William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth

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The Earl of Dartmouth

William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth.jpg
The Earl of Dartmouth, by Nathaniel Hone
First Lord of Trade
In office
20 July 1765 16 August 1766
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Marquess of Rockingham
Preceded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Secretary of State for the Colonies and First Lord of Trade
In office
27 August 1772 10 November 1775
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Lord North
Preceded by The Earl of Hillsborough
Succeeded by Lord George Germain
Personal details
Born20 June 1731 (1731-06-20)
Died15 July 1801 (1801-07-16) (aged 70)
NationalityBritish
Spouse(s)Frances Nicoll (d. 1805)

William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, PC, FRS (20 June 1731 – 15 July 1801), styled as Viscount Lewisham from 1732 to 1750, was a British statesman who is most remembered for his part in the government before and during the American Revolution, and as the namesake of Dartmouth College.

Contents

Background

Dartmouth was the son of George Legge, Viscount Lewisham (d. 1732), son of William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Arthur Kaye, 3rd Baronet. [1] Having entered Trinity College, Oxford, in 1748, [2] he succeeded his grandfather in the earldom in 1750.

Portrait of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, by Pompeo Batoni, 1752-56, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire William Legge, Second Earl of Dartmouth, by Pompeo Batoni, about 1752-1756, oil on canvas, view 1 - Hood Museum of Art - DSC09096.JPG
Portrait of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, by Pompeo Batoni, 1752–56, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Political career

Lord Dartmouth was Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1772 to 1775. Lord Dartmouth's arrival in the Colonies was celebrated by Phillis Wheatley's famous poem, "To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth."

It was Lord Dartmouth who, in 1764, at the suggestion of Thomas Haweis, recommended John Newton, the former slave trader and author of "Amazing Grace", to Edmund Keene, the Bishop of Chester. He was instrumental in Newton's acceptance for the Anglican ministry.

In 1772, in correspondence with Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent of Northern Indian Affairs in America, he suggested that there was no reasonable way the British Government could support new trade regulations with the Indians. He sympathised with Johnson's arguments but stated the Colonies did not seem inclined to concur with any new regulations.

Philanthropy

Lord Dartmouth was a large donor to and the leading trustee for the English trust that would finance the establishment of the Moor's Charity School, in Lebanon, Connecticut by Eleazar Wheelock to educate and convert the Indians. Wheelock subsequently founded Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, naming the school in Lord Dartmouth's honour, in hopes of getting his financial support. Lord Dartmouth refused. In London, Lord Dartmouth supported the new Foundling Hospital, a charitable institution for the care and maintenance of London's abandoned children. He served as a vice-president of the organisation from 1755 until his death. The famous painter Sir Joshua Reynolds painted the Earl's portrait and donated it to the hospital. The portrait is still in the Foundling Hospital Collection and can be seen at the Foundling Museum in London. He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society on 7 November 1754. [3]

Marriage and children

Lord Dartmouth married Frances Catherine Nicholl, daughter of Sir Charles Gounter Nicoll, on 11 January 1755. They had six children together: [4]

Dartmouth died at Blackheath, Kent, on 15 July 1801, in the seventy-first year of his age, and was buried in Trinity Church in the Minories on 3 August 1801. [5] He was succeeded by his eldest son, George. Lady Dartmouth died in July 1805. The family lived at Sandwell Hall (since demolished) in Sandwell Valley.

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References

  1. Sykes, Daniel Frederick Edward "The History of Huddersfield and Its Vicinity" pg. 131
  2. Hopkins, Clare (2005), Trinity: 450 years of an Oxford college community (2007 reprint ed.), Oxford, ISBN   978-0-19-951896-8
  3. "Lists of Royal Society Fellows". Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2006.
  4. The Peerage, entry for 2nd Earl of Dartmouth
  5. Barker 1892.
Attribution

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Barker, George Fisher Russell (1892). "Legge, William (1731-1801)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Hillsborough
First Lord of Trade
1765–1766
Succeeded by
The Earl of Hillsborough
Preceded by
The Earl of Hillsborough
Colonial Secretary
1772–1775
Succeeded by
Lord George Germain
First Lord of Trade
1772–1775
Preceded by
The Duke of Grafton
Lord Privy Seal
1775–1782
Succeeded by
The Duke of Grafton
Preceded by
The Duke of Rutland
Lord Steward
1783
Succeeded by
The Duke of Chandos
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Legge
Earl of Dartmouth
1750–1801
Succeeded by
George Legge
Baron Dartmouth
(descended by acceleration)

1750–1801