About John Cutts, 1st Baron Cutts
Family and Education b. c.1661, 2nd s. of Richard Cutts of Arkesden and Matching, Essex by Joan, da. of Sir Richard Everard, 1st Bt., of Much Waltham, Essex. educ. St. Catharine’s Hall, Camb. 1676, LL.D. 1690; M. Temple 1678. m. (1) lic. 18 Dec. 1690 (with £2,500 p.a.), Elizabeth (d. 1693), da. and h. of George Clark of London, merchant, and wid. of William Morley† of Glynde, Suss. and of John Trevor of Trevalyn, Denb., s.p.; (2) abt. 31 Jan. 1697, Elizabeth (d. 1697), da. and h. of Sir Henry Pickering, 2nd Bt.*, s.p.; ?(3) 12 Mar. 1700, Dorothy (d. by Feb. 1708), da. of Sir John Weld, of Arnolds, Mdx., and wid. of Edward Pickering of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Mdx. suc. er. bro. by 1690; cr. Baron Cutts [I] 12 Dec. 1690.1
Lt.-col. of ft. Henry Sidney’s† regt. in Holland 1688; col. of ft. 1689–94, 2nd Ft. Gds. 1694–d.; gov. I.o.W. 1693–d.; brig.-gen. 1693, maj.-gen. 1696, lt.-gen. 1703; col. of drag. [I] 1704–d.; lt.-gen. of forces in Ire. 1705–d; ld. justice [I] 1705; PC [I] May 1705.2
Freeman, Southampton 1693, Colchester 1702.3
Biography The fortunes of the Cutts family had been made in the 16th century by Sir John Cutts, treasurer of the Household to Henry VIII. The junior branch of the family, from which Cutts was descended, had settled in Essex, where they owned property in Arkesden and Matching, residing principally at the former. The senior branch became extinct in 1670 when their estates at Childerley in Cambridgeshire came to Cutt's elder brother. Cutts came to London in about 1680, when he made the acquaintance of some of the leaders of the more extreme Whigs. He became a follower of the Duke of Monmouth and in 1682 was part of the entourage which accompanied Monmouth's progress to the North. In 1684 he followed the Duke into exile in Holland, but does not seem to have taken part in Monmouth's rebellion, despite later allegations that he had done so only to ‘flee away upon his [Monmouth's] discomfiture’. He was, however, a witness for the defence in November 1685 at the trial for treason of Lord Brandon (Charles Gerard*). He probably considered that his close friendship with Monmouth made the England of James II uncongenial and consequently in the winter of 1685-6 went to the Continent, possibly to Holland first and then, no doubt on the advice and with the help of William of Orange, to join the Imperial army under the Duke of Lorraine as a volunteer. He distinguished himself at the capture of Buda in 1686 and at the end of the campaign was made adjutant-general to the Duke. Early in 1687 he published a second volume of verse, Poetical Exercises, which was dedicated to Princess Mary. He was back with the Imperialist army in the summer of 1687 for the campaign in Transylvania, during which he sent letters to the Earl of Middleton (Charles Middleton†), the secretary of state, enclosing reports for the King on the progress of the campaign. At this point he was hoping to get a recommendation from Middleton, whom he exhorted ‘to do me good offices by the King’. But when he left the Imperial army in the autumn of 1687 and returned to England, he refused the offer of a regiment from James II before leaving immediately for Holland, where William made him a lieutenant-colonel in an English regiment. On 12 Apr. 1688 Cutts wrote to Middleton:
I am sensible that my coming here and taking an employment in this service will make a great deal of noise in England, and that my enemies will not lose so favourable an occasion to plunge me as deep as they can in the King's displeasure, and therefore I desire your lordship to represent to his Majesty the reasons that have driven me to this resolution.
It is with a great deal of regret that I find myself incapacitated to serve his Majesty in his present designs . . . No man has a greater veneration for his person nor would go further in his service than myself, were not the present measures of state visibly opposite to the principles and interest of that religion which is dearer to me than all things in this world and than life itself. The laws of conscience are sacred and inviolable, and since my principles are such as make me unfit to serve at home and my private affairs in a posture which does not admit of an idle life, I desire your lordship to do me such offices to his Majesty that he may not be angry at my taking service abroad.
His regiment formed part of William's invasion force and it was subsequently claimed that he spent some £8,000 of his own money in furthering the Prince's cause.4
By 1690 Cutts had succeeded his elder brother in the family estates, worth then about £2,000 p.a., but he had already incurred debts of £15,000 and for the remainder of his life was plagued by financial troubles, which forced him to sell much of his property. After the Revolution he clearly hoped to improve his position. He was made colonel of a foot regiment and on 5 Apr. 1690 was granted on petition a commission of inquiry into all estates belonging to Roman Catholic priests or being used for superstitious purposes. For the rest of that year he served with the King on the Irish campaign, distinguishing himself at the Boyne and the siege of Limerick, where he was wounded. These services were rewarded at the end of the year with an Irish peerage. He continued to serve in Ireland until 1692 and subsequently fought in every campaign in Flanders during William's reign. In a memorial written after his death, his sister claimed that his service in Ireland, ‘was more expensive to him than either the pay of his regiment or the profits of his own estate’. His financial position worsened with the death of his first wife in February 1693, since her jointure ceased. There was some compensation in March when he was promoted brigadier-general and appointed governor of the Isle of Wight, although he did not receive the vice-admiralty which often went with the latter appointment, but which in this case was granted to the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I*), son and heir of the 1st Duke of Bolton, lord lieutenant of Hampshire. Since the vice-admiral was entitled to a share in any prize ship captured near the coast, Cutts was understandably disappointed at this arrangemenht and the two men were soon on bad terms. The conflict over prizes may explain why, in the quarrel which then took place between Cutts and the Isle of Wight gentry over the conduct of parliamentary elections in the three island boroughs, Powlett sided with the gentry. Difficulties arose in the boroughs as a result of Cutts's determination to transform them into safe government seats, an attack on the traditional influence of the gentry which the governor was unable properly to carry through because his military duties kept him away from the island for much of the time. So although he intervened continually, he found it difficult to establish a personal influence and was obliged to act through the lieutenant govenor, Joseph Dudley*. Moreover, his personal financial difficulties meant that he had no money to spend on elections.5
At the end of 1693 Cutts gained a narrow victory at a by-election for his home county of Cambridgeshire. One contemporary reported sceptically that despite a ‘scurvy rumour’ of Cutts being a ‘Socinian’, he had gained the support of the moderate Churchmen at the election, and ‘this is the first time my Lord [Cutts] ever struck in with the Church, and ... it may prove encouragement to him to keep in it, for interest may do what religion can’t’. Having been listed as a placeman after his election, Cutts signalled his support for the Court in his speech on 25 Feb. 1694 in the debate on the treason trials bill, when he smeared opposition speakers as being in the pay of France, remarking that he had heard ‘that there were many Members who were French pensioners, and by these long debates perplexed affairs and that they were to have good offers upon King James's return’. Although few speeches of his have been recorded, he clearly intervened regularly in debate, since the anonymous author of The Club Men of the House of Commons, published in 1694, wrote of him:
Lord Cutts, that pragmatical knight of the sun, Though he thinks his set speeches are very fine spun, Yet whene’er he begins, men wish he had done.
In the summer campaign of that year he took part in the disastrous expedition against Brest. According to Francis Gwyn*, Hon. Thomas Tollemache*, commander of the whole expedition, had complained, before he died of wounds received in the assault, that Cutts had disobeyed orders. But this did not prevent Cutts replacing Tollemache as colonel of the Coldstream Guards the following October. In Parliament he was given leave of absence on 21 Dec. 1694, and left little further trace on the records of that session. He still sought more tangible financial rewards, and in May 1695 successfully petitioned for the grant of an estate in Barbados, whose owner had recently died, intestate and without heirs. In the same month Cutts began a fresh dispute with Lord Winchester over the appointment of a governor for Hurst Castle on the Isle of Wight, which was eventually resolved in favour of Cutts's nominee.6
In the 1695 campaign Cutts greatly distinguished himself at the siege of Namur, where his determination to appear wherever the fighting was hottest earned him the nickname of ‘the salamander’ and possibly inspired the anonymous author of the lampoon, ‘Advice to a Painter’, to write,
See, where the florid, warlike Cutts appears, As brave and senseless as the sword he wears.
Cutts was less successful in the electoral battles in the Isle of Wight in the following November. He had hoped to return all six Members, but in the event was completely successful only at Newport, where he himself was returned with his nominee Sir Robert Cotton. In Parliament Cutts continued to support the Court. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade; he voted with the Court for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. in March; and he signed the Association promptly. Indeed he himself had been active in uncovering the Assassination Plot and persuading one of the conspirators to turn King's evidence. Cutts was then a witness at the trial of three of the plotters. His zeal in the whole affair was rewarded with the grant of the estate of another of those convicted, John Caryll, worth £2,155 p.a. In the next session, Cutts spoke against Sir Francis Winnington's motion to consider the state of the nation before supply on 23 Oct. 1696, and spoke several times in favour of Sir John Fenwick's† attainder. On 13 Nov. 1696 he opposed allowing Fenwick's counsel more time to prepare and on 16 Nov. spoke for admitting as evidence the examination of the absconded witness, Cordell Goodman, and for reading the record of Cook's conviction. On 17 Nov. when those implicated in Jacobite activity charged by Fenwick were pressing that he should be further questioned, he said:
I have only one question to be asked Sir John Fenwick. It is not a question that relates to any person named in that paper. I think there is no one person that he hath named but is eminently known or believed to be in the interest of the government; and none but what are in some post of trust and employment in it. Then I think it highly necessary to know, how it comes to pass that he hath had so much conversation with persons of that character, and none with those people that he hath seen daily to converse with? And if he hath, why he hath not discovered them, as he hath done the rest.
He made two further interventions in the debate and finished with a long speech in favour of committing the attainder bill:
I do consider what a condition we had been in if the contrivance that was laid had taken effect; ... and though it was disappointed then, I know not how far off it is at present; ... I would desire those gentlemen that express so much tenderness in this case to have some for the government and themselves. It was told you that the prisoner before you does not stand convicted of high crime ... I think, with submission, the prisoner stands convicted of high treason, with the highest conviction upon earth, and that is the general consent of all mankind.
Cutts added that if Fenwick would but ‘tell truth and leave off this dissembling and be plain; I doubt not but he will find favour’. He spoke and told in favour of passing the bill on 25 Nov. and was later summoned to give evidence before the Lords, ‘to support Porter's credit, and to give an account in what manner he had made his first discovery to him’. Unsurprisingly, he was listed as having voted for the attainder.7
About this time Richard Steele*, who had dedicated a poem on the death of the Queen to Cutts in 1695, entered his household as an unpaid secretary and aide-de-camp. He later dedicated to Cutts his Christian Hero (1700), although the two were to part company on bad terms in 1701. In September 1697 Cutts was sent to Vienna on a secret mission, probably to explain to the Emperor the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick. He was back for the following session, when it was reported on 10 Dec. 1697 that he had quarrelled with Henry Holmes, MP for Yarmouth, in the Commons, when the latter ‘to second a story ... about officers meddling in elections said that my Lord Cutts in the Isle of Wight had displaced several officers of the militia [at Yarmouth in 1695] for voting for him [Holmes], which my Lord Cutts said was not true’. Peace gave Cutts an opportunity to devote himself to the affairs of the island, where his conflict with the local gentry was still simmering. He had written to his friend Joseph Dudley on 12 Aug. 1697:
I shall certainly make my next campaign in the Isle of Wight ... When I can spend a summer in the Isle of Wight, I will make a great alteration both as to persons and things; besides that I doubt not of being vice-admiral of Hampshire before I see you and I hope to see you before the election of mayors in the island.
He then outlined a plan to appoint unpaid governors at Sandham, Yarmouth and Cowes, who should ‘not be less than lieutenant-colonels, such as will keep their coaches, and spend their money there during the whole summer’, with paid commanders under them, so that all these gentlemen ‘will in the island in general, and in their respective stations, a little counterbalance the dead weight of the factious country gentlemen’. He instructed Dudley to inform the three corporations that the coming of peace would enable him
to spend a great part of my time with them ... You may tell them the very great expense I have constantly been at, in sending an equipage every year into this country [Holland]; and living at very great expense here (of which whole burden I shall now be entirely eased); ... these difficulties have put me under great disadvantage, but that I shall now have my hands more at liberty, not only to pay off all debts contracted in the island upon my score but to do such acts of generosity and charity (both in public and private occasions) as becomes a man of honour and a man of conscience.
It was probably some rumour of Cutts's intentions that caused the leading gentry of the island to draw up a petition against Cutts, which forced him to come to an agreement with them in March 1698 (see NEWTOWN, I.o.W., Hants). In Parliament, to the surprise of many, Cutts was in favour of the Commons' bill against blasphemy and profaneness, and at the third reading on 30 Mar. supported it with ‘extraordinary zeal from first to last, and declared he would defend it with his sword in the field as he had done [with] his tongue in the House’.8
Although Cutts had secured peace with the local gentry in the Isle of Wight, he was becoming increasingly disillusioned with his treatment by the administration. In an effort to clear his debts he had sold the Caryll estate for £8,000 in November 1697 and in February 1698 he, his father-in-law Pickering, and Joseph Dudley developed a plan to profit by making coins for the colonies, but the existing patentees maintained this would infringe upon their rights, so the plan was dropped. Finally, in March 1698 Cutts asked the King for an estate of £3,000 or £4,000 p.a. in Ireland, writing to him on 17 Mar.
I understand ... by the Archbishop and Mr [William] Blathwayt* that your Majesty made a particular remark upon my asking so much as £3 or £4,000 a year in Ireland.
I considered, Sire, how earnestly you desired me (by the Duke of Monmouth) to break my match with Mrs [Elizabeth] Villiers, and what promises you made me upon it; I considered how often you have . . . renewed your promise of favour; I considered what you have since done for her and for her relations; and I could never think, that I should be ill-used for trusting to you . . . and for waiting with patience. I told your Majesty of my debt before the Revolution; I told you, Sire, if ever you settled in England, I should hope (by your favour) to get clear of it; and you were pleased to encourage me in those hopes.
He claimed that his debts now totalled £17,534. Nothing was done for him. He was also dissatisfied that his attempts to secure a governorship in the American colonies for his friend Dudley had so far proved unsuccessful. James Vernon I* wrote to Shrewsbury on 9 June 1698, that Cutts ‘acknowledges your Grace's great civility to him and compares it with the different behaviour of some from whom he says, he had more reason to expect kinder usage. I know not who they are he would reflect on.’ It would seem that Cutts had the Junto in mind, his relations with them strained by his long dispute with Lord Winchester in the Isle of Wight. His name appeared on a list of placemen in about July. In August 1698 he further irritated the Junto ministers, in particular the Earl of Orford (Edward Russell*), by putting up his own brother-in-law, John Acton, at a by-election for Newport, at a time when prominent government supporters were looking for a seat.9
In the 1698 Parliament Cutts was classed as a placeman on one list, and as a Court placeman on another. Not surprisingly, given his own military career, he spoke several times against the bill to disband the army and voted against it on 18 Jan. 1699. On 16 May he wrote hopefully to Dudley that he had explained his problems to the King, who had given
a very obliging, positive and determinative answer; and if his affairs are not in such a posture, as that he can do at present what he would, he will (at least) do that which will be honourable and make me easy ... My Lord Orford is out of all his employments; which has disgusted some of his creatures. Many changes are soon expected, but none yet certain; except that Lord Pembroke [Thomas Herbert†] and Lord Lonsdale [Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II*] (and another friend of mine) do certainly come into business ... As soon as ever my own life is safe, I'll endeavour to save yours. I shall soon have the vice-admiralty now.
Although he did not get the vice-admiralty he was given a pension of £1,000 p.a. out of the privy purse. An analysis of the House into interests in early 1700 listed him as a placeman, and on 13 Feb. he spoke against an opposition motion, aimed at Lord Chancellor Somers (Sir John*), condemning crown grants. In the first parliament of 1701, Cutts was listed as supporting the Court with regard to the continuation of the ‘Great Mortgage’. On 2 Apr. he embarrassed Tory ministers by suggesting an amendment to an address to the King to the effect that the renewal of the Treaty of Ryswick by France was not sufficient security for Europe. Strong objections from the Tories meant that the amendment was dropped. On the other hand, Cutts had never been on good terms with the Junto and signalled his willingness to work with the Tory ministry, being notable by his absence from the division on the impeachment of Lord Somers on 14 Apr. On 31 May he was named to the drafting committee for a bill for erecting a corporation for the purchase of Irish forfeited estates, presnting the bill two days later. In Robert Harley's* analysis of the December 1701 Parliament he was listed with the Whigs, and this was certainly the public perception of his politics: it was remarked that there was vigorous opposition from the Tories in the Commons on 18 Feb. 1702 when, having been returned for two seats, Cutts communicated his decision to sit for the county via a letter to the Speaker rather than appearing in person. According to his own later account, Cutts was in fact still co-operating with the Tory ministry. In any event he took no part in the December 1701 Parliament, since he accompanied the Earl of Marlborough (John Churchill†) to Holland and remained there through the winter.10
Cutts obviously hoped for some reward from the ministry, but on the accession of Anne was offered only the governorship of Jamaica, which he refused. His pension ceased and the arrears due at William's death were never paid. Having transferred from Cambridgeshire to the safer seat of Newport in the Isle of Wight at the general election of 1702, he was generally absent abroad for the first two years of the reign, making him of little value as a political ally, and sent home a stream of letters complaining of neglect. He also found, to his annoyance, that when his commission as governor of the Isle of Wight was renewed the power he had been granted by the previous patent to appont his own deputy was removed and his nominee replaced by an old enemy, Anthony Morgan*. Although Secretary Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) had instructed Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) that ‘care should be taken’ not to appoint anyone unacceptable to Cutts, a complaint from Cutts after Morgan's appointment merely elicited a reply justifying the new arrangement. Petitions for promotion to lieutenant-general and for financial relief met with no response. He clearly hoped to be rewarded after the capture of Venloo in September 1702, when he led the attack on one of the out forts, writing to Nottingham:
If her Majesty were put in mind of it, I believe she has too good and great a mind to leave me undistinguished. The Duke of Marlborough has made me great and repeated promises in general, but I'm sensible your lordship's good offices are of weight and you know how to do them ... I beg your lordship's favour at this critical time. What is done for me will not be a distinction unless done soon.
This produced no immediate result and he spent the winter of 1702-3 in command of the English forces in Holland. In February 1703 he was made lieutenant-general, but continued to beg financial relief, if only in consideration of his extra services as commander-in-chief during the winter. Despite assurances from both Lord Treasurer Godolphin and Secretary Hedges (Sir Charles*), he received nothing. Cutts wrote to James Brydges* in July 1703:
I have not had the honour to hear one word from you; this together with the Speaker's [Robert Harley] not answering my three letters I wrote him; and Mr Hammond's [Anthony*] being silent too (though I had done myself the honour of writing to him) gave some unpleasant thoughts, especially in an age of uncertainties. I assure you the impression sunk deep with me ...
I was indeed conscious to myself that I had served and suffered for a cause you are all concerned in; and, with relation to Mr Speaker and Mr Hammond in particular, I had made such steps during the late reign that I was become [more] obnoxious to the ministry then reigning (for so it was) than perhaps any man in England was; whether or no I did them any service I leave to others to determine but the thing I’ll venture to say without vanity, and I’ve credible witnesses to prove it, that when the exorbitant power of the then great triumvirate [Orford, Somers and Halifax (Charles Montagu*)] received its first fatal blow, I determined above 30 voices on the right side by my own personal interest and credit.
The division in question was probably either that of 14 Apr. 1700 on whether the Junto Lords were guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours (although as stated above Cutts himself was absent from that division), or on 15 Apr. for their removal from the King’s presence. The ministry seems to have remained unimpressed by these claims. After the 1703 campaign Cutts remained abroad for a third successive winter, writing his usual complaints and begging letters. Eventually, in April 1704, he received a royal bounty of £1,000 in consideration of services rendered.11
In the summer of 1704 Cutts played a prominent part in the battle of Blenheim, receiving £240 as bounty. He returned to England at the beginning of November in time to take part in the proceedings against the Tack. Having been forecast as a probable opponent of it, he spoke in the crucial debate on 28 Nov., saying that
the Duke of Marlborough had lately concluded a treaty with the King of Prussia for 8,000 men, to be employed towards the relief of the Duke of Savoy, who was in most imminent danger. That those troops were actually on their march, upon the credit of the resolution the House had already taken, to make good her Majesty’s treaties, and that obstructing the money bills, which the tacking of the occasional conformity bill would infallibly do, would put an immediate stop to the march of those troops and thereby occasion the entire ruin of the Duke of Savoy.
He did not vote for the Tack. He was listed as a placeman in 1705, but his political position at this time was somewhat ambiguous. On 13 Mar. 1705 he wrote enthusiastically to a kinsman of a new accord which he observed between the Country Whigs and the High Tories. He insisted that the party which at present
prevails at court . . . will not be so long triumphant as they think, and that the same men that I wished well to last winter will be the prevailing side next, with this advantage that they will have a strong party from the other side to join them. And to make you comprehend this, Peter King* and Annesley [Hon. Arthur*] with Bromley [William II*] etc. are reconciled and have shaken hands to stand by each other next winter to oppose the iniquity of the times and promote the public welfare.
At the same time, Cutts’s money troubles made it essential for him to remain on good terms with Marlborough and Godolphin, to whom he sent memorials on 11 and 13 Feb. 1705 asking for the payment of his debts. In March he was appointed general of all the forces in Ireland, a post estimated to be worth £6,000 p.a. Ministers probably considered this a more convenient way of helping Cutts than providing him with sums of money, but according to his sister, he went to Ireland most unwillingly. In a letter written to Godolphin after her brother’s death she claimed that his going was not, as alleged by his enemies,
a reward asked by him, but on the contrary a very unwilling act of obedience and submission, as his lordship and Lord Marlborough know well, Mr St. John [Henry II*] having been employed by the Duke to persuade him to undertake the employment.
He was also given a gift of £1,000 as royal bounty to cover the expenses of his removal.12
In 1705 Swift presented a very unflattering portrait of Cutts in his ‘Ode to a Salamander’, in which he wrote:
So when the war has raised a storm I’ve seen a snake in human form, All stained with infamy and vice, Leap from the dunghill in a trice, Burnish and make a gaudy show Become a general, peer and beau, Till peace hath made the sky serene, Then shrink into its hole again.
Cutts was returned for Newport in 1705, whereupon he was classed as a ‘Low Church courtier’, but absence in Ireland prevented him from taking part in parliamentary activities and he was duly marked as absent in the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705. He died in Dublin, on 25 Jan. 1707, still deeply in debt, his hopes of recouping his fortune by means of Dorothy Pickering, an elderly relation who had inherited a significant amount of the Cutts estate some years previously, remaining unfulfilled. It is unknown whether or not Cutts had actually married Dorothy, aged 77 in 1700 when the marriage was reported by one contemporary, but she managed to outlive Cutts by a few months and changed her will in favour of her own family, to the great disappointment of Cutts’s sister. Immediately after Cutts’s death, an Irish correspondent informed Sir John Perceval, 5th Bt.†:
His lordship, though he had by his place under the government in England and Ireland, together above £6,000 p.a., is yet dead vastly in debt, insomuch that the poor butchers, bakers and all others that dealt with him are half ruined. His two aides-de-camp clubbed their ten shillings apiece to pay for the embalming his corpse, which is deposited in a vault in St. Patrick’s till it be known whether his friends will send for it over to bury it in England.13 Ref Volumes: 1690-1715 Author: Paula Watson Notes 1. HMC 10th Rep. IV, 334; Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxviii), 171; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1057. 2. Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 535. 3. Southampton RO, bor. recs. SC3/1, f. 245; The Oath Book . . . of Colchester ed. W. S. Benham. 4. Monthly Miscellany (1710), 47; Add. 41842, ff. 41-59; S. S. Swartley, Life and Poetry of John Cutts, pp. xii-xviii; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. iv. 25-42; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 398, 408, 429, 537; 1683, p. 70; 1683-4, p. 329; 1687-9, p. 244; Wood, Life and Times, iii. 200; HMC Downshire, i. 59; HMC Astley, 66, 206-7. 5. Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. 40-42; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 447; 1690-1, pp. 144-5; 1693, p. 229; Luttrell, ii. 24, 100, 266, 293; iii. 41, 146, 123; Macauley, Hist. Eng. iv. 1785; HMC Astley, 77. 6. Add. 28931, f. 100; Swartley, p. xxii; Bodl. Carte 130, ff. 347-8; Poems on Affairs of State ed. Ellis, v. 433; HMC Porltand, iii. 551; CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 188; HMC Downshire, i. 462; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 952, 1001, 1037; Mass. Hist. Soc. Procs. ser. 2, ii. 180-1. 7. HMC Downshire, i. 542, 635-6; Luttrell, iii. 518; Macaulay, v. 2530-2; Mass. Hist. Soc. Procs. 180-1; Burnet, iv. 304-5; CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 366; Cal. Treas. Bks. xi. 177; Lexington Pprs. 115; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/11, Vernon to Shrewsbury, 24 Oct. 1696; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 1019, 1034, 1043, 1053, 1054, 1056, 1070-3, 1118; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, i. 48, 108-9; Poems on Affairs of State, vi. 21; SP 100/362-4; Howells, State Trials, xii. 1424-7; H. Erskine-Hill, Soc. Milieu of Alexander Pope, 54. 8. Steele Corresp. ed. Balchard, 18-19, 20-21, 441-2, 430; Luttrell, iv. 272; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 512; Mass. Hist. Soc. Procs. 185-7; Worsley, Hist. Isle of Wight, pp. 161, cxvii-cxviii; Carte 130, f. 389; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 57, Sir Gilbert Dolben* to Sir William Trumbull*, 31 Mar. 1698. 9. Luttrell, iv. 303; Swartley, p. xxxiv; APC Col. 1680-1720, p. 321; Trans. Essex. Arch. Soc. 40-42; Vernon-Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 93, 96-97, 101-2, 145-6; HMC Astley, 95, 207-8. 10. Camden Misc. xxix. 357, 379, 381, 384; Mass. Hist. Soc. Procs. 190-1; Som. RO, Sandford mss DD/SF 4107(a), 'notes of the debate on my Ld. Chancellor, 13 Feb. 1699[-1700]'; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 286, 288; Cocks Diary, 83, 95, 219; HMC Astley, 98, 101. 11. Add. 29588, ff. 37, 383; 61118, f. 132; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(1), pp. 27, 33; HMC Astley, 108–9, 111–12, 114–16, 119, 122, 124, 138, 142, 207; Wentworth Pprs. 8–9; Stanhope, Reign of Anne, 52; Luttrell, v. 420; CSP Dom. 1703–4, p. 47; Cal. Treas. Bks. xix. 217; CSP Col. 1698, pp. 99–100, 106, 109, 125, 127. 12. Cobbett, vi. 361; Procs. Occasional Conformity Bill, 58; HMC Portland, iv. 164; HMC 7th Rep. 246; HMC Astley, 176, 197–8; Cal. Treas. Bks. xx. 8. 13. Swift, Works ed. Williams, i. 82–85; HMC Egmont, ii. 215; HMC Astley, 208; Burke, Commoners, i. 198; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 334; PCC 71 Penn, 28 Poley, 41 Barrett
Lieutenant-General John Cutts, 1st Baron Cutts PC (Ire) (1661 – 25 January 1707), British soldier and author, came from an Essex family.
After a short university career at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, he inherited the family estates, but showed a distinct preference for the life of court and camp. The double ambition for military and literary fame inspired his first work, which appeared in 1685 under the name La Muse de cavalier, or An Apology for such Gentlemen as make Poetry their Diversion not their Business. The next year saw Cutts serving as a volunteer under the Duke of Lorraine in Hungary, and it is said that he was the first to plant the imperial standard on the walls at the storming of Buda (July 1686). In 1687 he published a book of Poetical Exercises, and the following year he was serving as lieutenant-colonel in Holland. General Hugh Mackay described Cutts about this time as pretty tall, lusty and well shaped, an agreeable companion with abundance of wit, affable and familiar, but too much seized with vanity and self-conceit.
Lieutenant-Colonel Cutts was one of William III's companions in the English Revolution of 1688, and in 1690 he went in command of a regiment of foot in Ireland, where he served with distinction. He served with distinction at the Battle of the Boyne, and at the siege of Limerick (1690) (where he was wounded), and King William created him Baron Cutts, of Gowran, in the Peerage of Ireland on 12 December 1690. In 1691 he succeeded to the command of the brigade of the prince of Hesse (wounded at Aughrim), and on the surrender of Limerick was appointed commandant of the town. Next year he served again in Flanders as a brigadier, his brigade of Mackay's division being one of those almost destroyed at Steinkirk. At this battle Cutts himself was wounded. For some time after this, Lord Cutts was lieutenant-governor of the Isle of Wight, but he returned to active service in 1694, holding a command in the disastrous Brest expedition. He was one of Carmarthen's companions in the daring reconnaissance of Camaret Bay, and was soon afterwards again wounded.
He succeeded Talmash, the commander of the expedition (who died of his wounds), as colonel of the Coldstream Guards. Next year, after serving as a commissioner for settling the bank of Antwerp, he distinguished himself once more at the famous Siege of Namur (1695), winning for himself the name of "Salamander" by his indifference to the heaviest fire. He was shot in the head while leading an attack against the citadel, but recovered to lead his men to the capture of the works. Henceforward court service and war service alternated. He was deep in the confidence of William III, and acted as a diplomatic agent in the negotiations which ended in the peace of Ryswick. On the occasion of the great fire in Whitehall (1698) Cutts, at the head of the Coldstreams, earned afresh the honourable nickname of "the Salamander." A little later we find Captain Richard Steele acting as his private secretary. In 1702, now a major-general, Cutts was serving under Marlborough in the opening campaign of the War of the Spanish Succession, and at the siege of Venlo, conspicuous as usual for romantic bravery, he led the stormers at Fort Saint Michael. His enemies, and even the survivors of the assault, were amazed at the success of a seemingly hare-brained enterprise. Probably, however, Cutts, who was now a veteran of great and varied experience, measured the factors of success and failure better than his critics. It was on this occasion that Swift lampooned the lieutenant-general in his Ode to a Salamander. He made the campaign of 1703 in Flanders, and in 1704, after a visit to England, he rejoined Marlborough on the banks of the Danube. At Blenheim he was third in command, and it was his division that bore the brunt of the desperate fighting at the village which gave its name to the battle. Blenheim was Cutts's last battle. On 23 March 1705 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Ireland, his last appointment.
His remaining years were spent at home, and, at the time of his death, he was the holder of eight distinct political and military offices. He sat in five parliaments for the county of Cambridge, and in Queen Anne's first Parliament he was returned for Newport in the Isle of Wight, for which he sat until the time of his death. He was twice married, but left no issue.
Cutts' old Cambridge College organised a dinner to commemorate the tercentenary of his death, held in January 2007.