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JAMES CRAGGS (1657-1721), English politician, was a son of Anthony Craggs of Holbeck, Durham, and was baptized on the 10th of June 1657. After following various callings in London, Craggs, who was a person of considerable financial ability, entered the service of the duchess of Marlborough, and through her influence became in 1702 member of parliament for Grampound, retaining his seat until 1713. He was in business as an army clothier and held several official positions, becoming joint postmaster-general in 1715; and, making the most of his opportunities in all these capacities, he amassed a great deal of money. Craggs also increased his wealth by mixing in the affairs of the South Sea Company, but after his death an act of parliament confiscated all the property which he had acquired since December 1719. He left an enormous fortune when he died on the 16th of March 1721. It is possible that Craggs committed suicide.
His son, James Craggs the younger (1686-1721), was born at Westminster on the 9th of April 1686. Part of his early life was spent abroad, where he made the acquaintance of George Louis, elector of Hanover, afterwards King George I. In 1713 he became member of parliament for Tregoney, in 1717 secretaryat-war, and in the following year one of the principal secretaries of state. Craggs was implicated in the South Sea Bubble, but not so deeply as his father, whom he predeceased, dying on the 16th of February 1721. Among Craggs's friends were Pope, who wrote the epitaph on his monument in Westminster Abbey, Addison and Gay.
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