1893 text

Sir Richard Ford was one of the commissioners sent to Breda to desire Charles II. to return to England immediately.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

10 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Read entry on Ford , Tuesday 25 September 1660 from Paul Brewster fri sep 2003
"..to have a peace with Spain and a war with France and Holland - where Sir R. Ford talked like a man of great reason and experience
In the interest of “full disclosure”, L&M; add the following footnote: “This new policy satisfied the major mercantile interests. Ford was one of the greatest of the merchants trading with Spain.."
sir Richard Ford trustee of New Royal African Company.
list of African co. members and trustees 1672

Pauline  •  Link

kt 1660 (1631-78). Merchant, of Seething Lane...member of the Council of Trade 1660-8. He had been educated at Oxford, and had spent some time in Holland during the Civil War. As a Common Councillor 1659-61, he was active in promoting the Restoration. He was responsible for securing the publication in 1664 of Thamas Mun's "England's treasure by foreign trade", which agrued the need for war against the Dutch....His connection with Pepys and the Navy Board was close--as a neighbour (his house abutted on the Navy Office to the south), as a contractor, a partner in privateering and as a member of the commission of enquiry into the Chatham Chest and of the Tangier Committee. He was an overseer of Batten's will....His house, a large one, taxed on 18 hearths, was detroyed in the Navy Office fire of 1673....

david ross mcirvine  •  Link

Sir Richard Ford reports on the Navy Debt from 1658 to 1660, out of committee to the House of Commons. This is in 1665, and the tab is in the low six figures.


Sir Richard was later Lord Mayor of London.

Pedro  •  Link

Ford, Sir Richard

As well as being a trustee of the RAC formed in 1672, he had much to do with the Guinney Company in 1663.

Coventry (who was secretary) says...

"The Company being much steered by Sir Richard Ford, Captain George Cocke and Mr. Gray of the Court Party as they called it: the first (though underhand) governing the merchants by the Dependence they had on him for trade and payment in the Navy..."

(Man of War...Ollard)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir Richard Ford, kt 1660 (1613-78).
Merchant, of Seething Lane; Alderman from 1661; Sheriff 1663-4, Lord Mayor 1670-1; Master of the Mercer's Company 1661-1, 1674-5; MP for Southampton 1661-78; member of the Council of Trade 1660-8. Educated at Oxford, he had spent some time in Holland during the Civil War. As a Common Councilor 1659-61 he was active in promoting the Restoration. He was responsible for securing the publication in 1664 of Thomas Mun's *England's treasure by foreign trade*, which argued the need for war against the Dutch, and in 1664 himself wrote a memorandum on the subject. As an M.P. he served on several committees concerned with trade. A man of wide interests, he was elected FRS in 1673. His connection with Pepys and the Navy Board was close -- as a neighbour (his house abutted on the Navy Office to the South), as a contractor, a partner in privateering and as a member of the commission of enquiry into the Chatham Chest and of the Tangier Committee. (per L&M Companion)

Bill  •  Link

Sir Richard Ford, Knight, contriver of the two Dutch wars, for which he had 10000l. and yet is scarce able to live.
---A Seasonable Argument ... for a New Parliament. Andrew Marvell, [1677] 1776.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir Richard Ford (the rest of the L&M Companion entry)

He was an overseer of Mennes' will. He himself died intestate and left no great fortune.

His house, a large one, taxed on 18 hearths, was destroyed in the Navy Office fire of 1673. Of his children, two sons, John and Samuel, and two daughters (Grace, wife of Peter Proby, a painter, and Mary, wife on Thomas Ducke) were alive when his widow Grace died (at Bexley, Kent) in 1681)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Highlights from his Parliamentary bio:

Richard Ford did not claim kinship with either of the established Devonshire families named Ford[e], nor does his father appear to have belonged to the Exeter patriciate by birth or marriage.
His education presumably prepared him for a career in the Church, but he preferred to go into trade.
He impressed Pepys as ‘a very able man of his brains and tongue, and a scholar’, although, like so many merchants, he could not keep a secret.

He settled in Rotterdam in 1642, and helped to supply the royalist armies through the western ports.
The Earl of Warwick described him as a great ‘malignant’ who sought to embroil Parliament with the United Provinces, and a vote was passed at Westminster to outlaw him.
The Royalist Peter Mews later called him ‘a knave in grain ... for when he should have supplied my lord of Ormonde with arms and ammunition, he carried corn to the rebels’.

He was allowed to compound on a vague particular in 1649 for £129, although the Council of State suspected him of ‘some design of special mischief for Charles Stuart, being a principal man in all their councils’.
But he was sufficiently reconciled to the regime to return to England in 1652, to act as supplier to the Protectorate navy and to serve on the committee of trade.

As an influential member of the common council and ‘a very loyal, prudent gentleman’, he took a leading part in promoting the Restoration in the City, and on 9 Feb. 1660 the Rump ordered his arrest.

At the general election he was involved in a double return at Exeter, which was decided against him.

As one of the delegation from the City he was knighted at The Hague, but he was again unsuccessful at Exeter in 1661, presumably because his association with the great London monopoly companies was distasteful to the provincial trading community.
In London, on the other hand, he enjoyed considerable popularity, but was unable to overcome the prejudice against ‘episcopal men’.
At Southampton the Duke of York’s letter proved efficacious and he was elected.

Sir Richard Ford MP was an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, being appointed to 195 committees, mostly on trade matters, and acting as teller in 7 divisions, but despite Pepys’ commendation he seldom spoke in the House.
In the opening session he was appointed to the committees for the security, corporations and uniformity bills.

He was the principal representative of the East India Company in their negotiations with the Dutch, and a strong advocate of the war.
Early in 1662 he was twice ordered to attend Charles II with resolutions of the House concerning the packing of wool and the dearth of corn.
He was teller against a proposal to suspend until Christmas the Merchant Adventurers’ monopoly of cloth exports to the Dutch Republic and Germany {?), and helped to manage a conference on the customs.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Charles II ‘had an inclination to serve Sir Richard’, but it was some time before he received any substantial reward for his services, other than his knighthood and some naval contracts. And Pepys caught him in an attempt to pass off ‘old stuff that had been tarred, covered over with new hemp, which is such a cheat as hath not been heard of’, at any rate by the zealous novice in the Navy Office; but his ‘Holland duck’ was excellent.

Ford’s syndicate apparently outbid the customs farmers for the additional duties, and were awarded £8,000 compensation when their tender was rejected.

In 1663 he was appointed to the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the effects of the suspension of the Merchant Adventurers’ patent.

The King gave him £1,500 to cover his expenses as sheriff of London, without which he could not have undertaken the office.

In the spring session of 1664, he was marked as a court dependant, and named to the committees for the conventicles bill and for the bill to relieve the creditors of the Merchant Adventurers, which came to nothing; but when it was revived in the autumn he acted as teller against it on the second reading.
Later in the same session he took the chair in committees to consider a petition from naval suppliers and to regulate vintners’ measures.

He formed a syndicate which received a grant of the crown’s right of ‘coinage’ on all tin mined in England and Wales; although his proposal to issue tin farthings was disallowed, the Treasury would not accept his contention that he had been a loser by the contract.

As the leading merchant in the Africa company he was chiefly responsible for the second Anglo-Dutch war.
At Oxford he was teller against the second reading of the bill to prohibit the import of Irish cattle ...

Apart from serving on the committee for the bill to establish a public accounts commission, Ford took no part in the measures against Clarendon.
He probably introduced the bill for reducing the parishes of Southampton from 5 to 2 in March 1668, since his name stands first in the list of the committee.
He was also appointed to the committee for the conventicles bill, and acted as teller for the bill to reduce rates of interest.

Sir Thomas Osborne originally included him among the dependants of the Duke of York in 1669, but transferred him, with Sir William Coventry, to the list of those Members who might be ‘engaged’ for the Court.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In 1670 Ford ... was among those ordered to attend a conference on the shipping bill.
At the same time he was engaged, on commission, to manage negotiations with Hamburg regarding compensation for 6 English ships destroyed in the Elbe by the Dutch during the war.

... On laying down office, Ford petitioned Charles II ‘for such largesse as may enable him to end the life spent in his service without contempt in the City’. [HE WAS LORD MAYOR OF LONDON 1670-71 - SDS]
His claim to have kept London ‘tranquil’ is substantiated by a report on the corporation in 1672, which stated while in office he had
"suspended the execution of the laws against nonconformists, by which he gained the applause of all that party, though they had used all the villainous arts imaginable to keep him out of the government. He is a man of excellent parts, and may do his Majesty excellent service in the City."

His financial troubles cannot have been too severe, for he leased a country house in Kent, and when his London house burned in the Navy Office fire in Jan. 1673, he moved his business to premises on Tower Hill.

... He was on the committee for rebuilding the Navy Office, and his was the first name among those appointed in 1674 for a bill to pave the City of London's streets and completing the rebuilding of churches and public works. ...

During the summer the Merchant Adventurers voted to replace him as governor by Sir Edward Dering, who described his predecessor as ‘a man of ill reputation’.

... In 1677 he was among the Members ordered to ... consider another petition from the creditors of the Merchant Adventurers, and to abolish the penalty of burning for heresy.
Lord Shaftesbury (Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper), who had been his friend over the tin farm, marked him ‘worthy’, but in "A Seasonable Argument" he was described as ‘the joint contriver of the two Dutch wars, for which he had £10,000, and yet is scarce able to live’, ...

His last committee in June 1678 was once again on the affairs of the Merchant Adventurers.

He died at 65 on 31 Aug. 1678, and was buried at Bexley,. His memorial speaks of his
"great talents and even greater integrity (for he knew everything except deceit). [He was] most skilled in several languages and almost every art ... an exile with his prince (as was seemly) and a leader in his return. How many offices he enjoyed cannot be determined, but they were far fewer than he deserved. ... Heaven remained the only reward which he could earn."

His intestacy, and the obscurity into which his family lapsed, suggest his career, devoted to one of the declining sectors of English trade, had brought him less profit than was merited by his ability.

He was married to a woman named Grace and they had 2 sons and 3 daughters.

See the whole thing at

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.