Richard Gibson (1615-90)
In 1680 when made Mayor of London he used his position to promote Protestantism (his 'Union in Affection of all those who profess the same Faith', published as The Speech of … Sir Patience Warde … the Day of his Election
Ward’s marriage strengthened his growing business, as his father in law was a haberdasher, and they began to export cloth to France. After initially concentrating on his business prospects, he became increasingly embroiled with politics, and was imprisoned in 1664 after opposing new restrictions placed on customs. In 1670 he was chosen a sheriff of London and the following year became master of the Merchant Taylor’s company. His strongly held protestant views made for some opposition to the royal family and in 1673 he refused to entertain James, Duke of York who had recently converted to Catholicism. His anti-royalist views did not hold as much weight when he accepted a knighthood from Charles II in 1675.
In 1680 when made Mayor of London he used his position to promote Protestantism (his 'Union in Affection of all those who profess the same Faith', published as The Speech of … Sir Patience Warde … the Day of his Election (1680)). He supported the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate (but Protestant) son over the king’s brother James in the line of succession. He was also elected as a member of the Royal Society around this time.
Ward continued to be vocal in his opposition to Catholics and believed in the conspiracy that they were behind the great fire of London in 1666. His unusual name became a joke for Tories, who used it in parody to imply Whig impatience. Aphra Behn, the English poet and playwright, also employed his name in her political satires.
Ward’s wife’s death in 1685 changed him to a become a more tolerant servant of the crown and after the revolution of 1688 he was elected as a City MP, continuing to involve himself in the machinations his business and those of the city of London. In 1694 he acquired £4000 of the original stock of the Bank of England. Ward died in July 1696, and with no children of his own, helped his nephew Sir John Ward (1650-1726) follow in his commercial and political footsteps. Here Gibson has captured the energy and passion of a man given a name which was seemingly at odds with his spirited character.