The Duke of Newcastle
A portrait of the Duke painted around 1750
|Prime Minister of Great Britain|
29 June 1757 –26 May 1762
|Monarch|| George II |
|Preceded by||The Duke of Devonshire|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Bute|
16 March 1754 –11 November 1756
|Preceded by||Henry Pelham|
|Succeeded by||The Duke of Devonshire|
|Born||21 July 1693|
|Died||17 November 1768 75) (aged|
Lincoln's Inn Fields, Middlesex, England, Great Britain
|Resting place||All Saints Churchyard, Laughton, East Sussex|
Lady Harriet Godolphin (m. 1717)
|Parents|| Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham |
Lady Grace Holles
|Alma mater||Clare College, Cambridge|
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyme,(21 July 1693 – 17 November 1768) was a British Whig statesman, whose official life extended throughout the Whig supremacy of the 18th century. He is commonly known as the Duke of Newcastle.
A protégé of Sir Robert Walpole, he served under him for more than 20 years until 1742. He held power with his brother, Prime Minister Henry Pelham, until 1754. He had then served as a Secretary of State continuously for 30 years and dominated British foreign policy.
After Henry's death, the Duke of Newcastle was prime minister six years in two separate periods. While his first premiership was not particularly notable, Newcastle precipitated the Seven Years' War, and his weak diplomacy cost him the premiership.After his second term, he served briefly in Lord Rockingham's ministry, before he retired from government. He was most effective as a deputy to a leader of greater ability, such as Walpole, his brother, or Pitt. Few politicians in British history matched his skills and industry in using patronage to maintain power over long stretches of time. His genius appeared as the chief party manager for the Whigs from 1715 to 1761. He used his energy and his money to select candidates, distribute patronage and win elections. He was especially influential in the counties of Sussex, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. His greatest triumph came in the 1754 election.
Outside the electoral realm, his reputation has suffered. Historian Harry Dickinson says that he became
Notorious for his fussiness and fretfulness, his petty jealousies, his reluctance to accept responsibility for his actions, and his inability to pursue any political objective to his own satisfaction or to the nations profit ... Many modern historians have depicted him as the epitome of unredeemed mediocrity and as a veritable buffoon in office.
Thomas Pelham was born in London on 21 July 1693the eldest son of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham, by his second wife, the former Lady Grace Holles, younger sister of John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He studied at Westminster School and was admitted a fellow-commoner at Clare College, Cambridge, in 1710. Pelham's uncle died in 1711, and his father the next year, both leaving their large estates to their nephew and son. When he came of age in 1714, Lord Pelham was one of the greatest landowners in the kingdom, enjoying enormous patronage in the county of Sussex. One stipulation of his uncle's will was that his nephew add Holles to his name, which he faithfully did, thereafter styling himself as Thomas Pelham-Holles. A long-standing legal dispute over the estate with his Aunt was finally settled in 1714.
He increasingly identified with Whig politics, like his father and uncle, but whereas they had been moderate in their views, he grew increasingly more partisan and militant in his views.Britain was very divided between Whigs who favoured the succession of George of Hanover after Queen Anne's death and Tories who supported the return of the Jacobite James Stuart, known later as the 'old pretender'. This issue dominated British politics during the last few years of Queen Anne's reign, leading up to her death in 1714, and had a profound impact on the future career of the young Duke of Newcastle. He joined the Hannover Club and the Kit Kat Club, both leading centres of Whig thinking and organisation. Newcastle House in London became his premier residence.
Newcastle vigorously sustained the Whigs at Queen Anne's death and had much influence in making the Londoners accept King George I, even organising so-called 'Newcastle mobs' to fight with rival Jacobites in the street.
His services were too great to be neglected by the new Hanoverian king, and in 1714, he was created Earl of Clare, and in 1715 Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, two titles previously held by his late uncle John Holles.He also became Lord-Lieutenant of the Counties of Middlesex and Nottingham and a Knight of the Garter. In his new position, he was in charge of suppressing Jacobitism in the counties under his control. In Middlesex, he arrested and questioned 800 people and drew up a Voluntary Defence Association to defend the county. In 1715, he became involved in a riot that ended with two men being killed, and Newcastle fleeing along rooftops. The succession of George I was secured in late 1715 by the defeat of a Jacobite army at the Battle of Preston and the subsequent flight of the Old Pretender.
The victory of the Hanoverians over the Jacobites marked the beginning of the Whig Ascendancy which lasted for much of the 18th century. Because the Tory opposition had been tainted, in the eyes of George I, by their support of the Jacobite pretenders, he did not trust them and drew all of his ministers and officials from the Whigs. Following their victory, the Whigs split with one group forming the government for George I, and the other dissident Whigs became the effective opposition in Parliament. After a period of political manoeuvring, he was for a while associated with a Whig faction led by James Stanhope, but from 1720, Newcastle began to identify strongly with the government Whigs, who had quickly come to be dominated by Sir Robert Walpole.
Walpole gladly welcomed the young Newcastle into his coterie because Walpole believed that he could easily control Newcastle and because it would strengthen Walpole's hand against the rival Whig factions. [ citation needed ] In 1721, Walpole began to serve as Britain's first prime minister and would that position for the next 21 years. He was related to Walpole's leading ally, Charles Townshend, strengthening his bond with the leader of the new administration.Newcastle joined with Walpole because Newcastle, correctly, believed that Walpole was going to dominate British politics for a generation.
On 2 April 1717, he increased his Whig connections by marrying Lady Henrietta Godolphin, the granddaughter of the Duke of Marlborough, a national hero following his victories in the recent European war who was considered a Whig icon.
In 1717, at 23, Newcastle first attained high political office as Lord Chamberlain of the Household and was given the responsibility of overseeing theatres. [ citation needed ]Plays were often extremely political, and Newcastle was tasked with suppressing any plays or playwrights that he believed to be too critical of the Hanoverian succession or the Whig government. Newcastle clashed repeatedly with Sir Richard Steele, a leading playwright. In 1719, he was one of the three main investors in George Frideric Handel's new opera company, the Royal Academy of Music. The Duke ordered Handel in May 1719 to go to the Continent to contract singers for as long as possible.
He held the post for seven years and performed well enough to be considered for further promotion. Despite his youth, he had demonstrated his strength in several general elections when he had been able to get as many as 20 MPs elected to seats that he controlled through his family's wealth and political patronage. He survived in the office during the turmoil in the Whigs between 1717 and 1721, and his switch of allegiance to Walpole secured his influence thereafter. Walpole had overseen a brief end to the rift between the Whig factions after the collapse of the South Sea Company, which had left thousands ruined. Newcastle himself had lost £4,000. Walpole was then seen as the only man to bring stability to the country and the Whigs, and he was granted unprecedented powers, effectively making him the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.
During his time in the office, Newcastle and his wife had become famous for throwing lavish parties that were attended by much of London society including many of his political opponents. He was also prodigiously fond of fox hunting and often went down to Bishopstone, one of his Sussex properties, expressly for that purpose.During his time as Lord Chamberlain he oversaw a major overhaul of public buildings, many of which had fallen into very poor repair.
In 1724, Newcastle was chosen by Walpole to be Secretary of State for the Southern Department in place of Lord Carteret, a move largely engineered by Townshend. He had been for some time considered the third most important man in the government, behind Walpole and Townshend, which was confirmed by his new position. Newcastle had for several years been growing increasingly interested in foreign affairs and had been educating himself on the subtle details of diplomacy and the European State System. However, his first few years in the office had him defer control of British foreign policy to the other Secretary of State, Townshend, and Newcastle effectively served as his deputy. Walpole was generally happy to allow Townshend to control foreign affairs, as he agreed with him on most issues.[ citation needed ]
Since the Treaty of Utrecht, which had ended the last major European war, Britain had been an ally of France, a strong reversal in policy, as France had previously been considered the premier enemy of Britain.The reasons for the alliance were complex, and many had doubted the détente could last long, but when Newcastle became Secretary of State, they had been allies for nearly a decade. By 1719, they had become part of a wider Quadruple Alliance, which was by far the most powerful force in European politics, as had been demonstrated during the War of the Quadruple Alliance, a largely-naval war in the Mediterranean by which the powers had defeated a Spanish attempt to reclaim lost territory in Italy. The alliance was unpopular, however, with many in Parliament and in the country, which continued to consider France to be Britain's natural enemy.
Newcastle had been joined in government by his young brother, Henry Pelham. The two brothers got on well but were prone to have intractable disputes. One constant source of tension between them was Newcastle's poor handling of the family fortune, which was being constantly depleted through his out of control spending. Pelham was also considered by many to be the abler of the two brothers, but it was the Duke who was initially more successful in politics. In spite of their differences, they remained firm political allies.
The administration faced a crisis in 1727, when George I died unexpectedly, and his son George II succeeded to the throne.The new king had previously had exceptionally bad relations with Walpole and Newcastle and, during one altercation between them, George's poor English had made Newcastle think that he had challenged him to a duel. Their relationship had not improved in recent years, and many anticipated the imminent replacement of the government.
Instead, Walpole made himself extremely useful to George II, who soon became convinced of his competence and retained him in his post. The thawing of relations was helped by the friendship between Newcastle and George's daughter Amelia, leading many to speculate, without substantive evidence, that they were having an affair.By November 1727, Walpole and Newcastle's positions were both safe once more, boosted by an election victory that saw them gain 430 seats to the opposition's 128 in the House of Commons.
In 1729, a rift broke out in the government over the direction of Britain's foreign policy. Townshend was convinced that Britain's principal enemy was now Austria.Walpole and Newcastle saw Spain as the main threat to British power because of their large navy and colonial interests. Eventually, Walpole had his way, forcing Townshend from office, and replacing him with Lord Harrington. From then on, Newcastle served as the senior Secretary of State and largely controlled British foreign policy himself. Newcastle was saddened by the demise of his relative and former patron although their partnership had become increasingly strained and the new situation offered enormous possibilities to him personally.
Together, Newcastle and Walpole managed to drive a wedge between Spain and Austria, making an ally of the latter and directing their future efforts against Spain. Subsequently, however, it turned out that Britain's long-term major rival was neither but France, which had been considered a close ally. The increasingly-confrontational actions of the French Prime Minister, Cardinal Fleury, soon convinced them that they had been wrong.This misjudgment was later used by the Patriot Whigs to castigate the ministry for their lack of preparation against the French threat.
In general, Newcastle shared Walpole's abhorrence of war and wished to prevent Britain getting dragged into major wars on the continent. Notably, Britain did not become embroiled in the War of the Polish Succession and indeed tried to prevent it from breaking out. Newcastle attempted to throw both the French and Austrians off-guard by being cagey about Britain's response if war broke out, but that did not stop the conflict.Once the war had started, George II tried to push for Britain to honour its commitment to assist Austria, but he was blocked by Walpole, who insisted that Britain should not join the war. Newcastle broadly supported the same position as the king, but he accepted the decision.
Newcastle's brother Henry Pelham had now attained the lucrative position of Paymaster General and had effectively replaced Townshend as the third man of the government. The three men continued what had become dubbed as the Norfolk Congress by meeting regularly at Houghton Hall, Sir Robert Walpole's country house in Norfolk. The three men would hold private meetings, draw up wide-ranging policies on foreign and domestic issues and then present them to parliament for their seal of approval, which their vast majority allowed them to do. Slowly, however, Newcastle and his brother were moving out of the shadow of Walpole and being more assertive. Newcastle was particularly annoyed both by what he saw as the abandonment of Austria and by the suggestion that Walpole no longer trusted him.
By 1735, Newcastle had largely assumed control of colonial affairs, further increasing the amount of patronage he controlled. A devout Anglican, he was also given control over ecclesiastical matters, especially the appointment of bishops and lucrative positions in the Church of England.
Newcastle's growing independence from Walpole was helped by the support of his brother and his best friend, Hardwicke, who had become Lord Chancellor.During the latter half of the decade, his job was increasingly dominated by managing relations with Spain, which included trade disputes and objections to the controversial founding of the American colony of Georgia in 1733. The longstanding peace policy was now beginning to look extremely fragile. He also acted as a mediator in the War of the Polish Succession, helping to bring the conflict to an end in 1738.
The growing tension between Britain and Spain came to a head in 1731 during an incident known as Jenkins' Ear, when a British merchant captain was captured for illegal trading off the coast of Cuba by a Spanish privateer, and in punishment for his alleged breach of the strict laws forbidding foreign commerce with Spanish colonies, he had an ear cut off.The incident shocked Britain not so much because of its brutality but because many saw it as an outrage that Spain should have the temerity to harm a British subject simply for trading, which many held to be a legitimate occupation.
In 1738, Jenkins appeared in parliament to testify about his treatment. Other merchants sent petitions, and the powerful South Sea Company mobilised popular opinion. To many, the Spanish Empire was crumbling, and its South American possessions were ripe for the picking. A vociferous group in Parliament demanded war with Spain. Walpole was adamantly opposed to such a policy and became a target for unprecedented attacks.Newcastle too came under intense pressure but initially considered the demands for Britain to declare war with Spain a dangerous step, and in spite of his increasingly bellicose statements, he still considered the idea of an Anglo-Spanish alliance as late as 1739. He tried to negotiate a solution to the crisis with the Convention of Pardo, which agreed a sum of compensation to be paid to British merchants, but British public opinion had shifted, and Walpole felt that there was no option but to declare war in December 1739.
The British opened the war with a victory, capturing Porto Bello in Panama. That led to an outbreak of patriotic fervour, and further increased the pressure on Walpole and Newcastle for their perceived unwilling prosecution of the war.Newcastle tried to combat that by cultivating a reputation as the leading "patriot" of the cabinet. He took on additional military responsibilities and, for the first two years of war, served as a de facto Minister of War. One of his most notable suggestions during the period was the recruitment of large numbers of troops drawn from the American colonies, whose growing manpower had previously gone largely untapped.
In 1741, the main British campaign against Spain was a combined amphibious attack on the South American city of Cartagena, which had experienced considerable delays. Command was awarded to Admiral Edward Vernon, the victor of Porto Bello, who was given a force of 31,000 soldiers and sailors to take the city. The siege proved to be a total disaster for the British, who lost thousands of men before being forced to withdraw. Although Newcastle had issued the orders and overseen the organisation of the expedition, much of the blame for the disaster fell on the shoulders of the ailing prime minister, Walpole.
In the wake of the Cartagena disaster, Britain held a general election. The result reduced Walpole's former dominance of the House to an unworkable majority. Within months, he had been forced out of office and succeeded by Lord Wilmington. Though Newcastle stayed with Walpole to the end, he was later accused by many of Walpole's supporters of having undermined him.Horace Walpole, his son, continued to attack Newcastle's behaviour for years to come.
Newcastle continued in office after Walpole's fall and became more powerful on his younger brother Henry Pelham becoming Prime Minister in 1743. Together, the two brothers and their supporters known as the 'Old Whigs' made a coalition with the 'New Whigs', previous opponents of the Walpole government. However, there remained a strident opposition, led vocally by men like William Pitt and Lord Sandwich.
In 1740, shortly after the declaration of war with Spain, a separate war had broken out simultaneously in Europe into which the War of Jenkins' Ear soon became submerged. In a dispute over the throne of the Austria, both France and Prussia had invaded Austria and planned to remove Empress Maria Theresa and replace her with their own claimant. Austria's longstanding alliance with Britain required the latter to declare war. It was also considered by many that a French victory would leave the French too strong in Europe. However, Britain soon found itself dragged into this wider war despite the reluctance of its government.
Initially, Britain's involvement was limited to financial subsidies and diplomacy in support of Austria, but by 1742, it was apparent that a more substantial commitment would be needed if the alliance were not to end in defeat. The same year, 16,000 British troops were sent to the continent. Newcastle was a staunch Austrophileand strongly supported aid to the Austrians. He had long thought that the only way Britain could defeat France was in alliance with Austria, a view sharply at odds with many other leading politicians such as Walpole and Pitt.
Newcastle's position had briefly been threatened by Carteret, a royal favourite, but by 1743, Newcastle and his brother were firmly in control of British policy until 1756. Newcastle now set about drawing up a fresh scheme to enhance British power on the continent, including an attempt to persuade the Dutch Republic into the anti-French alliance and mediating the dispute between Austria and Prussia, which led to the Treaty of Dresden in 1745. He also approved plans for a colonial raid against Louisbourg in 1745, which was successful. Along with the defeat of a Spanish Invasion of Georgia in 1742, this strengthened the British position in North America.
In 1745, the Jacobite Rising broke out in Scotland and soon spread to northern England. Newcastle feared an attack from the north by Bonnie Prince Charlie, who had already gathered 5,000 men in Derby, and a French invasion of southern England. In the panic, a number of false rumours circulated around London, including news that Newcastle had fled to the Continent for fear that all was lost. He was forced to show himself to a crowd that had gathered outside Newcastle House to prove that he was still there.Nonetheless, his position was threatened since if the Jacobites were triumphant his estates would likely have been confiscated and he would have been forced into exile.
Newcastle awoke to the threat posed by the Jacobites much faster than George II and many of his colleagues, who dismissed the rebellion as a farce. Newcastle organised a response, and by late 1745, he had rallied all of the southern militias and regular forces. The Jacobites withdrew to northern Scotland where they were defeated at Culloden in 1746.
On the Continent, the British continued the war effort, but they were now under pressure from the Dutch Republic to make peace with the French. The Dutch feared that the French would soon launch a devastating onslaught and overrun their country. Newcastle considered that any peace that would be made would be extremely disadvantageous to Britain, and he tried to keep the anti-French coalition strong through constant diplomacy and offers of financial subsidies.
Talks for a peace settlement were convened in the city of Breda in 1746. Newcastle was instrumental in securing the appointment of Lord Sandwich as the British representative at the talks, as his views were very close to his own.Sandwich's principal instructions were to delay the talks until a significant British victory allowed them to negotiate from a position of strength. The Congress of Breda did not progress well initially because the participants were not yet fully committed to peace. The Allies continued to do badly by suffering severe defeats at Bergen op Zoom and Lauffeld. Newcastle's brother, Henry, was now strongly advocating peace, but Newcastle firmly rejected that since he was still convinced a major Allied victory was imminent.
In 1747, Newcastle was involved in organising a coup to put the Prince of Orange in power in the Netherlands. Orange was wanted to continue the war with the French but soon had to apply to the British for a massive loan.Newcastle, now aware how close the Dutch were to collapsing altogether, reluctantly turned towards seeking a peace accommodation with France. He berated himself for his "ignorance, obstinacy and credulity" and half expected his misjudgment in putting so much faith in the Dutch to result in his dismissal, but both the king and the rest of the cabinet retained their faith in him.
To oversee the peace settlement, Newcastle switched across to the position of Northern Secretary. He secured Sandwich's promotion to the Admiralty although he had wanted Sandwich to succeed him as Southern Secretary.During the summer of 1748, Newcastle made his first ever trip outside Britain when he visited Hanover and was received with a rapturous reception wherever he went. When the talks got under way, they went far more smoothly, and in October 1748, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was formally concluded. Britain would give back Louisbourg to France in exchange for the return of Madras and a full French withdrawal from the Low Countries. The issue of free trade for which Britain had gone to war with Spain in 1739 was not mentioned at all.
Newcastle was immediately attacked by his opponents for giving up Louisbourg, but many of them failed to realise just how weak the British position on the Continent had become.Austria was also deeply unhappy as they felt the British had abandoned them and had not tried enough for Silesia to be returned. Nonetheless, Newcastle was happy with the terms that had been gained, and observers on the continent were full of praise on how he had overturned such a disadvantageous situation.
Following the peace, Newcastle began to put in practice a policy that he had been developing for a very long time. He believed that the stately quadrille, which had seen states continually shifting alliances, had been unstable and led to repeated wars. He wanted instead to use vigorous diplomacy to create a lasting peace that would be built around a strong and stable British alliance with Austria. Like many Whigs he saw maintaining the European balance of power, as essential. He described the process as "restoring the Old System", but it was popularly known as the Newcastle System.[ citation needed ]
He came under continuous attack from Pitt and the Patriot Whigs, who despised his European policy because of to their belief that the previous war had shown that North America was increasingly the most important theatre of war. They mocked Newcastle for his perceived lack of vision and ignored the complex nature of European politics and Britain's relationship with Hanover and the fact that as early as 1740 Newcastle had been aware of the expanding power of the American colonies.
Newcastle remained extremely attentive to the Austrian Alliance. He spent several years trying to secure the election of Maria Theresa's son, the future Emperor Joseph II, as King of the Romans, a title of the Holy Roman Empire that carried enormous prestige but little real power, only to see the scheme fail because of Austrian indifference. There were a number of warning signs that all was not well with the alliance, but Newcastle ignored most of them since he was convinced that neither Austria or Britain had any other serious potential allies to turn to. Referring to the election, Newcastle believed that if his scheme failed, "France and Prussia will dictate to all the world".He managed to broker a compromise at a Congress of Hanover to secure the election of Joseph. His triumph at the Congress was soon undermined by his failure to secure Austrian backing.
He managed to outmanoeuvre the Duke of Bedford by engineering his resignation and the dismissal of Lord Sandwich, whom Newcastle had now begun to consider a dangerously-ambitious rival. The ease with which he did so demonstrated his total control of British politics, as Bedford led a strong faction. He had, however, made a significant enemy, who would later try to undermine Newcastle.
In 1752 he made a rare trip abroad by accompanying George II on his annual trip to Hanover. During the visit, Newcastle made an attempt to cultivate Lord North, a future prime minister, as an ally into his political faction.He was unsuccessful although both became good friends, and North later spoke out in defence of Newcastle.
On Henry Pelham's death on 6 March 1754, Newcastle succeeded him as prime minister. He had initially hoped to stay in his role as Northern Secretary as he much preferred foreign affairs, but he was persuaded there was no other serious candidate and accepted the seals of office from the king in March.
Newcastle's first task was to select someone to represent the government in the Commons. To great surprise, he rejected the favourites, William Pitt and Henry Fox, and chose Sir Thomas Robinson, who had barely even been considered a candidate by most.Newcastle was largely instrumental in appointing men considered slightly weaker so that he could dominate them. Both Pitt and Fox bore a grudge over the perceived slight and stepped up their attacks on the ministry.
In April and May 1754 Newcastle oversaw a general election, largely adopting the electoral strategy drawn up by his brother and winning a large majority. His own personal ability to have MPs elected on his slate reached new heights.He now felt emboldened enough to try to push through some financial reforms. He proposed measures to reduce the amount of interest paid to the Bank of England on the National Debt. His decision to do so may partly have been to deflect criticism that he was not sufficiently qualified on financial matters to control the Treasury. At the same time, he was still largely directing foreign policy, his main emphasis.
The rivalry between Britain and France in North America had been growing for some time. Both coveted the Ohio Country, which offered enormous potential for a new wealthy colony to be founded. Both nations sent military forces to occupy the territory. While the British set up the first initial post, they were driven out by a French expedition in 1754. Many wealthy Americans agitated for military action, but the preparations of the individual colonies for conflict were poor. There was more pressure in London from Patriot Whigs who felt the time was ripe for British America to expand into the interior.
In 1755, a major expedition was planned against the French in America. A force of British regulars would be sent to seize Ohio, while another of New England provincials would take control of Nova Scotia. A new commander in chief, Edward Braddock, would be appointed to oversee that to take over from the fractious efforts of the colonial assemblies. The architect of the scheme was the Duke of Cumberland, who held enormous political sway at the time. Braddock was a favourite, but Newcastle had his doubts about both Braddock and the plans. Newcastle had temporary made an alliance with Henry Fox, whom he also disliked. Fox was a strong supporter of the campaign and forced Newcastle's hand.[ citation needed ]
A few months after arriving in America, Braddock's force was engulfed by disaster at the Battle of Monongahela. Attacked by a mixed force of French and American Natives in the wilderness, more than half were killed, including Braddock. The remainder retreated back to Philadelphia, leaving the French in full control of the interior.The Nova Scotia scheme had been more successful, but the Great Expulsion, which followed in its wake, created serious headaches for Newcastle.
All had taken place without war being formally declared. With the decline in the American situation, Newcastle was forced to abandon his plans for financial reform, as the money would instead need to be spent on military forces.
While Newcastle had been paying attention to the American campaign, more pressing events in Europe demanded his attention.
Austria had been growing increasingly because of a longstanding belief that the British would abandon it at a crucial moment.Newcastle's worst fears were confirmed in 1756, when Austria concluded an alliance with France; the Diplomatic Revolution suddenly throwing the whole balance of power in Europe askew.
Newcastle had hoped to prevent the outbreak of a major war in Europe by encircling France with hostile powers. He believed that would both deter them from attacking their neighbours and from sending reinforcements to North America.He thought that the only way war could happen now was if Frederick the Great unilaterally attacked Austria, but the clear disparity in numbers would make him a "madman" to do so. Newcastle hoped he had managed to avert war in Europe, but in 1756, Frederick invaded Saxony and Bohemia triggering the major European war that Newcastle had feared and failed to prevent. What had begun as a limited war in the Ohio Country between Britain and France now took on global proportions.
Newcastle was widely blamed for Britain's poor start to the Seven Years' War, and in November 1756 he was replaced by the Duke of Devonshire. Some had even called for his execution after the loss of Menorca (historically called "Minorca" by the British) in 1756.Instead, the commander of the British fleet, John Byng,was shot after a court-martial, which many considered a smokescreen to protect Newcastle.
For his long services, he was created Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, with remainder to the 9th Earl of Lincoln, who had married his niece Catherine Pelham.
Between November 1756 and June 1757, the Duke of Devonshire replaced Newcastle as Prime Minister although Pitt is widely credited as the main influence on policy.
In July 1757, he again became prime minister since Pitt could not control enough support in parliament. It is often incorrectly stated that Pitt was Prime Minister during the war, but Newcastle actually held the office. Their relationship grew into a fruitful partnership and provided a determined leadership that some felt had been lacking for some time.[ citation needed ]
On paper, it was an implausible alliance.Pitt had been a strident critic of Newcastle for years, and they had separate, conflicting visions of strategy. Newcastle's saw Britain's best chance of victory in directing resources to the war on the continent, but Pitt wanted a wholesale shift in policy to concentrate British forces in North America, West Africa and Asia, where the French were most vulnerable. However, they shared some views, were both ardent Whigs and had even once tried to create a political alliance. Newcastle had previously tried to have Pitt appointed Secretary of War in 1745, but George II vetoed the appointment.
Ultimately British policies were formed of a mixture of these two views. Newcastle insisted on British involvement on the continent to tie down French troops and to authorise a number of expeditions against French colonies. As they were successful, the expeditions began to grow in number and size. Pitt largely took over control of directing them, and Newcastle agreed with the measures and made sure that Parliament was kept on side by mobilising his control of MPs. However, Pitt and Newcastle would discuss strategy along with a small number of other figures such as Hardwicke, Anson and Ligonier. [ citation needed ]
Newcastle had been deeply concerned by Britain's poor start to the war, particularly by the loss of Menorca and the French occupation of key ports in the Austrian Netherlands. To try to boost Britain's position in the Mediterranean, he pushed for an invasion of Corsica, which was then controlled by neutral Genoa, to use as a naval base or for a British attack on Ostend to drive the French out. Pitt was alarmed that both prospects would lead Britain into war with Austria or Genoa. Instead, to placate Newcastle and George II, Pitt agreed to send a British contingent to fight in Germany in 1758.
In 1758, Pitt began despatching expeditions around the world to seize French colonies. In 1758, they captured Senegal and Gambia in West Africa and Louisbourg in North America. He planned to intensify this the next year by despatching large expeditions to the West Indies and Canada. To do so, Pitt stripped the British Isles of troops and ships, which caused Newcastle to worry that they were ill-defended. His fears increased when the British received intelligence of French plans to launch an invasion of Britain. Pitt was determined to press ahead with that year's plans but agreed to lessen the scale of colonial expeditions for 1760 since he expected that 1759 would provide a knockout blow to the French war effort.
Newcastle had retained his previous belief that Britain needed to create as broad a coalition as possible and that Europe, rather than the Americas, would be decisive. He thus attempted to persuade a number of different states to join the anti-French alliance. He was largely unsuccessful since the Dutch, Danes and Portuguese remained neutral, and Sweden and Russia joined the French and Austrians in attacking Prussia. He authorised large sums to be paid as subsidies to the Prussians, who were fighting countries whose land forces dwarfed their own.
One of Newcastle's greatest personal achievements was his use of diplomacy to keep Spain out of the war until 1762, when it was too late to alter the balance of power significantly. In 1759, he and Pitt organised Britain's defences against a planned French invasion, which failed because of British naval victories at Lagos and Quiberon.
Under this "broad bottom government", Britain became famous abroad, but it gradually fell before the affection of the new king, George III, for Lord Bute, who, after supplanting Pitt, became prime minister in place of Newcastle in May 1762. George III had described Pitt as a "snake in the grass" and Newcastle as a "knave".
Despite the undeniably-competent prosecution of the war, the new king did not trust either man with the future of Britain and cast them both into opposition. It marked arguably the last occasion that a British monarch was able to remove a prime minister purely because of personal animosity, and the privilege would in future be entirely ceded to Parliament. As Bute was a Tory, that marked the end of the Whig monopoly on government that had lasted since the Hanoverian Succession in 1714.[ citation needed ]
The Duke went into opposition and lost his two Lord-Lieutenancies for opposing the peace of 1763. Along with Pitt, he felt the terms of peace were overly generous to France and Spain because of the position of strength held by the British. Many territories captured during the war were handed back, but the French presence had been effectively destroyed permanently in Canada and India.
He spent much of his time at his house at Claremont, which he considered one of his finest achievements. Newcastle had been in government for almost 45 continuous years and initially enjoyed the new freedom that opposition gave him.[ citation needed ]
In 1765, he became Lord Privy Seal in the government of Lord Rockingham,who shared many similarities with Newcastle, and both men were both wealthy Whig grandees. Newcastle was at one point offered the position of Southern Secretary by the king, but he turned it down. He lasted for a few months before the government collapsed, which was replaced by that of the Duke of Grafton.
He remained in active opposition but accepted he would not hold office again.He continued to wield enormous patronage and influence, but his health swiftly gave way after a stroke in December 1767, which left him lame and impaired in speech and memory. In his final few months, he had counselled against the Coercive Acts on British America. He died in November 1768, aged 75, at his London home in Lincoln's Inn Fields. After his death Claremont was sold to Robert Clive who had made his name in the Seven Years' War.
The Duke was industrious and energetic, and to his credit, the statesman who almost monopolised the patronage of office for half a century twice refused a pension and finally left office £300,000 poorer than he entered it because of his heavy spending on political campaigns, his lavish lifestyle and his neglect of the family budget.
Newcastle was widely caricatured, often being portrayed as a muddle-headed buffoon who struggled to understand the business of government. He was one of the most ridiculed politicians of the 18th century.A common and widely circulated example of his cluelessness is his reported response to being told by Ligonier that Annapolis needed to be defended, to which Newcastle allegedly replied, "Annapolis! Oh yes, Annapolis must be defended, to be sure. Annapolis must be defended—where is Annapolis?".
Horace Walpole, no friend of him, sketched his character thus: "A borrowed importance and real insignificance gave him the perpetual air of a solicitor.... He had no pride, though infinite self-love. He loved business immoderately; yet was only always doing it, never did it. When left to himself, he always plunged into difficulties, and then shuddered for the consequences."
Historical opinion has generally been divided, with some historians drawing the conclusion that he was unfit for his office, but others regard him as a shrewd political operator who subtly navigated the complex European State System of the 18th century. He is both praised and criticised as being perhaps the greatest machine politics operator of the 18th century, who commanded immense voting strength in parliament. He could often organise majorities in the House of Commons for seemingly-perplexing, unpopular and absurd policies of the government.[ citation needed ]
Generally, praise for Britain's victory in the Seven Years' War has gone to Pitt rather than Newcastle, who officially headed the government. Traditionally, accounts of the war have portrayed Pitt as a visionary who won the war by reversing Newcastle's previous unwise policy of focusing on European affairs; Francis Parkman records correspondence between Pitt and his military administrators and none between them and Newcastle. Others have defended Newcastle by contrasting his 'continental policy' with Lord North's failure to gather European allies during the American War of Independence, which led to Britain's eventual defeat in this conflict. [ citation needed ]
He was portrayed in the novel Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett as a bungling fool, ignorant of all geography, who is convinced that Cape Breton is not an island.Newcastle was played in the 1948 film Bonnie Prince Charlie by G. H. Mulcaster. He also features in the British television series City of Vice , which covers the early years of the Bow Street Runners.
In 1717, he married Lady Harriet Godolphin, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Godolphin and granddaughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The Duchess suffered from poor health and the couple had no children.
In 1731, at Houghton Hall, Sir Robert Walpole's country house in Norfolk, the Duke, with the Duke of Lorraine (later the Holy Roman Emperor), was made a Master Mason by the Grand Master, Lord Lovell, at an Occasional Lodge.[ citation needed ] In 1739, at the creation of London's Foundling Hospital, he acted as one of the charity's founding governors.
With the prospect that the dukedom of Newcastle upon Tyne would become extinct once again, King George II also created the Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne in 1756, with a special remainder for inheritance through his nephew, the 9th Earl of Lincoln.
In 1762, he was also created Baron Pelham of Stanmer, with inheritance to his cousin and male heir, Thomas Pelham.
On his death in 1768, the title Baron Pelham of Stanmer, together with the bulk of the Pelham estates in Sussex and the Duke's private papers, were left to Thomas, who was later created Earl of Chichester. Pelham and his brother were buried at All Saints' Church in Laughton, East Sussex.
The Holles and Clare estates, meanwhile, together with his Newcastle dukedom, were inherited by Lord Lincoln from whom the Duke had become estranged.
|Ancestors of Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle|
The Duke of Bolton
| Lord Chamberlain |
The Duke of Grafton
The Lord Carteret
| Secretary of State for the Southern Department |
The Duke of Bedford
The Earl of Chesterfield
| Secretary of State for the Northern Department |
The Earl of Holdernesse
| Leader of the House of Lords |
The Duke of Devonshire
| Prime Minister of Great Britain |
16 March 1754 – 11 November 1756
The Duke of Devonshire
| Prime Minister of Great Britain |
29 June 1757 – 26 May 1762
The Earl of Bute
| Leader of the House of Lords |
The Earl of Egremont
The Duke of Marlborough
| Lord Privy Seal |
William Pitt the Elder
The Duke of Buckingham
| Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex |
The Earl of Northumberland
| Custos Rotulorum of Middlesex |
Title last held byThe Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
| Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire |
The Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull
The Lord Ashburnham
| Vice-Admiral of Sussex |
Title next held byThe Earl of Ashburnham
The Earl of Abergavenny
| Lord Lieutenant of Sussex |
The Earl of Egremont
The Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull
| Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire |
The Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
The Duke of Dorset
| Senior Privy Counsellor |
The Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham
| Oldest living Prime Minister of Great Britain |
The Earl of Chatham
|Peerage of Great Britain|
|New creation|| Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne |
| Baron Pelham of Stanmer |
| Earl of Clare |
Title last held by John Holles
| Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne |
| Baron Pelham of Laughton |
|Baronetage of England|
| Baronet |
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was a British statesman of the Whig group who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain in the middle of the 18th century. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, who also was a prime minister. Pitt was also known as The Great Commoner, because of his long-standing refusal to accept a title until 1766.
The Whigs were a political faction and then a political party in the parliaments of England, Scotland, Great Britain, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with their rivals, the Tories. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic. The Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained totally dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy (1715–1760) was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels. The Whigs thoroughly purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from roughly 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy. The first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.
Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne is a title that has been created three times. The related title Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne [sic] has been created once to provide a slightly more remote special remainder. The title first was conferred in 1665 when William Cavendish was made Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was a prominent Royalist commander in the Civil War. He had already been elevated as Viscount Mansfield in 1620, Baron Cavendish of Bolsover and Earl of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1621 and Marquess of the latter in 1643, and was created Earl of Ogle as main subsidiary title to the dukedom to be used as a courtesy style for his heir presumptive.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception, the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with the Kingdom of Ireland. Following the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
Henry Pelham was a British Whig statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 27 August 1743 until his death. He was the younger brother of Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, who served in Pelham's government and succeeded him as Prime Minister. Pelham is generally considered to have been Britain's third Prime Minister after Sir Robert Walpole and the Earl of Wilmington.
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire,, styled Lord Cavendish before 1729 and Marquess of Hartington between 1729 and 1755, was a British Whig statesman and nobleman who was briefly nominal Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was the first son of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire and his wife, the former Catherine Hoskins.
James Stanhope, 1st Earl Stanhope was a British soldier, diplomat and statesmen who effectively served as Chief Minister between 1717 and 1721.
John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, was an 18th-century British statesman. He was the fourth son of Wriothesley Russell, 2nd Duke of Bedford, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Howland of Streatham, Surrey. Known as Lord John Russell, he married in October 1731 Diana Spencer, daughter of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland; became Duke of Bedford on his brother's death a year later; and having lost his first wife in 1735, married in April 1737 Lady Gertrude Leveson-Gower, daughter of John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower.
Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, PC, of Holland House in Kensington and of Holland House in Kingsgate, Kent, was a leading British politician. He identified primarily with the Whig faction. He held the posts of Secretary at War, Southern Secretary and Paymaster of the Forces, from which latter post he enriched himself. Whilst widely tipped as a future Prime Minister, he never held that office. His third son was the Whig statesman Charles James Fox.
The article lists the records of Prime Ministers of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom since 1721.
Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, KG, PC was born in London, the second son of the 7th Earl of Lincoln.
The Kingdom of Great Britain was governed by a caretaker government between April and June 1757, after the dismissal of William Pitt led to the end of the Pitt–Devonshire ministry during the Seven Years' War. William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, continued as the nominal head of government.
Events from the year 1757 in Great Britain.
Events from the year 1756 in Great Britain.
Events from the year 1754 in Great Britain.
The Anglo-Austrian Alliance connected the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Habsburg Monarchy during the first half of the 18th century. It was largely the work of the British statesman Duke of Newcastle, who considered an alliance with Austria crucial to prevent the further expansion of French power.
Great Britain was one of the major participants in the Seven Years' War which lasted between 1754 and 1763, although warfare in the European Theatre involving countries other than Britain and France only commenced in 1756. Britain emerged from the war as the world's leading colonial power, having gained a number of new territories at the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and established itself as the world's pre-eminent naval power.
The Pitt–Newcastle ministry governed the Kingdom of Great Britain between 1757 and 1762, at the height of the Seven Years' War. It was headed by Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, who was serving in his second term as Prime Minister. The most influential and famous figure in the government however was William Pitt, who served as Secretary of State.
The Cobhamite faction were an 18th-century British political faction built around Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham and his supporters. Among its members, the group included the future Prime Ministers William Pitt and George Grenville. They had a general Whig philosophy and were at first supporters of Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole but later became opponents of his administration.