STRATFORD, Francis (1645-1704), of Acton, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Feb. 1645, 5th s. of Edward Stratford of Horston Grange, Warws. by Grace, da. of William Pargiter of Gritworth, Northants.; bro. of John Stratford*. unm.1
Dir. Bank of Eng. 1698–9; dep.-gov. Hamburg Co. 1699–d.; asst. Russia Co. 1700–d.2
A younger son, Stratford had established himself as a successful merchant in Hamburg by 1683, and having returned to London after the Revolution he assisted William Blathwayt* in the handling of government remittances in Europe. From the mid-1690s he advanced money to a number of England’s European allies, and in 1697 received the King’s thanks for the sums remitted to the Duke of Holstein. The following year Stratford was one of the subscribers to the tobacco adventure to Russia, and in 1699 became an assistant of the Russia Company. In January 1699 Stratford stood at the Newport by-election on the interest of Nicholas Morice†, with whom he may have had business contacts through John Morice*, and was returned following a controversial poll. It is uncertain if Stratford attended the later months of the 1698–9 session, but in the autumn of 1699 he assured John Ellis* that he would be in town well before the beginning of the session. On 21 Dec. he was nominated to prepare a bill to support the Hamburg Company’s trade to Germany. Shortly before the session Stratford had received a report that the Dutch were planning further restrictions on English wool imports, and given his position as deputy-governor of the Hamburg Company it is not surprising that he appears to have taken the leading role in preparing the bill to protect the company, presenting it on 18 Jan. 1700. Though the bill was given its first reading two days later it was the subject of a number of petitions, both for and against, and it progressed no further. Stratford retained his seat in January 1701, after another controversial election, and the following month he was listed as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. During this Parliament Stratford received 40 votes in the ballot for the commission of accounts, a total that fell well short of those elected. In the summer of 1701 he was blacklisted as having opposed the preparations for war with France, albeit that this was rather unlikely conduct given his role as a government contractor. He stood down at the second election of 1701. During the early years of the War of Spanish Succession Stratford obtained new government contracts, most notably that to supply clothing to the king of Sweden’s troops, a contract worth £20,000 and of which the Commons was informed in a supply committee of 9 Feb. 1702. Stratford continued to make advances towards the cost of the war until his death on 21 Dec. 1704. He was buried at Acton eight days later, his coffin ‘being followed by above 80 of the nobility and gentry’. He left sums amounting to £5,000 as well as annuities to his nieces and nephews, one of whom was Francis Stratford, Swift’s school-friend, a Hamburg merchant, and also a government contractor.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. lxii), 139; HMC Middleton, 605–6; Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 58.
- 2. N. and Q. clxxix. 58.
- 3. Add. 41817, f. 22; 41827, f. 209; 9809, ff. 97–107, 111; 28884, f. 251; Cal. Treas. Bks. xii. 41, 295; xvi. 69, 264; xvii. 246; xix. 151; Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. li. 109; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 261; 1700–2, p. 259; CJ, xiii. 145, 173, 181; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Copley mss box H–J, ballot list, ; Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 30 Dec. 1704; Lysons, Environs (1792–6), ii. 5; PCC 262 Ash; Swift Corresp. ed. Williams, v. 223.