BOOTH, Richard (c.1620-92), of Princes Street, London.
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Family and Education
b. c.1620, yr. s. of Richard Booth of Northgate Street, Warwick. m. Elizabeth, da. of John Hopcroft of London, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da.1
Member, Grocers’ Co. c.1646, warden 1673-4, master 1674-5, asst. to 1687; alderman, London 23 July 1668.2
Booth came from a Warwickshire family of dubious gentility, and was apprenticed to a London Grocer in 1638. Although never a rich man, he was esteemed a ‘considerable and fair trader’ by the customs authorities, and invested substantially in the East India and Royal Africa Companies. Probably a dissenter, he avoided parochial and municipal office, fining for alderman in 1668, but he became master of his Company six years later. His charitable donations gave him an interest in his native town. He urged the corporation to support the country candidate, Sir John Knightley, at the by-election of 1677, but withdrew his request on hearing that Lord Brooke, ‘his most esteemed friend’, had recommended Robert Digby, Lord Digby. The mayor politely indicated that Booth himself would be a not unacceptable candidate, and although he replied that it was an honour that he was neither fit for nor one he desired, when another by-election occurred in the following year he did put himself forward. On obtaining the reply that the corporation had already committed itself to Lord Brooke’s candidate, Sir John Bowyer, Booth reiterated his intention to stand, assuring ‘an unknown friend’ that ‘any expenses in a civil way, when chosen, that may not be sinful I will freely pay; but to promote drunkenness, swearing, or the like, for to get the place that way, I will not for the world’. Whether because of these scruples, or because his affairs would not permit him to go into the country ‘to prosecute the charge’, he was unsuccessful at the first attempt; but he stood again at both elections of 1679. In the spring he does not seem to have gone to the poll, though he sought to impress the inhabitants by driving down from London in a coach and four. He was at last successful in the autumn, but no activity can be positively ascribed to him in the second Exclusion Parliament, although he doubtless supported the country party. After a purge of the dissenters on the corporation, he stood down in 1681 for business reasons, and he was defeated again by the Tory candidates in 1690. He died on 22 Nov. 1692, leaving £200 to Christ’s Hospital, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.3