John Somers Baron Somers

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Somers, John, 1st Baron Somers (1651–1716). Lawyer and Whig politician. Called to the bar in 1676, Somers made his name as an outstanding barrister. He was elected in 1689 to the Convention Parliament and was among the principal draftsmen of the Bill of Rights. After that his advancement was rapid, becoming solicitor-general (1689), attorney-general (1692), lord keeper (1693), lord chancellor (1697), and a peer (1697). A leading Junto Whig, he was one of the few English politicians in whom William III closely confided, but in 1700 Tory jealousy brought about his dismissal. Though out of office during Anne's early years, he helped to promote much-needed reform in the legal system, supported the war against Louis XIV, and played an important role in the passage of the Regency Act (1706) and the Union with Scotland (1707). By 1708 the queen's coolness gave way to appreciation of his statesmanlike qualities and he became lord president, but went out with his fellow-Whigs in 1710. At George I's accession he was given a seat in the cabinet.

Andrew Hanham

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