5 Annotations

First Reading

Emilio  •  Link

"One of the ablest financial experts thrown up by the Civil War"

(b. 1602, d. 1670) "From being an attorney and man of business to the Earl of Northumberland, he became M.P. for Berwick in the Long Parliament, chairman of the army committee in 1645 and one of the architects of the parliamentary victory. In Jan. 1659 he sat for Grampound and was made a commissioner for the management of the revenue. When Pepys met him he was one of the commissioners for disbanding the armed forces (1660-1). He was a commissioner of appeals in the excise service from Oct. 1660 until his death." (L&M Companion)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Robert Scawen (M.P. for Cockermouth), whom Pepys knew well as a commissioner for disbanding the forces in late 1660, was also appointed one of the commissioners for regulating the Excise.
John Hunt held a sub-commissionership under him.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Robert Scawen’s ancestors lived in a "rural and tranquil situation the descendants passed their days in genteel retirement, and we hear little of their appearance in the busy world until the time of Charles I."

Robert Scawen, a younger son, became a London attorney, and succeeded his kinsman, John Pym MP, in a revenue post on a life patent in 1638.

Scawen also became the man of business to Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, under whom he acquired the basics of military administration during the Bishops’ Wars.

He was elected in 1640 to represent Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Robert Scawen’s older brother, William, who sat for St. Germans in the Short Parliament, was a Royalist in the first Civil War, serving as second-in-command to Piers Edgcumbe.
Robert followed his patron, Northumberland, into the parliamentarian camp, holding the important chairmanship of the Army Committee until Pride’s Purge.

Robert lost his other office without compensation when the crown lands were sold off by the Commonwealth, but his affairs had prospered so he was able to buy the manor of Horton in 1658, although he still continued to advise Northumberland on legal matters.

Robert Scawen MP was again appointed to office in 1659.

At the Restoration, the Convention Parliament nominated Robert Scawen to the disbandment commission, and he was given a post in the Exchequer.

Scawen succeeded Northumberland’s factor, Hugh Potter, at a by-election for Cockermouth in 1662.

A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 48 committees, included for expediting public accounts outstanding from the former regimes, and the additional corporations bill.

In 1663 Robert Scawen MP was named to the sub-committee to inspect the excise and to the committee for the bill for collecting arrears, on 23 July attending a conference on the subject.

Robert Scawen MP was listed as a court dependent in 1664.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


During the second Anglo-Dutch war, Robert Scawen MP and Sir William D’oyley were chiefly responsible for organizing the transport of revenue from the provinces.

In January 1665 Robert Scawen MP was among those ordered to examine Exchequer fees.

Similarly, Scawen was given the responsibility for reducing the assessment on London after the Great Fire of 1666, although he was against authorizing the corporation to mark out streets for widening.

Robert Scawen MP helped to prepare reasons for conferences on the Canary Company patent and the charges against Lord Mordaunt.

Scawen was also among those entrusted with the bill for illegitimizing Lady Roos’ children (21 Jan. 1667).
But his main concern in this session was a private bill to reverse his son, Francis’ attainder for stealing a widow’s horse on the grounds that the evidence was perjured. The bill was first introduced in the Lords, and passed the Commons without committal.

Despite his long experience in the revenue, Robert Scawen MP was one of the first to run afoul of the new Treasury commission in 1667, although it was probably his brother, William (with whom he shared responsibility for the Cornish hearth-tax under the 1664 Act) who improperly deducted from the receipts without formal certificates £337 10s. for empty houses and insolvent inhabitants.
Scawen had been nominated the principal agent for taxes, and initially declared his willingness to accept the employment, but a few days later he declared himself unable to perform the service, and orders were given to commence proceedings against him.
Scawen surrendered his receivership to Simon Smith MP, and an award of £350 on 23 Aug. 1667, for his services as wagon commissioner presumably obviated the worst consequences of the deficiency in the accounts, although they were never passed in his lifetime.

When Parliament met again after the fall of Chancellor Clarendon, Robert Scawen was appointed to the committee investigating restraints on juries, and complained that Sir John Kelyng MP (who had sentenced his son, Francis) had refused to tell Charles II that the evidence was not full, although he had procured a pardon for him.

The House of Commons wasn't impressed, nor did they find 2 men who had lopped trees on Robert Scawen’s estate guilty of breach of privilege. [APRIL 7, 1668]

Robert Scawen MP was one who drafted the impeachment of (Sir) William Penn. At the report stage, he protested against the impeachment by the Commons of one of themselves, and insisted it should be preceded by expulsion from the House.

He played little further part in Parliament.

Robert Scawen MP’s will was proved on 21 Mar. 1670.

He married Catherine, daughter of Cavendish Alsopp, merchant, of London, and they had 7 sons and 2 daughters.


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


  • Oct