THE STANHOPE/SUNDERLAND MINISTRY 1717
CRAGGS, James (1686–1721), diplomatist and politician. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, small 4to, Thursday April 11th 1717, regarding a position as Commissioner in the Treasury: "The very extraordinary manner in wch so many of ye King’s servants have abandoned his service make it necessary for him to employ men of ye best characters & principles he can meet wth. As he can never choose better than in pitching upon you & yt he intends to put Mr Stanhope at ye head of ye Treasury, I am commissioned to offer you a place in ye new patent". He expresses the hope that "ye distress of affairs from ye divisions among us will rather incite than discourage you from entering into ye M’s service, since no necessity can make him think of changing those measures wch have hitherto been agreeable to ye Whigs" and begs his correspondent "to look on this as a private letter as a mark of my real value for you & yt you would show it to nobody." Neat paper repairs to vertical creases on reverse.
James Craggs the younger was the son of the politician and government official James Craggs (bap. 1657, d. 1721). In 1713 he became member of parliament for Tregony, and on 15th April 1717 Secretary of State at War (2 days after this letter was written). The letter is associated with critical changes in the ministry which George I found necessary having a cabinet deeply divided on foreign policy, with Robert Walpole (1676–1745) and Lord Townsend (1674–1738) on one side, and James Stanhope (1673–1721) and Lord Sunderland (1675–1722) on the other. Townshend occupied the post of Northern Secretary, but was forced at the end of 1716 to give this up for the lesser appointment of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Townshend was dismissed from the latter post on 9th April 1717 upon voting against the Mutiny Bill, following which Robert Walpole resigned as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer on 10th April 1717. This led to the formation of a new cabinet created on 15th April 1717, dominated by Stanhope who replaced Walpole, and Sunderland who succeeded Townshend as secretary of state for the north. The present letter sought to fill a Treasury Commissioner post under Stanhope, of which the new appointees were the politicians John Wallop (1690–1762), George Baillie, George (1664–1738), and Thomas Micklethwaite (1678-1718), one of whom is likely to be Craggs' correspondent. (see ODNB)