He took some part in resisting the arbitrary actions of Charles II, and was arrested in July 1685. Then after his release he took up arms on behalf of William of Orange, after whose accession to the throne he was made a Privy Counsellor (1694) and Lord Lieutenant of Devon (1696). Politically he was described as an "unrepentant Whig" who reaffirmed his belief in the Popish Plot by voting against the motion to reverse the attainder on William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford.
In 1697 he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and in 1699 President of the Board of Trade, being dismissed from his office upon the accession of Anne in 1702.
From 1707 to 1711, however, he was again President of the Board of Trade.