1704–8), secretary of state for the northern department (1710–13) and for the southern department (1713–14). He was in charge of the negotiations for the peace of Utrecht (1713) ending the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1712 he had been, to his disappointment, created Viscount Bolingbroke, hoping to become an earl. This ‘snub’ contributed to the growing rift between him and Prime Minister Robert Harley, which effectively paralysed the Tory ministry. Dismissed office by George I he was impeached and attainted. He fled to France into the service of the pretender as his secretary of state, from which post he was also dismissed in 1716. He was pardoned and returned to England in 1723, and was restored to his estates in 1725, though barred from the House of Lords. Moving into opposition to Walpole, he provided much of the intellectual backbone to the ‘patriot’ and Tory parties with his philosophical and political writings, particularly in the Craftsman. He retired to France in 1735, and wrote essays on history, including his most famous work Patriot King (1738).

Clyve Jones

Bolingbroke, Henry St John, Viscount

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Bolingbroke, Henry St John, Viscount (1678–1751) English politician. A prominent Tory minister under Queen Anne, in 1714 Bolingbroke fled to France and joined the Jacobites. In 1723 he was allowed to return to England, and continued to oppose the Whig regime, attacking political corruption under Robert Walpole. The best known of his many philosophical and political writings is The Idea of a Patriot King (1749), upholding the role of monarchy in government.